Transcript: Remarks by New York Rep. Steve Israel at the Democratic National Convention
Transcript of remarks by New York Rep. Steve Israel at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, September 5, 2012:
A few months ago, I received a letter from an Arizona man. Tucked into an envelope, faded and folded, was a war bond. At the top were these words: “Purchased on the Island of Guam, 30 June, 1945.” Nearly 70 years ago, while war raged across the globe, his father bought that bond. He placed his bet on America. And now, his son donated it to elect a Democratic majority in Congress.
He knew what many Americans know today. The dream that war bond was intended to protect is at risk. Let me tell you something: House Democrats and President Obama will bet on America’s middle class. We will protect that dream. That’s the choice in this election.
Remember who we fought for with a Democratic majority in the House and President Obama in the White House.
At the start, we sent the president the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, because we believe a woman should be paid the same as a man for equal work. Paul Ryan and Republicans in Congress, they voted no! First responders at Ground Zero finally got the health care they deserved. Paul Ryan and 160 Republicans, they voted no!
We expanded veterans’ health care, we cut middle class taxes and protected consumers from credit card company abuses, and today, no parent has to worry that their children won’t have health care because of a pre-existing condition. That’s how you strengthen the middle class. And that’s what the American people can expect from President Obama and a Democratic Congress!
But that’s not what America is getting from these Romney-Ryan Republicans. Instead of fighting for middle-class jobs here at home, they fought for tax breaks for big corporations sending jobs overseas. Instead of protecting consumers from health insurance abuses, they tried 33 times to repeal those protections, even as they kept congressional health care for themselves. Instead of reauthorizing the “Violence Against Women Act,” they tried to redefine rape. Instead of standing up for small businesses, they spent their time trying to shut down Planned Parenthood.
And Mitt Romney sure liked what he saw. He picked the architect of this assault on the middle class to be his running mate! Paul Ryan wrote the budget that turns Medicare into “voucher care” and could charge seniors $6,400 more every year, while funding tax breaks for millionaires. Here’s their economic plan: if you’re a millionaire, you win the lottery. If you’re a senior, you lose your Medicare guarantee.
They’ve had two years to put the middle class first. Time’s up. Folks, we’re not going to convince them. We have to replace them. We’re going to do that with Democratic candidates who are problem solvers. They’re small business owners who created jobs; mayors who balanced budgets; police chiefs who lowered crime; veterans who defended our nation; even an astronaut! They will put the middle class first because they share those values that drive our party and our president.
They are the values I grew up with on Long Island. Before World War II, my community was mostly potato fields and pumpkin farms. Faced with war, that generation turned farmland into factories and became the backbone of America’s middle class. They crossed oceans, stormed beaches, liberated Europe, raced to the Pacific, won the war. And when they got home, they looked at the moon across the vast expanse of space and said, “We can go there too.” And they went.
Given the chance, nothing can stop America’s middle class, except the wrong priorities. That’s what this election is about. Democrats are fighting for an economy built to last. An economy where prosperity comes not from the top down, but from the middle class out.
That war bond from Guam—it was a bet on America’s future. And we won. Now, it’s important to America’s future that we win again. And in 62 days, we will.