Her studies first brought her West, but for Christine Margaret Blasey Ford, the move to California proved a way to leave behind what had gone wrong in her teenage years in the patrician suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Born into a well-off family in Montgomery County, Maryland, Ford has said she spent years working to recover from an assault as a young girl in that world of prep school parties — by Supreme Court nominee BrettKavanaugh, she would disclose years later.
Long before she decided to come forward, Ford, now 51, had built a new life for herself in Malibu, Honolulu and the San Francisco Bay area, embracing academia, surfing, cheering on the Stanford football team and taking in outdoor rock concerts.
Ford settled in the Silicon Valley in the 1990s, when the first wave of the tech boom was transforming lives around her and startups were replacing peach orchards. She began working as a research psychologist and biostatistician at Stanford University, one of the most elite universities in the country. She later was hired as a professor in a consortium between Stanford and Palo Alto University. Soon, she married her husband in a nearby coastal town, and they bought a classic Eichler home in Palo Alto and had two sons.
“She is very friendly, outgoing and brilliant, and she is a great mother,” said clinical psychologist ErinHeinemeyer, a mentee of Ford’s who is also a friend. “I know in general she supports women’s rights, and she often stands up for students, and she had expressed concerns to me about other students who might be struggling.”
Months after anonymously contacting her elected officials, Ford went public on Sunday telling The Washington Post that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed at a Maryland house party in the early 1980s and tried to take her clothes off. He put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream, she said, and she feared he might inadvertently kill her. She said she was around 15 at the time and he would have been about 17.
Friends who knew her say she struggled with the decision to come forward.
“She clearly has nothing to gain and much to lose by going public with her story,” said JimGensheimer, a friend of Ford’s. “I know from things she has told me, including her need to have more than one exit door in her bedroom to prevent her from being trapped, that this event was serious enough to have a lasting impact on her life.”
Through the White House, Kavanaugh issued a statement saying he “categorically and unequivocally” denied the allegation.
“I can only say this: He is such an outstanding man. Very hard for me to imagine that anything happened,” President DonaldTrump said Wednesday. “I think it’s a very unfair thing what’s going on.”
The allegation has shaken up the battle over Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and Republicans are calling for a public hearing with both accuser and accused testifying. But lawyers for Ford say that she wants an FBI investigation of her allegation in advance of a Judiciary Committee hearing set for Monday.
The lawyers said in a letter that Ford wants to cooperate with the panel. But they say that in the days since she gone public with her allegation, she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats.” Her family has relocated, they said.
An FBI investigation “should be the first step in addressing the allegations,” the lawyers wrote Tuesday in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
Kavanaugh supporters have called Ford’s credibility and motivations into question. Sen. OrrinHatch, a Utah Republican, told NBC News that Ford is “mixed up,” and called Kavanaugh “honest” and “straightforward.”
Several former colleagues said that, as a biostatistician and psychologist, Ford was known for her scrupulous and meticulous professional conduct. She has published several books and more than 65 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Her work often involves analyzing data gathered in medical studies ranging from investigations of new depression treatments to opioid addiction interventions and traumatic brain injury research.
SarahAdler, a former student of Ford’s who is now a clinical psychologist at Stanford, co-organized a letter in support of her former professor that had been signed by more than 300 colleagues and former students by Tuesday afternoon. Another letter of support has been signed by more than 700 graduates of her private prep school, Holton-Arms.
“I think she felt morally compelled to come forward, which is very much in line with what I know of her,” said Adler. “She analyzes the data and lets the data tell the story.”
Ford values clear professional boundaries and isn’t one to share personal struggles with coworkers, the former colleagues said.
“She never said a word about this,” said AllanReiss, a Stanford professor of psychiatry with whom she has written numerous scholarly publications. “But the fact that I know her as a person of integrity and honesty, it doesn’t surprise me that she came forward and that she has a personal sense of the importance of what she has to say.”
