While a number of Jewish groups, including United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, are backing the economic stimulus bill because of its help for the vulnerable — as well as Jewish nursing homes — the Republican Jewish Coalition is standing in solidarity with the GOP. The group e-mailed an action alert Tuesday afternoon urging its members to call their senators and urge them to reject any bill that fails the test of "timely, temporary and targeted." Here’s the full alert:
TO: RJC Members
FROM: RJC Legislative Affairs Committee
SUBJECT: The Senate’s Trillion-Dollar Moment of Truth
The first session of the 111th Congress has just begun, but members of the United States Senate will soon cast what may be the most important vote of the year.
Last week, Nancy Pelosi rammed her "stimulus" bill through the House of Representatives on a party-line vote.
As job losses mount and the American people look to elected leaders to transcend partisanship and enact timely, targeted and temporary measures, Pelosi and her cronies have lurched in the opposite direction – making stimulus a vehicle for what even the Washington Post describes as a bill "larded with spending on existing programs or hastily designed new ones, much of it permanent or probably permanent – and not enough of it likely to create new jobs."
Timely? The Congressional Budget Office found that more than half of the appropriations authorized in the Pelosi package will occur more than two years out – after the end of the period most economists use as the test of "timeliness" for stimulus.
Temporary? The Wall Street Journal noted that most of the spending will be incorporated into the "baseline" from which future expenditure levels are calculated.
Targeted? Only if the "target" is taking care of every constituency under the sun. The Pelosi bill adds 600,000 federal workers to the payroll, creates 32 new federal programs, and delivers a windfall to the state governments that have overspent the most in recent years. Democrat rhetoric has emphasized the need to invest in infrastructure, but the bill directs just 3.6% of the spending to transportation needs.
And that just scratches the surface. Nathan Diament of the Orthodox Union has cited the "unfair exclusion" of Jewish day schools and other schools of choice from the bill’s massive school infrastructure benefits. And protectionist House provisions threaten to trigger retaliation from trading partners.
Because the American people oppose the House Democrats’ pork-barrel wish-list bill in greater and greater numbers the more they learn about it, their leaders want to frame the debate as a choice between their plan and doing nothing in the face of economic peril.
Congress must put forth a bill that does a better job of providing targeted, temporary and timely help for the economy according to the Obama economic team’s own criteria. In the House, the Democrats refused to permit a vote on any of a number of Republican alternatives that did exactly that – an unconscionable curtailment of minority rights that must not be repeated in the Senate.
As the Senate begins debate on this massive bill – a bill that carries a price tag greater than the entire cost of the Iraq war to date – it is essential that Senators hear from thoughtful constituents who know better. Please take a moment to contact your U.S. Senators to urge:
· Reject any "stimulus" plan that fails the test of "timely, temporary and targeted"
· Reject protectionist provisions and education provisions that discriminate against Jewish schools
· Give fair consideration to Republican alternatives
Information about how to contact your U.S. Senators can be found at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm or by calling 202-224-3121. If you have other questions, please contact the RJC Congressional Affairs Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also: Please pass this message on to friends and family — especially younger voters who will bear a disproportionate share of the massive debt burden this bill would impose — and ask them to weigh in on behalf of fiscal common sense.
Thanks for your help in this vital effort.