Congressman Rooney Introduces Bill to Stop Government Employees from Getting Paid Taxpayer Dollars for Union Activity

Congressman Rooney introduced the Do Your Job Act to end official time, an abusive practice where government employees use paid time off to perform union duties.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Union official time is a taxpayer funded subsidy that cost hard-working Americans at least $162.5 million in 2014. Unions and federal agencies never report exactly how many federal workers are being granted official time, and at least hundreds of federal employees spend 100% of their time engaging in union activities while on the clock. This is a clear abuse of taxpayer dollars, and it does nothing to advance the interests of the American people who end up paying for it.

“The only restriction on official time is that it can’t be granted for internal union business, but it happens anyway. There’s no reason for federal workers to be paid a government salary to perform union work. I introduced this bill to stop this unfair practice and to ensure that federal employees are working for all taxpayers, not for unions.”

Background:

The Do Your Job Act would limit the amount of official time granted to a federal employee to the time that the employee is on a non-duty, or unpaid status. It also removes the current requirement that federal agencies grant official time under the Federal Labor Management Relations Act (FLMRA).

Francis Rooney Joins House Science Committee

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas welcomed Congressman Francis Rooney of Florida to the Committee.

“I’m proud to welcome Representative Francis Rooney to the Science Committee,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas. “Mr. Rooney has been an advocate in Congress for the environmental and energy issues that impact his community. He has done an outstanding job representing Florida’s 19th District, and I’m looking forward to working with him on our Committee’s priorities.”

“I thank Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas for supporting me in joining the Science, Space and Technology Committee,” Rooney said. “The Committee has jurisdiction over much of the non-defense Federal research programs that provide innovative solutions to our environmental challenges, which is important to Southwest Florida. We have a tourism-based economy which relies on clean water and a pristine environment. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on the committee to address the serious challenges our environment faces, including ocean trash, the impacts of offshore drilling, rising sea levels and temperatures, and acidity in our air and waters.”

Congressman Rooney released the following statement on the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act

Congressman Rooney stated, “H.R. 397 is putting taxpayers on the hook for a broken system. Time and again, the management of Multiemployer pensions (MEP) has proven entirely irresponsible.

“Currently, 95 percent of participants in multiemployer pensions are in plans that are less than 60 percent funded. In 2018, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that a government bailout of the MEP system would cost American taxpayers over $100 billion, but the actual shortfall of these plans exceeds $630 billion. Bailing out the corrupt and imprudent actions of private firms is not the responsibility of the American public- it lies with the employers and unions who made those promises to the participants.

“Further, an MEP bailout sets a dangerous precedent for another pension system in crisis: state pensions. The state pension system currently has a $1.28 trillion funding gap, however this deficit is not distributed equally among all states. Just like the federal government should not bail out private firms, states with mostly-solvent pension funds should not be required to bear the burden for unfunded states.

“The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act sets a dangerous precedent that unfairly burdens hardworking taxpayers with the disastrous outcomes of risks taken by private firms. The multiemployer pension system is broken, and this bill does nothing to fix it.

Congressman Rooney votes NO on bill that massively increases our nation’s debt

Congressman Francis Rooney voted for fiscal responsibility and against a massive increase to our national debt. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 would raise spending caps by $322 billion and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. Earlier this year, the White House proposed $574 billion in potential spending cuts, none of which are included in this legislation.

Congressman Rooney stated, “This budget act fails the American people, especially our children and grandchildren. Saddling future generations with insurmountable debt instead of making the hard decisions on spending is irresponsible legislating. Just a campaign cycle ago, Republicans across the country ran on a platform of balancing our budget and eliminating our debt. I intend to continue my opposition to out of control Washington spending.

Background:

  • According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this bill will add $1.7 trillion to public spending over the next 10 years
  • While the bill increases spending by $1.7 trillion over the next decade but only provides $77 billion in offsets
  • The projected debt ratio approaches 100% of gross domestic product by 2029
  • The United States is currently over $22 trillion in debt – about $174,000 per household
  • The United States is on pace to hit $24 trillion by the end of 2020

It Is Unconscionable to Deny Socialism’s Inevitable Outcome

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart issued the following statement after members of the House voted against the Motion to Recommit, which stated that Venezuela’s “economic, humanitarian, security, and refugee crisis is the direct result of years of socialist policies implemented by the regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.”

