July 09, 2015

Watch Alan Grayson's U.S. Senate announcement

@PatriciaMazzei

Via WKMG in Orlando:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has backed Grayson's chief opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, and has no love lost over Grayson, didn't even mention the Orlando congressman by name in a statement released shortly after the announcement.

"Patrick Murphy has spent his career fighting for Florida families, women, seniors and the environment, and he has proven himself to be a hard-working and responsible representative for his constituents," DSCC Communications Director Justin Barasky said. "The contrast between Patrick Murphy and whichever Republican emerges from their chaotic primary will be stark, and we look forward to highlighting those differences." 

Grayson's camp quickly fired back with an email titled "What the DSCC Should Have Said About Alan Grayson..." The email body read "...if they had any class." It included a copy of the Democratic National Committee's statements when Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee jumped into the presidential race against Hillary Clinton. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz welcomed their candidacies.

In a statement of his own, Murphy said, "I look forward to a clean, honest discussion of the issues in this primary.

"I have built a strong record of working together to get things done, while remaining true to core Democratic principles like protecting Social Security and Medicare, fighting for a woman's right to choose, and strengthening the middle class.  I look forward to sharing that record with Floridians across the state."

He then followed up with a fund-raising pitch to his supporters.

This post has been updated.

July 08, 2015

WaPo: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, budding healthy-foods cook

From the Washington Post:

An hour before midnight on a recent Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was carefully positioning roasted Brussels sprouts, fresh pomegranate seeds and sauteed portobello chunks on a fluffy sea of quinoa.

Then, aiming her iPad straight down, she began shooting pictures. By dawn, a tempting photo and the recipe would appear on Instagram. By noon, the dish that her husband and two of their three children back home in Florida would never have eaten would be savored by co-workers here, along with a second cook’s offering: also quinoa, but with a Mexican accent.

Since December, 15 Democratic National Committee staffers and Wasserman Schultz, their chairwoman, have nourished one another Mondays through Thursdays when Congress is in session. In the Vegetarian Lunch Club, they strive to share good food, save money on restaurants and maybe drop a few pounds, with each person cooking just twice a month.

More here.

July 07, 2015

How much has Florida reduced carbon emissions?

Republicans in Congress recently voted for legislation that would prevent the federal government from implementing new emissions regulations on power plants -- in part, some argue, because utilities are already cutting carbon levels on their own.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, said that HR 2042, known as the Ratepayer Protection Act, would protect states from costly rules that aren’t necessary. The bill would delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce nationwide carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. The legislation also would allow states to opt out of the reduced emissions requirement.

"The EPA’s proposal on this rule has drawn widespread concern," Bilirakis said in a speech on June 24, 2015, before the GOP-majority House passed the legislation along party lines. "It placed a heavier burden on Florida than other states, despite the fact that Florida has reduced its carbon emissions by 20 percent since 2005."

See what Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida found.

Alan Grayson on TPP, All Aboard Florida and Rand Paul

As he appears he is getting ready to announce a bid for Senate, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, gave an interview over the weekend in which he talked up his own legislative record, bashed his opponent about a controversial train project and offered a hint of praise for Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

The interview with News 13 in Orlando offers a preview as to the types of issues Grayson will focus on in a likely campaign. Grayson is expected to announce his bid for Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat this month. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, announced his campaign in March.

Grayson talked about his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and said that his video about it drew one million hits on Facebook and tradetreachery.com. And he also boasted about his own legislative record:

“I passed more amendments since I returned to Congress than any member of Congress. I passed more bills than any member of Congress." Later in interview, Grayson said he had 19 of his bills and 15 amendments pass.

Grayson criticized Murphy for his votes related to All Aboard Florida -- the Miami to Orlando train. Grayson is in favor of the train while Murphy is against it. The Palm Beach Post wrote that there has been bipartisan concern about noise and road closings within Murphy’s Treasure Coast district.

Continue reading "Alan Grayson on TPP, All Aboard Florida and Rand Paul" »

Group calls for Congressional investigation into Rep. Alan Grayson's hedge funds

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust filed a request with the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s hedge funds.

The question raised in the request is whether Grayson, an Orlando Democrat, is violating a House rule by using his name on the hedge funds.

“Not only does the rule explicitly ban members from receiving “compensation for affiliating with or being employed by such an entity in any capacity,” but it also prohibits a Member’s name to be used by such an entity “regardless of whether the organization compensates the Member,” states the July 6 request for an investigation.

The request for an investigation into Grayson has occurred as he appears poised to announce his campaign for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, announced in March and has the backing of the party establishment.

Celeste Bush, chair of the Democratic Party of St. Lucie County who supports Murphy, filed a similar request for a Congressional investigation Tuesday.

The requests for an investigation follow a story in Politico that suggested Grayson was violating House rules. Grayson says he has complied with House rules although financial experts questioned his explanation.

“Alan broke no laws, violated no ethics rules and fully disclosed everything,” Grayson spokesman Kevin Franck told the Miami Herald. “Supporters of former Republican ​Patrick Murphy​ are on the attack because  they can't defend Murphy's conservative record of siding with Wall Street and they know that Alan Grayson can't be bought or bossed around.”

Any investigation -- should it move forward -- won’t become public for months until and if it gets to the House ethics committee. About one-third of investigations the Office of Congressional Ethics starts end up going to the ethics committee for further review.

