Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

Florida House Democrats demand Rick Scott speak up on CBO’s scoring of GOP health care plan

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Since the Congressional Budget Office said the Republican health care plan would raise the ranks of the uninsured by 14 million people next year earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott has been silent.
Florida House Democrats are now calling him out for his sudden reluctance to weigh in on a subject he’s never been shy about talking about before.
The governor has been a major critic of the Affordable Care Act and traveled to Washington last week to meet with President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, and House Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss the American Health Care Act.
Scott told reporters later he was “encouraged” about the Act, adding that it was still a “work in progress.”
But after the CBO came out with their score card earlier this week that said that the GOP plan would raise the number of uninsured to 24 million over a decade and could have a huge impact on Florida’s Medicaid program, the governor has been silent.
Florida House Democrats now say it’s time for him to speak up.
“Rather than acting as a leader, the Governor took the path of a typical politician and ducked the question entirely,” says House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz. “If Governor Scott isn’t prepared to defend ‘Trumpcare,’ he at least owes Floridians an explanation about what exactly he’s been discussing with Republican leadership during his taxpayer funded trips to Washington DC.”
“Trumpcare would rip the rug out from under the millions of Floridians who have gained access to quality, affordable health care under the ACA,” says Coral Gables Rep. Daisy Baez. “This would be incredibly harmful to the overall health and well-being of all Floridians, and they deserve to know where Governor Scott stands on this issue.”
Democrats note that Florida leads the nation in those finding coverage through the insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, with over 1.6 million Floridians signing up during this year’s

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House GOP health bill facing fresh House committee test

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The White House and Republican leaders are talking to rank-and-file lawmakers about revising the GOP health care overhaul, hoping to keep a rebellion by conservatives and moderates from snowballing and imperiling the party’s showpiece legislation.
Four days after a congressional report projected the bill would pry coverage from millions of voters, signs of fraying GOP support for the legislation were showing. The measure would strike down much of former President Barack Obama‘s 2010 overhaul and reduce the federal role, including financing, for health care consumers and is opposed uniformly by Democrats.
In a fresh test of Republicans’ willingness to embrace the legislation, the House Budget Committee was considering the measure Thursday. Republicans expressed confidence the bill would be approved, but the vote could be tight. The panel can’t make significant changes but was expected to endorse non-binding, suggested changes to nail down votes.
The bill would eliminate the tax penalty that pressures people to buy coverage and the federal subsidies that let millions afford it, replacing them with tax credits that are bigger for older people. It would cut Medicaid, repeal the law’s tax increases on higher earning Americans and require 30 percent higher premiums for consumers who let coverage lapse.
Overt GOP opposition grew after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected Monday that the legislation would push 24 million Americans off coverage in a decade and shift out-of-pocket costs toward lower income, older people. Obama’s law has provided coverage to around 20 million additional people
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Wednesday that leaders could now make “some necessary improvements and refinements” to the legislation. But he declined to commit to bringing the measure to the House floor next week, a schedule Republican leaders have repeatedly said they intended to keep.
At a late rally in Nashville Wednesday, President Donald Trump said: “We’re going

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Joe Henderson: ‘Shy’ Rick Scott needs to pipe up on Medicaid expansion

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t been shy about sharing his feelings on the Affordable Care Act. Like any good Republican, he hates it. He wants it to go away.
Now that Republicans have a legitimate proposal on the table to replace Obamacare, though, Scott has gone into stealth mode on the subject. In an Associated Press story, the governor did the Rick Scott Shuffle when asked for his reaction to the plan now being debated intensely in Washington.
Scott said he was glad there is “good conversation” happening on the subject. Not exactly a stop-the-presses comment.
He even met recently with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is pushing a plan that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said could leave up to 24 million Americans without health insurance.
Would the governor like to let us mere mortals in on what was discussed? People in Florida will be greatly affected by whatever finally becomes law, especially if it has a significant impact on Medicaid.
Florida depends heavily on federal money for Medicaid funding, and under the plan being discussed more than 4 million residents here would see their benefits reduced. That probably suits budget hawks in the state House just fine, but wouldn’t be good for many of the state’s elderly and low-income residents.
That’s where Scott needs to pipe up on this subject. In 2014, remember, he went to war (and lost) with the House over Medicaid expansion. Scott pushed for it; now-Speaker Richard Corcoran was intractably against.
Given his background as a hospital administrator before he went into politics, there are few people in the state better versed on health insurance than Scott. He could help frame the debate if he chose.
He certainly hasn’t been shy about making his opinions known recently on other subjects. He has been outspoken about his trying to save Enterprise Florida and Visit

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American Action Network targets Carlos Curbelo in new ad

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The American Action Network has begun a new $1.5 million issue advocacy campaign to persuade a group of GOP lawmakers to fight for passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
The ad highlights key elements of the plan and encourages lawmakers to deliver on their health care promise.
Over the next two weeks, the ads will air nationally on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and in 15 congressional districts nationwide, including in Miami, featuring CD 26 Representative Carlos Curbelo, who voted for the AHCA last week in a House Committee.
The ads are also airing in the congressional districts of House Speaker Paul Ryan, California legislators Darrell Issa, David Valadao, Jeff Denham and Kevin McCarthy. Colorado’s Mike Coffman, Nebraska’s Don Bacon, Iowa’s Rod Blum and David Young, Oregon’s Greg Walden, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick, Texas’ Kevin Brady and Will Hurd and Virginia’s Barbara Comstock, many (if not all) are in 2018 competitive districts.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=00xxedRXG3w%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

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House GOP releases bill replacing Barack Obama health care overhaul

Monday, March 6th, 2017

House Republicans on Monday released their long-awaited plan for unraveling former President Barack Obama‘s health care law, a package that would scale back the government’s role in health care and likely leave more Americans uninsured.
House committees planned to begin voting on the 123-page legislation Wednesday, launching what could be the year’s defining battle in Congress and capping a seven-year Republican effort to repeal the 2010 law. Though GOP leaders expect their measure to win the backing of the Trump administration, divisions remain and GOP success is by no means ensured.
The plan would repeal the statute’s unpopular fines on people who don’t carry health insurance. It would replace income-based subsidies the law provides to help millions of Americans pay premiums with age-based tax credits that may be less generous to people with low incomes. Those payments would phase out for higher-earning people.
The bill would continue Obama’s expansion of Medicaid to additional low-earning Americans until 2020. After that, states adding Medicaid recipients would no longer receive the additional federal funds the statute has provided.
More significantly, Republicans would overhaul the federal-state Medicaid program, changing its open-ended federal financing to a limit based on enrollment and costs in each state.
In perhaps their riskiest political gamble, the plan is expected to cover fewer than the 20 million people insured under Obama’s overhaul, including many residents of states carried by President Donald Trump in November’s election.
Republicans said they don’t have official estimates on those figures yet. But aides from both parties and nonpartisan analysts have said they expect coverage numbers to be lower.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the bill would “drive down costs, encourage competition, and give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance.” He added, “This unified Republican government will deliver relief and peace of mind to the millions of Americans suffering under

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Charlie Crist is demanding more transparency out of Donald Trump

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Charlie Crist says he is all in on a resolution of inquiry sponsored by New York Democrat Jerald Nadler that calls on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide Congress with any and all information from any investigations into President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest and ethical violations.
Nadler’s resolution bypasses the normal procedures of how bills work their way through the House of Representatives. It’s written in a way that it must be brought to the House floor for a vote within 14 days if not reported by the relevant committee.
Critics have contended that Trump is violating the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution, which bars him from benefiting financially or otherwise from his extensive business dealings abroad.
“As public officials, we have a responsibility to promote transparency and provide oversight and accountability to ensure the public’s trust in our government, and that the government is working in their best interests,” says Crist. “This administration is breaking with precedent in ways that raise serious concerns and threaten the health of our democracy. The American people deserve answers to the questions being raised, and Congress has the power to require them. Let’s get to work.”
Crist also notes in his statement that he is backing an effort led by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell, Jr. to call on Congress to use its authority to make President Trump’s tax returns available to ensure no conflicts of interest exist, an effort blocked by Republicans in the House Monday night. He also is a cosponsor of two bills (H.R. 356 and H.R. 530) that aim to investigate, expose, and deter foreign influence in the American election process.
New York Representative Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry follows two formal requests sent to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte—the first on November 30, 2016 and the second on January 24, 2017—for hearings into federal conflict-of-interest and ethical provisions that may apply to the President and an investigation of

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GOP proposed health reforms care would ’cause chaos,’ Kathy Castor says

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Tampa Democratic Representative Kathy Castor says that a leaked GOP alternative plan for healthcare would have “dire consequences for families here in the state of Florida.”
A draft bill detailing Republican plans to begin repealing and replacing many facets of the ACA would provide expanded tax credits and health savings accounts for individuals while reducing federal spending on tax subsidies and Medicaid and practically eliminating both the current employer and individual mandate to provide and carry health insurance, according to NBC News.
“The changes that the Republicans have put on the table would really cause chaos,” Castor said on Monday at a news conference held in front of the Tampa Family Health Center clinic on Dale Mabry Highway.
The purpose of the event was to announce that Kathy Palmer, a Tampa resident currently on the Affordable Care Act, will be Castor’s guest at President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night  Many of Castor’s Democratic House colleagues have also invited members of the public whose lives could be deleteriously affected by losing their care if the ACA is repealed as their guest of honor.
Palmer said that she was hospitalized at Tampa Community Hospital in December because of extreme chest pains. After a series of tests determined she was actually okay, she said she was dumbfounded when she was hit with a $70,000 bill.
“Because I had the Affordable Care Act, I only have to pay $179 of it. I can afford that. This is the only way I can afford insurance,” she said, adding that the two companies she works part-time at are “really small businesses, and they’re struggling too.”
Castor dissected the leaked plans for health care reform, popping a balloon into every one of them as being unworthy as a successor to the ACA.
She dismissed the idea of providing certain high risk pools for the state, saying that Florida tried that in the 80’s and 90’s to little success because “it’s

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For Donald Trump, a solitary start to life in the White House

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Around 6:30 each evening, Secret Service agents gather in the dim hallways of the West Wing to escort Donald Trump home.
For some presidents, the short walk between the Oval Office and the White House residence upstairs is a lifeline to family and a semblance of normal life. Others have used the grand residence for late night entertaining and deal-making with lawmakers.
For Trump, life in the White House residence is so far a largely solitary existence. With his wife and youngest son living in New York, and his grown children busy with their young families, Trump’s first evenings have been spent largely alone, tethered to the outside world only by his phone and his television. The dramatic change of scenery has left the 70-year-old president, a known creature of habit, a little adrift in the evenings, according to one person who spoke with him recently.
Another regular contact described the president as still adjusting to this new digs and his somewhat more confined schedule. His advisers initially said they expected him to spend his evenings holding working dinners, like one scheduled Thursday with Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
While Trump has marveled at the history and beauty of his new home, “it’s still government housing,” said Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax and a friend of the president’s.
A half-dozen other friends, advisers and associates of the president spoke about his first weeks in the White House on the condition of anonymity in order to detail private conversations.
The interviews underscore the relatively large circle of people who have spoken with the new president, despite the busy schedule and enormous pressures of the job. Trump has been spending his nights making and taking calls to an expanding network of old friends, lawmakers and others.
Calls often come in to Trump’s personal cellphone, which he fought staff and