“It’s shocking that today, apologists of the socialist Chavez-Maduro regime failed to acknowledge the source of the problem in Venezuela, which is the repressive, socialist policies which are the legacy of the Chavez-Maduro regime. After decades of nationalizing private industries and concentrating power in the state, Venezuela has been plunged into destitution, corruption, and egregious human rights abuses. The socialist policies in resource-rich Venezuela, which promised to elevate the poor, has instead made everyone except the regime poor.”

“The failure to acknowledge that grim fact, as described in the Republican Motion to Recommit, shows that even today, apologists of the socialist Chavez-Maduro regime fail to truly understand why Venezuela sunk into the current crisis of blackouts, crime, poverty, and oppression. That lack of understanding is truly alarming.”

217 House Democrats voted against this Motion to Recommit

All House Republicans voted for the Motion to Recommit

Diaz-Balart, Soto: House Votes for TPS for Venezuelans in the U.S.

–– Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) and Darren Soto (FL-09) issued the following statements after the House passed the bipartisan Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 by a vote of 272-158.

Rep. Diaz-Balart: “Today, the House of Representatives was able to gather the strong, bipartisan support needed to pass the Venezuela TPS Act of 2019. Today’s vote was an important victory toward the goal of ensuring that Venezuelan nationals who have fled the oppressive Maduro dictatorship are granted temporary protected status in the United States until it is safe for them to return to Venezuela.

“As I’ve mentioned before, our ultimate objective must be freedom for the Venezuelan people. Until that goal is reached, we must protect those who have escaped Maduro’s murderous, narco-terrorist regime. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to bring this bill to a vote. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and the administration until we can secure protections for these individuals.”

Rep. Darren Soto: “Today’s historic passage of the Venezuela TPS Act aligns with our strongly held American values of compassion and democracy. Venezuelans have become the largest group of asylum seekers applying for refuge in the United States, with hundreds of thousands in Florida alone fearing persecution or death if they returned to their home country. With TPS extended to Venezuelans already in the U.S., we will be able to provide them refuge and save their lives. We now urge Leader Mitch McConnell to do the right thing, and support Senators Rubio and Menendez’s Venezuela TPS efforts, and bring our bill to the Senate Floor for a vote. We are encouraged by the vocal support from the Trump administration towards Venezuelans and expect TPS to be signed into law once it reaches the President’s desk. I’m proud to have worked together with Florida, and House, colleagues to advance the first bipartisan immigration bill to pass the House this Congress!”

This Week With Senator Scott – July 27, 2019

This week, following a recent report on how some Florida school districts are refusing to enact safety measures Senator Rick Scott signed into law as Governor after the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Senator Scott sent a letter to school district leadership demanding action to keep schools safe. In the letter, Senator Scott wrote:

I am not writing to you just as a current U.S. Senator and as your former Governor; but as a parent, a grandfather, and a Florida resident. The recent report from the Grand Jury on the progress of many school districts’ implementation of the safety measures passed by the state for our students can only be described as disheartening…

We worked together to provide the support needed to make our schools the safest in the nation. As the report notes, many districts have not followed through on what we fought so hard to secure. It appears many districts have abandoned the most critical mandate constituents expect from you: to make sure our schools are safe….

I am deeply disappointed in how many school districts failed to respond in the wake of a tragedy when presented with an opportunity. Just remember, 17 lives were lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, and the lives of their families and loved ones are forever changed.”  

 
Senator Scott also attended a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on enhancing school safety this week to discuss what federal resources and actions must be taken to make sure our students and teachers are protected. Watch video from the hearing below or HERE.

See more of what Senator Scott has been up to this week below.

Sen. Rick Scott: Let’s End Washington’s Bad Investments

Senator Rick Scott released the second episode of his series in partnership with the Heritage Foundation: How Washington Wastes Your Money. Every Wednesday, Senator Scott highlights how Washington is failing the American people with its wasteful spending. See previous Washington Waste Wednesday features HERE and HERE.

This week’s episode focuses on return on investment. Every year, Washington automatically spends 70% of its total spending – $3 trillion in taxpayer dollars – on programs that do not receive regular Congressional review. In the video, Senator Scott highlights the “Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program,” which received $8.2 billion in federal funding and was expected to create 3,384 jobs for families in rural areas. The program ended up creating only 415 jobs – a horrible return on investment for American taxpayers. See more in the video below or HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Introduces PRIME Act to Promote Transparency by Online Retailers

Senator Rick Scott introduced the Promoting Responsibility In Markets and E-Retailers (PRIME) Act of 2019 to require online retailers to list the country of origin for each product they sell. Following recent privacy concerns surrounding a popular Russia-based app, the bill also requires digital apps to disclose their country of origin.

