Congress

7 Ways Religious Affiliation Will (And Won’t) Change In The New Congress

01/05/2015
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Republicans will take full control of Capitol Hill when the 114th Congress is sworn in on Tuesday (Jan. 6), but even with a political shift, there will be little change in the overall religious makeup of Congress, according to a new analysis from the Pew Research Center.

The Religious Makeup of the 114th Congress. Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

Lee Zeldin: What Jew Need To Know

Will the new Jewish senator replace Eric Cantor?

11/06/2014
Editorial Intern
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Here's what you don't know about Lee Zeldin, the New York State Senator who put an end to the short-lived drought of Jewish Republican representatives in Congress.

New York State Senator Lee Zeldin. Nysenate.gov.

Whither Jewish Clout In Corridors Of Power?

Amid declining Jewish caucus in Congress, rising concerns over communal influence.

09/16/2014
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Washington — From 31 in 2009 to a likely 19 in January, the unofficial Jewish caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives is shrinking fast.

Clockwise from top left, John Yarmuth, Nita Lowey, Jerrold Nadler, Henry Waxman, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. Via house.gov

Did Religion Play Role In Cantor’s Defeat?

Cultural factors seen influencing Tea Party voters in suburbs outside of Richmond.

06/11/2014
Staff Writer
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Rep. Eric Cantor’s loss a Tea Party-backed challenger Tuesday night in a shocking Republican primary upset was caused, in part, by his Jewish identity, says a political observer.

Cantor's religion made it harder to connect to the Christian, far-right voters in his new district. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

House Spending Bill Includes Full $3.1 Billion For Israel

01/16/2014
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WASHINGTON  — Funding to Israel was restored to its pre-sequester levels in the spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Naftali Bennett, Point Man On Iran, Says He Finds Sympathetic Ear In Congress

11/17/2013
Editor & Publisher
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While the Obama administration has been “a huge friend” to Israel, with “unprecedented cooperation on security and intelligence” issues, “at the end of the day Israel can’t outsource its security,” Naftali Bennett, a key member of the Israeli cabinet, told The Jewish Week in an exclusive interview here this week.

Yes, Congress is Embarrassing …But That’s Not the Worst Of It

10/04/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Woody Allen used to say that telling jokes to an audience that’s drunk or stoned guarantees you nothing more than cheap laughs. Anything will be funny to those people, because they’re “under the influence.”  Their judgment is impaired.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

Hagel Backed By Pro-Israel Leaders In Congress

01/16/2013

Chuck Hagel added three major Jewish Democrats to his list of endorsers, clearing his way to likely confirmation as secretary of defense.

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) each said they were satisfied Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, would advance the U.S.-Israel security relationship and would make a priority of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“I know some will question whether Sen. Hagel’s assurances are merely attempts to quiet critics as he seeks confirmation to this critical post,” Schumer said in a statement Tuesday, a day after he conferred with Hagel. “But I don’t think so. Sen. Hagel realizes the situation in the Middle East has changed, with Israel in a dramatically more endangered position than it was even five years ago. His views are genuine, and reflect this new reality.”

Lawmakers generally take their lead on sensitive issues from colleagues who are affiliated with  the interest group in question, and the endorsement of Jewish senators has been seen as critical to Hagel getting the job.

Also endorsing Hagel was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Hagel had drawn fire for past criticisms of Israeli policy, skepticism about the efficacy of unilateral Iran sanctions, wariness of the repercussions of a military strike on Iran, and willingness to engage with Iran and some terrorist groups, while also maintaining degrees of isolation.

In conversations with Schumer, Boxer and Wasserman Schultz, Hagel also apologized for having said the “Jewish lobby” is “intimidating” in a 2006 interview.

Boteach’s Kosher Candidacy

Celebrity rabbi vows to bring Jewish values to Congress.

03/27/2012
Associate Editor

The faith-based campaign that has become so frequent in Republican races across the country is echoed locally with the Bergen County GOP endorsement of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach for Congress in northern New Jersey. The Chabad-trained rabbi says he’s running as a Republican because he believes in smaller government, but adds that his politics are driven by his Judaism — and there’s nothing small about that.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s.

Foreign Affairs Committee Considers Israel Loan Guarantee Extension

03/18/2012

Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee introduced legislation that would extend a program providing loan guarantees to the State of Israel.

Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) introduced legislation on Friday that would allow loan guarantees to help Israel raise private funds at lower interest rates.

The program was initiated in 2003 and was extended in 2006 for an additional five years. The new bill calls for an extension that will run through the end of the fiscal year in 2015.

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