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MARTIN COUNTY TV HEALTH MATTERS

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 MARTIN COUNTY TRAFFIC REPORT

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FDOT Treasure Coast Traffic Impact Report

June 16 through June 23, 2017

TREASURE COAST – Construction and maintenance-related lane closures on state highways in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties are expected during the week of June 16 through June 23. Weather permitting, work will be done at the following locations throughout the Treasure Coast. For updated lane closure information, please refer to www.d4fdot.com. Follow us on Twitter @ MyFDOT_SEFL.
CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS MARTIN COUNTY

Kanner Highway / State Road 76 from Lost River Road to south of Monterey Road

Description: Under this 4.3-mile-long project, Kanner Highway is being widened from a four-lane divided highway to a six-lane divided highway. Additional work on this project includes: widening the bridge over the South Fork St. Lucie River; drainage improvements, including construction of five retention ponds; construction of sound walls at Fisherman’s / Somerset Cove and Whitemarsh Reserve; guardrail improvements; signalization upgrades; and turn lane and bicycle lane improvements.

Cost/Completion: $20.8 million. Completion is expected in spring 2019.

Traffic Impact:

The speed limit on Kanner Highway from Lost River Road to Indian Street has been reduced from 50 mph to 45 mph. The speed limit will remain at 45 mph after project completion.
One lane in either direction of Kanner Highway from Lost River Road to Martin County High School may be closed intermittently Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for drainage work and roadway widening.
One lane in either direction of Kanner Highway from Lost River Road to Martin County High School will be closed Sunday through Thursday night between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for bridge and drainage work.
The sidewalk along the east side of Kanner Highway just south of the high school will be intermittently impacted Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. with flagmen holding pedestrian traffic so construction vehicles can enter and exit the pond area.
The sidewalk along southbound Kanner Highway from Pomeroy Street to South River Drive is closed through July for drainage work. Pedestrians will be detoured to the northbound sidewalk along Kanner Highway at Indian Street and Pomeroy Street.

I-95 Interchange at Kanner Highway (State Road 76 / Exit 101)

Description: This 0.745-mile project includes widening Kanner Highway (SR 76) at the I-95 interchange, reconstructing the I-95 entrance and exit ramps, drainage, milling and resurfacing, signing & pavement markings, and signalization. If you need additional information about the project please feel free to contact Terry B. Rauth P.E. at (772) 419-6936 or trauth@martin.fl.us.

Cost/Completion: $5.8 million. Completion in summer 2017.

Traffic Impact:

All lanes are open through Friday, June 23.

State Road 710 / Warfield Boulevard from east of Kanner Highway (State Road 76) to the Martin / Palm Beach County Line

Description: This 5.572-mile project includes reconstructing State Road 710 to a 4-lane divided roadway with a 40-foot sodded median, concrete pavement, installing a new drainage system, and constructing a new wildlife crossing west of Martin / Palm Beach County line.

Cost/Completion: $28 million. Completion in spring 2020.

Traffic Impact:

The eastbound lane of SR 710 may be closed intermittently Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for barrier wall installation. A flag crew will maintain two-way traffic.

I-95 / Martin Highway (State Road 714) Interchange Landscape Improvements

Description: The improvements under this contract consist of installing trees at the Martin Highway (SR 714) I-95 Interchange and irrigation and pump installation.

Cost/Completion: $1.15 million. Completion in fall 2017.

Traffic Impact:

The shoulders at the I-95 / Martin Highway interchange may be closed intermittently Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. through fall 2017.

I-95 Resurfacing Project from Indiantown Road to Bridge Road

Description: The I-95 resurfacing project from south of Indiantown Road (State Road 706) in the Town of Jupiter to north of Bridge Road (County Road 708) in Martin County is anticipated to begin Tuesday, May 9. The improvements under this contract consist of resurfacing the I-95 mainline from south of Indiantown Road to north of Bridge Road and the I-95 interchange ramps at Indiantown Road (Exit 87) and Bridge Road (Exit 96), minor shoulder and guardrail repairs, and replacement of the southbound bridge approach slab at approximate mile marker 89.5.

Cost/Completion: $17.2 million. Completion in fall 2018.

Traffic Impact:

Two northbound lanes of I-95 from Indiantown Road to Bridge Road will be closed Sunday through Thursday night between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. through June for paving.

Kanner Highway (State Road 76) I-95 Interchange Landscape Improvements

Description: The improvements under this contract consist of installing trees at the Kanner Highway (SR 76) I-95 Interchange and an irrigation and pump system.

Cost/Completion: $1.46 million. Completion is expected in fall 2017.

Traffic Impact:

The shoulders at the I-95 / Kanner Highway interchange may be closed intermittently Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. through fall 2017.

NE Causeway Boulevard from Indian River Drive to State Road A1A in Jensen Beach

Traffic Impact:

The right turn lane from westbound NE Causeway Boulevard to northbound Indian River Drive will be closed intermittently Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. through October.
The sidewalk along the north side of NW Causeway Boulevard is closed for building construction through October. Pedestrians should use the sidewalk on the south side of the roadway.

U.S. 1 / Bridge Road and U.S. 1 / Heritage Boulevard Intersections in Hobe Sound

Traffic Impact:

Beginning June 19, intermittent lane closures will occur at U.S. 1 / Bridge Road and U.S. 1 / Heritage Boulevard intersections for signal mast arm painting maintenance. This work is anticipated to be complete by June 24. Motorists should use caution and expect minor delays.

Kanner Highway just south of U.S. 1 in Stuart

Traffic Impact:

Advance Notice: The right turn lane from northbound Kanner Highway to southbound U.S. 1 will be closed Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for drainage work.

U.S. 1 from Kanner Highway to 6th Street in Stuart

Traffic Impact:

One northbound lane of U.S. 1 will be closed Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday nights between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. through June 23 for utility work.
The sidewalk along northbound U.S. 1 from Palm City Road to 6th Street is closed through June 23. Pedestrians will be detoured to the sidewalk along southbound U.S. 1 at Palm City Road and SW Ocean Boulevard.

Evans Crary Bridge / State Road A1A over the St. Lucie River

Traffic Impact:

The eastbound shoulder of the bridge will be closed Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for bridge inspection.
The westbound shoulder of the bridge will be closed Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for bridge inspection.

Ernest F. Lyons Bridge / State Road A1A over the Intracoastal Waterway

Traffic Impact:

The westbound shoulder of the bridge will be closed Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for bridge inspection.

 

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SE SEABRANCH BOULEVARD RESURFACING
INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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Beginning Tuesday, May 30, 2017, the Martin County Engineering Department will be performing roadway milling and resurfacing along SE Seabranch Boulevard from SE Retreat Drive to US-1/SE Federal Highway.

This work will require intermittent lane closures throughout the duration of the project. This work is expected to be complete by August 27, 2017. Motorist and pedestrians are encouraged to exercise caution.

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SW FARM ROAD
INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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Beginning the week of June 5, 2017, the Martin County Engineering Department will be performing roadside and shoulder maintenance, replacing stormwater pipes, and resurfacing SW Farm Road, which will require intermittent lane closures throughout the duration of the project. This work is expected to be complete by September 27, 2017. Motorist and pedestrians are encouraged to exercise caution.

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FPL-UTILITY POLE REPLACEMENT PROJECT
INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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On Monday, June 19, 2017, FPL will begin replacing poles on SE MacArthur Boulevard between SE Marina Way and NE Plantation Road. The intermittent lane closures will begin June 19, 2017 between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm weekdays with some nighttime lane closures the week of June 19th, 2017 and the week of July 3rd, 2017. The project will be completed by Friday, August 11, 2017. Motorists are encouraged to exercise caution and to use alternate routes through this area.

For questions regarding this project, please call Mario Rodriguez at (772) 337-7020 and refer to WR#6742388.

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FEC CROSSING CLOSURE
NE PALMETTO DRIVE SOUTH

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On Sunday, June 18, 2017, FEC will begin maintenance work on the railroad crossing at NE Palmetto Drive South. This work will necessitate a road closure on NE Palmetto Drive South at the railroad crossing. The work is anticipated to be complete by Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Motorists should follow detours and use caution, expect delays, and plan accordingly.

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SE BRIDGE ROAD & US-1
INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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On Monday, June 19, 2017, signal mast arm painting maintenance will begin at the intersections of SE Bridge Road & US Highway One, SE Heritage Boulevard & US Highway One and SE Indian Street & SE Aster Lane. This work will necessitate intermittent lane closures at these intersections. The work is anticipated to be complete by June 24, 2017. Motorists should use caution, expect minor delays, and plan accordingly.

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SE HERITAGE BOULEVARD & US-1
INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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On Monday, June 19, 2017, signal mast arm painting maintenance will begin at the intersections of SE Bridge Road & US Highway One, SE Heritage Boulevard & US Highway One and SE Indian Street & SE Aster Lane. This work will necessitate intermittent lane closures at these intersections. The work is anticipated to be complete by June 24, 2017. Motorists should use caution, expect minor delays, and plan accordingly.

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SE INDIAN STREET & SE ASTER LANE
INTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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On Monday, June 19, 2017, signal mast arm painting maintenance will begin at the intersections of SE Bridge Road & US Highway One, SE Heritage Boulevard & US Highway One and SE Indian Street & SE Aster Lane. This work will necessitate intermittent lane closures at these intersections. The work is anticipated to be complete by June 24, 2017. Motorists should use caution, expect minor delays, and plan accordingly.

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SW LOCKS ROAD FPL-UTILITY POLE REPLACEMENT
PROJECTINTERMITTENT LANE CLOSURES

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Beginning Monday, June 19, 2017, FPL will begin replacing poles on SW Locks Road between SR-76 (SW Kanner Highway) and SW Canal Street. This work will require intermittent lane closures between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm weekdays. The project is expected to be complete by September 15, 2017. Motorists are encouraged to exercise caution and to use alternate routes through this area.

For questions regarding this project, please call Mario Rodriguez at (772) 337-7020 and refer to WR#6944670.

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Traffic Patterns Affected At Stuart Beach

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The Martin County Parks and Recreation Department, in an effort to continuously improve its facilities for the benefit of the public, will be starting a re-striping project at Stuart Beach’s parking lot, located at 825 NE Ocean Boulevard, on Friday, June 16. During this time, sections of the parking lot will be re-striped to create additional parking spaces. Traffic patterns may be affected during this process and some parking spaces may be temporarily unavailable.

Thank you for your patience as we work to improve parking at Stuart Beach. Through routine maintenance of our facilities, we look forward to better satisfying the community needs for recreation, fitness and leisure.

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SW ALL AMERICAN BOULEVARD
ROAD CLOSURE

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Beginning Monday, June 26, 2017, Felix Associates of Florida will be installing the box culvert under SW All American Boulevard, in association with the All American Ditch Water Quality Retrofit project. This work will require the closure of SW All American Boulevard at the culvert crossing. This work is expected to be complete by September 22, 2017.

Motorist and pedestrians are encouraged to follow detours, exercise caution and seek alternate routes.

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FEC CROSSING CLOSURE
SE COVE ROAD

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On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, FEC will begin maintenance work on the railroad crossing at SE Cove Road. This work will necessitate a road closure on SE Cove Road at the railroad crossing. The work is anticipated to be complete by Thursday, June 29, 2017. Motorists should follow detours and use caution, expect delays, and plan accordingly.

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OUT2 TWITERVILLE

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20th WEEK AS PRESIDENT

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SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF PAGE FOR OUT2 TWITTERVILE ARCHIVE

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***Government & Political News Other Than***

***Transportation***

***Federal, State, County & Municipal News***

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Martin County Voters To Decide
Sales Tax Referendum On August 29th

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On June 20, the Board of County Commissioners approved placing a referendum on the August 29 ballot regarding the addition of a one-cent (1%) local sales tax on taxable items over the next 10 years. This sales surtax would position Martin County to address critical needs in the areas of water quality, roads, public safety and public works. At least 35% of the funds collected will be used for water quality projects.

Projects will be prioritized and all expenditures must be approved by a majority of the Board of County Commissioners at an advertised public hearing at which the public will have an opportunity to comment. If voters approve the referendum, the local sales tax would become effective January 1, 2018.

A one-cent sales surtax distributes the financial impact across property owners, non-property owner residents, tourists and consumers from neighboring ommunities who dine and shop in Martin County.

The public is invited to visit Martin County’s website, www.martin.fl.us/salestax to read the ordinance, ballot language and frequently asked questions (FAQs) and view a list of potential projects.

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READOUT OF IVANKA TRUMP,
RUBIO CHILD TAX CREDIT MEETING

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Upon U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s invitation, Ivanka Trump joined Republican members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill today to discuss pro-family tax reform, particularly the Child Tax Credit. The meeting focused on how Congress can best achieve President Trump’s promise to deliver meaningful tax relief to working families. Among the ways to do this, the members discussed:

· Making the Child Tax Credit more meaningful for the working class;

· Eliminating marriage penalties in the tax code; and

· Promoting paid family leave

Senator Rubio was glad to see strong support for pro-family policies that empower parents to make decisions that are best for their children, and he looks forward to working with his congressional colleagues to make tax relief for working families an essential piece of comprehensive tax reform.

Participants included: Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ), Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX).

Background on Rubio’s efforts on pro-family tax reform:
· Senator Rubio has long supported reforming the Child Tax Credit to be more effective for middle-class families, and was the first Republican presidential candidate to propose a paid family leave plan.

· In 2015, he and Senator Lee proposed a new Child Tax Credit worth $2,500 per child, applicable to total income and payroll tax liability.

· President Trump campaigned on tax relief for working families, and Ivanka Trump has been a leader on making pro-family issues an essential piece of tax reform.

· The meeting between Ivanka Trump and members of Congress demonstrates the momentum for this push.

· Senator Rubio looks forward to working with his congressional colleagues and the Administration to enact meaningful tax relief for working families.

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New Airport Manager, Erik Treudt

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Stuart — Erik Treudt will now oversee operations at Witham Field, Martin County’s 726-acre airport. The airport maintains an operational air traffic control tower and is home to private and business aircraft. His responsibilities will include monitoring the daily operations of the airport including runways, facilities, equipment and the use of flight patterns.

Mr. Treudt comes to Martin County with an impressive background in aviation management. His experience includes Capital Programs Administrator at Tallahassee International Airport, Aviation System Manager with the Florida Department of Transportation, Airport Operations Supervisor at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for United Airlines, a General Manager with Jet Stream Ground Services in Jupiter, Florida and Airport Manager with the Sebring Regional Airport in Sebring, Florida.

Erik received his master’s degree in business administration from George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University and his bachelor’s degree in aviation business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“It’s a privilege to serve our community at Witham Field, an award-winning local airfield,” said Erik. “I look forward to managing the continued development of the airport within federal, state and local guidelines. Martin County realizes significant annual economic benefits from the aviation industry associated with Witham Field and we want to continue the trend.”

Steeped in history, Witham Field now sits on a parcel of land donated to the county by private landowners at the onset of World War II. Originally known as MacArthur Field, it was later named Witham Field in honor of Paul “Homer” Witham, the first naval aviator from Stuart to die in World War II. Witham Field received the General Aviation Airport of the Year Award presented by the Florida Department of Transportation in August 2015.

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REAL ACTION TO HELP VETERANS

 

 

 

 

Many veterans have had similar experiences and have shared healthcare challenges as a result. That’s why it’s so critical for the VA to establish and maintain expertise in providing our unique healthcare needs.

I know from personal experience that many of the VA employees are hard-working and dedicated. Unfortunately, far too many VA facilities have lost their hunger to provide our care. A passion to meet the individual needs of veterans has become too much of a rarity, and a vast bureaucracy of regulations have hurt care for veterans.

I want to update you on some real action we took to help veterans this week:

In the past several years, bureaucratic red tape has obstructed the VA’s ability to fire employees that engage in conduct that hurts veterans, including a nurse who participated in a surgery while drunk and a psychiatrist who was watching porn on his iPad while meeting with a veteran. These kinds of incidents are simply unacceptable and it’s exactly why we passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. Our bill improves critical whistleblower protections so we can ensure veterans are getting the best possible care, and when the system fails veterans, we can hold those people accountable.

We also passed the VETERAN Act, which ensures our nation’s veterans can access the health care that’s right for them. The bill puts an existing regulation into law so there’s no question about whether veterans will continue to have access to tax credits and subsidies that are in place to help them purchase health insurance.

These bills are part of my agenda to address the systemic problems in Washington and ensure veterans have access to care when and where they need it. Learn more:

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AMERICA EXTENDS ITS HAND TO THE PEOPLE OF CUBA
BUT WE WILL NOT EMPOWER THEIR OPPRESSORS

 

 

Miami, FL – Speaking ahead of President Trump’s announcement regarding changes to Cuba policy, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) praised the new terms, saying they will empower the Cuban people instead of their oppressors in the Castro regime.

“A year and a half ago, a president, an American president, landed in Havana, to outstretch his hand to a regime,” said Rubio. “Today, a new president lands in Miami to reach out his hand to the people of Cuba.”

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RUBIO PRAISES SENATE PASSAGE OF BILL TO
IMPOSE NEW SANCTIONS ON IRAN AND RUSSIA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today after the U.S. Senate passed the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act (S. 722) by a vote of 98 – 2:

“With this overwhelming, bipartisan vote to impose new sanctions, we’ve sent a powerful message to Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime and Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian government that their aggressive actions and egregious human rights abuses will not be tolerated. The people of Iran and Russia deserve representative democracies that respect their fundamental human rights, adhere to international norms, and advance responsible and constructive foreign and domestic policies.”

In addition to imposing new sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses, the bipartisan legislation was amended to codify and expand sanctions against Russia’s occupation and illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, cyberattacks and interference in foreign elections, and aggression in Syria.

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RUBIO, MENENDEZ, COLLEAGUES
LEAD BIPARTISAN FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM BILL

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Kennedy (R-LA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced the Sustainable, Affordable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE) National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, bipartisan legislation that would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for six years while instituting a series of sweeping reforms to address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system.

The legislation tackles systemic problems with flood insurance, puts it back on solid fiscal ground, and reframes the nation’s entire disaster paradigm to one that focuses more on prevention and mitigation to spare the high cost of rebuilding after flood disasters. Congress must reauthorize the NFIP, which expires on Sept. 30, 2017.

“The National Flood Insurance Program is vitally important to my home state of Florida, which is a major contributor to the system,” said Rubio. “This bill helps ensure long-term stability, while providing much needed reforms to protect the program’s policyholders. It is past time for the federal government to take a more proactive approach in addressing the underlying risk affecting flood prone communities. I am proud to have worked with this bipartisan group to make our National Flood Insurance Program more viable, sustainable and accountable.”

“Americans deserve a National Flood Insurance Program that is sustainable for taxpayers, affordable for homeowners, and accountable to everyone,” said Menendez. “If we want a more sustainable system, the answer isn’t to slam homeowners with even higher premiums. This legislation puts the lessons we learned after Superstorm Sandy into action, levels the playing field for policyholders, and attacks the NFIP’s rampant waste and abuse to create real savings and greater investment in mitigation and resiliency efforts to make our residents and communities safer.”

“More than five million Americans depend on this vital program to protect their homes and businesses. This is an essential program, not just for Louisiana, but for the entire U.S,” said Kennedy. “We have to ensure that families and businesses in flood-prone areas are protected. This bill will reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program while making common sense reforms to maintain its solvency.”

“From Ellicott City to the Eastern Shore, flooding impacts communities across Maryland,” said Van Hollen. “We need to reform the National Flood Insurance Program to ensure that families and businesses have the affordable coverage they need, our flood maps are based on the most update-to-date science, and the NFIP program has long-term stability for communities across the country.”

“It’s time to come together to pass a long-term, bipartisan NFIP reauthorization that makes much-needed reforms to the flood insurance program,” said Warren. “Our bill will make changes that extend affordable flood insurance protection to everyone who needs it and that places more emphasis on better flood mapping, prevention, and resiliency.”

“Policyholders in Mississippi and around the country know the National Flood Insurance Program needs to be reformed. This legislation is a solid starting point to make the program more affordable and accountable. We want to return emphasis on flood control infrastructure, and fully recognize the physical and financial protections gained from these cost-shared investments,” said Cochran. “I look forward to working to pass bipartisan reforms that offer better flood protection and more effective coverage for homeowners, businesses, and communities.”

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A BIPARTISAN PLAN FOR FLOOD INSURANCE

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By U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Bob Menendez, John Kennedy, Chris Van Hollen, Elizabeth Warren, Thad Cochran

Powerful floods devastate communities across America every year. After these catastrophic natural disasters, too many Americans find themselves facing a man-made calamity: a National Flood Insurance Program that overcharges and underdelivers for policyholders and for taxpayers.

The Sept. 30 expiration of the law authorizing the NFIP represents an opportunity to address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system. As members of the Senate Banking and Appropriations committees, which oversee flood insurance and provide federal disaster response, we plan to offer bipartisan landmark legislation to tackle systemic problems with flood insurance and to reframe our entire disaster paradigm.

Today, more homeowners are abandoning national flood insurance policies because their premiums continue to rise, despite the emergency relief measures Congress approved in 2014. With the NFIP becoming more insolvent day by day, we must get this program back on solid fiscal ground. But we cannot build a sustainable system by simply imposing higher premiums on homeowners. We must address the program’s critical problems: unsustainability, low participation rates, inaccurate flood maps, indifference to the benefits of flood control infrastructure, agency mismanagement, unsustainable debt service costs and contractor profiteering.

The time has come to make an ambitious national reinvestment in cost-effective flood control and mitigation that reduces risk across the country. Under the current system, FEMA spent more than $277 billion in disaster aid to rebuild communities after floods from 2005 to 2014, but only a fraction of that on efforts to stop or control floodwaters to avert disasters. Our current system is backward. Rebuilding communities after a disaster is far more expensive than working proactively to reduce or prevent their devastation. FEMA has found that every dollar spent on mitigation generates at least $4 in future savings, and some major federal flood-control projects have seen a return on investment of approximately 54 to 1.

Our legislation will apply these lessons by moving us toward proactive flood prevention and mitigation. By ending FEMA’s reliance on antiquated flood maps and encouraging the use of cutting-edge technologies, we can create more-accurate nationwide flood-hazard mapping. These changes would improve the NFIP’s long-term solvency while better protecting our communities, local economies and the environment.

To pay for these critical investments, we propose three key reforms: a temporary freeze on interest on the NFIP debt; elimination of agency waste, mismanagement and contractor profiteering; and increasing NFIP enrollment.

The NFIP has paid the federal government $4 billion in interest over the last decade, payments that swallow more than 10% of all premiums. Beyond the folly of the federal government charging itself interest, these dollars would be better spent on premium affordability and cost-effective community flood prevention. Temporarily freezing interest on the debt would not forgive what is owed, but it would free up policyholder-contributed dollars for necessary investments in state-of-the-art flood mapping and property mitigation.

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ON SENATE FLOOR, RUBIO HONORS
VICTIMS OF PULSE NIGHTCLUB ATTACK

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Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) honored the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack that took place in Orlando one year ago.

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SAFE, HEALTHY, & STRONG

 

 

My goal as your representative in Congress is to help our community stay safe, ensure our families can stay healthy and strengthen our economy. At the beginning of this week, I held a town hall with more than 500 people in Stuart. While we may not agree on every policy solution, it’s clear that people are concerned about making our economy work for everyone, ensuring access to care, lowering taxes and holding our government accountable. These are all top priorities for me and we made progress on them this week in Washington.

One of the major bills we passed this week is called the Financial CHOICE Act, which will help our community banks give local businesses the resources they need to succeed.

The Financial CHOICE Act does what Dodd-Frank intended to do, but in a smarter, more efficient way. Dodd-Frank included more regulations than ALL other bills passed during President Obama’s 8 years in office combined. All that red tape has made it harder for small business owners and families who need a loan.

Whether you are looking to open a new restaurant or make improvements on your house, your access to funding shouldn’t rest in the hands of just a few “too big to fail” banks. Community banks are critical for growing our economy and supporting our local community.

That’s why the Financial CHOICE Act imposes tough financial penalties for financial fraud and ends “too big to fail” by putting a stop to taxpayer bailouts for big banks. At the same time, the bill protects community banks and credit unions from burdensome regulations that have slowed economic growth.

To learn more about the Financial CHOICE Act and the other bills we passed this week, watch this week’s Week In Review video. To learn more about my work on your behalf, please visit my website.

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RUBIO INTRODUCES TWO BILLS
TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently joined his Senate colleagues in introducing two bills that would combat human trafficking.

Rubio joined Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Bob Corker (R-TN) in introducing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), legislation that would establish and reauthorize critical programs to prevent human trafficking, promote justice for survivors, provide services to victims and increase federal coordination to enhance the federal government’s response to the crisis of exploitation.

Rubio also joined Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in introducing the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, legislation that would strengthen and reauthorize key programs that support survivors of human trafficking and provide resources to federal, state, and local law enforcement officials on the front lines of the fight against modern-day slavery.

“Victims of human trafficking need help from their communities as they reclaim their lives,” said Rubio. “These bills will help support survivors and provide more resources to empower and assist victims in their recovery process. I’m proud to join my colleagues in fighting against traffickers and doing everything we can to protect and support their victims.”

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RUBIO, GILLIBRAND INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION ENHANCING STATE DEPT ROLE IN COMBATTING ANTI-SEMITISM

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Tuesday introduced the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act, bipartisan legislation that would enhance the State Department’s role in combatting anti-Semitism across the globe. U.S. Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) introduced the companion bill in the House of Representatives.

“We have seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitism with Jewish communities targeted around the world and even here at home,” said Rubio. “The United States must remain committed to combating anti-Semitism in all its forms, wherever it appears. This bill enhances the position of the Special Envoy and builds upon American leadership on this important issue.”

“At a time of growing anti-Semitism across the globe and here at home, it is vital that we prioritize the fight against this scourge,” said Gillibrand. “This bill would empower the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and it would ensure that we have someone in that role who can raise the profile of this issue within the Department and in all of our diplomatic efforts.”

The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act would also:

· Elevate the position of special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism to the rank of ambassador

· Direct the special envoy to report directly to the secretary of state

· Prohibit the special envoy from being double-hatted with another portfolio of issues

· Emphasize that the special envoy should be a person of recognized distinction in the field of combating anti-Semitism or religious freedom

· Clarify that the special envoy shall be the primary advisor and coordinator for U.S. government efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement in foreign countries

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO HAILS PASSAGE OF LANDMARK VA REFORM BILL

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today hailed the Senate passage of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The landmark legislation, which was led by Rubio with Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Jon Tester (D-MT), now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Ahead of the vote, Rubio discussed the merits of the bill and commended his colleagues for their support of the legislation, which will bring needed accountability reforms to the VA.

Out2martincounty.com

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST TOWN HALL

Out2News.com

Out2martincounty.com

Stuart — It was big crowd and a motivated crowd at Congressman Mast’s Town Hall last eveing at the Martin County Council On Aging “Kane Center”

The crowd was for the most part behaved however, there were some hot spots, especially when it comes to The Trump/Republican Health care reform efforts in Washington.

The traditional conservative Martin County crowd was not in force at this town hall. The segments of the Congressman’s district that lean Democratic and further left were out in organized fashion. organized fashion means simply that there were devices used in last evening event that require money and organization (community). The Red card and Green card was one such device. If you disagreed with Congressman Mast’s position you held up your red card if you agreed you held up green. However, someone from the opposing crowd must have received advanced intellagence of this device and while attendees were in line there were just green cards being handed out. This tactic was not appreciated by the RED/Green carders and tensions surfaced in and outside the venue.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Dick Hall Out2News.com

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

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“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact:

Out2martincounty.com

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST TOWN HALL

Out2News.com

Stuart — It was big crowd and a motivated crowd at Congressman Mast’s Town Hall last eveing at the Martin County Council On Aging “Kane Center”

The crowd was for the most part behaved however, there were some hot spots, especially when it comes to The Trump/Republican Health care reform efforts in Washington.

The traditional conservative Martin County crowd was not in force at this town hall. The segments of the Congressman’s district that lean Democratic and further left were out in organized fashion. organized fashion means simply that there were devices used in last evening event that require money and organization (community). The Red card and Green card was one such device. If you disagreed with Congressman Mast’s position you held up your red card if you agreed you held up green. However, someone from the opposing crowd must have received advanced intellagence of this device and while attendees were in line there were just green cards being handed out. This tactic was not appreciated by the RED/Green carders and tensions surfaced in and outside the venue.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Dick Hall Out2News.com

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact:

Out2martincounty.com

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST TOWN HALL

Out2News.com

Stuart — It was big crowd and a motivated crowd at Congressman Mast’s Town Hall last eveing at the Martin County Council On Aging “Kane Center”

The crowd was for the most part behaved however, there were some hot spots, especially when it comes to The Trump/Republican Health care reform efforts in Washington.

The traditional conservative Martin County crowd was not in force at this town hall. The segments of the Congressman’s district that lean Democratic and further left were out in organized fashion. organized fashion means simply that there were devices used in last evening event that require money and organization (community). The Red card and Green card was one such device. If you disagreed with Congressman Mast’s position you held up your red card if you agreed you held up green. However, someone from the opposing crowd must have received advanced intellagence of this device and while attendees were in line there were just green cards being handed out. This tactic was not appreciated by the RED/Green carders and tensions surfaced in and outside the venue.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Dick Hall Out2News.com

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact:

Out2martincounty.com

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST TOWN HALL

Out2News.com

Stuart — It was big crowd and a motivated crowd at Congressman Mast’s Town Hall last eveing at the Martin County Council On Aging “Kane Center”

The crowd was for the most part behaved however, there were some hot spots, especially when it comes to The Trump/Republican Health care reform efforts in Washington.

The traditional conservative Martin County crowd was not in force at this town hall. The segments of the Congressman’s district that lean Democratic and further left were out in organized fashion. organized fashion means simply that there were devices used in last evening event that require money and organization (community). The Red card and Green card was one such device. If you disagreed with Congressman Mast’s position you held up your red card if you agreed you held up green. However, someone from the opposing crowd must have received advanced intellagence of this device and while attendees were in line there were just green cards being handed out. This tactic was not appreciated by the RED/Green carders and tensions surfaced in and outside the venue.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Dick Hall Out2News.com

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact:

Out2martincounty.com

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST TOWN HALL

Out2News.com

Stuart — It was big crowd and a motivated crowd at Congressman Mast’s Town Hall last eveing at the Martin County Council On Aging “Kane Center”

The crowd was for the most part behaved however, there were some hot spots, especially when it comes to The Trump/Republican Health care reform efforts in Washington.

The traditional conservative Martin County crowd was not in force at this town hall. The segments of the Congressman’s district that lean Democratic and further left were out in organized fashion. organized fashion means simply that there were devices used in last evening event that require money and organization (community). The Red card and Green card was one such device. If you disagreed with Congressman Mast’s position you held up your red card if you agreed you held up green. However, someone from the opposing crowd must have received advanced intellagence of this device and while attendees were in line there were just green cards being handed out. This tactic was not appreciated by the RED/Green carders and tensions surfaced in and outside the venue.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Dick Hall Out2News.com

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact:

Out2martincounty.com

CONGRESSMAN BRIAN MAST TOWN HALL

Out2News.com

Stuart — It was big crowd and a motivated crowd at Congressman Mast’s Town Hall last eveing at the Martin County Council On Aging “Kane Center”

The crowd was for the most part behaved however, there were some hot spots, especially when it comes to The Trump/Republican Health care reform efforts in Washington.

The traditional conservative Martin County crowd was not in force at this town hall. The segments of the Congressman’s district that lean Democratic and further left were out in organized fashion. organized fashion means simply that there were devices used in last evening event that require money and organization (community). The Red card and Green card was one such device. If you disagreed with Congressman Mast’s position you held up your red card if you agreed you held up green. However, someone from the opposing crowd must have received advanced intellagence of this device and while attendees were in line there were just green cards being handed out. This tactic was not appreciated by the RED/Green carders and tensions surfaced in and outside the venue.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Dick Hall Out2News.com

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact:

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, NELSON URGE ADMINISTRATION
TO SEEK COMPENSATION FOR AMERICAN PROPERTY
STOLEN BY CUBAN GOVERNMENT

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – As the Trump Administration reviews its policy towards Cuba, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) urged U.S. State and Treasury Department Secretaries Rex Tillerson and Steven Mnuchin to prioritize seeking compensation for Americans whose property was stolen by the Cuban government.

“The U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) has certified more than 5,900 claims against the Cuban Government for stolen property,” states the senators’ letter. “These claims—now valued at approximately $8 billion—remain unresolved. While the Cuban Government has manufactured ridiculous counter-claims to avoid responsibility, we urge you to seek fair compensation on behalf of these Americans as soon as possible. To that end, we request that you work with Congress to develop a plan and timeline for resolution of these claims, as well as consider instructing the FCSC to conduct a third Cuban Claims Program to allow for potential new claimants.”

The full text of the senators’ letter

RUBIO ADDRESSES COMEY HEARING, VA REFORM

 

 

Washington, D.C. – In the latest installment of Marco’s Constituent Mailbox video series, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addressed issues recently raised by constituents, such as former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming hearing this week and accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“And this week, of course, there’s a lot of insight coming into our office about the upcoming hearing this Thursday of this week. Former Director Comey from the FBI will be appearing before the Intelligence Committee that I serve on. And so we’ll have an opportunity to question him along with my colleagues. We have a lot of people calling in and writing about things like an independent commission or there used to be a lot about an independent counsel – that’s now happened. And so I have not necessarily believed there needs to be an independent commission yet. I have said that because I think the Intelligence Committee is doing its work in a bipartisan way and members on both sides of the aisle will tell you we’re making real progress in getting to the truth.