Senator Rick Scott said, “We have to get serious about where our money is going. There are nations around the world, like China, that are trying to compete with America. By buying products made by our adversaries, we are sending them money without a second thought and supporting their efforts to compete with us on the global stage. Consumers should know where the products they buy online are made and where the apps they download to their phones are developed. I introduced the PRIME Act to create more transparency in the online retail space so consumers can make informed choices for themselves and their families.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Statement on Confirmation of Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement following Senate confirmation of Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I was proud to support Mark Esper’s confirmation as Secretary of Defense today. Secretary Esper’s years of dedicated service to this country have prepared him to lead in this role, and I am confident he will continue to serve our nation well. I look forward to working with him to keep American families safe. Now, we need to make sure he has the resources needed to do the job we’ve hired him to do. It’s time for the House of Representatives to move forward on a NDAA bill that the Senate and the White House can support.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Statement on Passage of 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Senator Rick Scott released the following statement after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. This bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Scott, provides funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which supports 9/11 survivors and first responders who have experienced health issues following the attack.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I applaud the passage of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which supports survivors, our brave first responders, and the families and loved ones of the innocent victims who were lost in the attack. I was in New York City on September 11, 2001, and saw the terror and devastation inflicted on our nation. The tragedy continues each and every day for the survivors, first responders, and families of the victims. We must continue to do everything we can to honor the heroes lost, and stand with the victims and their families – and I’m glad we were able to pass this important funding today.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Sponsors Student Empowerment Act to Expand School Choice

Senator Rick Scott announced his co-sponsorship of the Student Empowerment Act to allow all students – including public, private, religious, and homeschool students – to use tax-exempt distributions from qualified tuition programs (known as 529 plans) to cover eligible educational expenses, including books, tutoring, and testing fees.

Senator Rick Scott said, “During my time as Governor of Florida, I worked to make Florida a national leader in school choice options for all students, with hundreds of thousands of families taking advantage of these opportunities. The Student Empowerment Act builds on our efforts by expanding access to 529 savings accounts so that all Florida families have the opportunity for the best education for their children.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott and Jenniffer González-Colón Call For More Transparency and Accountability in Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

Senator Rick Scott and Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón sent a letter to President Trump asking the Administration to appoint a Federal Coordinator to oversee responsible implementation of Puerto Rico’s disaster funding. The Coordinator will ensure disaster relief funding gets to the Island’s families in a transparent and efficient manner.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Recent events in Puerto Rico demonstrate just how much the Island needs real leadership. A Federal Coordinator will make sure that families in Puerto Rico get the help they need following the devastation of Hurricane Maria and that U.S. taxpayer money is spent wisely. I was proud to work with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón to secure disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico, and I’m proud to work with her and the Administration to make sure that funding gets to those who need it.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Statement on Puerto Rico Governor Rosselló Resignation

Senator Rick Scott made the below statement following the announcement of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation.

Senator Rick Scott said, “My focus is on the families of Puerto Rico. I vowed to be their voice in the United States Senate and that will never change. I’m glad Governor Rosselló finally made the decision to resign. The conduct from the island’s leadership has been unacceptable. Puerto Rico has the opportunity to move forward with new leadership. My hope and my prayer is that the new leaders focus on improving the lives of Puerto Rican families and rebuilding trust by creating jobs, improving education and enhancing security. I will always stand with the families of Puerto Rico and do everything I can in the United States Senate to fight for them.” Read more HERE.

Declaración del senador Rick Scott sobre la renuncia del gobernador de Puerto Rico, Rosselló

El senador Rick Scott hizo la siguiente declaración luego del anuncio de la renuncia del gobernador de Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló.

El senador Rick Scott dijo: “Mi enfoque está en las familias de Puerto Rico. Juré ser su voz en el Senado de los Estados Unidos y eso nunca cambiará. Me alegra que el gobernador Rosselló finalmente haya decidido renunciar. La conducta del liderazgo de la isla ha sido inaceptable. Puerto Rico tiene la oportunidad de seguir adelante con un nuevo liderazgo. Mi esperanza y mi oración es que los nuevos líderes se enfoquen en mejorar la vida de las familias puertorriqueñas y en reconstruir la confianza del pueblo creando empleos, mejorando la educación y la seguridad de la isla. Siempre estaré con las familias de Puerto Rico y haré todo lo posible en el Senado de los Estados Unidos para luchar por ellos”. Lea más AQUÍ.

