In his State of the Union address tonight, President Joe Biden spoke about some of our top organizational priorities.
We support Biden’s affirmation of the trans-Atlantic alliance in the face of Russia’s violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We agree that this is a welcome and important show of solidarity. As the Russian invasion is nearly a week old—an invasion we condemned—B’nai B’rith continues to focus on the humanitarian crisis facing the people of Ukraine. B’nai B’rith International, along with B’nai B’rith Europe, B’nai B’rith UK and B’nai B’rith in Italy and Germany, is focusing our aid efforts to help meet the urgent needs of Jewish communities.
This conflict has put into sharp focus the danger of global reliance on Russian gas and oil exports. Energy independence is vital to ensure the United States and its allies do not rely on oil from countries whose interests are not aligned with our own. We must continue to work with our allies to diversify Europe’s energy supply and reduce dependence on Russian energy.
Domestically, we thank the president for highlighting tonight the need to reduce prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients. In addition, we urge the White House and Congress to support legislation that provides economic relief to seniors, especially affordable housing for older adults as well as further adjustments to Medicare that would make hearing aids more affordable. B’nai B’rith was encouraged last year that the House of Representatives passed legislation that tackled these issues, however, we are disappointed the legislation has not passed the Senate. As an active advocate for low-income seniors, we believe this relief can positively impact the lives of older Americans.
Sensible gun reform measures are urgently needed to address the disturbing rise in gun violence and crime across our cities. We worry greatly about the rise in hate crimes against Jewish individuals and institutions and call for increased funding of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to protect Jewish communities and other vulnerable targets.
We commend the president for stressing the need for border security, along with reform of our immigration laws and support for the Dreamers (those who were brought to this country illegally as children). B’nai B’rith has long supported comprehensive immigration reform with a path toward citizenship.
B’nai B’rith will monitor developments in the areas discussed tonight, as well as those we wished had received attention within the speech. We will continue to meet with White House officials and members of Congress on these topics to offer our analysis and guidance.
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 www.bnaibrith.org.