U.S. Senate Archives - Page 7 of 28 - SaintPetersBlog

Patrick Murphy asks when will Florida’s U.S. Senate candidates un-endorse Donald Trump

Patrick Murphy asks a simple question of the Florida Republicans running for U.S. Senate: Will they jump on the bandwagon and start un-endorsing Donald Trump?

Last week, the presumptive GOP nominee outraged both sides of the political aisle when he blasted federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, questioning his Mexican ancestry for decisions in the Trump University lawsuits.

As a result, support for Trump – including that of House Speaker Paul Ryan – is beginning to show signs of strain.

In an email Thursday morning, Murphy wonders if his Republican counterparts would even contemplate backing away from Trump after those comments he made that many people – both Republicans and Democrats – considered racist.

Where do the “brave” Florida Republican Senate candidates stand, Murphy asks. “They are either timidly standing by or silently enabling Trump’s racism, and Florida voters deserve better.”

At least one Trump supporter – Republican Sen. Mark Kirk – has backed away from his earlier endorsement, saying Trump “does not have the temperament” to be president.

“It is time for Florida Republicans to take a cue [from Kirk] and un-endorse Donald Trump and his racist rhetoric,” said Murphy Campaign Communications Director Joshua Karp. “Donald Trump has the wrong priorities for our state and the GOP Senate candidates should do what’s right and stand with Florida’s diverse families. As Patrick has already said, ‘enough is enough.’”

 

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Carlos Beruff’s plan to reform Washington includes term limits, lobbying bans

Carlos Beruff has a plan to reform Washington.

On Wednesday, Beruff released a 10-point proposal he says will “end government greed.” The proposal includes instituting a lifetime ban on federal lawmakers from becoming lobbyists; tying congressional pay to the percentage of votes cast or missed; and repealing automatic pay raises for members of Congress.

“Our representatives don’t represent us anymore. Politics has become an industry and our elected officials have become career politicians instead of public servants,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “The result is a government that’s too big, too corrupt and too greedy. We need to change the culture in Washington. We need leaders who are citizen legislators and who believe in public service above all else.”

One way to reform the system, Beruff said, is by enacting term limits. In his proposal, Beruff said he believes term limits — 12 years for a member of the Senate and 8 years for a member of the House — should be in place for members of Congress.

“Our presidents are limited to two terms, and 36 states have term limits on their governors, including Florida,” states his plan. “It is crazy not to hold Congress to the same standard.”

Another part of the proposal would be to institute a policy where members of Congress, the president and the cabinet are not paid if they cannot “produce and enact a budget.”

“If Congress fails to meet the deadlines needed, its pay and travel allowances should be immediately revoked,” states the plan. “Likewise, if the president does not submit a budget by the deadline in the law, as President Obama has refused to do for seven years, then the president and members of the executive branch should have their pay withheld, and their travel allowances withheld.”

Also proposed: Reducing the federal government’s civilian workforce by 20 percent; requiring a supermajority to pass tax increases; passing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and ending the practice of “catch-all’ spending bills.

“Some of these reforms may be controversial and you can bet that the political class in Washington will say that they’re extreme or unrealistic,” said Beruff in a statement. “But the people of Florida know that we need bold ideas and real change in Washington, not more of the same. Put simply, we need to bring accountability to government. These 10 steps will do that.”

Beruff faces Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox in the Aug. 30 Republican primary. All five men are vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

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Palm Beach Atlantic University to host GOP Senate debate

Get ready for a Republican Senate debate.

On Wednesday, Palm Beach Atlantic University announced it planned to host a televised GOP debate on Aug. 23. The debate — which is being organized by the LeMieux Center for Public Policy and the Palm Beach County Young Republicans — comes just one week before the primary.

“The importance of this debate is to give Floridians an opportunity to get to know the candidates and where they stand on the issues, and what better place than right here at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where leadership and service are the core of its mission,” said former Sen. George LeMieux in a statement.

The debate will be held at the Rubin Arena at the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation at Palm Beach Atlantic University. WPEC-CBS 12 will televise the debate, as well as other broadcasters across the state.