 

Sen. Rick Scott in RealClearPolitics: Time for Colleagues to Join Me in Fight to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs

Senator Rick Scott wrote an op-ed on his efforts to make healthcare more affordable for families across the nation, and that starts with addressing the soaring cost of prescription drugs.

In the op-ed, Senator Rick Scott wrote, “…As a member of the U.S. Senate, it is my job to protect Floridians every day, and especially in times of crisis. The soaring costs of prescription drugs are hurting Americans, and it is incumbent upon my colleagues in Washington to stand up and fight for what is right.
 
There are solutions to this problem. I’m working on four that we can and should get done now, and I will not stop fighting until healthcare is affordable and accessible for all Americans.”

Read the full op-ed in RealClearPolitics HERE.

Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Press Trump on Sanctions Against Turkey

Sunshine State News: Rick Scott Would Sanction Turkey for Increased Ties to Russia

Breitbart: GOP Sen. Scott: All Around the World ‘People Are Fed Up with Their Government’

The Verge: A new bill would make online sellers and app stores post their products’ origin countries

Tampa Bay Times: After Russian FaceApp goes viral, Rick Scott wants online stores to say where apps came from

Florida Daily: After FaceApp Questions, Rick Scott Wants More Transparency From Online Retailers and Apps

Florida Daily: Rick Scott Backs Ted Cruz’s Student Empowerment Act

WESH: ‘It’s pretty broken’: Sen. Scott talks state of affairs in D.C., Venezuela and Puerto Rico

Miami Herald: Rick Scott calls on Puerto Rico Gov. Rosselló to resign, as protests rage on island

Florida Daily: Members of the Florida Delegation Glad to See Ricardo Rosselló Resign as Puerto Rico’s Governor

CBS Miami: Florida Senators Marco Rubio & Rick Scott On Puerto Rico Governor Richardo Rosselló’s Resignation

El Nuevo Dia: Jenniffer González, Rick Scott y Sean Duffy piden a Trump un coordinador federal de reconstrucción

El Nacional: Rick Scott: Es más fácil para Maduro culpar que asumir su responsabilidad

Florida Daily: Florida Senators Back 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Bill Which Now Heads to President’s Desk

Spectrum News 13: Senators Rubio, Scott Highlight Small Businesses’ Role in Space Innovation

WFSU: Rick Scott Calls On School Superintendents To Comply With Safety Measures

Sunshine State News: Rick Scott: Florida Districts Need to Enact School Safety Measures

We Must Continue to Stand with the Venezuelan People

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the House failed to gather the necessary votes to pass Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 under suspension of the rules.

“I am disappointed that the House failed to muster the supermajority needed to pass the Venezuela TPS Act under suspension of the rules. Temporary Protected Status is crucial to the thousands of Venezuelan nationals that have sought safety in the United States in the years that the Chavez-Maduro regimes have ravished the once prosperous and democratic Venezuela. I will continue working with my dear friend Congressman Darren Soto and my other colleagues to pass this important legislation under regular order.

“I have strongly supported the Trump administration’s imposition of tough sanctions on the Maduro regime, and it is that same rationale that warrants protecting Venezuelans who have fled the repressive Maduro regime. Our ultimate goal must be freedom for the Venezuelan people. Until then, it is crucial that we allow Venezuelan nationals to remain safely in the United States. It would be unconscionable to force them to return to the perilous oppression, crime, and destitution of Venezuela today.”

Congressman Rooney votes for increased pay for workers

Congressman Francis Rooney voted in favor of H.R. 582 – the Raise the Wage Act. This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to gradually increase the federal minimum wage for regular employees over a 6-year period. It also provides for a review by the General Accounting Office of the impact of the 1st and 2nd year increases to assure that there are no adverse consequences.

Congressman Rooney stated, “This 6-year gradual increase brings the minimum wage in line with inflation. The 6-year increases avoid disruptive changes to the workplace. Earlier this week I offered an amendment, which was rejected, to establish a “purchasing power parity option” which would allow states and cities to adjust the wages for local conditions. What $26 buys in Ft. Myers may cost $50 in New York City.  While this would have been a better option, the bill that passed will provide the gradual increases necessary to improve worker pay, keep up with inflation and mitigate the wage inequality which has increased over the last 20 years.

Background:

  • An amendment has been included to require the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress, between the second and third scheduled increases, on the economic and employment impacts. The report is a safeguard which will allow Congress to determine whether further legislative action is needed to delay or modify the remaining scheduled wage increases.
  • Most CEOs support the minimum wage increase as planned – a gradual raise over a set period
  • Wage inequality is a major challenge we face, and a gradual increase will help mitigate this issue
  • The federal minimum wage has been raised 22 times since its creation in 1938, under both Republican and Democrat Administrations
  • The current federal min wage, established in 2009, is $7.25
  • The bill eliminates the separate minimum wage requirements for tipped, newly hired, and disabled employees. After a specified period, these employees shall be paid the same minimum wage as regular employee.

