Scott Powers - 4/29 - SaintPetersBlog

Scott Powers

Twitter welcomes Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King

Orlando financial consultant Chris King may still be a few days from formally kicking off his candidacy as a Democrat for governor of Florida, but after a few silent weeks, he’s beginning to step out, first with the hirings of some key staffers, now with some tweets.

Word of King’s candidacy began circulating in February and on March 3 he filed his candidacy paperwork. But except for a brief statement issued that day, he’s been publicly silent.

On Thursday word got out about his campaign’s hiring of several key staffers, including Charlie Crist’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign manager Omar Khan and several other Barack Obama campaign alumni, Jeremy Bird, Hari Sevugan, Larry Girsolano and Isaac Baker.

Now, for the first time, King’s trying his hand at Twitter, debuting with four tweets Thursday afternoon introducing his campaign.

“I’m running for Governor of Florida because politics as usual isn’t working.” declared one tweet. “Florida should lead the nation, but today we’re falling behind on jobs, wages, education, health care, and hope.” said another.

King hasn’t been much for social media until now. Four tweets are more activity than his Facebook page has seen since he opened it last summer. It has two posts.

King, 38, and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum are the only two formal candidates thus far in the 2018 contest to succeed term-limted Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

While Florida Agriculture Commissioner may be mainly clearing the deck before announcing his anticipated run for the Republican nomination, the Democratic field is likely to get more crowded, with former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine, and Orlando attorney John Morgan all openly exploring possible runs.

Marco Rubio decries Vladimir Putin as tyrant, calls on White House to push human rights

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio painted Russia President Vladimir Putin Thursday as a tyrant who runs a brutal, corrupt, and repressive regime that murders opponents, seeks to destabilize western countries including the United States, perpetuates war crimes, and does not represent the Russian people.

In doing so, Rubio called on the United States to stand up for the rights of Russians and do all it can to oppose Putin.

“It’s not Putin’s Russia, it’s Russians’ Russia,” Rubio said in a speech Thursday to the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan, mostly moderate, international affairs think tank.

“Vladimir Putin happens to have control of the government there today, but Russia is not Vladimir Putin. Russia is an ancient, proud culture and tradition embedded in its people. Vladimir Putin is a tyrant that just happens to control its government.”

Rubio, Florida’s Republican U.S. senator, was one of three keynote speakers addressing the Atlantic Council Thursday morning on the topic of “The State of Human Rights in Putin’s Russia.” He was joined by a fellow member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Maryland’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin; and Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has survived two apparent assassination attempts by poisoning.

Rubio made no overt criticisms of President Donald Trump or his administration for their friendly overtures and statements toward Putin; nor did he make any comments associated with the investigations into whether Putin and Trump’s election campaign may have conspired in any way to influence last year’s American elections.

However, Rubio did state matter-of-factly that Putin sought to interfere in the American elections. And he called on “the new administration” to adopt policies encouraging human rights and democracy abroad.

“We all have read and have heard and will continue to hear n the weeks and months to come Putin’s efforts to meddle in the democratic elections in Europe, just as he attempted to influence our own elections here in the United States last year,” Rubio said.

“As the new administration now continues to shape its foreign policy and national security strategy, I truly believe it is critical for them to include human rights and democracy as elements of any broader engagement of any country in the world. And Russia is a perfect example of why this is true,” Rubio added.

Ironically, both Rubio and Cardin cut their remarks a little short and left early to catch a meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee, and then the Senate Intelligence Committee, where such matters were at hand.

“The state of human rights in Russia under Vladimir Putin has of course long been on a severe decline. This deterioration has only accelerated in recent years as Putin, and his cronies have cracked down on civil society, the media, anyone critical of the Russian government.”

Rubio drew attention to Putin’s critics, “mysteriously poisoned on multiple occasions, thrown out of windows, murdered, all this just this year alone, and we’re only in March.” He also drew attention to last weekend’s large opposition rallies, made up largely of young Russians, which ended with crackdowns and hundreds of arrests.

“This reminds us of how critical it is that the United States stands with the Russian people in their fight against a brutal, corrupt and repressive regime.”

Busloads of ‘hundreds’ planned for Aramis Ayala rally in Tallahassee

A coalition of Civil Rights and other organizations is planning to bus hundreds of supporters to Tallahassee for a rally Thursday for Orlando’s embattled State Attorney Aramis Ayala.

The “Ride For Aramis,” events will conclude with a 12:30 p.m. rally on the Duval Road steps of the Florida Capitol.

