March 23, 2015

Fact-checking Patrick Murphy who will run for Marco Rubio's seat

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democratic political newcomer who ousted GOP firebrand Allen West in 2012, announced Monday morning that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Marco Rubio. Murphy plans to run regardless of whether Rubio makes a presidential bid or not.

"I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 – Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better," Murphy said in a prepared statement. "I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now."

With Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and former Gov. Charlie Crist both announcing that they won’t seek the seat, the only other big Democratic name known to be weighing a run is U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando.

On the Republican side, there is a long list of Republicans who are prepared to potentially run if Rubio steps aside to seek the presidency. They include state CFO Jeff Atwater and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Turn to PolitiFact Florida for our full story about Murphy including attacks by Republicans.

 

Patrick Murphy to run for Marco Rubio's Senate seat

As expected, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, announced Monday morning that he will run for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

“I’m running for the U.S. Senate for the same reason I ran for Congress in 2012 — Washington is full of hyper-partisan politicians who can’t, or won’t, get anything done, and Florida deserves better,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “I’m a consensus-builder who is working to boost the economy by cutting waste in government, raise the minimum wage, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and protect the Everglades. I’ve done all of this by being an independent voice for Florida, and that’s what the Senate needs more of right now.”

Murphy’s prospects on the Democratic side recently improved when Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and former Gov. Charlie Crist announced that they would not seek the seat. But Murphy could face a challenge from U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, who is popular with progressives.

Turn to the Miami Herald for our complete story and turn to PolitiFact Florida which has fact-checked several attacks about Murphy including his positions on the federal Affordable Care Act.



 

December 09, 2014

U.S. Senate approves Venezuela sanctions

@jimwyss

The U.S. Senate on Monday passed a bill imposing targeted sanctions against Venezuelan officials responsible for violence and political arrests in the wake of anti-government protests earlier this year.

During a sparsely attended Senate session, the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 was passed by voice vote. The bill had been caught in a political tug of war since May when the House passed a similar version of the sanctions.

In a statement, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) applauded the measure and asked her House colleagues to take up the Senate version so “Venezuela’s oppressors will be denied visas to enter the United States and their properties along with their assets will be frozen.”

The Senate bill targets Venezuelan authorities who directed “significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses against persons associated with the anti government protests in Venezuela that began on February 4, 2014.”

More here.

June 13, 2014

For second time this month, South Florida politicians drop in on Iowa politics

@CAdamsMcClatchy

For the second time in two weeks, a lawmaker from South Florida is dipping a toe into Iowa politics.

On June 2, it was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate, who dropped in to give an assist to state Sen. Joni Ernst in her bid to win the GOP primary for an open U.S. Senate seat. Turns out Ernst probably didn’t need the help, going on the next day to cruise to an unexpectedly easy win in the five-person field (she pulled 56 percent of the vote despite being massively outspent by one of her competitors).

Ernst now faces U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat from the northeast part of the state; early polls have her ahead.

On tap Friday is a visit from one of Braley’s House colleagues, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Weston who doubles as the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

For Iowa Republicans, this is a significant weekend, with a state party convention set for Saturday in Des Moines and three possible presidential candidates scheduled to appear (Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania).

According to The Des Moines Register, Wasserman Schultz is on hand to “counterbalance all that conservative speechifying” and that she will stress that the GOP has been taken over by the tea party.

Senate candidate Ernst has already attempted to counter that counterbalance; her campaign says Wasserman Schultz is an ideal spokeswoman for “Beltway Bruce Braley,” who they are working to portray as out-of-touch with Iowans.

January 28, 2013

Florida's other Senator, Bill Nelson, lauds 'principles' of Marco Rubio, Gang of 8's immigration plan

By @MarcACaputo

Sounds like senior Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, likes what Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is doing with immigration:

“I support the principles of a bipartisan group of senators seeking immigration reform and U.S. border security.  We simply cannot deport 11 million people.  That would be unreasonable.  It would ruin our economy.  But anyone who is here must follow the rules, pay taxes, learn English and go to the end of the line.  If they do that, they should have a shot at citizenship.  And those who are unwilling to do that, they should be sent home.   We also need to make sure that children who through no fault of their own know no other country but ours can stay here to go to college or serve in the military.  The bottom line is: we’re talking about fairness."