Talking Points for Social Media and Letters to the Editor

The Trump Economy is Booming

  •  Friday’s June jobs report soared past economists’ expectations.
    • The economy added 224,000 jobs.
    • The unemployment rate remains near its lowest point in almost half a century.
    • 17,000 manufacturing jobs were added in June alone.
    • The labor force participation rate was 62.9%, showing American workers are continuing to come off the sidelines and enter the workforce.
    • Wages continue to rise – there have been 11 straight months of wage growth of 3% or higher.
  • All Americans are reaping the benefits of the Trump economy:
    • Over 6 million jobs have been created since the President was elected.
    • African American unemployment dipped to 6%, near a record low, and below the rate under any previous administration.
    • Asian American unemployment hit an all-time low of 2.1% in June.
    • Latino American unemployment rate stands at 4.3%, still near its historic low of 4.2%.
    • The unemployment rate for women remains near a 50 year low at 3.6%.
  • We are enjoying this booming economy thanks to President Trump’s historic tax cuts, record deregulation, and much-needed trade reform.
  • While the economy is continuing to outpace all predictions, 2020 Democrats are dismissing the success and proposing policies that would mean massive tax hikes on hardworking Americans and government intervention in nearly all aspects of life.

 

President Trump’s Remarks on the Environment 

  • Yesterday, President Trump delivered remarks from the White House on promoting a clean and healthy environment for all Americans.
    • As the President said, his Administration is committed to “being effective stewards of our environment while encouraging opportunities for American workers and their families.”
  • The President and Administration are continuing to pursue policies that encourage environmental protection while promoting economic growth.
  • Our nation’s environmental record is one of the strongest in the world.
    •  We have the cleanest air on record and remain a global leader for access to clean drinking water.
  • The President has taken important steps to restore, preserve, and protect our land, air, and waters.
    • The Save our Seas Act was signed into law in 2018. This law reauthorized the NOAA Marine Debris Program, promoting international action to reduce marine debris and authorizing cleanup and response actions that may be needed.
    • The EPA has taken significant steps to clean up our contaminated sites and hazardous sites.
    • The EPA is more efficiently implementing air quality standards that will better protect the environment and human health.
    • The Administration has prioritized funding for environmental restoration projects in the Florida Everglades.
  • The President’s management of our nation’s lands promotes conservation while encouraging good stewardship and expanding recreational opportunities.
    • Just this year, President Trump signed legislation designating 1.3 million new acres of wilderness – the largest public lands legislation in a decade.
    • The Department of the Interior proposed to open more than 1 million acres of land for expanded hunting and fishing access.
    • The President took important action to improve management of forests to help prevent devastating forest fires.
  • As Administrator Wheeler said, America is cleaner, safer, and stronger because of President Trump’s leadership.

 

President Trump is Committed to Stopping the Crisis at the Border

  • While border apprehensions declined in June, there is no denying we have a crisis on our hands and are reaching a breaking point.
    • The border apprehensions we saw in May were unprecedented given that over 70% of the apprehensions were in family units or were unaccompanied children.
  • Our facilities are overcrowded and as a direct result of a lack of funding from Congress.
  • Our weak borders are being exploited by human traffickers, drug smugglers, and violent gang members.
  • This crisis existed long before President Trump took office.
  • President Trump and the administration remain committed to stopping the humanitarian and national security crisis at the border, and the administration has taken unprecedented steps to secure the border.
    • The border wall is being built – it’s expected 400 miles will be finished by the end of the year.
    • President Trump was successful in his efforts to get Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries to step up and help stop the crisis. The President’s diplomatic efforts are working.
  • Congressional Democrats continue to refuse to help President Trump address the situation at the border despite the fact they are finally admitting there actually is a crisis.
    • For months, Democrats laughably called the crisis at the border “manufactured.”
  • Congress should close loopholes that are perpetuating this crisis.
    • Even the Obama Administration argued that dangerous loopholes like the Flores Settlement Agreement.
  • 2020 Democrats continue to push a radical agenda that includes decriminalizing border crossings, giving taxpayer-funded healthcare to all illegal immigrants, and open borders.
  • It’s time Democrats stop the political games, put the safety of our nation first, and work with President Trump and Republicans to secure the border.