Edwards on the Issues

John Edwards’ six-year record in the U.S. Senate shines a light on his positions on issues of concern to Jewish voters. Some key markers follow:

Israel and the Middle East Voted for June 2004 Senate resolution backing President Bush’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Gaza Strip withdrawal plan and recognition of Israeli claims to the West Bank.

Signed 2003 letter urging President Bush to adhere to his June 24, 2002, principle to refrain from talks with the Palestinian Authority until it cracked down on terrorists and dismantled the infrastructure of terrorist organizations.

Voted for 2001 renewal of Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which fines companies that invest in Iran and Libya’s energy sectors.

Voted for the Iran Non-Proliferation Act in 2000, which sanctions companies that support missile technology to Iran.

Voted for Syria Accountability Act in 2003, which sanctions Syria for sev! eral issues, including its support of terrorist organizations that target Israel.

Generally supported foreign aid packages, including aid to Israel, but twice voted against them — in 1999 and 2000 — because of opposition to certain provisions in the legislation.

Church and State

Voted against 2001 legislation for national voucher program, which aimed to provide government funds for students to attend parochial or private schools.

Said he supports faith-based charities delivering social services “in a manner consistent with the First Amendment,” but has not spoken out on federal funding.

Said faith-based charities should follow anti-discrimination standards.

Abortion Rights

Voted in support of “Roe v. Wade” affirmation in a March 2003 vote but was absent from votes on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, which outlaws a specific form of abortion carried out relatively late in pregnancy.

Civil Rights

Co-spons! ored Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2003, which would expand hate crimes laws, and voted for the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 107th Congress.

Co-sponsored early versions of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which would give employees the right to seek workplace accommodation for their religious practices.

Voted for the USA Patriot Act, which expanded law enforcement powers to investigate terrorism.

Voiced opposition to gay marriage, but also voiced opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, which would create a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Health Care

Co-authored Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Voted against Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program, which reduced some prescription drug costs for seniors.

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