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August 18, 2011

NJDC to Roskam: Explain Your Support For Policies Opposed by Most American Jews

Listed in: Women's Issues, Other Domestic Policy, Reproductive Rights, NJDC News, Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC- The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today called upon House Chief Deputy Majority Whip Representative Pete Roskam (R-IL) to explain to the Jewish audience he is addressing why he continues to push a legislative agenda that is opposed by the mainstream Jewish community. Roskam will be speaking at a Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) event today in Los Angeles, CA. In his leadership role, Roskam has been especially complicit in the GOP’s attacks on the social safety net and health care reform, their obstruction of a timely debt ceiling agreement, and the GOP’s failure to make job creation a priority. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:

“Pete Roskam—one of the GOP’s rising stars—is an enthusiastic ally to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. His leadership in rallying support for the GOP’s regressive agenda, which includes attacks on health care reform and slashing the social safety net through a hazardous budget proposal, places him squarely at odds with most in the American Jewish community. Roskam must use his address to a Jewish audience to explain why he and the GOP continue to push an agenda opposed by the majority of American Jews.”

Roskam rounded up votes in support of the House Republicans’ regressive budget that slashes the social safety net. [, March 3, 2011] A broad coalition of American Jewish organizations and leaders expressed concern regarding the House Republicans’ budget proposal, which attempted to solve America’s fiscal problems on the backs of average Americans. [NJDC Blog, April 12, 2011] Several of the proposed cuts would have stranded women, children, and seniors while leaving corporations and the wealthy untouched.

Roskam actively supported the repeal of health care reform. [YouTube, January 19, 2011] A broad coalition of Jewish organizations, rabbis, communal leaders, and activists united in support of President Barack Obama’s health care reform initiative. [NJDC Blog, February 26, 2010] The effort to repeal this important legislation—the first major action taken by the GOP-led House of the 112th Congress—marked the first of many policy conflicts between the American Jewish community and the current House Republican Caucus. [NJDC Press Release, January 19, 2011]

Roskam was a key obstructionist to raising the debt ceiling [Daily Herald, April 13, 2011], despite risking both America’s and Israel’s financial security. [NJDC Blog, July 14, 2011] Roskam declared during the negotiations, “Republicans have said that any debt limit increase must be accompanied by a greater number of cuts.” [Chicago Tribune, August 2, 2011] Roskam also worked against increasing the government’s revenue by blocking tax increases on the wealthiest corporations and individuals and closures to tax code loopholes. [Roskam Statement, July 25, 2011] The Republicans’ rigid ideological positions dragged negotiations to the last minute, which led to the downgrade of America’s credit rating along with loan guarantees to Israel. [JTA, August 8, 2011]

House Republicans campaigned on a jobs-first agenda, but with Roskam serving as Chief Deputy Whip, their focus has been cutting programs supported by most Jews. [The Washington Post, August 17, 2011] Instead of focusing on putting Americans back to work, Roskam’s party has cut off funding to Planned Parenthood [NJDC Blog, February 18, 2011], voted to repeal light bulb energy efficiency standards [NJDC Release, July 18, 2011], and held unnecessary hearings [NJDC Release, June 15, 2011]—in addition to other GOP initiated actions unrelated to job creation. [The Washington Post, August 17, 2011]

Roskam must demonstrate that he takes the concerns of most American Jews seriously by using his appearance to explain why the GOP deliberately pushes an agenda opposed by the mainstream of the community. If he fails to do so, he will be the latest Republican to demonstrate that today’s Republican Party cannot be trusted to fight for the programs and policies supported by most American Jews.