July 21 , 2017

Representative Jacky Rosen (NV-3) with Betsy Sheerr in Martha's Vineyard.
Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) with JAC members and IL State Rep. Robyn Gabel.
(l to r: Hollis Wein, Marcia Balonick, Gary Peters, Lisa Lavin, Robyn Gabel) 
Week In Review Commentary
Every day there is more devastating news about the impact the GOP's healthcare plan will have on all of us. It feels like the healthcare debate has been going on forever. We all have a bit of battle fatigue. But our hard work is paying off.

Political pressure, like our phone calls, has forced the GOP to postpone, delay and even abandon their plans to replace the ACA. Defections within their own party threaten the passage of repeal. However, anything can still happen - if not now, then later. One thing is certain: the GOP is determined to continue to wage war on all aspects of women's healthcare.

In the meantime, the House Appropriations Committee this week approved funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year 2018, with deep cuts to family planning programs. This will directly impact Planned Parenthood and the women that rely on these clinics for basic health care.

This week, the Senate approved the nomination of John Bush for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush, in the past, has compared slavery to abortion and has made other controversial comments about climate change and gay marriage. President Donald Trump is trying to fill the country's courts with judicial nominees who espouse extreme views. The EPA is getting ready for budget and staff cuts, which will further hurt the agency's efforts to keep our air and water safe.

Clearly, the battle is far from over. We need to remain energized and motivated. Continue to make your phone calls, support JAC candidates, and encourage your friends and family to become politically involved.

JAC works every day to help elect Members of Congress who will ensure that  the U.S.-Israel relationship stays strong, reproductive freedom is protected, and the separation between religion and state remains solid.

We need your support . Every dollar makes a difference.
Take Action

Your calls beat back the dangerous GOP health care plan. 

Now it's time to stop the complete ACA repeal --
Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) still wants a vote on repeal next week.


Tell them to #SaveOurCare
& vote NO on ACA repeal

#ProtectOurCare #ACAWorks

"I was a senator for 36 years. I can assure you that your call matters .... Your senators hear you." 
Former Vice President Joe Biden
For the First Time, Israel Describes the Aid Work It Carries Out in Syria

Israel made public for the first time Wednesday the extent of its humanitarian aid to the civilian population living just across its northern border in Syria. As part of the effort, "Good Samaritan," Israel has transferred 360 tons of food, 450,000 liters of gasoline, and 50 tons of clothing to Syria. It has also sent large quantities of painkillers, anesthetics and basic medicine for diabetes and asthma.
Israel: UNESCO Is a Full Partner in Palestinian Incitement

Israel has charged that UNESCO's actions have helped Palestinians use the Temple Mount to incite violence against Israel. "UNESCO is a full partner to the false incitement by Palestinians and radical Islam who claim that Al-Aksa [Temple Mount mosque] is in danger," Israel's ambassador to UNESCO in Paris Carmel Shama HaCohen said.
U.S. Accuses Lebanon's Hezbollah of Weapons Buildup

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley accused Lebanon's Hezbollah of amassing weapons and said the world must turn its attention to the actions of the powerful paramilitary organization. She met with U.N. envoy for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag ahead of a Security Council meeting focusing on the U.N. peacekeeping force deployed in southern Lebanon. Haley stressed that the international community must "apply more pressure on Hezbollah to disarm and cease its destabilizing behavior, especially toward Israel."
Continued Reading

Anti-Zionism Is New Anti-Semitism, France's Emmanuel Macron Declares at Holocaust Memorial  

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism at a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Vel d'Hiv deportations. Natan Sharansky, board chairman of the Jewish Agency, praised Macron's declaration on anti-Zionism. "When one of the most important leaders in Europe recognizes that modern anti-Semitism frequently cloaks itself with the veil of anti-Zionism, tearing the mask off the face of radical anti-Zionists, this is a highly significant development."  
Forget BDS. It's Anti-Normalization You Should Be Talking About.  

So you wanna understand Israel-Palestine debates on campus?  The first thing you have to do is stop talking about BDS. The Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment campaign against Israel isn't what Israel conversations on campus are all about these days. Campaigns to pass BDS measures on major campuses are actually in decline, yet somehow they still make up the bulk of Jewish news about students.  What should we be talking about? Anti-normalization. Because it creates a fascinatingly complex new landscape for Jewish students, who are both on its receiving end and active participants. 
Continued Reading

Trump Administration Suddenly Pulls Plug on Teen Pregnancy Programs

The Trump administration has quietly axed $213.6 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs and research at more than 80 institutions around the country. The decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will end five-year grants that were designed to find scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancies. Health officials say cutting off money midway through multiyear research projects is highly unusual and wasteful because it means there can be no scientifically valid findings.  
Abortion Rights Face a Full-On Assault at the State Level

With national focus on GOP efforts to repeal the ACA, attention is being diverted away from another critical health crisis: state-wide efforts to legislate and restrict reproductive rights.  Since 2010, when elections swept a wave of anti-choice politicians into office across the country, virtually all reproductive health legislation at the state level has focused on restricting abortion access. During the first six months of this year, 28 states introduced legislation to ban abortion in some form, while six worked to ban the procedure entirely.  Most hard-hit are Southern and Midwestern states, where conservative politicians have a long history of undermining reproductive rights.  
This State Could Be the First Without an Abortion Clinic