“So that’s where I would begin. People ask me ‘what do you hope to hear out of the hearing on Thursday?’ I think the bottom line is the truth. We want to hear from Director Comey, someone I’ve had a chance to interact with over the last four years and have always admired as a professional. There’s been some things reported in the press about what conversations he may or may not have had with the president. We’re going to have an opportunity to ask him those questions and to do so in front of the American people in an open hearing. And so that’s an important moment for rule of law and for what we do here in our oversight function.

“And so when people say ‘what’s the goal of the hearing?’ The goal is to get to the truth and to gather from him exactly what happened. We don’t want to continue to have to rely on press reports or an anonymous source that said that ‘he said.’ I think it’s important to hear directly from him and that’s what we are going to have a chance to do on Thursday when he testifies and I’m sure a lot of people will be tuning in to see what happens from that.”

“We’re going to be hopefully passing here my VA accountability law that hasn’t passed by the time you see this broadcast. And this is a law that took some time to get into the books. We had to work with Democrats across the aisle to build a consensus. What it basically does is it gives the secretary of the Veterans Administration more power to be able to remove from their positions people that are breaking the law or not doing a good job. Bring accountability back to the VA. Not a week goes by that we don’t get dozens of calls to our office from veterans who are having a problem interacting with the VA. And while the enormous and vast majority of people that work at the VA are doing a great job, there are few people that are not. And the VA secretary has to have the ability to hold them accountable. And that’s what this law allows us to do. And I’m pleased that we were able to put together a bipartisan group to deal with that.”

Rubio encourages constituents to continue writing letters and sharing their concerns via his official website, rubio.senate.gov.

AHEAD OF SENATE VOTE, RUBIO URGES COLLEAGUES
TO SUPPORT VA REFORM BILL

 


Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the Senate vote on the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted the need for VA reform, and urged his colleagues to vote in favor of the legislation.

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is headed to the Senate floor on Tuesday, and I’m truly hopeful my Senate colleagues are going to vote in favor of this.

This would reform the VA by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers. In the last few weeks, major veterans organizations have been throwing their support behind this commonsense reform, and it’s been endorsed by the VA Secretary.

So, I hope the Senate is going to take this up and pass it without delay so that the secretary has the tools that he needs to hold bad actors accountable and also to protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation. These changes are crucial to ensure that there’s accountability at the VA so that it can deliver for our veterans. And so, I ask you to please lend your voice to support this bill and hopefully it will pass here this week.

Out2martincounty.com

RACE FOR CHILDREN ACT KEY FOR CANCER TREATMENTS

Out2News.com

By Senators Marco Rubio and Michael Bennet

Every day, thousands of parents across America face a life-altering reality: learning their child has cancer.

Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death among children, with one in every 285 kids diagnosed before the age of 20. While researchers continue to make significant advances to treat and cure cancer for adults, progress to develop safe drugs for pediatric cancer lags far behind.

We have seen firsthand the struggles families endure in their battles against this terrible disease. From the financial hardships to the emotional stress of potentially losing a child, families are left grasping for hope. In cases where minimal treatments are available, a parent’s only option is to take his or her child home and enjoy the time they have left together. These children deserve the same chances of recovery that adults battling cancer have, but sadly, this is not the case today.

New cancer treatment drugs being developed are tested on adults, but not on children. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines that these drugs are safe for a full-grown adult, but not for a young, developing child. This leaves children with limited options, often resulting in doctors using powerful drugs approved for adults that can have severe consequences for children. ‎

We recently heard from a couple who lost their child to chemotherapy. The child ended up defeating the cancer, but was not able to survive the treatment. In these cases, chemotherapy proves fatal for children even though it was shown to be safe for adults. Parents from all over the country have told us their stories after watching their children struggle with chemotherapy and its lifelong health consequences, and they demand more treatment options.

Read the rest here.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO TOURS U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND HEADQUARTERS

Out2News.com

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Committee on Foreign Relations, today visited U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to receive briefings on regional challenges and SOUTHCOM’s efforts to enhance U.S. national security interests in Latin America.

“At a time of growing threats from transnational criminal organizations, illicit trafficking, illicit financing and increased military and‎ intelligence activity on the part of U.S. adversaries, the work of our men and women in uniform and their civilian partners at SOUTHCOM is more vital than ever to defending the United States and our interests in the Western Hemisphere,” said Rubio. “I was pleased to meet with Admiral Tidd and his staff to discuss the crisis in Venezuela, his efforts to build the capabilities of our partners in the region and the need for increased focus on Latin America‎ from Washington.”

Located in Doral, FL, SOUTHCOM is one of nine unified Combatant Commands (COCOMs) in the Department of Defense. SOUTHCOM is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation for Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The command oversees the force protection of U.S. military resources at these locations. SOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal and canal area. SOUTHCOM is a joint command comprised of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and several other federal agencies.

Out2martincounty.com

AS HURRICANE SEASON COMMENCES,
RUBIO URGES ADMINISTRATION
TO RELAX REGULATIONS THAT COULD IMPEDE RELIEF

Out2News.com

Miami, FL – As the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season commences, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today urged President Trump and his administration to conduct a comprehensive review of all existing federal regulations that can be relaxed in order to facilitate more effective and efficient relief efforts in the event of a hurricane.

“As your administration continues its focus on regulatory reform, I urge you to consider regulations, rules, and bureaucratic red tape that may hinder or constrain Americans’ abilities to rebuild their lives and communities following disasters,” states Rubio’s letter. “Still recovering from the impacts of last year’s Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, Floridians are eager to see Washington, D.C. refocus and refine the government’s disaster relief mission to ensure that meeting victims’ needs is always the immediate priority.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO VISITS NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA
AND CORRY STATION, LUNCHES WITH SAILORS

Out2News.com

Pensacola, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today visited Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola and Corry Station, where he joined enlisted sailors for lunch.

“It was great to spend the day in the Pensacola area to tour NAS Pensacola, the cradle of naval aviation, and Corry Station, the Navy’s premiere cyber and information warfare training center,” said Rubio. “It was an honor to see these sailors at two of the Navy’s most important installations in Northwest Florida working to ensure our cyber defense capabilities and the future of naval aviation.‎ As Florida’s senator, I will continue to support a strong national defense and care for our military personnel and veterans communities across the state‎.”

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Photos by: Photo courtesy of Senator Rubio’s office.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

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RUBIO, CORTEZ MASTO URGE ADMINISTRATION
TO PROTECT SENIORS FROM
EVICTION UNDER REVERSE MORTGAGE PROGRAM

Out2News.com

Pensacola, FL – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, today urged U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney to protect seniors from potential eviction under reverse mortgage rules. The senators urged the Administration to keep existing safeguards in place to protect seniors from losing their homes and requested verification of the Administration’s plan to do so.

“While reverse mortgages can provide an important source of financial security for seniors by allowing them to tap the value of their home and age-in-place, they have also raised a number of concerns,” the senators said. “One such concern arising in recent years relates to what happens when a homeowner dies, and is survived by a spouse that was not an original borrower on the reverse mortgage. Under previous Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) rules, upon the death (or move-out) of the original borrower, the reverse mortgage loan became immediately due, meaning that surviving spouse had to either pay the loan in full, or face eviction.”

“Given the gravity of potential changes to this law, we therefore request a written response outlining the rationale underlying this proposed change. We also urge that you continue to ensure that widows do not face eviction in these circumstances,” the senators concluded.

Read full text of letter here

 

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO STATEMENT ON EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT
ENACTING REPRESSIVE NGO LAW

Out2News.com

Pensacola, FL- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi enacted a repressive NGO law that was passed by the Egyptian Parliament last year:

“I am alarmed Egyptian President el-Sisi enacted the draconian law that imposes severe restrictions on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Egypt. This law is a direct attack on independent civil society in Egypt and will make it nearly impossible for charities, human rights groups, and other NGOs to function without government interference.

“This law will have a terrible impact on Egypt’s ability to make sincere and difficult reforms. It will also have implications for the U.S.-Egypt relationship. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds foreign military financing and other foreign assistance, I will work with my colleagues to ensure Congress takes the el-Sisi government’s actions into full consideration.”

County Commissioners Cut Ribbon
On Salerno Road Sewer Enhancement

Out2News.com

Port Salerno — A ribbon-cutting event celebrating the completion of the Salerno Road Sewer Enhancement Project was held on Wednesday.

This project included sewer system improvements with a master lift station, roadway reconstruction, on-street parking, landscaping and other improvements. Due to the close proximity to Salerno Creek and the Manatee Pocket, the sewer component of the project was a critical need to transition businesses on Salerno Road off aging septic systems.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Laura Beaupre Out2News/Out2Martin County.com contributing photographer

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

Out2martincounty.com

County Commissioners Cut Ribbon
On Salerno Road Sewer Enhancement

Out2News.com

Port Salerno — A ribbon-cutting event celebrating the completion of the Salerno Road Sewer Enhancement Project was held on Wednesday.

This project included sewer system improvements with a master lift station, roadway reconstruction, on-street parking, landscaping and other improvements. Due to the close proximity to Salerno Creek and the Manatee Pocket, the sewer component of the project was a critical need to transition businesses on Salerno Road off aging septic systems.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Laura Beaupre Out2News/Out2Martin County.com contributing photographer

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

Out2martincounty.com

County Commissioners Cut Ribbon
On Salerno Road Sewer Enhancement

Out2News.com

Port Salerno — A ribbon-cutting event celebrating the completion of the Salerno Road Sewer Enhancement Project was held on Wednesday.

This project included sewer system improvements with a master lift station, roadway reconstruction, on-street parking, landscaping and other improvements. Due to the close proximity to Salerno Creek and the Manatee Pocket, the sewer component of the project was a critical need to transition businesses on Salerno Road off aging septic systems.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Laura Beaupre Out2News/Out2Martin County.com contributing photographer

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

Out2martincounty.com

HONORING OUR FALLEN HEROES

 

 

I’ve always tried to show my kids that it’s possible to overcome adversity. I’ve tried to teach them that they can achieve anything to which they truly dedicate themselves. I’ve tried to exemplify strength, even when I did not feel strong inside.

I do not regret one moment that I spent in combat. Every second was spent working toward the worthiest possible cause: service to my brothers and service to the United States of America.

But, I do have regrets. Every year, I attend Memorial Day ceremonies back home in Florida. On Memorial Day in 2013, I made a request of my wife Brianna that I have come to deeply regret. That year, I asked that she stay home with our two little boys so that I could attend the ceremonies by myself.

I made this selfish request because I didn’t want my boys to see me in pain, and I didn’t want my wife to have to answer the question, “why is Daddy crying?”

I regret this moment, because at the time, I mistook those tears for weakness. I now realize that those tears represent strength.

My boys and my new baby girl need to see my emotion for each person who gave the last beat of their heart to defend our freedom. I want them to know why I sometimes can’t even say the word Taps and why my eyes might start welling up when I see a military funeral on the news.

They need to see this emotion because they need to know that there were brave men and women who showed strength, courage and patriotism with every bit of life they had so that my children may live free. They need to see this emotion so they know that they are blessed beyond words to be citizens of the greatest country on Earth.

I want them to know that there has been a high cost paid for all that makes this country great. The limitless opportunity that my children will enjoy in life was paid for with the blood and spirit of men and women who traded their own lives to fulfill an oath to the United States of America.

I want my kids to grow up honoring these men and women who will never be able to give their child a hug again. And I want them to know that it is strong and honorable to have the courage to mourn.

We have been given the gift of life, so please join me in memory of the absolute best men and women that each of us has ever known and in celebration of the freedom they sacrificed to protect.

 

 

 

SUPPORTING VETERANS

 

 

Every single veteran has carried a burden for our country. We have carried the burden of missing births, birthdays and ball games. We have held the lives of our friends and the lives of our enemies in our hands. And because we are the lucky ones – the ones who came home – we have a responsibility to those that did not make it home to honor their memory and to those that did to help our fellow veterans.

When I’m thinking about the work that we do in Congress, I often hold it to this standard: would those fallen men and women be proud of the work that we are doing here? Would they be proud of how we represent our nation and the values they fought for? Would they want us as members of their team?

This week, Congress passed 7 bills to improve care for our veterans. Watch this week’s Week In Review video to hear about each of those bills and how they would help those veterans who did make it home. I hope our fallen heroes would be proud of the work we did, not just this week but every week, in service to our great nation.

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RUBIO, MURPHY, JOHNSON DEMAND INVESTIGATION INTO
TURKISH SECURITY DETAIL’S INVOLVEMENT IN ATTACK ON DC PROTESTERS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) joined 17 other senators in urging the U.S. State Department to determine whether members of Turkey President Recep Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s security detail were involved in an attack on protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. which left nine hospitalized. The senators highlighted that President Erdogan’s security detail has an unacceptable history of violence toward protesters and urged Tillerson to hold the Turkish security detail accountable under U.S. law if it is found that they were involved in the attack.

“We write today to express our concern regarding the apparent involvement of members of the Turkish security detail accompanying President Recep Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a violent altercation outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on May 16. If true, this is the second time in little more than a year that members of Turkish diplomatic security have intervened violently against protestors and members of the media in the United States. This is not acceptable,” wrote the senators. “We urge you to work expeditiously with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to identify the perpetrators of this assault and to determine whether members of President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s security detail were involved. If their participation is confirmed, those responsible should be held accountable under applicable U.S. law.”

Joining Rubio, Murphy, and Johnson were Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Al Franken (D-MN).

The full text of the senators’ letter

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES APPLAUD COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF
COMPREHENSIVE BILL TO HOLD IRAN ACCOUNTABLE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Corker (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Bob Casey (D-PA) today applauded Senate Foreign Relations Committee passage of the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand sanctions for Iranian ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, transfers of conventional weapons to or from Iran, and human rights violations.

“It’s critical that the United States do more to counter the Iranian regime’s growing missile threats, support for international terrorism and militancy, and systematic abuse of human rights,” said Rubio. “This bipartisan bill is an important step in the right direction, especially after the flawed Iran nuclear deal, and I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to finally hold Iran accountable for its actions.”

“We can no longer allow the nuclear agreement with Iran to dictate U.S. policy throughout the Middle East, and this bill is an important first step in finally holding Iran accountable for their non-nuclear destabilizing activities,” said Corker. “As many of us predicted at the time, Iran’s rogue behavior has only escalated since implementation of the agreement, and this bipartisan bill approved by the committee today will give the Trump administration additional tools for holding Tehran accountable. It also sends an important signal that the U.S. will no longer look the other way in the face of continued Iranian aggression. I am proud of the strong bipartisan momentum behind this effort and will push for timely consideration on the Senate floor.”

“Today’s committee approval of this bipartisan legislation brings us one step closer to finally ensuring Iran’s leaders understand they do not enjoy blanket impunity as the United States continues to live up to its commitments under the JCPOA,” said Menendez. “Independent of the nuclear portfolio, and as President Rouhani starts his second presidential term, our broader policy towards Iran must be one that holds Tehran accountable for their destabilizing efforts in the region, illegal and dangerous missile technology development, and nefarious activities as the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. As the Administration continues to review its Iran policy, Congress must set out clear markers that impose real consequences to Iran’s illicit behavior that runs counter to our national security and that of our allies in the region. I will work diligently with my colleagues so this important legislation is swiftly taken up by the full Congress and sent to the President’s desk for his signature.”

“Iran is contributing to regional instability and has not demonstrated any interest in rejoining the community of responsible nations by halting its malign behavior. Today’s bipartisan Committee passage of Iran legislation underscores Congress’ role in articulating a roadmap for pushing back on Iran’s aggressive actions,” said Cardin. “The Iranian regime, and its clients and proxies, should take from this legislation that while we will continue to fulfill U.S. obligations pursuant to the JCPOA. However, we remain committed to pushing back on Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism, violations of the arms embargo, and human rights abuses against its own citizens.”

“I thank my colleagues for supporting this bill and allowing it to move forward. Now, we’re one step closer to holding Iran accountable for its imperialist aggression,” said Cotton.

“This legislation will hold Iran accountable for its destabilizing behavior and support for terrorism,” said Casey. “Advancing this bipartisan bill sends a clear message to Iran that our nation will work to counter its aggression in the places like Syria and Yemen, its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah, its development of ballistic missile technology, and its serial violations of human rights.”

Cosponsors of the legislation also include Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), John Kennedy (R-LA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John McCain (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Nelson (D-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Todd Young (R-IN).

The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act contains the following key provisions:

New Mandatory Ballistic Missile Sanctions: Imposes mandatory sanctions on persons involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those that transact with them.

New Terrorism Sanctions: Applies terrorism sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and codifies individuals who are currently sanctioned due to Iranian support for terrorism.

Enforcement of Arms Embargo: Requires the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities related to the supply, sale, or transfer of prohibited arms and related material to or from Iran.

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RUBIO, NELSON INTRODUCE BILL
AUTHORIZING ADDITIONAL FLORIDA JUDGESHIPS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced the Florida Federal Judicial Relief Act, legislation that would authorize one, six, and three additional judgeships in the northern, middle, and southern districts of Florida, respectively. The bill also converts an existing judgeship from temporary to permanent for the southern district of Florida. These proposals are based on the recommendations of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is the national policy-making body for the federal courts and makes recommendations on judgeships every two years.

“The overwhelming caseload facing our judges is an undue burden for both our judicial system and the people of Florida,” said Rubio. “By following the recommendations of the Judicial Conference in authorizing these judgeships, we can help ensure a more efficient judicial system. I am proud to introduce this bill with Senator Nelson and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to authorize these important judgeships for Florida as it will have short and long term benefits for our judges and residents.”

“Florida’s federal courts are some of the busiest in the country,” said Nelson. “This bill will help provide Floridians with better access to our legal system.”

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RUBIO MEETS WITH AYA HIJAZI AND HER HUSBAND
FOLLOWING THEIR RELEASE FROM EGYPTIAN PRISON

 

 

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today met with released American-Egyptian prisoner Aya Hijazi and her husband Mohamed Hassanein. Both were imprisoned in Egypt in May 2014 on false charges and were finally freed, along with their colleagues at Belady Foundation, in late April 2017. Rubio has been a vocal advocate for the release of Aya, Mohamed, their colleagues, and all political prisoners jailed in Egypt.

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VA COMMITTEE PASSES RUBIO, ISAKSON,
TESTER ACCOUNTABILITY BILL

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Jon Tester (D-MT) were joined today by their fellow cosponsors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in applauding the bipartisan committee passage of this legislation to improve accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The measure, which passed the committee by voice vote, would reform the VA by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.

Along with Rubio, Isakson and Tester, the other 21 senators who are cosponsors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Kennedy (R-LA), John McCain (R-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Nelson (D-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dan Sullivan (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

“We applaud today’s bipartisan committee vote to advance this critical legislation that will help change the culture and improve accountability at the VA,” said the 24 sponsoring senators following today’s committee vote. “We hope the Senate will follow suit and take up this bipartisan legislation without delay so that VA Secretary Shulkin has the tools he needs to hold bad actors accountable and protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced by Rubio, Isakson, and Tester on May 11. Following today’s committee approval, the legislation now moves to the full Senate for a vote on final passage.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is widely supported by key veterans stakeholders including the VA and U.S. House VA committee leadership. This legislation has also won the support of several veterans advocacy groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States and key government accountability groups.

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RUBIO, WARREN INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO
PROTECT VETERANS FROM FINANCIAL SCAMS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act, legislation that would help protect veterans who receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funded assistance from becoming the victims of financial scams. The bill directs the VA to work with other federal agencies and states to crack down on scam artists who are diverting federal funds intended to support low-income and older veterans who require assisted care.

“It’s terrible when anyone falls prey to scam artists who rob them of money, but it’s especially despicable when our most vulnerable veterans are targeted by criminals pretending to help them receive federal benefits,” said Rubio. “This legislation will help ensure more of these scammers are brought to justice, so our veterans are better protected and receive the proper assistance they need and deserve.”

“Our men and women in uniform have all made sacrifices in service to our country. The Aid and Attendance program is a critical lifeline for the thousands of older veterans who just need a helping hand for basic daily activities,” said Warren. “Unfortunately, the program is being undermined by scams, putting our veterans at even greater financial risk and wasting taxpayer dollars. This legislation will help put a stop to these financial scams and ensure that we honor our commitments to our veterans.”

The VA offers an Aid & Attendance benefit (A&A) to help pay for assisted living or in-home personal care for veterans who qualify for a VA pension, and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person. Scam artists have targeted veterans, charging them fees for obtaining the benefit even though the application process is free. Some scammers even take control of the veteran’s assets and move them into an irrevocable trust or an annuity, which the elderly veteran often cannot access again for many years, and may disqualify the veteran from other assistance, like Medicaid.

The Veterans Care Financial Protection Act introduced by Rubio and Warren has been endorsed by the following organizations: The American Legion, The Association of the U.S. Army, The Association of the U.S. Navy, The Fleet Reserve Association, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Military Officers Association of America, and The Retired Enlisted Association.

The legislation was initially introduced by Rubio and Warren as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and an omnibus veterans bill, as well as a standalone bill in 2014.

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RUBIO, COONS REINTRODUCE BILL TO HELP EXPAND
ACCESS TO COLLEGE FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DL) today introduced the American Dream Accounts Act, legislation that would help to increase the number of low-income and at-risk students able to access and complete a college education. This legislation would authorize the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to support innovative and comprehensive partnerships that support low-income students in preparation for a college education. Earlier today, Rubio joined Coons and Opportunity Nation to announce their reintroduction of the bill.

“I was happy to join Senator Coons and Opportunity Nation today to announce the reintroduction of American Dream Accounts Act. Since its inception, America has been a unique nation where anyone from anywhere can do anything,” said Rubio. “We must keep it that way and I believe one way to do that is to provide more pathways for children to attend college. The American Dream is what makes our country exceptional, and it is crucial we do everything we can to expand economic mobility and lessen the opportunity gap in America.”

“If we want to ensure that American workers can compete in the global economy, we must ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to access higher education,” said Coons. “The American Dream Accounts Act would bridge the opportunity gap by connecting students, teachers, parents, and mentors to create a new generation of higher education achievers through streamlining resources that would allow young people to prepare for, save for, train for, and achieve their dreams for their futures.”

Endorsed by Opportunity Nation, First Focus Campaign for Children, Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), National PTA, Delaware PTA, and Delaware State University, the American Dream Accounts Act encourages partnerships among schools, colleges, non-profits and businesses to develop secure, Web-based student accounts that contain information about academic preparedness, financial literacy and high-impact mentoring and would be tied to a college savings account. Instead of approaching these threads independently, this bill connects students, parents and teachers across silos, and takes a small but significant step toward helping more at-risk students of all income levels access, afford and complete a college education.
The American Dream Accounts Act authorizes the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to local partnerships that:

· Create American Dream Accounts (ADAs), personal online accounts for low-income students that monitor higher education readiness and include a college savings account. ADAs would follow students from school to school and through college. Parents would grant vested stakeholders (including counselors, teachers, coaches, mentors, and others) access to the account to update student information, monitor progress, and provide college preparatory support.

· Open college savings accounts for students. Every ADA would include a college savings account for each student. Grantees that can provide these accounts with seed money would be prioritized. Funds from the grant could not be used to seed the college savings accounts.

· Support college readiness by securely monitoring students’ progress online. Academic and behavioral information, including grades and course selections, progress reports, and attendance and disciplinary records would be available for review in an ADA, which would also provide opportunities to learn about financial literacy, prepare for college enrollment, and identify skills and career interests.

· Collect data about effective ways to assist high-risk students in planning for college through a comprehensive monitoring and reporting system.

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RUBIO ADDRESSES TOP CONSTITUENT CONCERNS

 

 

Washington, D.C. – In the latest installment of Marco’s Constituent Mailbox video series, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) addresses the top issues concerning constituents: Russia’s interference in U.S. elections, the Senate health care bill, and offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL
TO BOLSTER HOMELAND MISSILE DEFENSE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act, legislation that would strengthen and improve the reliability, capability, and capacity of U.S. homeland missile defense.

“The North Korean regime continues to be a clear and present danger to America and the world with its unwavering development of nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missiles,” said Rubio. “It is our duty to do everything we can to ensure we are prepared in the event of a nuclear threat. That is why I am proud to support the Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017, legislation that would advance our defense system to keep our homeland safe.”

“Our nation’s missile defense is a critical insurance policy that protects Americans and our allies from a nuclear catastrophe,” said Sullivan. “Top military leaders have been sounding the alarm, saying it is only a matter of ‘when, not if,’ Kim Jong-un will get the capability to range cities in the continental United States with a nuclear inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 heeds that warning and seeks to advance our nation’s ability to outpace the current threats. I thank my colleagues on both sides of aisle for coming together to address this critical national security issue.”

“This bill will help improve our ability to defend Hawai‘i, Alaska, and the U.S. mainland against a North Korean ballistic missile threat,” said Schatz. “While we take this extra step to strengthen our defense capacities, we must continue to explore every diplomatic avenue to hold North Korea to its international commitments and stop its unlawful pursuit of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.”

“The success of our modern ground- and sea-based missile defenses underscore the moral clarity and prescient outlook Ronald Reagan exhibited in the 1980’s in his mission to protect our citizens from ballistic missile threats,” said Cruz. “While our adversaries are increasingly focused on ballistic missile capabilities, we must ensure our missile defense architecture outpaces their developing threats. This bill is a statement of rededication to Reagan’s vision, particularly its attention to space-based sensors, and I hope all my colleagues will come together to invest in the security of the American people.”

“The United States faces an evolving number of security threats – from North Korea’s provocative missile tests designed to inflame global tensions, to Iran’s ballistic missile tests in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution,” said Peters. “It is critical that America take proactive steps to bolster our missile defense systems so we are prepared in the event of a missile attack directed at our homeland.”

“If we can’t make Kim Jong-un listen to reason, then we should make his arsenal obsolete,” said Cotton. “In this increasingly dangerous world, America needs a missile-defense system that’s second to none, and this legislation will keep our country ahead of the pack.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill because America’s strength and security are dependent on us staying one step ahead of those who wish us harm, said Manchin. “In a bipartisan way, the Senate is heeding the call of our military leaders by giving them the technology and weapons that they need to keep America and her allies safe from a ballistic missile threat.”

“Keeping Americans safe is absolutely essential, and the Advancing American Missile Defense Act will help us do exactly that,” said Capito. “When it comes to North Korea, the time for smart, responsible action is now, and this legislation takes necessary steps to develop and advance our missile defense infrastructure and technology. This bill will help us properly prepare and equip professionals with the tools they need to counter the very real threat North Korea poses. I am proud to join my colleagues to support this measure that will help make America a safer place.”
The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act would:

· Promote an integrated, layered ballistic missile defense system incorporating Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis Ashore, and Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems.

· Authorize an additional 28 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs).

· Accelerate the development and deployment of advanced interceptor technologies (Redesigned Kill Vehicle; Multi-object Kill Vehicle MOKV; New, More Flexible and Capable Booster).

· Accelerate the development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer.

· Accelerate the completion of the EIS for an interceptor site on the East Coast and in the Midwest of the U.S.

· Authorize additional missile defense testing and expresses the need to change current test culture at the Missile Defense Agency.

· Mandate report for up to 100 GBIs distributed across the U.S. and asks for specifics on their optimal locations and the possibility of transportable GBIs.

RUBIO WELCOMES NEW SANCTIONS
TARGETING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS IN VENEZUELA

 


Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called for the United States to impose sanctions against human rights violators allied with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and his regime. Today, Rubio welcomed the Trump Administration’s new sanctions targeting eight members of Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice, including its president.

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GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE

 


Every time I turn on the TV, all I hear is people yelling at each other. It can be hard to break through the noise and get to the truth. Here are a couple stories from this week that you might have missed:

We passed the bipartisan Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, designed to stop the slaughter of the Syrian people, encourage a resolution to the conflict and hold Syrian human rights abusers accountable for their crimes. The bill included a provision that I wrote to ensure congressional oversight of military action in Syria. Learn more.

The House acted to address rising anti-Semitic threats by passing a bill that I co-sponsored called the Combating European Anti-Semitism Act. The bill increases monitoring of anti-Jewish incidents and the steps taken to combat them. The legislation also encourages our government to partner with European law enforcement agencies to share information and best practices to combat anti-Semitic threats. Learn more.

I helped introduce a bill to recognize August 7th as Purple Heart Day. Learn more about why this issue is important to me.

We passed a bill that I’ve been pushing for months to ensure that criminals who murder law enforcement officers face justice for their crimes. Learn more about the Thin Blue Line Act.

With our Palm Beach County office we’re saving taxpayers money: the new location is almost half as expensive as the previous congressional office in Palm Beach County. Read more.

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ON CNN AND CBS, RUBIO DISCUSSES
RUSSIA INVESTIGATION, VENEZUELA SANCTIONS

 

 

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Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Appropriations, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and CBS’ Face the Nation this morning to discuss the investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, and the latest sanctions against corrupt officials in the Venezuelan regime.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE RESOLUTION
RECOGNIZING JERUSALEM AS CAPITAL OF ISRAEL

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) today introduced a resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and calling on the U.S. embassy to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.‎

In January, Rubio introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, legislation that would ensure the U.S. fulfills its promise to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

View full text of the resolution here

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RUBIO CONDEMNS VENEZUELAN DICTATOR
FOR MURDERING PROTESTERS, NAMES MORE
THUGS WHO SHOULD BE SANCTIONED FOR CRIMES

 

 

Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) condemned Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro for murdering protesters opposed to his illegitimate power grabs, and called out the members of Venezuela’s supreme court who have helped Maduro dismantle the country’s democratic institutions. Rubio also named several other individuals who should be sanctioned for their crimes, and reiterated the need for the United States to stand with the people of Venezuela.

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RUBIO STATEMENT ON APPOINTMENT OF
ROBERT MUELLER AS SPECIAL COUNSEL

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement today after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel for the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election:

“Mr. Mueller is widely respected for his independence and professionalism. I have confidence that he will conduct a fair and thorough investigation. For the sake of the country, all parties must fully cooperate with his efforts that are focused on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This effort should in no way be allowed to impede the ability of the Senate Intelligence Committee to conduct and conclude its investigation into the same subject. It is my hope that these investigations will now move expeditiously.”

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RUBIO, CARDIN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION CALLING ON ETHIOPIA TO RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS, OPEN DEMOCRATIC SPACE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced a Senate resolution condemning excessive use of force by Ethiopian security forces that led to hundreds of deaths last year, and calling on the Ethiopian government to release all political opposition, dissidents, activists, and journalists and to respect the rights enshrined in its constitution.

“As the Ethiopian government continues to stall on making progress on human rights and democratic reform, it is critical that the United States remains vocal in condemning Ethiopia’s human rights abuses against its own people,” said Rubio, chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights and civilian security. “I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to urge the Ethiopian government to respect the rule of law and prioritize human rights and political reforms.”

“The Ethiopian government must make progress on respecting human rights and democratic freedoms. I am deeply troubled by the arrest and ongoing detention of a number of prominent opposition political figures. The fact that we have partnered with the Ethiopian government on counterterrorism does not mean that we will stay silent when it abuses its own people,” said Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “On the contrary, our partnership means that we must speak out when innocent people are detained, and laws are used to stifle legitimate political dissent.”

The resolution notes that hundreds of people have been killed and thousands were arrested during the course of the protests in Ethiopia. To date, there has not been a credible accounting for security forces’ excesses.

Joining Rubio and Cardin as original cosponsors of the resolution are Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

RUBIO TESTIFIES IN SUPPORT OF
VA ACCOUNTABILITY LEGISLATION

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today testified before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on the need for accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Rubio recently introduced bipartisan legislation with the committee’s Chairman, Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Ranking Member, Jon Tester (D-MT), that would protect whistleblowers and provide the secretary of the VA with the authority to remove bad employees.

VA Secretary David Shulkin has repeatedly expressed support for Rubio’s legislation, saying it would help him to hold VA employees accountable and better serve veterans. Rubio’s legislation has also received broad praise from Veteran Service Organizations and other key stakeholders.

Following Rubio’s testimony, Chairman Isakson applauded his efforts to bring people together in support of a bipartisan solution to the problems plaguing the VA.

ON SENATE FLOOR, RUBIO CONDEMNS CHINA’S
OPPRESSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST, LAWYER

 

 

Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, condemned the Chinese government’s oppression of human rights activist Huang Qi and lawyer Xie Yang. Rubio’s speech was part of his #expressionNOToppression initiative, which highlights human rights abuses around the world.

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SUPPORT GROWS FOR RUBIO’S
VA ACCOUNTABILITY BILL

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Washington, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that would reform the VA by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will consider the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act during a legislative hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 17.

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is supported by VA Secretary David Shulkin and the top two members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

The legislation has also received the support of several veterans groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States and key government accountability groups:
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee

The American Legion

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

Reserve Officers Association (ROA)

Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

American Veterans (AMVETS)

Got Your 6

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA)

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

Project on Government Oversight

Office of Special Counsel

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RUBIO, MENENDEZ URGE TRUMP TO RAISE
WORSENING HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKEY WITH ERDOGAN

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Washington, D.C. – Ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) are leading 17 senators in urging President Trump to raise the issue of human rights in Turkey with President Erdogan. Citing the weakening of democratic institutions, stifling of fundamental human rights, and mass arrests and civil society restrictions, the senators expressed concerns about President Edrogan’s authoritarian policies after the recent constitutional referendum.

