Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Saudi Arabia cites FBI’s Meese Commission in asking judge to toss 9/11 victims’ lawsuit

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
Forced back into court by an act of Congress and faced with tens of billions of dollars in potential civil liability, oil-rich Saudi Arabia is asking a U.S. judge again to throw out a lawsuit brought against it by thousands of 9/11 victims.
The post Saudi Arabia cites FBI’s Meese Commission in asking judge to toss 9/11 victims’ lawsuit appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Fraud and billing mistakes cost Medicare – and taxpayers – tens of billions last year

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

By Fred Schulte /b>
Kaiser Health News
Federal health officials made more than $16 billion in improper payments to private Medicare Advantage health plans last year and need to crack down on billing errors by the insurers, a top congressional auditor testified Wednesday.
The post Fraud and billing mistakes cost Medicare – and taxpayers – tens of billions last year appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Val Demings, Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy submit transportation list

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
Orlando’s three Democratic members of Congress, U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy, have sent the White House a wish list of transportation projects that include I-4, Sunrail and the Orlando International Airport.
The trio sent the list Wednesday urging the administration of President Donald Trump to push the Central Florida package because of what they described as Orlando’s unique position.
“Central Florida – in particular the greater Orlando metropolitan area – is home to numerous high-profile destinations, venues and institutions, and therefore requires a world-class transportation infrastructure network to support the safe and efficient movement of residents and

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Florida Dems in Congress blast GOP health care plan after budget report

Monday, March 13th, 2017
As expected, the scoring of the Republican health care plan in Congress affirmed many of Democrats’ biggest warnings, and, as expected, many of Florida’s delegation wasted no time Monday attacking the “American Health Care Act” as “wrong,” “inhumane,” “alarming,” and “ruthless and cruel.”
No word yet from any of Florida’s 17 Republican members of Congress on how they feel about the Congressional Budget Office legislative analysis of the bill Republicans introduced last week. Its aim is to replace “ObamaCare,” the Affordable Care Act President Barack Obama and Democrats pushed through in 2010.
Democrats loaded up Monday at several of the CBO findings

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NASA’s $19.5B plan headed for Donald Trump’s desk

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
President Donald Trump will get his first chance to signal his vision for space now that both houses of Congress have approved a $19.5 billion bill cosponsored by both Florida senators to continue NASA’s programs.
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the one-year spending plan late Tuesday, calling for continued support for commercial space companies launching from Kennedy Space Center, continued support for the International Space Station and the first steps in NASA’s planned Journey to Mars.
The U.S. Senate approved the Senate Bill 442 in February, creating the prospect that a NASA budget could be approved and signed for the

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Brian Mast calls for Donald Trump to create Everglades task force

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast wants President Donald Trump to add the Everglades to his infrastructure priority list.
Mast, a Republican from Palm City, took the floor of Congress Thursday to urge Trump to create an “Everglades Restoration Infrastructure Taskforce” and secure full funding to accelerate projects to completion.
“The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is the most ambitious ecosystem restoration ever attempted, and represents the ultimate infrastructure package for Florida,” Mast said. “But many critical projects—designed to end harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and algal blooms into my community—are far behind where they should be and becoming far more costly by the delay in

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Stephanie Murphy declares support for Puerto Rico to become state

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy declared on the floor of Congress Thursday morning that she would like to see Puerto Rico become America’s 51st state.
The Democrat from Winter Park represents a district, Florida’s 7th Congressional District, with a large Puerto Rican population.
In her speech, the freshman congresswoman said the decision ultimately needs to be up to the resident of the island territory, but that she hopes they chose statehood. Residents there will get that chance in a referendum scheduled for this June.
Her remarks came on the 100th anniversary of when Puerto Rican residents were granted U.S. Citizenship. However, it is

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‘Penttbomb 2.0’ and the FBI’s brush-off of reports alleging 9/11 ties to Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

By Dan Christensen
FloridaBulldog.org
FBI officials who briefed the 9/11 Review Commission on the bureau’s sprawling 9/11 investigation code-named PENTTBOMB steered the discussion away from Saudi Arabia by repeatedly disavowing or downplaying reports by agents alleging terrorist ties to the kingdom.
The post ‘Penttbomb 2.0’ and the FBI’s brush-off of reports alleging 9/11 ties to Saudi Arabia appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer: Leading the way in civility – Florida’s new members of Congress

