Capitol Hill received 23 members of the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Government Affairs Committee this week as
agency executives and board members advocated for their programs.
The two-day mission to Washington D.C. began with a private night tour
of the Capitol by Congressman Brad Schneider, who led the participants through
the halls, highlighting both the House and Senate chambers where legislators
spend their time debating. The trip included meetings with Senators Richard
Durbin and Mark Kirk, the Illinois House delegation, U.S. Department Officials,
Subcommittee chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Rep. Schneider, and civil
rights legend Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. A reception included friends and
supporters of the Jewish Federation.
During the trip, the
delegation witnessed the passage of five anti-human trafficking bills in the
House of Representatives, marking a step forward in combatting trafficking. In
addition, there was vocal support for other Federation priorities: the IRA
Charitable Rollover, increases in access to healthcare and the reauthorization
of the Older American’s Act with additional services for Holocaust survivors.
The group was also able to thank Senator Kirk for sponsoring a resolution
honoring Holocaust survivors and their contributions to the United States.
The resolution passed on Thursday night.
“It’s very exciting to see the success of our work while we
are still in D.C.,” said trip leader David Golder, Federal vice-chair of the
Government Affairs Committee.
The final meeting of the trip
with Rep. Lewis was especially powerful for the participants, many of who grew
up listening to stories of the civil rights leader. The congressman, who has
served in Congress for 27 years, shared stories of his past and his work with
the Jewish community as well as efforts to continue working toward human dignity