When Dona Wells, an original founder of the EMW abortion clinics in Kentucky, began pushing for abortion rights in her state in the 1960s, she never believed abortion care would become legal. In 1973, with the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, everything changed - not only in Kentucky, but across the country. Abortion was finally legalized, and Wells was thrilled. She eventually helped found the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, followed by the EMW Women's Clinic in Lexington. Today, EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville is Kentucky's last abortion provider. And, if the state has its way, it will soon be shuttering the clinic's doors.  
Continued Reading

LGBTQ Protections Lack at State Level in the United States

In the U.S., Trump has broken numerous promises to the LGBTQ community.   Beyond the federal scope, on the state level, there is a lack of formal protections in place for the LGBTQ community.  According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), there are currently 28 states in the U.S. that do not have any specific state employment nondiscrimination law that covers sexual orientation or gender identity.  And 50% of the nation's LGBTQ population live in states that do not have sufficient laws in place to block this kind of discrimination. 
These Congressmen Are Trying to Curb Religious Freedom Abuses

Two Democratic congressmen are working to ensure religious freedoms aren't used to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women and other marginalized groups. Reps. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) reintroduced the "Do No Harm Act," an amendment to the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The act "would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights." 
Seth Meyers Checked in on Scott Pruitt's EPA, or What's Left of It

One of the more insidious dimensions of the Trump presidency is that, while the seismic issues of Russia and healthcare are justifiably soaking up a ton of attention, the kakistocratic bureaucracy rolls on behind the scenes. Cue some news about the Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump gifted to Scott Pruitt, a man best known for getting involved in more than a dozen lawsuits against the agency and once forwarding on an energy company's complaint letter to the EPA on his own letterhead.  
150 American Children Have Been Struck By a Stray Bullet This Year
Since the start of the year through July 18, at least 150 kids under 13 have been struck by stray bullets, according to an analysis by The Trace of data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan organization that tracks shootings around the country. Seventeen died. The youngest victim was just three days old.
Senate Confirms Federal Judge Who Compared Abortion to Slavery
Every Republican voted to confirm Bush, except for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who was absent. Every Democrat voted against him, except Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) who abstained. It's a lifetime post.  The Senate voted Thursday to put judge John Bush on a seat on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, despite Bush's questionable past statements about abortion, slavery, climate change, health care and Nancy Pelosi.
The Real Voter Fraud
For a while there, it appeared that the GOP's long-running assault on voting rights was finally losing steam. In recent years, federal courts have struck down or significantly weakened several of the country's worst voting restrictions. At the same time, many states-including red ones-have debated or passed bills to expand access to registration and polling places. Since January, according to a recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 99 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in 31 states. 
Guide to the Senate Health Bill

The twists in the Senate health care debate this week have been dramatic, unpredictable, and rapid-fire. Just a few days ago, it seemed like the whole plan had been put on hold. But now the Senate GOP is frantically rushing ahead, hoping to put some kind of bill up for a vote early next week. It's a mad dash to the finish line, the end of a six-month debate in Congress and a seven-year Republican promise to repeal Obamacare. It's been a busy, confusing week. 
The Healthcare Meltdown
If the Republican Party's crusade to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is truly over, Monday night provided a fittingly sudden and chaotic ending. Early in the evening, two conservative Republican senators--Mike Lee, of Utah, and Jerry Moran, of Kansas--issued statements saying that they wouldn't support the revised health-care-reform bill that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, released last Thursday. Since the Republicans have a majority of just two in the Senate, and two other Republicans-Susan Collins, of Maine, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky-had already announced that they wouldn't vote for the legislation, the effort to secure its passage looked lost.
The Watergate Comparison

The scandal is historically large mostly because it is not shocking. Trump ran for the presidency promising to perpetrate outrages against the political tradition, and, although he has not built the wall, he has perpetrated the outrages. The scandal, the deep scandal, is that he was, in fact, elected. Watergate was a political scandal caused by Nixon and his underlings and by no one else, which meant that, when Nixon was gone, so was the "long national nightmare." That is not our situation today. Trump could decide on a whim to resign tomorrow. But masses of people will still be yearning for  an authoritarian leader and a violent political culture. 
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Trump's Lies

Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump's lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office. Updated July 20: The president is still lying, so we've added to this list, and provided links to the facts in each case.  
Read Full Article
Continued Reading

Seriously Though, Give It Up For This All-Female Afghan Robotics Team

The six teenage girls on an all-female Afghan robotics team who were initially denied one-week U.S. visas to participate in an international competition caught the country's attention in recent weeks. The teens were turned away two times by U.S. officials, and as details emerged of the struggles they all faced and their dangerous journeys from the small town of Herat to Kabul in attempts to get visas. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) worked hard behind the scenes with the State Department on behalf of the girls.
The Last Word
"I was a senator for 36 years. I  can assure you that your call matters ... Your senators hear you."    
Former Vice President Joe Biden    
Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC) is a pro-Israel PAC with a domestic agenda. We support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and advocate for reproductive health and the separation of religion and state and incorporate other issues of importance to the Jewish community, including gun violence prevention and climate change. In addition to providing financial support for U.S. Senate and House campaigns, JACPAC educates our membership with outreach events designed to inform and activate their participation in the political process.
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