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

This past year has seen our country feeling more divided than ever before. The 2016 election took its toll, with candidates up and down the ballot partaking in name calling and disrespectful attacks. While political incivility is nothing new, this past year saw a new low for our nation’s discourse. With public trust in Congress at an all-time low (public opinion polls consistent show less than 10 percent of Americans having trust in the body), and the first six weeks of the Trump administration leaving many concerned, we must spend time considering what steps we can take to protect

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Federal judges’ lifetime tenure for good reason; Tallahassee should take note

Saturday, February 11th, 2017
There is a profound reason why the Founders gave life tenure to federal judges, subject only to impeachment for bad behavior. As Alexander Hamilton explained it in The Federalist No. 78:
“In a monarchy, it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a Republic, it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body…”
Judges subject to the whims of a president or the Congress to keep their jobs would be worthless. So would the Constitution.
The founding wisdom has been confirmed time and again, most famously when the Supreme Court ruled

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Charlie Crist, three others join Climate Solutions Caucus

Thursday, February 9th, 2017
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and three more members of Congress have joined the bipartisan, largely bi-coastal Climate Solutions Caucus, the group announced Thursday.
With the additions of Crist, a Florida Democrat; David Reichert, a Republican from Washington;  Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon; and Don Bacon, a Republican from Nebraska, the caucus formed and chaired by two other Florida congressmen now numbers 24 – 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans.
The caucus so far is largely drawn from East Coast and West Coast members of Congress, whose districts would be directly impacted by climate change. Bacon is just the fourth member not from

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Val Demings wants her committee in Congress to oversee ‘The Wall’

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
As President Donald Trump moves forward on his plans to build a massive, potentially $25 billion wall along the Mexico border, U.S. Rep. Val Demings wants assurance that Congress will have some oversight of the project.
It’s possible that Trump could build the wall through executive order and by cobbling together funds in existing programs without ever going to Congress.
So on Wednesday Demings introduced an amendment to the oversight plan of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that could give that committee some control regardless of how the president wants to do the wall.
Demings, an Orlando Democrat, is

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The room where it all happens is just a phone call away

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
For voters who want to piss their politics into the wind, there’s Facebook. For voters who want to change the hearts, minds, and votes of elected officials, the telephone is the easiest, most effective way to go.
Every officeholder from Carrabelle to Congress employs human beings whose primary job is to lend a respectful ear to Floridians who want to be heard. Often, these staffers are civic-minded idealists who encourage their bosses to follow their better angels. They’re easy to talk to and very effective at delivering the vox populi to the corner office.
The dumbest politician knows that for every

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Jared Moskowitz files resolution condemning U.N. Security Council Israeli settlement vote

Monday, January 23rd, 2017
A South Florida Democrat has filed a resolution calling on the Florida House to stand with Congress in its condemnation of the United Nations.
Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat, filed a resolution (HR 281) last week objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.
“The passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 undermined the long-standing position of the United States to oppose and veto United Nation Security Council resolutions that seek to impose solutions to final-status issues or are one sided and anti Israel, reversing decades of bipartisan agreement,” reads the proposed House resolution. “The passage of United

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Dear Congress: On Jan. 21, the people roared – and they will vote

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
A letter to my Senators and Representative. Crib freely if you wish.
Dear Senator Burr:
It would seem that we are living in an alternative universe, one in which Nazis, Ku Kluxers and other traitors to our American way of life are euphemized as the “alternative right” and the propagandists for Donald Trump claim entitlement to “alternative facts.” Does that make him an “alternative president?” If only it were so.
But about this I am serious: There is no “alternative Congress.” We have only one, the one in which you serve. We are looking to that Congress, looking to you, for the

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Daniel Webster: Congress will not pull rug out on health care coverage

