Steve Israel served in the House of Representatives for sixteen years – six as the Democrats chief political and message strategist. President Bill Clinton called him "one of the most thoughtful Members of the House of Representatives." An acclaimed political satirist and novelist, the Washington Post called his work “so spirited and funny.” He is now a political commentator for CNN.
As a recent senior member of the House Democratic leadership, Israel has a singular behind-the-scenes acumen on how Congress operates. His insights and analyses appear regularly in the New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs and on “Sixty Minutes”, HBO, CNN, FOXNews, MSNBC, among others.
As chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for four years, Israel was responsible for the strategies and operations of all competitive House campaigns. Few in Washington have a more granular understanding of Democratic electoral prospects in districts across the country.
Rep. Israel blends that astute political savvy with policy depth in several key areas.
As a member of both the House Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Israel was a recognized leader on national security and foreign affairs. He maintains strong relationships with military, intelligence and national leaders at home and abroad. His expertise includes missile defense technologies, US-Israeli military cooperation, and professional military education. Israel’s Ambassador to the United States praised him as “a mensch with backbone.” He created the Democratic Study Group on National Security.
Israel is a highly-regarded expert on the issue of the nature of future conflict. He’s lectured at West Point and the National Defense University, and delivered the commencement address at the Navy War College. This expertise helped guide the National Intelligence Council’s forecast of global trends, which is submitted to every incoming President.
Rep. Israel is also considered a leading voice on middle class economic security and Infrastructure investments. The New York Times recognized as him as “a Democrat who has long tried to focus attention on the plight of the middle class.” On the Appropriations Committee, he secured investments in clean energy research and development.
Israel’s blunt views on the need for campaign reform have been profiled on Sixty Minutes and HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. His New York Times op-ed, “Confessions of a Congressman” was a fearless and gritty portrayal of the fundraising pressures on Members of Congress.
Still, his proudest congressional achievement was creating the House Center Aisle Caucus, a network of centrist Democrats and Republicans that focused on bipartisan solutions to national problems.
In 2015, Simon & Schuster published Israel's first novel, a parody of Washington politics called "The Global War on Morris." After receiving widespread critical praise – Chris Matthews called it “a laugh out loud funny book” - it was optioned to Rob Reiner for television development. Not unlike so much in Congress, it awaits further action.