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Francis Rooney talks water during Fort Myers stop

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Water remains one of Rep. Francis Rooney’s top priority, the freshman congressman told Southwest Floridians this week.
The Naples Republican told member of Businesspeople United for Political Action Committee (BUPAC) that he wants to focus Everglades restoration and improving water quality during his time in office. His visit to Fort Myers kicked off a day-long swing through Lee County focused on water quality.
“I think the top priority is water,” said Rooney. “There’s 49 states competing for infrastructure dollars, and I’m working to get the feds to do their part.”
Rooney has called on Donald Trump to support Everglades restoration, sending a letter to the president last week saying it “has far-ranging impacts to the entire state of Florida and the rest of the country.”
The two-page letter was signed by the entire Florida delegation, and asked for Trump’s “strong support Everglades restoration projects, especially those within the Central Everglades Restoration Program (CERP).”
Rooney is hopeful a unified front will be helpful when it comes to getting Everglades projects funded. He also thinks giving membership a first-hand look of the Everglades will help move the projects through the process. He said House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have said they will come to Florida to see the area. He’s also hoping to get the appropriations chairman down to Florida.
While Rooney said he plans to focus on water issue, he also fielded questions from BUPAC members on public education, fracking, and military and veterans’ issues.
The post Francis Rooney talks water during Fort Myers stop appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Wayne W. Oliver: Solution to address health care affordability

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Health care continues to be at the center of debate across our nation and in Florida’s State Capitol. At the national level, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Representative Tom Price are vowing to make tort reform a key part of their replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act which is usually referred to as “Obamacare.” But while many focus on the number of Floridians covered by some form of health insurance, equal attention should be paid to the ever-increasing cost of health care.
The cost of health care affects everyone: the insured, the uninsured, employers and the State. If costs are reduced, by definition, health care becomes more accessible and more affordable for all Floridians. We must, therefore, look at spending on the front-end and develop effective mechanisms to contain costs while considering any State options for extending coverage to more people.
Currently, in Florida, the fear of medical litigation among physicians has manifested itself in the form of the practice of defensive medicine. By definition, defensive medicine is ordering unnecessary medical tests, medications, CT scans, referrals to specialists, procedures, and consultations with little clinical or no therapeutic value but may help physicians protect themselves against a potential malpractice lawsuit. In Florida alone, the practice of defensive medicine costs all Floridians more than $40 billion per year. Each year, billions of dollars are wasted on unnecessary health care expenses. And, defensive medicine is a hidden driver in the cost of health care. According to the Gallup Organization, wasteful, defensive medicine accounts for as much as 26 percent of overall health care spending.
The current dysfunctional and inefficient medical malpractice system is, therefore, imposing an avoidable and onerous burden on a wide swath of Florida’s economy, impacting Florida’s physicians, patients and businesses. A proposal called the Patients’ Compensation System is intended to transform the

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Senate panel approves Nikki Haley nomination to U.N.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The Latest on activities in Congress (all times EST):
12:25 p.m.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has overwhelmingly approved South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley‘s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
By voice vote, the panel recommended President Donald Trump‘s selection of Haley to the full Senate. She is expected to be confirmed easily.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the committee’s top Democrat, backed Haley’s nomination. Cardin says what Haley lacks in foreign policy experience, “she makes up for in capability, intelligence, and a track record of building coalitions in South Carolina.”
During her confirmation hearing, Haley declared her support for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The shift may trigger increased violence in the Middle East.
Haley also took a hard line against Russia. She says she doesn’t think Moscow can be trusted right now.
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12:20 p.m.
President Donald Trump’s pick for health secretary is adamant that the new administration will protect people with pre-existing medical problems even as it moves to repeal the Obama-era law prohibiting insurance discrimination.
Georgia Rep. Tom Price told the Senate Finance Committee that “we need to make sure nobody loses their insurance or is unable to gain insurance because of pre-existing conditions.” Price was being questioned by Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
But the way Republicans would go about guaranteeing coverage could be very different. They are looking at special “high-risk” insurance pools as a last resort for people who can’t get coverage otherwise. That hasn’t worked well in the past, providing costly coverage to a limited number of people.
Price said “nobody ought to be priced out of the market for having a bad diagnosis.”
___
12:15 p.m.
Health care plan? What health care plan?
Laughter erupted during a tense Senate confirmation hearing when Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, asked President Donald Trump’s health nominee if it’s true that the new

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Sean Spicer cites ‘studies’ to back Donald Trump voter claim

