Former Rep. Steve Israel launches bipartisan legislative publication

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'The timing of it -- while Americans are battling the coronavirus pandemic -- couldn’t be more appropriate, where we need both parties to be working together to save lives and rebuild our economy'

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Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)

Cornell University is launching a new publication today — spearheaded by former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) — focused on bipartisan proposals by Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

Details: Israel, the director of Cornell’s newly created nonpartisan Institute of Politics and Global Affairs, will oversee production of the Bipartisan Policy Review. The publication will feature print and online articles co-authored by Republicans and Democrats, highlighting legislative efforts supported by both parties. The first edition will feature Reps. Jim Banks (R-ID), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), French Hill (R-AR), Danny Davis (D-IL), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), as well as former Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), all of whom were selected for their past handling of hot-button policy issues. The debut edition focuses on topics including election security, prison and bail reform and campaign finance. 

Shining a light: “Since leaving Congress, almost everywhere I travel, people tell me how frustrated they are with the partisanship in Congress. When I told them that there are members of Congress who do work together, they simply don’t believe it,” Israel told Jewish Insider. “The reason my institute is publishing the Bipartisan Policy Review is to create a platform for Republicans and Democrats to show they are working together, that there are bipartisan partnerships on Capitol Hill.” 

Launch event: Gottheimer and Reed, who serve as co-chairs of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, will kick off the initiative with a tele-town hall today moderated by Israel and Douglas Kriner, a professor of government at Cornell. The topic: “Bipartisan strategies for a post COVID-19 America.”

Why now? “The timing of it — while Americans are battling the coronavirus pandemic — couldn’t be more appropriate, where we need both parties to be working together to save lives and rebuild our economy,” Israel explained.

In a statement to JI, Gottheimer thanked Israel, for spearheading this ‘forward-looking” platform. “Right now, in the midst of a health and economic crisis, it’s more important than ever that we put country above party and put safety and recovery above all else,” the New Jersey lawmaker said. “Here in the greatest country in the world, if we work together, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.”

Leading by example: Israel, who served in the House of Representatives for 16 years and was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011-2015, has written for a variety of publications since leaving politics and is currently a contributor to The Hill. “Steve is one of the most level-headed, intuitive minds in Washington, D.C. I have always had great respect for him,” Fred Zeidman, a Houston-based GOP donor who has co-written a couple of joint op-eds with Israel, told JI. The two serve as board members of the nonpartisan Council for a Secure America. Zeidman said that the former congressman has been a voice for bipartisanship. “For me, it is so important because it’s showing that there is an opinion that is good for America and not for either side on some of the issues that are so timely today,” he said.

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