Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is at odds with President Barack Obama over proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to help pull the U.S. economy back from the "fiscal cliff."
With less than a month to go before the economy teeters over the edge of that "fiscal cliff"—a term used to describe the quandry the U.S. government faces at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 will go into effect—the White House offered up a deal last week estimated to produce $1.2 trillion in new tax revenue and make $400 billion in entitlement cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security over the next decade.
Ellison was critical of the proposed changes to the aforementioned programs, saying progressive members of the House Democratic Caucus "will not support any deal that cuts benefits for families and seniors who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to put food on the table or cover their health costs."
"There are better options that protect seniors, children, and disabled Americans," Ellison said in a statement. "We should allow Medicare Part D to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors and by requiring the wealthy to contribute to Social Security on all of their wages, as middle class Americans do now. But cuts like raising the retirement age would cost seniors thousands of dollars, and increase the cost of health care by over $11 billion."
Ellison appeared on CNN last week to chat with Wolf Blitzer about the proposals, saying it's important to try to resolve the issue by the Dec. 31 deadline, but making it clear he would "not sacrifice the interests of seniors and low-income folks just to come up with some deal."
"We're not going to stand back and let seniors, people with disabilities, the most low-income vulnerable people in this country, bear the brunt of this fiscal entanglement," he said.
Ellison Ranked Among Most Influential Muslims in the World
Minnesota's Fifth District Representative was recently ranked as one of the world's most influential Muslims.
Keith Ellison's name makes an appearance in the fourth edition of The Muslim 500, a list compiled by the Royal Islamic Studies Centre in Jordan. The Minnesota Representative, who was also the first Muslim elected to Congress, is one of 41 American Muslims to make the list this year.
"Representative Ellison has been an outspoken advocate for American Muslims and his trips to the Muslim World, such as a visit to Palestine in the aftermath of the Israeli attacks in 2009, have garnered international support for his outreach to the Muslim World," the report reads.