It was in couple’s counseling with her husband in 2012 that she first described an encounter with Kavanaugh in her freshman year of high school, she would later disclose.
TimothyAvery, a former student who is now a postdoctoral research fellow, said he and many others admire her intellect and her kindness on the job.
“She has reviewed statistics for trials and research being presented to the federal government,” Avery said. “This all requires a great deal of integrity. Other statisticians review her work, and she reviews theirs.”
Colleagues and former students described her as competent and laid-back, someone who is sure of her own footing and who balances work and family.
Even as her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee remains up in the air, Avery said he thinks Ford can handle the blazing national spotlight.
“It’s obviously terrible to have to deal with but because her dedication to truth is more important than her personal difficulties, I think she can handle it,” he said.
Material republished with permission from The Associated Press.
Nelson would be happier than most with Kavanaugh delay
Senate Republicans hoping the Judiciary Committee would hunker down and vote out the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, now realize they have one more desperate roadblock to sidestep. With a name now attached to the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct more than 30 years ago, the committee’s scheduled Thursday vote is now in jeopardy.
For those old enough to remember back to October 1991, they might be uttering Yogi Berra’s line about “déjà vu all over again.” It was that autumn 27 years ago when law professor Anita Hill rocked Capitol Hill with accusations of sexual impropriety against nominee Clarence Thomas.
After lamenting a “high-tech lynching,” Thomas was ultimately confirmed by a 52-48 vote. Before allegations by the California research psychologist against Kavanaugh became public last week, many were predicting a similar vote when the nomination came before the full Senate.
Calls to delay Thursday’s vote quickly began with Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin taking the lead. Other Democrats followed, but retiring Arizona Republican Jeff Flake said the accusations needed to be addressed and fellow committee Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he would “gladly listen,” and “compare that against all other information we have received about judge Kavanaugh.”
“If the committee is to hear from Ms. (Christine Blasey) Ford, it should be done immediately so the process can continue as scheduled,” said Graham.
Democrats have long hoped to drag out the confirmation process until after the midterms, if at all possible. Should the “blue wave” occur and sweep out the GOP majority, Kavanaugh’s nomination would be doomed.
That would be just fine with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who is engaged in a tight race against Gov. Rick Scott. While some red-state Democrats running for re-election will find it politically healthy to vote for Kavanaugh, Nelson is in a tougher spot.
While some Trump-voting Democrats might hold a “no” vote against him, enough of the Democratic base could turn on him if he votes for the nominee. A recent poll revealed that 80 percent of Florida voters would not base their vote on this issue, but 31 percent of Democrats said they would be “less likely to vote for Nelson if he votes to confirm Kavanaugh.”
On Monday, Nelson called for an “investigation” into the allegations. He also affirmed his readiness to meet with Kavanaugh, a meeting he has “requested four times.”
This is the era of the “#MeToo” movement, where women are coming forward, and now believed, with accounts of harassment and assault perpetrated on them by powerful men. Bipartisan efforts to further mainstream the issue continue in Congress (see below)
Such a movement did not exist in 1991 while the Thomas hearings were in progress.
This will be a big week for the future of Kavanaugh and the person who nominated him, President Donald Trump. If there are further delays by the end of the week, Nelson will consider it a victory.
Rubio campaigns for Tennessee Senate candidate
During the campaign for Nelson’s Senate seat, Scott and his surrogates have regularly criticized the incumbent Democrat on his three terms in office. One of those critics has not been Marco Rubio, who pledged not to attack the state’s senior Senator and is keeping that pledge.
To help the GOP keep their Senate majority, Rubio traveled to Tennessee in support of his party’s candidate, Rep. Marsha Blackburn. In support of Blackburn, Rubio warned that her opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, is “trying to pull a fast one.”
