My short bio: My name is Steve Israel. I'm a Congressman and I represent New York's third Congressional District, including the communities of Huntington, North Hempstead, Queens, Oyster Bay, and Smithtown. Born and raised in Brooklyn and on Long Island, I've long loved writing and have finally published my debut novel, THE GLOBAL WAR ON MORRIS. It is loosely based on my time in Congress, it's a political satire, and I've met the characters (Rove, Bush, Kerry, Cheney, Obama), heard the conversations, and seen the plot twists firsthand. Ask me anything!

My Proof:

EDIT: Hey everyone, really enjoyed the questions. Hope you will grab your copy of the Global War on Morris to see how Washington really works. It will make you laugh...and maybe cry. As Rona Feldstein would say,'it's time for a little nosh.'

Comments: 144 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

wfa1930 karma

Congressman Isreal,

In 2008, You voted yes on HR 6028, a bill supporting the War on Drugs when it was clear by that time the War on Drugs was a failure. You also voted in 2011 to extend the Patriot Act's Roving Wiretaps (HR514). Why was this?

Edit: Thank you for your response

SteveIsraelNY18 karma

While I support the decriminalization of marijuana, I do believe that we have a responsibility to use all the tools in our toolbox to prevent the proliferation of dangerous drugs. The bill you mentioned authorized continued funding in these areas.

meeshkapeish17 karma


SteveIsraelNY19 karma

Yes, get in touch with my office.

Tell him to bring a book in and I'll sign it happily!

dragonfly199314 karma

do u like VEEP?

SteveIsraelNY52 karma

Love it, although it reminds me of my day job. Game of Thrones on the other hand, also reminds me of my day job

GodApollo4212 karma

What is your opinion on global warming?

SteveIsraelNY28 karma

I am one of the strongest and active fighters for a clean tech economy, and alternatives to fossil fuels. I am the founder of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) in the House.

In my own region we have seen stronger and more frequent weather extremes; our military acknowledges that climate change is an ongoing national security threat, and a truly bold conversion to clean technologies can ignite our economy and create sustainable jobs with growing paychecks for the next generation.

It troubles me that many of my colleagues, when faced with such a profound threat to their children and our future say 'let's just roll the dice.'

jnetelle11 karma

What inspired you to write your debut novel now?

SteveIsraelNY21 karma

I sat in meetings with President Bush and VP Cheney and listened to the most absurd dialogue. I believed it would make a great book, though completely implausible. That's why I decided to work it into a parody based on government snooping on innocent Americans. Ironically, when I began writing the book I, like most Americans, was unaware of the NSA surveillance program. In this case, the truth became stranger than fiction.

mikeseils9 karma

Have you gotten feedback from any of the real-life characters portrayed in the book? How about from the fake characters immortalized with real last names?

SteveIsraelNY34 karma

If I'm missing for more than 3 days, please call Vice President Cheney

Frajer8 karma

How do you feel about the Paramount being in Huntington ?

SteveIsraelNY11 karma

Just saw Frank Caliendo there last Saturday night. Hilarious! Nobody does a better Bill Clinton or John Madden.

movieguru238 karma

How would you feel about extending the congressional term from 2 to 4 years?

SteveIsraelNY26 karma

I'm opposed, 2 years keeps us closer to the people we represent. 4 years insulates us, 6 years makes us senators, and who would want to do that?

nyseed7 karma

What was the most corrupt thing you saw in your days in office?

SteveIsraelNY17 karma

The Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United was the most corrupting influence in our political system.

Vilens407 karma

What is the biggest issue in your district that you'll be fighting for in 2015?

SteveIsraelNY17 karma

A middle class that has been squeezed by unfair policies in Washington. I fight every day against policies that reward the well connected and the special interests at the expense of middle class and working families.

People's paychecks are stretched too thin, but subsidies to big oil companies are lavished too widely.

beautifulpoop6 karma


SteveIsraelNY21 karma

Like Morris Feldstein, in my book, I prefer an everything bagel with swiss and to really mix it up, an occasional schmear with lox.

I can't be partisan about bagel places, I just make sure I visit them all. I'm bagel bipartisan.

abdolf6 karma

Hey Steve, I'm a high school student who has a profound interest in politics. I'm also from NY, I'm in the Buffalo area though. What advice would you have for someone who wants to become a politician?

SteveIsraelNY16 karma

Read, read, read, and read. In that order. Everything I need to know about politics I learned from reading books and articles.

RNCCchairman5 karma

What was your biggest takeaway from writing a novel?

SteveIsraelNY9 karma

Writing is a fantastic release from the absurdity that I witness every day in Washington DC. Rather than agonizing and internalizing, I shared it all in my novel

Shufflehub5 karma

What made you want to become a congressman? Is it an ambition you've always had or did it come to you later in life?