Organizers, which include the NAACP, Latino Justice, Florida Council of Churches, Orange County Black Voice, the 8th Amendment Project, Color of Change, Equal Justice USA, and Let Your Voice Be Heard Orlando, said they will be bringing in busloads of Ayala supporters and death penalty opponents from Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Two weeks ago Ayala, newly-elected, announced she would not pursue death penalty prosecutions in her Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola counties. She’s received powerful political blowback, starting with condemnations from Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Scott used an executive order to remove her from her highest-profile murder case and reassigned the Markeith Loyd case to State Attorney Brad King of Ocala. She has indicated she intends to challenge that move in court.

She also has received declarations of support from many groups, including all of those involved in organizing Thursday’s rally. Some Florida and Central Florida Democratic groups also have declared their support, but mainly for her prosecutorial discretion, and not so often for her position opposing the death penalty.

Committee rejects bill that would stop future express lanes

A bill seeking to end Florida’s practice of developing tolled express lanes was rejected Tuesday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.

Various members of the committee cited a number of reasons why they would not want to see Florida stop developing special lanes that could give higher-speed options through typically congested areas to high-occupancy cars or drivers willing to pay tolls for that privilege, and House Bill 777 went down.

Part of the debate centered on those who believe such tolled specialty lanes — dubbed HOT lanes, express lanes or Lexus lanes — are the only practical way to add capacity to crowded expressways, versus those who see them as unfair.

But sponsor Democratic state Rep. Matt Willhite of West Palm Beach argued that his bill was a safety measure, citing accident statistics and anecdotes suggesting that they’re a public safety hazard, more trouble than they’re worth.

In making his last pitch, Willhite asked for support, “as we try to move forward, to try to make some measures, make more safety, more concerns at work, and to save our visitors and our residents from the added costs of these roads.”

The bill went down 6-8.

The bill brought particular concerns from areas counting on express lanes to relieve congestion. Republican state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park opposed it because he was not convinced by Willhite’s soft assurance that projects already under construction, such as the Ultimate I-4 Makeover through Orlando, would be exempted from the ban. That $2 billion project includes the addition of express lanes through much of the Orlando area to provide quicker transits for people willing to pay tolls on what otherwise is a freeway.

“I do think the Ultimate I-4 project is critical to Central Florida,” he said.

On the other hand, Democratic state Rep. Barbara Watson of Miami Gardens decried the lanes’ economic unfairness in arguing for the bill.

“I’ve heard some of my colleagues this morning refer to this as ‘HOT lanes.’ But on my side of the county refer to it as the ‘Lexus lanes.'” Watson said. “If you don’t have the resources you certainly are caught in traffic. It speeds along individuals who simply have the resources to move, but not necessarily allowing those who are in the traditional lanes to be able to advance.”

Bill Nelson to vote no on Neil Gorsuch

Bill Nelson ended any suspense there may have been regarding his views of President Donald Trump‘s first Supreme Court nominee.

Florida’s Democratic senator intends to vote no on the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch.

Nelson also announced Monday he also would support a Democratic filibuster, by voting against likely Republican efforts to invoke cloture to prevent a filibuster. If a Republican-led closure procedure wins, Nelson said he will vote no on Gorsuch’s confirmation.

Nelson cited Gorsuch’s own testimony and record, making no references to Democrats’ beef that Republicans refused all last year to hold hearings on the nomination of then-President Barack Obama‘s last Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland‎. Gorsuch now is up for that same seat.

“Deciding whether to confirm a president’s nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson stated in a news release issued Monday afternoon by his office. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind.

“I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions,” Nelson added.

Marco Rubio, bipartisan Senate group call for U.S. help for starving North Africa

After a hearing on a humanitarian crisis with millions of lives at stake in northeast Africa, U.S. Rep. Marco Rubio joined a bipartisan group of senators Thursday asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to intervene by leading an “urgent and comprehensive” diplomatic effort.

Rubio and eight other senators signed a letter Thursday to President Donald Trump‘s secretary of state saying that political obstacles in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen are significantly to blame for humanitarian aid from getting in, and consequently millions of people now are starving to death.

“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.”

Rubio was joined by Republicans Todd Young of Indiana, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Jeff Flake of Arizona; and Democrats Ben Cardin of Maryland, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Chris Coons of Delaware.

All of them including Rubio serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which held a hearing on the situation Wednesday. Rubio stated that he also received a briefing on the crisis from billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates earlier this week.