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):
2 p.m.
A spokesman says President Donald Trump’s belief that there were millions of illegal votes cast in the November election is based on “studies and evidence.”
But spokesman Sean Spicer did not provide examples of that evidence.
Trump first made the false claim during the transition. He reiterated the statement in a meeting Monday night with lawmakers, blaming illegal ballots for his loss of the popular vote.
Spicer says Trump “continues to maintain that belief.” There has been no evidence to support the claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the election.
Spicer’s only attempt to support Trump’s assertion was to point a 2008 Pew Research survey that showed a need to update voter registration systems.
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1:55 p.m.
An Agriculture Department research agency has banned the release of news releases, photos and other material to the public.
In a memo to employees at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, chief of staff Sharon Drumm said the agency would immediately cease releasing any “public-facing” documents.
“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” read the email memo obtained by The Associated Press.
A statement released by ARS spokesman Christopher Bentley said the agency “values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public as we strive to find solutions to agricultural problems affecting America.”
The statement said some material would still be available on the agency’s website.
Buzzfeed News first reported the memo.
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1:50 p.m.
The White House says President Donald Trump has accepted House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s invitation to address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28.
Ryan announced the invitation on Tuesday and informed reporters after a meeting with House Republicans. Ryan had met with Trump Monday night at the White House. Trump also met with Republican

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Donald Trump arrives in Washington with a wave and a salute

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Ready for his big moment, Donald Trump swept into Washington on a military jet Thursday and quickly set to building better ties to the Republican Congress as he kicked off three days of inaugural festivities. Washington braced for an onslaught of crowds and demonstrators — with all the attendant hoopla and hand-wringing.
Trump was quickly taking on more of the trappings of the presidency, giving a salute to the Air Force officer who welcomed him as he stepped off the jet with wife Melania at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington.
His first stop was a luncheon in a ballroom at his own hotel, where he gave a shout-out to GOP congressional leaders, declaring: “I just want to let the world know we’re doing very well together.” House Speaker Paul Ryan, he said, will finally have someone to sign legislation into law. Then Trump veered into the territory of the unknowable to declare his Cabinet selections had “the highest IQ.”
Just blocks away, the White House was quickly emptying out. President Barack Obama‘s schedule was clear beyond his daily briefing and his final weekly lunch with Vice President Joe Biden.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, in a tweet, called Inauguration Eve “a momentous day before a historic day,” as security barricades and blockades went up around Washington in preparation for Friday’s swearing-in ceremony and all of the hoopla and hand-wringing that comes with it.
“We are all ready to go to work,” Pence said at a morning news conference. “In fact, we can’t wait to get to work for the American people to make it great again.”
Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he’d be putting on his “favorite DHS jacket” and taking to the streets to inspect security preparations for the inaugural festivities.
He told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that areas where inaugural crowds will congregate will

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18M more Americans would be uninsured under 2016 GOP repeal

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Insurance premiums would soar and some 18 million Americans would lose health coverage if Republicans partially repeal President Barack Obama‘s health care law without a replacement, Congress’ nonpartisan budget office estimated Tuesday.
The Congressional Budget Office analyzed a GOP 2016 repeal measure, which Republicans have cited as a starting point for their 2017 drive to dismantle and replace Obama’s health overhaul.
Premiums for policies bought from online marketplaces established by Obama’s law would rise up to 25 percent a year after enactment of repeal. They’d about double by 2026, the report estimated.
There’d also be 18 million more uninsured people a year after enactment and 32 million more by 2026, the report projected.
The numbers served as a flashing yellow light for this year’s effort by President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to annul Obama’s law and — in a more complex challenge — institute their own alternative. While Republicans have produced several outlines for how they’d recraft Obama’s 2010 statute, they’ve never united behind one plan despite years of trying and there are many unknowns about what will happen in insurance markets while the GOP effort is underway.
The report also became immediate political fodder for both sides in what is expected to be one of this year’s premier battles in Congress.
Trump seemed to complicate that fight over the weekend when he told The Washington Post that a forthcoming GOP plan would provide “insurance for everybody.” In contrast, some congressional Republicans have used a more modest description, saying the plan will offer “universal access.”
The 2016 bill that CBO analyzed did not replace Obama’s law with a GOP alternative, which Republicans have insisted will be an integral part of their health care drive this year.
Because of that omission, Donald Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the report “assumes a situation that simply

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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 the White House without any experience in elective office.
Trump has few long-standing political alliances in Congress and a strained relationship with the Republican establishment, a hangover from the 2016 campaign. Trump’s agenda doesn’t always align with Republicans’ priorities, and his inflammatory remarks about immigrants, Muslims and women made many in the GOP cringe.
Pence has forged an enduring friendship with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., dating to their early years in Congress, along with other House Republicans crucial to advancing Trump’s agenda. In early meetings with lawmakers, Pence has passed out his personal cellphone number and promised an open line to the administration.
“He’s the trusted intermediary. He’s the person that people on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue know and trust,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.
If Trump is known for his brash form of disruptive politics, Pence represents the incoming administration in a more traditional manner, exemplified by his polite, Midwestern demeanor. He joined Trump in New York on Wednesday for the president-elect’s first news conference since the Nov. 8 election. Pence soon returned to Capitol Hill for meetings with several senators, including Democrats Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Tim Kaine of Virginia. The latter was Hillary Clinton‘s

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Advocates call on Marco Rubio to protect immigrant families as Donald Trump era begins

