RJC Welcomes Release of Alan Gross; Calls Normalizing Relations with Cuba “Unwise”

Washington, D.C. (December 17, 2014) – The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is happy to know that Alan Gross has been released and is back on American soil after five years of imprisonment in Cuba. On the first day of Hanukkah, Alan Gross was granted light, freedom, and the long-awaited reunion with his family. The RJC joins the entire Jewish community in celebrating his redemption.

Our relief that his long ordeal is over is tempered by our deep concern about President Obama’s decision to begin normalizing relations with the totalitarian government of Cuba. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has said that, “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.” The people of Cuba are still in prison – many literally so. American steps to open diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba while the government continues to oppress its own people and to support terrorism around the world is unwise. We call on Congress will look into this matter when they reconvene.

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RJC Statement Regarding Pres. Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

Washington, D.C. (November 20, 2014) – The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded to President Obama’s announcement of his administrative order making substantive changes in U.S. immigration policy. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

“RJC members hold a variety of views on whether and how immigration policy should be changed. Nevertheless, we are united in strong concern that President Obama has exceeded his legitimate authority by making such far-reaching changes unilaterally and in defiance of the constitutionally designated law-making organ of our government – the Congress.

“Although this concern unites Republicans, it should not be characterized as merely partisan. In fact, qualms have been voiced about the appropriateness of the President’s action by observers who share his general outlook and his specific immigration policy aims: the editors of the Washington Post1National Journal columnist Ron Fournier2, and MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell3.

“We hope others who are inclined to welcome the results of the President’s action will consider the arguments these allies of theirs have made about its broader negative ramifications.

“This action by the President sets a belligerent tone for the last two years of his presidency. When Congress rightly resists the President’s diminishment of its constitutional prerogatives, the President will have only himself to blame.”




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RJC Opens Office in Chicago, Hires First-Ever Midwest Regional Director

Washington, D.C. (November 10, 2014) — The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), the nation’s only grassroots organization of Jewish Republicans, announced the opening of a Midwest regional office in Chicago and the hiring of Jeremy Wynes as Midwest Regional Director.

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Congratulations to the Jewish Republican Winners of 2014!

Washington, D.C. (November 5, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) offers our warmest congratulations to the Jewish Republicans who won their races yesterday in the important election of 2014.

We are especially delighted that Lee Zeldin won his congressional race in New York’s first district, making him the Jewish Republican in the 114th U.S. Congress.

We are also pleased that the Jewish Republicans in state offices around the country won their reelections. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, South Dakota State Senator Dan Lederman, Texas State Representative and House Speaker Joe Straus and Texas State Representative Craig Goldman all won reelection. Congratulations to them all. And congratulations to Dan Schwartz, the incoming Nevada state treasurer.

We are very proud of our members and friends who made the choice to serve, took on tough opponents, and won the day. We thank them for their service, offer them our continued support, and wish them success going forward.

If you know of other Jewish Republicans who won elections this year, please let us know! Contact Shari Hillman by email or at 202-638-6688.
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2014 RJC Strategy of Blocking J Street’s Influence Was Highly Effective

Washington, D.C. (November 5, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) today released the following statement:

A key component of the Republican Jewish Coalition's 2014 strategy was to block and blunt the unprecedented mobilization of resources by J Street to impact swing House and Senate races.

In those swing elections where both RJC-supported and J Street-supported candidates faced off, the RJC-supported candidates resoundingly defeated the J Street candidates in 61% of the contests already decided.

Three races are not yet decided, but two lean Republican. Taking those into account, the RJC candidates will have won in 72% of the contests.

That is a strong repudiation of J Street, its endorsements, and its message.

According to RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks:

"This election cycle included races in which support for Israel was a significant issue. Given the increased tensions between the Obama administration and Israel, these races took on even greater importance. J Street, a leading voice in support of President Obama's pressure tactics on Israel, drew a line in the sand and made a concerted effort to elect like-minded candidates to Congress.

"The RJC was committed to pushing back and helping the true pro-Israel candidates win election this year. The RJC PAC and RJC leaders raised and contributed millions of dollars in this effort.

"The RJC will continue to support true pro-Israel candidates in the future and, in particular, will focus its efforts to ensure that candidates supported by J Street do not have electoral success, so that the strong bipartisan support that Israel has enjoyed in the U.S. Congress is not eroded."


