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Funds divide

A finances decision that avoids a authorities shutdown till not less than March handed in each chambers of Congress Thursday. However Speaker Mike Johnson barely gained over a majority of his caucus with the $1.6 trillion-ish deal. And extra Florida Republicans voted in opposition to it than for it.

After contentious concessions and negotiations — Senate and Home estimators nonetheless peg spending about $70 billion aside, in line with Reuters — Senators voted 77-18 in favor of a Persevering with Decision. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Miami Republican, joined the bulk to maintain the federal government open.

Mike Johnson’s spending plan squeaks by Congress.

On the similar time, Sen. Rick Scott, a Naples Republican, missed the vote after closely criticizing the course of talks.

Within the Home, 14 of Florida’s 28 Representatives voted up on the deal, however that included extra Democrats than Republicans. Each member of the minority caucus supported the settlement.

“As soon as once more, Home Democrats got here to the rescue and prevented a authorities shutdown that may have harm Floridians,” Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Miramar Democrat, posted on X. “My Democrat colleagues and I stay targeted on our goal: to place folks over politics and ship for working households. That’s the reason we’re right here.”

On the Republican facet, supporters included Reps. Vern Buchanan, Mario Díaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez, Laurel Lee, John Rutherford and María Elvira Salazar. GOP Rep. Mike Waltz didn’t vote, however the remainder of the delegation voted in opposition to the measure.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, who notably led the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the same finances decision, mentioned the Home hasn’t secured sufficient concessions from Democrats on immigration.

“Securing our Southern Border was not central to Home management’s technique on the federal government funding dispute, but it surely ought to be,” he posted on X. He additionally mentioned Johnson promised in an prolonged assembly that he would stress the Senate on the problem earlier than March. Till then, Gaetz mentioned he’s a “no.”

“We don’t broaden our majority by cowering in concern and passing one other Persevering with Decision,” he posted.

Congressional chilly warfare

Disagreement over U.S. relations with Cuba led Salazar to kick a California Congresswoman out of a listening to.

The Coral Gables Republican ejected Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, from a Home Western Hemisphere Subcommittee assembly. Salazar had known as the gathering on “The parable of the brand new Cuban entrepreneurs” and felt compelled to dam Lee from collaborating due to previous advocacy for normalization with the communist nation.

María Elvira Salazar blocks Barbara Lee attributable to her stance on U.S./Cuba relations. Picture by way of AP.

“I exercised my authority as Subcommittee Chairwoman to not enable an off-Committee Member to unfold communist propaganda throughout my Cuba listening to,” Salazar posted on X.

“Members should not entitled to affix any Committee proceedings with out full consent of the Committee Members. Barbara Lee tried to disrupt an essential dialogue about President Joe Biden’s lenient insurance policies towards the Cuban regime. Barbara Lee is a communist sympathizer who was a private buddy to Fidel Castro, has visited Cuba 21 instances, and has been a mouthpiece for the Cuban regime since 1977.”

Lee beforehand chaired the Home State and International Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and co-chaired the Cuba Working Congress for years. She’s presently a candidate for Senate representing California. She notably issued a sympathetic statement in 2016 upon the dying of Castro, the President of Cuba for many years following the communist revolution there.

Extra lately, she issued a press release in help of Cuban protesters when demonstrations broke out in 2021 whereas additionally calling for Biden to return to normalization efforts discontinued underneath President Donald Trump.

The characterization of her insurance policies as a Castro sympathizer upsets Lee.

“Nothing about rising Cuban entrepreneurship and bettering U.S.-Cuba relations is ‘communist propaganda,’” the California Congresswoman posted on-line. “This sort of disrespectful rhetoric is why the folks don’t belief the GOP to manipulate. Shameful.”

Salazar responded on-line, “Your unequivocal help for Fidel Castro, who starved and murdered the Cuban folks, is communist propaganda.”

Lee’s ejection additionally prompted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, to depart together with her fellow Democrat. Wasserman Schultz holds hawkish views on Cuba extra in step with Salazar than Lee, as do most Florida Democrats, however she disagreed with how the matter was dealt with.

“You and I share a place on the Cuban regime,” Wasserman Schultz mentioned on the listening to. However she mentioned Lee deserved equal time.

“You could have been a really shut buddy of the Cuban folks, folks that you just signify and that stay in South Florida, and I’m so sorry you aren’t going to be collaborating with us,” Salazar mentioned. Nonetheless, the Committee wouldn’t transfer on her resolution to bar Lee’s testimony.