The senators’ letter suggests up to 20 million people are at risk of starving to death.

“The testimony of the witnesses underscored the urgent need for a ‘diplomatic surge’ in the next couple weeks to prevent millions of people from dying unnecessarily from starvation,” the letter opens. “Consistent with the national security interests of the United States and the compassion of the American people, we write to ask that the Department of State implement an urgent and comprehensive diplomatic effort to address political obstacles in each of these regions that are preventing humanitarian aid from being delivered to people who desperately need it.

“Mr. Yves Daccord, the director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, yesterday called the crisis ‘one of the most critical humanitarian issues to face mankind since the end of the Second World War.’ He warned that ‘we are at the brink of a humanitarian mega-crisis unprecedented in recent history,'” the letter states.

The senators’ letter details how governmental or nongovernmental actors in each of the regions have blocked or hindered humanitarian access, depriving people of food. But it suggests the U.S. Department of State can potentially address the man-made obstacles and spells out steps that should be taken to convince each country to open the flows of food.

Charlie Crist leads 18-member Florida delegation urging Everglades attention from Donald Trump

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Mast have pulled together 18 of Florida’s 27 members of Congress to co-sign a letter to President Donald Trump urging that he “expedite and energize” Everglades restoration projects.

In addition to Crist of St. Petersburg and Mast of Palm City, the letter is signed by Republicans Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, Ted Yoho, John Rutherford, Ron DeSantis, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; and Democrats Al Lawson, Darren Soto, Val Demings, and Kathy Castor.

The letter follows up on a plea Mast made earlier this month on the House of Representatives floor when he called on Trump to create an “Everglades Restoration Infrastructure Taskforce” and secure full funding to accelerate projects to completion.

The letter calls for the same thing.

“We urge you to join our efforts to expedite and energize the federal government’s role in this critical mission,” they wrote. “Specifically, we ask you to convene an ‘Everglades Restoration Infrastructure Taskforce’ to develop an action plan to secure new infrastructure funding and accelerate project completion to meet or beat the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ current Integrated Delivery Schedule timeline.”

The letter’s non-signatories include some significant omissions: Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Alcee Hastings, and Republican U.S. Reps. Francis Rooney and Maria Diaz-Balart all have significant swathes of Everglades in their districts, but did not sign. Still, much of the Everglades are in Curbelo’s and Ros-Lehtinen’s districts, and they signed.

The letter noted Trump’s plans for a $1 trillion infrastructure program and said the Everglades need just “a fraction” of that.

“The bipartisan Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, authorized by Congress in 2000, is one of the most ambitious ecological restoration projects ever undertaken. Beyond restoring the unique Everglades ecosystem, CERP would improve vital flood protection for neighboring communities, protect the main source of drinking water for 8 million South Floridians, and enhance the Everglades’ substantial $2 trillion economic impact in the state,” the letter states. “Working together, the State of Florida, the Army Corps, and other federal agency partners have made important — but incremental — progress toward meeting the Plan’s Integrated Delivery Schedule road map of completing over 60 proposed projects over a 30-year period.

“More must be done, however, as many projects are still awaiting construction, and delays could threaten to increase project completion costs,” they add.

Few warm greetings from Florida for Donald Trump’s budget

There seems to be something for almost everyone to dislike in the budget proposal President Donald Trump unveiled Thursday morning.

“The plan doesn’t make any sense,” stated Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

“I do not support the proposed 28 percent cut to our international affairs budget and diplomatic efforts led by the State Department,” stated Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

The president’s proposed budget, released early Thursday, drew a handful of responses from Florida’s 27 members of House of Representatives, mostly from Democrats, and most of them went much further than Nelson in their condemnations, citing proposed deep cuts ranging from the arts to the Coast Guard, cancer research to the TSA, or schools to seniors’ programs like Meals on Wheels, jobs training to Everglades.

“The Trump budget is an immoral affront to nearly all of our most important priorities,” declared Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

So far only Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross in Florida’s congressional delegation has spoken out in strong support, though Rubio did point out something he liked in the budget: Trump’s incorporation of Rubio’s ideas to expand school choice with tax credits. But the senator cautioned to not take Trump’s budget too seriously, because, “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,” he concluded.

Ross, of Lakeland, said the budget was true to Trump’s promises and a snapshot of “a strong conservative vision for the size and role of our government.”