Bredesen is one of those Democrats who tell voters “they are middle of the road, moderate, work with both sides,” he told a Blackburn campaign event in Brentwood, Tenn. Those promising moderation, Rubio said, “when they get to D.C., they vote 99.9 percent of the time with people that Tennessee would never vote for if they ran for office, here.”
Rubio praised Blackburn as “a great candidate,” while her opponent “is trying to pull a fast on you.”
A spokeswoman for Bredesen responded in a statement: “Just like Governor Bredesen, Tennesseans are independent thinkers who can make up their own minds and don’t need to be told what to do by out-of-state politicians.”
“My only commitment is with you,” he continued. “For me, what’s important is that your family have the best opportunities. I ask for your vote so that together we can make Washington work for our families.”
Following Hurricane Maria last year, Scott and Nelson received similar levels of approval for their handling of Puerto Rican evacuees into Florida. The two candidates are also in a dead heat among Latino voters.
House, Senate negotiators agree to avoid shutdown
One of the issues now destined to play a minor role in the fall campaigns is the seemingly never-ending threat of a federal government shutdown. Astopgap spending billwas agreed upon by House and Senate negotiators late last week which would keep the money flowing until December 7, will be voted on this week in the Senate and next week in the House.
This action is usually necessary when Congress cannot agree on spending bills, forcing either a stopgap measure or a massive omnibus spending bill covering multiple agencies. Last year, the $1.3 trillion price tag of the omnibus bill brought Trump to pledge he would never sign another one like it.
This year, Congress is doing a much better job of getting the individual spending bills debated and passed. The deadline is October 1, but when it became apparent a few would remain, the desire to prevent a shutdown prompted the stopgap measure.
All of that depends upon whether Trump will sign the bill, but negotiators have been told he would approve it. It will beattached to funding billcovering the Department of Defense and other programs, making a veto highly unlikely.
Previous stopgap or omnibus spending bills have met opposition from members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is one of those who oppose such legislation on principle, but with Congress on track to complete the bills before the year ends, conservatives may wind up supporting it in the end.
Voting “no” on defense funding might be difficult as well.
Chief Justice flexes muscle in ‘dark money’ case
Candidates from both sides have long complained about third party attacks from organizations funded in part by anonymous donors contributing “dark money.” As one organization was about to unwillingly reveal their donors after a federal appeals court refused to issue a stay on a lower-court ruling,Chief Justice John Roberts stepped in, blocking the ruling.
The affected party in the case was former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove and his Crossroads GPS organization that was trying to influence a 2012 Ohio U.S. Senate race. Those involved with these organizations argued that if the ruling stood, a chilling effect on independent expenditures might have followed.
“Upon consideration of the application of counsel for the applicant and the response filed thereto,” Roberts wrote in his brief order, “it is ordered that the order of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, case No. 16-259, is hereby stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court.”
Third party groups such as Majority Forward is one of many that have become involved in campaigns around the country. While both parties benefit from the secret resource, Majority Forward came to the rescue of a prominent Floridian.
While Scott is expected to be well-funded, other Republicans are expected to take full advantage of current law. Democrats are outraising Republicans, including incumbents, in several races around the country as they seek to regain the majority in both the House and Senate.
Murphy, Curbelo warn of ‘deep fakes’
Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Kendall and Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy from Winter Park have both expressed concerns about “deep fake” videos. Both have also called on intelligence leaders to assess the potential threat.
Curbelo and Murphy signed a letter with Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff from California calling on Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly report on the implications of new technology potentially affecting affairs in a democracy.
“You have repeatedly raised the alarm about disinformation campaigns in our elections and other efforts to exacerbate political and social divisions in our society to weaken our nation,” the letter reads. “We are deeply concerned that deep fake technology could soon be deployed by malicious foreign actors.”
‘Deep Fake’ videos are created by an artificial intelligence-based human image synthesis. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and video onto source images or videos. Essentially, it is designed to put the likeness of a selected person on video to make it appear that person was doing something they were not.
