Tidbits: Franken and Coleman come to Washington, Lieberman and Dems friends again

  • Some thoughts on what should be in the final version of the stimulus/economic recovery package from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism: "Investments in the package should be judged on whether they create jobs, provide relief to our most struggling communities and begin the effort for a cleaner, more innovative American economy."
  • B’nai B’rith International weighs in, emphasizing health care and affordable housing, among other issues: "The final stimulus measure must encourage consumer spending, preserve and create jobs, and generate greater energy efficiency. B’nai B’rith urges the House and Senate to act quickly and with one voice."
  • The National Jewish Democratic Council applauds the Senate passage of the bill: "In a time when the United States is facing the most severe economic downturn in recent history, President Barack Obama has shown strong leadership by working to create a bold plan to lead America’s economy out of this crisis."
  • Al Franken is in Washington for the next couple days, and Norm Coleman is too, reports Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post: "Franken arrives in town [Tuesday night] and will be here through Thursday for a visit aimed at ‘preparing him for the Senate, both in terms of policy and in terms of familiarizing himself with the institution of the Senate and how it operates,’ said a source familiar with the trip’s itinerary. Franken’s meeting schedule over the next 48 hours includes sitdowns with current Senate staffers, people involved with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former Hill staffers including the late Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone’s senior policy adviser. Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) will also be in town [on Wednesday] for a fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee designed to raise cash to continue to fund his election contest."
  • Israel Policy Forum’s MJ Rosenberg, at Huffington Post, on Obama avoiding Helen Thomas’ question Monday night on who has nuclear weapons in the Middle East: "So why did Obama refuse to answer? Simple. Because if he did, the media would have reported it as a gaffe. Reporters either know nothing about the Middle East or, for the most part, have adopted Israel’s perspective. Had Obama spoken the truth, the media would have made his "blunder" the story of the night. He cannot afford that because, frankly, we have more important things to worry about, like rescuing the economy.
  • The Waco Tribune-Herald has a series of article on the life of National Jewish Democratic Council board member and bigtime Democratic fundraiser Bernard Rapoport, entitled "Being B": "He generally gives his money and support to Democratic candidates for the Senate and House who have a concern for social programs and education, are pro-labor and are friendly to Israel."
  • One of the new Jewish Democrats in the House, Rep. Alan Grayson (Fla.) is cited as one of the most prolific fundraisers of the freshman class by Politico: "At least three freshmen — Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jim Himes (D-Conn.) — raised more than $100,000 between their election and their swearing-in."
  • Joe Lieberman and the Democrats are getting along again, reports Politico: Lieberman, still a villain in the liberal blogosphere, has now emerged as a key ally for a new Democratic president attempting to navigate a Senate with quickly hardening partisan lines. … Lieberman has proved to be a loyal vote, supporting all of Obama’s Cabinet nominees, voting for passage on the first two major bills Obama has signed into law and working as an ally on the stimulus bill. Indeed, Lieberman has broken from his party on just seven of the first 61 votes of the 111th Congress, as the opening weeks of 2009 have been dominated by domestic issues where Lieberman’s views are in line with many Democrats, unlike his hawkish positions on foreign policy."

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