“We are proud to bring this debate to viewers across the state, on-air and online, so voters can make an informed decision in the primary,” said Michael Pumo, the general manager of WPEC.

Five Republicans — Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Carlos Beruff and Todd Wilcox — are vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

In a statement Wednesday, a spokesman for the Beruff campaign said it was reviewing invites as they come in, but hasn’t “committed to that event as of yet.” Spokesmen for Jolly and Wilcox said both men plan to attend the debate.

In a statement, a spokesman for DeSantis said the campaign has not “confirmed participation in any debates yet,” but the campaign looks “forward to Floridians learning about Ron DeSantis’s proven conservative record.”

All five candidates are expected to appear together at a forum in Boca Raton on Thursday.

Mary Ann Mancuso, the president of Palm Beach County Young Republicans, said the partnership with her organization and the LeMieux Center for Public Policy recognizes “the importance millennials will play in this upcoming election cycle.”

“This race is an important one for our state as we continue work toward our shared vision for a better tomorrow,” she said in a statement.

The race to replace Rubio is one of the most closely watched Senate races this election cycle. While some Senate Republicans have urged Rubio to run for re-election, Rubio has repeatedly said he will not run for re-election.

But according to a statewide survey by Associated Industries of Florida, Rubio was the best bet for Republicans in the U.S. Senate race. In a hypothetical matchup between Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy, Rubio would receive 49 percent to Murphy’s 41 percent.

That same survey found Murphy defeated all of the current Republican candidates in hypothetical head-to-head matchups.

Murphy faces Alan Grayson in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

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Internal poll shows Carlos Beruff slightly ahead

Carlos Beruff may have a slight edge over his Republican opponents, but the race for U.S. Senate still appears to be flying largely under the radar.

According to internal polling being circulated by the Beruff campaign, the Manatee County Republican is at 17 percent support. He is virtually tied with Rep. David Jolly, who garnered 16 percent in the survey.

Rep. Ron DeSantis followed the two men with 9 percent; Todd Wilcox with 5 percent; and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera with 3 percent. The poll showed 50 percent of the 800 likely Republican primary voters surveyed did not indicate a preference.

In a memo to supporters, Beruff’s campaign said the poll showed Beruff is “gaining traction and is now leading the five-way race.” It goes on to say “primary voters are demanding new leaders from outside the political ranks.”

According to the survey, 91 percent of respondents agreed that it was time to “send new leaders to Washington who are not part of the political establishment.”

The poll also found 78 percent of respondents saying they were more likely to vote for Beruff because he supports temporarily banning immigration from Middle Eastern countries “until the federal government adopts thorough policies to screen out potential terrorists.”

The poll surveyed 800 likely GOP voters and was conducted by telephone from March 23 through 25. It has a margin of error of 3.46 percent.

The Republican primary is Aug. 30.

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Tom Jackson: Hit that reset button already, Marco Rubio

Well past the point that it became abundantly — and, in some circles, painfully — obvious that Marco Rubio should have applied himself to the job he convinced Floridians he wanted in 2010, a fresh question has arisen:

Should Rubio declare himself a candidate for re-election?

The answer is: Duh.

Of course, he should. This is the biggest no-brainer since Captain America rejected United Nations sanctions. It’s hard to believe he’s even hemming, let alone hawing.

Listen, everyone gets that Rubio has been that “young man in a hurry” for nearly 20 years, especially those on whose hands he stepped reaching for the next rung. And he almost couldn’t be blamed for seeking the presidency, considering how establishment conservatives rhapsodized about his wonkmanship, his reform policies and his political skills.

And maybe, if he’d been quicker with his wits on that New Hampshire stage, maybe the 3-2-1 strategy laid out by his strategists would have prevailed. I mean, suppose Rubio had prefaced his infamous robotic repetitions with a deft qualifier, such as, “Yes, I’m repeating myself, and I will continue to repeat myself because it doesn’t matter how you pose the question, the answer remains the same. What’s true is true: Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing.”

This is not beyond imagining, no matter how programmed Rubio’s critics think he is. Indeed, those who know him well, and those who covered him closely during the primary, know he is perfectly capable of riffing off-script without sacrificing expertise.