SteveIsraelNY12 karma

Since I was a child I've had three dreams. One, serving in the Congress. Two, writing a novel. Three, playing outfield for the Mets. Since I sucked at baseball, I focused on one and two, which converge in my book.

4u4life4 karma

Hi Congressman Israel. I am one of the many disappointed in the system. Correct me if I'm wrong. Is the GOP always putting profit over the health and well being of the citizens? Its been too long waiting for real change. Thanks for being here.

SteveIsraelNY16 karma

Let's use the first day of this session as an example. I helped lead House Democrats in offering two bills. One would stop CEOs from deducting million dollar bonuses from taxes unless their employees were paid fairly. The other would penalize companies for shipping jobs overseas, and use those funds to rebuild America's infrastruture. Sorry to say every Republican in the House voted against both bills.

suaveitguy4 karma

What are your favorite political works of fiction? Films or books?
Have you seen A Face in the Crowd?

SteveIsraelNY6 karma

My favorite political works of political fiction: To Kill a Mockingbird. Favorite film: There are so many! Like Morris Feldstein, anything on Turner Classic Movies that's not colorized.

I'm in discussions with Rob Reiner about adapting my book to television, and told him one of my favorite movies is This Is Spinal Tap. Who would have every thought I would be trading dialogue with Rob Reiner.

suaveitguy3 karma

That sounds like a good fit, Spinal Tap meets House of Cards.

SteveIsraelNY4 karma

I'm forwarding your suggestion directly to Rob Reiner.

SteveIsraelNY2 karma

Also in Hollywood I've been working with Andrew Lenchewski, creator of the wonderful TV series Royal Pains, which is filmed on Long Island.

Axel9273 karma

Congressman Israel,

Hell of an opening day on the Hill. Do you, personally, have any policy goals for the 114th Congress? How is this Congress different from all other Congresses (that you've served in)?

Also, apart from your own book, what is your favorite book to read?

Thank you very much!

SteveIsraelNY7 karma

Policy goals: climate change and clean technologies, middle class paycheck growth, reducing college debt, and rebuilding infrastructure.

I enjoy Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, Christopher Buckley. and my own constituent Nelson DeMille. I am also a veracious reader of nonfiction, particularly history.

suaveitguy2 karma

Are incumbency rates (as high as 98%) an issue in your eyes? Would the system work better if people from various walks of life were able to represent their fellow citizens for a term and get back to their non-political careers?

SteveIsraelNY2 karma

I've always believed we have term limits: my contract with the people is either terminated or renewed every 2 years. I do believe that campaign finance and redistricting reform are two essential steps in unstacking the deck.

Mike-Idaho2 karma

One more question, if you don't mind; I believe that the extreme cost of higher education is a direct result of the availability of Federal student loans. It is my observation that colleges and universities base theri tution and fees on the amount of money that students can borrow (on average) instead of the actual cost of providing an education. What is the worst case scenario if all outstanding Federal Student loans where forgiven and no new loans would be made?

SteveIsraelNY2 karma

Likely, a two tiered system of college students and graduates whose educations became affordable and future college students simply priced out of an education. I believe reducing college costs requires two areas of focus: incentivizing colleges and universities to lower their overhead, and allowing every student with debt the ability to refinance. If Congress could bail out the big banks, why wouldn't we offer debt relief to middle class college students?

By the way, in my book you'll note that Morris's daughter Caryn could only rise to his defense because of her excellent education at NYU.

suaveitguy2 karma

What are some of the best examples of decisions that you have seen made that were unpopular politically, but necessary based on evidence?

SteveIsraelNY4 karma

The Affordable Care Act.

I had a town meeting in my district that included lots of anger, screaming, and opposition. I believed it was the right thing to do then, and I still believe it was the right thing despite its unpopularity. And it has become far more popular in the intervening years, and over time will be remembered the same way we remember Medicare and Social Security.

suaveitguy1 karma

What are the personal traits that will limit a representatives ability to influence decision making in Washington? What are the traits that make a successful politician - I wonder more about in Washington versus the work in their district?

SteveIsraelNY2 karma

A successful politician does more listening and less talking, and also has an ability to think outside of the box. People are interested in creative solutions, not stale talking points.

jcoinster1 karma

Good Morning Congressman,

What's it like representing such a wide area across the island? Some of your constituents are residents of NYC, others are living in mansions along the north shore, and the rest in suburbia.

(Resident of Smithtown)

SteveIsraelNY1 karma

By the way- I enjoyed writing about Long Island's unique cultural characteristics in the Global War on Morris.

