Senate

Is Kagan’s Jewishness Being Used Against Her?

Her background surfaces even as Jewish groups mostly silent on wider nomination battle.

06/30/2010
Washington Correspondent

 A Jewish community divided over key constitutional questions is watching closely but mostly silently as a hyper-partisan Senate debates President Barack Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to succeed the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens — and as hints that the nominee’s Jewishness is being used against her surface.

Elana Kagan

Sen. Byrd dies: no friend of the pro-Israel lobby, but a 'venerable institution'

 Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) has died at the age of 92 in a Washington-area hospital.

Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who became a fierce advocate for West Virginia, one of the Senate's most liberal members and a vehement opponent of the Iraq war, was not among the 95 best friends of the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. Senate.

But that didn't stop him from winning the respect of colleagues in both parties who recognized his unmatched understanding of the legislative process and his ability to reach out to political adversaries.

Jewish groups praise Iran sanctions passage, dovish groups split

My email inbox today has been chock full of statements from Jewish organizations and Capitol Hill politicians lauding final passage of the new, tougher Iran sanctions bill, and groups like AIPAC deserve a pat on the back for getting the legislation through a largely gridlocked Congress.

This from AIPAC:

Congress Passes New Iran Sanctions

06/24/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Congress overwhelmingly passed expansive new Iran sanctions.

The sanctions passed Thursday in both houses: 99-0 in the Senate and 408-8 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and now go to President Obama for signing.

The sanctions expand existing sanctions targeting investment in Iran's energy sector to encompass trade with the energy escort and business with the banking sector.

In Congress, J Street, AIPAC fight over Gaza flotilla letters

Update: I had a call this afternoon from an AIPACer who took me to task for writing that the 79 Senators who signed the AIPAC-endorsed letter - now over 80 - was "not a slam dunk."

Point taken; getting 4/5 of the Senate to sign anything is no mean achievement.

Reid-McConnell letter: Consider Turkish Charity for Terror List

06/15/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Leaders of both parties in the U.S. Senate are urging President Obama to consider placing the Turkish charity involved in the Gaza flotilla incident on the terrorism list.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), its minority leader, circulated a letter last Friday among their colleagues that would press Obama to investigate the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation.

Orthodox Union Leaders Meet With White House Staff, Senators

06/09/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Leaders of the Orthodox Union met with top administration officials and with U.S. senators.

Members of synagogues and organizations affiliated with the umbrella body met Wednesday with top National Security Council staff and discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship, the peace process and Iran sanctions, as well as education and energy policy.

The Orthodox Union has been among the sharpest critics of Obama administration pressure on Israel to freeze building in eastern Jerusalem.

Lazio Tops Ticket As NY GOP Chooses Candidates

06/04/2010
Assistant Managing Editor

Eager to win back control of Albany, New York’s Republicans engaged in a spirited battle over the top of their party’s ticket Wednesday at their convention in Manhattan, with supporters of Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, a Democrat, struggling to get him on the ballot.

Although Levy, who had the backing of GOP state chairman Ed Cox, had enough support to get on the ballot had he been a Republican, 28 percent, he failed to muster enough support in a second roll call to allow him on the ballot before switched parties.

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