The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) carries out a robust policy agenda on behalf of the Jewish community relations network. JCPA ensures the inclusion of a strong Jewish voice on pressing issues of the day while actively engaging in common cause with diverse communities to advance JCPA’s policy priorities.

JCPA’s mission is to promote a just and pluralistic American society that ensures the safety and security of all people, including the Jewish people. We seek to combat antisemitism, racism, and hate; to support peace and security in Israel, and to advocate for human rights around the world. JCPA works for Israel’s right to self-determination as a Jewish state and opposes all delegitimization efforts. 

The following priorities target a focused set of policy concerns where we feel that our efforts can have the greatest impact. Throughout the year, JCPA will also raise and advocate for other issues in response to current events. 

JCPA’s 2022 Federal Priorities

 Democracy and Voting Rights: Strengthen our democratic institutions, extend representation, and expand access to the ballot box.

  • Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to update and restore the Voting Rights Act. 
  • Oppose all efforts at the state level to subvert or undermine the integrity of election processes. 
  • Pass reforms such as those in the For the People Act or the Freedom to Vote Act, which would enact sweeping democracy reforms to prevent voter suppression, and reform campaign finance and ethics rules.

Criminal Justice: End mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people and communities of color and reorient the criminal legal system to reflect a rehabilitative and restorative justice approach to public safety. 

  • Support comprehensive, bipartisan sentencing reform that reduces mandatory minimums and applies retroactively.
  • Enact police reform measures that improve use of force standards, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, qualified immunity, and training.
  • Provide for reentry support for essential needs, including by lifting any ban on access to social services and housing.
  • Invest in restorative justice and noncarceral programs and social services, including education, housing, employment, health care, and other public benefits that make communities safer and more equitable. 

Racial Justice: Most of our work intersects and overlaps with racial justice and equity.

  • Seek equity and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all people in the U.S.
  • Implement JCPA’s Racial Justice Platform, which outlines policies aimed at ending systemic racism and racial disparities in America. This platform, adopted in 2021, is a compilation of goals on criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, education, health, housing, jobs, and voting rights that must be pursued collectively to be effective.
Abortion Access and Reproductive Care: Access to safe, affordable, and legal abortion and reproductive health care is a priority for JCPA, rooted in our long-standing support for reproductive rights and religious liberty. According to the Pew Research Center, 83% of Jews believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
  • We believe that people have a right to make decisions about their own bodily autonomy. The government should never be allowed to compel its citizens to compromise that autonomy.
  • Pass legislation that protects abortion access and combat efforts to enact bans on abortion care, criminalize those involved, or restrict intrastate travel. 

Antisemitism and Hate: Combat antisemitism and hate in all its forms. 

  • Improve tracking, response to, and prevention of hate crimes, white supremacist violence, and the spread of online hate, both in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act to improve efforts to prevent domestic terrorism by white supremacists and other violent extremists.
  • Confirm the appointment of a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.

Policy issues on which JCPA will advocate, but may not take the lead:

Immigration: Restore and expand our asylum and refugee resettlement systems and improve the fairness of our immigration laws and regulations. End immigration detention and invest instead in community-based alternatives. Support a pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers and parents of Dreamers and all eligible undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S., as well as lawful permanent resident status for Temporary Protected Status holders and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients. Make unauthorized entry and reentry into the country a civil offense handled by the immigration system rather than a federal crime.

Poverty and the Social Safety Net: Provide the necessary assistance to ensure that every person is, regardless of income, able to sustain a basic standard of living, particularly as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Increase access to and eligibility for critical social safety net programs, such as SNAP, TANF, Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security. Expand and make permanent the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Enact a federal minimum wage floor of at least $15 an hour for all workers in the U.S. 

COVID-19 Recovery: Ensure accessible and free testing, treatment for, and vaccination against COVID-19 for all, regardless of income, location, disability, insurance status, or immigration status. Pass robust COVID-19 recovery legislation that focuses on low-income and vulnerable groups and includes permanent family and medical leave, affordable childcare, and other social safety net programs and initiatives that invest in community wellbeing. Click here for interfaith recommendations for recovery legislation.

Environmental and Climate Justice: Take bold action to address international climate change, a key racial justice issue. Incorporate a strategy for fighting climate change and building resiliency into our pandemic recovery and invest in low-income and minority communities that suffer disproportionately from climate change both in the U.S. and internationally. Fully meet the U.S.’s obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions by 26%-28% in the first 10 years of the treaty. Enhance equal access to clean air, water, and green space.

International Human Rights: Restore U.S. leadership in the provision of international humanitarian aid and the prevention of genocide and other mass atrocities. Make genocide determinations regarding ongoing atrocities perpetrated against both Rohingya and Uyghur ethnic minorities, mandate strong economic sanctions, and provide humanitarian assistance.

Israel: Support a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and continue to promote efforts to secure a two-state solution for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, where they can peacefully coexist. Implement the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act to expand peacebuilding and coexistence efforts between Arabs and Israelis, and secure U.S. funding to replenish the Iron Dome. Oppose BDS efforts at the local, state, and national levels.