“In addition to a renewed focus on the military, this proposed budget keeps the President’s word to prioritize border security, veterans’ health care, and school choice, as well as reduce burdensome regulations that harm small businesses and economic growth,” Ross continued. “With our national debt quickly approaching $20 trillion, we cannot afford to waste any more taxpayer dollars on duplicative and ineffective government programs.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart took a similar tone to Rubio, saying the budget “attempts to focus on our nation’s real fiscal challenges” and presents an opportunity for conversations about national priorities and the national debt.

Then he concluded, “I look forward to Congress exercising its oversight role and ultimately making funding decisions.”

Not many areas of common interest were cited by Florida’s 12 Democrats, including Nelson.

“You’re going to cut some of our most important agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, which is working to find cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s, the Environmental Protection Agency, which keeps our air and water clean, and the Army Corps of Engineers, which is working to restore the Everglades,” Nelson stated. “I agree that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our country safe, but cutting all of these important programs to pay for things, such as a wall, just doesn’t make any sense.”

In a Facebook post, Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando called Trump’s proposal an “irresponsible budget which decimates investments in America’s future to fund tax cuts for the rich. He proposed cuts to our Coast Guard (border security?), scientific research, commerce, state department, environment protection, agriculture and our nuclear program among countless others. We will fight to protect our future!”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg declared “Budgets are statements of our values as a people. The statement made today by the Trump Administration is that climate change isn’t real, our environment is not important, diplomacy is a waste of time, medical breakthroughs aren’t beneficial, the poor are on their own, and the arts, despite their small price tag, aren’t of significance.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa went into far more detail, arguing from the start that the budget fails to deliver on Trump’s campaign promises to help the middle class and create jobs.

She cited deep or complete cuts in after-school programs, college students’ PELL grants, transportation projects such as Tampa’s Riverwalk, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s efforts to improve marine biology health, and the EPA.

“It is clear that Trump’s budget is not balanced in a way that our community needs and expects.  It shifts even more economic burdens onto the shoulders of working families, guts important services and investments in our economy, attacks vital education programs and hurts Tampa Bay’s sensitive natural resources,” she concluded.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson of Tallahassee said a budget should reflect society’s values, and that this budget does not reflect those of his district.

“President Trump’s budget calls for extreme cuts to vital funding for job training, clean energy, medical research, and public education,” Lawson stated. “It is a shortsighted plan that seeks to give tax breaks to the wealthiest while taking away lifelines for those who need it most.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando responded only by retweeting a post from Congressional Black Caucus chair U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who noted that African Americans “have a lot to lose under this administration” and the budget proposal “is proof.”

Wasserman Schultz provided the strongest language in her condemnations.

“Aside from the horrific health care cuts that will push tens of millions of people into higher-cost plans, or no coverage at all, this budget proposal sacrifices too many safety, environmental, labor and health protections, all just to ultimately deliver grotesque tax breaks to the wealthy,” she stated in a release issued by her office. “It weakens or eliminates funding for, among many other things, transportation, clean energy, health research, public education and housing, legal services, national diplomacy, the arts and humanitarian aid. And while Trump’s budget purports to improve our national security, it reportedly starves crucial aspects of it by putting our coasts and airports in dire jeopardy. This budget proposal is a gut punch to America’s families, their needs, and their values.”

Vacation rental deregulation bill passes House committee

A bill that would roll back all local ordinances and regulations of vacation rental houses to 2011 codes got a split-vote approval Tuesday from the House Agriculture & Property Rights Subcommittee.

The issue was fashioned as one pitting property rights — those of people or companies that buy houses and convert them into short-term vacation rental properties, versus those of neighbors who don’t like having small hotels pop up in their neighborhoods.

Senate Bill 425, presented by state Rep. Mike La Rosa of St. Cloud, would essentially ban cities and towns from treating vacation rental houses differently from any other houses in the neighborhoods. That was Florida law after a similar bill was signed in 2011, but much of that deregulation was rolled back in 2014 after cities and counties complained.

The ensuing regulation has gotten out of hand, La Rosa argued.

“We’ve seen an obscene amount of ordinances from local government, which basically, in my mind, is a property taking: You bought this property for a certain reason, but we’re going to pass all these ordinances preventing you from being able to rent that property.”

At stake is the rapid rise throughout Florida, but particularly in tourist areas, of single-home vacation rentals, fueled by such app-based advertising services as Airbnb and Home Away, which are funneling hundreds of thousands of Florida visitors into alternatives to hotels, motels and resorts. Alternatives typically with multiple bedrooms and baths, kitchens, yards and swimming pools.