“Erdogan and his allies have mounted an assault on the rule of law, particularly using sweeping state of emergency authorities to stifle fundamental rights including free speech, undermine the independence of the judiciary, and quash any opposition to their undemocratic actions,” states the senators’ letter. “The United States must be candid and consistent in our support of democratic values and respect for human rights for the sake of Turkey’s future and our long-term interests in the region. We therefore urge you to make support for Turkish democracy and human rights a priority, both in your meetings with President Erdogan next week and in U.S. policy toward Turkey thereafter.”

Joining Rubio and Menendez in sending the letter were Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Kennedy (R-LA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Thomas Tillis (R-NC), Christopher Van Hollen (D-MD), and Todd Young (R-IN).

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THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS

 

 

After a busy week in Congress, I wanted to send you an update so you could hear from me first hand about the votes that I took and the progress we made toward a more efficient, effective and accountable government. I hope you find these updates useful. They’re part of my effort to be accessible, transparent and accountable.

This week we passed a major reform to make health care more affordable and funded $61 million to reimburse counties, including Palm Beach County, that have incurred security costs because of the President’s travel.

Watch this week’s Week In Review video to hear more about just some of what we got done this week, including health care reforms, government funding, passage of a bill to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, three bills to reform FEMA and an amendment I introduced to ensure the President reports to Congress on the Syrian conflict.

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SENATORS RUBIO, LANKFORD, AND COONS INTRODUCE
RESOLUTION PROMOTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

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WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), and Chris Coons (D-DE) today introduced a bipartisan resolution to affirm the commitment of the United States to promote religious freedom and condemn persecution based on faith. This resolution also encourages the President to nominate an Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom within the State Department.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right that is under assault across the globe,” said Rubio. “Churches and other houses of worship are being bombed and shuttered, pastors are being imprisoned, and people of faith are being intimidated, harassed and worse. Supporting religious freedom must be a core component of America’s foreign policy, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in introducing this resolution.”

“The right to practice any faith, or have no faith, is a fundamental human right of all people, no matter where they live on earth. Nations that oppress this basic human right are bound to violate other human rights,” said Lankford. “It is important that America stands up for religious freedom, and unequivocally denounces anti-religious violence, oppression, and genocide around the world. That’s what this resolution calls for.”

“The right to practice your specific faith or not practice at all is a fundamental American value, but it’s also a right that people all around the world deserve, too,” said Coons. “In too many other countries, religious minorities are unfairly targeted and even persecuted for their beliefs, and I am pleased to introduce this resolution with my colleagues to promote religious freedom around the world.”

This resolution comes two weeks after the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued its 2017 Annual Report showing that the state of affairs for international religious freedom is worsening around the world. The independent report listed that numerous countries, including North Korea, China, Syria, Vietnam, Iran, and for the first-time, Russia, engage in severe religious freedom violations that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious. According to an April Pew Research Center Study, government restrictions on religion are increasing, and the two geographic regions with the highest government restrictions continue to be the Middle East-North Africa and the Asia-Pacific.

Yesterday, Lankford spoke about this topic at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, DC.

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RUBIO, CARDIN, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE
NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS REAUTHORIZATION ACT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act, legislation that would update and reauthorize the 2004 law promoting human rights and freedom in North Korea.

“The human rights situation in North Korea is horrific,” said Senator Rubio, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on human rights. “The regime systematically and ruthlessly terrorizes its own citizens, denying them the most basic freedoms. The government operates a network of political prisoner camps. Defectors report extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, arrest, torture, forced starvation and sexual violence against women. The United States has a moral obligation and diplomatic imperative to prioritize human rights and access to information for the North Korean people, and this bipartisan legislation would do just that.”

“North Korea has many problems beyond its dangerous nuclear program, namely that it ranks at the bottom of the world in its respect for human rights and the development of its own people,” said Senator Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The United States must always be mindful that with every approach we take toward their repressive regime, we should focus on the people of North Korea, which gives us the greatest chance for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the region. To that end, I’m pleased to join Senator Rubio and my colleagues in reauthorizing The North Korean Human Rights Act.”

“North Korea’s belligerent nuclear weapons and missile tests in defiance of United States and United Nations sanctions are well known, but we cannot lose sight that Kim Jong Un’s regime is also one of the world’s foremost abusers of human rights,” said Senator Gardner, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity. “The North Koreans imprison and torture as many as 200,000 men, women, and children in political prison camps and prohibit any dissenters from speaking out against the regime. While we must continue to pressure Kim Jong Un to abandon the country’s nuclear program, we must also use necessary sanctions to punish North Korea for these atrocious human rights abuses. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to apply pressure to the maniac in Pyongyang and help bring relief to the hundreds of thousands of innocent North Korean citizens suffering under this brutal dictator.”

“Kim Jong-un has consolidated his grip on power and seems determined to proceed on a course of strengthening his military while doubling down on the humanitarian crisis that is part of the ongoing story of this bizarre and brutal regime,” said Senator Menendez. “With the reported exterminations, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, and unspeakable sexual violence, the Kim family’s political dynasty continue to wreak unfettered havoc on their own people. So as the international community rightfully focuses on North Korea’s growing threat to security with its nuclear and missile program, this bipartisan legislation also seeks to elevate the fundamental role that human rights and human dignity must play in our foreign policy. Ultimately, leaders and nations who respect these basic values prove more stable actors on the international stage.”

“The North Korean regime is a modern-day reign of terror. It not only threatens the lives of Americans, South Koreans, and Japanese, but it also terrorizes its own people. As with any totalitarian regime, however, it fears the truth,” said Senator Cruz. “The reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act empowers the United States to shine a light into that darkened regime with the truth of liberty and the friendship that Americans feel for the people of North Korea. Moreover, these programs provide us with avenues to reach North Koreans and shape their perceptions of us. These are nonnegotiable elements of our broader North Korean strategy, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill and judiciously implement it.”

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RUBIO’S LEGISLATION WILL
LET ME HOLD VA EMPLOYEES ACCOUNTABLE

 

 

Shulkin: “I wish today I could tell you I have the tools to do the right thing, to be able to remove those employees. I do not. So unfortunately, I need a new set of tools if I’m going to be held accountable for turning this system around and doing what we all want to do to serve veterans. So I thank you for introducing this bill, I think it’s necessary.”

Washington, D.C. – During today’s Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on improving healthcare for veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin told U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) the legislation he introduced today, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, would give the VA secretary the tools needed to hold employees accountable for incompetence or malfeasance.

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RUBIO QUESTIONS INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY OFFICIALS

 

 

Washington, D.C. – During today’s U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) questioned intelligence community leaders about the FBI’s ability to continue its investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, cyber security software company Kaspersky Lab, the threat of weapons ending up in the wrong hands due to the crisis in Venezuela, and the Cuban regime’s efforts to covertly influence Americans.

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RUBIO, TESTER, ISAKSON INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL
TO REFORM THE VA, PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS

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Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today introduced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that would reform the VA by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees, and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.

“To fully reform the VA and provide our nation’s veterans with the quality care they were promised and deserve, we must ensure the department can efficiently dismiss employees who are not able or willing to do their jobs,” said Rubio. “This legislation would improve on the law we enacted in 2014, and I’m grateful to Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester for working with us to craft a bill that will protect whistleblowers and the many VA employees who are passionate about caring for our veterans, while also empowering the VA to hold bad employees accountable. We must make real changes that put the well-being of our servicemembers before the best interests of bureaucrats.”

“When the VA cannot hold bad actors accountable, everyone loses,” said Isakson, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Taxpayer dollars are wasted on employees who are not fully committed to helping our veterans. Other employees at the VA suffer because they are forced to work alongside or take direction from delinquent individuals. Most egregiously, our veterans suffer because the people responsible for caring for them are putting themselves first – not our veterans. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan measure that will help create a culture of accountability at the VA by giving Secretary Shulkin the tools necessary to discipline bad employees in a timely manner while protecting whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation and ensuring the quality of care that our veterans receive at the VA.”

“This bipartisan bill will hold bad employees accountable while protecting the hardworking folks who care for our veterans,” said Tester, ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The challenges at the VA are many, but tough problems require commonsense solutions and this bipartisan bill is a product of what happens when you put aside politics and work together. I want to thank Chairman Isakson and Senator Rubio for working hard to make the VA stronger and ensure it can better deliver for veterans.”

U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), John McCain (R-AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) cosponsored the legislation.

VA Secretary David Shulkin has repeatedly expressed support for accountability legislation, and Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Carolyn Clancy reiterated this position during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on preventing veteran suicide.
Specifically, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act would:

Authorize the secretary to reprimand, suspend, involuntarily reassign, demote, or remove a covered individual from a senior executive service position, including removal from civil service, if the secretary determines that their misconduct or performance warrants such an action, subject to a VA-internal grievance process established by the secretary that must be completed within 21 days.

Authorize the secretary to remove, demote, or suspend for longer than 14 days without pay, subject to an appeal of their removal or demotion to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for most non-senior executive service (SES) employees. The MSBP would then have 180 days to complete an expedited appeal and render a final decision, subject to judicial review by the U.S. Federal Circuit.

Protect whistleblowers from retaliation by not allowing the secretary to use this authority to fire employees who have filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC). The proposal would also establish an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection for employees to bring to light major problems at the VA without losing their job or facing retaliation.

Streamline authority for the secretary to rescind an employee’s bonus or relocation expense reimbursement if the secretary deems it appropriate, and allow reduction to an SES employee’s retirement pension upon their conviction of a felony related to work performance.

Require the VA to provide periodic training to each supervisor on the rights of whistleblowers; how to address a report by an employee of a hostile work environment, reprisal, or harassment; how to effectively motivate, manage, and reward employees; and how to effectively manage employees who are performing at an unacceptable level.

Authorize the secretary to directly appoint individuals to the positions of Medical Center Director and Director of Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) if they have demonstrated ability in the medical profession, health care administration, or health care fiscal management.

Require the VA to provide reports to Congress on employee morale and the types of administrative action taken against employees and their effectiveness in disciplining employees.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES SEEK ANSWERS
ON OBAMA’S IRAN PRISONER SWAP

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Boozman (R-AR), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Luther Strange (R-AL) are seeking answers about the seven individuals granted clemency and the fourteen fugitives for whom charges were dropped as part of the prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran that was secretly negotiated by Obama Administration officials leading up to the Iran deal.

“Based on new reports, we are concerned that President Obama and certain previous administration officials intentionally suppressed the seriousness of the charges against these individuals in order to garner public support for the nuclear deal with Iran, and we fear that these individuals may still pose a threat to the national security of the United States,” states the senators’ letter. “We have suspected for some time that the 7 individuals who received pardons or commuted sentences as part of this exchange were convicted of providing significant assistance to Iran’s nuclear program. A POLITICO investigation released on April 24, 2017 now confirms that several of these individuals were involved in aiding Iran’s illegal procurement network for microelectronics with applications for surface-to-air and cruise missiles and conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware in violation of U.S. sanctions.”

The full text of the senators’ letter

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RUBIO, NELSON CALL FOR FLEXIBILITY,
RELIABLE DATA FOR 2017 RED SNAPPER FISHING SEASON

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today expressed concern over the recently announced 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishing season, urging National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Acting Administrator Benjamin Friedman to ensure all available data is considered to ensure fishermen are afforded the maximum amount of time on the water.

“According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the 2017 Gulf of Mexico red snapper federal season will be limited to just three days for recreational fishermen and 49 days for charter fishermen,” states the senators’ letter. “Once again, we ask that you consider incorporating all available reliable data to ensure anglers can safely fish for an appropriate season, which contributes valuable tourism revenue to coastal economies and ensures access to this public resource.”

The full text of the senators’ letter

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RUBIO, CARDIN INTRODUCE
PHILIPPINES SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION

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Washington, D.C. ­­– U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced the Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act, legislation that would restrict the exportation of certain defense articles by the United States to the Philippine National Police, support human rights and civil society organizations in the Republic of the Philippines, and report on sources of narcotics entering that country.

The legislation notes that since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in June of 2016 there has been a relentless campaign of violence against alleged drug offenders, in which more than 7,000 people have been killed.

“America and the Philippines have an important and enduring alliance, which is why the growing number of extrajudicial killings as part of the Philippine National Police’s ‘war on drugs’ is deeply alarming,” said Rubio. “This is not the right way to conduct an anti-drug campaign, and our legislation reflects our sincere desire to work with the Philippines to support human rights, expose narcotics networks emanating from mainland China and other countries, and use a public health approach to responsibly counter the dangers that drugs pose to our societies.”

“President Duterte has unleashed a campaign of extrajudicial killings in his country that has horrified the international community. Mr. Duterte must handle criminal issues through the rule of law and allow drug addicts access to the public health services and treatment they deserve. In the absence of such actions, this legislation is clear in its support for the Filipino people and the importance of our alliance, but also the consequences if Mr. Duterte’s actions continue,” said Cardin. “Senator Rubio and I recognize the Philippines is one of America’s oldest friends and allies, and that is why we are committed to the health and well-being of this relationship, and the fundamental human rights of the Filipino people.”

The Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act reiterates the United States’ commitment and support for the Philippines, specifically regarding defense of the Philippines and continued support in counter-terrorism, maritime law enforcement, and maritime domain awareness. The bill also reaffirms United States policy to:

· Enhance the United States’ ability to provide rapid humanitarian assistance;

· Work with the Philippines to support civil society and a public health approach to substance abuse, drug addiction, and the illegal use of narcotics;

· Help modernize the armed forces of the Philippines, enhance cybersecurity cooperation, and deepen engagement between our militaries;

· Promote economic growth and development in the Philippines;

· Support the people of the Philippines in their efforts to strengthen the rule of law and anti-corruption measures, to further support effective judicial and legal institutions, and to promote human rights and civil society

The bill provides restrictions on certain defense items provided by the United States to the Philippine National Police, and provides a case-by-case waiver on the restrictions for the president.

The bill authorizes $50 million to the U.S. State Department and USAID to promote a public health approach to substance abuse and to support Filipino defenders of human rights, assist victims of human rights violations, respond to human rights emergencies, and promote and encourage the rule of law, including the support for nongovernmental organizations in the Philippines.

The bill also includes instructions for reports on:

· Foreign assistance to the Philippine National Police or entities associated with the Philippine National Police;

· Sources of narcotics and precursor chemicals to produce narcotics;

· United States military assistance, cooperation, and security assistance and arms transfers used by the Philippine National Police and its associated entities to commit gross violations of human rights or violate laws applicable to military or security assistance related to human rights; and

· Partner capacity building assistance to the Philippines to enhance maritime capabilities, respond to emerging threats, and maintain freedom of operations in international waters and airspace in the Asia-Pacific maritime domains, and to make recommendations for additional foreign military sales, foreign military financing, and international military education and training to be made available to the Philippines.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES REINTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO
STRENGTHEN U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation that encourages visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials at all levels.

“America should keep strengthening our relationship with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy, including by encouraging high-level visits between Taiwanese and American officials in our respective capitals,” said Rubio. “This legislation is important, especially as China attempts to block Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.”

“This important initiative will promote high-level contacts between U.S. and Taiwanese officials based on the principles of respect, openness, and shared values, especially at a time of rising autocracies and human rights abuses,” said Menendez. “Taiwan has been a stalwart friend for many decades and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to help normalize the contacts between our peoples for the furtherance of our mutual prosperity, security, and cultural relations.”

“The Taiwan Relations Act, enacted 37 years ago has served as the cornerstone of relations between the United States and Taiwan and as an anchor for peace and security in the Western Pacific,” said Inhofe. “I am pleased to join Sen. Rubio in introducing the Taiwan Travel Act, which will allow U.S. cabinet members and other high-ranking officials to visit the country, meet with their Taiwanese counterparts and allow for constructive communication and interaction. Visits to countries by U.S. cabinet members and high-ranking officials visibly demonstrate the breadth and depth of our ties with those countries and Taiwan should certainly not be an exception.”

“Taiwan is one of America’s largest trading partners and an important democratic ally in East Asia,” said Peters. “I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill, which will encourage high-level official security and economic meetings between our governments and reaffirm the close bonds between the United States and Taiwan.”

“Taiwan is a friend and ally of the United States, and promoting high-level visits is a positive step to strengthen our partnership,” said Gardner. “I urge the Trump Administration to work closely with Congress to ensure we meet the letter and the spirit of our commitments to Taiwan, as required under U.S. law.”

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RUBIO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO
EXTEND EASTERN GULF DRILLING MORATORIUM

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act, legislation that would extend the moratorium on energy exploration in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico from 2022 to 2027, and make Florida eligible to receive a share of the revenue generated by drilling in the central and western portions of the Gulf.

Current law gives “all the Gulf states—except for Florida—the ability to benefit from revenue generated by drilling in the middle and the west of the Gulf,” writes Rubio in the Pensacola News Journal. “So while Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama receive a direct flow of money they can use on conservation and environmental efforts, restoring their coasts, hurricane protection, flood control, mitigation measures for wildlife and approved federal projects, Florida is losing out.”

“As the tragic Deepwater Horizon disaster demonstrated, Florida’s environment and economies are in danger of being affected by rare but major drilling accidents in the Gulf—even with the 125-mile ban in the current moratorium,” explains Rubio. “That’s why I’ve introduced legislation that would help Florida in two ways. First, it would extend the current moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico from 2022 until 2027. Second, it would allow Florida to be included in the list of Gulf states that are eligible to share revenue. This would give Florida a new source of funding, and recognize that as long as our shores shoulder some of the risk, it’s only fair that Floridians share in some of the benefit.”

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RUBIO, CARDIN LEAD COLLEAGUES IN URGING TRUMP TO PRIORITIZE
DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today led a bipartisan group of 15 senators in urging President Trump to prioritize advocacy for democracy and respect for human rights in the administration’s foreign policy agenda.

U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Edward Markey (D-MA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) all joined the effort.

“America has long been a leader in supporting individual rights,” states the senators’ letter. “It was more than 240 years ago that the Founding Fathers declared that all are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These principles have successfully formed the backbone of the American experiment in self- government. The rights the Founders recognized are not by any means solely ‘American,’ but rather are universal. Being fortunate to enjoy these freedoms ourselves, we have the moral imperative to promote democracy and human rights across the globe.”

The full text of the senators’ letter

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RUBIO, CASEY, WYDEN INTRODUCE RES. HIGHLIGHTING
U.S. COMMITMENT TO PRESS FREEDOM AROUND WORLD

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) today introduced a resolution highlighting the importance of press freedom and condemning attacks against journalists around the world. The bipartisan resolution recognizes the dangers that reporters face and reaffirms freedom of the press as a priority for the U.S. government.

In 1993, the United Nations proclaimed World Press Freedom Day, which honors the principle of press freedom and pays tribute to journalists around the world who have lost their lives while pursuing stories.

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RUBIO, CARDIN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION
TO SUPPORT VENEZUELAN PEOPLE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced the Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act, legislation that would provide humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people, support a coordinated multilateral response to political and humanitarian challenges, and defend democratic governance and combat widespread public corruption in Venezuela.

Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), John McCain (R-AZ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined as original cosponsors.

Amidst a years-long economic crisis that has put food, medicine and basic services out of the hands of millions of Venezuelans, thousands of protesters continue to demonstrate across the country, hundreds of political prisoners remain in custody, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has recently announced he will seek the country’s removal from the Organization of American States, the hemisphere’s preeminent multilateral organization for upholding democratic principles and universal human rights.

“Venezuelan civilians are being harmed and killed by their own government as the dictator Maduro and his thugs use violence to suppress peaceful pro-democracy protests,” said Rubio. “The United States must stand with and support the Venezuelan people as they struggle to defend their rights and restore constitutional mechanisms and bring back democracy in their country.”

“President Maduro has thrown his country into a deep crisis and set back the livelihood of the Venezuelan people in ways that are profound and tragic. It is in the strategic interest of the United States to support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela and work with regional partners to put the country back on a path to peace, prosperity and stability,” said Cardin. “The United States must lead an expanded effort with countries across the Americas to stop Venezuela’s hemorrhaging, and our bill would give the Administration the tools and resources necessary to do so as well as support the basic human rights of the Venezuelan people.”

Included in the bills’ multiple provisions are funding for essential medicines, nutritional supplements, and technical assistance to improve food and medical distribution; a strategy to engage governments and multilateral organizations throughout the Western Hemisphere in improving the humanitarian situation in Venezuela; support for the OAS ‘ democracy restoration efforts and future electoral-observation missions.

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RUBIO ANNOUNCES NEW
SENATE PROMOTIONS AND STAFF HIRES

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today announced several new promotions and staff hires in his Washington, D.C. office.

Lauren Reamy, a member of Rubio’s staff since 2015, has been promoted to Legislative Director. Robert “Bobby” Zarate will lead Rubio’s foreign policy team after joining the staff as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor in December 2016, and Matt Wolking has been promoted to Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary.

In addition to the promotions, Olivia Perez-Cubas is rejoining the Senate office as Communications Director after previously serving as Press Secretary on the Senate staff, and Wes Brooks is joining as a Legislative Assistant for energy, environment, agriculture and trade issues.

“I’m grateful for everything Sara Decker, Alex Burgos, and Jamie Fly helped us accomplish in my first term, and for all of their hard work. I wish them the very best in their new endeavors and know they will be very successful,” said Rubio. “I’m proud to welcome the new staff and look forward to the work our new team will be doing to help serve the people of Florida and pursue an important and meaningful legislative agenda in my second term.”
Staff Biographies:

Lauren Reamy – Legislative Director: Reamy has served as Rubio’s deputy legislative director and professional staff member on the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, as well as advising the senator on energy, environment, agriculture, and trade issues. Prior to that, she was director of government affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America, managing a portfolio that included international trade and economic issues. Earlier in her career, she served six years as a professional staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving under former Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA), and former Ranking Members Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Reamy is a graduate from the University of Florida and a native of Davie, Florida.

Robert “Bobby” Zarate – Senior Foreign Policy Advisor: Zarate previously served as national security advisor to U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), leading the senator’s efforts to oversee the Menendez-Kirk-Lieberman Iran sanctions laws, and to persuade Congress to appropriate and authorize full funding for IRON DOME and other U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, and to advance the bipartisan Combating BDS Act of 2016. Prior to the Senate, he served as policy director of the Foreign Policy Initiative (2011-2014); legislative assistant for foreign affairs to U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) (2009-2011), successfully leading Fortenberry’s effort to enact the Help Haitian Adoptees Immediately to Integrate Act of 2010 (Help HAITI Act); legislative fellow on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade (2009); and research fellow at the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (2006-2009). Zarate earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago.

Olivia Perez-Cubas – Communications Director: Olivia began her career as a news writer at WSVN, the FOX affiliate in Miami. She first joined Rubio’s Senate office communications team as an intern and quickly became a full-time staffer. She was tapped to move to Rubio’s presidential campaign on day one, where she served as Media Director, booking Rubio and managing his press schedule. She was Press Secretary for the 2016 re-election campaign and spent much of her time traveling the state with Rubio. Olivia is rejoining the Senate office as Communications Director. She is a graduate of Florida State University and was born and raised in Miami, Florida.

Matt Wolking – Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary: Wolking has worked in Congress for more than five years, serving in communications roles for U.S. Representative Tim Griffin (R-AR), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) at the House Select Committee on Benghazi prior to joining Rubio’s staff. Earlier in his career, he was Executive Producer of Laura Ingraham’s nationally syndicated political talk radio show. A native of Kentucky and graduate of Patrick Henry College in Virginia, Wolking interned for U.S. Senator Fred Thompson’s (R-TN) 2008 campaign for president and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).

Wes Brooks – Legislative Assistant: Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Brooks has handled U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s (R-FL) Transportation and Infrastructure Committee portfolio as well as agriculture, Coast Guard, energy, environment, fisheries, and water resources issues. He earned a Ph.D. in Ecological Science and a Certificate in Government and Politics from Rutgers University, where he authored 18 peer-reviewed scientific research papers on topics including invasive species, citizen science, science education, environmental economics, and tropical dry forest restoration. Brooks also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Political Science from Duke University. He was named an Emerging Public Policy Leader in 2011 by the American Institute for Biological Sciences, and was selected as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Graduate STEM Fellow in 2013 before joining Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s staff in January 2014. Wes is also an alumnus of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Foreign Policy Fellowship and Cybersecurity Fellowship programs.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO ANNOUNCES OPENING NEW JACKSONVILLE OFFICE

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today announced the opening of a new Jacksonville office to serve constituents. Rubio’s new office has two full time staff members and is located inside Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse.

“I am happy to announce the opening of our new Jacksonville office inside the federal courthouse,” said Rubio. “As we serve constituents from this new location, my staff remains focused on ensuring Floridians are getting the help they need on issues related to Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, and more.”

“It’s unfortunate that the disruptions at our previous location became problematic for the children’s health center next door,” added Rubio. “I’m grateful for the center’s patience over the past few months, and I’m hopeful the children receiving treatment there will no longer be impacted.”

Rubio’s Jacksonville office

Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse

300 North Hogan Street

Suite # 8-111

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, COTTON, GRAHAM URGE TRUMP TO
PRESS ABBAS TO STOP REWARDING TERRORISM

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are urging President Trump to press Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on ending PA laws and practices that reward terrorism.

“We urge you to raise this matter with President Abbas during his visit, and to make clear to him that the PA’s practice of diverting aid money to terrorists and their families must end,” states the senators’ letter. “Morally it must end because the United States cannot be complicit in incentivizing terror. And strategically it must end because the PA will never convince Americans, the Congress, or Israel that it is serious about peace while it is still funding terror. We agree with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who said recently that ending PA funding for terror is “a test for peace.”

Out2martincounty.com

Every Senator Agrees the U.N. Must Change

Out2News.com
It’s rare, especially these days, for all 100 U.S. Senators—from Bernie Sanders to Ted Cruz, from Elizabeth Warren to Mitch McConnell —to agree on something. But the scourge of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations is such an issue. Last week, every senator signed our letter to Secretary-General António Guterres, urging him to improve the U.N.’s treatment of Israel and eliminate anti-Semitism in all its forms.

While the U.N. has achieved some important successes since its founding 70 years ago, too many of its member states and agencies use the world body as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing peace and human rights. This encourages and supports the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracts key U.N. entities from their original missions.

Out2martincounty.com

WORKING FOR YOU

 

 

Our coastal community has suffered for decades as a result of the massive freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While these discharges reduce the flood risk to communities south of Lake Okeechobee, they also cause considerable economic, environmental, and public health harms through toxic algal blooms.

This week I had the opportunity to question former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on why Florida’s application for this issue to be declared a federal emergency was denied. His response was pretty clear: if Congress wants algal blooms to be considered a federal emergency, Congress should amend the Stafford Act.

This week I introduced my first bill, the Federal Do No Harm Act, to do exactly that. I’m committed to not only passing this legislation, but also working together to prevent this problem from occurring in the first place.

To learn more about my other work this week (including efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, keep the government open, lower taxes and improve our healthcare system), watch this week’s Week In Review video.

Out2martincounty.com

Martin County Opposes Brightline, Despite Florida Support

Out2News.comOver the past several decades, many counties in South Florida have authorized expansions of urban development boundaries, towering building heights, increased density and construction of new roads to support surging growth. We acknowledge why the urbanized areas would be enthusiastic about a purported fast passenger train as a public transportation option to alleviate resulting traffic congestion and gridlock.

However, during the expansive growth era of South Florida, Martin County consistently has held the line on our urban services boundary; protected comprehensive planning policies; and otherwise managed our growth to maintain a slice of Florida in which people love to live, work and vacation.

Through the rail expansion process, Martin County’s goal has been to ensure that our safety needs and the unique environment we have protected for decades were properly addressed. We have exposed the use of taxpayer money to fund what All Aboard Florida (aka Brightline) calls a “self-financed” project. In return, we have been targeted as simple NIMBYs with no legitimate concerns.

To be clear, Martin County is unique. Within the Treasure Coast we have three coastal state parks along which All Aboard Florida proposes to run its 110 mph passenger and 70 mph freight trains. The train traffic through eastern Martin County will increase from the current 10-14 times a day to up to 52 times a day. These fast trains also will run through smaller, pedestrian-friendly communities and small business districts, not industrialized areas or areas sectioned off long ago for Tri-Rail use.

Out2News.comAlso of great concern are the impacts from increased crossings over the 100-year-old St. Lucie River Railroad Bridge. It spans approximately 1,275 feet across the St. Lucie River, rising about 8-10 feet from the river. Only one train can cross at a time. The additional 38 times a train travels across the bridge means 38 additional bridge closures which would cause vehicular backups into downtown Stuart and delays for boaters. The closures will increase impacts to the marine industry, the health of the estuary and potentially the structural integrity of the antiquated bridge. Although All Aboard Florida will replace smaller bridges to accommodate the new intensity of its operations, it is not replacing or enhancing our bridge.

Furthermore, national rail safety expert George Gavalla found that no other passenger rail system in the U.S. combines 110 mph fast trains and 70 mph freight trains running on the same rail line through densely-populated urban and coastal recreation areas. Gavalla observed that risk factors leading to deadly railroad accidents and derailments rise dramatically with significant increases in train speeds and as with All Aboard Florida, the quadrupling of the number of trains in operation.

To make matters more confounding, the railroad owner is requiring the counties to pay for safety upgrades that will enable All Aboard Florida’s higher speeds and increased traffic. These costs to taxpayers will rise from less than $200,000 currently in Martin County to more than $13 million in 2030 and exceeding $31 million by 2040.

But all is not lost. Martin County has urged All Aboard Florida and the regulators to consider alternative routes to reduce and minimize the impacts to the eastern portions of Martin County. Such alternatives would avoid the bridge and dramatically reduce the future costs to the taxpayers.

We give kudos to local governments for efforts to curb consequences of sprawl and dense growth. In Martin County, we continue our principled fight to advocate for the safety of our citizens and our visitors, and to protect the unique environment we call home.

Taryn Kryzda is the county administrator for Martin County.

Out2martincounty.com

ON SENATE FLOOR, RUBIO URGES COLLEAGUES TO
SUPPORT ALEX ACOSTA FOR LABOR SECRETARY

 

 

 

Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor this morning, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged his Senate colleagues to support Alex Acosta’s nomination for secretary of labor.

Following Rubio’s remarks, the Senate voted for cloture on Acosta’s nomination by a vote of 61-39, paving the way for a vote on confirmation no later than tomorrow.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, WARREN INTRODUCE BILL TO
END BANKING FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKERS

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, legislation that would aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking so that offenders can be prosecuted and victims can be protected.

“Human trafficking is a human rights violation that can happen in our own backyards without us even knowing it,” said Rubio. “That’s why we must encourage the development and implementation of effective tools to detect and stop criminals from profiting from this heinous crime. This bipartisan legislation would help provide financial institutions and law enforcement with additional support in their ongoing efforts to help stop human trafficking and hold perpetrators accountable.”

“We have an obligation to end human trafficking to ensure that every person can live with freedom and dignity,” said Warren. “To stop this terrible crime, we need to cut off traffickers’ access to the banking system, and this bipartisan bill will give financial institutions and regulators better tools to do so.”

Human trafficking is pervasive, and profitable for perpetrators of this crime, who earn $99 billion each year in profit from the sexual exploitation of victims around the world. Preventing traffickers from accessing the banking system, which they use to finance their illegal operations, is critical to stopping human trafficking. The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act will help provide additional support to financial institutions, federal regulators, and law enforcement in their efforts to stop human traffickers in their tracks.

The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act would direct federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to combat the use of the financial system for human trafficking, add financial intelligence and regulatory officers to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) to increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes, and require the PITF to review existing anti-money laundering programs and, if necessary, develop recommendations for Congress and regulators that would strengthen such programs to better target human trafficking. The PITF will draw on the expertise of the public, private, and non-profit sectors, identifying successful anti-trafficking programs and proposing new measures that will ensure our banking system is not used to facilitate this terrible crime.

Out2martincounty.com

COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION
CONDEMNING IRANIAN PERSECUTION OF BAHA’I COMMUNITY

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and John Boozman (R-AR), today introduced a resolution condemning Iran’s persecution of 300,000 members of the Baha’i Faith. In addition to condemning religious persecution, the bipartisan resolution calls on Iran to release prisoners being held for their religious beliefs, including seven leaders of the Baha’i Faith who have been held since 2008.

“‎For decades the Iranian regime has discriminated against and brutally persecuted members of the Baha’i community,” said Rubio. “Baha’i educators, business owners, and community leaders have been targeted, including the Baha’i Seven who have been unjustly imprisoned since 2008. The lack of religious freedom in Iran for Baha’is and other peaceful religious minorities cannot be ignored.”

“This resolution is a recognition that our country stands with the Baha’i people,” said Wyden. “Iran’s persecution of a religious minority runs contrary to basic human rights protections and the commitment Iran’s own government has made to the international community. The Baha’i people should be allowed to practice their teachings of equality, unity and peace without fear of their government.”

“The religious persecution of Baha’is in Iran is a violation of one of our most basic human rights,” said Durbin. “This resolution will not only bring awareness to situation in Iran, but it will also remind the international community that we still must press more security and fairness for religious minorities around the world. The Baha’i community in Iran deserves the same religious freedoms enjoyed by our Baha’i neighbors in Illinois.”

“The religious intolerance the Baha’i community faces in Iran is unacceptable,” said Boozman. “We have an obligation to advocate for religious freedom and protect people around the world who are persecuted because of their beliefs.”

