December 18, 2015
Washington, D.C., December 18, 2015 – In response to the federal funding and tax agreement reached in Congress, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has issued the following statement:
We deeply appreciate the hard work and cooperative process that resulted in the legislative package agreed to by Congress. Rather than another government shut-down, Members of Congressional leadership — led by Speaker Paul Ryan, Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, and Representative Nancy Pelosi — developed a compromise that moves our nation forward, supports opportunity for all Americans, provides critical support for vulnerable communities, and protects our interests as well as those of our allies abroad.
The JCPA has long supported Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and tax incentives for charitable giving. Together, these programs lift more than 30 million Americans out of poverty each year, while charitable deduction incentives assist millions more by encouraging private giving for social services, research, religious and other organizations. This agreement both expands these provisions and makes them permanent parts of U.S. tax policy. No other programs provide as great an impact on reducing poverty in the United States. We appreciate that Congress recognized the importance of these programs.
The JCPA, through its initiative the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, highly values mitigation of the root causes of climate change through expanded renewable energy infrastructure. The tax incentives for renewable energy will help build a modern energy infrastructure and reduce carbon pollution.
Beyond the tax provisions, this package makes investments in important security, opportunity, and human needs programs. No child, regardless of his or her parent’s life circumstances, should suffer poverty and adversity. Every child should be viewed as equally precious and worthy. This agreement will fully fund the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides millions of expectant mothers and young children healthy and nutritious meals that they would otherwise be unable to afford. Similarly, the compromise invests in programs such as Headstart, Preschool Development Grants, and Childcare and Development Block Grants that help build opportunity for low income young children so that they can grow up and reach their potential.
And, finally, this legislation helps to protect vulnerable populations abroad and secure their safety. It includes a robust foreign assistance program that safeguards both America’s interests and also upholds our values. Congress has provided assistance to our key allies with defense programs, such as tunnel detection and anti-missile systems in Israel, that can help protect against terrorism and save lives. We also appreciate the additional funds to support refugees and internally displaced persons and the victims of human trafficking.
While not every provision we hoped for was ultimately included in this agreement, we recognize that the art of governing is often the art of compromise. This agreement is proof that it is possible to come together, even in partisan times, to better our nation and our world.
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.