September 08, 2010

Alcee Hastings on Quran burning: "Disgraceful to American values"

"The downright racism behind this hate-filled organization’s threat to burn copies of the Quran is disgraceful to American values. The issue here is not our coveted right of free speech; the issue is American values.

"Hate is hate and this is free speech running amuck.  It is irresponsible to hide behind the First Amendment and knowingly put our U.S. military in harm’s way. Not only do I condemn these proposed actions for their complete disrespect to the Islamic religion, but I condemn these actions for their potential to
incite further violence and hate crimes."

If the book burning proceeds, Hastings said he plans to introduce a House resolution next week condemning the burning.

August 31, 2010

WSJ: Alcee Hastings use of travel stipend questioned

From the Wall Street Journal: "Congressional investigators are questioning a half-dozen lawmakers for possibly misspending government funds meant to pay for overseas travel, according to people familiar with the matter.

"The investigation follows a Wall Street Journal article in March that said lawmakers had used daily cash stipends, meant to cover certain costs of official government travel overseas, to cover expenses that appeared to be unauthorized by House rules. An independent ethics board has referred the matter to the House ethics committee.

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July 28, 2010

Haiti gets aid, but Congressional Black Caucus votes against war funding

The Congressional Black Caucus held a briefing Tuesday to register impatience with the pace of rebuilding efforts in Haiti -- and then mostly voted in opposition to a war spending bill that includes nearly $3 billion in aid for the earthquake rattled country.

The "no" votes included Broward's Alcee Hastings and Jacksonville's Corrine Brown. Kendrick Meek, who was campaigning in South Florida for the Senate, missed the vote. The "yes" votes included Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart.

CBC chairwoman Barbara Lee said the caucus largely opposed the bill because it was stripped of spending on domestic spending measures, including $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs.

July 24, 2010

Hastings criticizes Obama's 'poor' treatment of Meek

Politico: Black lawmakers are prodding the White House to get more involved in Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek's campaign amid growing concern that less-than-robust backing from President Barack Obama will signal to Democrats that it’s all right to help independent Charlie Crist.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, a black Florida Democrat, told POLITICO Thursday that he might not work for Obama's re-election if the president doesn't get into gear for Meek — a four-term House member seeking to become the first black candidate elected to the Senate since President Obama won in Illinois in 2004.

"If they do not step up their support for Kendrick, then they cannot expect that I and my allies will support them in 2012," Hastings said, after describing the West Wing's treatment of Meek as "poor."

Hastings and Meek were among a cadre of Sunshine State congressmembers who worked against Obama in the presidential races and who stayed with Hillary Clinton until long after it was clear she had no path to victory.

Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said African American lawmakers have made "very clear" to the White House and congressional leaders that black lawmakers expect total support for Meek.

White House officials counter by saying there’s nothing ambiguous about the president’s position: He’s endorsed Meek. And while he's done some work to shore up a handful of incumbent senators in pricy markets around the country, his campaigning for non-incumbents has been almost non-existent so far.

Meek's camp, which otherwise declined to comment for this story, confirmed late Friday that a long-promised fundraiser featuring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will be held on August 2 – one of fewer than five he's doing for Senate candidates.

Full story here.

May 18, 2010

Everglades boosters to party with Blues Traveler, invade the House and Senate

The Everglades Foundation and its partners Wednesday will kick off two days of talks and lobbying efforts on behalf of the Florida Everglades.

Tom Brokaw moderates the kickoff Wednesday, a discussion of the ecological and economic benefits of the Everglades restoration efforts. Tomorrow night, Sens. Bill Nelson and George LeMieux along with Reps. Alcee Hastings and Mario Diaz-Balart co-chair an "Old Florida-style barbecue" and reception featuring the band, Blues Traveler. On Thursday, attendees lobby lawmakers.

"Our message to policymakers will be clear: maintaining support for Everglades restoration has never been more important," said Kirk Fordham, CEO, Everglades Foundation.

April 13, 2010

Alcee Hastings calls for a White House conference on Haiti

Broward Dem Alcee Hastings is asking President Obama to hold a White House Conference on Haiti within the next year.

"Under this bill, the major stakeholders in rebuilding, along with other interested parties, will come together to share their knowledge and best practices and identify gaps in the recovery process," Hastings said. "It is my hope that out of this conference, opportunities for collaboration and coordination in projects big and small will emerge."

April 07, 2010

White House says it will listen to Florida drilling critics

The White House says its reviewing the letters from four Florida Democrats hotly opposed to President Obama's plans to expand offshore oil and gas drilling.

Reps Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown Tuesday joined Rep. Kathy Castor in sending a letter to Obama, protesting the decision.

Says White House spokeswoman Moira Mack: "The President is working to implement a comprehensive energy strategy that leverages all of our diverse energy sources. After more than a year of review, including in depth consultations with experts and leaders including the Florida delegation,  the President and Secretary Salazar announced a responsible plan that will protect areas vital to tourism, the environment and our national security while expanding offshore oil and gas exploration. We have received and are reviewing the letters and will ensure input from Members of Congress is heard.”

April 06, 2010

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown to Obama: Offshore drilling "potentially devastating"

Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown in a letter today make clear their displeasure with President Barack Obama's decision to open up Florida's Gulf Coast to oil drilling.

The three Democrats are asking for a meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and presidential adviser Carol Browner -- a Florida native who last week said the 125-mile proposed buffer should keep Florida protected. 

"While we appreciate your intentions, the ramifications of offshore drilling are potentially devastating for Florida's economy and unique ecosystem," the three wrote. "The threat your plan poses to Florida's economy is a real worry."

April 01, 2010

Alcee Hastings vows to be "last man standing" in opposition to Obama plans for oil drilling

The Broward Democrat says: "The President’s proposal is extremely upsetting both for me and the people of
Florida. Notwithstanding the environmental concerns, Florida’s $65 billion per-year tourism and fishing industries are dependent on clean beaches and clear water that are now in jeopardy. While I appreciate President Obama’s desire to cut waste, save energy, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, these goals are accomplished by developing sustainable, clean energy and promoting responsible consumption practices, not by drilling for more oil closer to home.

"The future of the United States’ economy is dependent upon our country being at the forefront of the next generation of sustainable energy. Instead, this proposal is more of the same and is leaving us even further behind the technological curve. 

"This new proposal asks Congress to take back our promise to the people of Florida, while giving them very little in return. I’ve said it before and I will say a thousand times more if I have to, I will be the last man standing in the fight to prevent expanded offshore oil drilling in Florida."

March 21, 2010

Alcee Hastings: "Newt, please note, that I'm radical"

Giving a spirited speech in favor of the bill, the Broward Democrat said he wants it to be remembered that he was "doing something to try to save the lives of 45,000 Americans that die every year because they are uninsured.

"I don't want to be with that crowd that could best be described as cynics," he said, noting that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the health care bill a "grand social experiment, a radical social experiment.

"Well in my congressional district, if it is that I am to help improve the coverage of 290,000 residents, give tax credits and other assistance to 177,000 families and 22,500 small businesses, put me in the radical column," he said. "If it's to improve Medicare, extend coverage to the 161,000 uninsured people in the district I'm priviledged to serve, then I'm radical. If it's going to protect familes from bankruptcy, radicalize me. If it's going to allow 60,000 young adults to obtain coverage in the congressional district I represent, then Newt, please note, that I'm radical."

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