"JCPA 2010 Federal Policy Priorites"
JCPA 2010 Federal Policy Priorities The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is the united voice of the organized Jewish community. For more than sixty years, the JCPA has identified issues, formulated policy, developed strategies and programs, and expressed the organized Jewish community’s perspectives on a wide range of domestic and international issues. The JCPA has an unparalleled capacity to mobilize grassroots activism through our network of 14 national and 125 local member agencies. The JCPA serves as a catalyst that heightens community awareness, encourages civic and social involvement, and deliberates key issues of importance to the Jewish community. The following is a list of the JCPA’s current federal policy priorities. It is not meant to be a comprehensive survey of all the issues with which we or our national and local members are engaged. If there is an issue not included on this list that is a major priority for your agency, please feel free to contact us at any time. The Washington Office serves as a federal policy resource for our member agencies and helps the community relations field express the consensus policy views of the organized Jewish community to national leaders. Please feel free to share this memo with other interested parties. Israel, World Jewry, and International Human Rights Issues Preventing a Nuclear Iran The JCPA believes that a nuclear Iran presents an existential threat to the State of Israel, to the stability of the Middle East as a whole, and to the safety and security of the world community. The JCPA supports the passage and implementation of targeted Iran sanctions in order to dissuade the regime in Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The JCPA played a key role in advocating for the House of Representatives to overwhelmingly pass the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009 and the Iran Refines Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009. The Senate approved Iran sanctions legislation at the beginning of 2010. We will work closely with both chambers of Congress to approve a final bill and with the Obama Administration to implement an effective sanctions policy. Darfur and Other International Humanitarian Crises The JCPA supports the vigorous protection of human rights as an integral part of U.S. foreign policy, and urges effective American involvement in this area, on a multilateral basis when possible and a unilateral basis when necessary. The JCPA is monitoring the April national elections in Sudan as well as the January 2011 independence referendum in Southern Sudan. Foreign Aid to Israel and Robust International Affairs Budget The JCPA works to ensure the continuation of robust foreign aid to Israel as well as a strong international affairs budget in the yearly appropriations bill. The JCPA is appreciative of U.S. generosity and a robust foreign assistance program. We believe foreign assistance is an important tool to support our allies, assist those in developing nations, and protect U.S. interests. U.S. Engagement to Support the Peace Process The JCPA encourages high-level diplomatic involvement by the Obama Administration in moving the Israeli-Arab peace process forward. The JCPA supports two independent, democratic and economically viable states – Israel and a Palestinian state -- living side-by-side in peace and security. We note, with sorrow, that Israel’s repeated offers to establish “two democratic states living side by side in peace and security,” have been met, time after time, by violence, incitement and terror. Countering International Terrorism and States that Support Terror The JCPA encourages Congress and the Administration to implement strong U.S. policies to counter international terrorism, including state-sponsored terrorism. The JCPA encourages the U.S. government to work with our allies around the world to implement comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to terrorism including the freezing the assets of groups and individuals that have been linked to terrorism and strengthening international cooperation on weapons control and halting nuclear proliferation. Equal Opportunity and Social Justice Issues Creating Green and Sustainable Jobs as Pathways Out of Poverty The JCPA believes that one important way that Congress and the Administration can help heal our ailing economy is to create pathways to long-term employment in the emerging green jobs sector. In addition, efforts should be made to invest in fields such as infrastructure, state and local governments, schools, and hospitals in order to contribute to long-term economic growth and employment. Every effort should be made to target communities and populations that have been hardest hit by the recession, including low-income individuals, women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and youth. Putting an End to Poverty in America As part of our Confronting Poverty initiatives, the JCPA continues to work on a host of legislative issues that can help put an end to poverty. The JCPA strongly supports the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, calling on Congress to include at least $1 billion per year for the next five years in additional funding and include provisions that would strengthen and enhance nutritional quality of these programs and access to those most in need. In addition, Congress is expected to take action on legislation relating to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), WIC (a supplemental nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children), WIA (the Workforce Investment Act), the National Housing Trust Fund, and human needs funding in the federal budget. All of these programs should be provided with appropriate funding, as well as robust measures that help lift millions of Americans out of poverty in sustainable ways. Addressing Environmental Concerns in Order to Help Save Our Planet and Economy The JCPA believes that comprehensive climate legislation can help propel America forward into the new century by kick-starting our struggling economy, creating millions of jobs, and protecting our environment. Congressional legislation should be used as an opportunity to create a new and sustainable green job force. But we still must ensure that low-income consumers are fully protected from the impact of higher energy prices. In addition, policies that promote conservation and environmental stewardship should foster greater energy security and reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Working Towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform The JCPA supports congressional efforts to create comprehensive immigration reform with an emphasis on family reunification and the protection of human rights. In addition, we advocate for reform measures that will create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers while prioritizing more effective border security and enforcement. Strengthening America’s Education System Efforts will be made in the coming year to reform America’s struggling education system and to create a system that works for all children. The JCPA is committed to strengthening and sustaining public schools, recognizing that this is the primary route for most children, especially poor children, to achieve an education. We plan to support reform that makes improvements in early childhood education and in programs for schools in high poverty area. In addition, we will reinforce our commitment to promoting literacy through advocacy on relevant legislation. Jewish Security and the Bill of Rights Issues Civil Rights The JCPA has a long standing commitment to civil rights for all Americans. This year, we will focus on several pieces of legislation, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which expands federal employment protections to individuals discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We will closely monitor the implementation of several important civil rights statutes including the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We will work closely with executive branch agencies to ensure that civil rights statues are being effectively and responsibly enforced. Civil Liberties and National Security Over the past several years, the JCPA has paid considerable attention to the tension between civil liberties and national security. This year, the JCPA will advocate for a proper balance of these two objectives during Congressional consideration of important legislation, including the reauthorization of the PATRIOT ACT. Administratively, we will continue our work to ensure that all of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay are offered the ability to challenge their detention before an impartial arbitrator and within a system that reflects the traditional notions of American justice. Religious Liberty Religious liberty and the relationship between religious institutions and the federal government has been a priority for the JCPA since our founding. This year, we continue to monitor social service legislation for Charitable Choice and other objectionable provisions. We will also continue our work with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and its corollary council and task forces. The JCPA is committed to ensuring proper firewalls are in place to prevent government funds from influencing or intermingling with religious institutions. We also are committed to ensuring that federal funds are not used in a discriminatory way. Over the next year, we will work closely with our national member agencies and coalition partners to implement a strong set of safeguards. For Further Information, Please Contact: Jewish Council for Public Affairs 1775 K Street NW, Suite 320 Washington, DC 20006 (202) 212-6036 email@example.com