B’nai B’rith is encouraged by President Obama’s State of the Union commitment to “take no options off the table” to “prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.” Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, has ignored international entreaties to cease its quest for nuclear weapons. B’nai B’rith commends the world powers that have united behind the United States to implement sanctions against the Tehran regime.
We also welcome the concrete support the president gave Israel when he stated unequivocally that the ties between the United States and Israel are strong: “Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.”
On the domestic front, the president indicated he will seek comprehensive immigration reform measures this year, will work to lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil and will continue to work to ensure health care reform measures help those Americans who need it most—all issues B’nai B’rith strongly supports.
It was encouraging that the president noted the precarious situation in Syria, stating: “I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change can’t be reversed, and that human dignity can’t be denied.”
As an organization committed to human rights, B’nai B’rith paid special attention to the president’s declaration of the need for global tolerance: “We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings…We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.”
B’nai B’rith supports the president’s call for a nationwide investment in and overhaul of our current energy policies, touting alternative energy programs instead. The nation’s current dependence on foreign oil undermines our security and in some cases, forces the United States to deal with countries that may not share our commitment to democracy and freedom.
B’nai B’rith supports legislation that would help pave a smoother path to citizenship upon high school graduation for foreign–born children raised in the United States without documentation. We were pleased to see the president endorse this important measure. B’nai B’rith also supports the president’s call for women to earn “equal pay for equal work.”
The president’s reiteration of his commitment to health care reform was also welcome: “I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men.” B’nai B’rith has long supported comprehensive health care reform and is an advocate of the legislation that gives all Americans equal access to medical care.
B’nai B’rith hopes the president maintains his stated commitment to protecting the promise of retirement security for America’s seniors. But we will be vigilant as we ensure Medicare and Social Security continue to serve those who most need these vital safety nets.
Regarding the payroll tax holiday that the president referenced, B’nai B’rith appreciates the president's focus on keeping more wages in workers’ pockets.
Recognizing that the annual address is meant as a framework for the president’s priorities, B’nai B’rith will analyze the details as they emerge and work to ensure action on our key priorities.