News briefs from Congressman Francis Rooney

Congressman Rooney Votes Against Unnecessary and Irresponsible Spending – “Congress Must Start Paying Attention to Our Unconscionable National Debt”

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney voted for fiscal responsibility and against an unnecessary and irresponsible appropriations bill, H.R. 5687, that would have provided over $20 billion in additional aid for disaster relief in Puerto Rico.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Once again, Congress has shown its inability to control spending, even though our nation is now over $23 trillion in debt. Over the last three years, over $40 billion has already been allocated to disaster relief in Puerto Rico – less than half of that has been spent, to date. Additionally, the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund has more than $40 billion available now that the President has declared a disaster in Puerto Rico.

“In Congress I have consistently criticized the excessive, irresponsible appropriations promoted by both parties, which has taken our national debt to a stratospheric level. Since elected, I have consistently voted against legislation like this and I intend to continue my opposition to out of control Washington spending.”

Congressman Rooney Testifies on the Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney testified on the importance of the Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act, H.R. 1834, before the House Natural Resources Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee. Congressman Rooney introduced H.R. 1834 last year which prohibits the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate near coral reefs in federally protected waters within the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Coral reefs are the foundation of the marine ecosystem. They nurture marine life and provide for certain species of fish that rely on them for food. Coral reefs similarly play a major role in preventing coastal erosion and protecting the coastal wetlands. In Florida, they also significantly contribute to a $8.5 billion dollar a year tourism economy. This legislation will protect these critical components of our marine ecosystem and assure that they can be enjoyed and studied for generations to come. There are safe sunscreen options available that do not bleach or harm coral reefs, and the use of those should be encouraged. We must act now to prevent the use of these chemicals in National Marine Sanctuaries.”

Background:

  • The Defending Our National Marine Sanctuaries from Damaging Chemicals Act was introduced by Congressman Rooney on March 18, 2019.
  • This bill prohibits the use of sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate in a National Marine Sanctuary that contains coral.
  • Sunscreen is essential for healthy skin and there are safe sunscreen options that can be used when visiting coral reefs so that coral bleaching will not occur.
  • Congressman Rooney will work with Subcommittee Chairman Jared Huffman to advance this critical legislation in Congress.

Congressman Rooney to vote NO on impeachment of the President

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney will vote against the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Congressman Rooney stated, “The impeachment of a President is among the most somber votes that any Member of Congress can take. The process should not be rushed or based on an artificial timeline, nor should it be partisan or incomplete. It should be thorough and convincing. I repeatedly urged the leaders of the process to stay these proceedings until all executive privilege claims and refusals to deliver documents could be adjudicated by the courts, and all relevant primary sources of testimony could be heard under oath, as was the case in both the Clinton and Nixon impeachment hearings.

“Additionally, having asked numerous ex-White House Counsels and well-known government attorneys, there can be no “obstruction of Congress (or of justice)” while the person refusing to comply is relying on a claim of executive privilege. Only after losing in court, and still refusing to comply with a subpoena, would a claimant be obstructing.

“Based on the limited evidence provided to the House of Representatives, the President’s behavior, while inappropriate, was neither criminal, nor does it rise to the level of justifying impeachment.

“It is now time to get back to the business of passing the USMCA, securing our borders, fixing our immigration system, protecting our environment, and working to reduce our unconscionable national debt.”

Congressman Francis Rooney Votes to Support Democracy and Human Rights in Hong Kong

Congressman Francis Rooney Votes to Support Democracy and Human Rights in Hong Kongch

Washington, DC— With the Hong Kong protests becoming more violent and enduring, Congressman Francis Rooney voted in support of the protesters fighting for their rights and autonomy.

Congressman Rooney said, “Since 1997, Hong Kong has existed as a semi-autonomous region of China. The Fugitive Offenders bill, which ignited the mass protests in June, would have eroded their autonomy and civil rights by subjecting Hong Kong residents to the criminal jurisdiction of the Communist Party and mainland China. I stand with the people of Hong Kong who are defending their human rights and autonomous status. I was proud to vote in favor of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which passed the House 417-1. The United States Congress is united in its strong support for the people of Hong Kong in their fight for democracy.”

