Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

State of the GOP: Misguided and obsessed

By Rep. Steve Israel
January 28, 2014 -- Updated 1546 GMT (2346 HKT)
<strong>2007: Sen. James Webb -- </strong>Once considered a rising star with solid military credentials, the Virginia Democrat delivered a feisty party response to President George W. Bush's State of the Union address. The writer and executive producer of "Rules of Engagement" as well as other works of fiction opted not to return to the high drama of Washington politics and left the Senate after one term. The response to the State of the Union address is a big opportunity for a rising star in the opposing party. It doesn't always work out that way. 2007: Sen. James Webb -- Once considered a rising star with solid military credentials, the Virginia Democrat delivered a feisty party response to President George W. Bush's State of the Union address. The writer and executive producer of "Rules of Engagement" as well as other works of fiction opted not to return to the high drama of Washington politics and left the Senate after one term. The response to the State of the Union address is a big opportunity for a rising star in the opposing party. It doesn't always work out that way.
HIDE CAPTION
Great gig not always so great
Great gig not always so great
Great gig not always so great
Great gig not always so great
Great gig not always so great
Great gig not always so great
Great gig not always so great
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rep. Steve Israel rattles off a list of GOP failures, neglected issues and missed opportunities
  • Israel: Party showed they weren't on the side of the American people
  • Israel: Their wrong priorities will come back to haunt them in November

Editor's note: Rep. Steve Israel is the Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and represents New York's 3rd Congressional District. He will be a guest on Crossfire Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. ET. You can follow him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael

(CNN) -- Three years ago, obsession took hold of Republicans in Congress.

In the third week of January 2011, John Boehner's newly-elected House held its first-ever vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and go back to letting insurance companies do whatever they want. Fast forward to today -- nearly 50 votes to repeal or undermine the law later -- and it's clear to the American people that Republicans in Congress aren't on their side.

Pick an issue: Jobs. The economy. Education. Infrastructure. Minimum wage. Unemployment insurance. Immigration reform.

Rep. Steve Israel
Rep. Steve Israel

The list of failures, neglected issues and missed opportunities goes on and on -- and shows without question that Republicans are on the side of special interests and the Tea Party, not the American people. No wonder poll after poll still shows House Republicans standing at record lows.

Americans don't need a pen and a phone, we need a job and a paycheck

Boehner's misguided agenda and one-note tenure have ignored what the American people want. In fact, independent, mainstream polls show that most Americans want to improve and fix the law, not repeal it. Americans know what repeal would cost them: giving the power back to insurance companies to discriminate, deny care, drop coverage, raise rates and drive hardworking Americans into bankruptcy.

Does the GOP have a 'libido' problem?
Crunch time for President Obama
A peek behind the White House doors

On the Affordable Care Act and so many other issues that matter to the middle class, the message House Republicans have sent is clear: They are not on the side of hardworking American middle class families, and instead will do everything in their power to protect those who need help the least: the Washington special interests.

Obama, the pain and fear must be named

While House Republicans have obsessively voted to turn our health care system back over to insurance companies, that is far from the only damage they have inflicted on the people of this country. Their disastrous government shutdown -- which they launched to oppose the Affordable Care Act -- cost our economy $24 billion. They won't extend unemployment insurance for struggling Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who are looking for work -- all while they make sure that Big Oil gets its $40 billion in subsidies. They refuse to raise the minimum wage, while seeking maximum tax cuts for the rich. They have yet to pass anything that remotely resembles a jobs bill.

Those wrong priorities will come back to haunt them in November.

A few Republicans are making the first motions to run away from this unpopular approach and to deny their repeal-only agenda. They're hoping that voters will think that they've woken up and found some common sense -- but voters won't forget nearly 50 votes, and they won't forgive them for turning their backs on hardworking people.

This year's State of the Union is a defining test for Obama

Republicans' flawed priorities are hurting real families in this country. With every repeal vote, John Boehner might get a kick out of conservative news headlines and the talk radio echo chamber, but what regular Americans see is a politician who cares more about wealthy insurance company contributors than helping their families.

Voters will have a choice this fall between Republicans' wrong priorities, and problem-solving Democrats who have dedicated their lives to helping middle class families get ahead. I believe that choice will be clear.

Obama's message: A dysfunctional Congress, but we'll get it done anyway

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rep. Steve Israel.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2322 GMT (0722 HKT)
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT