Entries in Steve Israel (3)


Rep. Israel Says Americans Have ‘Buyer’s Remorse’

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- New York Rep. Steve Israel said the American people have buyer’s remorse over electing Republicans in the 2012 midterm elections.

“In 2010 Americans thought they were going to get a Republican Congress that would focus on creating new businesses, instead they got a Congress that focused on shutting down Planned Parenthoods,” he said to ABC's Amy Walter and Rick Klein on the ABC News/Yahoo News Convention Show.

“They wanted a Congress that would focus on incentives to create jobs here at home.  They got a Congress that protected tax breaks for companies shipping jobs off shore.  And they wanted a Congress that was going to focus on the middle-class.  Instead they got one that’s trying to shut down Medicare,” said Israel, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“In the totality of it all, buyer’s remorse has set in, this House is in play,” he added, suggesting that Democrats could pick up seats in November.

Israel also commented on former Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Christ’s convention speech, saying that his message was an important one because it illustrates the GOP’s move to the far right.

“Moderate Republicans have become an endangered species.  There are very few moderate Republicans left,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Voting on the Weekend? Democrats Eye a New Election Day

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Americans have long voted on Tuesdays, a tradition held over from the mid-1800s, when it was more convenient for farmers. But voting on Tuesday is more difficult in the 21st century, when people have longer commutes, jobs with odd hours, and generally faster-paced, more crammed lives.

Two top Democrats suggest it would be more convenient in these times to vote on the weekend instead. They want Saturday to be the new Election Day, and ideally for them, that would start in 2014.

Congressmen Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn., have announced legislation that would let Americans vote on the first full weekend in November instead of the first Tuesday, a change they say would drive up voter turnout by making it more convenient for people who work during the week to cast ballots.

This isn’t the first time an effort to move Election Day has been brought up, but advocates are hopeful that they have traction. Already, behind-the-scenes talks in the halls of Congress are leading to movement on the bill that is likely to be seen in the next couple of weeks, according to a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be named.

Tuesday was chosen as Election Day in 1845, when Congress decreed it the most convenient day for farmers -- they needed three days to travel to their voting place without interfering with three days of religious worship. Reformers say the law is outdated and now interferes with workers’ plans, particularly people working more than one job or single parents who have responsibilities that might eclipse voting.

That’s where the issue becomes partisan. The movement has been viewed as a liberal effort because it would open the polls to poorer people, who typically vote for Democrats.

Proponents of the effort are hoping that endorsements from Republicans will help their cause and get the bill passed in time to change Election Day 2014. A video on the website for “Why Tuesday?” -- the main outside group behind the effort, features support from former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

Salley Wood, a spokeswoman for the Republicans on the House Administration Committee, said of the new bill in Congress, “The intent is good.” The legislation calls for opening polls from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday, with the option of closing them overnight.

“Faced with significant budget cuts, could they afford to keep polls open for two days doubling the cost and staffing needs?” Wood said in an email.

Israel said in an interview that those concerns deserve examination.

“There are some, you know, who say the additional cost of paying inspectors for an additional day over the weekend needs to be evaluated, and I agree, we should evaluate,” he said.

Israel said he hasn’t yet run his bill by the White House but that he plans to. The White House didn’t respond to a request for the administration’s reaction.

“One of the concerns the White House has is active attempts by Republicans to deny people their right to vote in order to change the outcome of elections,” Israel said. “Anything we can do to make voting more accessible for Democrats instead of less accessible … I would hope the White House would endorse.”

Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University, said the effort clearly benefits Democrats, but that it’s “unfortunate” because making voting more possible should be an issue embraced by both parties.

“It’s at least worth a debate,” he said, “and there’s no reason that either party should be scared of debating, how do we get more Americans to participate in the democratic process?”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pelosi: Weiner 'Made the Right Judgment in Resigning'

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to Rep. Anthony Weiner’s announcement Thursday that he will resign from office, noting that while he “exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations” Weiner “made the right judgment in resigning.”

“Today, with the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition of his need for help, Congressman Weiner has announced that he will resign from Congress,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “I pray for him and his family and wish them well.”

Weiner’s Democratic colleagues in the New York congressional delegation also responded to the decision to step down, noting their disappointment in his actions, but also recalling Weiner’s strengths as a legislator and wishing him the best in the future.

“Anthony has been a strong advocate for his community and an influential legislator,” Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “Although I was deeply disappointed in his behavior, this is a sad way to end his congressional service. I know Anthony and Huma well and I know brighter days are ahead for them and their family. I wish them the best during what is surely a difficult time in their lives.”

“This is a sad day, but Anthony has made the right decision for himself, his family and the Democratic Party,” Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., noted. “He will be sorely missed by me and his constituents. I wish him the best.”

“Anthony’s decision to resign is right for him and his family, our party, and our country because we have serious work to do in Congress,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said. “Last week Republican leaders introduced a bill to privatize Social Security, and the American people deserve an undistracted debate on it, Medicare, jobs, and other important issues.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio