Senator Rick Scott Week in Review September 27, 2019

Senator Scott introduced the Student Training and Education Metrics (STEM) Act  this week to force universities to take more responsibility when it comes to preparing students for successful careers. The STEM Act is the first proposal in Senator Scott’s plan to lower the cost of higher education and ensure graduates are prepared to get jobs.

Senator Scott also introduced an amendment to Representative Diaz-Balart’s House-passed bill that would immediately grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans fleeing Maduro’s regime.

This week, Senator Scott cosponsored:

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

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Senator Rick Scott at Concordia: Every Freedom-Loving Nation Must See China for What It Is – An Adversary

Senator Rick Scott spoke at the 2019 Concordia Summit on the threat of China to the United States’ national security.

Excerpts of Senator Scott’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below; read his full speech HERE.

“… It’s fitting that we’re here today in the shadow of the United Nations as they prepare to convene the 74th Session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Freedom-loving countries around the world face a crisis.

China’s growing influence, particularly in Latin America and the Middle East, presents a clear and present danger to the stability of world markets, to the security of the United States and our allies, and to the quest for freedom and democracy around the globe.

We MUST be clear-eyed about this.

China’s goal is to be the dominant world power. China believes that in order for them to be stronger, America and other freedom-loving countries must be weaker.…
 

Thankfully, this Administration is taking a stand against China, and it’s about time.…

My goal is to shine light on this threat to the strength and security of the United States and our allies.

America’s role of fighting for freedom and liberty worldwide depends on it. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on it.

And I won’t stop fighting until America’s economic and political future is secure from the threat of Chinese influence.

I don’t want my grandchildren to worry about their future. We MUST make sure future generations have every opportunity to live in an America that stands for freedom and liberty here and around the globe.”

Sen. Rick Scott: President Trump Should Focus on Freedom Around the Globe at UN National Assembly

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, Senator Rick Scott released the following statement on the three topics he would like the President’s speech to address: China, Iran and Venezuela.

Senator Rick Scott said, “This week, the President has the unique opportunity to engage world leaders on a number of serious issues. The national security of the United States and the fight for freedom around the globe must be his top priority, as he addresses the UN General Assembly. I look forward to the President standing strong against China as trade talks continue, and emphasizing the threat of China’s growing influence across the globe. I also hope the President reiterates the importance of China honoring its commitments on Hong Kong’s liberties.

“The President must also address Iran’s recent acts of aggression and make it clear that these acts will not be tolerated. Now is not the time to ease up on Iran, and all European leaders should join us in holding Iran accountable. Finally, we must continue to do everything in our power to free Venezuela from Maduro’s ongoing genocide, and I look forward to all UN nations joining the U.S. in this fight.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott to Department of State: Do More to Highlight China Travel Advisory

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement calling on the Department of State to do more to highlight the risks Americans face when traveling to China. See the Department’s current China travel advisory HERE.

Senator Rick Scott said, “China is a national security risk. They are stealing our technology and using it against us. Every American should be aware of the threat to their privacy when traveling in China. While the Department of State posts travel advisories, they are buried deep within the Department’s website. These advisories correctly note that Americans’ social media accounts are widely monitored, and hotel rooms, phones, cars, and computers could be monitored or accessed without our knowledge. However, the Department should do more to clearly highlight the significant privacy risks when Americans travel to China. American travelers deserve to know the risks of traveling to China well before considering any potential itinerary.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: China’s Investment in Iran Proves They Can’t Be Trusted

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement on China’s $400 billion investment in Iran amid Iran’s aggression against the U.S. and our allies.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Iran’s continued acts of aggression against the United States and our allies puts our national security and the stability of world markets at risk. Instead of denouncing these attacks, China is choosing to pour hundreds of billions into Iran’s economy. China is proving once again that they will do anything – including prop up dangerous regimes – to advance its mission to become the dominant world power. The United States and the international community must see China for what it is: an adversary. I’m glad the Trump Administration is taking a stand against China, but we can’t turn a blind eye to this. We can’t stop fighting until America’s economic and political future is secure from the threat of Chinese influence.” Read more HERE.

Senator Rick Scott to Counterterrorism Experts: FBI Needs to Do More to Prevent Acts of Mass Violence

During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Countering Domestic Terrorism, Senator Rick Scott asked counterterrorism leaders how the federal government, particularly the FBI, can work better with local authorities to prevent acts of mass violence.

Senator Scott has been seeking information on what steps the FBI has taken to address critical deficiencies in its handling of actionable intelligence on the perpetrators of acts of mass violence in Florida, including the tragic shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Pulse Nightclub.

See video from the hearing HERE or below.

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Sen. Rick Scott Introduces Amendment to Grant TPS to Venezuelans, Reform Program

Senator Rick Scott introduced an amendment to Representative Diaz-Balart’s House-passed bill that would immediately grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Venezuelans fleeing Maduro’s regime. Following Senate Democrats’ objection to his amendment, Senator Scott released the following statement.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Let’s be very clear about what we just saw. Senate Democrats just came to the floor to object to my amendment that would grant TPS to Venezuelans and reform the TPS program. That’s shameful. It’s incredibly disappointing that my Democrat colleagues would stand in the way of a common-sense compromise. Republicans support it. The sponsor of the House-passed bill supports it. I believe the President would sign it. 

“It’s clear that the Democrats don’t actually want to get anything done on this issue. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to use the Venezuelan community as a political prop instead of working with us to find a solution. Their rhetoric over the last few months was just political nonsense. Even though the Democrats stood up and blocked TPS for Venezuelans today, I will never stop fighting to support the Venezuelan community here.” Read more HERE.

Los demócratas bloquean enmienda del senador Rick Scott para otorgar TPS a los venezolanos, reformar el programa

Luego de una objeción por parte de los demócratas del Senado a la enmienda del senador Rick Scott que inmediatamente otorgaría TPS a los venezolanos, el senador hizo la siguiente declaración.

El senador Rick Scott dijo: “Seamos muy claros sobre lo que acabamos de ver. Los demócratas del Senado simplemente vinieron a la sala para objetar mi enmienda que otorgaría TPS a los venezolanos y reformaría el programa de TPS. Es vergonzoso. Es increíblemente decepcionante que mis colegas demócratas se interpongan en el camino de un compromiso de sentido común. Los republicanos lo apoyan. El patrocinador del proyecto de ley aprobado por la Cámara lo apoya. Creo que el presidente lo firmaría.

“Es claro que los demócratas en realidad no quieren hacer nada al respecto. Desafortunadamente, han decidido utilizar a la comunidad venezolana como instrumento político en lugar de trabajar con nosotros para encontrar una solución. Su retórica en los últimos meses fue simplemente estrategia política. A pesar de que los demócratas se levantaron y bloquearon el TPS para los venezolanos, nunca dejaré de luchar para apoyar a la comunidad venezolana ”. Lea más AQUÍ.

