Obama’s proposed budget cuts concern Jewish groups

Jewish organizations expressed concern at cost-cutting proposals in President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget for 2013.

B’nai B’rith International and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs both released statements outlining their issues with provisions in the budget.

Allan Jacobs, president of B’nai B’rith, expressed his hope in a statement that his organization could “work with Congress to improve on the numbers in the president’s budget for new affordable senior housing construction and make sure that other savings associated with the program do not translate into unaffordable rent increases for low-income seniors.”

JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow emphasized that when considering the president’s budget, Congress “should look to provide critical assistance to the millions of Americans impacted by the recession who have been protected by our social safety net.”

Prior to the release of the budget, JCPA organized a letter to Congress on Feb. 9 with signatories from 20 other Jewish organizations highlighting the budget priorities of the organized American Jewish community. They focused on balanced deficit reduction, preventing spending cuts that could hurt disadvantaged Americans and providing robust assistance for Israel.

The proposed budget leaves Israel’s $3 billion in annual defense assistance remains intact but separately cuts joint missile defense programs with Israel by $6 million, to $100 million, according to reports. Haaretz quoted U.S. officials as saying that Israel was warned of the cuts.

Presidents routinely propose modest cuts in such programs; Congress routinely restores the cuts and usually adds to the budget.