Lee characterised the motion as ironic. “You’re doing precisely what you say the Cuban authorities is doing by denying myself, a member of Congress who represents the identical variety of constituents that you just signify, denying the chance to current my perspective.”

Swatting swatters

As police examine an obvious “swatting” of Scott’s residence, the Naples Republican needs stricter federal penalties for such probably lethal pranks.

The Senator filed the Preserving Safe Communities by Ending Swatting Act, an enlargement of prison hoaxing statutes and imposing jail sentences of as much as 20 years if anybody will get harm due to a “swatting assault.”

“Final month, criminals tried a ‘swatting’ on my residence in Florida in a despicable act of cowardice, clearly aspiring to terrorize my household and inflict concern and violence,” he mentioned. “That is taking place across the nation, not simply to elected officers but in addition to a whole lot of Jewish establishments. It’s sickening, harmful and we should cease it.”

Swatting is greater than a foolish prank.

The more and more widespread tactic entails reporting a violent scenario to police on the deal with of a focused particular person, probably dispatching a SWAT group to a pretend standoff. On Dec. 27, a person known as Naples Police claiming he “shot his spouse with an AR-15 as a result of she was sleeping with one other dude” at Scott’s residence and claiming to have the opposite man held hostage with a $10,000 ransom. Police shortly decided that decision to be a false report.

“I’m extremely grateful for the work of regulation enforcement round our nation to maintain us protected and put their lives on the road day by day,” Scott mentioned. “They shouldn’t be put at risk and have their time and assets wasted due to these disgusting hoaxes. Immediately, I’m introducing a invoice to ensure the criminals who make these false calls and waste regulation enforcement assets face severe penalties, together with years in jail if anybody is critically harmed. We should ship a message to the cowards behind these calls — this isn’t a joke; it’s a criminal offense.”

Combating unsafe water

A number of navy installations in Florida have carcinogens within the water. Now, Rubio and a number of other members of the Florida congressional delegation wish to know what the Division of Protection (DoD) is doing to make the water protected for troopers to drink.

The Miami Republican led a letter to Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin asking about mitigation efforts to fight the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on Florida bases.

“Our service members and their households deserve full data on the well being dangers of PFAS, in addition to a dedication by the DoD to mitigate any hurt which may be brought on by PFAS publicity on navy installations,” the letter reads. “As such, we request a full accounting of the progress for PFAS remediation efforts on every of Florida’s navy installations.”

Rick Scott seeks cleaner water on navy bases.

The letter was co-signed by Scott and 12 Home members representing navy populations. Representatives on the bicameral letter embody Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor and Republican Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Kat Cammack, Scott Franklin, Matt Gaetz, Giménez, Lee, Anna Paulina Luna, Cory Mills, Greg Steube, Invoice Posey and Rutherford.

“We perceive that DoD is within the technique of PFAS remediation efforts at a number of navy installations in Florida and throughout the nation and admire the efforts that DoD has taken to deal with this problem and talk with our workplaces,” the letter reads.

“Nonetheless, we’re involved that the present cleanup timelines should not adequately pressing to redress the impacts that PFAS are having on our service members, their households, and the communities surrounding contaminated navy installations.”

Preventing an epidemic

Florida continues to report extra fentanyl deaths than any state however California. Now, Lee is working throughout the aisle to offer the Justice Division extra instruments for combating the opioid epidemic.

“The fentanyl disaster has impacted each neighborhood on this nation; regardless of tireless efforts from regulation enforcement to curb the move of fentanyl that’s pouring into our nation and communities, these deadly medicine are being trafficked on the darkish net,” mentioned Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican. “The Combating On-line Fentanyl Trafficking Act will help the federal authorities in stopping fentanyl trafficking on-line.”

Barbara Lee is getting regulation enforcement the instruments they should battle fentanyl,

The Facilities for Illness Management (CDC) report Florida had greater than 7,800 fentanyl deaths in 2021. A progress report from the Florida Division of Regulation Enforcement confirmed the state had greater than 3,000 extra deaths within the first half of 2022 alone. And nationwide, the CDC mentioned the nation noticed 112,000 extra overdose deaths in 2023.

She filed the Online Fentanyl Trafficking Act with Rep. Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat. The laws would enhance cybersecurity and nationwide safety funding to fight the commerce of the narcotics.

“Because the dying toll continues to rise, People want our assist,” Lee mentioned. “This invoice will bolster the federal workforce with people specialised in cybersecurity abilities and data to assist within the detection, prevention or prosecution of fentanyl trafficking.”