“Deep fake technology can be used by our enemies to undermine our nation’s security and democracy, which is why the Intelligence Community must provide a comprehensive report to Congress on the threat posed by deep fake technology,” said Murphy, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“We need to know what countries have used it against U.S. interests, what the U.S. government is doing to address this national security threat, and what more the Intelligence Community needs to effectively counter the threat.”
Curbelo agreed with Murphy claiming that fake video technology has the potential to disrupt every aspect of society, including elections.
“With implications for national security, human rights and public safety, the technological capabilities to produce this kind of propaganda targeting the United States and Americans around the world is unprecedented,” Curbelo said.
Webster praises passage of VA funding
Last week, a series of spending bills were approved and sent to Trump for his signature. Among those was a bipartisan VA funding bill that earned effusive praise from Republican Rep. Daniel Webster of Clermont.
Webster was laudatory of the process that led to passing the spending bills. Funding for federal agencies has recently been lumped into huge spending packages.
“For the first time in 8 years, Congress is not funding these agencies through what is commonly called a Continuing Resolution — a slush fund that allows the agencies to follow their own path independent of proper congressional oversight,” Webster said in a news release. “There is more work to be done if Congress is serious about reducing the spigot of spending, which requires returning to the budget process our Founding Fathers envisioned.”
Among the areas covered includes funding to enhance the VA’s electronic records system, enhanced mental health treatment, infrastructure upgrades to combat cyberattacks from hostile nations, and funding for family housing.
In addition to funding military construction and the VA, the three-bill spending package also includes funding for energy and water, along with appropriations for the legislative branch. The Senate approved the measure 92-5 while the House voted 377-20 in support.
Democratic poll gives Carlson one-point lead in CD 15
Republican Ross Spano is heavily favored to win the District 15 House seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Dennis Ross, but a poll conducted by Spano’s opponent says it is anyone’s race. According to an internal poll, DemocratKristen Carlson leads Spano by one point, 48-47.
Carlson outraised Spano by nearly $100,000 during the primary campaign, but Spano had a $60,000 advantage in cash on hand as of the last FEC fundraising report on August 8.
Carlson is a former prosecutor and general counsel to the Florida Department of Citrus. Spano is a state representative who was backed by Rubio in last month’s primary.
The Larry Sabato Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report list the race as “Likely Republican” while Roll Call’s Nathan Gonzales rates it as Solid Republican.
The survey contacted 400 likely voters with a 4.9 percent margin of error.
Mast named subcommittee chair
For the second time this year, Republican Rep. Brian Mast has taken on a different role in his committee assignments. On Monday, he was named the chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster.
Mast’s appointment is effective immediately and lasts through the end of the 115th Congress, which occurs in January 2019. He replaces Duncan Hunter of California, who was indicted on multiple charges of campaign finance fraud.
“Oversight of the Coast Guard and the nation’s maritime transportation system is a vital responsibility of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” said Shuster. “Brian is an effective member of this subcommittee and has a firm grasp of the issues. He understands the critical nature of the Coast Guard’s missions and is ready to take the gavel.”
“Maritime transportation is a critical issue for Florida, and the Coast Guard has an important presence in our state, which is why I asked Chairman Bill Shuster for the opportunity to take on leadership of this subcommittee,” Mast said. “The Coast Guard plays an essential role in maintaining the rule of law on our waterways, including securing our borders and enforcing marine pollution laws. Working together, I’m confident we can ensure they have the tools they need to succeed at these critical missions.”
His future in keeping the gavel depends on first defeating Democrat Lauren Baer in November and the Republicans maintaining a majority in the House.
Frankel, women’s caucus hold hearing on workplace harassment
As the anniversary of the Harvey Weinstein assault allegations approaches, the House Caucus for Women’s Issues recently hosted a hearing about what has become the #MeToo movement. The hearing was appropriately titled “#MeToo, What’s Next? Turning a Movement into Action.”
