Steve Israel Can’t Count

I wonder if anyone bothers reading politicians' press releases before hitting the send button. 

The latest example is Long Island Congressman Steve Israel.  In his haste to be one of the first to respond to the signing of the Iran nuclear agreement, he engaged in an unexplainable bit of resume inflation.

He was quick to issue what was no doubt a long-ago prepared reaction to the signing of a nuclear deal with Iran, and he said the expected:  he intends to review the agreement carefully and "until then, you can continue to count me in the 'skeptical' column."

Then he stumbled on his facts or his ego.  In his news release he called himself "the highest ranking Jewish Democrat in the House of Representatives."

Not so.  Not even alphabetically. There are at least six Jewish lawmakers who have served longer and two others who came in at the same time, January 3, 2001.

The more senior members and the years they took office are Reps. Sandy Levin of Michigan (1983), New Yorkers Elliot Engel and Nita Lowey (89), Jerold Nadler of New York (92), Brad Sherman of California (97), Jan Schakowsky (99) of Illinois and then Israel in 2001 along with Californians Adam Schiff and Susan Davis that year.  All except Nadler began their terms on January 3.

That's pretty bad math for a guy who serves on the Appropriations Committee, which must approve all federal spending.

So far I've had no response to an inquiry to Israel's aide, Caitlin Girouard, about the claim.

CLARIFICATION — I finally heard from Rep. Israel's office. Ms Girouard said he meant to say he is the highest ranking Jew in the Democratic LEADERSHIP.  The oversight, or missing word, left an impression the congressman did not intend.  I thank him for setting the record straight.

Steve Israel's Third Congressional District covers portions of northern Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island and a small part of Queens.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.