Diaz-Balart: House Democrats Pass a Partisan, Politically-Motivated Bill that Fails to Adequately Address the Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after Democratic Leadership passed H.R. 3401, “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act, 2019.”

“As I mentioned last week, supplemental funding is critically needed to address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Despite the urgency of this matter, House Democrats have blocked the passage of this funding 17 times and have failed to work with Republicans on a bill that would provide desperately needed resources to overburdened federal agencies. Unlike the bipartisan bill advancing in the Senate, and just two days before the House adjourns for recess, House Democrats have passed highly partisan, politically-motivated legislation that does little to solve the problem.

“It’s unconscionable that this bill does not provide funding to investigate human traffickers smuggling children and does not provide additional funds to support immigration judges, courtrooms, and equipment. Overall, the House Democratic bill underfunds critical agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) – all agencies that are essential to addressing the numerous challenges continuing to mount while Democratic Leadership fails to produce an effective, passable bill.”

Diaz-Balart: House Majority Leadership Has Failed to Protect the Well-being of Thousands of Unaccompanied Children

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement calling out House Majority Leadership for failing to support an emergency supplemental bill that would address the lack of funding for unaccompanied children under the care of the United States.

“It is appalling that thousands of unaccompanied children’s lives and well-being may be at risk because House Majority leadership continues to refuse to bring forth a supplemental bill that would address the funding crisis for HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program. Seven weeks ago, President Trump requested $4.5 billion in emergency appropriations to respond to the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Shamefully, House Majority leadership’s inaction has failed to safeguard our national security interests and has failed these children.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) need resources to respond to the increases of those arriving at our southern border. The number of unaccompanied minor children in CPB’s custody increased from 870 on May 1st to more than 2,300 today. The lack of action from House Majority leadership in response to the influx of unaccompanied minors at our southern border is forcing federal agencies to cope with the crisis without the crucial resources that they need. This has also forced the termination of education services, legal services and recreation in the facilities.”

DHS and HHS report that as of June 10, 2019, more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been referred to HHS this year, a more than 60% increase over the previous fiscal year. In May 2019, the agencies reported that there were a staggering 144,278 total apprehensions at the southern border. On June 12, the Department of Homeland Security and The Department of Health & Human Services wrote a joint letter to Congress urging the immediate passage of emergency supplemental funding.

“Failing to provide these agencies with the necessary resources means jeopardizing the well-being of thousands of unaccompanied children.”

Diaz-Balart: It’s Time to Propose Tangible Solutions

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement following the passage of H.R.6, the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2019.”

“I have continuously voted for efforts that show support for DREAMers and TPS recipients, and I voted for H.R. 6, the “American Dream and Promise Act.” However, it is unfortunate that Democratic leadership has once again failed to work with Republicans to obtain real solutions by proposing a bill that is unlikely to pass the Senate and become law. I have consistently worked with House Democrats and Republicans to help DREAMers, but unfortunately, these efforts have not been reciprocated by Democratic leadership. It is time to propose tangible solutions. I remain open and willing to work with my colleagues across the aisle to address the ongoing uncertainty that our DREAMers face.”

Diaz-Balart: We Remember the Brave Heroes of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement on the thirty-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

“Today, we mark thirty years since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. On that day, thousands of courageous, unarmed protesters faced down the tanks and bullets ordered against them by Communist China’s Politburo. We recall their bravery as they gathered together to simply call for democracy and basic freedoms of expression, assembly, and political opinion. We also remember our disbelief and horror at the brutality unleashed against them by their own despotic leaders. Communist China now continues its autocratic methods by imprisoning political activists, oppressing religious groups, and censoring media. It spreads its propaganda and other insidious activities with its Confucius Institutes, piracy of intellectual property, and espionage against the United States and our allies.

“While the demands for democracy at Tiananmen Square did not result in the immediate liberation of the oppressed Chinese people, it demonstrated a profound desire for freedom stirring within many languishing inside totalitarian China. And, perhaps much like the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 became important to Hungary’s eventual liberation decades later, Tiananmen Square may mark an important point in China’s path toward freedom. When the Chinese people are finally free, I believe that we will credit the heroes of Tiananmen Square, and their sacrifices, in helping to pave the way.”

Diaz-Balart Commends Tough Sanctions against the Regime in Cuba

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after President Trump’s Administration announced new restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba.

Effective June 5, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it will no longer authorize group people to people travel, also known as nonacademic educational travel. The administration already ended individual people to people travel in November 2017. “Tourist activities” in Cuba are illegal under the Trade Sanctions Reform Export Enhancement Act of 2000. However, people to people travel, initiated by the Obama administration in 2011, may have crossed the line into unlawful tourism. There are still twelve categories of lawful travel to Cuba.

“I commend President Trump and his administration for continuing its strong solidarity with the Cuban people by cutting off resources to their oppressors. The elimination of individual people to people travel, and now also group people to people travel, will bring to an end abuses of travel to Cuba that may have crossed the line into tourism travel. According to U.S. law, tourist activities are prohibited to Cuba. However, cruises, tour groups, and other people to people travel seemed often to cross the line into unlawful tourism. By ending people to people travel, there are likely to be fewer abuses and therefore fewer resources to reach the regime, which runs much of Cuba’s tourism industry.

“At this time, while the regime in Cuba is subverting democracy in Venezuela, opposing U.S. interests in our hemisphere, and oppressing the Cuban people, it is crucial that we do all we can to deny U.S. dollars to that brutal dictatorship. I strongly support the President and his administration in tightening sanctions and continuing to support the Cuban people in their democratic aspirations.”

Diaz-Balart announces $60 million for the completion of Tamiami Trail Project

“As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and co-chair/co-founder of the House Everglades caucus, I have continuously worked to ensure that Everglades Restoration remains a top priority in Congress. The Tamiami Trail project is just one component of that restoration plan, and once completed would provide increased water flows south of the trail. As then Chairman of the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I included $300 million for the National Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) program in the Fiscal Year 2018 bill. I recognized the critical need for timely completion of the Tamiami Trail Project and ensured this funding became law. With this $60 million federal grant, the project can complete its second phase, leading to an additional 6.5 miles of elevated bridging.

“I thank and commend Secretary Elaine Chao for her unceasing commitment to Florida, and for all she has done for the Tamiami Trail project. She has been an extraordinary partner to work with, and I value her service to this country. Like me, she recognizes that the Tamiami Trail project is vital to the health of the Everglades and is the center of Florida’s ecosystem and economy. I would also like to commend Superintendent Pedro Ramos for his dedication to the Everglades and to our community. I look forward to this project’s completion and remain a steadfast advocate for the preservation and continued restoration of the Everglades.”

Diaz-Balart: I cannot oppose a bill that seeks to prevent discrimination

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after voting for H.R. 5, the “Equality Act.”

“Protecting religious freedom has always been a priority for me. I have voted for and co-sponsored numerous bills that protect and promote religious freedom.

I have also dedicated my career to fighting against discrimination in all its forms. This piece of legislation is flawed and amounts to just another messaging bill pushed by Democratic Leadership that has no chance of passing the Senate and becoming law in its current form.

If House Democrats wanted to pass real legislation, they would have included bipartisan language providing legitimate protections for families, individuals, medical professionals, and religious organizations who object based on their deeply held religious beliefs. However, I cannot oppose a bill that seeks to prevent discrimination.”