Caucus members heard from leaders from some industries to discuss ways to promote respect and dignity in the workplace, and ultimately to find innovative and creative solutions to the problem of workplace harassment. The hearing was hosted by caucus co-chair Lois Frankel and the caucus leadership group consisting of bipartisan Members of Congress.
“Women, like men, go to work to take care of their families,” said Frankel, a Democrat from West Palm Beach. “Sexual harassment is a real economic issue and a big factor that’s holding women back from opportunities and advancing in their careers. We heard the wisdom of our panelists on some solutions, and I hope measures going through the House like reauthorizing VAWA, banning mandatory arbitration, boosting spending for the (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission), and passing the EMPOWER Act will help create safer workplaces.”
This is the third hearing in a series of hearings on sexual harassment in the workplace conducted by the caucus. The first hearing focused on sexual harassment in the service sector and the second heard from survivors and experts from fields where women are often outnumbered.
South Florida Republicans join call for new Violence Against Women Act
With the issue surrounding sexual harassment and sexual violence playing out in the Kavanaugh hearings, legislation combating the menace was set to expire on September 30. As Congress is dealing with preventing a government shutdown (see above), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the law will receive the same extension until December 7 as the stopgap spending bill.
Before its inclusion in the funding bill, 46 Republicans called on Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to reauthorize the law. In a letter, the signees said VAWA “has helped to protect and support millions of Americans who have faced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”
Among delegation Republicans signing the letter included Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami, as well as Carlos Curbelo of Kendall.
“This is not a partisan issue,” the letter continued. “VAWA has been continually reauthorized on a bipartisan basis in Congress. We must act now to strengthen and maintain this critical law.
Congress first passed the VAWA in 1993 and most recently reauthorized it in 2013. Along with passing other spending bills, it is likely to be reauthorized during a lame-duck session of Congress in November or December.
Mucarsel-Powell under attack from multiple angles
Florida’s 26th Congressional District Democratic candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is the target of numerous attacks on behalf of Curbelo as well as another from his campaign. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is revisiting allegations of ties between her and a Ukrainian oligarch named Ihor Kolomoisky.
Mucarsel-Powell has already faced scrutiny over her husband’s work for Kolomoisky during the Democratic primary. She called the ad “a complete lie.”
A radio adfrom the Congressional Leadership Fund tried to link Mucarsel-Powell to Kolomoisky as well. The NRCC ad, titled “Connection,” has brought attention to the claims again.
It claims Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign “has received thousands in contributions from Kolomoisky’s associates.”
Also, Curbelo is criticizing his opponent for accepting money from the BOLD PAC, chaired by Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenas. Cardenas was accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl in 2007, which he denies.
BOLD PAC, which serves as the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also contributed $5,000 to Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign. The caucus denied admission to Curbelo in 2017.
On this day in the headlines
September 18, 1978 — President Jimmy Carter announced to the world Sunday night that a “framework for peace” in the Middle East has been reached at a summit meeting with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin. Carter said the documents signed by the two leaders at Camp David “will provide that Israel may live in peace within secure borders.”
The agreement calls for a five-year transition period during which Palestinians will “retain full autonomy.” It also allows Israel to station troops at locations within the West Bank and Gaza.
September 18, 2012 — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is dealing with a new headache as a video surfaced of him telling wealthy donors that almost half of Americans “believe they are victims.” Romney told the gathering “there are 47 percent of people who are with (Barack Obama), who depend on government, who believe they are victims.”
The campaign went into damage control putting out a statement that Romney “wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy.” An Obama adviser said the Democratic campaign might use Romney’s comments from the fundraising video in television advertisements.
Gambling regulators on Tuesday again said they were “renewing” an emergency rule that allows them to continue testing racing greyhounds for drugs, including cocaine.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling through its Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, posted a “notice of renewal” in Tuesday’s Florida Administrative Register.
The emergency rule on “Procedures for Collecting Samples from Racing Greyhounds” was adopted late last December. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 11 tracks.
