B’nai B’rith International is pleased that President Obama’s new $3.8 trillion spending plan includes funding for senior housing and other aging programs, as well as a robust international affairs budget that includes aid to Israel. However, some of the Medicare and Medicaid proposals and proposed cuts in global health and humanitarian and refugee assistance raise concerns.

“We hope to work with Congress to improve on the numbers in the president’s budget for new affordable senior housing construction and make sure that other savings associated with the program do not translate into unaffordable rent increases for low-income seniors,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “We are also reassured by the president’s stated commitment to protecting solvency of Social Security and Medicare. Benefits simply cannot be cut to ensure solvency. Solvent programs with insufficient benefits fail to meet the objectives, and the promise these earned benefit programs represent to American workers.”

B’nai B’rith is also pleased that the administration’s international affairs request is a robust figure. At $56.2 billion, U.S. foreign aid represents just over 1 percent of the overall fiscal year 2013 budget. This money represents an important investment in U.S. interests overseas. B’nai B’rith is satisfied that aid to Israel will remain at current levels.

“We welcome the inclusion of foreign aid, as this money keeps the U.S. engaged in key areas abroad by supporting tools of diplomacy and development that strengthen our national security,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin. “We hope Congress takes this commitment to worldwide diplomatic and economic development seriously.”

B’nai B’rith International will continue to analyze the budget in the coming days and weeks to ensure the interests of seniors, retirees and Israel are protected.