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(Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2023)—B’nai B’rith President Seth J. Riklin and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:

As we listened to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address tonight, we noted some issues prominent in our work, as well as some topics that we had hoped would receive attention but did not.

We commend the president for his emphatic support for seniors.

We appreciate the emphasis in the State of the Union address on the Inflation Reduction Act, which makes critical improvements to Medicare that will greatly benefit seniors. As the largest national Jewish sponsor of nonsectarian housing for seniors of limited means, we carefully monitor the potential impact of federal programs on seniors. It was especially encouraging to hear the president focus on the need for affordable housing and providing seniors the services they need so they can age gracefully in their own homes.

The debt ceiling conversations underway between Congress and the White House present a high-stakes issue that could impact seniors. It is vital to the health and well-being of many seniors that debt ceiling negotiations do not result in less funding for housing and other safety-net programs. We urge Congress and the White House to ensure that programs that support income security and provide for health care for seniors don’t see a reduction in funding.

We commend the president for stressing Social Security and Medicare are lifelines for people. We stand with Biden when he said: “Let’s stand up for seniors.”

We join the president in his support for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.

It was important for the nation to hear the president discuss the horrific rise in gun violence across the country. B’nai B’rith has long called for sensible gun laws. We again support an assault weapon ban and hope such a measure can receive the bipartisan support it needs to keep citizens safer from weapons of war. We welcome the passage of a gun violence bill last year enhancing background checks and implementing red flag provisions. We would like Congress and the president to take further steps to reduce gun violence.

We regret that the president did not address the Iranian nuclear threat or the regime’s human rights abuses, which have been the subject of massive demonstrations in Iran. The United States needs to stand with democratic protesters in Iran.

We note with satisfaction that Holocaust survivor Ruth Cohen sat in the audience as a guest of Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Her presence is a reminder of the urgency of confronting anti-Semitism. We hope that in 2023 the administration will take active steps to combat anti-Semitic hatred in the U.S. and abroad.

We welcome the president’s call for national unity and hope that the many challenges our nation faces will prompt officials to put country over partisanship in finding solutions to our shared problems.

B’nai B’rith will continue our advocacy on our top priorities, and we will meet with White House officials and members of Congress on topics covered tonight, as well as some we had hoped to hear about.

B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit