November 20, 2014 · 27 Cheshvan

Join Us

Key Topics

Give

Reform Jewish Movement Responds to Senate Passage of Reconciliation Package; Urges House to Reject Irresponsible Budget Plan
In response to yesterday’s Senate passage of a budget reconciliation package including $35 billion in cuts to social services, and the House’s ongoing consideration of a package with even deeper cuts, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, "Yesterday’s Senate passage of irresponsible budget reconciliation legislation totaling more than $35 billion in spending cuts is slap in the face to those Americans most in need of the helping hand of government, including those struggling under the weight of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma."

National Jewish organizations: As the hurricane victims and the nation’s disadvantaged are being asked to foot the bill for tax cuts, the Iraq war, and the Gulf Coast’s reconstruction, we hear the powerful warning, “Do not steal from the weak because he is weak and do not oppress the poor[.]” (Proverbs 22:22-23)

Washington, November 4, 2005- In response to yesterday’s Senate passage of a budget reconciliation package including $35 billion in cuts to social services, and the House’s ongoing consideration of a package with even deeper cuts, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

“Yesterday’s Senate passage of irresponsible budget reconciliation legislation totaling more than $35 billion in spending cuts is slap in the face to those Americans most in need of the helping hand of government, including those struggling under the weight of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. At a time of increasing food stamp rolls and rising need for Medicaid and Medicare, it is shameful that Congress is passing billions of dollars in program cuts and planning to pass billions more in tax cuts. Instead of a helping hand, the Senate is offering them only a cold shoulder.”

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism coordinated a letter, signed by national Jewish organizations and sent to Members of Congress, urging them to oppose the billions of dollars in budget cuts included as part of the budget reconciliation process. Signatories to the letter include the Union for Reform Judaism, B’nai Brith International, the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Woman International, Jewish War Veterans, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and NA’AMAT USA. The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Member of Congress,

As Congress debates the budget reconciliation, with its $36 to $54 billion in proposed budget cuts and $70 billion in tax cuts, we in the Jewish community reflect on the tragedies of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and now Wilma, and hear the prophetic exhortation not to wrong the stranger, the orphan and the widow. (Jeremiah 22:3) As we note that the programs in the crosshairs target vital programs for the elderly and society’s most vulnerable, including Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamps and Student Loans, we draw on the words of Proverbs, which asks us to "Speak out for those who cannot speak … for the rights of the destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8) And as the hurricane victims and the nation’s disadvantaged are being asked to foot the bill for tax cuts, the Iraq war, and the Gulf Coast’s reconstruction, we hear the powerful warning, “Do not steal from the weak because he is weak and do not oppress the poor in the gate.” (Proverbs 22:22-23)


As representatives of the American Jewish community, we ask that you oppose both the spending proposals and tax cut proposal in the budget reconciliation package. Neither these harsh reductions in spending nor these budget-busting tax cuts should be allowed to go forward, especially at this time.

After investing billions in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, many in Congress now say that the federal government must now tighten its belt. We certainly understand the need for fiscal responsibility. However, any claims to fiscal prudence on the part of budget reconciliation’s proponents are undermined by the $70 billion in tax cuts proposed alongside the spending reductions. Instead of saving money, budget reconciliation may add as much as $168 billion to our deficit over the next five years. And the spending cuts, targeted as they are at programs benefiting low-income Americans rather than at trimming pork or tax cuts, represent a cynicism and lack of compassion not befitting our nation’s leaders.

These are difficult times in America. We all have members and congregants in the areas affected by the recent natural disasters, and some of them may no doubt be counted among the nearly 450,000 unemployed as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We all saw the dire poverty and profound sense (and reality) of abandonment faced by many Americans during Hurricane Katrina. This poverty existed long before the storm and has not disappeared now that the cameras have gone away. The High Holidays, having only just passed, gave us as Jews opportunity to atone and consider how we have fallen short in our commitments to the less fortunate over the past year. We can only hope that Congress will now do the same.

Sincerely,

B’nai Brith International

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

Jewish War Veterans

Jewish Women International

NA’AMAT USA

National Council of Jewish Women

Union for Reform Judaism

###

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism , whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis , whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



Chai Impact Action Center
Take action on these top issues!

 

 
Travel Justly, Social Action Prayers, Program Bank, Holiday Guides Travel Justly Social Action Prayers Social Action Program Bank Holiday Guides
© Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, 1996-2013
View our Privacy Statement
URJ CCAR