Congress

Jews in political news: Jack Lew, Steve Israel on the hotseat

 After one of those “holds” that has nothing to do with the person being considered for high office, the Senate has confirmed Jacob “Jack” Lew as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Lew, who is now deputy secretary of state, held the OMB job at the end of the Clinton administration.

Lew has always struck me as one of the smartest people in Jewish/public life, which leads to this question: if he's so smart, why does he want this thankless job?

Groups Regret Fair Pay Act Failure

11/19/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Jewish groups expressed disappointment in the U.S. Senate's failure to pass an enhanced equal pay act.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last year, would have enhanced the 1963 Equal Pay Act, one of the first civil rights acts, to restrict the criteria employers use to justify pay differentials and to eliminate caps on discrimination lawsuits, among other measures.

Business groups opposed the law, saying its measures were burdensome and costly.

39 Congressional Dems Urge Pollard Release

11/19/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A congressional letter to President Obama urging clemency for Jonathan Pollard garnered 39 signatures, all Democrats.

In comments at a press conference Thursday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he initiated the letter, written in coordination with a broad array of Jewish groups, mostly out of humanitarian concerns for the convicted Israeli spy, imprisoned 25 years, but also as a spur in the peace process.

The deficit reduction scam and defense spending

With the Republicans on their way in as leaders of the House, Tea Party activists ratcheting up their attacks on a hated federal government  and President Obama sounding more and more like a whipped dog, we're going to hear a lot of talk in the next few weeks about cuts to the huge federal budget deficit.

Of course, most of this is just talk, since almost nobody is willing to do the two things that would really make a deficit dent: raise taxes and cut the military.

Obama Remark Misinterpreted, Cantor Spokesman Says

11/15/2010

(JTA) -- U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor's promise that the new GOP majority will "serve as a check" on the Obama administration was "not in relation to U.S.-Israel relations," his spokesman said.

Brad Dayspring told The Washington Post Monday that the comment last week by Cantor (R-Va.), the putative leader of the House of Representatives, to visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been misinterpreted to refer to Israel.

Joint Congressional Letter Questions Saudi Arms Deal

11/15/2010

(JTA) -- A joint congressional letter raising concerns and asking questions about a proposed $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia was delivered to Obama administration officials.

The bipartisan letter, signed by 198 U.S. lawmakers, was delivered Nov. 12 to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Foreign Policy magazine reported.

The letter was coordinated jointly by outgoing House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and incoming chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), according to the report.

Adam Dickter Interviews Michael Grimm

Congressman-elect Michael Grimm, who will soon represent New York's 13th District including all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, discusses working with Mayor Michael Bloomberg on behalf of the city, Obamacare, tax cuts, U.S. policy in the Middle East and his opponent's controversial Jewish donor list.

Could Election Change Iran Calculus?

Reading the midterm tea leaves, from the GA in New Orleans to Washington.

11/09/2010
Washington Correspondent

President Barack Obama’s mounting political woes after last week’s “shellacking” in midterm congressional elections may indirectly lead to greater U.S. flexibility on the issue of Israeli military action to stop its nuclear program.

Some analysts say an administration committed to stopping Iran from going nuclear — but whose options may be even more limited after a big Republican victory based heavily on voters’ economic anxieties — may choose to let Israel take care of the problem.

Liberal Legislative Outlook Is ‘Daunting’

11/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

With more than 60 House seats and 650 state legislature seats changing hands and decades-long office holders of all political stripes losing their jobs, we’re still coming to grips with what happened in last week’s congressional midterm elections, let alone what it means for the future.

In A Divided Government, Forging A Centrist Agenda

11/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

The tectonic plates of power underneath the nation’s capital are radically shifting in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. Everyone in Washington — from the White House to industry associations to public interest groups and more — is still assessing the fate of the issues they care about in light of the new lay of the land, and the Jewish community is no exception. The good news is, for many of the issues that we care about, the shift from one-party rule to divided government offers opportunities, albeit with challenges, too.

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