The Iranian Baha’i community is the largest religious minority in Iran with membership of more than 300,000 people. They have never been recognized by their government and are often persecuted by the Iranian regime. The regime often seizes personal property, denies Baha’is access to education and employment opportunities, and detains or imprisons Baha’is based solely on their religious beliefs.

Over the past 10 years, about 850 Baha’is have been arbitrarily arrested in Iran. This resolution denounces the religious persecution and calls for the immediate release of all religious prisoners.

U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chris Smith, (R-NJ), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and Brad Schneider (D-IL), introduced a similar version of the resolution in the House of Representatives today.

RUBIO HIGHLIGHTS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
AGAINST LGBT COMMUNITY IN CHECHNYA

 

 

Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the U.S. Senate floor tonight, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted the human rights abuses being carried out by Chechen law enforcement and security officials against LGBT people and others in recent weeks. Rubio’s speech was part of his #expressionNOToppression initiative, which highlights human rights abuses around the world.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO WELCOMES AYA HIJAZI HOME
FROM THREE-YEAR IMPRISONMENT IN EGYPT

Out2News.com

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement today after Aya Hijazi returned home to the United States after being held in an Egyptian prison on bogus charges for nearly three years:

“During President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to Washington earlier this month, I and many others in Congress urged him to free Aya, her husband and Belady Foundation colleagues, and all other political prisoners being held by the Egyptian government. I am glad President el-Sisi chose to take this step, and I appreciate President Trump’s work over the last few weeks to ensure Aya’s safe return. I welcome Aya home, and am very glad to see her reunited with her family.

“While Egypt remains a vital counterterrorism partner to the U.S., Egypt must change its current path. I urge President Trump to hold President el-Sisi accountable when it comes to democracy and human rights including the release of all political prisoners, whatever their citizenship status. I made these points clear in a floor speech that I gave on human rights in Egypt, and directly to President el-Sisi, and I will continue to do so in the future.”

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Mast on Fox and Friends

 

 

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Government Can Learn From Failures At Eureka Garden

Out2News.com
Crumbling staircases, dangerous gas leaks, exposed electrical wires, various rodents, aggressive mold — no American should be forced to live in these conditions and no taxpayer dollars should go to a landlord who allows those conditions to continue.

Unfortunately, these conditions existed for too long at Eureka Garden Apartments in Jacksonville, where U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and I met and spoke with residents and community leaders recently.

“The first time I complained the management company did nothing,” said Tracy Grant, head of the Eureka Garden Tenant Association. “The second time they told me, ‘you can get kicked out if you are persistent.’”

Enough is enough. It’s time for property owners to be held accountable and all families to have access to safe, sanitary homes regardless of the source of their incomes. This essential aspect of our social safety net is a primary mission of HUD. When people are unable to locate affordable housing or have to wait for years to enter publicly-assisted housing and are forced to live in substandard or even unsafe conditions, something has gone terribly wrong.

In some cases, property owners like those who owned Eureka Garden pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars instead of putting them toward needed repairs.

Meanwhile, properties have been given passing HUD inspection scores despite terrible conditions. It’s clear that reforms are needed to curb fraud in the federal housing system and ensure HUD inspectors are well trained and doing their jobs.

Of course, this is about far more than just housing. It’s about the ability of all Americans to rise and pursue their dreams. Unsanitary homes are a threat to good health, leading to higher medical costs and slower childhood and family development.

Unsafe homes are a threat to stable education and family life. Safe and sanitary conditions are a baseline standard that must be upheld for any housing assistance program to operate effectively.

Before our housing assistance programs can create the opportunity conditions for individuals to achieve upward mobility, we must first fix the living conditions of the properties that are not meeting the terms of their agreements with HUD. From the failures inflicted upon the residents of Eureka Garden, a few lessons can be learned.

Out2martincounty.com

CLEANING OUR WATER

 

Out2martincounty.com

The federal government has played a big role perpetuating the recurring environmental and economic crises caused by Lake Okeechobee discharges, but they aren’t taking responsibility for the damage caused to our community. That’s absolutely unacceptable.

This week I announced legislation to declare a federal emergency when the U.S. Army Corps causes damaging harmful algal blooms. Our bill, the Federal Do No Harm Act, provides federal assistance for disaster cleanup, including the removal of toxic algal biomass and muck from affected waterways.

This bill is just the first step and grew out of conversations that I’ve had for the last several months. Earlier this week, I traveled to Tallahassee to advocate for efforts to clean up Treasure Coast water. I also held a summit this week in Stuart with local environmental leaders to talk about how the federal government and state government can work together to achieve this goal.

Together, we can make progress for our community to strengthen our economy and protect our environment.

To learn more about my work on your behalf, please visit my website.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, ROSKAM URGE TRUMP TO
SUSPEND BOEING SALES TO IRAN

 

 

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) are urging President Trump to suspend aircraft sales to Iran. Research from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the American Enterprise Institute has detailed the Islamic Republic’s use of commercial passenger aircraft to supply its worldwide network of terror proxies, including the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

“We urge you to suspend current and future licenses for aircraft sales to commercial Iranian airlines until your administration conducts a comprehensive review of their role in supporting Iran’s illicit activity,” states the lawmakers’ letter. “The United States should revoke authorizations and re-impose sanctions on Iranian airlines found guilty of such support, and should bar U.S. companies from selling aircraft to Iran until the Iranian regime ceases using commercial airliners for illicit military purposes.”

Earlier this year, Rubio and Roskam introduced the Iran Terror-Free Skies Act in the Senate and the House, respectively. The legislation would counter Iran’s use of commercial aircraft in support of international terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism, or for other illicit military purposes.

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

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Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Roger Stone, Brian Mast, Gold Star parents
Raise Money for Martin County GOP

Out2News.com

Stuart, Hutchinson Island — It was an evening of celebration for Martin County Republicans a the Huchinson Island Marriott with Donald Trump and Brian Mast successes in 2016.

Featured guest included Roger Stone and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin and Gold Star parents Karen and Billy Vaughn of Stuart.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump confidant who’s been vigorously denying suggestions he colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, was one of the speakers at the Martin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Karen Vaughn spoke at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland about the 2011 death of her son, Navy Seal Aaron Vaughn, in Afghanistan.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2News/Out2Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO DISCUSSES SYRIA & INTELLIGENCE
COMMITTEE INVESTIGATION INTO RUSSIA

 

 

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Foreign Relations, appeared this morning on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos and discussed the U.S. airstrike on Shayrat Air Base in Syria, and the intelligence committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

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RUBIO DISCUSSES HIS VOTES TO CONFIRM
NEIL GORSUCH TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor last night about the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the state of American politics, and his vote to change the rules of the Senate. Today, the Senate voted to confirm Gorsuch by a vote of 54-45.

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TRUMP SHOULDN’T LET CHINA OFF
THE HOOK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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No relationship is more important to the fate of the 21st century than that between the U.S. and China. As President Trump meets this week for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping, it is important to strike the right tone.

In recent days Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other officials have rightly pressed China—North Korea’s neighbor and main economic partner—to do more to halt Pyongyang’s growing nuclear and missile threats. Mr. Trump has also focused on America’s trade deficit with China and the real concerns of workers, particularly in manufacturing, whose livelihoods have suffered since Washington granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations status to Beijing in 2000.

These issues are important. But it would be a mistake for the U.S. to view its relationship with China only through the lenses of economics or security.

Proponents of normalized trade relations argued that China’s economic growth would lead to greater political liberalization, improvements in human rights, and increased respect for the rule of law. But that isn’t what happened.

It has increased economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, a democratic ally of the U.S. under the Taiwan Relations Act. China’s illegitimate actions in the South China Sea, including flagrant violations of international norms, threaten the region’s security and the free flow of American and international commerce. Sanctions against China for continuing these aggressions should be on the table if Beijing does not show restraint in these disputes and abide by international rulings.

China’s authoritarianism, its disregard for the rule of law, and its growing desire to upend rather than support the rules-based international order should give the Trump administration pause about cutting any deals with Beijing. The long-term concerns regarding China’s rise cannot be addressed through short-term concessions. America’s strategy must instead be grounded in a comprehensive approach that addresses China’s actions.

This week the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, of which I am chairman, is highlighting individual prisoners of conscience with the hashtag #FreeChinasHeroes.

These cases and others should feature prominently in President Trump’s discussions at Mar-a-Lago. Prioritizing human rights in our bilateral engagement with China is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic one. …

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SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES RUBIO, HARRIS, COLLINS,
FEINSTEIN RESOLUTION CONDEMNING HATE CRIMES

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) yesterday introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning hate crimes, discrimination, and other forms of animus targeting individuals and communities across the United States. The Senate passed the resolution unanimously last night.

The resolution cites violent incidents targeting Jewish, Muslim, African-American, Hindu, and Sikh communities. It also mentions the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, bomb threats against Jewish community centers, and burning of mosques and Islamic centers.

The resolution calls on federal law enforcement, working with state and local officials, to investigate all credible reports of these occurrences in the United States, hold perpetrators accountable, and bring them to justice.

“Embracing diversity of thought and people from different backgrounds has made America a more perfect union,” said Rubio. “Unfortunately, there are still some individuals who seek to tear our social fabric apart with violent acts and threats fueled by hatred. With many in our country and around the world feeling discouraged by this divisiveness and animosity, it’s important to make it clear that we stand united in condemning the targeting of anyone simply because they are different.”

“In America, no one should live in fear due to their religion, race, or ethnicity,” said Harris. “I am proud to lead this bipartisan group of senators with one voice to condemn the rise of hate crimes that target minority communities, as well as any form of religious or ethnic bias, racism, discrimination, or other forms of hate. Many of our constituents have been directly impacted by the unconscionable rise of hate crimes and hate-motivated violence in the United States, and law enforcement must do more to ensure minority communities are secure. Today, we stand united in our condemnation and rejection of hate-motivated crimes as an attack on the fabric of American society and the ideals of pluralism and respect.”

“The recent rise in the number of hate crimes is truly troubling and is counter to American values. No individual in our society should have to live in fear of violence or experience discrimination,” said Collins. “Our resolution sheds light on these cowardly acts and calls on law enforcement officials to thoroughly investigate hate crimes and take steps to prevent these heinous incidents from occurring.”

“Over the past year, we’ve seen an appalling increase in hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, LGBT individuals and other minorities,” said Feinstein. “The rise in hate crimes is due, in part, to the perception that people in positions of power are indifferent and do not prioritize protecting the rights of all Americans. We must stand together to make clear that hate has no place in our country and these vicious crimes will be investigated with the seriousness that’s demanded.” Click here for a full text of the resolution

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‘YOU SEE THESE CHILDREN?’

 

 

Washington, D.C. – At a press conference earlier today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on human rights, and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, condemned yesterday’s chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed or injured scores of innocent Syrians, and demanded Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin be held accountable for war crimes.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES REINTRODUCE BILL
TO COMBAT SEXUAL ASSAULT ON CAMPUS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) today reintroduced the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, legislation that would combat sexual assault on college and university campuses by protecting students, promoting equity, and strengthening accountability and transparency for institutions.

The bill would reform the way colleges and universities address and report incidents of sexual assault that occur on campus, and safeguard both survivors and accused students. It incorporates feedback from key stakeholders to strengthen how student surveys are conducted and newly required training standards. The bill sets new notification requirements for both survivors and accused students involved in the campus disciplinary process.

“Sexual assault on college campuses is a crime that too often goes unpunished,” said Rubio. “We must hold colleges and universities accountable for ensuring the safety and well-being of their students. This legislation will protect and empower survivors, reform the way institutions handle sexual assault cases, and ultimately help ensure these cases are handled in the criminal justice system as the serious crimes that they are. I’m proud to be a part of a bipartisan coalition that is aiming to make our college campuses safer.”

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RUBIO, NELSON, DIAZ-BALART, DEUTCH LEAD BIPARTISAN,
BICAMERAL EFFORT URGING
PRESIDENT TRUMP TO KEEP UP THE FIGHT AGAINST ZIKA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) and U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) are leading a bipartisan, bicameral group of 47 members of Congress in urging President Trump to maintain a comprehensive effort across the federal government to combat the Zika virus.

“Last year, after months of debate, Congress worked together in a bipartisan manner to appropriate $1.1 billion to support our nation’s Zika response,” states the letter. “We urge your administration to ensure all funding is appropriately distributed in a timely manner to support efforts to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and expedite vaccine research to protect our constituents from this public health threat.”

Other members of Congress joining the effort include U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Thune (R-SD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and U.S. Representatives John Lewis (D-GA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Al Green (D-TX), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Darren Soto (D-FL). Click here for full text of letter

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RUBIO, SHAHEEN CALL ON TILLERSON TO MEET WITH
RUSSIAN CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS DURING UPCOMING TRIP

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Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on state and foreign operations, are urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to meet with civil society groups during his trip to Russia later this month, as all of his predecessors in recent Republican and Democratic administrations have done.

“We feel strongly that democratically-minded Russians should know that the U.S. supports their aspirations, and as our nation’s top diplomat, you are in a unique position to communicate this message,” states the senators’ letter. “The courage shown by Vladimir Kara-Murza, Boris Nemtsov, and countless other Russians in the face of deadly threats meant to discourage their calls for political freedom deserves our respect and support. In this spirit, we request that you meet with civil society groups during your upcoming visit to Russia and continue to demonstrate U.S. support for open and democratic societies.”

The senators’ letter follows nationwide anti-corruption protests in Russia that drew worldwide attention and resulted in thousands of unlawful detentions, and recent congressional testimony from Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is still recovering from a second attempt on his life. Mr. Kara-Murza expressed his hope that Secretary Tillerson would meet with groups promoting democratic values in Russia.

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RUBIO, COTTON, BOOZMAN INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO
ENSURE FAIR TREATMENT FOR AMERICAN HOMEOWNERS

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and John Boozman (R-AR) will today introduce the Protecting Americans from Credit Exploitation (PACE) Act, legislation that would require disclosure for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans that target low-income and elderly Americans with predatory home loans. Specifically, this bill would require Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure for anyone attempting to peddle PACE loans.

“Residential PACE loans should have to play by the same rules as other forms of home financing,” said Rubio. “Americans deserve clear, straightforward policies from their government, not hidden political favors. Our legislation would address this and help provide the transparency necessary to create real consumer choice.”

“Residential PACE loans are a scam,” said Cotton. “Predatory green-energy lenders are changing state and local laws to trick seniors into taking out high-interest rate loans for 20 years, along with liens on their homes, for technology that could be obsolete in a few years. Today, these loans are exempt from the same disclosure forms required for other home loans. Our bill will fix this. Requiring disclosure will reduce the advantage that PACE loan sharks have over hard-working Americans. It’s just the accountability we need.”

“We must provide homeowners with the information they need to protect themselves so they don’t risk financial ruin because of their participation in the PACE loan program,” said Boozman. “I’m proud to support this legislation to prevent borrowers from being taken advantage of.”

PACE loans are a financing program that allows homeowners to pay for solar panels or other housing improvements through a lien paid back through property tax payments. The loans require no underwriting, have high fees, and rates of eight to 12 percent for 20 years for solar panels or other housing improvements that may be obsolete in a few years. PACE lenders receive first priority of repayment, in conjunction with property taxes, before mortgage brokers. Currently, there is no standardized rate or fee disclosure required for PACE loans and the CFPB has never clarified whether these loans fall outside TILA.

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RUBIO-NELSON HURRICANE FORECASTING IMPROVEMENT BILL HEADS TO PRESIDENT’S DESK

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today welcomed House passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act (H.R. 353), which includes the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act he first introduced in 2015. The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.‎

“I applaud the House for passing the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act, which will help us make needed improvements to our storm tracking,” said Rubio. “Once the president signs this legislation into law, families, business owners and others will have better, more accurate information to better prepare for approaching hurricanes and tropical storms.”

The Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act would codify the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, which aims to reduce the loss of life, injury, and damage to the economy by reducing errors of tracking and intensity forecasts.

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RUBIO, BALDWIN, MCGOVERN, HULTGREN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN BILL
TO HOLD CHINA ACCOUNTABLE FOR LIMITING ACCESS TO TIBET

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL) today introduced the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would promote access to Tibetan areas by denying Chinese government officials access to the United States if they are responsible for creating or administering restrictions on American government officials, journalists, independent observers and tourists seeking to travel to Tibet.

“The Chinese government’s oppression of Tibet includes keeping it off limits to Americans, journalists and others who can shine a bright light on the human rights violations committed daily against the Tibetan people,” said Rubio, chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “We should not accept a double standard where Chinese officials can freely visit anywhere in the U.S. while they block our diplomats, journalists and Tibetan-Americans from visiting Tibet. This bipartisan bill will hold China accountable for its oppression and make it clear that if Chinese government officials want to enjoy the privilege of entering the United States, they must allow equal access to Tibet.”

“If the Chinese government stands by its ‘nothing to see here’ rhetoric about Tibet, than it should not be preventing U.S. government officials, journalists and citizens from visiting,” said Baldwin. “Access to Tibet is blocked precisely because of China’s widespread human rights violations there, including official oppression of Tibetans’ religious freedom, culture, language and autonomy. Chinese officials responsible for violations of democratic principles—and for hiding them through restricting U.S. citizen travel—should not expect to be allowed to travel freely in the United States—a country founded on those very principles.”

U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL), cochairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, introduced the bill in the House.

“America needs to stand up for human rights at home and abroad. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have stressed the importance of protecting Tibet’s human rights and their unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions, but we can and must do more,” said McGovern. “If the United States is serious about protecting human rights in Tibet, we need to do more than talk the talk – we need to walk the walk. This bill will ensure there are consequences for China’s repressive policies. I first introduced this bill in 2014 and I am proud to introduce it again today with our bipartisan co-sponsors. Now is the time for America to lead.”

“China’s harsh restrictions surrounding Tibet are well-known. It remains unacceptable for China’s officials to enjoy access throughout the United States, while our own diplomats, journalists and Tibetan-Americans are restricted from visiting Tibet,” said Hultgren, Commissioner on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “It’s time to end the double standard.”

The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act includes a national security waiver, and would require the U.S. Secretary of State to submit to Congress an assessment of the level of access to Tibet granted to American government officials, journalists, and tourists by Chinese officials. If the secretary determines that there are restrictions on travel to Tibet, the appropriate Chinese officials will be ineligible to enter the U.S.

This legislation is supported by the International Campaign for Tibet.

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High-Speed Passenger Trains = Deadly Railroad Accidents?

Out2News.com

Stuart — As part of its continued fight to protect residents from the negative impacts of rail expansion, Martin County has released a report by national rail safety expert George Gavalla that includes concerning facts about the significant safety challenges and cost burdens facing Treasure Coast counties presented by the proposed All Aboard Florida (AAF a.k.a Brightline) high-speed passenger rail project that would operate on the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) tracks.

Some of the key points in Gavalla’s report:

There are unique safety risk factors related to AAF running on FEC tracks. Gavalla notes that the FEC has more at grade crossings per mile than any other major railway in the country, and because the rail line traverses densely populated areas, the FEC has a grade crossing accident rate that is more than double the national average.

The FEC rail line is among the deadliest in the nation. Gavalla’s findings show the current FEC rail line is among the deadliest in the U.S., with one of the highest crossing accident fatality rates in the country.

The FEC grade crossing accident rate is more than double the national average, with a fatality rate that is 4.0 times the national rate. Equally disturbing, the fatality rate for pedestrians along the railroad right-of-way is seven and one-half times worse than the national average. These numbers are based on data from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The risk of deadly accidents will increase greatly if AAF becomes operational. No other passenger rail system in the U.S. combines fast-moving passenger trains (110 mph) and freight trains (70 mph) on the same rail line, running through densely populated urban and coastal recreation areas with such a high concentration of tourists and seasonal visitors. The number of trains and the speed of the trains are major factors in railroad crossing and pedestrian accidents. Train speeds will nearly triple (from an average of 32 mph to 110 mph) and the number of trains travelling through the Treasure Coast (both passenger and freight) is projected to quintuple should AAF become operational through the Treasure Coast.

There is an increased risk of catastrophic accidents and deadly derailments on crowded passenger and freight train rail lines due to “secondary” collisions. Because AAF proposes to run both passenger and freight on FEC tracks, a passenger train could derail at high speeds and collide with a freight train or with another passenger train standing or moving on an adjacent track in what is known as a “secondary collision.”

Martin County has repeatedly asked AAF to address track and crossing safety measures, such as sealed corridor improvements, re-grading of intersections, and various pedestrian crossing improvements, as well as the inclusion of advanced technologies such as positive train control, vehicle presence detection, and remote health monitoring systems.

In most states, local governments are typically only responsible for maintaining roadway and signage outside of the railroad tracks; they are not responsible for costs related to maintenance and rehabilitation of the tracks or crossing signals themselves. But AAF’s passenger rail project creates an unfunded mandate for Martin County taxpayers. This is a fundamentally unfair burden to place on taxpayers, and AAF has not indicated it is willing to pay for the costs associated with maintaining those safety improvement measures.

The proposed Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act addresses Florida’s current lack of any law or regulation governing high-speed rail safety and its increasing but unfunded maintenance costs. Without the legislation, Martin County’s costs alone would rise dramatically for the upgrades and improvements necessary for the proposed the AAF project, potentially reaching $13.5 million in 2030 and exceeding $31 million by 2040. Martin County supports the legislation, which will enhance public safety at railroad crossings and alleviate the financial burden put on local governments to upgrade and maintain the crossings for these projects.

Martin County will continue its work to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public as it relates to the All Aboard Florida project. For more resources and information on the many local and regional issues of concern relating to the proposed AAF passenger rail project, visit http://www.martin.fl.us. In addition, please visit the county’s social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, for updates.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN S.R.
REAFFIRMING STRATEGIC U.S.-MEXICO PARTNERSHIP

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced a bipartisan resolution “reaffirming the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico, and recognizing bilateral cooperation that advances the national security and national interests of both countries,” especially defense and trade.

Earlier today, Rubio chaired a Senate foreign relations subcommittee hearing regarding America’s relationship with Mexico, and how the two countries can advance security and prosperity on both sides of the border.
The full text of the resolution is below:

Reaffirming the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico, and recognizing bilateral cooperation that advances the national security and national interests of both countries.

Whereas the people of United States and Mexico enjoy shared cultural and economic ties and both nations share common values based on the desire to achieve peace, security, and prosperity in their respective countries;

Whereas the Governments of the United States and Mexico engage in bilateral cooperation on a broad range of issues that directly benefits each country’s national security and national interests;

Whereas the United States and Mexico enjoy close diplomatic cooperation and Mexico has consistently voted with the United States at the United Nations on challenges related to Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine, as well as at the Organization of American States on issues related to Venezuela;

Whereas Mexico is an important security and defense partner to the United States, and regularly participates in training activities in coordination with United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD);

Whereas consecutive United States and Mexican administrations have increased bilateral defense and law enforcement cooperation on counterterrorism and counternarcotics issues, including the illicit trafficking of weapons, money, people, and drugs across the United States Southern Border;

Whereas the Government of Mexico has utilized its military and Federal Police to combat the transnational criminal organizations that have waged campaigns of ruthless violence against the Mexican people and trafficked an immeasurable quantity of illegal drugs into the United States that have taken the lives of far too many Americans;

Whereas the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto has extradited more than 270 individuals facing criminal charges to the United States, including Joaquin ‘‘El Chapo’’ Guzman on January 19, 2017;

Whereas the Government of Mexico has initiated an effort to reduce the growing domestic production of heroin through the eradication of poppy and destruction of labs used to make heroin;

Whereas Mexico has sought to improve anti-corruption efforts at the local, State, and Federal level by adopting a national anticorruption system and starting a transition from a presidentially appointed attorney general’s office to a more independent prosecutor general’s office selected by the Mexican Senate;

Whereas, through the Merida Initiative, which was launched in 2008, the Governments of the United States and Mexico have collaborated to combat organized crime, strengthen the rule of law, advance judicial reform, and address challenges to human rights in Mexico, including the involvement of security forces in extrajudicial killings of civilians, the disappearances of more than 23,000 individuals, and the unresolved forced disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero State in 2014;

Whereas the Governments of the United States and Mexico collaborate on a broad range of initiatives to strengthen the bilateral commercial and economic relationship, including the ongoing High Level Economic Dialogue, launched in 2013 to bring together cabinet officials from both countries to promote economic growth, job creation, a modern and efficient border, and competitiveness;

Whereas the United States and Mexico conducted $583,600,000,000 in trade in goods and services in 2015, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative;

Whereas Mexico is the United States’ second largest export market and third largest trading partner;

Whereas trade with Mexico and Canada supports nearly 14,000,000 United States jobs; and

Whereas United States and Mexican citizens collaborate on a broad range of initiatives to foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and educational exchanges: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) reaffirms the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico, which is vital for the national security and economic well-being of both nations;

(2) supports continued diplomatic, economic, and security cooperation between the United States and Mexico, including undertaking joint efforts to address the common security challenges and opportunities for improved commerce that exist across their nearly 2,000 mile border;

(3) encourages enhanced security cooperation between the United States and Mexican militaries and law enforcement agencies to address common challenges such as counterterrorism and counter-narcotics, including the increased trafficking of heroin and fentanyl;

(4) commits to continue the United States Government’s partnership with the Government of Mexico to combat the transnational criminal organizations that are undermining the rule of law in Mexico and projecting their influence in the form of illicit trafficking of weapons, money, people, and drugs across the United States Southern Border;

(5) supports efforts by the Government of Mexico to strengthen the rule of law, reduce corruption, and advance civil and human rights; and

(6) remains committed to a relationship between the United States and Mexico that is based on mutual respect and the promotion of shared democratic values and principles.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO
PROVIDECAMP LEJEUNE VICTIMS WITH
HEALTH CARE THEY DESERVE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) today introduced the Janey Ensminger Act, legislation that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide medical care for all diseases that can be scientifically linked to exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“Veterans and their families who were poisoned at Camp Lejeune deserve prompt medical care,” said Rubio. “For far too long, those stationed at Camp Lejeune and suffering from various cancers and diseases have been uncertain about their coverage. This is completely unacceptable. I am proud to stand on the side of veterans and support legislation that ensures those affected at Camp Lejeune get the care they need.”

“The Veterans Administration continues to deny clear scientific links between debilitating diseases and exposure to certain toxic chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune,” said Burr. “The Janey Ensminger Act requires the VA to do the right thing and give veterans the medical care they need. The military negligently poisoned these service members and they shouldn’t have to fight the VA every time that government researchers find a link between a disease and the toxins that were in their drinking water.”

“While progress has been made to ensure that veterans and their families who were poisoned at Camp Lejeune receive the benefits they have long deserved, some victims are still not receiving the care to which they are entitled because the VA has refused to accept the most up to date scientific data and research available,” said Tillis. “The Janey Ensminger Act of 2017 prioritizes science over politics and trusts the federal government’s scientific experts outside of the VA with decisions about medical coverage to ensure that every veteran who might have been affected at Camp Lejeune gets they care they need and deserve.”

“We have a responsibility to care for those who have served our country and their families,” said Nelson. “The VA should be giving any veteran who was stationed at Camp Lejeune and now battling one of these scientifically-linked illnesses the benefit of the doubt.”

The legislation also requires the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal agency within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to review all relevant scientific literature every three years to determine if sufficient or modest causal links have been found between toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune and additional diseases and conditions. This will ensure that veterans and their families will not have to wait to get medical care as researchers learn more about the long-term health consequences of the toxins found in the water at Camp Lejeune. The legislation is named for Janey Ensminger, the daughter of Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger, who was born on base at Camp Lejeune and died as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals.

In August of 2012, President Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act into law. This law requires the VA to provide health care to veterans and their family members who have certain diseases and conditions as a result of exposure to well-water contaminated by human carcinogens at Camp Lejeune. However, the VA has resisted providing health care benefits to many of these veterans and their family members because it has not recognized the scientific links between the exposure to toxins and certain diseases that have been found by government researchers at the ATSDR.

Earlier this month, the VA began granting compensation to veterans suffering from illnesses caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more from 1953 to 1987 and are suffering from a service connected illness are now eligible to receive disability compensation.

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ON SENATE FLOOR, RUBIO URGES COLLEAGUES
TO SUPPORT MONTENEGRO’S ACCESSION TO NATO

 

 

Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the U.S. Senate’s procedural vote to consider the Montenegro Treaty, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor today and urged his colleagues to support the accession of Montenegro to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Last week, Rubio met with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanović and reiterated his support for the country to join NATO, which will help counter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.

 

HEALTH CARE REFORM

 


Over the last several months, one of my top priorities has been listening to people in our community about how they will be impacted by health care reform. I’ve heard over and over again about the incredible burden that Obamacare has placed on 18th District families. Because of Obamacare, two of our counties now have only one insurer on the individual exchange, while premiums and deductibles have become beyond unaffordable.

During my more than 12 years in the Army, I never went into one battle that was finished with one shot and I never went in with the perfect plan either, but what I learned is that when we went in unified and we worked together, we never lost.

Our broken healthcare system will not be fixed overnight. As I have said from the beginning, the only way we can fix the failures of Obamacare is through a fully transparent process that engages voices all across the country.

Moving forward, I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in working to improve our nation’s healthcare system to ensure that everyone has the liberty to choose the health care that is best for their life.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE
COMPREHENSIVE LEG. TO HOLD IRAN ACCOUNTABLE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Corker (R-TN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Michael Bennet (D-CO), James E. Risch (R-ID), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) today introduced the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, legislation that would expand sanctions for ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, transfers of conventional weapons to or from Iran, and human rights violations.
“It’s critical that the United States do more to counter the Iranian regime’s growing missile threats, support for international terrorism and militancy, and systematic abuse of human rights,” said Rubio. “This bipartisan bill is an important step in the right direction, especially after the flawed Iran nuclear deal, and I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to finally hold Iran accountable for its actions.”
“This legislation demonstrates the strong bipartisan support in Congress for a comprehensive approach to holding Iran accountable by targeting all aspects of the regime’s destabilizing actions,” said Corker. “These steps will allow us to regain the initiative on Iran and pushback forcefully against this threat to our security and that of our allies.”
“The spirit of bipartisanship of this important legislation underscores our strong belief that the United States must speak with one voice on the issue of holding Iran accountable for its continued nefarious actions across the world as the leading state sponsor of terrorism,” said Menendez. “This legislation was carefully crafted not to impede with the United States’ ability to live up to its commitments under the JCPOA, while still reaffirming and strengthening our resolve by imposing tough new sanctions to hold the Iranian regime accountable for threatening global and regional security. Iran’s leaders must understand once and for all, that unless they change course their situation will only get worse.”
“This bill sets out elements of a strong policy for countering Iran’s destabilizing activities,” said Cardin. “We must insist on rigorous JCPOA enforcement, which does not prevent us from sanctioning Iran for its support for terrorism, human rights violations, and pursuit of ballistic missiles. I expect the Administration to work with Congress in implementing a coherent policy on Iran.”

“The president has said he’s putting Iran on notice, and passing this bill would be an unmistakable sign of resolve,” said Cotton. “We will not tolerate Iran’s pursuit of supremacy in the Middle East or its sponsorship of terrorism, and we will make the regime in Tehran pay a steep price for its dangerous behavior.”

“The Iranian regime must be held accountable for destabilizing behavior throughout the Middle East and this legislation is a step in that direction,” said Casey. “Under this bipartisan approach, our nation can enforce existing sanctions on Iran and apply new sanctions should the Iranian regime continue its support for terrorism, development of ballistic missiles, and violations of human rights.”
The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 contains the following key provisions:

New Mandatory Ballistic Missile Sanctions: Imposes mandatory sanctions on persons involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those that transact with them.

New Terrorism Sanctions: Applies terrorism sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and codifies individuals who are currently sanctioned due to Iranian support for terrorism.

Enforcement of Arms Embargo: Requires the president to block the property of any person or entity involved in specific activities related to the supply, sale, or transfer of prohibited arms and related material to or from Iran.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES CALL FOR DIPLOMATIC EFFORT TO
PREVENT MILLIONS FROM STARVING TO DEATH IN AFRICA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (FL), Todd Young (R-IN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to launch an urgent and comprehensive diplomatic effort to address political obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen that are preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it.

“The scale and complexity of these crises might lead some to say the situation is hopeless,” states the senators’ letter to Tillerson. “We reject such a response as U.S. leadership can make an enormous difference, and we believe the Department of State can and should lead a diplomatic effort now to reduce the political barriers that are hindering the delivery of food to millions of starving people. The U.S. government has a strategic and moral imperative to do nothing less.”

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RUBIO MEETS WITH HONDURAN PRESIDENT
TO DISCUSS CHALLENGES IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today met with Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández to discuss U.S.–Honduran cooperation to confront transnational drug trafficking in the Northern Triangle, human rights, the investigation into the assassination of activist Berta Cáceres, and the ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, among other issues.

Rubio last met with President Hernández in June 2016 during an official visit to Honduras.

“After President Hernández welcomed me to Honduras last year, it was my honor to host him in Washington today,” said Rubio. “The United States and Honduras must continue working together through the Alliance for Prosperity, which helps combat the corruption and drug trafficking that threaten democracies and stability throughout Central America, especially in the Northern Triangle.

“Honduras is a vital partner for the U.S. in Central America and hosts members of all branches of the U.S. military. I stressed to the president and his government how imperative it is for Honduras to follow the conditions established in U.S. law for our continued support for Alliance for Prosperity’s funding,” Rubio continued. “I also made clear the importance to the United States in seeing the rights of all Hondurans respected, and that Honduras continue to make progress on instituting the rule of law and holding accountable those responsible for human rights abuses. I strongly suggested President Hernández offer more support to the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) in order to combat malfeasance and strengthen the trust the Honduran people have in their democratic system.

