Just minutes after passage, the United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs put out statements hailing the 244-188 House of Representatives vote in favor of the $819 billion economic stimulus legislation. Here are their statements, breaking down the specific provisions the two groups like:
First, UJC’s statement:
House legislation approved today to help improve the economy takes care of Main Street as well as Wall Street, says a leading Jewish advocacy group.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included a number of United Jewish Communities’ (UJC) legislative priorities. UJC strongly advocated for a number of provisions including enhanced funding for Medicaid, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program and the Community Development Block Grant program.
“Although the recession’s impact on the business world is well-chronicled, little is said about the catastrophic impact the recession is having on average Americans and their families,” said William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the United Jewish Communities’ Washington office. “UJC is a key leader in advocating for immediate Congressional action that not only eases the concerns of Wall Street, but also directly helps those on Main Street and the charities that provide needed services to the vulnerable in our society who are most affected by the consequences of this devastating economic crisis.”
Specifically, this bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides $825 billion to help create jobs and stimulate the economy through infrastructure improvements, tax cuts, workforce training initiatives and positive reforms to the federal healthcare, education and community-based service programs.
UJC-supported provisions in this bill include an additional $88.5 billion in increased federal funding to help states shore-up their Medicaid programs and support the increasing number of individuals and families requesting Medicaid help. UJC is a chief proponent of this provision and has led advocacy efforts among the faith-based community for an increased federal commitment for Medicaid.
Additionally, the House approved $200 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), provides supplemental funding to non-profit and public agencies to help respond to food and shelter needs. UJC is one of six national service organizations who manage the EFSP program and is one of the leaders among these organizations fighting for increased funding.
“The economic recovery bill is crucially vital to UJC and the federation system on many levels,” said Daroff. “One area that is critically important in this time of great hardship for so many families are the number of services we provide to help individuals and families make ends meet. However, as more individuals lose their jobs or see their salaries and benefits cut, food banks, soup kitchens, mental health counselors and vocational trainers struggle to meet the additional number of individuals seeking their support. This bill begins to address these issues and many more that will help provide the resources we need to continue providing these critical services.”
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week, UJC applauded her bold leadership in addressing the economic downturn with quick consideration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment bill and for her continued commitment to non-profits in this legislation. UJC encouraged the House to approve this legislation, but asked Members to consider additional reforms before a final bill is signed into law by President Obama. Among the additional reforms UJC would like to see approved include allowing nonprofits to access the new federal infrastructure funding and creating new charitable tax incentives.
The House approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by a vote of 244 to 188. UJC encourages the U.S. Senate to quickly consider this legislation.
And now, the JCPA’s release:
Legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives is a necessary step to revitalize the economy while serving the needs of the nation’s most vulnerable, says a leading Jewish advocacy organization.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) hailed Wednesday’s House action and congratulates Representatives for approving a bill that not only provides a jumpstart for the economy but also offers relief to those most affected by the economic downturn. Specifically, this bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provides $825 billion to help create jobs and stimulate the economy through infrastructure improvements, tax cuts, workforce training initiatives and enhancements to the federal healthcare, education and community-based service programs.
The JCPA-supported provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act include, among others:
- Funding boosts for programs such as the Community Development Block Grant, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), the Community Services Block Grant, and the Child Care Development Block Grant.
- $20 billion for the SNAP/Food Stamp program to help defray rising food costs.
- $88.5 billion in additional federal funding to help states shore-up their Medicaid programs and support the increasing number of individuals and families requesting Medicaid help.
- $43 billion for increased unemployment benefits and job training.
- $79 billion in education spending.
- $77 Billion in Clean Energy and Green Transportation Projects.
- $200 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
JCPA has fought to strengthen and maintain these programs as part of its national poverty initiative, There Shall Be No Needy Among You, launched in 2007. Through this campaign, JCPA is urging local, state, and national leaders to advance anti-poverty legislation and programs that help provide food, shelter, additional work and educational opportunities for the nation’s most vulnerable.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, made the following statement after today’s House passage.
“The economic recovery bill approved by the House today is vital legislation, one that must be approved quickly to assist those in need and help restore and revitalize American’s economic strength. Maimonides taught that one of the greatest mitzvot an individual can provide for another is financial help during a hardship so one can find a new stability. JCPA has taken this message to heart and has worked diligently to ensure the voices of our nation’s most vulnerable are heard in the halls of Congress. We are pleased that the House has approved legislation that demonstrates a commitment to the principles of economic opportunity and dignity for all.”
The House approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by a vote of 244 to 188. JCPA encourages the U.S. Senate to quickly follow the House’s lead and consider this legislation before the economic situation worsens.