Friday, January 13th, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan told a national cable television audience Thursday night that federal troops won’t be coming after undocumented immigrants once Donald Trump takes power next week.
But that comment alone isn’t likely to reverse the high anxiety felt in that community.
On Saturday, Latino immigrant rights groups are planning for a national day of protest and activities around immigrant and refugee rights. On Friday, representatives from various organizations expressed their own concerns at a news conference inside the West Tampa offices of Mi Familia Vota.
“We’re here today to call on our elected officials to do their duty and make sure that millions of people in this state stay protected,” said Michelle Prieto, the Tampa Area Coordinator, Mi Familia Vota. “Men, women and children, Latinos, Muslims, families and friends will be gathering together to deliver this message that anyone who has ever wanted to come to the United States of America to start a better life, and have their families live without fear of persecution, are able to do so and have that opportunity.”
Notwithstanding Ryan’s comments Thursday, Trump has been emphatic that he intends to boot out millions of undocumented immigrants from the U.S.
In his first televised interview after his stunning victory in November, Trump told CBS’ 60 Minutes that he planned to immediately deport or jail as many as three million undocumented immigrants.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers … probably two million of them, it could be even three … out of our country, or we are going to incarcerate them,” Trump told correspondent Lesley Stahl.
The activists at Friday’s event specifically called on Florida Senator Marco Rubio to stand up to Trump if attempts to begin proceedings to deport millions of immigrants.
“Senator Rubio, like a lot of politicians, made a lot of promises in this

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Advocates call on Marco Rubio to protect immigrant families as Donald Trump era begins

Friday, January 13th, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan told a national cable television audience Thursday night that federal troops won’t be coming after undocumented immigrants once Donald Trump takes power next week.
But that comment alone isn’t likely to reverse the high anxiety felt in that community.
On Saturday, Latino immigrant rights groups are planning for a national day of protest and activities around immigrant and refugee rights. On Friday, representatives from various organizations expressed their own concerns at a news conference inside the West Tampa offices of Mi Familia Vota.
“We’re here today to call on our elected officials to do their duty and make sure that millions of people in this state stay protected,” said Michelle Prieto, the Tampa Area Coordinator, Mi Familia Vota. “Men, women and children, Latinos, Muslims, families and friends will be gathering together to deliver this message that anyone who has ever wanted to come to the United States of America to start a better life, and have their families live without fear of persecution, are able to do so and have that opportunity.”
Notwithstanding Ryan’s comments Thursday, Trump has been emphatic that he intends to boot out millions of undocumented immigrants from the U.S.
In his first televised interview after his stunning victory in November, Trump told CBS’ 60 Minutes that he planned to immediately deport or jail as many as three million undocumented immigrants.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers … probably two million of them, it could be even three … out of our country, or we are going to incarcerate them,” Trump told correspondent Lesley Stahl.
The activists at Friday’s event specifically called on Florida Senator Marco Rubio to stand up to Trump if attempts to begin proceedings to deport millions of immigrants.
“Senator Rubio, like a lot of politicians, made a lot of promises in this

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Week 1: Cabinet picks contradict Donald Trump stands on some issues

Friday, January 13th, 2017

The lack of fireworks surrounding Senate consideration of President-elect Donald Trump‘s Cabinet picks may reflect a slew of statements his choices have made contradicting the billionaire businessman’s position on key issues.
Trump acknowledged the differences early Friday, posting a message on his Twitter account saying: “All my Cabinet nominee are looking good and doing a great job. I want them to be themselves and express their own thoughts, not mine!”
This week’s confirmation hearings produced an odd political chemistry where, for instance, one of the harshest examinations of a Trump Cabinet choice came from one of Trump’s fellow Republicans, presidential campaign rival Sen. Marco Rubio.
Despite Democrats’ dismay over some of Trump’s selections, the hearings were relatively tranquil, with Democrats generally restrained even in quizzing the more contentious picks. The reason, according to a few Democrats: The nominees are proving more palatable than Trump himself.
“As I meet members of the Cabinet I’m puzzled because many of them sound reasonable,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat. “Far more reasonable than their president.”
That could change in weeks to come, because some of the most potentially explosive hearings are still pending, including the scrutiny of former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin for Treasury secretary.
Several of Trump’s Cabinet selections this week made statements this week contradicting policy stances espoused by their soon-to-be boss on issues ranging from Russia and NATO to climate change and Muslims.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, picked for attorney general, said he’s against any outright ban on immigration by Muslims, in contrast to Trump’s onetime call to suspend admittance of Muslims until U.S. officials could learn more about nature of the threat of extremism.
His secretary of state candidate, Rex Tillerson, took a relatively hard line on Washington’s dealings with Russia, even though Trump has been talking about improving relations between Washington

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Kevin Hernandez: Donald Trump’s dream team for economic success

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The American public has long been yearning for a drastic change to the status quo.
Sadly, the past eight years have brought onto us sluggish economic growth, a wave of overregulation that drastically hurts the viability of our small businesses and, overall, an out-of-touch administration. It’s no surprise that Americans are fed up, and this year’s election proved that.
What has been needed, now more than ever, is for someone to shake up D.C. and repair an inefficient and inflated federal government.
With Republicans retaining the majority of both chambers of Congress, and a Republican president in the White House, it’s now time though to put rhetoric aside and demonstrate that there’s truly “A Better Way” for Washington to govern.
The burdens inflicted upon our nation’s entrepreneurs by an administration infatuated with bigger government, more taxation and overregulation can no longer be dismissed. After all, it’s those same entrepreneurs who are risking their own capital and, most importantly, creating roughly two-thirds of all U.S. jobs.
Thankfully, President-elect Donald Trump’s business acumen and pro-growth agenda has already translated into the outstanding selection of three key members who will serve on his Cabinet. It’s important to also note that these officials will be critically important in complementing the efforts of Speaker Paul Ryan’s Better Way agenda, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady’s efforts on tax reform and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s efforts to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act.
Those key players of Donald Trump’s triangle offense for economic growth and small-business success are:
Steven Mnuchin, secretary, Department of the Treasury
With almost 20 years of experience working as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Mnuchin will bring a wealth of knowledge regarding economic and financial issues. Mnuchin also brings a particularly keen understanding of the importance of lending and access to capital, which entrepreneurs and business groups alike

