December 13, 2011

No surprise -- South Florida House members go party line on payroll tax cut extension

The House just passed a GOP version of the payroll tax cut extension 294-193, largely along party lines. 

It's got some toxic provisions for most Democrats, including a measure that would speed up construction of the Keystone pipeline from Canada. 

Miami GOP Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and David Rivera voted for it, as did Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, voted against it. 

The White House panned the House vote: "This is not a time for Washington Republicans to score political points against the President."

November 18, 2011

U.S. House fails to pass a balanced budget amendment

The U.S. House of Representatives turned down a balanced budget amendment Friday afternoon, with Florida's congressional delegation largely voting along party lines. Although the proposal had 261 votes, 165 members voted against it and it was 29 short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. Just four Republicans voted against the bill; 25 Democrats voted for it. 

Miami GOP Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and David Rivera voted for the amendment, as did Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, voted against it. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, did not vote. 

November 04, 2011

Allen West will be a CPAC headliner

The American Conservative Union says U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, will be a featured speaker at next year's Conservative Political Action Conference.

The conference, which is in early February in Washington D.C., is the largest gathering of conservative activists and conservative leaders in the country. The group's 2012 conference will feature grassroots training "to strengthen the conservative movement and ensure conservatives have the resources and tools necessary to defeat the Obama agenda in 2012," ACU said.

November 01, 2011

PolitiFact Florida: Rep. Allen West trots out Medicare talking points

Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West pulled out some familiar talking points on the 2010 health care law in a recent Fox News interview.

It was Democrats who cut $500 billion from Medicare, he said. An unelected board will make decisions about health care for seniors and all Americans, he said.

Similar statements by Republican politicians have earned rulings from Half True to False.

But in the world of PolitiFact, specific word choice matters.

How do West's words hold up?


October 31, 2011

Boca's Lynn University will host the third presidential debate next year

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its presidential and vice presidential debate sites today, and the final of the three showdowns will be in Florida at Boca Raton's Lynn University.

The first is Oct. 3 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colo. The vice presidential debate will be Oct. 11 at Centre College, Danville, Ky. Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. will host the second presidential debate -- a town hall-style event. And Lynn University will close out the series with the final Oct. 22 debate. 

Obviously the Republican field isn't set yet, but here's President Barack Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina on the debate schedule: "The President looks forward to next year’s debates. Once the Republicans have selected their candidate, we will work through the details with their campaign and the Commission on Presidential Debates."

Lynn University was one of 12 sites nationwide -- and the only institution in Florida -- under consideration to host the debates produced by the CPD, the school said in a press release.

"Being an undergraduate or graduate student here on our campus when such an historic event takes place will provide a singular and unparalleled educational experience," said the university's president, Kevin Ross.

Republican U.S. Rep. Allen Westwho represents Boca Raton in Congress, had this to say on the school's selection:  

"After visiting Lynn's campus and meeting with University administrators earlier this year, I quickly realized the potential for Lynn's Wold Performing Arts Center to be a candidate to host the Presidential debates. I immediately took the lead in drafting a bipartisan and bicameral letter signed by every member of the Florida Congressional Delegation to the Commission on Presidential Debates in support of Lynn's application."

"The state of Florida has historically been a major decision maker in a number of national elections throughout our nation’s history and will be a critical state for both parties in the upcoming Presidential election. Securing the final Presidential Debate for the 2012 election is further reason to recognize the importance of the state of Florida in this decisive time in our nation's history."

October 17, 2011

Rumsfeld to raise money for Allen West

Politico's lobbying-and-fundraising tipsheet, Politico Influence, reports that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will help Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation raise money next week in Washington.

Politico reports that Rumsfeld is listed as a "special guest" for what it describes as a defense industry breakfast on Oct. 27. The fundraiser will be hosted by Buzz Hefti, a defense lobbyist and former Marine. 

Another multimillion dollar campaign is underway for the seat held by Allen. Two Democrats are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to unseat West, and West himself continues to be one of the top fundraisers in Florida.

Democrat Patrick Murphy, a CPA, raised $314,351 over the past three months, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed this weekend. He has $741,976 in the bank. Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel raised $417,872, according to the FEC. She has $883,714 in cash on hand.  

West raised $1.9 million, but spent $1.4 million of that on expensive professional fundraisers and solicitation lists. So although he has raised $4.1 million so far this campaign season, he has only $1.8 million of that on hand, according to the FEC reports. 

October 07, 2011

Allen West for VP?

Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, was asked today whether he would accept a vice presidential spot on the GOP ticket -- a big question this week for South Florida lawmakers. Here's what he said on the Steve Gill Show, a talk show that airs through Radio America on 40 stations: "I don’t see that offer happening, but I am not going to sit here
and say absolutely not," West told the show.

Here the full interview:

October 04, 2011

Allen West on C-SPAN's Washington Journal


U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning, and he covered a lot of ground: the GOP and White House plans to create jobs, funding the government, the so-called "Super Committee," and deficit reduction. One caller asked him about the "pugilistic" nature of some of the interactions he's had in his time in Congress. As a former solder, he said, "there's a certain amount you can take, and you finally have to stand up for your own honor."

September 22, 2011

Allen West: "I don't want to fight."

Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, will speak with NPR's "Tell Me More" host Michel Martin today. He'll talk about why he reconsidered his membership in the Congressional Black Caucus, controversies over his own past remarks, and whether he thinks Democrats and Republicans will ever find common ground.
West, on whether Democrats and Republicans can come to an agreement on fiscal matters, said this: "I think he's [President Obama] trying to pick a fight with House Republicans. I don't want to fight. I want to make sure we do the right things for our country."

On why he reconsidered his membership in the CBC after Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., suggested that some members of the Tea Party would "love to see us as second-class citizens.hanging on a tree," West said this:

"I've been called Uncle Tom, I've been called sell-out, I've been called Oreo and many other variations of different racial epithets, but you're not going to hear me come out and say something incendiary which will bring up images of lynchings. I think that we have to be a lot more mature in what we're saying. So, I still cannot condone what André Carson said, but I think that it's important for me to stay within the Black Caucus because you have to, as I said earlier, bring that varying perspective and different outlook and insights from a conservative aspect."

The interview airs today. The show doesn't air in South Florida, but it's available online here later today.

September 21, 2011

Allen West, Frederica Wilson and Haiti featured in Congressional Black Caucus' conference

The Congressional Black Caucus holds its annual legislative conference in Washington this week -- and it features two South Florida representatives as speakers.

Rep. Allen West, a Plantation Republican and retired Army lieutenant colonel who spent 22 years in the service, will be hosting a panel Thursday titled, "African-Americans in the Military: Past, Present and Future." Among the questions the panel is expected to address: why black officers are less likely than their white counterparts to serve in elite combat teams, and what Congress can do to increase the number of African-Americans in the military.

West, the Caucus' only Republican member and a tea-party favorite, almost quit the group recently after disagreeing with his Democratic colleagues who lambasted tea partiers. One Democrat, Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana, referred to tea partiers wanting to see blacks "hanging from a tree," a comment he later apologized for.

Also Thursday, Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat, will take part in a forum titled, "Haiti: A New Beginning." Wilson's congressional district has the largest concentration of Haitian Americans in the country. The discussion will center around rebuilding Haiti after last year's ravaging earthquake.