 

Miami Republicans cite attack of dissident as sign Obama Cuba policy isn't working

Rodiles

@PatriciaMazzei

Two of Miami's Cuban-American Republican members of Congress condemned an attack on a Cuban dissident as a sign that President Obama is foolish to pursue closer relations with the regime on the island.

The beating of Antonio Rodiles, which Rodiles blamed on Cuban security forces, and mass detention of nearly 100 other dissidents Sunday prompted statements in solidarity from U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

"Beating activists committed to the return of democratic rights to the island, such as Rodiles and members of the Ladies in White, show that the Castro regime has no interest in changing," Ros-Lehtinen said Monday. "The opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana demonstrates that the Obama Administration is willing to turn a blind eye  to the sadistic ways of this brutal regime in order to build a presidential legacy."  

"Since President Obama's December 17, 2014 announcement, the Castro regime's brutality against innocent pro-democracy leaders has escalated," Diaz-Balart said. "Predictably, following the President's announcement a few days ago that he will press ahead with opening embassies without any conditions, the human rights abuses in Cuba continue unabated. The Castro regime has been emboldened by President Obama's shameful disinterest in human rights and liberties in Cuba."

Photo courtesy Antonio Rodiles

July 06, 2015

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's interns 'Shake It Off'

@PatriciaMazzei

The interns from U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's office want you to know: They have fun on the job.

They put together a video -- posted on the Miami Republican congresswoman's YouTube channel -- lip-syncing a well-produced version of Taylor Swift's hit pop song, "Shake It Off."

Yes, the congresswoman dances.

Ros-Lehtinen's most famous former intern may be 2016 GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Alas, he worked in her office in the days before social media.

 

Former Dolphins player and federal agent Randal Hill to run against U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson

Former Dolphins wide receiver and federal Homeland Security agent Randal Hill will take on U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, in a Democratic primary.

Wilson has represented Congressional District 24 which spans Miami-Dade and Broward counties since 2010.

Hill played professional football between 1991 and 1997 for the Miami Dolphins, the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints. Before playing professionally, Hill played for the University of Miami including their championship team in 1989.

Hill told the Miami Herald in an interview today that he quit his job as an agent with Homeland Security on Friday to run for Congress. He filed his paperwork to run with the Federal Election Commission last week. (Here is his website but it doesn't have anything on it yet.)

Hill said he didn’t have any immediate criticism of Wilson's stances on issues but questioned what she had accomplished for the district.

“If you can tell me what she has done as a Congresswoman than I won’t run,” he said. “One of the first things she did do was she tried to pass a bill for Congressmen or women to wear hats in the House of Representatives. I don’t know how that is helping the community as a sitting politician.”

Continue reading "Former Dolphins player and federal agent Randal Hill to run against U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson" »

June 29, 2015

Annette Taddeo cites bogeyman Allen West in fundraising email

Former Congressman Allen West is long gone from Florida, but hey when it’s fundraising time is there any better bogeyman for a Democratic candidate?

From a fundraising plea today by Annette Taddeo who is running for Congress in a Miami-Dade/Monroe County swing district against first-term U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami:

“Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Luján wouldn’t be emailing you if it weren’t important. And believe us: tomorrow’sdeadline is critical. Here’s why:

FIRST: We told you how Congressman Carlos Curbelo has the backing of the Koch brothers and right wing special interests groups.

NOW: We just learned former Congressman Allen West has pledged to support Rep. Curbelo and his reelection campaign.

This is the very same Allen West who said Obama supporters were “a threat to the gene pool” and made numerous inflammatory comments about women.”

West was elected in a Broward/Palm Beach district as part of a tea party wave in 2010 but after redistricting lost his seat in a newly drawn district to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2012. After losing the election, West became a Fox news contributor and then in November 2014 took a job in Texas as CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

June 25, 2015

Florida politicians react to SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare

@PatriciaMazzei

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, allowing Obamacare to continue as it exists today. Here's the reaction from Florida politicians, updated as they come in:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida (also 2016 presidential candidate)

I disagree with the Court’s ruling and believe they have once again erred in trying to correct the mistakes made by President Obama and Congress in forcing Obamacare on the American people.

Despite the Court’s decision, ObamaCare is still a bad law that is having a negative impact on our country and on millions of Americans. I remain committed to repealing this bad law and replacing it with my consumer-centered plan that puts patients and families back in control of their health care decisions. We need Consumer Care, not ObamaCare.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, 2016 Republican presidential candidate (also released a video statement)

I am disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling in the King v. Burwell case. But this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare.

This fatally-flawed law imposes job-killing mandates, causes spending in Washington to skyrocket by $1.7 trillion, raises taxes by $1 trillion and drives up health care costs.  Instead of fixing our health care system, it made the problems worse.

As President of the United States, I would make fixing our broken health care system one of my top priorities.   I will work with Congress to repeal and replace this flawed law with conservative reforms that empower consumers with more choices and control over their health care decisions.

Here is what I believe:  We need to put patients in charge of their own decisions and health care reform should actually lower costs.  Entrepreneurs should be freed to lower costs and improve access to care – just like American ingenuity does in other sectors of the economy. 

Americans deserve leadership that can actually fix our broken health care system, and they are certainly not getting it now from Washington, DC.  

Continue reading "Florida politicians react to SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare" »