After extending the deadline for a government shutdown, Congress on Tuesday agreed to a stopgap solution that kept the government running for a few weeks more. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-MN) voted against it, stating in a news release:
I cannot in good conscience vote for a bill that hurts children by taking money out of education, slashes support for road and bridge repair, and ends essential medical research. It takes away assistance from people hurt by the economic downturn, including many of our neighbors and family members. Most worrisome, it puts thousands more Americans out of work at time when unemployment is above 9 percent. Republicans continue to push an agenda that puts more Americans out of work. … In America, we should not have to choose between keeping our government running and creating jobs for the American people. I will continue to fight for proposals that do both.
Also on Tuesday, the conservative site NewsBusters noted Ellison’s slam of the Republican budget during an appearance with MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, particularly targeting the elimination of heating subsidies:
It's just callousness, but it's also the idea, the philosophical belief that the rich don't have enough and the poor have too much, and they believe that if they exacerbate that gap more, that somehow magically things will trickle down. But of course they never do, never have. … It is, it is morally reprehensible. It is callous, it is cold-blooded, and it's actually pretty scary, because, uh, you know, the fact is that we have seniors, particularly in states like mine, who are really facing real serious problems.
A Huffington Post blogger from Chicago praised Ellison’s speech last week to the Cairo Physician's Syndicate. Joshua Hoyt, who is traveling through Egypt to learn about the “Egypt Spring,” noted how Ellison was sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and said he disagreed with Obama’s opposition to the Palestinian application for statehood through the United Nations.
The Egyptians grilled Ellison about "the Jewish lobby," concluding with the statement, "Americans are the worst people in the world."
And then Congressman Ellison made himself an American that I can be proud of. He said that it is wrong to talk about the "Jewish lobby" when you mean the pro-Israel lobby. He said there are many Christian supporters of Israel in the U.S. and many Jewish supporters of a Palestinian State.
Congressman Ellison listed his trips to Gaza, his support for freeing Palestinians held by Israel, and for the end to the blockade of Gaza. And then he said that "You may not like this, but yes, I have also called for the release of the Israeli soldier held captive in Gaza, and visited Sderot in Israel and declared that Palestinians should not be dropping missiles down on them." The Congressman continued passionately, "I represent a district that is 1.5% Muslim. When I campaigned I spoke of my Muslim values, like support for clean water and a living wage and a good education for children. These are the same values of my Christian and Jewish constituents. What is right for one group is right for all groups and I am not going to come here and say something different to you than what I would say anywhere else."
Meanwhile, Ellison condemned the truck bomb attack by Somali terrorist group al Shabaab that killed 70 people in Mogadishu, sending out a news release soon afterward:
Today’s attack by al-Shabbab is a despicable act by a terrorist organization. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of those who have been killed or injured by a group that uses horrendous tactics in an attempt achieve power.
This latest violence demonstrates that the international community must continue to support the legitimate Somali government as it pursues peace and stability. The people of Somalia need support and I am glad the President has said the United States, United Nations and international community will continue to provide life-saving relief to Somalis in need.