Proxy for mothers

When Luna gave start to a toddler final Might, the St. Petersburg Republican turned simply the twelfth member of Congress to offer start in workplace. Maybe it’s no shock the establishment presents little lodging to moms.

However the first-term Congresswoman has now filed legislation permitting members to vote by proxy. That’s a technique of voting from residence launched in the course of the 2020 pandemic. Republicans, nevertheless, barred the observe after they gained the Home in 2022. Luna herself joined in eliminating these proxy vote guidelines.

Anna Paulina Luna is a brand new mom and advocating proxy voting. Picture courtesy Luna’s congressional workplace.

Nonetheless, the method of delivering a toddler wouldn’t warrant the identical lodging as a danger of sickness shocked Luna.

“When my son was born final summer season, management informed me I might not be allowed to vote by proxy whereas I recovered from childbirth,” she mentioned. “But, throughout COVID, the complete Home of Representatives was allowed to take action!”

On Thursday, Luna held a information convention with Rep. Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat co-sponsoring the invoice.

“Anna and I’ve already executed the arduous work of discovering an space the place there’s bipartisan settlement, so I’m hopeful that we are able to have decision,” Jacobs mentioned, as reported by POLITICO.

The proposal would enable voting a lot the identical because it did in the course of the pandemic. The lawmaker would designate a colleague to vote in a sure means on their behalf. The laws doesn’t enable a member to assist set up a quorum from afar, however the vote would depend towards the passage of a measure, the identical as if the Consultant forged the vote in individual.

“Being a brand new mother doesn’t make you ineligible to signify the individuals who duly elected you,” Luna mentioned. “It’s time that Congress will get with the instances in order that new moms, chosen by their voters to signify them, can do their jobs.”

Preserving tax-exempt standing

As federal lawsuits unfold that would result in spiritual nonprofits being handled as federal support recipients, Florida Republicans need protections for organizations’ tax standing.

Steube, a Sarasota Republican, launched the Safeguarding Charity Act, clarifying that tax-exempt organizations shouldn’t be handled as making the most of the federal authorities. Rubio filed a companion model of the invoice within the Senate.

“Because of a number of, radical judicial choices concentrating on spiritual colleges, Congress should now codify that a corporation holding tax-exempt standing is to not be thought-about a recipient of federal monetary help,” Steube mentioned.

Greg Steube needs to make clear the tax standing of nonprofits.

“The Safeguarding Charity Act will assist forestall the weaponization of our judicial system in opposition to America’s homes of worship, spiritual colleges, charities, and different nonprofit organizations. These organizations shouldn’t be subjected to a sequence of legal guidelines and laws triggered by receipt of federal monetary help.”

Rubio mentioned the invoice will protect essential protections for the unbiased sector.

“Civic organizations like church buildings, colleges, and charities are essential to our communities. I stay involved by current court docket choices that would topic these organizations to burdensome federal laws just because they’re tax-exempt,” he mentioned. “My Safeguarding Charity Act would shield these organizations from the federal government’s politicized battles to allow them to proceed their very important work in our communities.”

Condemning Hamas

The condemnation of Hamas for the Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli civilians generated close to unanimous condemnation in Congress. Now, South Florida lawmakers from each side of the aisle wish to ship a message firmly castigating the terrorist group.

Reps. Lois Frankel, a West Palm Seaside Democrat, and Díaz-Balart, a Hialeah Republican, launched a proper decision to do exactly that.

“Our bipartisan decision says it loud and clear: rape and sexual violence are crimes in opposition to humanity and will by no means be used or accepted as weapons of warfare,” Frankel mentioned. “As members of Congress, we condemn the atrocities dedicated by Hamas terrorists on and since Oct. 7.”

Lois Frankel, in no unsure phrases, is blasting Hamas. Picture by way of Palm Seaside Put up.

There’s no partisan disagreement in Florida on that.

“I’m proud to have co-led this Home Decision condemning the atrocities dedicated by Hamas in its warfare in opposition to the folks of Israel,” Díaz-Balart mentioned.

“This decision is a testomony to the unwavering solidarity of Congress within the condemnation of the ruthlessness perpetrated by Hamas. Hamas’ crimes are unfathomable of their depravity and inhumanity. We should roundly condemn this evil, maintain the perpetrators accountable, and work to make sure it by no means occurs once more. I stay steadfast in my help of Israel and in my efforts to fight the evil that’s Hamas and dealing with my colleagues for the protected return of these nonetheless held hostage.”

Former Rep. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who now works as CEO of the American Jewish Committee, voiced his help for the decision.

“Hamas dedicated brutal atrocities in opposition to girls. Rape, mutilation, and torture have been rampant and premeditated,” Deutch mentioned. He applauded his former Florida colleagues, together with Reps. Kathy Manning, a North Carolina Democrat, and Jen Kiggans, a Virginia Republican, for introducing the laws.

“The world should know the reality and should not flip a blind eye to the truth of Hamas’ despicable and inexcusable actions,” Deutch mentioned.

Houthis reversal

After months of lobbying by members of the Florida delegation, Biden’s administration has redesignated the Houthis as a International Terrorist Group.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Parkland Democrat, co-led a letter with Rep. Michael Waltz, a St. Augustine Seaside Republican, asking for such a change. He applauded the administration for heeding that recommendation.

Jared Moskowitz praises the White Home for re-establishing Houthis as a International Terrorist Group

“There’s no different approach to put it — the Houthis are a terrorist proxy for the Iranian Regime,” Moskowitz mentioned. “This re-designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group is an encouraging step ahead as America works to chop off help to Iran-backed terrorists. As this battle within the area intensifies, the Biden administration should use each instrument out there to make sure that the utilization of U.S. navy property stays a final resort.”

Republicans within the delegation additionally famous the transfer however broadly made word that Biden had modified the designation within the first place after Trump designated the group as terrorists.

“They need to have by no means been eliminated within the first place,” Waltz posted on-line.

“Joe Biden began his presidency with weak point by eradicating the Houthis as a International Terrorist Group,” Scott posted. “Immediately, he lastly mounted that mistake.”

Everlasting residency

The wet-foot dry-foot coverage ended in 2017, however Florida lawmakers from each events say the U.S. wants to offer particular consideration for Cuban refugees.

In an indication Florida lawmakers agree on Cuba coverage most of the time, Salazar and Wasserman Schultz despatched a letter to Homeland Safety Investigations Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging him to grant “Parole in Place” standing to any Cuban nationals arriving within the U.S. Florida lawmakers despatched the letter to Rep. Morgan McGarvey, a Kentucky Democrat.

Alejandro Mayorkas is requested to carry again wet-foot-dry-foot for Cuban refugees. Picture by way of YouTube.

“Lots of of 1000’s of Cubans live within the shadows due to a significant failure of the manager department of presidency,” mentioned Salazar, a Cuban American herself. “I’m becoming a member of my colleagues throughout events in urging Secretary Mayorkas to repair this error and permit Cubans who’re escaping the Castro regime to obtain parole to allow them to apply for residency and discover security within the Promised Land.”

A coverage change underneath President Barack Obama ended a longtime observe of permitting authorized residency to anybody fleeing Cuba who made it to dry land. The shift got here amid normalization efforts with Cuba, later deserted underneath Trump.

Since September 2021, the Biden administration has launched Cuban immigrants on the border with orders of launch on recognizance, which make the people ineligible to use for everlasting residency. A Parole in Place standing would make these people eligible to hunt residency underneath the Cuban Adjustment Act.

“This PIP ought to include all deliberate pace,” the letter reads. “On behalf of the 1000’s of Cubans in our communities and people throughout the US, we urge full and swift aid for these people.”

On this present day

Jan. 19, 1981 — “U.S., Iran sign accord on hostages” by way of The New York Instances — America and Iran reached a proper settlement on the phrases for releasing the 52 American hostages and returning to Iran billions of {dollars} of its property frozen by American authorities. Deputy Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher signed the settlement in Algiers on behalf of the US. Behzad Nabavi, the chief Iranian negotiator, had signed it earlier in Tehran. President Jimmy Carter deliberate to fly to West Germany to be available when the hostages have been flown there, with a cease in Algeria, after being launched by Iran.

Jan. 19, 1977 — “A snowball’s chance in Miami?” by way of NBC 6 — The primary time in recorded historical past that snow fell in Miami, the flakes started to fall in Broward and Miami-Dade between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. as an arctic chilly entrance made its means down the coast of Florida. Flurries have been reported as far south as Homestead, although for essentially the most half, the snowfall melted when it contacted the bottom. That day, the excessive temperature was a cold 47 levels, with temps dipping into the 30s. The farthest south snow beforehand noticed in Florida was alongside a Fort Myers to Fort Pierce line in February 1899.

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Peter Schorsch publishes Delegation, compiled by Jacob Ogles, edited and assembled by Phil Ammann and Ryan Nicol.

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