The race for Congress: Ninth District candidates on the issues

The race for Congress: Ninth District candidates on the issues

Rep. Steve Rothman: 'I have worked closely with AIPAC'

Rep. Steve Rothman

1. Why you?

I am proud to have support from a wide range of voters in Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson counties, including the endorsement of NORPAC, Assemblyman Gary Shaer, and former Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes. Throughout my career in public service, I have worked closely with AIPAC and have always fought for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.

As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations – the two subcommittees that allocate funds to joint U.S.-Israel military programs, and the billions of foreign aid to Israel – the security of the Jewish State of Israel is one of my top priorities.

Since joining the powerful House Appropriations Committee in 2001, I have helped secure approximately $50 billion in military aid, economic assistance, and loan guarantees for Israel.

I have also secured greater funding for joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2, and Arrow 3. I am proud to have helped secure nearly $2 billion for these essential systems since 2007.

The Jewish State of Israel is essential to America’s national security and we must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.

2. Iran

Iran and its deranged president continue to recklessly pursue nuclear weapons. Iran must be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.

It is in our national security interests to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Containment is not an option, and we will not permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

While the U.S. will continue to pursue even greater sanctions and heightened diplomacy, the U.S. must be prepared for a comprehensive and devastating military response should Iran proceed down the path toward nuclear weapons capability.

We already know that actions – from U.S., E.U., and U.N. sanctions to covert sabotage – have slowed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. But we must continue to be vigilant, and we continue to look for ways to tighten the noose on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah, Hamas, and all those who seek to destroy Israel and hurt the U.S.’s national security interests.

I personally vow to you that I will do everything in my power to continue to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons and halts its nuclear weapons program.

3. Iran – red lines

In the Middle East, there is no greater enemy to America’s national security interests than Iran, and the U.S. will do everything in its power to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capabilities.

While the U.S. must continue to pursue diplomacy and sanctions, we must also be prepared for a robust military response should Iran continue to proceed with their quest for nuclear weapons.

In my role as a Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I have publicly asked the secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, if the U.S. military is ready and able to execute the actions necessary to prevent Iran becoming nuclear weapons capable. The answer given by both of these highest-ranking military professionals in the U.S. was an emphatic “yes.”

The only situation worse than the known consequences and the unforeseen results of a military strike against Iran is a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.

4. Vouchers

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I am proud to have helped secure more than $2.5 million in federal funds for different Jewish organizations in northern New Jersey, including many schools. These federal funds went for projects for Rabbi Pesach Paymon Yeshiva, Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, Yavneh Academy, Yeshivat Noam, Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, Torah Academy of Bergen County, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of North Jersey (JF&CS), Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, and many others.

5. How would you balance
the concerns of your Jewish
and your Muslim constituents
when they conflict?

I believe that we are all children of God and I will continue to fight for each of my constituents, as I have done for the past 16 years as the member of Congress for the [old] Ninth Congressional District. I will listen to leaders and individuals in all the communities in our district to work toward common ground and will fight to protect the national security interests of our great nation every day.

6. Annexing the west bank

No. I believe that a final peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is best negotiated between the parties directly, without preconditions. Unfortunately, while Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu has agreed to meet without preconditions, the Palestinian Authority continues to insist upon preconditions, and has previously attempted the harmful and misguided maneuver of obtaining a unilateral recognition of statehood from the United Nations.

7. Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program

I strongly oppose cutting funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program is a critical lifeline that efficiently and effectively keeps millions of Americans from going hungry. At a time of continuing high unemployment, it is more important than ever to ensure that this important part of our nation’s “safety net” is protected, instead of raided. We should not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society.

8. Jewish issues

Jewish-Americans in my district are concerned about the same things all Americans are concerned about. They want to see more jobs and an improving economy. We also understand the importance of an unbreakable and powerful U.S.-Israel partnership, preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and stopping Palestinian incitement. I have been a leader in fighting for these causes in Congress, and hope to have the opportunity to so, with the voters’ help, for many years to come.

9. Most important issues

I believe this is going to be an election about who is the true Democrat in this race and who delivers for his constituents. I am asking the Jewish community and all of the communities throughout the Ninth District for their vote on Tuesday, June 5th.

10. Partisanship

Yes, the partisanship on Capitol Hill has indeed become paralyzing. I have always been able to reach across the aisle to work with the Republicans where we agree. I have worked with House Appropriations Foreign Operations and State Subcommittee Chairwomen Kay Granger on full funding for Israeli foreign aid, and House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Bill Young for increased money for Israel’s Iron Dome and U.S.-Israel missile defense systems, such as David’s Sling, Arrow 2, and Arrow 3. I am also proud to have worked with Congressman Steve Austria (R-Ohio) in spearheading the efforts to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for the anti-Semitic incitement that has occurred under its watch and with then-Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to demand accountability and reform from the United Nations.

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