Washington — As the $700 billion bailout package wended its way through Congress and grew from a three-page proposal to a 442–page document, Jewish groups were able to fold into the final legislation two key social service bills that otherwise might have been ignored by lawmakers.
Officially, Jewish activists refrained from taking a position on the bailout package as a whole. But behind the scenes, lobbyists for Jewish philanthropies and for service providers worked with the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and with the Democratic and Republican caucuses in both chambers to make sure that some of the extra spending attached to the legislation was targeted to their causes. According to one of the activists, who was involved in the lobbying effort and requested anonymity: “This was probably the last legislative action of this Congress. This was our last lifeline.”