Senators Scott, Rubio, Cornyn, Cruz and Kennedy Introduce Bill to Simplify Disaster Assistance for Hurricane Victims

Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and John Kennedy introduced the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act. This legislation would prohibit the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from penalizing victims of qualified natural disasters who apply for, but decline, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida faced multiple hurricanes throughout my time as Governor, and I saw firsthand the devastation faced by families, communities and businesses across the state. Following every storm, I would look back at what we can do better on the local, state and federal levels to help our communities recover. I’m proud to support the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act, which gets government out of the way by making it easier for business owners to begin recovering and rebuilding.” Read more from Senator Rubio’s office HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Introduces STEM Act to End Skyrocketing Higher Education Costs

Senator Rick Scott introduced the Student Training and Education Metrics (STEM) Act to force universities to take more responsibility when it comes to preparing students for successful careers. The STEM Act is the first proposal in Senator Scott’s plan to lower the cost of higher education and ensure graduates are prepared to get jobs.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Today, I am introducing the STEM Act  to offer a solution to make higher education more affordable and ensure schools are preparing students for jobs. Just like I did as Governor of Florida, I’m working to make sure colleges and universities never raise tuition or fees on our students. My STEM Act eliminates all federal funding for institutions that raise tuition, requires standards and metrics for both for-profit and non-profit colleges, and holds colleges and universities accountable for a portion of student loans. The Democrats’ plans to eliminate all student loan debt is a fairy tale that would only make bad behavior worse. Proposals to make everything free seems great, but would bankrupt families. We need to focus on real solutions to bring down the cost of higher education and make sure students are prepared for jobs.” Read more HERE.

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Sen. Rick Scott: I’m Proposing Real Solutions to Bring Down Healthcare Costs for American Families

Senator Rick Scott wrote an op-ed for Modern Healthcare on his efforts to make healthcare more affordable for families across the nation.

In the op-edSenator Rick Scott wrote, “My experience growing up has shaped everything I’ve done in my life and how I think about the world—especially when it comes to issues like providing quality healthcare that families can afford. And at the end of the day, the best way to ensure access to quality healthcare for a family is to have access to good jobs.

Beyond that, there are some commonsense things we can and should get done right now to start bringing down healthcare costs.…

To help reduce the burden of high drug prices, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and I have a proposal that would prohibit pharmaceutical companies that use federal tax dollars to develop their drugs from charging American consumers unreasonable prices for those same drugs.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and I are working to make sure pharmaceutical companies cannot charge Americans more than consumers in other industrialized countries for the same prescription drugs.…

I’m also working to get rid of surprise medical bills that have devastated families across the country and to create a consumer-friendly database of prescription drug prices.…

These aren’t earth-shattering ideas. They are real, simple solutions to bring down healthcare costs right now.”

Read the full op-ed in Modern Healthcare HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott on Fox Business: U.S. Government Needs to Start Spending Taxpayer Money Better 
Watch the full interview HERE or below.

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Fox News: Sen. Scott to Iran: Stop giving weapons to violent groups and try to be part of the world market

Yahoo Finance: Senator Rick Scott on U.S.-China trade war and state of the Trump administration

CNBC: GOP Sen. Rick Scott: Americans must stop buying Chinese products

CNBC: Senator Rick Scott: American consumers must stop buying Chinese products

AP: Florida’s 2 senators want Canadian snowbirds to stay longer

Florida Today: New bill might entice Canadians to stay longer in Florida, benefiting Brevard economy

WMBB: The Disaster Assistance Simplification Act introduced by both Florida U.S. Senators

Florida Daily: Rick Scott Increasingly Focused on Foreign Policy, Including China and Iran

Florida Daily: Florida’s Senators Want to Get Tougher With Iran After Saudi Drone Attacks

Florida Politics: Rick Scott wants more emphasis on travel advisories to China

Univision: Rick Scott habla sobre la expulsión de diplomáticos cubanos en EEUU y las medidas en contra del régimen castrista

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WASHINGTON, D.C.
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5274
TALLAHASSEE
111 N. Adams Street
Suite 208
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 942-8415
Fax: (202) 228-4535
TAMPA
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Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: (813) 225-7040
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West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: (561) 514-0189

Congressman Rooney Votes to Terminate National Emergency Declaration

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Rooney voted in favor of terminating the National Emergency Declaration that was issued on February 15, 2019.

Congressman Rooney stated, “My vote to terminate the emergency declaration is consistent with my previous votes on this issue and consistent with the rule of law and the Constitutional separation of powers. The appropriation and allocation of money is the sole responsibility of the Congressional branch. For well over 50 years, Congressional timidity has nurtured a steady evisceration of the Article 2 powers of Congress relative to the Executive Branch.”

“My vote in no way relates to the very real need to secure our border. It is important to not only secure the border, but also to reform our disastrous asylum and immigration laws. However, the ends do not justify the means. I have sponsored, cosponsored and voted in favor of multiple bills to accomplish this and provide fixes to our broken immigration and visa systems.”

Diaz-Balart in Miami Herald: In partnership with the U.S., Colombia is on a solid path to stability and prosperity

As co-chair of the Congressional Colombia Caucus, I want to highlight some of the remarkable advances that have occurred as a result of the strong U.S.-Colombia partnership, which is committed to combating drug trafficking, upholding the rule of law and promoting democracy.

The U.S.-Colombia partnership is one of the brightest achievements of U.S. foreign policy over the past two decades. Some analysts had fretted that Colombia would become a failed state in the 1990s. Prior to 2012, about 220,000 people reportedly died in the armed conflict, the vast majority of them civilians, while 22,000 were victims of targeted assassinations and 27,000 were victims of kidnapping.

To date, more than 8 million Colombians, or about 15 percent of the population, have registered as victims of Colombia’s decades-long conflict. To help Colombia confront these challenges, the United States provided the country millions of dollars in support, including the highly successful, $10 billion Plan Colombia, which helped transform that nation into the prosperous, stable regional leader that it is today. The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which went into full effect in 2012, has also led to substantial economic growth. The United States is now Colombia’s largest trading partner, with $28.8 billion of two-way goods trade during 2016.

The Colombia of today is very different from the Colombia of 20 years ago, and the Western Hemisphere is better for it.

President Ivan Duque has continued this progress. Since his inauguration in August 2018, Colombia has eradicated 6,253 hectares — 15,450 acres — of coca fields a month, which is a more than 50 percent increase over the monthly rate during Colombia’s previous administration. Late last year, Colombia interdicted 457 metric tons of cocaine and coca base, which is about half of Colombia’s estimated total cocaine production. Duque is also committed to aerial eradication, which is effective and less dangerous to officials carrying out eradication efforts on the ground. The Duque administration is aggressively pursuing narcotraffickers, too. Last year, Colombia extradited 145 individuals to the United States for their alleged drug trafficking.

Colombia’s hard work has come at a steep cost and sacrifice. Combating the drug cartels, which are in league with violent terrorist groups such as the ELN and the FARC, has resulted in many casualties in the war for Colombia’s peace and safety. In 2019, the Colombian army and marines together have lost 26 individuals, and 130 have been wounded. The police have lost 31 in the line of duty, and 77 have been injured. However, these operations have had a tremendous impact, leading to the capture of 1,300 narco traffickers and the deaths of 47 combatants. Colombia spends more than 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense, with $700 million spent on combating organized crime and counter-narcotics efforts.