Story here on the plan so far.

August 10, 2012

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson accepts Tampa Bay Times/CNN debate invite

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson today accepted a CNN / Tampa Bay Times debate and one proposed by Leadership Florida jointly with the Florida Press Association.

But, this morning, Mack publicly pushed Nelson to accept future debate invites and told the Times/Herald he's ready to debate Nelson in Tampa.

Mack angered his lesser-known rivals in the GOP primary by refusing to debate them.

Republicans are hoping to help secure a majority in the Senate by unseating Nelson, who is seeking his third term.

The date, rules and format of the debates are undecided. Nelson campaign manager Pete Mitchell said he'd wait until after the Aug. 14 primary to address specifics.

Twitter: @Britt_alana

 

August 06, 2012

PolitiFact: Group says Connie Mack has passed only one bill in Congress in seven years

Woody Allen once said 80 percent of success is showing up.

And that’s the point American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC, makes in a farcical online video that criticizes U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV for a shabby attendance record, and for not getting much done.

"Connie Mack: Only one bill passed in seven years," says the video, which features a bummed out Florida family (presumably actors) unable to find Mack in Washington. "You think we’ll see him next time, pa?" says a disappointed child.

"Connie Mack: If he doesn’t show up for work now, why elect him senator?" the video continues.

Mack’s missed votes have made news for several months as he prepares for a likely November face-off with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. PolitiFact found that although he’s not the most representative representative (sorry!), his attendance record is better than opponents have claimed.

But did Mack really pass just one bill since he was elected in 2005?

See story here.

June 28, 2012

Reaction rolling in on health care decision

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: "What’s important to remember is that what the Court rules on is whether something is constitutional or not, not whether it’s a good idea. And while the Court has said that the law is constitutional, it remains a bad idea for our economy, and I hope that in the fall we will have a majority here that will not just repeal this law, but replace it with real solutions that will insure more people and cost a lot less money."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: "A lot of us feel the health-care law wasn’t perfect.  ut it was needed.  Our system was broken and we had to do something.  Insurance companies were refusing to cover people or dropping those who got sick. So, we passed legislation to prevent insurers from running roughshod over people. And today, the Supreme Court upheld most of these reforms. Now, I think it’s time we finish the job of fixing our economy and creating more jobs."

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers: "Bill Nelson cast the deciding vote on the largest tax ever placed on the American people and he will be held accountable in November by all Floridians. ObamaCare not only kills jobs, burdens families and runs up our already-massive debt, it oversteps its bounds by stripping Americans of their freedoms and mandating compliance with a government edict by calling the law a tax."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston: "As a breast cancer survivor and one of 129 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, I am overjoyed that the Supreme Court upheld the right of every American to have access to quality, affordable health care insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, South Floridians like Lainie Schultz, a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks before her 25th birthday, will not be denied the health care coverage she needs because of pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the tax credit in the Affordable Care Act, small businesses like the GBS group in Pembroke Pines are, for the first time, able to offer health care coverage to their employees. The Affordable Care Act has already made it possible for American families and small businesses to have more control over their health care by reducing costs, increasing choice, and instituting common sense rules."

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami: “While I strongly disagree with the court’s judgment, today’s decision exemplifies why we are a system of checks and balances.  Our work is not finished, however. The court’s ruling underscores the critical role Congress must play by repealing ObamaCare.  America’s healthcare system should empower individuals and families instead of Washington bureaucrats. This ruling imposes a new huge tax on America’s already struggling families and this is unacceptable to those of us who believe that our money should stay in our pockets and not sent to Washington. I have already voted 30 times in Congress to defund, fully repeal or do away with parts of ObamaCare and I will vote that way again."

U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami: "It is in the best interest of our nation’s economy to repeal the job-killing health care law and replace it with common sense reforms that address what is wrong with the health insurance system in America. We must pass legislation that lower costs and protect American jobs, not threaten them. We must move toward a system that welcomes patient choice and flexibility, instead of more government involvement, by ensuring Americans the ability to make medical decisions without bureaucratic interference."