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Whether or not congressional Republicans have a plan to replace Obamacare they are beginning to respond to voters concerns about lost coverage, and U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster has told his that “we do not intend to pull the rug out.”
In his newsletter to constituents of Florida’s 11th Congressional District, which includes much of Lake County and north Central Florida to the Gulf Coast, Webster pressed his assurances that the Affordable Care Act could be replaced.
He also made clear the laundry list of concerns that he and many other Republicans have been trying to raise for seven years, with a

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Mike Pence looks like he will be Donald Trump’s inside man in Congress

Monday, January 16th, 2017
When Mike Pence landed in Congress after the 2000 election, he was a conservative agitator who often bucked President George W. Bush‘s agenda. Seventeen years later, he’s the vice president-elect and Donald Trump‘s inside man on Capitol Hill.
Pence, who spent a dozen years in Congress before becoming Indiana’s governor, is visiting frequently with lawmakers and promising close coordination after Trump’s inauguration Friday. In a sign of his attentiveness, Pence will have an office in the House as well as the traditional honorary office for the vice president in the Senate.
Pence’s role takes on greater importance, given Trump’s ascension to

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Darren Soto named Assistant Whip for Congressional Dems

Friday, January 13th, 2017
Darren Soto has been named Assistant Whip in the upcoming 115th Congressional session. He joins fellow Florida representative Val Demings in that role.
Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Soto was “already hard at work” representing his state in the legislature.
“He will bring an important perspective to the whip operation as a new Member,” he said. “He is a rising star in Florida, and I look forward to working with him to support job creation and ensure that the diverse voices and viewpoints of the people living in Central Florida get the full attention they deserve in the next Congress.”
Soto

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Daniel Webster gets seat on Science, Space Committee

Friday, January 13th, 2017
U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster of Clermont has been appointed to a seat on the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, essentially replacing former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson as Central Florida’s second member of that committee.
Webster, whose Florida’s 11th Congressional District includes parts of Lake County plus most of west-central Florida, joins fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey of Brevard County on the committee that reviews the NASA budget and initiatives, including programs at Kennedy Space Center. Grayson, a Democrat from Windermere, often pushed minority positions on that committee, particularly pressing for NASA to be more involved in direct

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More committee assignments for Val Demings, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy

Friday, January 13th, 2017
Additional congressional committee assignments are rolling out and Orlando’s new representatives are getting seats to oversee natural resources, small businesses and the oversight and government reform.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat, has been chosen to be on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, a powerful panel that Congress has used to investigate and various federal agencies and officials, including last year’s email investigation of Hillary Clinton. It’s chaired by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz.
Citing her own background in law enforcement, the retired Orlando police chief Demings declared in a press release, ““The integrity of our government is of

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Darren Soto announces home-grown senior staff

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Freshman U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando announced his senior staff, heavy on local connections and including a key former staffer of his predecessor Alan Grayson.
Christine Biron, who was Soto’s campaign manager and before that his legislative assistant in both the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate, was announced Wednesday as his chief of staff in Washington. Biron and Soto have worked together since Soto’s first campaign.
Alex Barrio, who served as Florida’s house district secretary and as a legislative analyst for the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus before making an unsuccessful run for a house seat himself last summer,

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Freshmen Congress members from Orlando get top choices for committee seats

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Central Florida’s three freshmen in Congress all got top-choice A-list committee assignments Tuesday, with Val Demings of Orlando serving on the Homeland Security Committee, Darren Soto of Orlando on the Agriculture Committee, and Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park on the Armed Services Committee.
Congressional leaders announced their choices for freshmen and others to fill spots on the top committees Tuesday. More committee assignments are likely late this week and early next week. While “top choice” often is something like appropriations, which is rarely if ever available to freshmen, incoming members of Congress also have their top realistic choices.
For Demings, a

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Val Demings, Florida members, lead moment in Congress to remember Orlando’s fallen officers

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
With a bipartisan gathering of other Florida congressional members, Orlando’s former police chief Val Demings, now a congresswoman from Orlando, led the House of Representatives in a moment to remember and honor Orlando’s fallen officers Monday night.
“I rise today to honor the lives of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department and Deputy Norm Lewis of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office,” Demings declared in the house chamber. As the former Orlando police chief I had the honor of knowing both Sgt. Clayton and Deputy Lewis. Sgt. Clayton was violently murdered while responding to a call this morning. Deputy Lewis was

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Stephanie Murphy joining Blue Dogs, New Democrats

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
U.S. Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Murphy announced Tuesday she intends to join the two moderate-Democrat organizations in Congress, the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition.
Murphy said the coalitions – the New Democrats promote small business, the Blue Dogs, fiscal conservatism – “align with her goals of strengthening Central Florida’s growing entrepreneurial and small business sectors, keeping our nation secure, and ensuring fiscal discipline in Congress.”
Murphy, of Winter Park, was elected Nov. 8 in an upset victory over 12-term U.S. Rep. John Mica, also of Winter Park, in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. The district, which includes north-central and Orange County

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Congressional Puerto Rico task force releases final recommendations

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
A bipartisan Congressional task force heavily influenced by Florida’s U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio released its final report Tuesday on dealing with Puerto Rico’s economic collapse offering scores of recommendations for helping the U.S. territory, its economy and it’s people.
Authorized last summer by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, or “PROMESA,” the task force has been working for six months to prepare a blueprint for the official federal agency created in that same law that will oversee the territory’s economic governance for the near future, the Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board.
Most of

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Alan Grayson files to run again but says it’s just paperwork, for now

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
Democrat U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is downplaying prospects that his filing to run again for Congress means he’s going to run again for Congress – but he’s not ruling it out.
The Democrat from Orlando – who leaves office Jan. 3 because he did not seek re-election in Florida’s 9th Congressional District – has filed paperwork to run in 2018. And this time he filed to run in Florida’s 11th Congressional District, centered in Lake County.
Yet Grayson insisted Tuesday that the paperwork is simply a legal requirement, because his campaign committee has continued to raise money since the Nov. 8

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Patrick Murphy’s farewell speech focuses on bipartisan unity

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy called on Congress to pursue bipartisan unity and eschew any “hateful and divisive” rhetoric as he gave a farewell speech to the House of Representatives Tuesday night.
Murphy, the Democrats’ failed candidate for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat in the Nov. 8 election, conceded “the outcome of this election was not what I hoped for for our state and our nation” but used most of his seven-minute address to suggest he’s always sought bipartisan cooperation and to urge for more.
The Palm Beach Gardens congressman whose four-year tenure ends Jan. 3 decried money in politics, corporate influences and gerrymandering

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PROMISA task force seeking to rescue Puerto Rico, but pain will come too, Bill Nelson says

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
Meeting with a bipartisan roundtable of Puerto Rican leaders in Kissimmee Tuesday, Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson expressed both hope that the current Puerto Rico “rescue” plans being developed will help and concern that not all the details they would want can be delivered.
Nelson, Congressman-elect Darren Soto and Osceola County Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer met with 15 Orlando- and Kissimmee-area Puerto Ricans to hash out what they hope for through Congress and the Puerto Rico Oversight Board the lawmakers created last summer with the PROMISA Act.
The island territory is wracked in debt; a downward-spiraling economy; an exodus of

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Senate passes stopgap spending bill with $1.1 billion to fight Zika

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Averting an election-year crisis, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to keep the government operating through Dec. 9 and provide $1.1 billion in long-delayed funding to battle the Zika virus. The House was poised to act on the measure before day’s end.
The sweeping 72-26 vote came after top congressional leaders broke through a stalemate over aid to help Flint, Michigan, address its water crisis. Democratic advocates for Flint are now satisfied with Republican assurances that money for Flint will be finalized after the election.
The hybrid spending measure is the last major item on Capitol Hill’s pre-election agenda and

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Orlando facing prospect of all-freshman lineup in Congress

Friday, September 23rd, 2016
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and her nearly 24 years in Congress – gone.
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and his nearly six years in Congress – gone.
U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster and his nearly six years in Congress – gone, moved to an outside district.
U.S. Rep. John Mica and his nearly 24 years in Congress – more at risk than he’s faced in more than a decade.
This year, Orlando is losing most and potentially all its seniority, experience, leadership and clout in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Whoever gets elected, the voters’ choices for change may wind up being for the better. And

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