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
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 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