In his State of the Union address on Jan. 25, President Obama called attention to some issues vital to B’nai B’rith International’s agenda. B’nai B’rith was encouraged that the president focused on safeguarding Social Security and alternative fuel ideas.
The president also indicated he will concentrate on fighting terror, immigration reform and protecting the much- needed health care reform law in place since March—other issues B’nai B’rith deals with on a regular basis.
B’nai B’rith is reassured that the president rejected cuts and privatization of Social Security and only hopes that he will continue to hold everyone accountable for an honest assessment of the impact of any proposal on future benefits and on the well-being of the poor, the disabled and the elderly.
"Yes, we need to reduce the deficit," B'nai B'rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. "But not at the expense of those who need government help the most. Solvency for Social Security at the expense of useful benefits makes no sense. The benefits to seniors are modest in the big picture, but a lifeline for too many individuals, and we must continue to provide benefits at fair levels. An across-the-board domestic spending freeze could have devastating results for many of our most vulnerable citizens."
B’nai B’rith supports the president’s call for investment in alternative energy. The nation’s current dependence on foreign oil undermines our security and often forces the United States to deal with countries that may not share our commitment to democracy and freedom. A revamped energy policy could help the United States achieve more energy independence.
“In calling attention to sanctions against Iran in response to its nuclear program, the president demonstrated how serious a threat Iran is globally,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “It was also encouraging the president saluted the elections in Sudan. We have long advocated for free and fair elections in Sudan, and it was encouraging to see how the United States supports this.”
B’nai B’rith supports comprehensive immigration reform and welcomed the president’s renewed commitment to reforms that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to stay in this country, while also protecting our borders.
B’nai B’rith concurs with the president’s calls for more civility in public discourse. A robust democracy depends on free and open discussion. But respectful conversation can move debates forward in meaningful ways.
Recognizing that the address is presented as a broad outline of the president’s priorities, B’nai B’rith will analyze the details as they emerge and work to ensure action on our key priorities.