WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Joe Straus, overwhelmingly reelected speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, strongly repudiated attacks on his Jewish faith.
"Attacks on people's religious beliefs have no place in this House," Straus, a Republican, said Tuesday after winning the vote 132-15, according to reports filed via Twitter by KPRC, a Houston NBC affiliate.
The KPRC reporter, Mary Benton, said Straus was given a standing ovation.
A small group of backers of his opponents had said that the post should go to a "Christian conservative."
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Faced with a new Congress intent on slashing the U.S. federal budget, Jewish groups are trimming their agendas to hew to its contours.
On issues from Israel aid to the environment to elderly care, Jewish organizations are planning to promote priorities that would find favorable reception in the new Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives. The groups are trying to build alliances based on shared interests and recasting pitches for existing programs as Republican-friendly.
The newly elected leaders in the House of Representatives plan to open the 112th session by reading the Constitution into the record. That's not a bad beginning - this Congress must dedicate itself to addressing fundamental problems in order to keep alive the promise of our constitution's preamble: "to...establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
Suddenly I'm getting emails from Democratic lawmakers warning of possible cuts to Israel's big foreign aid allotment when the new Congress takes over in January – but I'm not sure I buy it.
Now the Jerusalem Post is reporting that “Democrats are blasting the prospect that a GOP-led House of Representatives might trim aid to Israel or consider it separately from the rest of the foreign aid budget,” citing as evidence comments by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – the incoming Foreign Affairs chair – that it's not inconceivable the House GOP leadership could impose across-the-board aid cuts that would not exempt Israel.
You can bet a lot of pols in both parties are pouring over the 2010 census, released today in Washington. While the numbers look good for Republicans and for Western and Southwestern states as the expense of Democrats and the Jew-rich Northeast, drawing too many conclusions about the impact of today's numbers on Jewish political clout is risky.
Yesterday I received a solicitation for contributions for the “civility project” of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA); given the vituperative email and comments I see every day, I'd give these guys $10,000 if I had it.
The 2012 presidential election campaign has begun. Suspecting that the incumbent is vulnerable, Republicans are already beginning to position themselves to carry this campaign to voters early and often against the Obama Administration.
Jews will be seen as a key target for this effort. Several core factors will define the Jewish connection in this campaign cycle. Accessing early campaign money and embracing the Israel connection represent two elements that will be seen as pivotal the 2012 campaign and to Jewish support. Both parties, and more directly aspiring candidates, will be looking for financial assistance as a way to launch and to build their campaigns and to garner political endorsements.
I had a hard time thinking about how to respond to Rabbi Michael Lerner's Washington Post oped on Saturday arguing that the best way to save the Barack Obama presidency is to find some progressive to challenge him in the Democratic primaries, since at first glance it looks more like parody than politi