“President Hernández and I also discussed the situation in Venezuela, which keeps deteriorating politically, economically and from a humanitarian standpoint,” Rubio added. “I encouraged him to stand for the restoration of democratic principles throughout the Western Hemisphere and stand with the Venezuelan people as the Organization of American States looks to invoke the democratic charter against the Maduro regime in the near future.”

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RUBIO-SPONSORED NASA BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) visited the White House today where he welcomed President Trump’s signing of the “‎National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Transition Authorization Act” ‎(S. 442), a bill Rubio and six other senators introduced in February. ‎The new law will provide stability for NASA to sustain and build upon existing national space investments designed to advance space exploration and science.

“This law will promote innovation, support NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion programs, improve collaboration between the agency and commercial space sector, and benefit thousands of workers across Florida, particularly at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center,” said Rubio. “Florida continues to play a leading role in our nation’s space program, and I was proud to stand by President Trump’s side as he signed our bill into law.”

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DEMS STRAINING TO FIND EXCUSE TO OPPOSE GORSUCH

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on Jacksonville’s WOKV Radio with Rich Jones this morning and urged Democrats to not filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The transcript of a key exchange is below.

“I think so. There’s no reason to vote against him. Certainly there’s no reason to filibuster him. I hope the Democrats don’t decide to do that because I think it blows up the filibuster. Look, Judge Gorsuch, I mean, I don’t know how you can– that’s the best possible pick you can imagine. This is a serious person. He’s highly regarded, the highest rating possible from the American Bar Association. You can see that some Democrats are just straining to find any excuse to be against him. But if they’re going to invoke the filibuster – use the filibuster against him – they’re never going to vote for anybody. So I hope that doesn’t happen and we can get him through. And if they want to vote against him, they can. But it should be on 51 votes, not the filibuster. They should not filibuster him. There is no reason to filibuster him.”

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ENTIRE FLORIDA DELEGATION
RENEWS PUSH TO BRING NUCLEAR CARRIER TO MAYPORT

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Washington, D.C. – Florida’s entire congressional delegation today urged the U.S. Department of Defense to fulfill its own recommendation to strategically disperse nuclear aircraft carriers throughout the nation. Following the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review’s recommendation, the U.S. Navy officially announced its decision to achieve this objective by homeporting additional nuclear aircraft carriers at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville.

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RUBIO CONCLUDES OFFICIAL TRIP TO
MIDDLE EAST WITH VISIT TO ISRAEL

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, concluded his official trip to the Middle East with a visit to Israel on Sunday. Rubio also visited Lebanon‎ and the Kingdom of Jordan to conduct oversight of U.S. programs abroad.

On his official Facebook page this morning, Rubio issued the following statement:

“On Sunday evening, I concluded my official Middle East tour with a visit to Israel. This was my second visit to Israel as a senator and my third overall, and it was an honor to return with three other Senate colleagues. From the moment one sets foot in Israel, the evidence of freedom, progress and tolerance are evident everywhere, as Israel continues to be an oasis of democracy and free enterprise in a tumultuous region plagued with difficult security, foreign policy and economic challenges.

“Upon arrival, I visited the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, where I look forward to soon seeing David Friedman confirmed by the Senate and working hard to restore the U.S.-Israel relationship. Later, we visited the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, where I was briefed by U.S. Consul General Donald Blome.‎ In both venues, we met with American foreign service personnel to discuss the state of U.S. international programs operating in Israel and throughout the region, the military and intelligence cooperation between our two nations, our robust economic ties, and the ongoing threats our ally faces from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and other hostile actors in the region.

“Israel remains a shining example of what free people can accomplish anywhere in the world, and the impact that unwavering American support and smartly targeted U.S. international assistance can have in advancing our interests and values abroad. As a senator,‎ further strengthening the unique relationship between the U.S. and Israel remains one of my highest priorities.

“As a Christian, visiting the Holy Land where Christianity began is an awe-inspiring experience. It is also a reminder of Israel’s embrace of religious freedom while remaining steadfast to its founders’ promise to forever be a Jewish state. I prayed for our two nations, for Israel’s future, for our alliance, and for people everywhere to be able to live in peace and free from threats like those we continue to see abroad from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, and at home against Jewish Community Centers in the U.S.

“May God bless Israel, may God bless the United States of America, and may God always watch over our close alliance.”

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WORKING TOGETHER FOR VETERANS

 

 

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The comradery of shared service unites veterans in a special way. We have a common experience and common healthcare challenges as a result.

It’s important for veterans to come together and for the VA to establish and maintain expertise in providing our unique healthcare needs. Unfortunately, too many VA facilities have lost their hunger to provide our care. A passion to meet the individual needs of veterans has become too much of a rarity.

This week, veterans came together in West Palm Beach and the result was a change in policy at the national level. When I started receiving calls from local veterans that our VA didn’t have portraits of the Commander in Chief and Secretary of Veterans Affairs hanging where they should have been, I went to the VA to hang them myself.

First, they were happy to hang them. But then, after we left, they took them back down. That’s when we took our case to Washington and secured a directive from the VA.

This just goes to show: when veterans see a problem, they take action to fix it and they get the job done. That’s just how we were trained and how we live our lives.

But this isn’t a one-off problem. This exemplifies problems at the VA across the country. That’s why I also helped pass three bills this week to help our veterans:

We passed the VA Accountability First Act on Thursday to allow the Secretary of the VA to remove, demote or suspend VA employees who aren’t doing their job. The bill also provides improved protections for whistleblowers at the VA and takes other steps to improve accountability at the VA.

We also passed the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act to prevent veterans 2nd amendment rights from being taken away without due process. If you’ve fought for our country – used a firearm to protect the United States – it is not justified to take away your right to bear arms unless there has been due process and a specific determination by a judge. Veterans who served this country so honorably should never be arbitrarily placed on a roll with criminals; it is insulting and unconstitutional.

Finally, we passed H.R. 1367 to provide the VA with the tools they need to hire and retain a top notch work force. This is just common sense – if we’re going to give the VA the authority to fire employees who are not doing their job, we should also make sure they have everything they need to get the best, most highly-motivated employees who go to work every day with the goal of serving veterans to the best of their ability.

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RUBIO VISITS JORDAN TO EVALUATE U.S. EFFORTS ABROAD

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, concluded his visit to the Kingdom of Jordan this morning. Rubio is in the Middle East this weekend on an official visit conducting oversight of U.S. programs abroad. Prior to Jordan, he visited Lebanon‎.

On his official Facebook page this morning, Rubio issued the following statement:

“It was an honor to return to the Kingdom of Jordan this weekend for my second official visit as senator. Jordan is one of our closest allies in the region, and we cooperate with them militarily in combating ISIS as well as dealing with the refugee crisis stemming from Syria’s civil war. Today, Jordan hosts the largest Syrian refugee camps in the world, and our support to them helps make this humanitarian response possible.

“Last year, I introduced the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation‎ Act, which became law and provides support to Jordan in responding to the refugee crisis, combating ISIS and other terrorist groups, and helping mitigate the many challenges that exist along its borders with Syria and Iraq. As part of my visit to oversee U.S. programs in Jordan, I assessed the impact this law is having and what more can be done by the U.S. government to advance our interests in the region.

“Jordan’s strategic partnership with Israel is a key part of promoting greater stability in the region, and I appreciate their ongoing commitment to that relationship. I am also hopeful that our Jordanian allies will continue their path to reform and allow all Jordanians a greater voice in shaping their country’s future.

“In addition, I enjoyed meeting with the many Americans serving our nation in Jordan and thanking them for the work they do to advance U.S. interests, our strategic relationship, and security in the region.”

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You Can Advertise Here!

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Contact Robin at 772-834-1890 for more information

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RUBIO BEGINS MIDDLE EAST VISIT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, is in the Middle East this weekend on an official visit conducting oversight of U.S. programs abroad.

On his official Facebook page this morning, Rubio issued the following statement:

“This weekend, I am in the Middle East on an official visit conducting oversight of U.S. programs abroad as a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence. I just concluded my visit to Beirut, Lebanon, where I met with Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and government officials to discuss regional security.

“I stressed to our Lebanese partners the importance of cracking down on the terrorist group Hezbollah. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and I were sponsors of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2015. This law blocks the terrorist organization’s financing and limits its access to logistical support. Prime Minister Al-Hariri and I discussed ways to address Hezbollah’s threat to regional stability, and the necessity of helping to build the capability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to confront terrorist threats.

“As always, I continue to be impressed by the work of Americans who serve abroad in our Beirut embassy and throughout the world as members of the Foreign Service. It is critical that we support their work in advancing our interests, as well as the goals of our international assistance programs.

“I was also honored to visit the Beirut Memorial, a tribute to the 241 U.S. service personnel, including 220 Marines, who lost their lives in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. While I was there, I remembered those who were killed during this terrorist attack orchestrated by Hezbollah and prayed for their families. They continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.”

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RUBIO COMMENTS ON PRESIDENT’S BUDGET BLUEPRINT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint:

“The president’s budget reflects what his administration’s priorities are. I am very encouraged that this budget supports ideas like the Educational Opportunities Act I first introduced in 2013 with the goal of expanding school choice through tax credit incentives for scholarships to low-income students. It’s a promising sign that we’ll be able to work with the administration on school choice policies I care deeply about because of the positive impact they can have in providing hardworking families with better school options for their kids. I also welcome the president’s desire to begin reversing the damaging impact of sequestration on our military’s readiness, and believe he’ll find strong support in Congress for this key part of his budget blueprint.

“While this budget blueprint offers insights into the president’s thinking about what’s important to his administration and the American people, it is Congress that will actually set the nation’s policy priorities and fund them. I will continue to review all the details of this budget proposal for areas of common interest we can work on together.

“However, I do not support the proposed 28 percent cut to our international affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department. These programs are integral to our national security, and cuts at these levels undermine America’s ability to keep our citizens safe. In order to advance our national security interests, economic opportunity for our people and respect for human dignity everywhere, America’s leadership on the global stage is indispensable. I will be working to ensure Congress’ funding priorities allow America to play this role.”

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SENATE PASSES RUBIO-MARKEY RESOLUTION ON
INT’. COOPERATION IN FIGHT AGAINST OPIOID EPIDEMIC

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Edward Markey (D-MA), members of the Foreign Relations Committee, today praised passage of their Senate resolution (S.Res. 83) calling for international cooperation to address the trafficking of illicit fentanyl into the United States. Illicit fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased by 72.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, resulting in more than 9,500 deaths in 2015.

“We know lethal synthetic drugs such as fentanyl are being brought in from outside the United States, and they are increasingly contributing to the devastating opioid abuse epidemic we are facing in Florida,” said Rubio. “In order to fully address the root causes of this epidemic destroying so many American families, our international partners must do their part to crack down on the trafficking of these deadly drugs.”

“Fentanyl is trending as the deadliest illicit opioid drug our country is facing,” said Markey. “Left unchecked, fentanyl is causing a nationwide public-health crisis of epic proportions. We must make stopping the trafficking of fentanyl into the United States from Mexico and China one of our highest foreign policy priorities. And both China and Mexico must meet their promises to combat the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids into the United States. We must use the broad diplomatic and law enforcement resources of the United States, in partnership with our international partners, to help stop fentanyl’s deadly impact.”

Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Angus King (I-ME) cosponsored the resolution.

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RUBIO, CARDIN INTRODUCE BILL
TARGETING CHINESE AGGRESSION IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, which would sanction Chinese individuals and entities that participate in Beijing’s illegitimate activities in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

“China’s illegitimate actions in the South China Sea threaten the region’s security and American commerce,” said Rubio, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its East Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee. “These ongoing, flagrant violations of international norms cannot be allowed to go unchecked, and the sanctions called for in this legislation would put Beijing on notice that the United States means business and intends to hold violators accountable.”

“In recent years we have seen an increasingly provocative China in the maritime domains, coercing and intimidating neighbors in both the East China Sea and South China Sea, attempting to use the threat of military force to address territorial and regional disputes, and undertaking an aggressive island-building and militarization campaign which threatens regional stability,” said Cardin, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “In the face of these actions the United States must be crystal-clear with regards to our long-standing national interests in the free-flow of commerce, freedom of navigation, and in the peaceful diplomatic resolution of disputes consistent with international law, and that we will safeguard our interests and those of our allies and partners and uphold a rules-based order for the Asia-Pacific region. This legislation provides significant new tools and options for our policy in the region and I’m pleased to join Senator Rubio in this effort.”

Today, Reuters reported that “China has started fresh construction work in the disputed South China Sea, new satellite images show, a sign that Beijing is continuing to strengthen its military reach across the vital trade waterway.”

The South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act would:

· Require the president to impose sanctions and prohibit visas for Chinese individuals and entities who contribute to construction or development projects, and those who threaten the peace, security or stability of the South China Sea (SCS) or East China Sea (ECS);

· Impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant financial transaction for sanctioned individuals and entities if China takes certain actions in the SCS or ECS, including declaring an air defense identification zone or increasing activities at Scarborough Shoal;

· Mandate a report on individuals and entities involved in sanctionable activities, including some employees of certain Chinese companies;

· Prohibit the publication of documents portraying the SCS or the ECS as part of China, investments in the SCS or the ECS, and the recognition of the annexation of the SCS or the ECS; and

· Restrict foreign assistance to countries that recognize China’s sovereignty in the SCS or the ECS.

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RUBIO MEETS WITH COSTA RICAN PRESIDENT
TO DISCUSS CHALLENGES IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chairman of the Senate’s western hemisphere subcommittee, today met with Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solís and Foreign Affairs Minister Manuel González Sanz to discuss transnational drug trafficking, Cuban migration across Central America, and the ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, among other issues.

“The United States and Costa Rica have long been united by our shared democratic values, and it was my honor to welcome their president to Washington today,” said Rubio. “While Costa Rica’s neutrality in foreign affairs has made it an oasis of stability in the region, it has nonetheless been affected by illicit trafficking, violence and migratory crises that spill across its borders.

“Today I discussed the importance of Costa Rica’s support for the Alliance for Prosperity to combat corruption and drug trafficking in Central America’s Northern Triangle,” Rubio continued. “I also urged the Costa Rican government to work closely with U.S., international relief agencies and non-profits to ensure Cuban migrants stranded in their territory are treated humanely and given an opportunity to make their asylum claims, instead of indiscriminately being returned to the repressive Castro regime.

“As the situation in Venezuela keeps deteriorating, I stressed the importance of all democracies in the Western Hemisphere speaking with one voice in calling on the Organization of American States to invoke the democratic charter against the Maduro regime,” Rubio added. “I will continue pushing to make sure our allies and partners throughout the region understand the urgency of dealing with the political and humanitarian crisis Maduro has imposed on Venezuela, and I will continue to stand on the side of the Venezuelan people.”

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RUBIO OPENS APPLICATION PROCESS
FOR SERVICE ACADEMY NOMINATIONS

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Applications for Nominations to Service Academies Due September 6th

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is inviting Florida students who wish to be nominated for a service academy to apply through his website. The four service academies requiring a congressional nomination include the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

“Each year, I am honored to have the opportunity to nominate young men and women from across Florida who demonstrate leadership, commitment and integrity, the qualities required to pursue the top military training our nation has to offer,” said Rubio. “I encourage all interested students to apply, and I wish applicants the best of luck as they go through the admission process to our service academies.”

Since 2011, Rubio has nominated nearly 300 Florida students to service academies. Of those, more than half received appointments and are currently attending service academies. Two cohorts of nominees have graduated (classes of 2015 and 2016) and are now serving as officers in our nation’s armed services.

For those desiring admission in the fall of 2018, Rubio’s deadline for application is September 6, 2017. In addition to securing a congressional nomination, candidates must also apply directly through the admissions process of their service academies of choice. Each Member of Congress is allowed a limited number of nominations per academy.

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RUBIO JOINS BIPARTISAN BILL TO
IMPROVE BANKRUPTCY COURT SYSTEM

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced the Bankruptcy Judgeship Act, legislation that would ensure that individuals and corporations have access to well-functioning bankruptcy courts even when temporary judgeships expire.

“Federal bankruptcy laws make it possible for individuals and businesses to reorganize their debts, but a significant impediment to a well-functioning system has been Congress’ failure to appropriately authorize judgeships as recommended by the nonpartisan Judicial Conference of the United States,” said Rubio. “This legislation will implement recommendations from the Judicial Conference that will help ensure more manageable caseloads across the country—including in Florida and Puerto Rico—and ultimately a more efficient system.”

“A functioning bankruptcy court system is essential to our nation’s economy. At a time when both individuals and corporations need to access the resources of bankruptcy courts, Congress must act to extend bankruptcy judgeships in judicial districts where they are most needed,” said Coons. “Talented bankruptcy judges can help turn a likely economic loss into a successful reorganization that protects jobs and creditors. This legislation will ensure that these judgeships remain in place and courts can continue to fairly and expeditiously resolve bankruptcy claims — a key component of our economy as companies and individuals get back on their feet. This bill will ensure that when bankruptcy judges on courts with temporary judgeships retire, their colleagues will not be left with crushing caseloads that restrict timely access to our bankruptcy courts.”

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RUBIO JOINS BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION
RECOGNIZING SIXTH ANNIVERSARY OF SYRIAN CIVIL WAR

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Washington, D.C. – Today, on the sixth anniversary of the start of the Syrian civil war, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a resolution condemning the Assad regime’s blatant disregard for international law and human life and urging the Trump Administration to pursue a strategy that can help bring the brutal conflict to a peaceful conclusion. The resolution also denounces Iran and Russia for their political and military support of the Assad regime, and calls for protection of civilians and humanitarian workers.

“Iran and Russia continue to support Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad’s murderous campaign against his own people,” said Rubio. “These regimes are guilty of war crimes, and it is important for the United States to demonstrate moral clarity and denounce these acts of evil that have destabilized the region, given terrorists a foothold, and created countless of orphans, widows, and refugees. Members of both parties must work together with the Trump Administration to help end this bloody conflict.”

“The Syrian civil war – one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises since World War II – continues to be the most dangerous and destabilizing conflict in the Middle East today,” said Kaine. “Six years in, Assad has created a safe haven for ISIL and Al Qaeda, while he commits unspeakable acts of violence against his own people. I hope this resolution serves as a stark reminder to the world that we must bring an end to this war and sends a message to the governments of Russia and Iran that the world is watching as they aid this authoritarian regime. We must work harder to protect innocent lives and support all efforts to restore peace to the region.”

“It is heartbreaking that we have reached the sixth anniversary of the Syrian civil war,” said McCain. “In the six years since the conflict began, more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed, half of the population has been driven from their homes, and 9.3 million people are in urgent need of assistance in what the United Nations has described as the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time. The Assad regime has relentlessly targeted its own citizens, including women and children, while Syrian and Russian forces have indiscriminately attacked hospitals and humanitarian convoys with precision-guided weapons in what clearly amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity. A comprehensive strategy is needed now more than ever to put an end to the horror, suffering and devastation in Syria. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians living under siege literally depend on it.”

“The civil war in Syria is one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our generation. Assad, aided by Russia and Iran, committed war crimes against his own people and gave ISIS and Al Qaeda a blank check for recruitment,” said Murphy. “As we reach six years of this brutal war, the United States must work harder. It’s well past time for Congress to do its constitutional duty and debate an authorization for the war against ISIL in Syria, and we must work with our international allies to combat terrorism, provide refuge for those fleeing danger, and put an end once and for all to this brutal war.”

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RUBIO, DURBIN PUSH FOR MORE ACCOUNTABILITY
ON EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today reintroduced the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, legislation that would provide additional accountability for existing U.S. programs to improve basic education in developing countries.

“Whether it is at home or abroad, access to basic education is integral to the foundation of a stable and prosperous society, this is especially true in developing or war-torn countries” said Rubio. “Every day, millions of children around the world are denied access to basic education, making them vulnerable to poverty, abuse, and extremism. The U.S. plays a critical role in assisting countries in eliminating barriers to children, particularly girls, access to basic education. The READ Act furthers our objectives abroad while giving Congress oversight of how our taxpayer dollars are being spent.”

“Providing children, particularly girls, with a quality education empowers them to improve the lives of their families and change the course of nations,” said Durbin. “The READ Act will help unleash the potential of children across the globe and arm them with the necessary tools to break the cycles of poverty, violence, and extremism.”

Around the world, approximately 59 million primary school-age children do not attend school. The READ Act would promote sustainable and quality basic education for children in developing or war-torn countries; develop a comprehensive U.S. strategy to promote basic education by addressing key barriers to schooling, particularly for girls; improve coordination, transparency, and accountability of U.S. basic education programs; and require an annual report to Congress of a comprehensive analysis of U.S. government programs.

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BRIAN MAST TO ATTEND “SHOOT FOR THE MOON”
EVENT TO COMBAT DRUG ADDICTION

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STUART — Congressman Brian Mast will be in attendance at the inaugural “Shoot For The Moon” sporting clays competition to be held at the South Florida Shooting Club on March 31. The event is sponsored by the Mark Garwood SHARE Foundation, a local non-profit organization established to provide educational scholarships to qualified individuals who are seeking to resume their educational pursuits after battling back from substance abuse.

The “Shoot For The Moon” sporting clays competition will raise funds to sustain and expand the Scholarship Fund of the Foundation. “We have seen undeniable evidence that pursuing one’s educational goals is a powerful incentive for long term recovery from substance abuse”, said Erica Garwood, President and Founder of the Mark Garwood SHARE Foundation. “This epidemic has derailed the lives of so many young people, and our Foundation is committed to giving them hope, support, and a sense of purpose toward a sober and productive future.” Since its inception in 2014 following the tragic death of her son from the effects of opioid addiction, the Mark Garwood SHARE Foundation has awarded over $50,000 in financial aid to nine qualified recipients.

“Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding opioid addiction often makes it that much harder for people struggling with this illness to get their lives back on track,” Congressman Brian Mast said. “That’s why this cause is so critical in helping people in our community to not only survive but also to thrive.”

More information about the event and team registration information can be found at “shootingforthe moon.org”, or by contacting John Garwood at 305-742-3883.

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RUBIO, BENNET INTRODUCE ALTERNATIVE TO
ACCREDITATION THAT SHIFTS FOCUS TO STUDENT SUCCESS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) today introduced a bill to create an alternative system of accreditation for high-quality American colleges, universities, and other higher education providers so their students can access federal financial aid.

“America needs a 21st century higher education system that embraces all the new ways people can learn and acquire skills without having to go the traditional four-year college degree track,” said Rubio. “To modernize our higher education system, we must end the status quo accreditation system, which stifles competition, fuels soaring tuition costs, and limits opportunities for nontraditional students, such as working parents. The alternative accreditation system we’ve proposed is built on higher quality standards and outcomes than the current accreditation system, and would mark an important first step toward shaking up a higher education system that leaves too many people with tons of student loan debt and without degrees that lead to good paying jobs.”

“In order for our kids and grandkids to succeed in the 21st century economy, they need access to higher education,” said Bennet. “Our generation is at risk of becoming the first American generation to leave less opportunity to our children than we inherited. It’s time we shed old ways of thinking, and build a modernized education system that embraces different approaches and focuses on innovation and student success, rather than inputs and process. This bill is an important first step to change some of the broken incentive structures in higher education, and create an outcomes-based process for schools and students.”

Currently, only students attending accredited institutions of higher education can receive federal student aid funds. While accreditation is supposed to provide quality assurance and accountability, it can focus too much on inputs and process, resulting in an inefficient system that limits innovation and competition.

The Higher Education Innovation Act creates a five-year pilot program for an alternative, outcomes-based process to access federal student financial aid. Through this process, students would have the ability to use federal student aid funds to attend institutions that offer high-quality, innovative, and effective programs and have a proven track record of successful student outcomes.

The bill would also create an innovative approach to financing higher education. Currently, higher education programs must exist for several years before they are eligible to apply to receive federal financial aid. The Bennet-Rubio proposal would allow new programs, including college and non-college providers, to enter into contracts with the U.S. Department of Education so long as they are generating positive student outcomes.

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RUBIO, NELSON INTRODUCE RESOLUTION ON
10TH ANNIVERSARY OF BOB LEVINSON’S DISAPPEARANCE

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Washington, D.C. – On the 10th anniversary of Bob Levinson’s disappearance, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today introduced a resolution in the Senate urging the president and U.S. allies to press Iran about Levinson’s disappearance, and calling on Iran to fulfill its repeated promises to assist in locating and returning Levinson, the longest held United States civilian in American history.

Click here for the full text of the resolution

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RUBIO-SPONSORED NASA BILL HEADS TO POTUS DESK

 

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) hailed the U.S. House of Representatives’ unanimous passage tonight of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Transition Authorization Act (S. 442), which Rubio and six other senators reintroduced in February. The Senate unanimously passed the bill in February, and it now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“Florida remains an indispensable player on the cutting edge of our nation’s space program,” said Rubio. “This bipartisan legislation will foster innovation, support NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion programs, improve collaboration between the agency and commercial space sector, and benefit thousands of workers across Florida, particularly at Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to make America’s space program even more successful, and ensure NASA has the resources it needs in the years ahead.”

A VOICE FOR OUR COMMUNITY

 

 

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Every day that I go to work, I make it my goal to give the people in our community a voice in Congress. There’s nothing I take more seriously than my duty to listen to the people I represent and to act on their concerns in Washington.

This week I had the opportunity to work on numerous different issues impacting our community and to advance the will of the people. Here are just a few examples:

I had two opportunities to make the case for robust funding to clean up our waterways. First, I testified before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. The next day, we held a Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee hearing on the role of federal agencies in water infrastructure. As Vice Chair of this subcommittee, you can count on it being my priority to address this issue.

 

 

I helped introduce a bill to ensure that all post-9/11 Purple Heart recipients who are honorably discharged are able to take advantage of Post-9/11 GI Bill funding to get an education. Learn more about that bill, and how the Post-9/11 GI Bill helped me after I was injured, by clicking here.

Congress also took action this week to secure our national defense by passing a $578 billion defense appropriations bill with huge bipartisan support, 371 to 48. As a 12-year Army veteran injured fighting for the country I love, I know as well as any how important this funding is to keep our country safe.

I spoke on the House Floor about the recent scourge of threats against Jewish Community Centers. We must do more to combat anti-Semitism at home and abroad, which is why one of my first acts of Congress was joining the Bipartisan Taskforce to Combat anti-Semitism. Moving forward, I’m exploring opportunities to take a leading role on bipartisan efforts to prevent these horrific acts.

 

 

Last but certainly not least, I’ve been collecting feedback on the plan that was released this week to repeal and replace Obamacare. On my website you’ll find a way to provide feedback and to share your personal experience with Obamacare – good or bad. This feedback is absolutely critical to moving our nation’s health care system in a direction that increases choice, lowers costs and protects access to care.

Click here to provide feedback

To hear more about each of these efforts, watch this week’s Week In Review video. To learn more about my work on your behalf, please visit my website.

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CRUZ, RUBIO, MENENDEZ INTRODUCE BILL
RENAMING STREET IN FRONT OF CUBAN EMBASSY
IN HONOR OF MURDERED DISSIDENT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation (S. 539) that would rename the street in front of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., as “Oswaldo Payá Way,” in honor of Cuba’s late and celebrated dissident leader. The bill serves as a tribute to those who have contested the cruelty and oppression of the Castro regime, and comes after Cuba’s recent attempt to stifle efforts to honor those who stand up for human rights across the globe.

“In 2012, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá was murdered by the Castro regime, which attempted to disguise the assassination as a car crash,” said Rubio. “For decades the Castros have systematically exterminated, imprisoned, and brutalized their political opponents, and as Cuban artist El Sexto testified to Congress just last month, ‘repression has increased’ since President Obama’s one-sided concessions to the communist dictators. Renaming the street in front of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., ‘Oswaldo Payá Way’ would permanently remind Castro and his murderous thugs of the innocent blood they have spilled, and send a strong message that dissidents’ calls for freedom can never be fully silenced or erased.”

“The Cuban Embassy stands as a testament to the prior Administration’s relentless capitulation to oppressive dictatorships across the globe. Though Fidel Castro has died, his repressive legacy has not followed him to the grave,” said Cruz. “Raúl is not a ‘different’ Castro; he shared Fidel’s tyrannical reign, brutally imprisoning and torturing the people of Cuba. It is my hope and belief that President Trump’s Administration will operate from a posture of strength to reassure those fighting for freedom in Cuba that America stands with them. I commend Rosa María Payá for her brave efforts to honor her father’s fight for freedom by bestowing an award in his name. The Castro regime’s cowardly actions to stifle the first awards ceremony only shines a brighter light on Oswaldo Payá’s legacy and serves as an example for younger generations who seek change among brutal dictatorships.”

“Although former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has died, the tyrannical regime he built is still very much alive,” said Executive Director of Victims of Communism Marion Smith. “For fifty-eight long years, Cubans have daily suffered from human rights violations committed by the Castro regime. Cuba’s dissidents have endured long enough. Renaming the Cuban Embassy’s D.C. address as the Oswaldo Payá Way is an expression of solidarity, a visible reminder that the U.S. supports the hopes and aspirations of Cuban dissidents. Today, we are putting the Castro regime on notice: their cruelty and barbarism will not be forgotten.”

Rosa María Payá, Oswaldo’s daughter, is the founder of Cuba Decides, a citizen’s initiative promoting a peaceful transition to democracy within the communist country. To further her group’s platform, Rosa María founded the Oswaldo Payá Liberty and Life Award to honor her father’s legacy of fighting for democracy and human rights. The first recipients of the award were recently given to Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro, and the late Chilean President Patricio Aylwin. However, the day before last week’s scheduled ceremony, the Castro regime denied visas to both Almagro and Aylwin’s daughter – Chilean parliamentarian and former minister of foreign affairs Mariana Aylwin – who had planned to accept the award on her late father’s behalf. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón was also denied entry to attend the ceremony, confirming that in spite of Cuba’s symbolic gestures toward a freer society, it has in fact done nothing meaningful to offer personal liberty or basic human rights to its suffering citizens.

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RUBIO, PETERS, PORTMAN, NELSON
LEAD ENTIRE SENATE IN CALLING ON
DHS, DOJ TO ADDRESS THREATS TO JEWISH INSTITUTIONS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today led all 100 senators in urging the Trump Administration to take action in response to the recent anonymous bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), Jewish Day Schools, and synagogues. In a bipartisan letter sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and FBI Director James Comey, the senators stress the importance of these centers within their communities and offer suggestions for deterring the threats of violence.

“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” wrote the senators. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities.”

According to the Jewish Federations of North America, in the first two months of 2017 alone, at least 98 incidents against JCCs and Jewish Day Schools at 81 locations in 33 states have been reported. Threats to the Jewish community even included threats against organizations dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, such as two Anti-Defamation League offices.

The senators also raised concerns about the desecration of hundreds of headstones at Jewish cemeteries in both St. Louis and Philadelphia.

“We encourage you to communicate with individual JCCs, the JCC Association of North America, Jewish Day Schools, Synagogues and other Jewish community institutions regarding victim assistance, grant opportunities or other federal assistance that may be available to enhance security measures and improve preparedness,” continued the senators. “We also recognize the anti-Semitic sentiment behind this spate of threats and encourage your Departments to continue to inform state and local law enforcement organizations of their obligations under the Hate Crime Statistics Act and other federal laws.”

The letter is supported by a wide range of groups, including the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Orthodox Union, Jewish Federations of North America and Union for Reform Judaism.

“I commend Senators Peters, Portman, Nelson and Rubio for mobilizing such a resounding bipartisan call for action,” said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “Today the Senate demonstrated a unified moral front against hatred and sent a strong message that in our America a threat against one of us is an attack on all of us.”

“The Jewish Federations of North America thank Senators Peters, Portman, Nelson and Rubio for shining a bright light on the scourge of anti-Semitism and hate that is spreading across America,” said Jewish Federations of North America Senior Vice President William Daroff. “We appreciate that the vast majority of the United States Senate is speaking with one voice to stand against intolerance.”

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE LEGISLATION
TO PROTECT YOUNG ATHLETES FROM SEXUAL ABUSE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN) today in introducing the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act, legislation that would require amateur athletics governing bodies to immediately report sex-abuse allegations to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department.

“There should be no excuse for anyone—particularly those in positions of authority and who are entrusted with the safety and well-being of young athletes—to fail to report the sexual abuse of children and young adults,” said Rubio. “Recent revelations about the USA Gymnastics program are deeply troubling, and it’s clear we must do more to strengthen protections for young athletes, ensure victims receive justice, and hold predators accountable.”

“Sexual abuse stays with victims their entire lives. Amateur athletic governing bodies, coaches, and personnel have a special obligation to do all they can to protect young athletes in their care,” said Feinstein. “All allegations of sex abuse must be promptly reported to local or federal law enforcement. Otherwise, they may not be treated with the seriousness that’s required.”

“Sexual abuse is a heinous crime that must be eradicated in every corner of our society,” said Collins. “I have long worked to prevent sexual assault and ensure that survivors have access to the resources and support they need. By requiring amateur athletic governing organizations to promptly report every allegation of sexual abuse to the proper authorities, this legislation will help survivors receive justice and protect more people from becoming victims.”

“Sexual abuse should never be tolerated. This bill helps to protect young athletes from such heinous crimes, and establishes a structure to help victims safely report abuses, which must then be relayed to the authorities,” said Grassley. “It also requires oversight of the training facilities to ensure that policies preventing sexual abuse are being taken seriously.”

