Congressman Steve Israel represents New York's 3rd Congressional District, encompassing northeast Queens and the townships of North Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Huntington and Smithtown. Much of the area is famously known as the historic “Gold Coast.” He is the sixth ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership, serving as Chair of Policy & Communications, where he focuses on the issue of middle-class economic security and opportunity. While speaking to the House Democratic Caucus in 2013, former President Bill Clinton called Congressman Israel “one of the most thoughtful people in the House of Representatives."
Rep. Israel serves New York on one of the most important committees in Congress: Appropriations. On the Defense Subcommittee he is a strong and forceful supporter of national security programs that protect our nation against evolving threats, including cyberattacks. On the Interior Subcommittee he is an environmental champion, protecting air, water, national parks and in particular, investments in the Long Island Sound.
He is often described as right-of-center on foreign policy and national security; and left-of-center on social issues, civil rights and the environment.
Above all, Israel is considered a fierce champion of the middle class. The New York Times called him, "a Democrat who has long tried to focus attention on the plight of the middle class."
Israel has two grown daughters and recently published a comic novel titled “The Global War on Morris.”
Rep. Israel is relentlessly focused on deepening financial security and accelerating opportunity for the middle class. For him, it is personal. While growing up in Levittown, New York, he helped his mother stuff envelopes when she started a small home typing service in their den to make ends meet. He went to a community college, saved money and then attended George Washington University on student loans.
Israel has said, “I’m a product of the middle class and the recognition of the federal government that our nation was only as strong as the middle class was prosperous." That is why he focuses on initiatives for bigger paychecks, better infrastructure, more affordable education and reforming the system to unstack the deck against America’s middle class families.
Rep. Israel was called by Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., "a mensch with a backbone." He was among the first Members of Congress to visit Israel after Hamas began its rocket campaign in 2014. Foreign Affairs Magazine called him a "staunch hawk on Iran" and Israel has long led bipartisan support for sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In September 2015, he voted against the Iran deal and has helped lead the funding of cutting-edge military equipment and technologies to maintain Israel's qualitative military edge. He also passed the Israel-Cole Resolution on July 11, 2014 expressing unyielding support for Israel's right to defend itself. Rep. Israel is an appointed member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, serving with seven other members of Congress, and is the highest-ranking Jewish Democrat in the House.
New York Accomplishments
Among Israel's local accomplishments are securing record-level federal investments to protect the Long Island Sound; seeking to protect Long Island taxpayers by changing the federal tax code to reflect the local cost-of-living; and supporting local women's health initiatives – a priority in his role as Co-Chair of the House Cancer Caucus.
Israel is considered a leader on U.S. energy security, reducing our national dependence on foreign oil, lowering energy costs, and creating an innovative clean technology economy. His key energy accomplishments include funding the U.S.-Israel Energy Cooperation Act and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy. Congressional Quarterly called Israel's comprehensive energy security proposals "an ambitious blueprint for energy issues."
Veterans and Military Families
A passionate and relentless advocate for veterans and military families, Israel has secured more than $8.9 million in overdue benefits for New Yorkers who served their country. He has visited U.S. troops in conflict areas on nine occasions, including visiting highly-remote fire bases in Afghanistan.
Israel is a resolute defender of consumers. During the 111th Congress, Israel launched an initiative to require full ingredient labeling on household cleaning products; authored a bill that would take arsenic, a known carcinogen, out of our poultry supply; and he is working to implement mandatory rules for medicine cups, which due to frequent flaws has led to over- or under-dosing children.
More Information About Congressman Israel
Issues: What Rep. Israel is doing on the issues important to you.
News: Latest press releases and videos from Rep. Israel.
Legislative Center: Committee assignments, sponsored legislation, caucus memberships and more.
For an official photo of Rep. Israel, click here.