By effectively and aggressively pursuing terrorists and drug traffickers, Alvaro Uribe, Colombia’s president from 2002-2010, in firm partnership with the United States, set Colombia on a course toward prosperity and stability. The drug cartels and terrorist organizations that used to wreak havoc throughout Colombia have been brought to heel—and ultimately to the negotiating table. President Duque is continuing the policies that led to Colombia’s success by aggressively confronting terrorist groups such as the FARC and other drug traffickers. Work remains to be done, as violence such as the ELN car bomb attack on January 17, 2019 demonstrated, but it is clear that Colombia has become a leader in our hemisphere and a valuable ally in the battle against terrorism and drug trafficking.

The humanitarian crisis across the border has presented another challenge to our partnership and the region as a whole, as more than 1.4 million fleeing Venezuelans are estimated to be scattered throughout Colombia.

Colombia has responded to the crisis with sagacity and compassion, quickly recognizing the democratically elected administration of National Assembly President Juan Guaidó, while providing more than a million border-crossing cards, work permits and access to public services, including education and food aid and healthcare. Colombia estimates that as much as 0.5 percent of its GDP ultimately will go toward addressing Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis, and the United States has promised more than $120 million to address it.

Throughout this disaster and whatever other challenges are to come, our partnership is strong. Both the Colombian and United States governments are committed to doing what is necessary to promote democracy and prosperity in our hemisphere.

Colombia has endured the Chávez-Maduro malignancy on its border for years, including its support for terrorists such as the FARC, and ties to narco-trafficking. Despite the daunting tasks ahead, I am confident that under the determined leadership of President Duque, and the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening that essential partnership, our countries will continue to successfully confront these challenges in our hemisphere.

Read the full op-ed HERE.

Laura D. Hernandez
Press Secretary
Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)
(202) 225-4211

Senator Rick Scott’s Week in Review September 20, 2019

Sunday marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. Florida is a melting pot with incredible and vibrant Hispanic communities. Senator Scott is proud to join all Floridians to recognize the many Hispanic business owners, community members and Floridians that make a difference in our great state. See more in the video BELOW.
https://twitter.com/SenRickScott/status/1173358438124064769

This week, Senator Rick Scott led a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the American Security Drone Act of 2019, which prohibits the U.S. Government from purchasing drones manufactured in countries identified as national security threats, like Iran and China.

Senator Scott also joined Senator Rubio to sponsor the Canadian Snowbirds Act to allow some Canadian citizens to spend up to eight months a year vacationing in the United States, and Senator Martha McSally to introduce the Child Tax Credit Extension Act to permanently expand the child tax credit.

Also this week, Senator Scott joined bipartisan efforts to repeal the medical device tax and suspend the Health Insurance Tax on insurance providers to help reduce the cost of healthcare for American consumers.
See more of what Senator Scott has been up to this week below.

Sen. Rick Scott: U.S. Must Increase Pressure on Iran
Senator Rick Scott issued the below statement urging U.S. action following the Saudi Arabian oil attack.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Iran needs to know that acts of aggression against the United States or our allies will not be tolerated. Until the United States increases pressure on Iran, they will continue these attacks. We have to protect the safety and security of our military assets and our men and women in uniform that are in the region, as well as the security of our allies in the region, especially Israel. Military conflict is not our first choice, but we must take this seriously. President Trump must not make any concessions to Iran ahead of the UN General Assembly.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott to PM Netanyahu: U.S. Stands with Israel, Our Partner and Ally
Following his trip to Israel last month, Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reiterate the United States’ steadfast support for Israel, its security, and the safety of U.S. military assets in the Middle East.

Senators Rick Scott, Martha McSally, Mike Braun, and Joni Ernst Move to Make Child Tax Credit Permanent
Senator Rick Scott joined Senator Martha McSally, Senator Mike Braun, and Senator Joni Ernst to introduce the Child Tax Credit Extension Act. This bill would make the expansion of the child tax credit, which was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, permanent for families across the nation.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Over my eight years as Governor of Florida, we cut taxes nearly 100 times and returned more than $10 billion back to hardworking taxpayers. We completely turned our economy around and added nearly 1.7 million jobs for families across the state. I’m proud to build on our efforts by joining Senator McSally to sponsor the Child Tax Credit Extension Act, which will give families across the nation even more of their hard-earned money back and continue our economic growth.” Read more from Senator McSally’s office HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: We Must Support Our Nation’s Holocaust Survivors
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims, Senator Rick Scott spoke on the importance of honoring the memory of the millions of victims of the Holocaust, as well as supporting the survivors and their families. Watch video from the hearing HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: CBO Should Stop Covering for Socialists, Give Us Score of Medicare for All
Following repeated requests from Republicans for the Congressional Budget Office to score either the House or the Senate versions of the Socialist Democrats’ Medicare for All bill, Senator Rick Scott released the following statement.

Senator Rick Scott said, “On multiple occasions, Republicans have requested a score from the Congressional Budget Office of the Socialist Democrats’ Medicare for All proposal, especially Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders’ bill filed in the Senate this year. So far, the CBO has refused. It is irresponsible and unconscionable that the CBO refuses to tell us the price tag for a healthcare proposal that has become the centerpiece of the Democrats’ agenda, both in Congress and in their presidential campaigns.

“I sent yet another letter to the CBO asking for a score. The American people deserve to know how much this proposal would cost, how much taxes would be raised, and how many Americans would lose their employer-sponsored healthcare. This is why the CBO exists. They need to do their job.”

Sen. Rick Scott: More Power to the States = Better ROI on Taxpayer Investment
On Wednesday, Senator Rick Scott released an episode of his series in partnership with the Heritage Foundation: How Washington Wastes Your Money.

This week’s episode focuses on how the federal government can stop wasting taxpayer dollars by giving more power back to the states. One example is healthcare. Obamacare proved that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. States should be able to figure out what works for them so they can provide better quality care while also reducing the cost to the taxpayers. Senator Scott did this in Florida, and is committed to making Washington work for families across the nation so taxpayers get the best return on the investment of their hard earned tax dollars.
See more in the video HERE.

Senators Rick Scott and Chris Murphy Lead Bipartisan American Security Drone Act to Prohibit U.S. Government from Purchasing Drones From Adversaries
Senators Rick Scott, Chris Murphy, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Richard Blumenthal and Marco Rubio introduced the American Security Drone Act of 2019, which prohibits the U.S. Government from purchasing drones manufactured in countries identified as national security threats like Iran and China.

Senator Rick Scott said, “There are nations around the world, like China, that are actively building up their militaries to compete with America. China is STEALING our technology and intellectual property, yet the U.S. Government continues to buy critical technology, like drones, with American tax dollars from Chinese companies backed by their government. For far too long, we have turned a blind eye to China and allowed their technology into some of the most critical operations of the U.S. Government. This has to stop. The American Security Drone Act protects our information and national security by prohibiting the federal government and our military from buying drones manufactured in countries that are our adversaries.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Joins Bipartisan Bill to Repeal Medical Device Tax
Senator Rick Scott announced his co-sponsorship of the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which permanently eliminates the medical device tax – a 2.3 percent tax on the nation’s most innovative industries enacted under President Obama as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Rick Scott said, “During my time as Governor of Florida, we returned $10 billion back to Florida’s hardworking taxpayers. My focus on cutting taxes and reducing burdensome regulations helped Florida businesses thrive and create nearly $1.7 million jobs in just eight years. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to build on Florida’s success and create an environment where businesses, small and large, can succeed. Florida is home to a variety of medical device companies, employing nearly 21,000 Floridians with high-paying jobs. Eliminating the burdensome medical device tax fosters innovation and helps Florida’s manufacturers succeed and create more jobs for families.” Read more HERE.

