WASHINGTON (Jul. 26)
Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, selected today by Ronald Reagan to be his running-mate if he wins the Republican nomination for the Presidency, is easily one of the strongest supporters of Congressional legislation in support of Israel’s requirements and Soviet Jewry.
Frequently honored by Jewish organizations for his activities on liberal causes and issues affecting the Jewish community during his 16 years in the House and Senate, Schweiker has been outspoken in insisting on economic and military assistance for Israel and in providing teeth in laws to help the emigration of Jews and others from the Soviet Union.
The 50-year-old Schweiker, who was reelected two years ago to his second Senate term, was one of 34 Senators who last month opposed the retention of Air Force General George S. Brown as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Schweiker also authored the ethnic studies program to bring national attention to the contributions to America of immigrant peoples, including Jews.
In his consistent voting record for aid to Israel and in exhorting the President to maintain Israel’s needs, Schweiker backed the amendment by Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.) to the Defense Procurement Act that provides unlimited loan credit until Dec. 13, 1977 that Israel finds necessary to buy American aircraft and related equipment.
He also backed the Jackson proviso to the SALT agreement with the Soviet Union that provides for the President to seek easing by the USSR of its emigration restrictions. This is in addition to the Jackson-Vanik legislation in the Trade Reform Bill for the same purpose.
In dealing with the Arab boycott, Schweiker has been a sponsor as well as supporter of legislation to combat Arab boycott against firms doing business with Israel and firms with Jews in their ownership or management. Among his legislative actions was to seek the withdrawal of the United States from the international Labor Organization of the United Nations because it included the PLO in its deliberations.
Schweiker is considered one of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate. The Americans for Democratic Action gave him a score of 89 percent last year and 85 percent the year before. The conservative Americans for Constitutional Action, however, gave him only eight percent last year and 16 percent the year before.
Honors given to Schweiker by Jewish organizations include the Histadrut Freedom Award by the Pittsburgh National Committee for Labor Israel, the Bringer of Light Award by the Jewish National Fund and the Samuel H. Daroff Humanitarian Award by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, all presented in 1971.