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: "The Supreme Court’s ruling today is a real victory for the American people.  This decision upholds the principle that all Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care. Millions of Americans have already benefited from this important piece of legislation. I have always advocated for access to universal health care with a public option.  With the Affordable Care Act, we have taken a huge step towards putting patients and their doctors, rather than big insurance companies, in charge of an individual’s health care decisions.  While I am pleased that this important legislation was upheld by the Supreme Court, there is still work to be done.  I hope that my Republican colleagues will now do their part and end their partisan attacks by putting the interests of Americans’ health care needs first."

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: "The Affordable Care Act is already paying dividends for millions of Americans, with more improvements to the system going into effect in the next few years. In passing health reform, President Obama and a Democratic Congress made history for our country and progress for the American people. Because of the ACA, affordable health care is now a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for working people and their families, students and seniors."

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a huge tax increase on the American people. The President’s healthcare bill, which was written behind closed doors, dramatically increases taxes, fees, and the cost of healthcare for all Americans. Obamacare was supposed to lower the price of healthcare. Instead, it has done the exact opposite – the price of healthcare has skyrocketed. With the individual mandate, President Obama is slamming the American people with a burdensome new tax. It has also been a major factor in the sluggish growth of our economy and anemic job creation. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to repeal Obamacare in order to protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctors they choose, at a price they can afford." 

Continue reading "Reaction rolling in on health care decision" »

June 20, 2012

Dave Weldon says he'll gain from LeMieux's exit from Senate race

Former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon says his last-minute Senate campaign will benefit from George LeMieux bowing out of the U.S. Senate race.

"I think it's going to really set up a classical match between a more moderate establishment candidate versus a grassroots conservative candidate," the Brevard County doctor told the Times/Herald.

The final straw for LeMieux was probably front-runner Connie Mack's endorsement from Freedom Works and a $1 million donation from casino boss Sheldon Adelson to a pro-Mack super PAC this week, he said. 

"George might have seen that as insurmountable," he said.

Weldon's challenge remains his unfamiliarity with voters -- and grassroots activists. He offered to fill in for LeMieux at an upcoming dinner of Clay County Republicans, he said, but even the county chairwoman didn't know who he was.

He wouldn't offer specifics, but he said donations are picking up today with news of LeMieux's exit. He said his team is in talks with Herman Cain, who endorsed LeMieux.

"I've got a whole bunch of offers that just came in through the last few hours," he said.


 

June 19, 2012

Top Senate Democrat: Republicans have "phony outrage" over immigration

Following President Barack Obama's move last week to let some young illegal immigrants stay in the U.S., immigration as a political issue is back in Congress, in a big way. And especially for Florida lawmakers.

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Stuart, introduced a bill today that would block the administration's directive. (The administration's plan allows young illegal immigrants who were raised in the United States to remain for two years under a deferred deportation.)

Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, is pressing ahead with his own legislation to help such DREAM Act-eligible kids.

And Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who never had a immigration bill in writing for people to vet, says the president should have called him about working on immigration legislation. He told ABC News that the president's proposal "just gets him through the election. "The White House never called us about this. No one reached out to us and told us this was on its way. And, I mean, if they were serious about a real solution to this problem and not politicizing it, then why don’t you reach out to people."

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told Republicans today that they had their chance to be a part of something big -- and still do. He singled out Rubio in particular for what he called "phony outrage" over the administration's move.

"In the past, Republicans have expressed broad support for the principles of President Obama’s directive," Reid said. "And Senator Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, has even talked up a similar idea to the press for months, although he never actually produced a proposal."

Republicans are "taking their marbles and going home," Reid said.

"Since Friday, leading Republican voices on immigration reform have all but ceded the debate until after the election. Republicans who once favored a permanent solution for America’s broken immigration system are now abandoning efforts to find common ground," he said. "And the same Republicans who complained they weren’t involved enough in the President’s decision are now giving up any involvement in the broader immigration conversation."