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Donald Trump denounces ‘disgrace’ of reports of Russian ties to him

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

A defiant President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday adamantly denied reports that Russia had obtained compromising personal and financial information about him, calling it a “tremendous blot” on the record of the intelligence community if such material had been released.
The incoming president, in his first news conference since late July, firmly chided news organizations for publishing the material late Tuesday night. After weeks of scoffing at reports that Russians had interfered in the election, he conceded publicly for the first time that Russia was likely responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said and quickly added that the United States is hacked by other countries as well, including China.
Trump’s extraordinary defense against the unsubstantiated intelligence report, just nine days before his inauguration, dominated a highly anticipated press conference in which he also announced a new Cabinet member, detailed his plans to disentangle himself from his sprawling global business empire, gave his outlook on the future of the “Obamacare” health care law and said he would soon nominate someone to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
“I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information, I read the information outside of that meeting,” he said, a reference to a classified briefing he received from intelligence leaders. “It’s all fake news, it’s phony stuff, it didn’t happen,” Trump said in a news conference that saw him repeatedly joust with reporters. “It was gotten by opponents of ours.”
Asked about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump boasted that it is an improvement over what he called America’s current “horrible relationship with Russia” and did not criticize the Russian leader for any interference in the election.
“If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that’s called an

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GOP: Cut taxes, change brackets; but what about deficits

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Congressional Republicans are planning a massive overhaul of the nation’s tax system, a heavy political lift that could ultimately affect families at every income level and businesses of every size.
Their goal is to simplify a complicated tax code that rewards wealthy people with smart accountants, and corporations that can easily shift profits — and jobs — overseas. It won’t be easy. The last time it was done was 30 years ago.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have vowed to pass a tax package in 2017 that would not add to the budget deficit. The Washington term is “revenue neutral.”
It means that for every tax cut there has to be a tax increase, creating winners and losers. Lawmakers would get some leeway if non-partisan congressional analysts project that a tax cut would increase economic growth, raising revenue without increasing taxes.
Nevertheless, passing a massive tax package will require some tough votes, politically.
Some key Republican senators want to share the political risk with Democrats. They argue that a tax overhaul must be bipartisan to be fully embraced by the public. They cite President Barack Obama‘s health law — which passed in 2010 without any Republican votes — as a major policy initiative that remains divisive.
Congressional Democrats say they are eager to have a say in overhauling the tax code. But McConnell, who faulted Democrats for acting unilaterally on health care, is laying the groundwork to pass a purely partisan bill.
Both McConnell and Ryan said they plan to use a legislative maneuver that would prevent Senate Democrats from using the filibuster to block a tax bill.
McConnell says he wants the Senate to tackle a tax plan in the spring, after Congress repeals Obama’s health law. House Republicans are more eager to get started, but haven’t set a timeline.
Some things

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Donald Trump action on health care could cost Planned Parenthood

Monday, December 19th, 2016

One of President-elect Donald Trump‘s first, and defining, acts next year could come on Republican legislation to cut off taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood.
Trump sent mixed signals during the campaign about the 100-year-old organization, which provides birth control, abortions and various women’s health services. He said “millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood,” but he also endorsed efforts to defund it.
Trump once described himself as “very pro-choice.” Now he’s in the anti-abortion camp.
Still, the Republican has been steadfast in calling for repeal of President Barack Obama‘s health care law, and the GOP-led Congress is eager to comply. One of the first pieces of legislation will be a repeal measure that’s paired with cutting off money for Planned Parenthood. While the GOP may delay the impact of scuttling the law for almost four years, denying Planned Parenthood roughly $400 million in Medicaid funds would take effect immediately.
“We’ve already shown what we believe with respect to funding of Planned Parenthood,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters last month. “Our position has not changed.”
Legislation to both repeal the law and cut Planned Parenthood funds for services to low-income women moved through Congress along party lines last year. Obama vetoed it; Trump’s win removes any obstacle.
Cutting off Planned Parenthood from taxpayer money is a long-sought dream of social conservatives, but it’s a loser in the minds of some GOP strategists. Planned Parenthood is loathed by anti-abortion activists who are the backbone of the GOP coalition. Polls, however, show that the group is favorably viewed by a sizable majority of Americans — 59 percent in a Gallup survey last year, including more than one-third of Republicans.
“Defunding Planned Parenthood as one of their first acts in the new year would be devastating for millions of families and a huge mistake by Republicans,” said incoming

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Mitch Perry Report for 12.14.16 – Fun with Guccifer 2.0

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Over the summer, a hacker who went by the nom de guerre of Guccifer 2.0 began distributing internal documents from the Democratic National Committee to a variety of reporters and bloggers here in Florida.
I was one of those recipients.
I bring that up this morning because of the story in Wednesday’s NY Times , which revisits the issue, and highlights the document dumps in the CD 26 Democratic primary between Annette Taddeo and Joe Garcia.
And it reviews the correspondence between Guccifer 2.0 and a blogger who created the website HelloFLA!,, who the Times reports was run by a former Florida legislative aide turned Republican lobbyist.