But that was then, and this is now, more than two months after the stinging defeat in Florida that ended — for the moment, anyway — his White House dream. And just now, Republicans defending lots of purple-state seats need to field their best team if they have any hope of maintaining their majority in the U.S. Senate.

With all due respect to the political talent wrangling to become the GOP nominee — with one tin-eared exception — that team looks better if Rubio is on the roster.

The idea might be growing on him, too. Tuesday afternoon, an email landed bearing Rubio’s signature and the subject line “Time to stand together.”

It reads, in part, “Our liberal opponents have already launched countless attacks against many of my Republican colleagues. We must protect our Republican Senate majority.

“Defeating these Democrats will only be possible if conservatives like us stand together to defend our Republican Senate.”

“Stand together.” At the risk of reading way, way, way too much into a fundraising email, this hints that Mr. I’ll-Be-A-Private-Citizen is signaling a fresh course.

He ought to be, anyway.

With the clarity of retrospect, Rubio shouldn’t have leapt into the awful Republican scrum in the first place. Never mind that he was, with the exception of one memorable debate, clearly the best-informed candidate in the pack. I lost track of the times he fact-checked Donald Trump in real time.

(An aside: The fact Rubio says he’s willing to speak nicely about Trump at the Republican National Convention is a problem for supporters who took his eviscerations of the presumptive nominee to heart, but it’s also, unfortunately, a calculated penance. We’ll be listening closely for what he does and, more important, doesn’t say.)

Alas, this was not the year for facts, articulated policies or — as Jeb Bush came to appreciate and rue — deeply researched and painstakingly detailed plans to fix what ails America. This, instead, is the year a substantial chunk of voters think the presidency is a reality show.

After all, how hard can it be? Barack Obama makes nuke deals with Iran, slows the retreat of glaciers, amends his namesake health plan at will and still squeezes in an afternoon 18 at Fort Belvoir Golf Club.

What’s a first-term senator encountering an unanticipated detour to do? Reroute, already. Hit the reset button. Immediately. Not just because it’s what’s in Rubio’s best political interests, but because the other GOP candidates need time before the June 24 filing deadline to make alternate plans.

Again, re-election to the Senate also is Rubio’s best path forward. He’s not likely to be elected Florida’s governor anytime soon; Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam, the most-Florida politician ever, is practically Rick Scott’s heir apparent. And former state House Speaker Will Weatherford, every bit as talented, is almost certain to maneuver himself into future consideration.

Besides, being a senator is a cool job, in and of itself. And if Rubio wins again, then buckles down to the work while avoiding past missteps (the Gang of Eight immigration scheme leaps to mind), ratcheting up his constituent service and resisting the lure of another presidential run in 2020, then by 2024 or 2028 at the outside, he’d be in his 50s, experienced, wiser and a little gray at the temples; the game would again be afoot.

Indeed, perhaps by then he’ll have served in a Republican administration: Secretary of State Marco Rubio. It could happen. And there are worse launching pads.

Hit that button already, Sen. Rubio. It’s the right thing all-around.

___

Recovering sports columnist and former Tampa Tribune columnist Tom Jackson argues on behalf of thoughtful conservative principles as our best path forward. Fan of the Beach Boys, pulled-pork barbecue and days misspent at golf, Tom lives in New Tampa with his wife, two children and two yappy middle-aged dogs.

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Carlos Beruff checks 67 counties off his list

Carlos Beruff can check all 67 counties off his to-visit list.

The U.S. Senate hopeful said Tuesday he would wrap up a tour of all 67 Florida counties. The Manatee County businessman had said he planned to visit all of the state’s counties before the Aug. 30 primary.

“It is important to visit with people from all across this great state, many of whom feel ignored by our elected officials,” he said in a statement. “That’s why I committed to visiting all 67 Florida counties in the first three months of my campaign and why I’ve committed to visiting all 67 counties every year as your U.S. Senator.”

Beruff was scheduled to be in North Florida and Sarasota on Tuesday. He is one of five Republicans vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

He faces Republicans Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox in the August Republican primary.

