June 24, 2016

Miami GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo files 'no-fly, no-buy' gun bill in House


Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo was joined a bipartisan group of U.S. House members Friday as he filed gun-control legislation in the wake of the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The bill would prohibit gun sales to people listed on the government's terrorist-watch no-fly list. A similar law has been pushed in the Senate by Republican Susan Collins of Maine, but it has failed to garner the necessary super-majority support in that chamber.

Critics such as Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio have opposed so-called "no-fly, no-buy" legislation because they say the no-fly lists are riddled with errors. The Curbelo bill would create a process for U.S. citizens and permanent residents to appeal a gun-purchase denial.

"We must protect Americans from the ever increasing threat of terrorism and violent acts of hatred here at home while we fight radical jihadists overseas," Curbelo said in a statement. "After the horrific massacre in Orlando, and countless other mass shootings across the country, the American people want answers. Congress must act, at the very least, to ensure individuals on the No-Fly list and 'selectee' list cannot purchase a firearm."

Curbelo got co-sponsorships for the bill along with Republican Reps. Peter King of New York, Bob Dold of Illinois and Scott Rigell of Virginia, and Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.

One of the Miami Democrats vying to challenge Curbelo, former Rep. Joe Garcia, slammed Curbelo for filing the legislation after saying gun laws didn't "make sense" after the Orlando mass shooting and that gun control wouldn't stop future terrorist attacks.

"Had he supported this and other measures, like universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, things might be different today," Garcia's campaign said in a statement that also noted the House has no plans to vote on gun-control bills.

A previous version of this post and its headline incorrectly stated that Curbelo co-sponsored, rather than filed, the legislation. The post has also been updated to include Garcia's statement.

June 23, 2016

Marco Rubio's got help from a new super PAC, which is already hitting Patrick Murphy


Friends of Marco Rubio got to work quickly creating a new super PAC to back the Florida Republican's Senate re-election campaign. The first order of business: slamming Democrat Patrick Murphy's résumé inflation.

Florida First Project was born Wednesday, the same day Rubio announced his decision to seek another six-year term. It's run by many of the same people who managed Conservative Solutions, the super PAC that assisted Rubio's presidential campaign. Others involved in the committee worked for the campaign itself.

By Thursday, Florida First had released its first web ad, a forceful hit against Murphy, the likely Democratic nominee who had the bad luck of learning of Rubio's re-election bid on the same day that Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 published a scathing investigation into Murphy's professional background. Murphy's campaign has disputed some of the report's findings.

"Patrick Murphy lied," the 30-second spot says. "He isn't who he says he is."

Heading Florida First Project will be Warren Tompkins, also directed Conservative Solutions. Two other Conservative Solutions veterans, strategist Mark Harris and spokesman Jeff Sadosky, will serve the same roles as well. The PAC will also be advised by longtime Rubio strategist Heath Thompson and pollster Whit Ayres. Dorinda Moss, the finance chief of Rubio's presidential campaign, will be the PAC's finance director.



Jeb endorses Marco, and Marco says thanks


It's all a Twitter-official love-fest now:

Curbelo rivals take aim over Supreme Court immigration ruling


The two Democrats vying to challenge U.S. Carlos Curbelo leaped at the chance Thursday to pound the Miami Republican over the Supreme Court's ruling to block one of President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Annette Taddeo and former Rep. Joe Garcia noted Curbelo had characterized the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, or DAPA, overreach by the White House. The court deadlocked 4-4 over the program, allowing a lower appeals court decision against its constitutionality to stand. The late Justice Antonin Scalia has not been replaced.

"It's a sad day for immigrant families and the many activists who have fought for real change," Garcia said in a statement. "When Republicans refused to put my comprehensive immigration reform bill to a vote, I supported President Obama's actions. Now, two years later, Republican still won't take up immigration reform, or even fill the Supreme Court's vacancy, all while they continue to push immigrants into the shadows."

DAPA would have allowed the parents of lawful permanent residents -- in effect, the parents who brought their children into the country illegally -- to apply for a program protecting them from deportation.

"I'm heartbroken by today's Supreme Court decision," Taddeo said in a statement. "It's a big blow to Hispanic families in South Florida. Families continue to be torn apart because of our broken immigration system, and instead of solving the problem, Carlos Curbelo and his Republican buddies in Congress continue to shift the blame elsewhere."

Taddeo also blasted Curbelo on Twitter, saying if he "really cared about South Florida's immigrant families, he wouldn't be applauding" the decision -- even though Curbelo didn't actually praise the court.

He and other Republicans said in a joint statement Thursday that the court ruling did not solve the immigration problem and Congress should "work together" to fix the system. Last week, he and Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen led the effort to defeat a House amendment against Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Garcia and Taddeo, however, argue Curbelo has moderated his position in office, given that his newly redrawn district is more Democratic, as is the presidential-election year electorate. Garcia noted Curbelo said in 2014 that he did "not support amnesty" for undocumented immigrants and thought the U.S. should return children crossing the border back to their home countries.

This post has been updated.

