Jansing and Co | March 14, 2013
>>> president obama is talking about former vice president dick cheney and the growing criticism from both parties over the administration's controversial drone program. at a closed door meeting with democratic senators on tuesday, two senators told politico that the president tried to assure them that his administration has been more open to oversight than the bush administration 's, saying "this is not dick cheney we're talking about here." the white house had no comment on the reference. next week, the senate judiciary committee will hold the first of two hearings one to address privacy can concerns, the other to talk about the targeted killing program. i want to bring in congressman keith ellison , co-chair of the congressional progressive congress.
>> thanks for having me on.
>> i know you've raised your own concerns about this issue and in addition to talking about dick cheney , the president also told the senators he's not involved in drafting the justice department legal counsel memos that justify the use of lethal force against american terror suspects. what's your reaction to how the white house has handled this?
>> i think that president obama is right when he says that he is far more open toover sight. he's been quoted as saying that he's a "legal architecture" around it and he has a --
>> to put a legal architecture around this drone program that guarantees transparency, due process and that we do not allow this to be some sort of a program where we have a kill list and that there's no judicial oversight . i think it's time to get about the business. i wrote an op-ed on this issue well over a month ago in january. i'm not -- i'm glad that it's getting the attention it deserves.
>> in another op-ed, former clinton chief of staff called on the president to release the documents that just fie the use of drones. he writes, i'm quoting here, " president obama is ignoring the system of checks and balances that has governed our country from the earliest days and in keeping this information from the american people , he's undermining the nation's ability to be a leader on the world's stage and is acting in opposition to democratic principles we hold most important. requesting "we should say the president allowed parts of the committee to see the memos. are you satisfied with that? is it enough?
>> no it's not enough. i don't think the president has anything to fear. he's the one who said let's have a legal architecture. this is a chance for the united states to really lead the world. look, this is technology, which means more people are going to get it. it's only going to proliferate. that's what technology does. what if we put some rules, some law around this that ensures due process , the rule of law and transparency. we should lead the way . the president should not allow himself to be coming up on the backside of this. he should be helping to lead this effort. you know, the reality is that there are legitimate uses of drones and there are some illegitimate uses of them. when people are not combatants, they should not be subject to target assassination. we should arrest people if they violated the law. we should only use this sort of technology in the circumstances to protect american lives to do so. but i think that the technology has outrun the rules. we've got to get a handle on this right away. i agree with poe did he say toe.
>> there's been disagreement even amongst the republican party . i'm sure you saw john mccain criticizing rand paul who filibusternd and said paul is foolish to be worried about drones being used on americans on u.s. soil. who is right on that one?
>> i probably would disagree with rand paul on 99% of all things. i am very glad that he used the power of the filibuster to go to the house floor and dramatize this issue around drones. like i said, i wrote an op-ed about it. didn't get much attention. but his 13-hour filibuster really garnered a lot of attention and now we're talking about drones. so if it was a stunt, it was a good stunt. because now we got two senate committees, we had one house committee and we're starting to do the work that congress should do is to really address drones, lead the world and show them we're about due process , the rule of law and america doesn't do political assassination . that's what we should be doing and i think rand paul can take a little credit pour for it.
>> congressman before we let you go, i want to ask you about the budget battle. your conference released its own budget blueprint yesterday. it calls for raising taxes on everyone earning more than $250,000 a year. spends a trillion dollars on public works projects over ten years.
>> you say it will create 7 million jobs by next year. it does not, however, balance the budget . that's something also that the president has talked about. won't this be dead on arrival in the republican house? where do you see this document fitting into the debate?
>> first of all, let me say the ryan budget is dead on arrival . so our budget stands, i think, it's better than his does. at least we're doing what the american people want which is to put people back to work. chris, i'm looking for the day where we can evaluate a budget based on whether it puts americans back to work. we don't need to balance the budget in ten years. we need to make steady progress toward reducing the ratio of gdp to deficit. that's what we need to do. what we really need to do and the crisis we actually have is a jobs crisis. we need to put our infrastructure in good repair, which we don't have now and we need public employees like teachers, firefighters, police officers and people who fix our roads to be back at work, which we've seen massive numbers of layoffs in that area. i mean, the real question is putting americans back to work. we need to do that. we can't be satisfied with 7.7% unemployment. we got to go down at least 5 to really start talking about full employment . that should be the priority, jobs. that's how i hope we evaluate a budget , whether putting americans back to work.
>> congressman ellison, always good to see you. thanks so much.