“Voters all across this state are fed up with the status quo in Washington, and I’m committed to bringing real change to the U.S. Senate,” said Beruff.

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Senate Majority PAC slated to spend $10.5M in Florida this fall

A super PAC aimed at helping Democratic U.S. Senate candidates is prepared to spend more than $10 million in Florida this fall.

The Senate Majority PAC, a political committee aimed at helping take back the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, said it is poised to spend $10.5 million on cable and broadcast advertisements in Florida starting in September.

“Republicans are going to nominate a far right, Tea Party candidate who is out of touch with Florida’s middle-class,” said Shripal Shah, for Senate Majority PAC’s director of communications. “We’re going to be ready to hold their eventual nominee accountable.”

Rep. Patrick Murphy and Rep. Alan Grayson are battling it out for their party’s nomination to replace Republican Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.

Many Democrats have lined up behind Murphy, who many in the party believe has the best shot of winning in the fall. It’s unclear if Senate Majority PAC will still spend in the state if Grayson is the nominee.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Carlos Beruff, and Todd Wilcox are running for the Republican nomination. The primary is Aug. 30.

The group is also expected to spend $7.5 million in Nevada, $8.5 million in New Hampshire, and $9.5 million in Ohio this fall.

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Carlos Beruff’s ‘Angry Man’ campaign always ready to pick a fight

Carlos Beruff is running the kind of campaign you would expect from someone looking to pick a fight at a bar.

The Angry Man approach in his TV ads has certainly earned the Bradenton businessman name recognition as he seeks to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, but that can work both ways.

It’s a safe bet many Florida voters were repulsed recently when Beruff went full-out Roadhouse by calling President Barack Obama an “animal” and also suggested a total ban on Muslims entering this country.

Beruff’s “animal” comment – used as part of an attack on Obama’s handling of the military – was deservedly slammed from both Democrats and Republicans as racist and inflammatory.

And for what it’s worth, as reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Foundation, in 2015 the U.S. spent $596 billion on the military – more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.

To hear Beruff put it, though, that’s not nearly enough.

Of course it isn’t. For the Angry Man, it’s never enough.

But just as most people know better than to start an argument with a belligerent bar patron looking for a scrum, so you think voters can size this up as unhinged gibberish.

Oh, wait.

Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for president by saying anything that sounded good to the crowd, even if a lot of it sounded like something you’d hear in a middle-school locker room.

That’s what Campaign 2016 has created.

Facts don’t matter as much as swagger. Personal insults and mocking taunts have become more important than grasping policy. Temperament is for wusses (or have we forgotten how Trump torpedoed Jeb Bush with that low-energy tag).

Judgment is dismissed as weakness. Experience is a liability. Anyone seeing the world as a complicated place requiring nuanced decisions is mocked. Science is dismissed when it doesn’t an agenda.

And out of that smoldering cauldron, Donald Trump and his Mini-Me, Carlos Beruff, aspire to hold two of the most powerful titles in this country – President of the United States, and U.S. Senator.

It’s enough to drive you to drink, but not at a bar. Someone might be looking to pick a fight.

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St. Pete considers resolution urging U.S. Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Council Chairwoman Amy Foster have introduced a resolution urging the U.S. Senate to perform its Constitutional duty and hold a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

The resolution specifically calls for the Senate to schedule a hearing on Garland’s appointment, hold a confirmation vote and work “on behalf of the people of the United States to ensure that the vacancy on the Supreme Court is filled without undue and unnecessary delay so that the Supreme Court can effectively serve its essential Constitutional function as the final arbiter of the law.”

“It’s time for the Senate to put aside partisanship and do the job they were elected to do. Judge Garland is eminently qualified to serve as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court. He deserves a hearing and an up-or-down vote,” Kriseman said in a news release announcing the proposed resolution.

Foster said, “In St. Petersburg, we’re making progress and not letting politics get in the way. It’s what our constituents expect of us. Washington should follow our lead.”