Rubio votes against gun-control compromise, Nelson votes in favor

via @learyreports

Sen. Marco Rubio helped kill a compromise gun control measure today. Sen. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment by Sen. Susan Collins, which would restrict people on the government no-fly list from buying guns.

Rubio, now a candidate for Senate, has drawn criticism from the left for opposing a number of gun measures that followed the Orlando tragedy. His office said he reviewed Collins' "no fly, no buy" plan but he was not expected to back it with the NRA coming out in opposition.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

2 pro-immigration reform groups praise Curbelo's new DREAM Act


New legislation offering legal status to people brought into the country illegally as children has won the praise of a pair of national groups promoting immigration reform.

The Recognizing American Children Act, filed by Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, has the support of FWD.us, a Silicon Valley organization co-founded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, and of the National Immigration Forum, a conservative immigration advocacy group.

"In a period where the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is calling for the forced mass deportation of every single undocumented immigrant in the United States, we are encouraged that these Congressmen are working in a different and constructive way," FWD.us said Wednesday in a statement.

The National Immigration Forum also applauded the bill's "tone" -- but also noted "shortcomings," such as a shorter eligibility period than the comprehensive reform bill the Senate passed in 2013.

"It is fantastic to see some leadership on immigration among House Republicans," the group's executive director, Ali Noorani, said in a statement. "Despite some room for improvement, this proposal stands favorably next to the messages about mass deportation and walls that have ruled the Republican presidential campaign."

Curbelo's proposal, co-sponsored with Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, is the latest version of the so-called DREAM Act, a law that failed in the Senate and prompted President Barack Obama to take executive action to protect some young immigrants from deportation. Both Curbelo and Coffman are running for re-election in swing districts this fall.

Rubio, Nelson split on House Zika funding bill


Lost in the shuffle of Wednesday night's dramatic sit-in by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives was passage of legislation setting aside $1.1 billion to prevent the Zika virus.

That's less than the $1.9 billion President Barack Obama had requested, an amount that received bipartisan support in Florida, the state with the highest number of confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness.

The bill now heads to the Senate, and Florida's two senators had quite different reactions to the legislative package.

"The House Zika bill is a disaster," Democrat Bill Nelson said in a statement. "Not only does it take $500 million in health care funding away from Puerto Rico, it limits access to birth control services needed to help curb the spread of the virus and prevent terrible birth defects. This is not a serious solution."

Republican Marco Rubio said some money was better than nothing.

"At this point, I support getting something on Zika done," he said in a statement. "Congress has shamefully wasted too much time already, and with summer here, the price of inaction will be devastating. Although this does not fully fund the president's request, it is at least a significant improvement from what the House passed earlier this year."

All three Miami Republicans in the House voted for the legislation, which was sponsored by one of the local congressmen, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, as part of a broader budget bill.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo said the Zika funding is insufficient but a starting point.

"While this bipartisan compromise fell short, it is a step in the right direction," he said in a statement. "Importantly, it avoids a funding cliff at the end of the summer which was a major flaw in the original House-passed Zika bill I opposed. I will continue to call for as much funding as possible to ensure the residents of South Florida, and the nation, are no longer threatened by the Zika virus."

Jeb Bush backs Marco Rubio for Senate. But Bush's ex-Miami-Dade campaign chief doesn't


Hard feelings toward Marco Rubio remain from one of Jeb Bush's highest profile Miami supporters.

Jorge Arrizurieta, who chaired Bush's presidential campaign in Miami-Dade County, told a local radio station Thursday he won't vote for Rubio's re-election to the Senate -- even though Bush will.

"I don't think I'm the only one," Arrizurieta told hosts Roberto Rodríguez Tejera and Juan Camilo Gómez on the Spanish-language Actualidad Radio. "I feel incredibly disappointed."

Arrizurieta characterized Rubio as disloyal and ungrateful to Bush, his one-time political mentor, and said "no one will be able to convince me" that Bush's odds at winning the White House wouldn't have been greatly improved without Rubio in the presidential race. He said Bush's endorsements speaks to the former Florida governor's integrity.

Nevertheless, Arrizurieta opined Rubio has the best shot as winning the seat, given that he's the incumbent. He also said he doesn't plan on backing anyone else in the Senate contest, though he said Sarasota developer Carlos Beruff has been in touch.

A dejected-sounding Arrizurieta said he was "very saddened" by the Republican Party under presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"The new political order that no one understands," he said.

History's on Marco Rubio's side in re-election


The folks at Smart Politics took a look at past politicians who have run for president, lost, and run for re-election again in the same year -- and they found history favors Marco Rubio in his bid for another U.S. Senate term.

Senator Rubio is not the first sitting member of the chamber to run for president, fail, and then seek reelection back to his seat all in same cycle.

In fact, those senators who have done so over the past half-century have an unblemished track record at keeping their seat.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that all seven sitting U.S. Senators who ran for reelection in the cycle of their failed presidential bid since 1972 were victorious – and each by double-digit margins.

More here.


June 22, 2016

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Carlos Curbelo back Marco Rubio


Marco Rubio picks up the backing of two fellow Miami Republicans who areprobably relieved at the prospect of having Rubio on the November ballot: