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 and rights.