The bill stems from recent allegations of sexual abuse made against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming and USA Taekwondo. It would also amend the Ted Stevens Amateur and Olympic Sports Act, which governs amateur athletics governing bodies, to make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and mandate oversight of member gymnasiums to ensure strong sexual-abuse prevention policies are implemented. For example, USA Gymnastics would implement and enforce policies to ensure coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention.

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RUBIO DISCUSSES SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
INVESTIGATION, REPLACING OBAMACARE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and CNN’s State of the Union today and discussed the committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, and his support for repealing and replacing ObamaCare with a better system. A partial transcript of key exchanges is below.

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SENATE PASSES VENEZUELA RESOLUTION
AS CRISIS DEEPENS

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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution today introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) expressing its profound concern about the ongoing political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, urging the immediate release of political prisoners, and calling for respect of constitutional and democratic processes. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and David Purdue (R-GA) joined as original co-sponsors.

The resolution also affirms its support for the efforts of Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro and encourages OAS member states to take additional steps to address the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.

The situation in Venezuela has continued to deteriorate. President Maduro’s government failed to meet its commitments under a Vatican-sponsored dialogue, opposition leaders and supporters remain political prisoners, and the quality of life for average Venezuelans continues to decline rapidly.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for supporting this bipartisan resolution calling for the government of Venezuela to respect the constitutional and democratic processes and release all political prisoners,” said Rubio. “America must continue to support the people of Venezuela, and I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to fully implement the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Extension Act. Venezuelan officials who break the law and violate the rights of the Venezuelan people must be held accountable.”

“The longer President Maduro and his government remain intransigent in their backward, law-breaking positions, the longer the Venezuelan people will suffer,” said Cardin. “Our resolution sends a clear signal to Mr. Maduro that he must urgently allow for international humanitarian relief to protect and save Venezuelan lives. We also call on the Venezuelan government to take overdue steps to address corruption and criminality, ensure human rights, free political prisoners, and restore respect for its own Constitution.”

“Venezuela is headed for catastrophe. We can see it in the long lines, blackouts, and civil unrest plaguing the country, and yet the Maduro government continues to ignore the countless calls for adherence to democratic norms and respect for civil liberties,” said Durbin. “Today, the United States Senate stands with the people of Venezuela, who continue to pay the price of their government’s obstinate refusal to change course.”

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AT SENATE HEARING ON VENEZUELA, RUBIO & WITNESSES
STRESS IMPORTANCE OF OAS INVOKING DEMOCRATIC CHARTER

 

 

Washington, D.C. – During today’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, U.S. Senator Rubio (R-FL) found unanimous agreement among the witnesses – Dr. David Smilde of Tulane University, Dr. Shannon O’Neil of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mark Feierstein of the Center for Strategic and International Studies – that the Trump Administration’s top priority in Venezuela should be to push for the Organization of American States (OAS) to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter. This would isolate the Venezuelan regime diplomatically and raise the specter of additional economic sanctions.

Earlier in his remarks, Rubio urged the U.S. to pull out of the current Vatican-mediated negotiations between the Venezuelan regime and the opposition, which includes members of the National Assembly.

Rubio also highlighted the case of imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, whose wife, Lilian Tintori, recently met with Rubio and President Trump. Since their meeting, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro has denied Lopez access to his attorney.

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Milton Leggett Recognized By Stuart Commission

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Stuart — 35 years of service to Milton Leggett in the City of Stuart.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES REINTRODUCE BILL CUTTING OFF
FUNDING TO PALESTINIANS UNTIL TERROR REWARDS CEASE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR) Tim Scott (R-SC), John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Richard Burr (R-NC) and John Thune (R-SD) in reintroducing the Taylor Force Act, legislation which would cut off U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority as long as it rewards terrorists and their surviving family members. U.S. Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) reintroduced the companion bill in the House.

Taylor Force was a former U.S. Army officer who was part of a Vanderbilt University tour group visiting Israel when he was brutally stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist. Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction praised the terrorist as a “heroic martyr” and the Palestinian Authority did not condemn the attack.

“It’s unacceptable that our taxpayer dollars are still being used by the Palestinian Authority to pay terrorists who have Israeli and American blood on their hands, and to brainwash young Palestinians to hate Israel and the Jewish people. The U.S. should condition assistance to the Palestinian Authority on it stopping these despicable practices,” said Rubio.

“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” said Graham. “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them? You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts. The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”

“We cannot continue allowing U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists and their families for acts of violence against Israel or the United States,” said Blunt. “Under current Palestinian Authority law, the more heinous an act of terror an individual commits, the greater the reward. This is an outrageous policy and I urge my Senate colleagues to support this effort to end the Palestinian Authority’s unconscionable law.”

“The family of Taylor Force experienced loss no loved one should ever have to endure. These reprehensible and senseless acts of terror have no room in our modern world and we should seek all available resources to stop the evil that has claimed too many innocent lives. I stand by Sen. Graham’s efforts, and look forward to continuing to explore all options to stamp out terrorism,” said Scott.

“Taylor Force was what every parent hopes their son will be. And this legislation will honor his memory by making sure no taxpayer money rewards the kinds of terrorists who took this young man’s life,” said Cotton.

“The Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for rewarding and encouraging terrorism. We must prevent American tax dollars from being used to support government sponsored terror,” said Boozman.

“This bill delivers a message that should be heard loud and clear: The United States must not fund a Palestinian leadership that engages in incitement and supports acts of terrorism against both American and Israeli citizens,” said Cruz. “I’m proud to work with Sen. Graham and my colleagues on this legislation, named in honor of Taylor Force, a Texas native and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who served multiple tours in defense of our country before being murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv last year. The US must hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for continuing this heinous practice of incentivizing and rewarding terrorism by providing monthly salaries and benefits to terrorists, their families, and the families of those who died committing acts of terrorism. We must ensure US taxpayer dollars are not being used to fund and enable Palestinian terrorism and stand with Israel against radical Islamic terrorism that targets citizens from both of our countries.”

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RUBIO INTRODUCES VA ACCOUNTABILITY FIRST ACT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the VA Accountability First Act, legislation that would provide the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) increased flexibility to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct, including Senior Executive Service employees. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) introduced the VA Accountability First Act in the House.

“For far too long, incompetent and uncaring employees at the VA have been allowed to fail at their jobs but still keep them,” said Rubio. “In the past, we’ve passed measures to institute accountability but lacked a president and VA secretary who would actually implement them and fire VA employees who are failing our veterans. Now it’s time to finally provide our veterans with the quality, efficient health care they have earned and deserve, instead of protecting the big labor unions seeking to keep the status quo of incompetence and malfeasance.

“The VA Accountability First Act will give the VA secretary increased flexibility to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees who fail to take care of our veterans,” Rubio added. “I am pleased President Trump has made this issue a priority, and I look forward to working with Secretary Shulkin to hold VA employees at all levels accountable for their performance and ensure our veterans are no longer ignored or mistreated.”

“I’ve said time and time again that the vast majority of VA employees are hardworking and have the best interests of our veterans at heart, but there are still too many bad apples within the department,” said Roe. “Our veterans deserve better, and the VA employees who fulfill their duties deserve better. I thank Senator Rubio for partnering with me to introduce this important legislation, and I look forward to working with him to get this bill to President Trump’s desk.”

A recent study completed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that, on average, it takes six months to a year to remove a permanent civil servant in the federal government, though it often takes longer. Just last year, former VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson testified that it was too hard to fire bad employees at VA. In the past several years, the VA’s arcane civil service rules have hampered the department’s ability to dismiss an employee that engaged in an armed robbery; discipline a VA nurse that participated in a veteran’s surgery while intoxicated; and hold employees accountable for the continued failures to manage several major construction projects that are overdue and over budget.

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IN JOINT FLOOR SPEECH, RUBIO & COONS CALL
ATTENTION TO VLADIMIR PUTIN’S DANGEROUS AGENDA

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) today warned of the dangers posed by Vladimir Putin’s aggression against the West, the implications for the transatlantic alliance and global security, and how the U.S. government should respond. In a joint floor speech on the Senate floor, the senators highlighted Russian meddling in U.S. elections, as well as Russian dissidents and critics of Putin who have been assassinated or harmed.

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RUBIO PRAISES PRESIDENT’S SPEECH,
DISCUSSES PLAN TO REPLACE OBAMACARE

 

 

 

 

Washington, D.C. – This morning, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on Fox & Friends and CBS This Morning and praised President Trump’s address to Congress. Rubio discussed the way forward on repealing and replacing ObamaCare and modernizing our immigration system for the 21st century. He also reiterated the importance of civility in our political discourse.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO DISCUSSES FLORIDA WATER ISSUES
WITH COUNTY COALITION MEMBERS

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) met today with members of the County Coalition for Responsible Management of Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries, and Lake Worth Lagoon to discuss Florida water issues and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) projects.

“It was a pleasure meeting with members of the 16-county coalition and talking about the many pressing water issues in Florida.” said Rubio. “There are various steps the federal government needs to take to solve Florida’s water issues, and we need to work in partnership with state and local officials to make real and lasting progress. Last year, we were able to pass the landmark Central Everglades Planning Project, and this year we need to make sure it is funded along with the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike. I remain committed to doing everything I can at the federal level to ensure our ecosystems remain healthy.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO COMMENTS ON PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s address to Congress:

“For the first time since I’ve been in the Senate, Republicans are poised to enact real, meaningful and lasting reforms to protect Americans, rebuild our military, grow our economy, boost workers’ paychecks, replace ObamaCare with a better system, and remove the roadblocks to prosperity created by bureaucrats in Washington. The president has partners in both the House and Senate to pursue this bold agenda, and I was encouraged to see him make his case to the American people and urge Democrats to stop standing in the way of progress.

“I was especially pleased the president highlighted tax reform and replacing ObamaCare as top priorities, and I’m hopeful that in the coming months, we’ll be able to work together and put in place a simpler, fairer tax code that is both pro-growth and pro-family. Fixing our broken immigration system is crucial for our security and economic future, and I’m hopeful we can work in a bipartisan way to take the first necessary step in this process, which is securing our border and improving interior enforcement.

“As we work towards these goals, I’m sure there will be disagreements, but I’m more excited than ever about serving in the Senate at this moment in our nation’s history and the opportunity to improve the lives of all Americans.”

Out2martincounty.com

ON SENATE FLOOR, RUBIO TOUTS IMPORTANCE OF
DIPLOMACY AND DEVELOPMENT

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor today on the U.S. international affairs budget and its importance to national security and keeping Americans safe and prosperous.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO MEETS WITH FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE LEADERS
TO DISCUSS FEDERAL-STATE ISSUES

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) this morning concluded a two-day series of meetings with members of the Florida legislature to discuss several federal issues affecting Florida. The participants included Florida Senate President Joe Negron, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Richard Corcoran, Senator Bill Galvano, and Representatives Michael Bileca, Jose Felix Diaz, and Carlos Trujillo.

“I extended this invitation to members of the Florida legislature because since my days in the Florida House I’ve recognized the overlap between many of the policies being advanced in Tallahassee and Washington, and the importance of close cooperation among state and federal officials,” said Rubio. “I’ve known several of these state legislators for many years and even served with several of them in Florida, and our meeting was intended to strengthen the partnership between Congress and the Florida legislature as they head into the legislative session, where they will be tackling a number of issues that have a federal nexus. I am committed to ensuring Florida’s state legislators in both parties have the support they need from my office in getting clarity from Washington about the way forward on many issues.

“Among the issues we discussed, repealing and replacing ObamaCare was a top priority,” Rubio continued. “Florida’s water issues will remain a top priority in the state legislature and in Congress, where last year we finally succeeding in authorizing the Central Everglades Planning Project, and now need to appropriate the necessary funds for this landmark restoration effort. With the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire this September, we also exchanged ideas on reforming the program in order to put it on a more sustainable path and prevent a massive rate increase from hitting homeowners.

“My office and I will continue to work closely with state and local leaders throughout Florida and serve as a resource in Washington on any federal issues affecting their work,” Rubio added. “I look forward to working with state legislators on both sides of the aisle this Congress.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, BENNET REINTRODUCE LEGISLATION
BENEFITING PEDIATRIC CANCER RESEARCH

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today reintroduced the RACE for Children Act (Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity for Children Act), legislation supporting the development of innovative and promising cancer drugs for children. U.S. Representatives Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Sean Duffy (R-WI), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) introduced the companion bill in the House.

“Pediatric cancer impacts too many families in Florida and across the nation, including my own,” said Rubio. “I am proud to reintroduce the RACE for Children Act, which would encourage more treatment options for children battling against cancer. This bill ‎takes a further step in extending medical advances in adult cancer treatment to children fighting this horrific disease. I am especially honored to reintroduce this bill on behalf ‎of the many advocates who have relentlessly fought to get more attention, funding and resources for childhood cancer. I look forward to continuing my work with them to make this crucial legislation a law.”

“In Colorado and around the country, researchers are making dramatic advances to treat and cure cancer, but there is even more we can do for our kids,” said Bennet. “This legislation is a necessary update to our laws and has the potential to save thousands of children’s lives. I look forward to continue working with parents, researchers, and other advocates to advance this bill to expand treatment options for children.” ‎

The bipartisan bill, first introduced in the 114th Congress, would update the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA) to reflect the latest advances in cancer drugs. PREA was enacted by Congress in 2003 to address the scarcity of information about how to treat children with drugs developed for adults, and therefore develop pediatric data during drug development. Although PREA has resulted in new information on how to treat children for a multitude of drugs over the years, there are still limited pediatric studies for cancer drugs

The bill is supported by Florida’s Nemours Children’s Health System, the Children’s Hospital Colorado, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, and more than 100 pediatric cancer advocacy organizations.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION RENAMING ST IN FRONT OF RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN HONOR OF DISSIDENT

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation today that would designate the street in front of the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., as “Boris Nemtsov Plaza,” in honor of the opposition leader who was murdered within sight of the Kremlin two years ago.

Yesterday, a member of Rubio’s staff delivered a message of solidarity outside the Russian embassy at a vigil honoring the second anniversary of Nemtosov’s murder.

“Two years ago, Boris Nemtsov was murdered on a Moscow bridge within view of the Kremlin, and no one has been held accountable,” said Rubio. “He was just one of Vladimir Putin’s critics who have wound up dead or hospitalized as the regime cracks down on any opposition and rules Russia with an iron fist. Putin may hope Nemtsov’s murder deters dissent, but we must continue to support Russia’s pro-democracy movement so that does not happen.

“The creation of ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’ would permanently remind Putin’s regime and the Russian people that these dissidents’ voices live on, and that defenders of liberty will not be silenced. It will also help raise awareness among the American people about the ongoing abuses in Putin’s Russia,” added Rubio. “Whether it is looking at a street sign or thousands of pieces of correspondence addressed ‎’1 Boris Nemtsov Plaza,’ it will be abundantly clear to the Kremlin that the intimidation and murder of opposition figures does not go unnoticed. In honor of Nemtsov’s memory and all Russians fighting for their democratic rights, I will continue working to ensure that those responsible for his murder are held accountable.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, BALDWIN INTRODUCE LEG. TO HELP SECURE
RESTITUTION FOR ASSETS STOLEN DURING HOLOCAUST

Out2News.com
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today introduced the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, bipartisan legislation that would improve efforts assisting survivors and the families of victims of the Holocaust who are seeking the return of or restitution for assets stolen during the Holocaust. The bill would require the State Department to report on certain European countries’ compliance with the goals of the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets, and what actions those countries are taking to resolve the claims of U.S. citizens.

“Seventy years after World War II, when Nazis and their collaborators illegally confiscated Jews’ property in Central and Eastern Europe, this theft remains a largely unresolved issue and a source of lasting pain for many Holocaust survivors and their heirs,” said Rubio. “This bipartisan legislation will help address this lasting injustice from a dark chapter in human history by facilitating the restitution of Jewish communal, private and heirless property. American leadership on this issue is vital, and I’m proud to join Senator Baldwin in introducing this bill.”

“We’re taking bipartisan action to ensure justice, which has been put off for far too long,” said Baldwin. “Tragically, we are losing survivors every day, and it is my sincere hope that this legislation, by shining a spotlight and solidifying this issue as an American foreign policy priority, will spur action in countries that are falling short of their obligations, ultimately resulting in a measure of justice for these individuals who have waited far too long.”

The JUST Act is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John McCain (R-AZ), Ed Markey (D-MA), John Thune (R-SD), Gary Peters (D-MI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). U.S. Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the bill in the House.

Groups supporting the JUST Act include the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), B’nai B’rith International, HIAS refugee assistance organization, and the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO DISCUSSES SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
INVESTIGATION, REPLACING OBAMACARE

 

 

Out2martincounty.com

Democracy In Action

 

With Congress out of session this week, I had the opportunity to hear from people all across our community on a wide range of issues. I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who attended a meeting, joined our town hall or hosted me at their business.

Our town hall meeting on Friday lasted more than 4 hours and I stayed to answer every single question. While everyone didn’t always agree on every single issue, I believe having the conversation is critical.

In addition to our town hall, I met with more than 25 different local groups and organizations to discuss issues ranging from healthcare to our environment. Each of these provided an opportunity to hear a new perspective on an issue, and I’m eager to tackle these priorities in Congress.

I also met with many of our local county commissioners to ensure the priorities of our counties are being heard in Washington, including cleaning our local waterways and keeping our communities safe.

Out2martincounty.com

 

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

Congressman Brian Mast Speaks
To Martin County Taxpayers

Out2News.com

Hobe Sound — Lost Lake Golf and Country Club was the scene last evening when Congressman Brian Mast met his Martin County constituency for the first time since he hit Washington in January.

He spoke to the knowledgeable crowd pragmatically as well as hopefully. He gave updates on his first impression of the “swamp” and expressed what has impressed as well as surprised him the most in his first weeks in Washington.

When asked if he would vote for the repeal of “Obama Care” his response was cautious but pointed and informative. He said that repeal is a three part process; budget reconciliation, which has been done, the appointment of a new HHS Secretary so specific regulations under the law can be rescinded and finally replacement. He avoided associating himself with the “Freedom Coalition” and simple repeal.

The mission of the 55-year-old organization is to monitor and review all fiscal and tax matters affecting Martin County. To engage public officials, community leaders and private sector organizations who may influence the economy and efficiency of the County of Martin, the School District, municipalities and other taxing authorities in the matter of taxes and the financial resources of the County.

The MCTA is managed by non-paid, volunteer leaders who are elected to the board or become officers of the association. The association also seeks volunteers to join one or more of the various committees of the board. All types of background and experience are valuable and members are encouraged to contact the association.

You will find Lost Lake Golf Club nestled in the beautiful city of Hobe Sound, Florida just south of Stuart. The club was established in 1993, and designed by renowned golf course architects Jim and Tom Fazio II. Lost Lake offers five sets of tees with views of spectacular preserves and gorgeous wetlands, so whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenge or maybe just the occasional weekend golfer, the combination of superb course conditions and courteous professional staff will keep you coming back.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

Do you have something to say, an event to talk about? An event you would like to have covered? Do it here!

Email your story or request to: info@out2martincounty.com

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

Out2martincounty.com adheres to full compliance with C.O.P.P.A. (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998)

“Martin County’s Photo Journal”

This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Out2martincounty.com

KEY MOMENTS FROM RUBIO’S HEARING
WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, chaired a hearing Thursday with prominent human rights activists and experts.

Mr. Garry Kasparov, a Russian activist living in exile in America; Dr. Halah Eldoseri, a Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist; and Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado Machado, a Cuban artist, testified about the oppression they’ve experienced under the governments of their respective home countries and the critical role the United States has to play in safeguarding the fundamental human rights of all people.

 

 

 

RUBIO: After the president visited Cuba and left, what was government – the Castro government’s reaction to the people who met with him? Did you notice a change in their behavior after he left? Did they become more repressive after the fact?

EL SEXTO: No, repression has increased.

 

 

RUBIO: What would the impact be on our credibility, on America’s standing in the world and quite frankly our national security but in particular I want you to opine on our credibility and our standing in the world as a nation who promotes democracy and liberty and the rights of all people, what would it do to our standing if despite all of these things that we now know we somehow enter a geopolitical deal with Moscow in which we are willing to overlook all these things and sovereignty of nations like Ukraine in exchange for their supposed cooperation in Syria. What would the impact be on America’s standing in the world if we going into a deal with a criminal like this?

KASPAROV: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I agree with everything that you said about Vladimir Putin and his regime. I think it’s important to emphasize that the United States of America and Putin’s Russia – let me emphasize Putin’s Russia – have no common values, no common ground, and no common interests.

 

 

RUBIO: By the government, I apologize.

ELDOSERI: Well I do see my name coming in the formal print media and in online defamation campaigns all the time and the names of other people who are doing the same and similar to my distinguished colleague here. I think that we learn to work without thinking of things beyond our control. We tend to uphold our values and our principles and try to do the best of the resources that we have. Ideas like what the government will think of is not of an importance to the people in Saudi Arabia more than to secure the public interest and to make sure that their rights are safeguarded and guaranteed.

 

 

RUBIO: From Russia to China, from North Korea to Venezuela, authoritarianism is on the rise, human freedom is under assault, and restrictive new NGO laws are being used to crush civil society, press freedom is being challenged – just yesterday we saw the expulsion of CNN en Español from Venezuela – and political dissidents often feel isolated and abandoned while those who repress them do so with seeming impunity.

Many of our historic alliances with other leading democracies are fraying while authoritarian regimes are closely collaborating and empowering other dictators. Some of the world’s most egregious human rights violators retain well-paid lobbyists and PR firms. They engage in sophisticated expressions of soft power in the media, through so-called “think tanks”, in academia and even the entertainment industry. It feels like freedom fighters are constantly playing catch up.

Earlier this month, Vladimir Kara-Murza, of Open Russia, was suspected of being poisoned for a second time. I understand that he is now recovering and will hopefully be released from the hospital shortly. He has been a target of the Russian government for some time. Later this month, February 27th, will be the second anniversary of the assassination of his close ally, Boris Nemstov, who was murdered in view of the Kremlin after speaking out against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s corruption. We invited his daughter, Zhanna Nemtsova, to testify today but she was unable to attend due to prior commitments. I would however, like to enter into the record a report from her organization detailing the figures of political prisoners in Russia.

In his seminal work The Case for Democracy, famed Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky divides nations into free and fear societies. He writes: “A simple way to determine whether the right to dissent in a particular society is being upheld is to apply the town square test: Can a person walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm? If he can, then that person is living in a free society. And [sic] If not, it’s a fear society.”

For the Chinese lawyer, the Russian journalist, the Saudi blogger, the Venezuelan activist, the Cuban artist, the Bahraini civil society leader, there is no question—they are living in fear societies. Their attempts to freely, and I would add courageously, express themselves are met with harsh and unyielding repression.

Civil Rights champion, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As the title of today’s hearing makes clear, I believe, and I think it’s safe to say that ranking Member Menendez agrees, that there is indeed a convincing case to be made for strong, principled U.S. leadership in the promotion and support of democracy and human rights globally on this moral imperative alone.

I recognize this is not a universal belief. It never has been, even during the heyday of the Soviet Union, and certainly isn’t now when there is no monolith enemy or single ideological counterpart to the “Free World.”

While the American people remain among the most generous in the world, widely giving to charitable causes both domestically and internationally, altruism or even the moral impetus to stand with the oppressed and marginalized is insufficient motivation for many especially when they consider our own decrepit infrastructure, shuttered factories, our mounting national debt and other priorities here at home.

So for those of us who believe in the merits of this work, the burden is on us to make the case for why U.S. foreign policy must be infused with the values at the center of our own experiment in self-governance. It is incumbent upon us to explore and explain why the support of emerging democracies should be a core U.S. national interest, precisely because it is a national security imperative and I hope today’s hearing will provide a platform to do so.

We need not abandon any notion of realpolitik. I recently read a National Review piece that captured a conversation that Mr. Kasparov had with Czech writer and dissident, Vaclav Havel, in which Havel noted, “Now and then you have to negotiate with evil regimes…But you don’t have to do so without bringing up human rights. Take Ronald Reagan. He negotiated with the Soviet Union, about arms control and geopolitics. But he always put political prisoners on the table.”

With the previous administration, these issues took a back seat to other geopolitical goals. Whether it was greater collaboration with China on climate change and the global economic crisis, or the resumption of diplomatic relations with the tyranny in Cuba or the prospects of a grand bargain with Iran—dissidents in these and other countries often felt ignored and forgotten by the United States.

My critique is not reserved for a Democratic administration. I raised these issues with … our new secretary of state during his confirmation hearing and was concerned and remain about the way he addressed them. I intend to continue to highlight the importance of democracy and human rights as senior State Department nominees come before our committee for consideration. And, as I stated when I voted for Mr. Tillerson, my support of or opposition to those nominees will be based in part on their willingness to make these issues a priority.

I believe it is vital for the secretary, for his deputies, for senior White House officials, including the president and the vice president, to meet publicly with dissidents and human rights activists, as President Trump and Vice President Pence did last night with Lilian Tintori, the wife of Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez.

It is essential that the leaders of the world’s greatest democracy issue statements of support and solidarity and where appropriate condemnations when grave human rights abuses occur. I urge the administration to request robust democracy funding for such work in the upcoming budget cycle, and to utilize recently passed legislation from the previous Congress which provides the State Department new tools to advance of the cause of human rights and human dignity—foremost among them the Global Magnitsky Act, which the ranking member was so involved in.

Writing eloquently, and ominously, in the Wall Street Journal last year, one of our witnesses, Mr. Kasparov, noted, “Globalization has made it easy for the enemies of the free world to spread their influence in ways the Soviet leadership couldn’t have imagined, while the West has lost the will to defend itself and its values.”

I pray this warning is not born out by reality.

Consider the contrast with Natan Sharansky’s account of being held in an eight-by-ten foot cell in a Siberian prison in 1983 when his Soviet jailers allowed him to read latest issue of the official Communist Party newspaper. Sharansky recalled a front page article condemning Reagan’s famous “Evil Empire” speech. He wrote, “Tapping on the walls and talking through toilets, political prisoners spread the word of Reagan’s so-called “provocation.” The dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth–a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.”

I believe we are at an inflection point, and the stakes could not be higher, as we will no doubt hear today. We must commit anew to a robust defense of our values, because they are not merely American values, rather they reflect the yearning of millions of people around the world who live in societies dominated by fear and oppression, but who looked to the United States of America to champion their cause to fully exercise their God-given rights.

Out2martincounty.com

RRUBIO, COTTON, JOHNSON INTRODUCE INTERMEDIATE-RANGE
FORCES TREATY PRESERVATION ACT

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced the Intermediate-Range Forces Treaty (INF) Preservation Act, legislation that would allow the United States to take steps to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty and begin developing similar missile systems. U.S. Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Mike Rogers (R-AL) introduced companion legislation in the House.

“Russia’s mounting violations of the INF Treaty, including testing and now brazenly deploying ground-launched cruise missiles with intermediate range, pose grave threats to the United States and our European allies,” said Rubio. “This legislation makes clear that Russia will face real consequences if it continues its dangerous and destabilizing behavior.”

“If Russia is going to test and deploy intermediate range cruise missiles, then logic dictates that we respond,” said Cotton. “Pleading with the Russian regime to uphold its treaty obligations won’t bring it into compliance, but strengthening our nuclear forces in Europe very well might. We’re offering this legislation so we can finally put clear, firm boundaries on Russia’s unchecked aggression.”

“Russia has a troubling track record of violating treaties,” said Johnson. “The United States must begin to deal with the Russian regime firmly and from a position of strength, and this bill aims to do just that.”

On Tuesday, reports surface indicating that Russia secretly deployed a new cruise missile in violation of the INF treaty. This legislation states that the Russian violation has crossed the material breach threshold allowing the United States to take steps to bring Russia back into compliance, and begin developing similar missile systems. The steps to bring Russia back into compliance included in the legislation are:

· Funding counter-force, active-defense, and countervailing-strike activities identified in the Section 1243(d) report of FY16 NDAA;

· Establishment of a program of record for a dual-capable road-mobile ground launched missile system with INF Ranges;

· Aggressively seeking additional missile defense assets;

· Facilitating transfer of INF range systems to allied countries;

· Limiting funds for New START extension or OST activities until Russia returns to compliance; and

· A policy review on determination of RS-26 as countable under New START.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, CORNYN, SASSE, PERDUE INTRODUCE
IRAN TERROR-FREE SKIES ACT

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced the Iran Terror-Free Skies Act, legislation that would counter Iran’s use of commercial aircraft in support of international terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism, or for other illicit military purposes. The companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) last month.

“As the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, Iran continues to systematically use its commercial airlines to supply the murderous Assad regime in Syria as well as to Hezbollah and other foreign terrorist organizations,” said Rubio. “If America turns a blind eye to the Iranian terror regime’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East and endanger the lives of innocents worldwide, we risk being complicit. This legislation ensures the United States takes decisive actions to stop Iran’s diversion of civilian aircraft in support of terrorism and militancy.”

“Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism threatens the safety of our homeland and our friends around the world,” said Cornyn. “The guise of Iran Air – and the supportive role it plays spreading terror – isn’t fooling anyone, and it’s time to act. I’m thankful for Senator Rubio’s leadership on this, and look forward to working with the White House to get it done.”

“This is a no-brainer: Of course we should be preventing Tehran from militarizing civilian aircraft to support terrorists; of course we should be stopping Iran from getting around sanctions; and of course the American people should demand that Washington get a clear-eyed understanding of how Iran is undermining stability in the Middle East and what must be done to stop them,” said Sasse. “I’m proud to work with Senators Rubio and Cornyn on legislation that meets these common-sense expectations.”

“Iran has been unwavering in its goal to drive up angst in a region that is already very volatile,” said Perdue. “The rogue nation’s use of commercial aircraft to supply terrorist groups and the Assad regime with weapons and skirt international sanctions is a direct threat to our interests and strategic allies. It’s time to call out this nefarious behavior and put a stop to it immediately.”

The Iran Terror-Free Skies Act would require the Executive Branch to regularly report to Congress whether Iran Air and other Iranian commercial airlines:

· Have used civilian aircraft for illicit military purposes, including to transport illicit cargo to or from Iran, such as military goods, weapons, military personnel, military-related electronic parts and mechanical equipment, or rocket or missile components; and

· Have provided financial, material, or technological support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s armed forces, Syria’s Assad regime, or any foreign terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and Kata’ib Hezbollah.

If the president determines that Iran Air or other Iranian commercial airlines have engaged in any of these illicit military activities after the Iran nuclear deal’s implementation day of January 16, 2016, the legislation would also require the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to impose new sanctions against these designated Iranian commercial airlines.

Out2martincounty.com

HELPING VETS FIND JOBS

 

 

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, COTTON, CARDIN REINTRODUCE
HONG KONG HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY ACT

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), a CECC commissioner, and Ben Cardin (D-MD), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, bipartisan legislation that would renew the United States’ historical commitment to freedom and democracy in Hong Kong at a time when its autonomy is increasingly under assault. The legislation also establishes punitive measures against government officials in Hong Kong or mainland China who are responsible for suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, especially in connection with the abduction of certain booksellers.

“When the British handed over Hong Kong to the Chinese twenty years ago this June, Beijing promised Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy guaranteed under Basic Law,” said Rubio. “However, in recent years, Beijing has consistently undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and infringed on the democratic freedoms the residents of Hong Kong are supposed to be guaranteed. China’s assault on democratic institutions and human rights is of central importance to the people of Hong Kong and to its status as a free market, economic powerhouse and hub for international trade and investment. The importance of this legislation was further impressed upon me late last year after meeting with pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who became the face of the Umbrella Movement for many in late 2014. Joshua is an impressive and thoughtful young man who, along with his fellow activists, represents the future of Hong Kong — a future that must not go the way of Beijing’s failed authoritarianism and one-party rule

. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act reaffirms America’s support of the people of Hong Kong as they seek to oppose Beijing’s efforts to erode democratic institutions.”

“The United States must lead the world in ensuring that the Chinese government ceases any repressive acts in Hong Kong and abides by its three-decade-old international commitment to respect the autonomy of Hong Kong,” said Cotton. “This bill would empower the president to hold Beijing accountable and send a strong message to Chinese officials that attempts to undermine liberty in Hong Kong and walk away from their promises will not be without consequences. Hong Kong’s unique identity and traditions of liberty, rule of law, and a market-based economy can be a model for a China that is a more productive player on the international stage. U.S. foreign policy should encourage those traditions, and strongly warn Beijing against any diminishment of those values.”“The spirit of democracy and freedom are under threat today in Hong Kong, and it is critical that the Senate reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy, to Hong Kong’s vibrant civil society and to the basic human rights of the people of

Hong Kong,” said Cardin. “America’s strength has been and will always be in our values.”

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would:

· Reaffirm the principles set forth in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, including support for democratization, human rights, and the importance of Hong Kong remaining sufficiently autonomous from China to justify different treatment under U.S. law.

· Reinstate the requirement for the Secretary of State to issue a report on conditions in Hong Kong of interest to the United States, including developments related to democratic institutions in Hong Kong, no later than 90 days after enactment and every year through 2023.

· Require the Secretary of State to certify that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous before enacting any new laws or agreements affording Hong Kong different treatment from the People’s Republic of China.

· Require the President to identify persons responsible for the surveillance, abduction, detention, or forced confessions of certain booksellers and journalists in Hong Kong, and other actions suppressing basic freedoms, and to freeze their U.S.-based assets and deny them entry into the U.S.

· Make clear that visa applicants who resided in Hong Kong in 2014 shall not be denied visas on the basis of the applicant’s arrest, detention or other adverse government action taken as a result of their participation in the nonviolent protest activities related to Hong Kong’s electoral process.

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO APPLAUDS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S NOMINATION
OF ALEXANDER ACOSTA FOR LABOR SECRETARY

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding President Donald Trump’s nomination of Alexander Acosta for secretary of labor:

“I know Alex Acosta well, and he is a phenomenal choice to lead the Department of Labor. Whether it was his distinguished service as U.S. attorney in Florida’s Southern District or as dean of Florida International University’s school of law, Alex has succeeded in all endeavors he has taken on, and managing the Department of Labor will be no different. I look forward to his confirmation hearing, where I’m confident he will impress my colleagues and secure the support necessary to be the next secretary of labor.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO, HATCH INTRODUCE BILL TO EASE BURDEN OF
RISING HEALTH CARE COSTS FOR AM WORKERS, RETIREES

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today introduced the Health Savings Act of 2017, legislation that would simplify and expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), health care accounts that provide Americans opportunities to save for medical costs through tax-deductible contributions. U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced the companion bill today in the House.

“Helping individuals and families better afford their health care by expanding access to Health Savings Accounts is a commonsense solution that will empower consumers, make the costs of medical services more transparent and ultimately play a role in getting prices under control,” said Rubio.

“Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts are critical to providing Americans with flexibility and control over their personal health spending,” said Hatch. “These plans have been in place for over a decade and while they’ve grown in popularity, they are in need of crucial updates. This bill provides those necessary updates and, as we work to repeal and replace Obamacare, sets a marker for how we can make it easier for American families and workers to grow and access tax-free savings for future medical costs.”

“Millions of Americans rely on HSAs and FSAs because of the choice, control, and flexibility it offers them and their families when it comes to their health care decisions,” said Paulsen. “By expanding and updating this popular health care option, this initiative will provide families with greater flexibility to save and pay for medical expenses.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO WELCOMES NAVY’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF
NEW UNMANNED AIRCRAFT COMING TO NORTH FLORIDA

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement today welcoming the U.S. Navy’s announcement that the East Coast Forward Operating Base of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (Triton UAS) will be Naval Station Mayport in Northeast Florida:

“I have long advocated for the Navy to base the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft in Mayport, so I am very pleased it decided to do so. We look forward to welcoming four new aircraft and the more than 400 sailors and their families who will soon call the Jacksonville area home. Florida’s military community plays a vital role in defending our nation, and the Triton system is a key component of the Navy’s maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.”

Out2martincounty.com

RUBIO APPOINTED CHAIR OF
CONGRESSIONAL-EXECUTIVE COMMISSION ON CHINA

Out2News.com

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today announced he has been appointed chair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). Rubio served as cochair of the CECC in the 114th Congress.

“I am honored to continue leading the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and I remain committed to exposing the brutality of the Chinese government and the heroic efforts of brave Chinese dissidents,” said Rubio. “As documented in our last annual report, President Xi is consolidating his own power through forced ideological conformity and the systematic persecution of human rights lawyers and defenders, and conditions in China are deteriorating. The situation is bleak for people of faith, women’s activists, labor advocates, and others, and their plight deserves the attention of American policymakers.

“The commission’s political prisoner database is an invaluable resource containing more than 1,400 active cases of political and religious prisoners. Each case represents a real person who is suffering or oppressed because of their beliefs or free expression,” Rubio added. “The commission will shine a bright light on these abuses and press the Chinese government to change its behavior. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Chris Smith, who will serve as co-chair. Congressman Smith has a longstanding and unwavering commitment to promoting human rights in China and around the globe. Together, we will stand with Chinese dissidents and prisoners and be their voice, while urging administration officials to make these issues a priority in our bilateral relationship with China.”

Rubio also welcomed the appointment of the following Senate commissioners: Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Todd Young (R-IN).

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES REINTRODUCE
BIPARTISAN FIREFIGHTER CANCER REGISTRY ACT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today in reintroducing the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, legislation that would create a national cancer registry for firefighters diagnosed with the deadly disease. Firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins, and research has indicated that there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers such as testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma and brain cancers.

“Firefighters put their lives on the line each and every time they are called on to protect civilians from dangerous fires, making them susceptible to multiple health complications, including cancer,” said Rubio. “I am proud to support a bill that aims to prevent and protect firefighters from deadly diseases.”

“Firefighters risk their lives and health every time they answer the bell. And it’s not just smoke and flames they have to worry about, but dangerous fumes and toxins, in some cases known carcinogens, released during a fire that pose additional risks for the men and women who so bravely charge-in to ensure our safety,” said Menendez. “By studying, quantifying and understanding the risks of cancer for firefighters, it is my sincere hope that we can develop better ways of protecting them and preventing cancer.”

“This is an issue that hits close to home, because we have seen firsthand in Alaska firefighters not only diagnosed with, but lose their battle with, cancer directly linked to exposure on the job. We must do what we can to address cancer rates among our firefighters—true heroes who put everything on the line for our safety,” said Murkowski. “This critical legislation will enable us to look at the data and determine the best possible response to the increased risk of cancer among firefighters. I am proud to support some of the bravest men and women in our communities.”

“Firefighters across Minnesota and our country sacrifice their safety each day for others in their community. The very least we can do is help protect their health through improved research into the links between their work and occurrences of deadly diseases like cancer,” said Klobuchar. “The establishment of a national cancer registry is an important step forward in helping our brave firefighters in their fight against this disease.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-MN), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

The registry would improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer. Specifically, the registry would:

Store and consolidate epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters

Make de-identified data available to public health researchers to provide them with robust and comprehensive datasets to expand groundbreaking research

Improve our understanding of cancer incidence and could potentially lead to the development of more sophisticated safety protocols and safeguards as more data is collected

To ensure the effectiveness of the registry, its administrators would be required to consult regularly with epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters

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RUBIO WELCOMES PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU
CALLS FOR U.S. TO STRENGTHEN ALLIANCE WITH ISRAEL

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today as President Trump hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House:

“As the forces of terrorism and tyranny further destabilize the Middle East, America’s special relationship with the Jewish state of Israel remains more important than ever. Israel is a fellow democracy and our closest ally in the region, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington offers our two nations the opportunity to revitalize our indispensable bond—especially after the Obama Administration underestimated the threat posed by ISIS, shamefully let the U.N. Security Council pass the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Resolution 2334, and gave Iran a dangerously flawed nuclear deal that empowered and enriched the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress to make it clear that Israel is not the obstacle to peace and security in the Middle East. We must do all we can to turn a new page in our historic alliance with the Jewish state and make it even stronger in the 21st century.”

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Congressman Brian Mast
Sets Up Satellite Office In Jensen Beach

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Jensen Beach — Congressman Brian Mast stopped by the Jensen Beach Community Center to meet with Ron Rose and others from the Jensen Beach Chamber of Commerce while prep for the Congressman’s satellite office continues.

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Congressman Mast First Shot At Speaker Pro Tempore

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL
TO STOP TERRORIST FINANCIERS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced the Stop Terrorists Operational Resources and Money (STORM) Act, legislation that would provide the president additional leverage in penalizing foreign governments that fail to shut down terrorist financiers and facilitators.

The STORM Act would authorize the president to designate a country that is not adequately combating terrorism financing as a “Jurisdiction of Terrorism Financing Concern.” This designation triggers a range of penalties or requires that the country enter into a capacity building agreement with the U.S. government to improve their ability to end terrorist financing.

“If we want to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups, we must cut off the money they use to plot and carry out attacks,” said Rubio. “This legislation will help ensure terrorist financiers are ultimately shut down and penalized for funding violence and bloodshed against innocent people.”

“We cannot allow terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS, to continue operating throughout the world” said Casey. “Cutting off the money that terrorist groups use to pay fighters’ salaries, buy weapons and IED components and control territory is essential to the strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat these groups.”

“Cutting off financial resources from terrorist groups is essential in our efforts to degrade and defeat them,” said Isakson, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. “This bill will enable the United States and our partners to crack down on those involved in financing the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, effectively adding another tool to our fight against terrorism.”

“We need to use all our financial tools to target the resources of terrorist groups and those who bankroll them,” said Warren. “This bill enhances those tools and boosts the capabilities of our allies to combat the financing of this global threat.”

Under current law, the U.S. has limited leverage to penalize a foreign government for allowing terrorist financiers to operate using its jurisdiction. The STORM Act will strengthen the president’s tools to ensure all foreign partners are investigating and prosecuting terrorist financiers in the most effective way possible. It also authorizes sanctions on foreign banks that do business with ISIS and requires the State Department to report to Congress and the American people on countries’ effectiveness at stopping terrorist financiers.

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RUBIO, MENENDEZ REINTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO
REFORM STATE DEPT. HUMAN TRAFFICKING REPORT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez, (D-NJ) were joined by Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today in reintroducing the Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act (TIPRIA), legislation designed to comprehensively reform the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). The TIP process came under large international scrutiny after the 2015 report rankings were proven to have been blatantly and intentionally watered-down due to political pressures that gave favorable status to certain countries despite failures to meet minimum legal standards prescribed by Congress.

As the U.S. government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking, the TIP report has been the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. Today’s bill introduction comes on the heels of a study published in December by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealing serious flaws in the tier-ranking system for the TIP Report and ahead of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing scheduled for later this week to examine ways for the United States to better combat human trafficking and end modern day slavery.

“In recent years, political agendas at the State Department have interfered with America’s efforts to expose and combat human trafficking around the world and send clear and unmistakable messages to foreign governments that we are watching them closely,” said Rubio. “The Trafficking in Persons Report has historically been the gold standard and should reflect the full extent to which modern day slavery exists and what governments are doing – or failing to do – about it. Political considerations should not interfere with this effort and the effectiveness of the process. This bill will both strengthen and bring greater transparency to the process of preparing the annual Trafficking in Persons Report and make this an even more authoritative and effective effort to hold human traffickers around the world accountable.”

“The past two TIP reports contained unwarranted, politically-driven upgrades of countries with deplorable human trafficking records, like Cuba and Malaysia. As a new administration takes office, Congress must ensure that the United States reasserts its commitment and credibility in fighting the scourge of modern slavery,” said Menendez. “Informed by both leading human rights advocates and the GAO’s investigative findings, this bipartisan legislation charts a clear path to restore credibility and improve the TIP report ranking process through a series of bold reforms that inject transparency and make clear that Congress will not allow the report to be a target of political manipulation again. I will work forcefully so that this important legislation is adopted and we can fully reestablish our ability to objectively evaluate countries’ actions to combat human trafficking, revitalize our support for the victims of modern day slavery, and recommit to putting the fight against human trafficking above politics.”

“The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST) has been dismayed by the State Department’s unwarranted tier ranking upgrades for certain countries in recent years, including Malaysia in the 2015 report and Thailand in 2016,” said Melysa Sperber, Director of the Alliance To End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST). “By our assessment, neither country’s government had demonstrated significant or effective effort to combat human trafficking, particularly forced labor and sexual exploitation. The unjustifiable tier ranking upgrades for Malaysia and Thailand greatly tarnished the integrity of the TIP report, and we applaud Senators Menendez, Rubio, Kaine, and Gardner for their efforts to ensure the report’s credibility moving forward.”

The Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act seeks to restore credibility to the TIP report by making sweeping reforms that strengthen the minimum standards countries must meet, clarify actions that countries must take to earn higher rankings, enhance transparency and Congressional oversight of the ranking process, and restrict certain U.S. assistance to governments that fail to combat human trafficking.

The Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act (TIPRIA)

Strengthens Minimum Standards and Clarifies the Ranking Process:
Requires any country whose government sponsors forced labor to be ranked Tier 3.
Makes TIP rankings contingent on concrete actions taken by a country in the defined reporting period.
Requires the State Department to specify of how the concrete actions (or lack thereof) undertaken by the country contributed to the change in ranking, including a clear linkage with the minimum standards. A recent GAO study highlighted this as a major gap in the existing TIP Report process.
Strikes existing language that implies a country can be placed on Tier 2 Watch List based on promises of future action.
Requires that countries must investigate and prosecute acts of trafficking without bias, instead of simply focusing on low-level prosecutions or neglecting involvement by government officials.
Current law states that a country that has been included on Tier 2 Watch List for two consecutive years must be automatically downgraded to Tier 3 if it does not achieve enough progress to earn an upgrade to Tier 2 in the third year. However, this requirement can be waived by the President for two additional years. The bill shortens the waiver to one year, adds a requirement that a country must take concrete actions to implement the principal recommendations of the annual report in order to be eligible for the waiver, and requires the Secretary of State to publish online a justification for the waiver along with detailed evidence demonstrating the country’s actions to combat trafficking.
Requires that any country that is automatically downgraded to Tier 3 must subsequently meet the requirements to be ranked Tier 2 and cannot simply be upgraded back to Tier 2 Watch List.
Increases Transparency & Congressional Oversight:
Current law states that a country that does not provide data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences shall be automatically deemed to be Tier 3. However, the Secretary of State may disregard that provision if the country has provided “some data” to the State Department and the Secretary has determined that the country is “making a good faith effort” to collect missing data. The bill adds a new requirement that before the Secretary makes such a determination, the Secretary must submit to Congress copies of the foreign government data and a description of the good faith efforts made by the country.
Current law requires the President to make, within 90 days after the publication of the annual or interim TIP report, one of several determinations on whether to withhold non-humanitarian, nontrade-related aid for Tier 3 countries. However, there is also blanket waiver authority for the President to waive, at any time, aid restrictions that had been previously imposed. The bill modifies this waiver to require the President to report to Congress before lifting previously imposed restrictions against a Tier 3 country.
Restricts Certain U.S. Assistance to Governments Failing to Meet Minimum Standards:
Current law states “it is the policy of the United States not to provide non-humanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance to any government” ranked Tier 3. The bill replaces “nontrade-related” with “non-anti-human trafficking related” in that policy statement, and in subsequent provisions that exempt trade-related aid from penalties applied to Tier 3 countries.

· Current law directs the President to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose any loan to a Tier 3 country by a multilateral development bank (MDB), but provides a broad and frequently exercised waiver. Section 5 strengthens this provision by directing the President to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose any loan to a Tier 2 Watch List or Tier 3 country, unless the MDB publicly publishes a human trafficking risk assessment for the project 120 days prior to the MDB board vote.

· Requires an annual Treasury report on how the U.S. voted on each proposed MDB loan to Tier 3 and Tier 2 Watch List countries and how each MDB is implementing anti-human trafficking policies in its project development, safeguard, procurement, and evaluation policies.

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RUBIO APPLAUDS SANCTIONS ON CORRUPT
VENEZUELAN OFFICIALS, HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSERS

 


Washington, D.C. – Speaking on the Senate floor last night, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela, including the plight of political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez. Rubio’s speech was part of his #expressionNOToppression initiative, which highlights human rights abuses around the world.

Rubio also welcomed the Trump Administration’s new sanctions against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah (El Aissami) and Venezuelan national Samark Jose Lopez Bello for international narcotics trafficking.

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RUBIO WELCOMES NEW SANCTIONS ON
CORRUPT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS IN VENEZUELA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed the Trump Administration’s announcement of new sanctions against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah (El Aissami) and Venezuelan national Samark Jose Lopez Bello for international narcotics trafficking. The sanctions are authorized under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

“The Venezuelan government is run by corrupt, incompetent and criminal thugs who have inflicted misery on their own people and routinely used violence to crush dissent,” said Rubio. “For years, I’ve talked about how Venezuelan regime officials are committing crimes in Venezuela, stealing from the Venezuelan people and then spending their riches living in the lap of luxury in Miami. Today’s announcement further confirms how true this is, and the extent to which corrupt and criminal Venezuelan regime officials have been allowed to freely travel and prance around U.S. soil with impunity.

“I’m hopeful this is only the beginning of making sure the Maduro regime feels pressure to cease its illicit activities, free all political prisoners, tolerate dissent, and respect the will of the Venezuelan people, who voted to abandon the disastrous path of Chavez and Maduro,” Rubio added.

On February 8, Rubio joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and other members of Congress in requesting today’s action by the administration.

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IDEA OF A GRAND BARGAIN WITH RUSSIA IS A FANTASY

 


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today expressed skepticism about the idea of a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin to fight ISIS in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Russia for its cyberattacks against the U.S. and annexation and occupation of Ukrainian territory, calling such a deal “a fantasy.”

His remarks came during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing entitled, “The United States, The Russian Federation and the Challenges Ahead,” which featured former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove, USAF (Ret), and Julianne Smith, senior fellow at the Center for New American Strategy.
Video of Rubio’s remarks can be watched here, and a partial transcript of his remarks is below.

Senator Rubio: It leaves Vladimir Putin at this moment in a position and maybe this is an exaggeration, I don’t think it is, I think he has more power amassed in his hands than we have ever seen in Moscow since the death of Stalin in terms of the control he has over that government and that society. And so that’s why I view – and I want to have your opinion on this, the both of you have talked about it – why I think this whole notion of a grand bargain, where they are going to help us kill terrorists and fight ISIS in exchange for lifting sanctions, is a fantasy.

For starters, I think it’s borderline immoral because it basically views the Ukraine situation as a bargaining chip to be used as part of a broader deal. In essence, an asset that we can give away in exchange for something broader, which I don’t think the Ukrainians are going to go for it to begin with and I don’t think there’s support for it in Ukraine.

But this talk about fighting against ISIS – that’s what Putin says he’s doing now. Obviously why would we have to cut a deal to get him to do what he claims to already be doing?

The other risk at that of course, is the way he claims to fight terrorists is by bombing civilians populations. So if we are in partnership with him fighting ISIS and he kills a bunch a children and bombs a hospital in Aleppo, that’s on us too because are in partnership with them. So imagine the impact that would have on us.

And then what about the price we would have to pay? I think, and I just wrote some things he would insist on, he would want us to recognize a sphere of influence in the former Soviet republics, obviously give up on everything that has to do with Ukraine, get NATO off his border, lift the sanctions. And I say all of this…why is it a fantasy? Because I don’t think there’s any internal pressure in Russia on Vladimir Putin to cut a deal.

First of all, you can’t pressure him because you die and if you try to there is no media. So we are going to try to cut a deal with a guy who thinks he’s winning, has no internal pressure, and wants us to give up everything in exchange for him doing what he claims to be doing anyway.

So maybe I am a little harsh, but I think that’s a really stupid deal.

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ON SENATE FLOOR
RUBIO PUSHES FOR KEEPING SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

 

 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor today and explained the importance of maintaining and expanding U.S. sanctions on Russia until they withdraw from Crimea and respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. Rubio also highlighted the plight of Russian dissidents Vladimir Kara-Murza and Alexei Navalny.

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RUBIO INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH
CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT OF
RUSSIA SANCTIONS RELIEF

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), and Claire McCaskill (R-MO) in introducing the Russia Sanctions Review Act, legislation which provides for congressional oversight of any decision to provide sanctions relief to the Government of the Russian Federation.

“The United States should not ease sanctions on Russia until Putin abandons his illegal annexation of Crimea, verifiably and permanently ends Russian aggression in Ukraine, and fully implements the Minsk accords,” said Rubio.

“Russia has done nothing to be rewarded with sanctions relief,” said Graham. “To provide relief at this time would send the wrong signal to Russia and our allies who face Russian oppression. Sanctions relief must be earned, not given.”

“If the U.S. were to provide sanctions relief to Russia without verifiable progress on the Minsk Agreements, we would lose all credibility in the eyes of our allies in Europe and around the world,” said Cardin. “Since the illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2014, Congress has led efforts to impose sanctions on Russia. We have a responsibility to exercise stringent oversight over any policy move that could ease Russia sanctions.”

“The Ukrainian community in Ohio knows firsthand the dangers of unchecked Russian aggression,” said Brown. “Lifting sanctions now would only reward Russia’s attempts to undermine democracy – from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to our own U.S. election. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will give Congress – and more importantly, the constituents we answer to – a say in critical national security debates.”

“Easing sanctions on Russia would send the wrong message as Vladimir Putin continues to oppress his citizens, murder his political opponents, invade his neighbors, threaten America’s allies, and attempt to undermine our elections,” said McCain. “Congress must have oversight of any decision that would impact our ability to hold Russia accountable for its flagrant violation of international law and attack our institutions.”

“Vladimir Putin is a thug bent on tearing down democracy—and Russia’s meddling in U.S. institutions is a threat to our national security,” said McCaskill. “Any decision to roll over on sanctions needs to meet a high bar in Congress.”

Before sanctions relief can be granted, The Russia Sanctions Review Act requires the Administration to submit to Congress:

· A description of the proposed sanctions relief for individuals engaged in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities, those contributing to the situation in Ukraine, and those engaged in certain transactions with respect to Crimea.

· Certification that the Government of the Russian Federation has ceased—

Ø ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, supporting, or financing, significant acts intended to undermine the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, including through an agreement between the appropriate parties; and

Ø cyberattacks against the United States Government and United States persons.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will have 120 days to act — or decline to take action — on any proposed sanctions relief. During this period, the President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation. After 120 days, if both the Senate and House have not voted in support of a Joint Resolution of Disapproval, sanctions relief will be granted.

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Week In Review: February 3rd

 

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ON SENATE FLOOR, RUBIO TO
URGE KEEPING SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

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Washington, D.C. – Today at approximately 4:55 p.m. EST, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will speak on the Senate floor in support of maintaining and expanding U.S. sanctions on Russia until they withdraw from Crimea and respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.

Recently, Rubio called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to press the case of Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was hospitalized for the second time in two years with a mysterious illness.

Rubio’s remarks on the Senate floor will be broadcast on C-SPAN 2 and the U.S. Senate’s official website.

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IN HUMAN RIGHTS SPEECH, RUBIO CALLS FOR
RELEASE OF TWO CHINESE POLITICAL PRISONERS

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Washington, D.C. – During a Senate floor speech last night, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted the plight of two lawyers imprisoned by the Chinese government for their human rights advocacy. Rubio’s speech was his second in 2017 as part of his #expressionNOToppression initiative, which highlights human rights abuses around the world.

Rubio, the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, called on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to prioritize the release of these two dissidents in his diplomatic engagement with China. Rubio also stated that he would bring up these human rights cases, among others, with Governor Terry Branstad (R-IA) during his Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

Rubio’s full speech can be watched here:

 

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RUBIO RENEWS SUPPORT FOR BIPARTISAN BILL
TO PROTECT FLORIDA CIGAR WORKERS’ JOBS

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Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding Senator Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) reintroduction of the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act (S. 294), bipartisan legislation that would protect Florida workers’ paychecks by exempting large and premium cigars from excessive and overly burdensome U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and fees:

“There is virtually no corner of Florida that is not being affected by the FDA’s excessive and overly burdensome regulations on local cigar makers, and we must stop federal bureaucrats from putting these small manufacturers out of business and threatening workers’ paychecks. From Tampa to Miami to Orlando, businesses that are historic and cultural institutions are being hurt by these sweeping regulations, and I’m proud to once again partner with Bill Nelson in standing up for Florida workers.”

During an October visit to J.C. Newman Cigar Company in Tampa, Rubio recalled the time he spent as a child sitting on the porch with his grandfather, who smoked cigars and once worked in a cigar factory in Cuba, where he would keep the workers entertained by reading to them.

Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Dean Heller (R-NV).

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RUBIO APPLAUDS NEW SANCTIONS ON IRAN

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement today after the Trump Administration announced new sanctions on Iran:

“These new sanctions on Iran are an important step in the process of reversing President Obama’s failed policy of appeasement, but there’s more to do. In the near term, I urge the Trump Administration to give the American people full transparency about the flawed Iran nuclear deal and any side agreements that the Obama Administration refused to come clean on. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to send the White House strong legislation to counter Iran’s missile and terrorist threats, and its egregious human rights abuses.”

Last month, Rubio and Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Iran Non-Nuclear Sanctions Act (S. 227), legislation that would impose harsh financial and economic sanctions countering Iran’s ballistic missile violations, human rights abuses and support for international terrorism.

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RUBIO BILL TARGETS OUTDATED LAW
THAT IMPEDES BEACH REPLENISHMENT EFFORTS

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Washington D.C. — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, on Thursday introduced a bill which would allow the purchase of foreign sand to replenish eroded beaches in the United States.

Locally, Rubio’s bill, the SAND Act, could provide a solution for rapidly eroding Florida beaches and could help protect the Treasure Coast’s sand, which has been eyed by Miami-Dade County, where sand reserves are depleted.

In a news release Thursday, Rubio said the ability to purchase foreign sand is “desperately” needed.

“This bipartisan bill will modernize an outdated law to give the Army Corps of Engineers greater flexibility in acquiring the sand Florida beaches so desperately need,” he said. “Beach renourishment protects our infrastructure and environment, and provides a vital buffer against hurricanes and storms. Our beautiful shores also bring visitors from across the world, and these coastlines are economic drivers for the surrounding communities.”

Treasure Coast elected officials — including commissioners from Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties — applauded Rubio’s efforts…

“On behalf of St. Lucie County, we appreciate the interest of Sen. Rubio in trying to address our sand-resource concerns through the introduction of this legislation,” St. Lucie County Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson, chairwoman of the St. Lucie County Erosion Control District, said in the news release. “To be provided the option to explore other offshore sand resources is greatly appreciated.”

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Congressman Mast Receives Coast Guard Seal

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Week In Review: January 27th – February 2nd

 

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Carlos Curbelo, Ted Deutch Expand Climate Solutions Caucus

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The two South Florida congressmen who run the Climate Solutions Caucus — Republican Carlos Curbelo and Democrat Ted Deutch–added to their roster on Monday.

Curbelo and Deutch announced that five congressional freshmen–including Florida Republican Brian Mast–joined the caucus, bringing the membership up to 20 representatives, split evenly with 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

“We have a lot of work to do on this issue, and communities like mine in South Florida are counting on us to come together and have productive discussions about what we can do to mitigate the effects of climate change and make our nation more resilient,” Curbelo said. “The caucus has such a diverse group of members, and we’ve gained great momentum only a few weeks into the 115th Congress. I’d like to thank Representatives Love, Stefanik, Fitzpatrick, Mast and Beyer for joining our group and I’m looking forward to working with them and the rest of the caucus on solutions that will protect our environment and unleash a new era of American innovation.”

“Our bipartisan caucus is starting off the new Congress by expanding our membership and showing our colleagues that Republicans and Democrats can put partisan politics aside to work on climate change,” said Deutch. “These new members represent diverse regions of the country, from upstate New York to the Mountain West, and they have shown their readiness to find bipartisan solutions for this crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehinten, R-Fla., a frequent ally of Deutch, is also a member. Ros-Lehtinen leads the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee where Deutch is the raking Democrat.

The Climate Solutions Caucus defines it mission as “to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore bipartisan policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.”

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES URGE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
TO QUICKLY NOMINATE AMBASSADOR FOR
INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

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Washington D.C. – Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and James Lankford (R-OK) and eight of their Senate colleagues are urging the Trump Administration to prioritize the nomination of an ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom at the State Department. Considering the extreme religious persecution around the world, the senators expressed the urgent need for a diplomatic advocate in the State Department working to protect and advance religious freedom abroad.

Rubio’s Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act was signed into law in December 2016, giving the State Department new tools to support the promotion of international religious freedom around the world and counter the spread of violent extremism.

Lankford and Rubio were joined in sending the letter by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), John Boozman (R-AR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), James Risch (R-ID), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Todd Young (R-IN).

Read full text of letter

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RUBIO COMMENTS ON HOSPITALIZATION OF
RUSSIAN DISSIDENT VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, who for the second time in two years was hospitalized with a mysterious illness:

“Earlier this week, I stood on the Senate floor and said that at that very moment, political dissidents and journalists were being silenced and targeted for murder in Russia. Today, it appears one of those targets might be Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been hospitalized after mysteriously falling gravely ill. Vladimir Putin does not deserve any benefit of the doubt here, given how commonplace political assassinations and poisonings have become under his regime. I am praying that Kara-Murza’s condition improves, and I urge the Trump Administration, including Secretary of State Tillerson, to make Kara-Murza’s cause America’s cause, question Russian authorities about this, and ultimately hold Putin accountable if he was targeted by the regime.”

During Tillerson’s confirmation hearing last month, Rubio mentioned Kara-Murza’s mysterious illness in 2015, which was thought to be a result of poisoning. Rubio also submitted into the official Congressional Record a letter Kara-Murza sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as it considered Tillerson’s nomination.

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RUBIO, YOUNG REINTRODUCE INNOVATIVE BILL
TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE ATTAINABLE

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Washington D.C. – Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Todd Young (R-IN) today introduced the Investing in Student Success Act (S. 268), legislation that would create a legal structure for a new debt-free higher education financing option called income share agreements (ISA). Income share agreements are an innovative and affordable way for students to finance their education while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are not at risk.

In the last Congress, Rubio introduced the legislation in the Senate and Young introduced the companion bill in the House.

“It’s getting harder and harder for American families to afford the rising costs of college, and students are often forced to run up thousands of dollars of debt,” said Rubio. “This innovative legislation would empower students to leverage their future income today and access the financial resources of businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations in order to achieve their higher education goals.”

“Income share agreements are an innovative debt-free financing option for students,” said Young. “Students and their families should not be forced to make a choice between a quality education and financial hardship. I’m excited to work with my colleague Senator Rubio and have the support of Purdue President Mitch Daniels in this effort.”

Rubio and Young have closely followed Purdue University’s ‘Back a Boiler’ program, which offers ISAs to a limited number of students. Purdue President and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has spearheaded the effort and testified in front of Congress on the issue.

“After our successful launch of ‘Back a Boiler’, we have been hearing from schools around the country interested in pursuing their own program. We thank Senators Young and Rubio for their work to clarify the framework for Income Share Agreements,” said Daniels. “With Congressional action, widespread use of ISAs can be a reality for students nationwide.”

An income-share agreement is a contract between a student and an investor in which a student pays a small percentage of their income for a number of years after graduation. Students who enter into an ISA do not incur debt and only make payments if they are employed and receiving an income above a certain threshold. ISAs are designed to offer alternatives to students outside of traditional student loan options. The ISA does not accrue interest and offers a number of consumer protections including caps on payments based on income and length of the contract.

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Congressman Mast Week In Review January 20th – 26th

 

 

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IN HUMAN RIGHTS SPEECH, RUBIO CALLS FOR
RELEASE OF CUBAN POLITICAL PRISONER

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Washington, D.C. – During a Senate floor speech last night, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted the plight of Cuban dissident Dr. Eduardo Cardet, who was beaten and imprisoned for opposing the Castro regime. Rubio’s remarks are part of his #expressionNOToppression initiative, which highlights human rights abuses around the world.

Rubio also called on Rex Tillerson, who is expected to be confirmed as secretary of state later today, to be an advocate for Cardet and other dissidents around the world.

A full transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below. His full speech can be watched here, and a downloadable broadcast quality version is available for TV stations here.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senate Floor

Washington, D.C.

January 31, 2017

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Senator Rubio: Mr. President, we are here in the Senate debating tonight what I believe is the most important cabinet position that the president has to nominate, the secretary of state. It comes at an important moment in American foreign policy history. There’s so much uncertainty and debate about our role in the world these days. A lot of our allies have questions. Our adversaries are obviously watching very closely. I hope that all of us, and I mean from the executive branch to the Congress, recognize that as people around the world are watching what’s happening on television, they see an America that is deeply divided and fractured right now. I think this needs to be a moment of restraint, both in action and in word as we work through our differences. These vibrant debates are important to our system of government.

It’s one of the reasons that led me to ultimately support the nomination of Mr. Tillerson. I believe that, despite some of the concerns that I had and have about his answers to some of my questions, it is vitally important for this country to have a secretary of state in place at this moment. I never had any doubts about Mr. Tillerson’s qualifications, his intellect, his background. I had some concerns about his answers to some very important questions, at least important questions to me and what I hope will be important questions for a lot of Americans. And that’s what I wanted to come to the floor and speak about in conjunction with his nomination and that’s the issue of human rights, because to me human rights is critical both to our national identity, but it’s also important to our national security.

In America today, we have – as we’ve done now for the past two centuries – contentious debates all the time about policies and about what kind of country we want to be. And if you’re watching the proceedings on the Senate floor and committee over the last few years, you’ve seen a lot of that. Even as we debate these things among ourselves and even as the American political rhetoric has become so incredibly heated – and we’ll have more about to say about that in the weeks to come – I don’t know of any other time where we’ve now gotten to the point where we disagree with people, we just don’t disagree with them, we question their motives and their character. In fact, it’s almost automatic today in political discourse. You don’t just disagree with someone, you immediately jump to why they’re a bad person. In the weeks to come, I’ll have examples about why that’s a bad idea. As we’re having these contentious debates, I hope we never take for granted, sometimes as I think we do, that we live in a place where losing an election, losing an election, losing a vote, losing on an issue does not mean you end up in jail or disappeared or executed, because that’s the kind of stuff that happens in other places all over the world, even now in the 17th year of the 21st century.