An administrative law judge struck down the testing program, saying it was invalid. Tuesday’s notice said a rule challenge was still pending in the Division of Administrative Hearings.
The docket shows that case is “awaiting (an) order” from Administrative Law Judge E. Gary Early.
Another judge, Lawrence P. Stevenson, had barred the state from relying on a 2010 testing manual because it wasn’t properly adopted, though as one of the division’s lawyers said, “There aren’t that many ways to do urine collection.”
The emergency rule includes using “evidence tape” to seal samples and storing them in “lockable freezers” until they’re sent off for testing.
A cocaine-in-dogs controversy came to light in Jacksonville in the summer of 2017. That in part spurred a constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot to ban betting on greyhound racing in the state.
Attorney Jeff Kottkamp, who represents the Florida Greyhound Association, has previously said it has “a zero-tolerance policy for anyone that would give a racing greyhound any illegal substance.” The organization advocates for the state’s race-dog owners and breeders.
The Protect Dogs-Yes on 13, which advocates for passage of Amendment 13, called the renewal “good news” but called out “a continuing problem.”
“Greyhound breeders have thrown the entire regulatory scheme into chaos by repeatedly challenging the state drug testing program in court,” the campaign said in a statement. “This is is an intentional strategy to prevent greyhound trainers from being held responsible for greyhound cocaine positives.
“The regulatory structure is broken, and it’s time for voters to act by voting Yes on 13.”
Senior Editor JimRosica contributed to this post. Main photo: Van Abernethy.
Circuit Judge KarenGievers had found that the three proposals – including a measure that would ban offshore oil drilling and ban vaping in workplaces – improperly “bundled” unrelated issues.
Why not, Agarwal suggested, since the Framers did the same thing.
“Our constitutional history is replete with examples of situations in which voters have been asked to vote up or down on bundled provisions addressing distinct rights and issues—including the ratification of the Constitution and the First Amendment,” he said.
A challenge by retired Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead, and fellow plaintiff RobertBarnas, a former state elections commissioner, argued that such bundling would violate the First Amendment rights of voters, who could have conflicting views of issues in single ballot proposals.
But Anstead offers no “manageable standard for determining how ‘unrelated’ two provisions must be to trigger the First Amendment right he asks this Court to recognize for the first time in the history of American jurisprudence,” Agarwal wrote.
The 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) this spring approved placing the three measures on the ballot. All proposed changes to the state’s governing document require a minimum of 60 percent approval for passage.
“Even if the First Amendment included the right (they) assert, the CRC had a rational basis for bundling some of the amendments for inclusion on the 2018 General Election ballot,” he said.
“(L)ong ballots often discourage citizens from voting at all, and if the CRC had listed all the proposed amendments separately, there would appear (25) questions on the ballot this fall, rather than (15).
“In other words, the CRC acted reasonably and with the proper intention of minimizing ballot fatigue when it decided to bundle proposed constitutional amendments.”
Along with the proposal on drilling and vaping, Gievers struck from the ballot a measure that deals with governance of the state-college system and death benefits for survivors of first responders and military members.
Also, she struck a measure that would remove constitutional language that prohibits “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property and would revise language to make clear the repeal of criminal statutes does not affect the prosecution of crimes committed before the repeal.
The Supreme Court already has ruled on legal challenges to four other proposed amendments placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission. Justices upheld three of the proposals, including a proposed ban on dog racing, though they blocked a controversial education measure.
Anstead’s answer brief is due next, “no later than (noon on) Friday, Sept. 21,” and the state’s reply brief is expected “no later than (noon on) Monday, Sept. 24.”
Supreme Court nominee BrettKavanaugh is again denying a woman’s allegation he sexually assaulted her at a party three decades ago.
The White House released a new statement Monday from the nominee in which he calls the claim “completely false.” Kavanaugh says he never did what the accuser describes “to her or anyone.”