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio Introduce Bill to Permit Canadian Snowbirds to Visit the U.S. for Longer
Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced the Canadian Snowbirds Act, legislation that would allow some Canadian citizens to spend up to eight months a year vacationing in the United States, two months longer than they are allowed to stay now.

Senator Rick Scott said, “We worked incredibly hard to turn Florida’s economy around, and our tourism industry played a big role. Last year, Florida welcomed a record 126 million visitors, including 3.5 million visitors from Canada. When we welcome visitors to our state, our communities thrive, businesses grow, and job opportunities are created for Florida families. I’m proud to join Senator Rubio in sponsoring the Canadian Snowbirds Act to allow our Northern neighbors to enjoy two more months of Florida’s incredible weather and allow our tourism industry to continue to thrive.” Read more from Senator Rubio’s office HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott to FCC Chairman: Put Our National Security First; Don’t Renew Pacific Light Cable Network License
Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to put American security first, and not renew the license for the Pacific Light Cable Network, which would ultimately threaten the freedom of Hong Kong and U.S. national security. Read more, including the full letter, HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Recognizes Two Year Anniversary of Hurricane Maria
On the two year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, Senator Rick Scott released the below statement.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Hurricane Maria was an absolutely devastating storm, and your heart breaks for all the families impacted. I’m proud of everything we’ve done to help Puerto Rico rebuild over the last two years, but there is still work to be done. I vowed to be Puerto Rico’s voice in the Senate and that will never change. I am working closely with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón and Puerto Rico’s leadership to make sure the Island is supported and has the resources it needs to continue rebuilding.” Read more HERE.

El senador Rick Scott reconoce el segundo aniversario del huracán María
En el segundo aniversario del huracán María, el senador Rick Scott hizo la siguiente declaración.

El senador Rick Scott dijo: “El huracán María fue una tormenta absolutamente devastadora, y mi corazón está con todas las familias afectadas. Estoy orgulloso de todo lo que hemos hecho para ayudar a Puerto Rico a reconstruir en los últimos dos años, pero aún queda trabajo por hacer. Prometí ser la voz de Puerto Rico en el Senado y eso nunca cambiará. Estoy trabajando estrechamente con la congresista Jenniffer González-Colón y el liderazgo de Puerto Rico para asegurar que la isla sea apoyada y tenga los recursos que necesita para continuar la reconstrucción”. Lea más AQUÍ.

Sen. Rick Scott on Higher Ed: I’m Working to Bring Florida’s Success to America
Senator Rick Scott wrote an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel on his five proposals to make education more affordable for every student in America.

In the op-ed, Senator Rick Scott wrote, “I’m spending my time focused on what we can do to make college affordable for students and incentivize the higher-education system to prepare students for a job upon graduation.
I know we can successfully do this because we did it in Florida.…

These are simple concepts — but politicians in Washington and around the country too often fail to understand that. They just want to give out government money tied to no results. But, that’s not fair to taxpayers, who get no return on their investment for funding colleges and universities that can’t prepare students for jobs.

The Democrats are proposing policy plans that would bankrupt and destroy our country, just to win a presidential primary. But we deserve better. Hopeful parents and grandparents deserve better. Hard-working students deserve better. We all deserve better, and now is the time for serious discussion about a path forward.”

Read the full op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott on Fox Business: Dems Don’t Want Americans to Know What Medicare for All Would Cost Them
Watch the full interview HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: U.S., European Partners Need to Hold Iran Accountable
Senator Rick Scott wrote an op-ed for Fox News on the need to hold Iran accountable for its aggression against the U.S. and our ally, Israel.

In the op-ed, Senator Rick Scott wrote, “While I visited Israel many times when I served as governor of Florida, my most recent trip gave me a clearer perspective on Israel’s proximity to its enemies: Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and Iran.

I visited nearly all of Israel’s borders and one thing is clear: Israel is a country nearly surrounded by nations and terrorist groups that want it wiped off the face of the Earth. And Iran is leading that charge.…

Iran needs to know that acts of aggression against the United States or Israel will not be tolerated. Until the United States increases pressure on the Iranians, they will continue these attacks.

We have to protect the safety and security of our military assets and our men and women in uniform in the region, as well as the security of our allies, especially Israel.”

Read the full op-ed in Fox News HERE.

Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Seek Ban on Chinese Drone Purchases by Federal Agencies
Financial Times: US bill seeks to bar government purchases of Chinese drones
Homeland Preparedness News: Senate bill would prohibit buying drones from countries deemed national security threats
Sunshine State News: Rick Scott Wants to Preserve Trump’s 2017 Child Tax-Credit Extension
Sunshine State News: Rubio-Scott Bill Would Extend Canadian Snowbirds’ Stay in U.S. Another Two Months
Florida Daily: Rick Scott Demands Answers on How Much Medicare for All Costs
Florida Politics: Marco Rubio, Rick Scott want Canadians to stay longer
News Service of Florida: Let Florida snowbirds from Canada stay longer, Rubio and Scott urge
Tampa Bay Times: Canadian snowbirds could get more time to roost in Florida
WJHG: Senators Rick Scott and Doug Jones reflect on Hurricane Michael
WSYR: Congress grills social media companies on efforts to prevent online violence
Florida Daily: Florida Republicans on Capitol Hill Push Hurricane Dorian Charitable Giving Act
Florida Daily: Rick Scott Calls on Trump to Stand Firm Against Iran and Urges Support for Israel
Florida Daily: Rick Scott Backs Effort to Repeal Tax Resulting From Obamacare
El Nacional: Scott sobre Venezuela: Toda causa por la que vale la pena luchar requiere valor
Noticia al Dia: Rick Scott: Estados Unidos escucha y apoya a Venezuela

Sen. Rick Scott Recognizes U.S. Veterans, the “Borinqueneers”

Senator Rick Scott recognized veterans of the “Borinqueneers,” the 65th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army from Puerto Rico, to thank them for their outstanding service to our nation.

Come Visit Us at Mobile Office Hours!
Next week, the staff of Senator Rick Scott will be holding Mobile Office Hours to assist Floridians with federal services, including help with federal agencies and veterans’ resources. See a full list of federal services HERE. Next week’s Mobile Office Hours will be:
Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
11:00AM – 2:00PM
Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce
25 Homestead Road N
Suite 41
Lehigh Acres, FL 33936
AND
Thursday, September 26th, 2019
11:00AM – 1:00PM CT
Santa Rosa County Public Library
8484 James M Harvell Road
Navarre, FL 32566

WASHINGTON, D.C.
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5274

TALLAHASSEE
111 N. Adams Street
Suite 208
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 942-8415
Fax: (202) 228-4535

TAMPA
801 North Florida Avenue
Suite 421
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: (813) 225-7040

WEST PALM BEACH
415 Clematis Street
Suite 201
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: (561) 514-0189

Legislative Update – September 20, 2019

Friday concludes the first of the Legislature’s Interim Committee Weeks ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session. This first week gives committees the opportunity to meet with various state agencies and departments to review the implementation of recently passed legislation, and discuss topics of interest to the Legislature, as well as upcoming budget items. The Florida House of Representatives also designated their next Speaker of the House, Representative Chris Sprowls.
While in Tallahassee, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of our state agency heads, including Secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs Richard Prudom and Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Mary Mayhew.

Leader Kathleen Passidomo Meets with First Lady Casey DeSantis
Senator Gayle Harrell and I met with Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis to discuss ways we can work together to tackle the growing mental health crisis in Florida.

ICYMI: Governor DeSantis Rolls Out Environmental Agenda in Naples
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis came to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to announce his request to the Florida Legislature of $625 million in recurring funding for the next three years for Everglades restoration. The Governor also announced his support for legislation to increase fines for environmental crimes by 50 percent. This will empower DEP to assess daily fines until the environmental harm has been remedied or a plan has been developed in partnership with DEP to address the issue.
The proposal includes:
· At least $300 million for Everglades Restoration and the EAA Reservoir Project.
· $50 million for springs restoration.
· $50 million for Total Maximum Daily Load projects (TMDLs) to ensure water bodies throughout the state have appropriate nutrient levels.
· $15 million for projects within the St. Johns River, Suwannee River and Apalachicola River watersheds.
· $10 million for Coral Reef protection and restoration.
The remainder of the $625 million will be appropriated for other water quality, alternative water supply and water conservation projects, including innovative technologies for nutrient reduction and harmful algal bloom prevention and mitigation.

Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears Joins Leader Passidomo for Listening Session in Collier County
On September 10, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Secretary Halsey Beshears came to Collier County for a public discussion on the Department’s license and complaint processes. Secretary Beshears and I both served together as members of the Florida House. When Governor DeSantis appointed him to lead DBPR, I contacted him immediately to share what the residents in Southwest Florida have experienced when it comes to the department’s actions in response to complaints. I am grateful that Secretary Beshears made the time to come to Collier County to hear directly from my constituents and listen to their ideas on how the Department can better serve Floridians.

U.S. and Florida Chamber of Commerce Host Press Conference on Florida’s Legal Climate
On Wednesday, I joined Governor DeSantis and the U.S. and Florida Chambers at a press conference to present the results of their Florida’s Lawsuit Climate study. According to the study, Florida ranks 46th out of the 50 States in favorable business climates for lawsuit abuse. The overwhelming majority of practicing attorneys in our state are honorable and do great work advocating for their clients, but there are a few bad actors that can profit off of unnecessary and ongoing litigation. Florida made a dent in their rating by passing Assignments of Benefits Reform last session but there is more work to be done to simplify our legal climate for businesses and consumers.

Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee Hosts Public Safety Workshop
On Monday, Chair Lee and the Infrastructure and Security Committee met for a Public Safety Workshop with presentations and a panel discussion related to mass attacks and targeted violence. Dr. Jillian Turanovic and Dr. Brendan Lantz from the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University both presented to the committee on their ongoing research efforts. The criminologists discussed the growing topic of mass violence and hate crimes and the data methods that they use as scientists to measure and analyze their findings.

Senate Education Committee Focuses on Mental Health
The Senate Education Committee met on Monday to discuss mental health and school safety with the Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools. The Department briefed the Senators on the implementation of recently passed legislation to keep students safe at school. One of the items on the agenda was the mental health training for school faculty. Due to Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act passed in 2018 (Senate Bill 7026), there is a training requirement for all school personnel on evidence-based youth mental health awareness and assistance to help these adults identify and understand the signs of mental health and substance abuse problems in students. Currently, over 16,000 school employees are now trained as Mental Health First Aiders.
Additionally, the Department briefed Senators on the Florida Schools Safety Portal, which is available to threat assessment teams for schools across the state of Florida to improve access to timely, complete and accurate information by authorizing school threat assessment teams to swiftly identify, assess and provide intervention services for individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to themselves or others.

Senate Appropriations Committee
In the Senate Appropriations Committee on which I serve, Ms. Amy Baker (Coordinator for the office of Economic and Demographic Research for the State of Florida) gave the committee a presentation on the State’s Long-Range Financial Outlook. This was the thirteenth long-range financial outlook prepared for the Legislature since becoming a constitutional requirement. The work of over 100 analysts went into the preparation of this briefing for the Legislature.
According to Ms. Baker, the first quarter results for the 2019 calendar year indicated that Florida ranked 4th in the country with a 5.1% growth over the prior quarter. Florida ranked higher than the United States, which experienced 3.4% in growth. Healthcare and social assistance was the leading contributor to the earnings increase, and the increase in transfer receipts was greater than the overall net earnings change. Ms. Baker also touched on the impact of tourism as a stabilizer of our economy and one that is important to monitor due to external events such as natural disasters impacting tourism on a basis that is difficult to plan for.

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services
In the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) presented to the Senators on the ongoing efforts of State Mental Health teams and briefed the Committee on Federal Changes to the Child Welfare System and how they can impact the State’s functions.
Types of Mental Health Teams
· Community Action Treatment (CAT) Teams: Use an integrated delivery approach to assist young people to successfully remain with their families and connected to their community.
· Mobile Response Teams: Provide readily available crisis care in communities for individuals 25 and younger to improve coordination of behavioral health services, decrease unnecessary hospitalizations and provide behavioral health interventions 24/7, 365 days per year.
· Florida Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) Teams: Serves adults with a serious mental illness who are at high risk of repeated psychiatric admissions. FACT teams serve those that typically experience prolonged inpatient psychiatric hospitalization or repeated admissions to crisis stabilization units.
· Forensic Multidisciplinary Teams (FMTs): Directly provides or coordinates the majority of treatment, rehabilitation, and support services with the goal of diverting individuals from the commitment to Forensic State Mental Health Treatment Facilities (SMHTFs) and other residential forensic programs.
· Family Intensive Treatment (FIT) Teams: Designed to provide intensive community-based services to families with parental/caregiver substance misuse in the child welfare system-focus on parents with the goal of increasing parental protective capacity and child safety and decrease parental substance abuse and child re-abuse and neglect.
· Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) Teams: Team of specialists who work with the participant to create an individualized treatment plan to intervene when symptoms first appear, decrease the likelihood of future episodes of psychosis and reduce long-term disability.

Representative Chris Sprowls Designated as Speaker-Designate
On Tuesday, Representative Chris Sprowls was voted Speaker-designate of the Florida House of Representatives by his colleagues for the 2020-21 Legislative Term. Speaker-designate Sprowls represents the 65th District in the Florida House and currently serves as the Chairman of the House Rules Committee. At his designation ceremony, Speaker-designate Sprowls touched on his priorities when assuming the Speakership, including the need to increase budget reserves and create a state fund for disaster recovery.

Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Program
Last year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 7068 to create the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Program within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The purpose of the program is to revitalize rural communities, encourage job creation and provide regional connectivity while leveraging technology, enhancing the quality of life and public safety and protecting the environment and natural resources. The objective of the program is for three task forces to research three regional corridors that are intended to accommodate multiple modes of transportation and multiple types of infrastructure.
The intended benefits include, but are not limited to, addressing issues such as:
· Hurricane evacuation
· Congestion mitigation
· Trade and logistics
· Broadband, water and sewer connectivity
· Energy distribution
· Autonomous, connected, shared and electric vehicle technology
· Other transportation modes, such as shared-use non-motorized trails, freight and passenger rail, and public transit
· Mobility as a service
· Availability of a trained workforce skilled in traditional and emerging technologies
· Protection or enhancement of wildlife corridors or environmentally sensitive areas
· Protection or enhancement of primary springs protection zones and farmland preservation areas
The study includes three corridors in the state of Florida:
· The Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to Jefferson County
· The Northern Turnpike Connector, extending from the northern terminus of Florida’s Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway
· The Southwest-Central Florida Connector, extending from Collier County to Polk County
· Study areas are defined at the county level and do not identify specific route. The three task forces held their first meeting on August 27, 2019.
The task force will summarize the results of its analysis in a final report by October 1, 2020. For public input, FDOT has set up an interactive website, https://floridamcores.com/, where Floridians can go to view an interactive map, leave comments, see future events of the task forces, and sign up to receive updates. You can also email the Department at FDOT.Listens@dot.state.fl.us

Welcome to the Florida Senate

This week, I was able to meet with a former colleague of mine from the Hialeah area, Senator Rene Garcia. Senator Garcia was in town serving on a panel before the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee as they held a workshop on early intervention strategies and mental health. During his time in the Legislature, Senator Garcia was a leader on this issue and passed Senate Bill 12 in 2016, which was a landmark bill in reforming and expanding our state’s mental health system.

City of Naples Vice-Mayor Gary Price and City Manager Charles Chapman stopped by the office this week.

Ave Maria University President Jim Towey visited the office while at the Capitol this week.

I was delighted to be recognized as part of the Florida Chamber 2019 Honor Roll.

I was honored to receive a Legislative Appreciation Award from the Florida Small County Coalition.

Immokalee Fire Chief Michael Choate joined me in Tallahassee this week.

In the News
FGCU ranked as one of the South’s most innovative schools
Wounded Warriors of Collier County takes up the cause of combat veterans at home

A Look Ahead
Each County has a local Legislative Delegation Meeting that gives local governments, nonprofit organizations and members of the public to appear before their local Legislators and present on issues important to them before the upcoming Legislative Session. Please consider attending if there is an issue important to you that may be addressed in Tallahassee.
Collier County
· Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
· Location: North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Rd. Naples, FL 34109
· Time: 9:00 a.m. until completion of the agenda. Note: the Delegation will recess at 11:30 a.m. and reconvene at 2 p.m. at the same location.
Hendry County
· Date: Thursday, September 26, 2019
· Location: Clewiston City Hall, 115 West Ventura Ave, Clewiston, FL
· Time: 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Lee County
· Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
· Location: Nursing Building (Room AA-177) at Florida Southwestern State College, 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919
· Time: The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude upon completion of the agenda and public comment.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office any time that I can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Kathleen C. Passidomo
Senate Majority Leader
State Senator, District 28

Hepatitis A awareness and prevention – Heed FLDOH and CDC directives

Washington, D.C. – With the increasing cases of Hepatitis A in the State of Florida, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkess recently declared a Public Health Emergency for the state. While Lee and Collier County currently have less than 80 cases of Hepatitis A in total, residents of Southwest Florida are encouraged to follow the directives from the Florida Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. They are also advised to vaccinate against the virus and follow simple preventative measures like washing their hands regularly.

Congressman Rooney said: “I appreciate the Surgeon General’s leadership in combating the current Hepatitis A outbreak. It is immensely important to heed the messages from the Florida Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. It’s encouraging to see the Surgeon General and CDC Director Redfield are coordinating their efforts to alert the public and help prevent this outbreak from further affecting Floridians and citizens across the country.

Background, via the Florida Department of Health:

To view the number of cases of Hepatitis A county by county in Florida, please visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/vaccine-preventable-disease/hepatitis-a/surveillance-data/index.htm
Since 2018, there have been more than 22,000 cases of hepatitis A in the U.S. and more than 2,500 case in Florida. On Nov. 28, 2018, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) issued a hepatitis A health advisory emphasizing awareness and prevention through vaccination.
After someone uses the bathroom—use soap and warm, running water and wash for at least 20 seconds.
Hepatitis A vaccination is the best protection against the virus. Most vaccinations come in two doses given six months apart.

Congressman Rooney Cosponsors Bill that Enhances Coordination of Veteran Suicide and Mental Health Services

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney cosponsored H.R.3495, the Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act. This bill would provide financial assistance to nonprofits and organizations that provide and coordinate suicide prevention services for veterans.

Congressman Rooney stated, “It’s our government’s responsibility to care for the brave men and women who have served our country. Despite significant increases in VA funding for mental health and suicide prevention services, the veteran suicide rate has continued to remain unchanged as approximately 20 veterans lose their lives by suicide every day. We must do more to act on this national crisis.”

“I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan measure which provides for a larger community that is focused on solving this crisis. Our freedom would not be possible without the service of America’s veterans and I am thankful for their hard work and sacrifice. I am committed to taking care of our veterans and active servicemen and women.”

Congressman Francis Rooney Officially Becomes Member of the Environment Subcommittee

Congressman Francis Rooney has officially become a member of the Environment Subcommittee on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Congressman Rooney joined the House Science Committee just prior to the August recess and participated in his first meeting this week.

Ranking Member Frank Lucas welcomed Congressman Rooney to the Subcommittee. “I’m pleased to have Francis Rooney as a member of our Environment Subcommittee,” said Ranking Member Frank Lucas. “Rep. Rooney has established himself as a strong voice on the issues that impact his district and I look forward to working with him on practical policy solutions to environmental challenges.”

Congressman Rooney stated, “Southwest Florida has a tourism-driven economy that depends on clean water and a healthy environment. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over much of the non-defense, Federal environment research programs that provide innovative solutions to our environmental challenges. One of the biggest challenges for our community is the threat of Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB’s). Serving on this subcommittee will allow for a more precise impact on the solutions to HAB’s and other challenges. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on the committee to address these environmental challenges including the impacts of offshore drilling, rising sea levels and temperatures, and acidity in our air and waters.”

Senator Rick Scott Week in Review September 15, 2019

Just like he did as Governor, Senator Scott is working to make sure every student in the nation – no matter how they grow up – has access to a quality education at a price they can afford. This week, during a speech on the future of higher education, Senator Scott announced five proposals to lower the cost of higher education for our students:

  1. If a student defaults on their federal loan, the institution where they took classes should be responsible for a portion of that default.
  2. Apply the same rules to not-for-profit institutions as we do to for-profit institutions, so all institutions would be held to the same standards when it comes to preparing students for jobs, and ultimately be held accountable for their performance.
  3. If a college or university raises tuition or fees, they will be automatically cut off from ALL federal funding, including federally-guaranteed loan programs.
  4. Allow Pell Grants to be eligible for use at technical colleges. Current law arbitrarily limits Pell Grants. If a student has a Pell Grant, they should get to use it to get the job they want.
  5. Remove onerous Obama-era regulations that hinder private lenders from giving loans.