As we’ve seen in recent weeks, this dissent, this political dissent is part of our way of life. It has come to define our country, we protect it in our Constitution, and it has made us an example to the rest of the world. I was reminded of this just a couple of months ago right here in Washington, D.C. After our most recent election, I had a chance to visit with my opponent, Congressman Patrick Murphy or former Congressman Patrick Murphy of Florida. When I was finished with that meeting, I walked into another meeting and that other meeting was with a Cuban dissident. He’s an opponent of the Castro regime, an individual who risks his life in the pursuit of freedom, an individual who doesn’t just get bad blog posts or a bad article or bad editorial or nasty campaign ad run against him. No, this is an individual who routinely gets thrown into jail, and he has the scars to prove the beatings he’s taken from the Cuban state police over the last few years.

I was a little bit late to this meeting, and I apologized to him and I explained that I had just been in a meeting with my opposing candidate, the man I had just ran against in the election. And I could see the look on his face. It kind of struck him. He immediately, I believe, appreciated what that represented. He said, and I’m paraphrasing but he said: that’s what we want for our country, too.

This is the essence of what has been America’s example to the world. The essence of how our principles and our values have inspired others to seek their own God-given rights and how we have a moral duty to support in our words, in our foreign policy and in our actions those aspirations of people all over the world.

In a way, dictators and tyrants never had it worse today because we live in this high-tech information age. We often get to see the images of oppression within minutes of it happening, if not in real time. We can monitor it, catalogue the status of human rights in every city, in every country on every continent. But as Americans we’re called to do much more than observe and record these atrocities for history.

With this knowledge it’s our duty to act and do what we can to support the people demanding their rights, and we must hold those who are violating their rights accountable. I believe this is more important than ever because of the totalitarian resurgence under way in many parts of the world as democracy in every continent is under attack. Even as I stand here now before you, there are political prisoners on this planet. They languish in Chinese prisons. Political dissidents and journalists are being silenced and targeted for murder in Russia. Those who seek democracy in Syria are being massacred. The United States has a unique responsibility to highlight, to expose and to combat these grave human rights abuses around the world.

Historically we’ve been a compassionate country that has welcomed people seeking refuge from oppression and atrocities. And that’s why I understand – I understand the concerns about refugees from certain failed states or governments that sponsor terror, places where very often it’s difficult, if not impossible, to verify the identities of people seeking to come to the United States.

I say this to people all the time: when you talk about changes in policy, there’s a legitimate argument and a credible argument to be made that there are people we cannot allow into the United States, not because we don’t have compassion for their plight but because we have no way of knowing who they are. You can’t just call “1-800 Syria” and get background information about the individuals that are trying to enter the United States. And we know for a fact that there are terrorist groups around the world that have commandeered passport-making machinery and are producing passports that are real in every way except the identity of the person in the picture. And so I do believe that we need to have very careful and rigorous screening more than ever before of all people entering the United States, but especially those who are coming from areas that we know do not have reliable background information available to us.

But at the same time I can’t help – and I think we should not help but to be worried about the impact of a 120-day moratorium on every single refugee from anywhere on the planet. Refugees from places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, Colombia, El Salvador, Vietnam, Burma and, of course, Cuba just to name a few places. These are among the most vulnerable people on the planet living often in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances imaginable. I remind everyone this is a moratorium. It is not a permanent policy. I understand that there are provisions available for waivers, and I find that to be promising. But I also want everyone to understand that 120 days for someone who is trying to get out of a place where they might be killed, may be one day too many for some of them. I hope that does not turn out to be the case. That’s why I urge the administration, that’s why I urge soon-to-be Secretary Tillerson to exercise great caution in making sure dissidents and others are not being turned away. By the way, I’m pleased to see that the administration is heeding some of these calls already early this week.

We must understand that when tyrants and dictators oppress their people, we are all paying a price. It’s happening all over the world. Vladimir Putin continues to institute draconian laws targeting the freedom of expression and assembly. Earlier this year my office and I highlighted the case of human rights activist IIdar Dadin, who was the first person imprisoned under Russia’s new criminal provision that bars any form of political dissent.

In China, rights lawyers are tortured, Labor activists are arrested. Tibetan Buddhist nuns are expelled from their homes and their churches are being demolished. Just earlier today I met the wives of two Chinese rights advocates who both pleaded for the United States to champion their husbands’ cases in the hopes that they can see their husbands again.

In Iran, dissent freedom of expression and freedom of press is nonexistent, heavily restricted. Many continue to be jailed for simply exercising their fundamental human rights. The government of Iran targets religious minorities, often jailing Christian pastors and those who gather to worship together in private homes.

In Syria, [we have] one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in modern history, the Assad regime, with the assistance of Vladimir Putin and the Iranian military and government, is committing crimes against innocent women, children, men, civilians, in Aleppo and beyond.

In Iraq, we’ve seen ancient Christian Yazidi communities on the verge of extinction all because of ISIS.

In Venezuela, the Maduro regime continues to imprison political opponents while the country descends further and further into economic chaos and what has now become on the verge of a total humanitarian catastrophe in the Western Hemisphere. In one of the richest countries on the planet, we are at the point of people literally starving to death.

Saudi Arabia – an ally of the United States on many key geo-political issues, and we’ll have to continue working with them on those shared causes – but they also remain one of the most censored countries in the world. And the government has intensified its repression of activists and journalists. Women in Saudi Arabia remain under the male guardianship system. They’re banned from even driving.

Globally, assaults against press freedom around the world are a major problem because ultimately the cause and champions of human rights, they need the information to expose abuses and call for reforms. Without independent journalists, without information, tyrants and dictatorships can get away with so much more. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2016, 48 journalists were killed and 259 journalists were jailed worldwide. In 2016, Turkey – a NATO member, again an important geo-political alliance of the United States – but sadly they became the leading jailer of journalists on the planet following a widespread crackdown on the press.

The abuses and threats to human rights around the world are many. We could be here all night trying to break Senator Strom Thurmond’s filibuster record going country by country, case by case, and it still wouldn’t be enough time to do justice to all the heroic figures around the world. But it is my hope that more of my colleagues will join me in doing so over time because it is important. Our voices here in the U.S. Senate give people all over the world confidence and motivation to stay the course.

As famed Soviet dissident Natan Sharasnsky had said of himself and fellow prisoners of conscience in the Soviet Union, he said, “We never could survive even one day in the Soviet Union if our struggle was not the struggle of the free world.” In essence, what he’s saying is that these tyrants and these dictators when they jail these people, the first thing they tell them is no one even remembers you anymore. No one talks about you anymore. You’ve been abandoned.

Today I want to highlight one particular human rights case as part of the weekly social media campaign my office has been doing the last couple of years. It’s called #ExpressionNotOppression. Here you see a picture of a gentleman named Dr. Eduardo Cardet of Cuba. He’s a medical doctor and the National Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, a group which advocates for democracy and freedom. Cardet assumed the role of national coordinator after the suspicious death of Castro critic of Oswaldo Paya Sardiñas. After allegedly stating in an interview that Fidel Castro was hated by the Cuban people, that’s what he said, he was savagely beaten in front of us two young children and wife by Cuban state security on the 30th of November of last year and he’s been in jail ever since. He has been charged – get this – he has been charged with “challenging authority,” and he faces a three to five-year prison sentence.

Let me repeat that: he’s officially charged with “challenging authority.” That is a crime in Cuba.

His father has written to Pope Francis begging for his intervention. And, by the way this is a reminder just because Fidel Castro is dead, his authoritarian system still lives on. Dr. Cardet’s persecution and the overall increase and oppression in Cuba over the past two years is a reminder that the policy of rewarding the Castro regime under the guise of engagement with cash and concessions has not worked and must be strategically reversed here in the coming months. And so I come here today in the hope that our president and our State Department, and especially Mr. Tillerson in whom I am entrusting me vote for confirmation, and all Members of Congress for that matter will add their voices in solidarity with Dr. Cardet, with all the Cuban people yearning to be free, for those around the world who look to our nation, to America, for leadership and often for nothing more than for us to lend our voice to their cause.

As we move forward here with our nation’s work, we must continue to highlight these cases and raise awareness of them. We must never forget that there are people all over the world who are challenging authority because they want a better life for themselves and their families. They should be able to challenge authority peacefully and then go home to their families, not be thrown in jail or tortured or killed.

Today I ask all to pray for those who are victims of their own government. I pray for the release of prisoners of conscience and their families, and I pray that our own country, at this moment of extraordinary division on so many key issues, can reaffirm its founding principles in calling for the sacred right of every man and woman and child to be free.

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RUBIO PRAISES NOMINATION OF
NEIL GORSUCH TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified, mainstream jurist, which is why he was unanimously confirmed to the circuit court by the Senate in 2006. By all accounts he has the right temperament and experience for the job, and I’m pleased to see him nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Most importantly, he is committed to the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. This is critical, because too many in the federal judiciary today believe it is appropriate for judges to invent new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as it is written.

“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats already announced they would oppose any Supreme Court nominee no matter who it is. This obstruction is neither principled nor reasonable, considering we just had an election where the future of the Supreme Court was a central issue not only at the presidential level but in every Senate contest. On the issue of this Supreme Court nomination specifically, the American people gave the president and the Republican-controlled Senate a mandate to choose a successor to Antonin Scalia. Senate Democrats should accept the results of the election and allow the process to move forward with a vote. I look forward to a fair and thorough confirmation process, and I am confident Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed by the Senate once again, this time to serve on the Supreme Court.”

On July 20, 2006, the Senate unanimously confirmed Gorsuch to the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by voice vote.

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Rooney Statement on Supreme Court Nomination

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court:

“Judge Neil Gorsuch has proved himself to be a strong defender of the Constitution through his service on the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit. His defense of life demonstrates that he is a fitting candidate to replace Antonin Scalia. Also, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate 10 years ago for the Circuit Court. As such, the Senate should confirm Judge Gorsuch without delay.”

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RUBIO REAPPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF
WESTERN HEMISPHERE SUBCOMMITTEE IN 115TH CONGRESS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was reappointed today as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues. Rubio will also serve as a member of the following subcommittees:

· Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism

· East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy

· State Department and USAID Management, International Operations, and Bilateral International Development

In making this announcement, Rubio issued the following statement:

“I am honored to remain chairman of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee, because so many events throughout the Western Hemisphere have real impacts on our nation, especially many people Florida. Despite the last administration’s concessions and misguided efforts to appease our enemies, despotic governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela continue to oppress their people. We have an opportunity before us to renew our commitment to human rights in the region, stand with the freedom fighters and political dissidents working towards a better future, and put their oppressors on notice that their ongoing violations of human rights will have real consequences.

“Vibrant democratic societies with respect for human rights are in the national security interest of our nation, and I look forward to prioritizing democracy and human rights issues with hearings. With so many authoritarian regimes around the world oppressing their citizens and robbing them of their fundamental rights, it is more important than ever that the United States promote democracy, freedom, and respect for human rights and the rule of law around the world. We must support the right of every individual to pursue their God-given potential. This subcommittee also plays a significant role in addressing women’s issues around the world, and I remain focused on addressing the problems of child marriage, violence against women, and access to basic education for girls.

“As the current administration reevaluates our trade policies, this is of particular to interest to our two largest trading partners, Canada and Mexico. Strong alliances with these friends and neighbors remain a guiding principle of my work in chairing this subcommittee, both in terms of the policies we advance and oversight we conduct of the administration.”

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RUBIO: I WILL ALWAYS ERR ON THE SIDE OF LIFE

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Marco Rubio on the March for Life: “I Will Never Apologize for Standing” Against Abortion

For 43 years, Americans from across the country have traveled to the nation’s capital to unite in support of the simple yet powerful belief that all human beings have the right to life. The March for Life is a movement that serves as a voice for the voiceless and helps defend the defenseless, and I will never apologize for standing up for this fundamental human right.

Even as we mourn the morally tragic and abhorrent legacy of Roe v. Wade, this year’s March for Life is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to advancing pro-life policies after a decade of playing defense against the Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda. Thankfully, the annual number of abortions in the United States has dropped to the lowest level in decades, but our work is far from done. We must win the policy battles to come, continue to peacefully persuade hearts and minds, and cultivate a culture of life that makes abortion even more rare.

Roe v. Wade was a fundamentally flawed decision, one that manufactured a constitutional right to end innocent lives – a right that does not exist in our Constitution and directly contradicts our Declaration of Independence’s commitment to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This decision is a constant reminder of the important role presidents play in nominating judges to the federal bench, and the responsibility senators have to vet them. As President Trump prepares to nominate Antonin Scalia’s successor to the U.S. Supreme Court, we have the first significant opportunity in a long time to restore our judiciary’s proper role as arbiters of the law, not creators of it. It is imperative that we rally behind nominees who understand their job does not entail legislating from the bench.

Outside the courtroom, we must continue winning over public opinion – with science firmly on our side. On certain issues, liberals insist that science is irrefutable and should lead us to adopt policies that destroy our economy and cost workers their paychecks. However, one notable exception to their appeal to science is abortion. Advancements in science have only bolstered the argument for life, and proven that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks in the womb. Despite this scientific conclusion, most Democrats choose to ignore the evidence and support abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy, even 5 months. According to a November 2014 Quinnipiac survey, 60 percent of adults – including 59 percent of women – support restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks.

The more the science of embryology and neurological developments is researched and better understood, the more clear it has become that every unborn child is a person. This scientific fact is why abortion advocates resort to justifying millions of abortions by pointing to the most infrequently reported reasons. In the last two years in Florida, less than one-third of one percent of all abortions were performed due to rape or incest, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Out of 135,687 abortions, only .047 percent were performed because the mother’s life was endangered. The vast majority of abortions (92 percent) were simply elective.

The 2016 election was a clarion call for the restoration of the sanctity of life. Americans returned a pro-life majority to Congress and elected a president who has decried late-term abortions. President Trump already acted to defend life by restoring a Reagan Administration directive ensuring U.S. taxpayer dollars are not used to perform or promote abortions overseas. I hope Congress will act in the coming months to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law.

In the U.S. Senate, I have worked to pass legislation protecting human life. In 2013, I voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. In advance of today’s march, I reintroduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would prohibit the transportation of a minor child across a state line to obtain an abortion and make it harder for criminals to cover up rape. More than 80 percent of Americans believe parents have a right to know if their child undergoes an abortion, and I believe we should close the loophole that allows people to get around states’ parental notification laws.

Today, as the March for Life commences, I am proud to stand with the people who make up this movement. I also recognize how difficult reality can be for those young women who find themselves grappling with an unplanned pregnancy. Two rights are in conflict: the right of women to control their bodies, and the right of every unborn child to live. For me, I will always err on the side of life. We must do everything we can to give every human life a chance, and the March for Life is a big reason we are making progress and have hope for a better future.

RUBIO PUSHES RELIEF MEASURES FOR
CITRUS GROWERS AFFECTED BY CITRUS GREENING

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Immokalee, FL – During a visit with the Gulf Citrus Growers Association on Friday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) reiterated the importance of research funds aimed at mitigating and eradicating the citrus greening crisis plaguing Florida’s groves, and improving the tax code to help alleviate the burden of replanting on growers.

Earlier this month, Rubio and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) reintroduced the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act.

 

 

Senator Rubio: “So our goal is to do two things: number one is to make sure the funds are available for research, to be able to mitigate and hopefully one day cure this pestilence. And the second thing is to make it easier for those who are in citrus who lose their crops to be able to re-invest and plant again.”

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Mast Secures Spot on Transportation &
Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs Committees

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today was named to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

As the newly sworn-in Representative for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, Rep. Mast’s top priority was securing a position on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee. In this role, Rep. Mast will be best positioned to make progress on a number of important infrastructure projects in the 18th Congressional District, including pressing water infrastructure concerns that must be resolved with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to protect the region from environmental disaster.

“Serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee puts me in the best possible position to tackle the pressing water issues in our community,” Rep. Mast said. “Fighting for clean, safe water for future generations is a non-negotiable priority. I’m committed to tackling these issues head on to ensure that the projects affecting the Indian River Lagoon and our beaches are prioritized moving forward.”

Rep. Mast was also named to the Foreign Affairs Committee. A 12-year Army veteran, Rep. Mast fought on the front lines of the war against terror and has the physical scars that serve as a daily reminder of the enemy we face and their desire to destroy our way of life.

“My time in the military will allow me to better serve our country by bringing the perspective of a soldier to the critical foreign affairs debates in Congress,” Rep. Mast said. “In the last 8 years, America’s retreat from an international leadership role has left a vacuum of power that is now being filled by our enemies, including ISIS. I look forward to reversing this troubling trend by working with our allies, including Israel, to spread the American ideals of freedom and democracy abroad.”

Rep. Mast served as a bomb technician under the Joint Special Operations Command. Following his military service, Rep. Mast worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as volunteering to serve alongside the Israeli Defense Forces.

“Congressman Mast – a former special operator in the Army – displayed incredible bravery in service to our country,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) said. “His personal experience will be vital to our efforts to defeat ISIS and other terrorist organizations.”
ABOUT THE TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE:
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation: aviation, maritime and waterborne transportation, highways, bridges, mass transit, and railroads. The Committee also has jurisdiction over other aspects of our national infrastructure, such as clean water and waste water management, the transport of resources by pipeline, flood damage reduction, the management of federally owned real estate and public buildings, the development of economically depressed rural and urban areas, disaster preparedness and response, and hazardous materials transportation. The Committee’s broad oversight portfolio includes many federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard, Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Services Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, and others.

ABOUT THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE:
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs considers legislation that impacts the diplomatic community, which includes the Department of State, the Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps, the United Nations, and the enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act.

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RUBIO ANNOUNCES APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE
ASSIGNMENTS FOR THE 115TH CONGRESS

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today announced he will serve on the following five appropriations subcommittees in the 115th Congress.
· Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies

· Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

· Legislative Branch

· Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

· State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

In making this announcement, Rubio issued the following statement:

“My role on the Appropriations Committee will give me the opportunity to influence all aspects of the federal budget, and I am excited to be named to these five important subcommittees,” said Rubio. “These assignments will better position my office to serve Floridians even more effectively, particularly as it relates to our state’s military bases, rebuilding our national defense, serving our veterans, safeguarding our nation’s food supply, and advancing our foreign policy interests around the world. With a multitude of diverse but critical issues facing the people of Florida, today’s announcement is another step forward in delivering results on their behalf.”

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES APPLAUD RECENT ECO. REFORMS
STRENGTHENING U.S.-ARGENTINA PARTNERSHIP

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced a resolution reaffirming the partnership between the United States and Argentina and recognizing the economic reforms implemented by Argentina since its election of President Mauricio Macri in November 2015. Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), the chairman and ranking member of the Western Hemisphere subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee respectively, also introduced a companion resolution yesterday.

“After years of corruption, lawlessness and gross mismanagement of its economy, Argentina’s most recent presidential election has given that nation and the U.S. a new opportunity to rekindle our bilateral relationship,” said Rubio. “Under President Macri, Argentina is undertaking important reforms and taking steps to restore the rule of law. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the independent investigation that seeks justice for Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who mysteriously died as he was investigating the AMIA bombing.”

“Relations between United States and Argentina have long been characterized by bilateral collaboration on issues such as education and human rights and strong commercial ties,” said Coons. “Since his election, President Macri has demonstrated a commitment to strengthening relations with the United States. His economic reforms should transform Argentina into a major engine of economic growth in the Western Hemisphere. In the coming years, the United States must continue to strengthen cooperation with Argentina on a range of bilateral, regional, and global challenges.”

“Since taking office, I’ve been encouraged by the measures President Macri has taken to further integrate Argentina into the global economy and improve the bilateral relationship with the United States,” said Kaine. “It is important that the new Administration continue to bolster our economic and defense ties with Argentina, especially as a major non-NATO ally.”

“The United States and Argentina have long shared a commitment to the values of liberty and democracy,” said Lankford. “Argentina’s interest in growing ties with the U.S. and commitment to economic reform and transparency are encouraging developments. The U.S. needs responsible allies like Argentina in the Western Hemisphere, and I look forward to working with the Trump Administration to continue cultivating important bilateral relationships in Latin America.”

The resolution upholds the U.S. Senate’s commitment to the partnership between the United States and Argentina and reaffirms that the Argentine Republic is a major non-NATO ally of the United States; encourages the State Department to coordinate an interagency strategy to increase cooperation with the Government of Argentina on areas of bilateral, regional, and global concern; commends President Macri and his Administration for making far-reaching economic reforms that will benefit the people of Argentina, stimulate economic growth, and deepen Argentina’s integration with the global economy; praises the Argentine Government for resolving its dispute with international creditors; and encourages the Government of Argentina to continue to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, as well as the January 2015 death of AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

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RUBIO, YOUNG, CORNYN INTRODUCE
IRAN NON-NUCLEAR SANCTIONS ACT

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Todd Young (R-IN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) today reintroduced the Iran Non-nuclear Sanctions Act, legislation that would impose harsh financial and economic sanctions countering Iran’s non-nuclear provocations, including its ballistic missile violations, human rights abuses and support for international terrorism.

“After years of unilateral concessions and flexibility by the previous administration, it’s time for the United States to push back against Iran’s support for terrorism, the regime’s menacing ballistic missile activities and its egregious human rights violations,” said Rubio. “I look forward to working with the new administration to hold Iran fully accountable for both its nonnuclear and nuclear threats.”

“Iran remains a preeminent threat due to its continued support for terrorism and its aggressive development of ballistic missiles that threaten our allies, forward deployed troops, and eventually our homeland,” said Young. “This legislation would impose real consequences on Iran and make clear that the days when Tehran’s terrorist and ballistic missile activities elicited little more from Washington than a strong statement and a slap on the wrist are gone.”

“Iran remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror and the biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East, despite the lopsided deal struck by the former Administration,” said Cornyn. “It’s time Congress and our new President impose real economic consequences for Iran’s actions to make clear that the United States vehemently opposes Iran’s human rights abuses, terrorist activities around the world, and pursuit of ballistic missile capabilities.”

Rubio and Cornyn, along with then-Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), first introduced the bill in December 2016.
The Iran Non-Nuclear Sanctions Act would:

· Impose new sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Mahan Air, an Iranian airline that has helped the IRGC to spread terrorism and militancy;

· Create a new Treasury Department watchlist for entities in which the IRGC has an ownership interest of less than 25 percent;

· Expand current sanctions and imposes new sanctions against Iran for its egregious human rights abuses, while also mandating full transparency to Congress on all American citizens detained or kidnapped by Iran and U.S. government efforts to free them;

· Impose new sanctions against persons that knowingly aid Iran’s ballistic missile program;

· Mandate new sanctions against entities owned 25 percent or greater or controlled by Iran’s key ballistic missile organizations, including the Aerospace Industries Organization, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, or the Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group;

· Require a presidential certification that persons listed in U.N. Security Council Resolutions are not engaged in activities related to ballistic missiles and requires the imposition of sanctions if that certification cannot be made;

· Impose sanctions on persons involved in sectors of Iran’s economy that support, directly or indirectly, Iran’s ballistic program; and

· Codify current prohibitions against Iran’s direct and indirect access to the U.S. financial system, while also streamlining and strengthening the requirements for the president to remove Iran or any other country from the state sponsors of terrorism list.

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RUBIO, KAINE REINTRODUCE LEGISLATION
TO COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today reintroduced the Combating European Anti-Semitism Act, legislation that addresses the growing problem of anti-Semitism across Europe. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), David Perdue (R-GA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), James Lankford (R-OK), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are cosponsors.

“The recent harassment and violence occurring throughout Europe against Jews in schools and synagogues, as well as a number of governments amplifying anti-Semitic messages, are profoundly concerning,” said Rubio. “We must work with European governments to combat this evil global phenomenon. This bipartisan legislation will ensure the State Department has the information it needs to assess and understand the challenges so that we can combat European anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

“I continue to be alarmed by the steady increase in anti-Semitism in America and Europe. We must be vigilant in reporting any incidents of anti-Semitism to ensure the safety, security and inalienable rights of Jewish communities,” said Kaine. “This legislation will help the new Administration and Europeans work together to combat anti-Semitism and protect religious freedom for Jews and society at large.”

The bipartisan legislation requires the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom report to include enhanced reporting on incidents of anti-Semitism in Europe. It also directs the State Department to include information on the security challenges and needs of European Jewish communities, efforts by the U.S. government to partner with European governments, law enforcement and civil society to combat anti-Semitism, and efforts by European governments to adopt a working definition of anti-Semitism.

This bill was introduced in the House (H.R. 6208) last Congress by the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combatting Anti-Semitism: Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Kay Granger (R-TX), Steve Israel (D-NY), Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Ted Deutch (D-FL).

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MOVE THE FAIR

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MCLS Announces New Library Hours For 2016

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MARTIN COUNTY, FL – Starting January 2, the Martin County Library System will adopt new hours of operation affecting the majority of Martin County library locations. Evening hours have been shifted based on the top results from a Library Hours Survey conducted earlier this year, through which patrons were asked their ideal hours for each library location to be open. These new hours can be seen below.

Blake Library
2351 SE Monterey Rd Stuart, FL 34996
Phone: 772.288.5702
Hours:
Mon & Thu: 10am-8pm
Other Days: 10am-5:30pm
Closed: Sundays

Peter & Julie Cummings Library
2551 SW Matheson Ave Palm City, FL 34990
Phone: 772.288.2551
Hours:
Thu: 12-8pm
Other Days: 10am-5:30pm
Closed: Sun & Mon

Hobe Sound Public Library
10595 SE Federal Hwy Hobe Sound, FL 33455
Phone: 772.546.2257
Hours:
Wed: 12-8pm
Other Days: 10am-5:30pm
Closed: Sun & Mon

Hoke Library
1150 NW Jack Williams Way Jensen Beach, FL 34957
Phone: 772.463.2870
Hours:
Thu: 12-8pm
Other Days: 10am-5:30pm
Closed: Sun & Mon

Robert Morgade Library
Chastain Campus IRSC
5851 SE Community Dr Stuart, FL 34997
Phone: 772.463.3245
Hours:
Wed: 12-8pm
Other Days: 10am-5:30pm
Closed: Sundays

Elisabeth Lahti Library
15200 SW Adams Ave Indiantown, FL 34956
Phone: 772.597.4200
Hours:
Tue: 12-8pm
Other Days: 10am-5:30pm
Closed: Sun & Mon

Law library
Peter L. Cheney Courthouse
100 SE Ocean Blvd Suite B452 Stuart, FL 34994
Phone: 772.221.1427
Hours:
Mon-Thu: 12-4:30pm

For more information, call (772) 219-4964 or visit the library website at library.martin.fl.us.

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Commissioners Declare Tourism Week In Martin County

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At its regular meeting today, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners declared May 2-10 Travel and Tourism Week. Members of the Martin County Tourism Development Council and industry stakeholders were present and recognized for their role in working within and to promote tourism.

Tourism is the No. 1 industry in Florida. Visit Florida reports that every 85 visitors support one Florida job.

The US Travel Association reports that travel is one of the top 10 employers of American workers in 49 of the 50 states. Annually, travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy. Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averages $2.5 billion a day, $105.8 million an hour, $1.8 million a minute and $29,398 a second.

In 2014, this economic impact directly generated $141.5 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. In fact, each U.S. household would pay $1,147 MORE IN TAXES without the tax revenue generated by the travel industry.

The Martin County Proclamation refers to economic impact figures reported by Visit Florida and the US Travel Association.

In the most recent Visit Florida report, travel spending of $432,460,000 in Martin County generated $33.5 million in state and local taxes. Each of the 59,891 households here in Martin County benefit from this tourism impact. It would take an additional $559.85 in taxes to keep the current level of services our residents enjoy on a state and countywide basis.

There are over 5,130 jobs sustained by tourism in Martin County. Tourism equates to 4% of all jobs held by those 18 or older in our county.

The Martin County Board of County Commissioners acknowledged the vital role travel and tourism play in Martin County’s economic prosperity and the quality of life for all Martin County residents.

Illustration by: Mimi McCollum

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Indiantown’s Carter Park Wins State Planning Award

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In pohoto: Carter Park in Indiantown.

Stuart — Indiantown’s Carter Park project has been selected for an American Planning Association Florida 2014 Award of Merit in the Neighborhood Planning category. The Neighborhood Planning Award recognizes projects that demonstrate innovative planning principles and measures that create sustainable neighborhoods that have lasting value.

Carter Park is the first combined environmentally-sustainable and affordable housing development in Martin County. Funded in part with a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Martin County built an innovative stormwater treatment project at the heart of this community that reduces pollution, and cleans the waters that flow into our estuaries.

The project was possible thanks to a public-private partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Martin County, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners and the Martin County Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The convergence of vision, policy and innovation resulted in 40 new affordable housing lots, a new 22,000 square foot urban Boys & Girls Club, and a stormwater treatment system that reduces pollution from a 256-acre watershed within the Indiantown CRA. Martin County is honored that generations of families will call Carter Park home.

The awards ceremony will be held in September.

 

 

 

Martin County Successfully Completes Deployment

of New Offshore Artificial Reefs

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In photo: Concrete material donated by Florida Power & Light’s St. Lucie Plant helped create Martin County’s newest artificial reefs. Photo credit: Martin County Board of County Commissioners.

Stuart — With the creation of several new artificial reefs deployed over the last three weeks, Martin County has grown its Artificial Reef Program, adding new sites for fisherman and divers to explore offshore. Approximately 3,000 tons of concrete material was deployed in the waters off southern Martin County, south of the St. Lucie Inlet, including 400 tons of concrete material donated by Florida Power & Light’s St. Lucie Plant to help create these reefs.

Each new patch reef is made up of approximately 500 tons of material. The materials were transported by barge by McCulley Marine Services to deployment sites offshore.

Most of the concrete pieces were provided by local contractors and include large culverts, concrete poles and thick concrete slabs. An agreement with Florida Power & Light ensures a steady stream of concrete poles will come to the program. The concrete pieces are collected at the Martin County transfer station by the Utilities Department as part of a recycling effort to free up valuable space in landfills. Tipping fees are waived for drop off of future artificial reef material. These deployments are partially funded by a grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

To date, over 95 artificial reefs have been created and have become popular spots for fishermen and divers. Each reef offers a bounty of rich aquatic life, some creating ideal locales for saltwater anglers and recreational divers while others provide habitat for protection of the fishery.

To learn more about Martin County’s Artificial Reef Program and to find reef locations, visit www.martinreefs.com.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Stormwater and Rain Barrels

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In photo: Joe Negron’s Legislative Aide Audra Robitaille Tullis stands next to her rain barrel and Greg Nolte demonstrates how to install the rain barrels

Palm City — Wednesday evening at Cummings Library was the location of the “Stormwater Education and Rain Barrel Workshop”.

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the United States and directly impacts all of us who live within its watershed on a daily basis. Critical to IRL’s remarkable biodiversity is its water quality. Why is water quality so important? Maintaining high standards of water quality, among other things, supports healthy seagrass beds. Seagrasses serve a vital role in the ecology of the IRL. Not only do healthy seagrass beds oxygenate the water column and stabilize sediments, but perhaps most importantly, they also provide a critical nursery and refuge area for juvenile fish and invertebrates, many of which are commercially important.

The majority of rainwater from impervious surfaces such as paved streets, parking lots, sidewalks and rooftops as well as from saturated fields and slopes lacking vegetation, is collected by storm drains, swales (shallow, grassy channels that collect stormwater from streets and sidewalks) and retention ponds. This stormwater runoff often enters canals and tributaries that drain directly into the Indian River Lagoon (Fig. 4). For example, it is estimated that 75 billion gallons of stormwater runoff in Martin County and makes its way into the IRL annually.

Carried with this runoff are pollutants such as heavy metals, fertilizers, sediments, animal wastes, oil and grease from roadways ,anti-freeze, pesticides, household chemicals, bacteria, and an array of organic and inorganic material. In the IRL, these materials threaten water column and bottom dwelling organisms, promote excessive algal growth, and can smother seagrasses. This “non-point” pollution is the primary source of pollution in the IRL today and poses the biggest threat to its water quality. A common misconception hindering individual efforts to lessen the effects of this pollution source is that many of us think that water entering storm drains is initially directed to wastewater facilities for treatment. This is not the case.

The Stormwater Division is charged with reducing to the maximum extent practicable, the pollution of the Indian River Lagoon caused by stormwater runoff and base groundwater flow. It is also responsible for helping the County implement federally mandated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Permit goals. These goals are accomplished through the design, construction, and operation of regional stormwater treatment systems; through education programs; and through sediment and erosion control enforcement and monitoring.

To help keep sediment, leaves, yard clippings, and floating litter that would normally reach the IRL via storm drains, many local governments, like Martin County as well as the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program have been instrumental in installing a number of stormwater treatment devices known as baffle boxes throughout the IRL. Although baffle boxes do not remove dissolved nutrients, this inexpensive, relatively simple technology has been tremendously successful in preventing much solid material from entering the lagoon.

The Rain Barrel workshop also provided information of the use of stored rain water. Stored water may be used for watering gardens, agriculture, flushing toilets, in washing machines, washing cars, and also for drinking ( although not recommended), especially when other water supplies are unavailable, expensive, or of poor quality, and when adequate care is taken that the water is not contaminated and is adequately filtered.

Fourty rain barrels were given out to participants in the workshop. These were the last of this years supply and there is always a question if funds will be available year after year for more.

Out2martincounty.com is a photo journal featuring people, “Who they are, what they do and where they do it”.

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Email your story or request to: info@out2news.com/martincounty

Photo by: Dick Hall Out2/Martin County.com

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This low resolution photo is NOT copy write protected. If you wish a copy simply right/click on the photo and hit “copy” or “save image as”. If you wish a high resolution file contact: rshall@out2news.com/martincounty

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Honor Flight

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85 WWII Veterans at the US Marine Memorial. Such a wonderful day

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24 hour gap between tweets to account for the Comey testimony in Congress

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