The proposal, which the council is expected to vote Thursday, comes two days after the Supreme Court sent a case back to the lower courts seeking compromise. The justices were apparently unable to resolve a 4-4 deadlock over the question of whether religious employers can be required to provide birth control coverage in employee health insurance.

The resolution refers to such a situation, saying, that “forcing the Supreme Court to function with only eight justices risks creating numerous instances in which the Supreme Court is evenly divided on the outcome of a case, preventing the Supreme Court from resolving conflicting interpretations of the Constitution and thereby undermining the Supreme Court’s role as the final arbiter of law.”

The Court lost a deciding vote when Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13 — 269 days before the Nov. 6 presidential election. Senate Republicans have refused to consider any Obama nominee, saying they want to wait until after the election. They argued that the nominee should wait for a new president.

But the St. Petersburg resolution says the “Senate has provided advice on and consented to more than a dozen Supreme Court nominees in presidential election years, including five within the last 100 years.”

Said Susan McGrath, executive director of the Florida Consumer Action Network:

“Members of Congress take an oath to support and defend the constitution and to well and faithfully discharge the office. For 21 of 24 instances, presidents have nominated a justice in their final year in office and the Senate has confirmed the nominee. We have already seen a court crippled in a four to four split in a labor case regarding public-sector unions ability to charge collective bargaining fees to nonmembers. We applaud Mayor Rick Kriseman and Council Chairwoman Amy Foster for introducing this resolution, encourage city council to pass it, and urge our senators to consider how their refusal to act negatively affects the people they serve.”

The St. Petersburg City Council will vote on the measure Thursday.

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Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio urge U.S. Senate to approve $1.9B request to fight Zika

Calling it a “full-blown emergency,” Sen. Bill Nelson once again encouraged his colleagues to set aside $1.9 billion to fight the spread of the Zika virus.

“The urgency is now and we ought to do the right thing,” said Nelson, a Florida Democrat. “We have not heard the last of it, and you are going to see it magnified. This is a full-blown emergency.”

But the plea was not enough to convince his Senate colleagues. On Tuesday, the Senate did not approve a proposal by Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio to fund President Barack Obama’s request fully with $1.9 billion to curb the spread of Zika. The amendment needed 60 votes for it to move forward.

In a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Rubio said: “it is public health experts that have said the amount we need $1.9 billion.”

“Take this with the sense of urgency that the public health experts have,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 500 travel-associated cases in the United States. As of May 11, the Centers for Disease control said there were 701 cases of the virus in U.S. territories. That number includes 671 cases in Puerto Rico.

The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday said there were three more cases of Zika in the Florida. All three cases — located in Clay, Orange and Pinellas counties — are travel-related. All told, there have been 116 cases of Zika in the Sunshine State.

Zika is expected to spread more widely during the summer mosquito season, but officials say outbreaks in the U.S. are likely to be limited.

“This is a mosquito-borne infection, and we know mosquito season is here and coming fast. It’s about to get really warm, not just in Florida, but across the country,” said Rubio. “We see something percolating that we don’t know much about. And as a result, we see people facing a public health threat.”

The Senate took up the Nelson-Rubio proposal around 2:30 p.m. Fifty senators voted for the amendment.  Senate Democrats blocked a second proposal to cut into the president’s health care law to pay for battling Zika.

The Senate voted for a $1.1 billion measure to combat Zika. The vote sets the stage for the Zika funding to be added to an unrelated spending bill.

In a floor speech Tuesday, Nelson said he knew it was likely the $1.1 billion proposal would pass. However, he continued to caution lawmakers that the funding won’t be enough.

“I think we shouldn’t nickel and dime our response to what the World Health Organization has said and already declared a public health emergency of international concern,” said Nelson. “The urgency is now and we ought to do the right thing.”

The U.S. House has proposed setting aside $622.1 million to fight the spread of the virus. Both Nelson and Rubio have criticized the House proposal, with Nelson saying Tuesday the sum was “nowhere near what we need.”

The House measure is slated for a vote as early as Wednesday. The White House has threatened a veto, saying the House proposal would only fund the Zika battle through Sept. 30.

“In times of public health emergencies, I don’t think we should be delaying action,” said Rubio.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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