I know we published one, maybe two stories from the information that Guccifer 2.0 provided. I then remember he sent me a link to some “new” material in mid-September that didn’t seem that all that new, and that I didn’t use. And some of it was about congressional races in places like Arizona and Texas. When I informed him of that, he then sent me this link to a post written on the HelloFla! site. I never responded, and that was pretty much the end of our correspondence.
There’s no question that some of this opposition research material was used by Republicans in some congressional races, despite Nancy Pelosi’s pleadings to Paul Ryan that Republicans not exploit that.
With all the discussing about how the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta hurt Hillary Clinton, the fact is most of those emails were more on the gossipy and embarrassing side. There were hardly any smoking guns in the thousands of emails that were produced, which in October were released virtually everyday. But these DNC internal documents documented in today’s Times story, yeah, that could have definitely hurt some Dems in some congressional races around the nation.
In other news…
FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold had some interesting remarks to make about the extremely controversial

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Chief of staff Reince Priebus? Some Donald Trump loyalists still dubious

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

When President-elect Donald Trump tapped Reince Priebus as his chief of staff, Republican leaders cheered the prospect of a close ally having a top White House job.
But as Priebus tries to wield his influence and bring more structure to the president-elect’s freewheeling political organization, he’s frustrating some longtime Trump allies who see him as too conventional a pick for an unconventional president. Others fear being left behind as Priebus fills out West Wing jobs.
The dismay over Priebus stems in part from a belief among some Trump loyalists that the outgoing Republican National Committee chairman expected Trump to lose the election. They resent the president-elect “rewarding people who thought he wasn’t going to win,” according to one top adviser.
Still, Priebus appears to have Trump’s trust. He’s been given wide authority to name senior White House staff, according to people involved in the transition, and in shaping the decision on who will succeed him at the RNC, though deliberations over that post continue.
“Reince Priebus has done an outstanding job,” Trump said in a statement to The Associated Press. “All you have to do is look at all of the Republican victories and one in particular.”
If Trump runs his White House like past presidents — and that’s hardly a sure thing — Priebus, 44, could hold enormous sway over what issues reach the Oval Office. Chiefs of staff also typically control who has access to the president — no easy task given Trump’s penchant for consulting a wide network of associates before making key decisions.
Priebus, a Wisconsin native and father of two young children, comes to the White House with no significant experience in foreign and domestic policy. He has close ties with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP congressional leaders. And he’s seen by those who have worked with him previously

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.15.16 – The non-voters speak out

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Mike Evans is feeling the heat today – and so is his employer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Evans decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium vs. the Chicago Bears to protest the election of Donald Trump as president is predictably receiving negative reviews in Tampa -the home of MacDill Air Force Base – and the country.
Among those critics is Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala , who says he’s “tired of it.”
Since this was the first time that Evans has done this, I’m assuming the legislator is referring to other incidents of NFL players sitting or kneeling down for the anthem this season, beginning with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 
Their motivations are different of course; Kaepernick wanted to shine attention on protest brutality and racial injustices. Evans issue is with Trump, whose appeal to black voters during the campaign was “what the hell do you have to lose?” in comparison to backing Democrat Hillary Clinton.
One thing that both men didn’t do last week was take the time to vote, which has angered some folks who are sympathetic to their flexing of their First Amendment rights. In that respect, they’re not a minority, as roughly 100 million eligible Americans also chose not to exercise their franchise last week.
Although some folks disturbed by that number have made suggestions that could improve that figure – like holding elections on a Sunday (like many other nations do and Louisiana does with their primary) or automatically restoring voters – the fact is that shy of making it mandatory, some Americans – even those who say they care about the process – often choose to blow it off, for whatever reason.
Kaepernick makes $19 million this year; Evans a little less than $4 million, which might make it a little easier to

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Mitch Perry Report for 11.15.16 – The non-voters speak out

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Mike Evans is feeling the heat today – and so is his employer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Evans decision to sit during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium vs. the Chicago Bears to protest the election of Donald Trump as president is predictably receiving negative reviews in Tampa -the home of MacDill Air Force Base – and the country.
Among those critics is Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala , who says he’s “tired of it.”
Since this was the first time that Evans has done this, I’m assuming the legislator is referring to other incidents of NFL players sitting or kneeling down for the anthem this season, beginning with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. 
Their motivations are different of course; Kaepernick wanted to shine attention on protest brutality and racial injustices. Evans issue is with Trump, whose appeal to black voters during the campaign was “what the hell do you have to lose?” in comparison to backing Democrat Hillary Clinton.
One thing that both men didn’t do last week was take the time to vote, which has angered some folks who are sympathetic to their flexing of their First Amendment rights. In that respect, they’re not a minority, as roughly 100 million eligible Americans also chose not to exercise their franchise last week.
Although some folks disturbed by that number have made suggestions that could improve that figure – like holding elections on a Sunday (like many other nations do and Louisiana does with their primary) or automatically restoring voters – the fact is that shy of making it mandatory, some Americans – even those who say they care about the process – often choose to blow it off, for whatever reason.
Kaepernick makes $19 million this year; Evans a little less than $4 million, which might make it a little easier to

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Donald Trump takes triumphant tour of Washington, has cordial meeting with Barack Obama