SteveIsraelNY0 karma

I love it. It's diverse, and always interesting. The district extends from the Whitestone Bridge to the Nissequogue River, and although each community has district local concerns, most of my constituents agree that there is a middle class squeeze that Washington must address.

suaveitguy1 karma

What is the most absurdly political discussion you have been a witness too?

SteveIsraelNY0 karma

See pages 1-289 of The Global War on Morris, it's all in there.

suaveitguy1 karma

Are pork barrel politics frustrating? Would you rather things were more focused and specific to the point at hand?

SteveIsraelNY2 karma

Yes, although one person's pork is Morris Feldstein's pastrami.

paradoxpancake1 karma

Congressman Israel,

As someone who, among many of my generation, are largely tired of partisan politics. Are there any Congressmen (on both sides), including yourself, that you know are willing to reach across the aisle? If so, on what issues?

SteveIsraelNY4 karma

I founded the Center Aisle Caucus which brought together 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats on key issues. I work closely with many Republicans including Rep. Tom Cole, Rep. Richard Hanna, and specifically on NY issues with Rep. Peter King, and others.

SteveIsraelNY1 karma

Just letting everyone know that at 11AM EST I have meetings here on Capitol Hill.

mpreston811 karma

Steve, I heard your interview on NPR yesterday, your book sounds fantastic btw.

I live in Nesconset in Suffolk county, and am about to pull the trigger and leave my home state of New York (native to Cooperstown) because the taxes are crushing me....why shouldn't I leave for Denver? What can New York offer me in that I can't achieve in Colorado?

SteveIsraelNY1 karma

That's exactly why I'm fighting for a tax code that rewards you and not special interests. We're about to vote on a budget here that will give the richest a massive tax cut and shift the burden to people like you. I also believe high cost of living areas like Long Island deserve lower tax rates in our tax code. Finally, I have two words that should dissuade you from moving away: pizza and bagels. Morris would agree.

suaveitguy1 karma

What is your opinion of activities like looking into steroids in baseball instead of other more substantial and less headline grabbing activities?

SteveIsraelNY1 karma

I think Members of Congress should pursue any policy that interests them, and makes a difference to their constituents. One issue I've been involved in that doesn't get headlines is moving elections to weekends in order to boost turnout.

uberlad1 karma


SteveIsraelNY3 karma

To this day I believe politics is the most effective way to change what you don't like. My best life advice is to pursue what the universe tells you to pursue, so long as it doesn't violate state and federal law.

suaveitguy1 karma

Can you describe the process of being lobbied? How does a political donation of a few thousand dollars really influence anyone? What are the other ways that lobbyists influence policy makers? There are 6 lobbyists for every congress person, does it feel that way?

SteveIsraelNY5 karma

I totally agree that Capitol Hill is overpopulated with lobbyists. The first bill I'm introducing in the new Congress would require that Members of Congress who leave and make million dollar salaries as lobbyists forfeit their congressional pensions. I also believe that the Supreme Court made a grievous error in the Citizens United case by allowing secretive SuperPACs to stack the deck against the middle class.

lijoe121 karma

Hey Congressman Israel, I live in NY-1 and was very disappointed in the result of the Bishop v. Zeldin race in 2010. In your role as director of the DCCC who is in the wings to run in 2016 in that race? Is it possible to get anyone besides the serial turncoat, Fred Thiele?

SteveIsraelNY1 karma

There are quite a few people who have already expressed interest in running. Tim Bishop is one of my best friends, and I spoke with him just a few days ago.

richardwrinkle0 karma

Have you ever said "fuggetaboutit" while in a professional setting? Don't all New Yorkers talk this way?

SteveIsraelNY4 karma

Youuuu tawkin' about me?

porcazozza0 karma

Good morning, Congressman! As a European citizen, I've never really understood the bipartisan system of the US. Time after time, I thought that Dems and Cons were becoming more and more polarized and having no compromise is what, I think, made the Congress reach its current situation. My questions are:

-Do you think that the American people will need voices from outside the system in the future to feel represented?

-Are Democrats ready to face the 2016 elections?

-Do you think that DP will be able to reach the middle class again in the next elections?

Sorry for the bad grammar. Hope to read your book soon :)

SteveIsraelNY2 karma

I think 2016 will be a much more favorable year for Dems than 2014. I believe that compromise and consensus is essential, but sadly the Tea Party movement in 2010 made compromise a bad word. Moderate Republicans who sought common ground lost their seats to far more polarizing figures from the right. We need to learn how to find middle ground where we can.

suaveitguy0 karma

Can you summarize the influence of Karl Rove? Is it overstated? Was he an innovator, or just a champion at the game that was always that way?

SteveIsraelNY1 karma

Karl Rove, like him or not, had a profound impact on our political system.