In the House Leadership wars, Tom DeLay's gone, his protege Roy Blunt's been defeated, and the GOP's anointed Rep. John Boehner (OH) as the new face of the party. It's all about reform, right? Guess again. The new guy's no prize either.
According to the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), Boehner's record documents his support for measures that have run counter to the best interests of the vast majority of American Jews. As reported by the NJDC:
1. For School Prayer and Amending the Constitution: Boehner supported a school prayer amendment to the United States Constitution in 1997 (H.J.Res. 78), 1999 (H.J.Res 66), and 2001 (H.J.Res. 52); voted to permit school prayer "during this time of struggle against the forces of international terrorism" (House Roll Call Vote 445, Nov. 15, 2001); and voted to only allow federal aid to schools that allow prayer (House Roll Call Vote 85, March 23, 1994).
2. For Forced Religion in Anti-Poverty Programs: Boehner voted to permit taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to require aid recipients to join in religious activities. (House Roll Call Votes 16 and 17, Feb. 4, 2004)
3. 100% Against a Woman's Right to Choose: Boehner received a "0%" pro-choice score from NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2005.
4. For Religious Employment Discrimination: Boehner voted to permit taxpayer-funded anti-poverty programs to engage in federally-funded employment discrimination. (House Roll Call Votes 15 and 17, Feb. 4, 2004)
5. Against the Rule of Law in Ten Commandments Case: Boehner voted to prevent the Justice Department from enforcing a court order to remove a 5,000 pound Ten Commandments monument from Alabama's state supreme court. (House Roll Call Vote 419, July 23, 2003)
6. Against Common-Sense Environmental Safeguards: Boehner voted for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (House Roll Call Vote 122, April 20, 2005); voted to gut the Endangered Species Act (House Roll Call Vote 506, September 29, 2005); and voted to weaken the National Environmental Policy Act (House Roll Call Vote 242, June 15, 2004).
7. For More Religious Employment Discrimination: Boehner voted to permit taxpayer-funded job training programs to engage in religious discrimination when hiring and firing employees with federal funds. (House Roll Call Vote 46, March 2, 2005)
8. Against Confronting Proselytizing at the Air Force Academy: Boehner voted against an amendment to squarely address religious coercion and proselytizing at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. The amendment criticized "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing" of cadets at the Academy while observing that "expression of personal religious faith is welcome" throughout the military. (House Roll Call Vote 283, June 20, 2005)
9. Led the Effort to Inject Religious Employment Discrimination into Head Start: Boehner added a controversial amendment in September to a previously bipartisan School Readiness Act which would "allow federally funded early-child-care providers to discriminate on religious grounds," according to The Forward. The Forward notes, "The federal government transfers about $6.7 billion annually to 19,000 Head Start providers in 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia." Jewish groups opposed to the measure, according to The Forward, include the "Anti-Defamation League, the Union for Reform Judaism, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee and the National Council of Jewish Women."
10. Pushed Ohio Schools to Embrace "Intelligent Design:" People For the American Way reports that Rep. Boehner and fellow Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Chabot wrote to the Ohio school board claiming that legislative language required that references to "Intelligent Design" be included in Ohio's science standards. In fact, such language was removed from the relevant education bill before it became final.
While he may not be corrupt like DeLay, or a member of DeLay's posse like Blunt, Boehner comes with lots of baggage; baggage that should not only make American Jews nervous, but Democrats everywhere who cherish freedom of choice.