Also at stake are cities and counties alarmed by vacation homes popping up anywhere, sometimes occupied for a few days at a time by quiet families from England, and sometimes by fraternity brothers looking for wild times with loud parties, lots of trash and numerous cars taking up the street curb.

Lori Killinger, a lobbyist for the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association and Jennifer Green of the vacation rental advertising app Home Away argued that the regulations can stifle the tourism industry. Killinger said the vacation rental business is a $31 billion a year business, but that goes to one homeowner at a time. Green argued that visitors are looking for choices.

“Some individuals are making decisions about coming to Florida on whether or not they can stay with 15 people in six hotel rooms, or they can stay all together at the beach down in the Keys, or Pinellas County or somewhere similar,” Green said. “So the question for you all is do you want to do anything to stifle tourism for Florida?”

Homes turned into vacation rentals are not homes anymore, argued opponents of the bill, such as Florida Association of Counties lobbyist Eric Poole and Casey Cook of Florida League of Cities.

Flagler County attorney Al Hadeed told stories of fraternity parties, and of one house flooded with lights by some renters who were using it to film a pornographic movie.

The 2011 law, Hadeed said, “opened up real estate syndicates that created a hotel in single-family neighborhoods.”

He drew some support, notably from Democratic state Reps. Ben Diamond of St. Petersburg and Kamia Brown of Ocoee who argued that home rule should give deference to cities and counties to decide for themselves what to do about vacation rentals.

But La Rosa responded, and won, that they still can pass ordinances to control problems, but the ordinances need to address all houses, not just vacation rental houses.

“I’m saying treat vacation rentals like all other properties,” La Rosa responded. “Whether it’s a trash issue, a noise issue, or too many cars out on the street, treat rental properties like all properties.”

Florida’s Congressional Dems blast GOP health care plan after budget report

As expected, the scoring of the Republican health care plan in Congress affirmed many of Democrats’ biggest warnings.

And, as expected, many of Florida’s delegation wasted no time Monday attacking the “American Health Care Act” as “wrong,” “inhumane,” “alarming,” and “ruthless and cruel.”

No word yet from any of Florida’s 17 Republican members of Congress on how they feel about the Congressional Budget Office legislative analysis of the bill Republicans introduced last week. Its aim is to replace “Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act President Barack Obama and Democrats pushed through in 2010.

Democrats loaded up Monday at several of the CBO findings of the bill being dubbed both “RyanCare” for House Speaker Paul Ryan and “TrumpCare,” for President Donald Trump. The CBO reported that 14 million people would drop from being insured in the first year, and that a total of 24 million now covered would be without health insurance in a decade. The CBO also projected rapidly increasing premiums for the first couple of years, that it would cut $880 million from Medicaid, and increase costs for seniors on Medicare. And it reported that cuts to Planned Parenthood would mainly affect low-income women.

Almost all 12 Florida Democrats decried all those findings, through news releases, social media posts and statements on their websites. Among the responses:

“It is wrong to take away health insurance for 24 million people, as well as increase the cost to seniors,” wrote U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

“This legislation is terrible for those in their golden years, our seniors. And most distressing is how this bill treats the poor and the disabled of our society,” wrote U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg, representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “The Gospel of Matthew teaches us that we will be judged by how we treat the ‘least of these.’ But this bill treats the least among us in the most inhumane way possible.”

“Biggest non-shocker of the week #Trumpcare knocks 24M people off insurance,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando, representing Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

“This report from the nonpartisan CBO confirms what we already knew to be true, millions of Americans will lose health insurance, hardworking families will be forced to pay higher premiums, and Medicaid recipients will suffer greatly,” declared U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando, representing Florida’s 10th Congressional District. “As Republicans recklessly work to push through this plan, the people who need it the most, working families, seniors, and children stand to lose the most. The GOP plan is not better than the Affordable Care Act and Republicans know it.”

“This bill does not make good on claims by @SpeakerRyan,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. “It will block millions from coverage in exchange for cutting taxes for the wealthy.”

“Despite numerous promises by Trump that no one would lose health insurance, Republican scheme does just that!” tweeted U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, in Florida’s 14th Congressional District. “Irresponsible @SpeakerRyan!”

“Yanking insurance coverage from 14 million people and leaving them uninsured next year would be ruthless and cruel,” wrote U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, representing Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

“House Republican leaders are rushing this process with closed-door meetings and midnight committee sessions,” wrote U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, representing Florida’s 7th Congressional District. “We need to slow down, bring both parties together, and get health care reform right so there aren’t any unintended consequences that hurt families, seniors, and small businesses.”

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