Senate

Hate crimes bill introduced …. again. Will this be the year?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.(), the Senate Judiciary chairman, has attached hate crimes legislation to the defense authorization bill. That’s good news for a bunch of Jewish groups, starting with the Anti-Defamation League, which have been pressing for the legislation – which would broaden existing federal hate crimes laws to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – for a decade.

Minnesota Supreme Court rules, Coleman’s toast, Franken to be seated

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 Eight months after Minnesota voters went to the polls, the state is about to get a new senator. And it’s not the old one – Norm Coleman, the Republican whose last appeal of the razor-thin election was rejected by the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday in a unanimous decision. A lower court ruled that Democrat Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live comic, won the election by 312 votes, but Coleman continued to argue that an additional 4000 absentee ballots should be counted.

Jewish groups play different roles in climate change bill

Sunday, June 28th, 2009 A couple of Jewish groups played a role in Friday’s passage of a landmark climate change bill by the House – the first major piece of legislation to address the issue of carbon emissions and global warming. Another played a role in one aspect of the legislation.

More homeland security money for Jewish institutions?

Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Some Jewish leaders were initially uneasy about pressing for homeland security money from the federal government to protect Jewish schools, synagogues and other institutions, but that unease has largely evaporated - in part because of the incredible success of the effort to make sure Jewish groups get their fair share - and then  some - of the money, in part because of recent incidents involving such institutions.

Specter forgets which party he’s in, endorses Coleman bid

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 No doubt Senate Democrats are happy that Sen. Arlen Specter now has a “D-Pa.” next to his name instead of an “R,” but there will occasional second thoughts when the unpredictable lawmaker’s foot finds its way into his mouth. It happened again this week, when Specter seemed to forget which party he now  calls home. In a New York Times Magazine interview, Specter was asked if he cares that, because of his party switch, there are now no Jewish Republicans in the Senate.

Good news for Jewish groups on the domestic front: Hate crimes, immigration reform, budget

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 It’s been a good week for Jewish groups active on the domestic front. On Wednesday the House passed by a 249-175 vote a hate crimes bill Jewish groups have had as a legislative priority for more than a decade.  For the past eight years former President Bush promised to veto it, but the strong Democratic majorities in both Houses and a new president who supports the measure have dramatically improved its chances, and backers are moving quickly to take advantage of the altered political landscape.

Jewish Democrats, Republicans spin Specter switch

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 Twenty four hours after Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection from the Republicans to the Democrats, you can see the spin machines on both sides of the aisle grinding out what they hope will become the central narratives of this political game changer.  Yesterday the leading Jewish Democrats and Republicans offered the Jewish Week what  turned out to be perfect distillations of their respective parties’ Specter spins.

Specter’s bombshell

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 You can’t blame Jewish Democrats for being jubilant; not only has Sen. Arlen Specter’s defection to their side of the aisle dealt a major blow to Republican efforts to slow down President Obama’s legislative agenda, but it represented another symbolic swipe at a Republican PR effort that continues to insist the party is making big inroads with Jewish voters.

Hate crimes bill: could 2009 be the year?

Monday, April 27th, 2009 You have to give this to major Jewish groups like the Anti-Defamation League: they’re persistent.  A bunch of them have been lobbying for a major new hate crimes bill for more than a decade, and even though it has passed numerous votes in both Houses of Congress the measure never quite makes it into law.

Minnesota voters to Coleman: Give it up, Norm

Monday, April 27th, 2009 Periodically during his six-month battle to win a Minnesota Senate race a recount showed he lost by 312 votes, former Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, has suggested voters should just do the whole thing over again.
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