Senator Scott also introduced the Hurricane Dorian Charitable Giving Act this week, which will change the U.S. tax code to incentivize charitable giving to organizations supporting Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery. He also co-sponsored the Florida Shores Protection Act to help protect Florida’s coasts from off-shore drilling.

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

Sen. Rick Scott: Florida’s Higher Education System Continues to be Best in the Nation

Senator Rick Scott released the following statement commending Florida’s public universities after the release of the 2020 Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Out of the Top Public Schools, the University of Florida is ranked #7, Florida State University is #18 and the University of South Florida is #44.

Senator Rick Scott said, “For three years in a row, U.S. News & World Report has rated Florida’s higher education system as the best in the nation, and I want to thank our universities and our students for continuing this success. Florida has experienced a 9.5 percent increase in its college graduation rate over the last five years, and our public universities, especially University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of South Florida, continue to score impressive ratings every year. We worked hard in Florida to provide our students with a world-class education that leads to a good-paying job at a price they can afford, and today’s rankings show Florida continues to be a leader in higher education. I look forward to working in the Senate to share Florida’s success with the nation and to make education more affordable for all families.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: Current Visa Situation in the Bahamas Must be Clarified

Following confusion in the Bahamas regarding current visa rules, Senator Rick Scott released the following statement.

Senator Rick Scott said, “It’s important Customs and Border Protection and the Bahamian government work together to clarify the current rules regarding visas in the Bahamas. As hundreds of thousands of Bahamians seek refuge or start to rebuild after Hurricane Dorian, we cannot have the kind of confusion that occurred in Freeport. Senator Rubio and I continue to urge President Trump to waive some visa requirements for those in the Bahamas that have family in the United States. But until that happens, there needs to be clarity on the current rules.”

“I also encourage Customs and Border Protection to work with the Bahamian government to set up a temporary site at their ports of entry. Professionals should be on site to help the many Bahamians trying to leave destruction.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Statement on CBP Commissioner Morgan Announcement Regarding Bahamian Refugees

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement following Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan’s announcement that Bahamian refugees fleeing the devastation of Hurricane Dorian can temporarily stay in the United States.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I’m glad Commissioner Morgan has agreed to allow Bahamians fleeing the destruction on the islands to temporarily come to the United States. We should all be there to support our friends from the Bahamas. I would urge everyone at the state and local level of government to join us in supporting those fleeing the Bahamas. If the American Red Cross asks any county in Florida for temporary assistance housing refugees, I hope they will accommodate. We all have a responsibility to help our neighbors…” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Applauds DHS for Bahamian Visa Clarification

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released clarification regarding visa requirements for Bahamian citizens traveling to the United States. This announcement follows Senator Scott’s call for Customs and Border Protection and the Bahamian government to work together to clarify the current rules regarding visas in the Bahamas.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I applaud DHS for responding to our request and clarifying visa requirements for Bahamians fleeing the destruction on the islands to temporarily come to the United States. We should all be supporting our friends from the Bahamas, and we want to make sure there is no confusion. I look forwarding to further discussions about my proposals to help the people of the Bahamas.” Read more HERE.

Congressman Spano Joins Senator Scott to End Surprise Medical Billing 

Congressman Ross Spano announced his sponsorship of the House companion bill to Senator Scott’s Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Act.

Senator Rick Scott said, “One way we can lower the cost of healthcare for American families is to force hospitals to be more transparent in their medical billing. There is no reason patients should be surprised by unconscionable charges for simple procedures and every patient should know what the price will be up front. I fought for and signed similar legislation as Governor of Florida, and this common sense idea will help all American families.” Read more from Congressman Spano’s office HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: Time for Administration to Sanction Turkey for Dealings with Russia

As the Administration considers imposing sanctions related to Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system, Senator Rick Scott released the following statement.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I’ve been greatly concerned about Turkey siding with Russia over NATO, culminating in their purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system. As I have previously stated, it is time for the Administration to declare this sale a significant transaction under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), and fully implement the sanctions required under CAATSA. NATO exists to safeguard freedom and democracy – in particular because of the threats from Russia – and Turkey’s actions actively undermine these goals.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: Update on Bahamas Recovery Efforts

Senator Scott is committed to doing everything he can on the federal level to help families in the Bahamas recover and rebuild, and has released four proposals to help families on the islands. On Tuesday, Senator Scott spoke to UN Secretary General António Guterres to get an update about the UN’s relief efforts in the Bahamas following his letter urging their support. Last week, Senator Scott also joined Senator Rubio in urging President Donald Trump to waive or suspend certain visa requirements for Bahamian citizens with relatives residing in the United States. Read more updates on efforts to help families and businesses in the Bahamas impacted by Hurricane Dorian HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: Under No Circumstance Should Nicolas Maduro be Issued a Visa to Come to the U.S.

Senator Rick Scott issued the following statement on the current situation in Venezuela and requested information from the Department of Defense about the flow of oil between Venezuela and Cuba.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Nicolas Maduro is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela. He is a thug and a dictator who is perpetrating a genocide on his people. Under no circumstance should he be issued a visa to enter the United States. The United Nations General Assembly should not be an excuse to allow Nicolas Maduro to cover up his crimes and promote his propaganda. We should also be very careful about what Cuban officials we allow to enter the United States.”

“I’m also very concerned with the continued flow of oil between Venezuela and Cuba. I’ve requested information from the State Department and the Defense Department about how much oil continues to flow between the two countries and what schemes are being used to circumvent U.S. and international sanctions.” Read more HERE.

Senador Rick Scott: Bajo ninguna circunstancia se le debe emitir una visa a Nicolás Maduro para venir a los EE. UU.

El senador Rick Scott hizo la siguiente declaración sobre la actual situación en Venezuela y le solicitó información al Departamento de Defensa sobre el flujo de petróleo entre Venezuela y Cuba.

El senador Rick Scott dijo: “Nicolás Maduro no es el líder legítimo de Venezuela. Es un matón y un dictador que está perpetrando un genocidio contra su pueblo. Bajo ninguna circunstancia se le debe emitir una visa para entrar a los Estados Unidos. La Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas no debería ser excusa para permitir que Nicolás Maduro encubra sus crímenes y promueva su propaganda. También debemos tener mucho cuidado con los funcionarios cubanos que permitimos que entren a los Estados Unidos. 

“También estoy muy preocupado por el flujo continuo de petróleo entre Venezuela y Cuba. He solicitado información al Departamento de Estado y al Departamento de Defensa sobre la cantidad de petróleo que continúa fluyendo entre los dos países y qué esquemas están utilizando para evadir las sanciones estadounidenses e internacionales”. Lea más AQUÍ.

Sen. Rick Scott Sends Letter to FAA Administrator Following Security Concern at MIA

Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson following the arrest of an airline employee accused of attempting to sabotage a flight departing from Miami International Airport to the Bahamas. In the letter, Senator Scott requests that the FAA provide information on the certification and oversight of commercial airline mechanics. Read more, including the full letter, HERE.

Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Johnny Isakson Introduce the Hurricane Dorian Charitable Giving Act

Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Johnny Isakson introduced the Hurricane Dorian Charitable Giving Act, which will change the U.S. tax code to incentivize charitable giving to organizations supporting Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart will be introducing the bill in the House.

Senator Rick Scott said, “What happened to the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian is absolutely devastating. Our friends in the Bahamas have a long road to recovery, and I am working to make sure they have the support they need. Additionally, many of our friends in the Carolinas are also working on rebuilding their homes and businesses. One thing we can do to help today is get rid of any restriction on the amount an individual or business can give towards recovery efforts. I’m proud to work with Senators Rubio, Graham, and Isakson, and Congressman Diaz-Balart, on this common-sense proposal.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Applauds Committee Passage of $200 Million for Florida Everglades Restoration

Senator Rick Scott applauded the Senate Appropriations Committee’s passage of the Energy and Water spending bill, which includes $200 million in construction funding for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER). In May, Senator Scott joined Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a letter urging President Trump to include this vital funding in his budget requests to Congress.

Senator Rick Scott said, “I was the first Governor to put state funding towards fixing the federal dike at Lake Okeechobee and I’ve consistently fought for federal funding for projects to help restore and protect Florida’s Everglades, including this $200 million SFER project. I’d like to thank Senator Marco Rubio and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee for their commitment to protecting Florida’s natural treasures for generations to come. I hope the full Senate will join in support of this vital project to protect the Everglades and pass this funding quickly.” Read more HERE.

This Week in the Office of Senator Marco Rubio – September 15, 2019

This Week in the Office of Senator Marco Rubio

 

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill and the FY2020 Department of Defense Appropriations bill. I am proud to have secured critical funding for Florida in both bills through my role on the committee. Read more here.

 

 

On Thursday, I wrote an op-ed in The New York Times urging for the passage of my bipartisan red flag legislation, which would give law enforcement the ability to restrict gun access for unstable, potentially violent people, without infringing on the rights of responsible gun owners. Read more here.

 

 

On Wednesday, I reintroduced the Sand Acquisition, Nourishment, and Development (SAND) Act, which could make it more cost-effective to replenish Southeast Florida’s economically-valuable beaches. The SAND Act would give the Army Corps of Engineers greater flexibility in assessing and obtaining non-domestic sand for federal beach renourishment projects. Read more here.

 

 

On Sunday, I sent a letter to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green requesting that the United States Naval Ship (USNS) Comfort be repositioned to the Bahamas as soon as possible, as well as any assets needed from the Bataan Amphibious Readiness Group. Read more here.

 

 

On Wednesday, I named Rethreaded of Jacksonville, Florida as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week. This social entrepreneurship venture creates dignified work opportunities for survivors of human trafficking. Watch my video message here.

 

 

On Thursday, I commended the SBA Office of Advocacy for holding a roundtable to address the overregulation of small businesses in the premium cigar industry. Read more here.

 

 

On Wednesday, I joined CNBC to discuss U.S. investments in China, and the importance of passing my Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Watch the full interview here.

 

 

On Thursday, I sent a letter to Attorne General William Barr to encourage the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that the Brazilian construction conglomerate, Odebrecht, observes the terms of the 2016 plea agreement with the DOJ. Read more here.

 

 

On Wednesday, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) joined me in applauding the Senate’s passage of our bipartisan Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (S.178). The bill is an important step in countering the totalitarian Chinese government’s extensive and horrifying human rights abuses in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Read more here.

 

 

On Tuesday, I joined Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and other colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting an assessment of the adequacy of U.S. export controls with respect to Hong Kong. Read more here.

 

On Monday, I issued a statement following the announcement that the Organization of American States (OAS) has begun the process of invoking the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, in support of the restoration of democratic order and the rule of law in Venezuela. Read more here.

 

 

In Case You Missed It…

 

“A Strong Bipartisan Path to Tackle Gun Violence” (New York Times, 9/12/2019)

 

“DeSantis, Rubio, Scott travel to Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian” (News4Jax, 9/6/2019)

 

“Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott address media after touring Andros Town in the Bahamas” (Miami Herald, 9/6,2019)

 

“Marco Rubio honors Jacksonville firm in human trafficking fight” (Florida Politics, 9/11/2019)

 

“When the institute exits this fall, it will be the last in Florida – the universities of South Florida, West Florida and North Florida had branches when US Sen. Marco Rubio began a drive to stamp them out, saying China was trying to ‘infiltrate American classrooms, stifle free inquiry and subvert free expression.’” (Reaffirm college’s academic freedom after China pressuring, Miami Today, 9/11/2019)

 

“After Miami Herald investigation, Rubio asks DOJ to look into Odebrecht’s plea agreement” (Miami Herald, 9/12/2019)

 

“Marco Rubio requests USNS Comfort be moved to Bahamas post-Dorian” (Florida Politics, 9/8/2019)

 

“Marco Rubio: Dirección política de EEUU sobre Venezuela no será debilitada” (El Tiempo Latino, 9/12/2019)

 

“Sen. Marco Rubio wants to make sure federal worker retirement dollars are not invested in China” (CNBC, 9/11/2019)

 

“On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) tweeted a push for U.S. military involvement. Only active-duty forces have the heavy helicopters needed to quickly transport supplies to devastated areas, he said. Within hours, Rubio added in another tweet that he had “good news”: USAID had made a request for heavy helicopters.” (Pentagon’s involvement in Hurricane Dorian relief effort in the Bahamas expected to remain small, Washington Post, 9/10/2019)

 

“Marco Rubio Backs OAS Getting Tougher on the Maduro Regime in Venezuela” (Florida Daily, 9/120/2019)

 

“Marco Rubio: State, Commerce Departments Should Review U.S. Export Controls Regarding for Hong Kong” (Florida Daily, 9/11/2019)

 

“Marco Rubio apoya invocación del TIAR en Venezuela” (Miamidiario.com, 9/10/2019)

 

“Marco Rubio. Val Demings Want More Diversity in the Media” (Florida Daily, 9/12/2019)

 

Legislation Introduced…

·     On Wednesday, I reintroduced the Sand Acquisition, Nourishment, and Development (SAND) Act , which could make it more cost-effective to replenish Southeast Florida’s beaches.

·     On Thursday, I joined Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Doug Jones (D-AL) to introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize a trade law that has benefited the United States, and 23 countries in the Caribbean basin, for nearly 20 years.

·     On Thursday, I joined Senators Rick Scott (R-FL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to introduce the Hurricane Dorian Charitable Giving Act , which seeks to modify the U.S. tax code to incentivize charitable giving to U.S.-based organizations supporting Hurricane Dorian relief. U.S. Representative Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) will be introducing the companion bill in the House of Representatives.

·     On Tuesday, Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and I joined U.S. Representatives Val Demings (D-FL) and Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral resolution calling for increased diversity in American media.

 

Coming up…

·     My staff will host Mobile Office Hours next week to assist constituents with federal casework issues in their communities. More information and locations near you here.