Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Democrats were joined by nearly twenty national Jewish leaders from across the country for a roundtable discussion hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee (DSOC) in the United States Capitol. Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Senator Mark Begich (AK), Chair of the DSOC, led the discussion, which highlighted the caucus’ support for the interests of the American Jewish community on a wide range of topics. From civil rights and immigration reform to our commitment to Israel, today’s meeting re-affirmed a long-standing and constructive partnership with the community.
The wide-ranging discussion also touched upon the Senate’s renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, Iran sanctions, and prospects for renewing the Middle East peace process.
“I want to thank all the participants in today’s meeting. I was pleased to be joined by so many of my colleagues to discuss critical issues such as Israeli and American security, putting people back to work, ensuring women’s rights, and strengthening the educational system,” said Sen. Begich. “I was especially honored to be joined at the table by a fellow Alaskan, David Gottstein, to share his unique perspective on the state of affairs back home. Today’s candid conversation allowed my colleagues and me to hear the most pressing concerns of the Jewish community and determine how we can best help address them.”
“As Congress considers cuts to SNAP, historic immigration reform, and a new responsibility to update the VRA, open lines of communication with community organizations are crucial,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “Today’s opportunity to discuss the Jewish community’s priorities with Senate leaders was important and appreciated. This interplay between lawmakers and constituent communities contributes to the capacity of all parties to cooperate and find new avenues to work together. I am happy for the chance, once again, to raise our concerns with the Senate and look forward to our continued working together on a legislative agenda to make our country more just and moral.”
“It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to discuss our broad range of policy priorities with a group of Senators,” said Alan van Capelle, CEO of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. “Today, it was also incredibly moving to be with them at the moment that the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. I will always remember Senator Begich stopping the meeting to announce that, as of today, America acknowledges my family as equal to all others.”
During the forum, community leaders and members of the Caucus reaffirmed their commitment to work together to craft policies that improve the lives of all Americans.
Photos from today’s meeting can be found here
About the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and community leaders from across the nation. Each year, the Steering Committee hosts numerous meetings with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Democratic agenda in the Senate. We are committed to serving as a liaison between Senate Democratic offices and advocacy groups and intergovernmental organizations. The Steering Committee is one of three Democratic Leadership Committees in the Senate. The Steering Committee is chaired by Senator Mark Begich (AK) and vice chaired by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH).