Diaz-Balart Applauds Additional Sanctions Against Maduro Regime

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after President Trump issued an Executive Order imposing a total economic embargo against the Maduro regime.

“I commend POTUS and his administration for imposing another round of increasingly tough sanctions against the Maduro regime. These new sanctions freeze Maduro-controlled assets in the United States and prevent transactions with those Venezuelans whose assets have been blocked. These sanctions are crucial to preventing other businesses and foreign counties from propping up the Maduro dictatorship and his cronies with hard currency. Countries such as Communist China, Cuba, and Russia have kept the illegitimate Maduro in power, and these sanctions will make providing sustenance to the brutal, oppressive Maduro regime much more difficult.

“Today’s sanctions are another step toward achieving freedom and restoring democracy and prosperity for the Venezuelan people while protecting the national security interests of the United States. I will continue working with my colleagues and the administration until the Venezuelan people are finally rid of the malignancy that has oppressed them and destabilized the region for far too long.”

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!”

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.”

We Should Avoid Politically-Motivated Personal Attacks

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement on House Majority Leadership’s H.Res. 489, and following the complete lack of civility and decorum in violation of House Rules by the Speaker.

“I am proud of my record of service in support of immigrant rights. As the son and sibling of immigrants, I know that immigrants have always played, and continue to play, a crucial and exemplary role in our great nation. I strongly believe that public discourse in our republic needs to be focused on the challenges and issues confronting us, and that, on all sides of the political spectrum, we should avoid politically-motivated personal attacks. Accordingly, I cannot support today’s resolution.”

Diaz-Balart, Deutch Introduce Bill to Expand National Threat Assessment Center to Include School Violence Prevention Initiatives

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) and Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) introduced the EAGLES Act, legislation to expand the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) with a greater focus on school violence prevention.

The NTAC provides research and training for threat assessment and targeted violence, including school shootings and other school threats. This legislation creates a national program on targeted school violence prevention, including by expanding the NTAC’s research and training on school violence and its dissemination of information on school violence prevention initiatives.

The Senate companion was introduced by U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

“Over the years, I have been personally involved in working towards making our communities and schools a safer place,” said Congressman Diaz-Balart. “The safety of our children is of the utmost importance for every family. All parents should feel confident that when they drop their child off at school, that child is in a safe environment. That is why school safety should remain a top priority in our country, and that begins by taking the appropriate measures to prevent targeted violence and school violence. I am honored to co-lead this legislation, and I thank Congressman Deutch for his leadership on this issue.”

“The Secret Service’s Threat Assessment Center was created to help train communities to prevent the kinds of targeted violence that threaten them. Sadly, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School endured a tragedy that resulted in the loss of 17 Eagles. This bill will prevent violence in other communities across the country,” said Congressman Deutch.”We should use this effective model of assessing threats and developing trainings in order to prevent any more school shootings in any other community. I’m proud of this bipartisan plan to leverage some of our government’s best resources to tackle this heart-breaking and preventable crisis.”

“The National Threat Assessment Center has been essential to thwarting mass shooters and targeted violence since it was first created in 2008. The EAGLES Act is a critical expansion of the program that prioritizes school violence and directs key funding to prevent the next mass school shooting,” said Tony Montalto, President of Stand with Parkland and father of Gina Montalto one of the 17 people murdered at school in the 2018 Parkland shooting. “We need to be more proactive and less reactive — our children’s lives are at stake. This bipartisan effort underscores the importance of school safety and ensures nationwide research and training to stop the next attack before it happens. Our nation’s lawmakers must join together to keep staff members and students safe at school. After the Parkland shooting many American leaders said things needed to change. We saw Congress and the Trump administration come together last year to take the first steps to protect our nation’s students and staff members with the passage of the STOP School Violence Act. More needs to be done and working together for positive change is the only way to make lasting and significant improvements. Similar bipartisan Eagles Act bills are now available in both the House and Senate hopefully we will see them debated and voted upon in a timely fashion, and finally presented to the President for his signature.”

Diaz-Balart, Rooney Urge Secretary Pompeo to Reclassify Cuba as State Sponsor of Terrorism

Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) and Francis Rooney (FL-19) sent a letter to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, encouraging the administration to return Cuba to the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

“I commend President Trump and his administration for imposing tough sanctions on the brutal regime in Cuba, and for the unprecedented decision to allow lawsuits to proceed against traffickers in confiscated properties,” said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. “With these key changes, there remains a major mistake of the previous administration to rectify: returning Cuba to the state sponsors of terrorism list. The Cuban regime smuggled weapons to North Korea, harbors fugitives including a convicted murderer on the FBI’s “Top Ten Most Wanted Terrorist” list, and planted thousands of operatives in Venezuela. I look forward to working with the Trump administration to continue its commendable policy of applying pressure to oppressive, anti-American dictatorships. Classifying Cuba as a terrorist state is an important next step in that robust policy.”

“Four years ago, president Obama removed Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism,” added Congressman Francis Rooney. “Despite this decision, Cuba has continued to support known terrorist organizations and corrupt dictators such as the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and has continued to harbor known terrorists sought by American law enforcement. Accordingly, I support the Administration’s firm stance toward our communist island neighbor and urge Secretary Pompeo and President Trump to redesignate Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

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.”