Race RJC candidate J Street candidate Winner
CO-Senate Cory Gardner Mark Udall RJC
GA-Senate David Perdue Michelle Nunn RJC
IA-Senate Joni Ernst Bruce Braley RJC
ME-Senate Susan Collins Shenna Bellows RJC
NH-Senate Scott Brown Jeanne Shaheen J Street
CA-7 Doug Ose Ami Bera GOP leaning
CA-52 Carl DeMaio Scott Peters GOP leaning
CT-5 Mark Greenberg Elizabeth Esty J Street
FL-2 Steve Southerland Gwen Graham J Street
FL-26 Carlos Curbelo Joe Garcia RJC
IA-3 David Young Staci Appel RJC
IL-12 Mike Bost Bill Enyart RJC
NH-1 Frank Guinta Carol Shea-Porter RJC
NH-2 Marilinda Garcia Annie Kuster J Street
NY-18 Nan Hayworth Sean Maloney Democrat leaning
NY-21 Elise Stefanik Aaron Woolf RJC
NY-23 Tom Reed Martha Robertson RJC
WV-3 Evan Jenkins Nick Rahall RJC
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RJC: Exit Polls Show Jewish Support for GOP Continues To Grow Nationally

Washington, D.C. (November 5, 2014) -- Exit polls from last night show that Republicans are getting increasing support among Jewish voters, while the Jewish community’s support for Democrats continues to erode.

The exit polls show that 33% of Jewish voters gave their support to Republicans, with 65% going to Democrats. That marks a 30-year low for Democrats.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

“This year the GOP got 33% of the Jewish vote nationally. This confirms, yet again, the unmistakable trend of increasing Jewish support for Republicans.

“Since 1982, the historical average for the GOP in mid-term elections among Jewish voters has been 26%. The range has a low of 18% in 1982 and a high of 33% this year. In each of the last two midterm elections, Republicans got more than 30% of the Jewish vote.

“That trend has also been apparent in the Jewish support for Republican candidates in presidential races. From 1992 to 2012, the Jewish vote for GOP presidential candidates has risen steadily (with a small dip in 2008) from 11% to 32%.

“We are encouraged by the Republicans' strong showing again this year and by the continued inroads the GOP is making in the Jewish community.”
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RJC Congratulates GOP on Senate and House Wins: RJC Played an Important Role in Victory

Washington, D.C. (November 4, 2014) -- The RJC applauds the Republicans who won today, taking back the majority in the U.S. Senate and expanding the GOP's majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. The results today demonstrate clearly that the American people rejected Pres. Obama's failed policies and chose a new direction forward for our country.

The Republican-led 114th Congress will offer alternatives to the policies of the Obama administration and pursue critical priorities, including enhanced sanctions to prevent a nuclear Iran, economic reforms that will encourage job creation and put us back on a path of growth and prosperity for American families, as well as standing up to the undisguised hostility of the Obama administration against Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu and rebuilding our essential relationship with Israel.

We are at a pivotal moment, both domestically and internationally. The President's low job approval ratings, coupled with the voters' repudiation of Democrats and their policies across the country in this election, signal that the country is looking for leadership -- and the Republican-led Congress will provide it.

The Republican Jewish Coalition played an important role in today's victory. Our members contributed and raised millions of dollars for campaigns around the country. The RJC PAC made significant contributions to critical races. And our grassroots events energized our members to participate in get-out-the-vote efforts. We are proud of the terrific men and women of the RJC who helped make a difference for the GOP in this important election year.
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RJC Warns of Dangerous Escalation in Obama Administration Hostility Toward Israel

Washington, D.C. (October 28, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded to a spate of troubling expressions of hostility toward Israel coming from the Obama administration in recent days. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

"Last week, the Obama administration went out of its way to 'humiliate' a top Israeli official in retaliation for private remarks for which that official had publicly apologized. Yesterday, the State Department accused the Netanyahu government of lacking a commitment to peace because it had the temerity to authorize housing construction in the capital of Israel. And today, top aides to the president attacked Israel's Prime Minister in coarse, insulting language from behind the veil of anonymity.

"Americans expect their commander-in-chief to keep faith with critical allies in perilous times. This administration is dangerously off-course and its apparent determination to provoke a crisis in US-Israel relations is the latest disastrous evidence.

"We urge pro-Israel Americans to register their reservations about President Obama's naïve and petty foreign policy next week by supporting Republican candidates and electing a Congress that will stand up to him."

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RJC: Biden Should Know Better - “Shylock” Remark Offends Jewish Community

Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2014) -- The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) responded today to Vice President Joseph Biden’s use of the term “Shylocks” to describe unscrupulous bankers who take advantage of U.S. military members deployed overseas.

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

"Some words are unacceptable in American political discourse and the Vice-President's use of the word 'shylocks' was tasteless, inappropriate and offensive. The Republican Jewish Coalition has frequently spoken out when public figures, Democrats or Republicans, have used inappropriate terminology in a political context. The name Shylock from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is so clearly derogatory and so clearly aimed at Jews alone that it has become shorthand for anti-Semitism. Vice President Biden was wrong to use that term and he should have known better.  He owes the Jewish community an apology."


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Obama’s “Executive Action” Offensive Continues

Thursday, August 28, 2014
By: RJC Communications Director Shari Hillman

“I’ve got a pen and a phone.”

President Obama spoke these words at the start of his first Cabinet meeting in January 2014 and promised to take executive action wherever possible to “move the ball forward” on his liberal agenda if Congress did not enact the laws he sought. That is one promise he has kept.

Some of his earlier unilateral moves have been widely discussed already. President Obama ordered delays and changes to the implementation of Obamacare, rewriting the law over time. He made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not actually in recess (a move the Supreme Court over- turned in June). The Obama Education Department granted states waivers from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act if and only if they would instead implement standards put in place by the Obama administration without congressional authorization. When President Obama decided to bring Bowe Bergdahl home, he released five top Taliban terrorists from the prison at Guantanamo Bay without notifying Congress thirty days in advance, as required by law.

Now President Obama has extended – or proposed extending - his executive actions to other policy areas when the legitimate law-making institution, the legislative branch, has not acted as he wished.

One such area is immigration. In 2012 the President issued a memorandum laying out his Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. DACA implemented some provisions of the DREAM Act, a bill that Congress did not pass, and gives protection from deportation to certain illegal immigrants. This policy is widely blamed for the surge of some 57,000 unaccompanied minors that have crossed over our southern border since October 2013. After a period of denial, even the Obama administration now acknowledges that the surge was fueled by perceptions among Central Ameri- cans that children brought into the U.S. illegally would be allowed to stay under DACA.

The President has hinted that he will take further action on immigration without congressional approval before the end of the summer. He could expand the group of illegal immigrants shielded from deportation to include the parents of children covered by DACA and perhaps their siblings as well. This could raise the number of people who could not be deported from 500,000 to 5 million (of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently facing deportation from the U.S.) The President could also expand the pool of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in this country by instructing U.S. prosecutors to focus on deporting only those with ties to organized crime or who have been convicted of a serious crime.

This summer the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule that would force U.S. power plants to cut their carbon emissions by 25% by 2020. This will significantly affect 1,600 power plants across the country. It will hit the 600 coal- fired plants the hardest, causing many to shut down. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce studied this rule and found that it would cause serious economic damage, including the loss of 200,000 jobs per year and the loss of as much as $51 billion in annual GDP. Electricity prices for consumers and businesses would skyrocket. Congress has repeatedly rejected cap-and-trade legislation to cut power plants’ carbon emissions, including during the years when both chambers of Congress had large Democrat majorities. So the President is pursuing regulations to produce the same outcome.

The New York Times has reported that the Obama administration is considering a plan to curtail tax benefits for certain U.S. companies that do business overseas. The U.S. has the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Some companies are re-incorporating overseas (called a corporate inversion) to minimize those high taxes. Regardless of whether one thinks this aspect of the tax code should be changed, revising the tax code is the responsibility of Congress.

These executive actions are not simply selective enforcement of existing laws, they are actions taken outside of the law. President Obama is carving out his own policies as if Congress were irrelevant, instead of working with Congress on issues like immigration or accepting that some of his policies, such as his limits on carbon emissions, do not have the approval of the American people and their elected representatives. Despite many rebuffs in the courts, the President appears determined to continue shoving aside the constitutional barriers that limit executive action in order to achieve his policy goals.

Ironically, the President could gain some political benefits from his high-handed governance. First, he satisfies his most left-wing supporters by pushing through policies for open borders, carbon emissions limits, and so on. But the very lawlessness of his actions also helps him, as Yuval Levin has pointed out. Obama takes unilateral action on a controversial issue that elicits a sharp response from his opponents. He uses that response to scare his base into thinking that they are under attack, when in fact he is the one acting aggressively. The President and his partisan allies are betting that the Democratic fundraising machine and voter turnout machine will get a boost from the President’s latest insults to the Constitution.

This article appeared in the July-August 2014 issue of the RJC Bulletin, our bi-monthly newsletter for contributing RJC members who are current in their dues. To receive the Bulletin, please make your membership contribution or renew your membership here.
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