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
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Mike Downey says the Giants and the Royals both lived through long title droughts. What teams are waiting for a win?
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1832 GMT (0232 HKT)
Mel Robbins says if a man wants to talk to a woman on the street, he should follow 3 basic rules.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2103 GMT (0503 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say more terrorism plots are disrupted by families than by NSA surveillance.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2125 GMT (0525 HKT)
Time magazine has clearly kicked up a hornet's nest with its downright insulting cover headlined "Rotten Apples," says Donna Brazile.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
Leroy Chiao says the failure of the launch is painful but won't stop the trend toward commercializing space.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Timothy Stanley: Though Jeb Bush has something to offer, another Bush-Clinton race would be a step backward.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
October 26, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0032 GMT (0832 HKT)
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1119 GMT (1919 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says control of the Senate will be decided by a few close contests
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)
The response of some U.S. institutions that should know better to Ebola has been anything but inspiring, writes Idris Ayodeji Bello.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
ADVERTISEMENT