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump took a triumphant tour of the nation’s capital Thursday, holding a cordial White House meeting with President Barack Obama, sketching out priorities with Republican congressional leaders and taking in the majestic view from where he’ll be sworn into office.
Trump’s meeting with Obama spanned 90 minutes, longer than originally scheduled. Obama said he was “encouraged” by Trump’s willingness to work with his team during the transition of power, and the Republican called the president a “very good man.”
“I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including his counsel,” Trump said from the Oval Office. He’ll begin occupying the office on Jan. 20.
While Trump noted that he and Obama had never met before, their political histories will forever be linked. Trump spent years perpetrating the lie that Obama was born outside the United States. The president campaigned aggressively against Trump during the 2016 campaign, warning that his election would put the republic at risk.
But at least publicly, the two men appeared to put aside their animosity. As the meeting concluded and journalists scrambled out of the Oval Office, Obama smiled at his successor and explained the unfolding scene.
“We now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed the country succeeds,” Obama said.
From the White House, Trump headed to Capitol Hill for meetings with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to discuss the GOP legislative agenda. Ryan, who holds the most powerful post in Congress, was a sometime critic of Trump and never campaigned with the nominee.
Emerging from the meetings, Trump sketched out priorities for his presidency.
“We’re going to move very strongly on immigration,” he said. “We will move very strongly on health care. And we’re looking at

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Elizabeth Warren proposes truce with Donald Trump

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

The Latest on the U.S. election:
3:25 p.m. — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is proposing that she and President-elect Donald Trump “put aside our differences” and work together to rebuild the American economy for working people.
A favorite of liberals, Warren has waged bitter wars of words with Trump. She’s called him a “pathetic coward” and worse on Twitter. He’s nicknamed her “Pocahontas” — a reference to claims she made about being part Native American.
As recently as Monday, Trump called Warren a “terrible person,” ”a terrible human being” and a “terrible senator.”
In a statement Wednesday, Warren said the integrity of U.S. democracy is more important than an individual election. She said she hopes Trump will fulfill the role of president “with respect and concern for every single person in this country, no matter who they are.”
3:15 p.m. — White House spokesman Josh Earnest says President Barack Obama has congratulated the Senate’s top Republican about his party’s success in maintaining its majority in the Senate.
Earnest said Obama and Mitch McConnell discussed priorities that should be taken up as lawmakers meet before a new Congress takes office. They spoke Wednesday, the day after the election.
While he did not have details about the issues discussed, Earnest said Obama will continue to encourage Republican leaders to take up a massive trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He said the president believes the trade pact will benefit the U.S. economy. President-elect Donald Trump strongly opposes the deal.
Earnest says the president also hopes to talk with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
3:05 p.m. — The White House says the President’s Daily Brief and other intelligence materials are now being made available to President-elect Donald Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and other members of Trump’s transition team.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it’s a courtesy that former President George W. Bush

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Mac Stipanovich: Win or lose, Never Trump movement remains proud

Monday, October 31st, 2016

With Donald Trump still down in the polls with a week to go, the edifice of excuses designed to excuse his potential defeat is being hurried to completion.
To the foundation stones of voter fraud and a mainstream media conspiracy his campaign manager recently added treason, alleging that if Trump loses it will be in large part because he was stabbed in the back by the Never Trump renegades in the GOP.
That is a baldfaced lie. Never Trump did not stab Trump in the back. They stabbed him in the front.
Because Trump is a Republican only in the same sense that the Visigoths who sacked Rome were Romans, a relative handful of actual conservatives in the GOP adamantly opposed him from the moment he descended from on high, riding his Trump Tower escalator, armored in ignorance and spewing venomous bigotry and public policy nonsense.
They would not collaborate in pursuing what they believe would be a Pyrrhic victory, both for the GOP and for the country, if Trump is elected President.
Instead, to their honor and to the shame of all those who did collaborate — all the sycophants, front-runners, apologists, ambition-addled and faint of heart — they resisted.
And they lost. Then they lost some more.
Some, like George Will, Mary Matalin and Sally Bradshaw, long-time pillars of the GOP, gave up and left the Party altogether, disgusted and demoralized. But others, like Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Mike Lee of Utah, soldiered on.
Here in Florida, Hispanic leaders like U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo from Miami are unflinching in their opposition to the Trump candidacy for obvious reasons, and they are seconded by others around the state made of similarly stern stuff, like Will Weatherford, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, and Rick Wilson, a

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Mitch Perry Report for 10.21.16 – Rick Scott in 2020?

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Forget about Marco Rubio in 2020, what about Rick Scott?
Troy Kinsey from Bay News 9 reports that “some GOP operatives are floating him as a potential presidential contender in 2020, should Trump lose in November.”
Kinsey then quotes all of one lone such operative in his story. But it does make for a good headline.
Now, what about Marco Rubio? The Florida lawmaker made news this week when he declared in his debate against Patrick Murphy, “I’m going to serve in the Senate for the next six years, God willing.”
Even if Rubio does break that pledge, will the GOP primary voters in 2020 become warmer to his candidacy than they did this year? Well, a Bloomberg poll of 404 Republicans nationally taken last week doesn’t even put Rubio in the top five contenders for 2020.
Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and John Kasich finished in the top five, with five percent listed as “other,” including, presumably, some Rubio fans.
Meanwhile in South Florida yesterday, the President of the United States continues to enjoy his freewheelin’ campaign style in the waning months of his tenure, as he slammed Rubio mercilessly for his continued support of Trump.
“How can he call him a con artist and dangerous, and object to all the controversial things he’s said, but then say, ‘I’m still going to vote for him?’” Obama said at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens.
“C’mon, man,” he said.
“That is the sign of someone who will say anything, do anything, pretend to be anybody just to get elected. If you’re willing to be anybody just to be somebody, man, you don’t have the leadership that Florida needs in the United States Senate.”
Closer to home, a quick correction to Patrick Manteiga’s column in today’s La Gaceta. Patrick reports that Lisa Montelione has “failed to receive any endorsement of her peers on Tampa City Council” in her House District 63 race vs. Republican Shawn Harrison.
Au contraire. Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen did announce

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