Background:

  • The mass protests in Hong Kong started in June, following the Hong Kong government’s introduction of the Fugitive Offenders Amendment Bill in February. Protesters claimed this bill would subject Hong Kong residents to mainland Chinese jurisdiction and legal systems, which would ultimately undermine the region’s autonomy and the resident’s civil liberties.
  • The Hong Kong protests have recently been focused on the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Intense clashes between the police and protesters had preceded for months, becoming increasingly violent and deadly. Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, who in return tossed Molotov cocktails and shot arrows back at the police.
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University is the last campus still occupied by activists with about 100 protesters inside.

Congressman Rooney’s statement on Bolivia

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade called for a peaceful transition and free and fair elections in Bolivia following the resignation of Evo Morales:

Congressman Rooney stated “Yesterday, Evo Morales resigned from the Presidency of Bolivia following irregularities and manipulation of the results of the October 20th elections as identified by the Organization of American States. During the run-up to this year’s election, Morales restricted the freedom of the press, persecuted opposition politicians, and eroded the credibility of Bolivia’s public institutions. However, moving forward I urge respect for the constitution and rule of law as Bolivia moves towards new elections.

“I commend the OAS for their work and professionalism throughout this process and urge their continued support to ensure the Bolivian people are able to exercise their fundamental right to vote peacefully without pressure or interference.”

Congressman Francis Rooney statement on Retirement

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Francis Rooney issued the following statement on his announced retirement from Congress:

“On September 11th of this year, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported the passage of H.R. 205, my bill to make the current moratorium on drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, east of the Military Mission Line, permanent. This, along with getting a steady stream of money flowing to the Everglades Restoration projects that will fix our water quality issues, were the main drivers of my decision to seek office in the first place.

“With passage of H.R. 205 and over $1.1 billion secured for the Everglades so far, with an additional, $200 million coming this fiscal year, I believe that it is time to return to private life.  These are the goals I had in running for this position.

“I have been a supporter and sponsor of term limit legislation throughout my time in Congress and like the founders of our republic, I believe in the concept of citizen legislators who commit to public service and not public life. In fact, I introduced a bill to effectively impose term limits without a Constitutional amendment.

“I am thankful to the citizens of Southwest Florida that have provided me with the opportunity to serve them, to my teams in Washington and in our district who have worked hard every day to assist our constituents, and to my family for their support and encouragement. Our community is a special place and I am proud to have played some small part in ensuring a healthy environment and economy for it.”

Congressman Francis Rooney statement on Syria

“The administration’s decision to remove our remaining troops from Syria is strategically short-sighted, erodes our credibility amongst our regional partners and fortifies Russia’s position in the conflict. The Syrian Kurds have been a critical ally in the fight to eradicate ISIS, and they continue to be a crucial partner in the stabilization of the region—holding thousands of foreign ISIS prisoners that our European allies refuse to accept and administering refugee camps that ISIS holdouts hope to infiltrate and exploit. Abandoning the Kurds at this time and supporting by default Turkey’s offensive military action will divert Kurdish resources now being used to stabilize the region and will erode global confidence in the US.

“I urge the President to reverse his decision of removing our troops, and to send a strong message to Turkey—along with our other NATO partners in Europe—that we support the Kurds who have been fighting with us.”

Congressman Rooney Introduces Bill That Prohibits Use of Federal Funding for State and Local Bailouts

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, Congressman Francis Rooney introduced the Government Bailout Prevention Act. This bill would prohibit the use of federal tax dollars by insolvent state, territory, and local governments to bail out and pay off their obligations.

Congressman Rooney stated, “American taxpayers do not like when their money is used to bail out failing corporations or businesses and this dislike extends to state and local governments who are fiscally irresponsible. I have consistently voted against irresponsible spending and subsidies. All levels of government; federal, state, and local, must be better stewards of taxpayer money. While I continue to fight for fiscal responsibility in Congress, I believe that state and local governments should not be bailed out for their fiscal mismanagement. It is time for accountability and honesty.”

Background:

  • Senators Young, Toomey, and Cotton introduced the Government Bailout Prevention Act in the Senate on July 15, 2019.
  • This bill also prevents the federal government, including the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, from paying or guaranteeing state and local obligations if that government entity has defaulted, filed for bankruptcy, or is at risk of bankruptcy or default.

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.”

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.