The woman, ChristineBlaseyFord, came forward Sunday in an interview with The Washington Post to say a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.
Kavanaugh says in the statement he “had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself.”
Kavanaugh had been on a smooth confirmation track, but the new allegations have roiled that process.
White House counselor KellyanneConway says a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school “should testify under oath and she should do it on Capitol Hill.”
She says that’s up to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Conway told reporters Monday accuser Ford should “not be ignored or insulted.” Conway says Kavanaugh also should testify to the allegations, noting he has already provided testimony and has undergone FBI background checks.
Ford tells The Washington Post a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has “categorically” denied the allegations.
The White House says “Kavanaugh and the White House both stand by that statement.”
A lawyer for a woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school says her client is willing to tell her story publicly to the Senate panel considering his nomination. She says the woman considers Kavanaugh’s actions “attempted rape.”
DebraKatz represents Ford, who tells The Washington Post a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
Katz told NBC’s “Today” show she “clearly considers this an attempted rape.”
Kavanaugh has “categorically” denied those allegations, a denial repeated Monday by the White House.
Katz tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” the accuser is “willing to cooperate” with investigators and the Senate Judiciary Committee. She says Ford, a Democrat, isn’t politically motivated.
The Republican-controlled Senate panel appears committed to a vote on Kavanaugh this week.
This item has been corrected to show the spelling of the lawyer’s name is Debra, not Deborah.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation for the Supreme Court is taking an uncertain turn. Republican senators are expressing concern over a woman’s private-turned-public allegation that a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when they were teenagers.
The White House and other Kavanaugh supporters had dismissed the allegation of sexual misconduct when it was initially conveyed in a private letter. With a name and disturbing details, the accusation raised the prospect of congressional Republicans defending President DonaldTrump’s nominee ahead of midterm elections featuring an unprecedented number of female candidates and informed in part by the #MeToo movement.
The GOP-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee appears nonetheless committed to a vote later this week despite calls by Democrats to postpone the vote.
Beatrice, who most recently handled media for GOP Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam‘s unsuccessful run for governor, “will be focused on Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign,” Ingoglia said.
“Understanding the importance of this election cycle, Meredith will be a great asset to our success, especially in retaining the Governor’s Mansion,” he added in a press release. “We welcome her to the RPOF and look forward to the integral role she will have in media strategy.”
Before that, she worked as a director at JDA Frontline, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.
Beatrice will be the party’s primary contact for questions related to the governor’s race between Tallahassee Mayor AndrewGillum (D) and Congressman RonDeSantis (R).
Ingoglia said Yohana de la Torre will remain a “communications consultant” to the party and be the main contact for questions related to him or general party-related activities.
“Liberals and socialists want to take over our government and undo eight years of successful conservative leadership, and we won’t let that happen,” Beatrice said in a statement.
“An Andrew Gillum administration would be a disaster for Florida. Andrew Gillum only knows how to foster corruption, increase crime rates, and raise taxes. At every level, he has failed running the city of Tallahassee and can’t be trusted.
“We’ve got to build on our economic success, protect our environment, and increase educational opportunities for every student, which is exactly what Ron DeSantis will accomplish as Governor. I look forward to highlighting the clear choice in this election and working with strong conservatives to keep Florida red.”
A Tampa landlord says a Land O’Lakes attorney mishandled a foreclosure case, then wouldn’t stop negotiating the settlement after she got fired.
Two companies led by Anton Ludwig Philipp allege in a lawsuit that attorney Chandra Hosler provided incompetent counsel in a commercial foreclosure case.
North Tampa MHPpreviously hired Hosler to represent the company when creditors sued to foreclose on a mobile home park on 142nd Avenue in Tampa.
Over the course of that case, North Tampa MHP officials say Hosler delayed a resolution to the matter while pressuring the company to meet her own monetary demands. Philipp in January filed a complaint against Hosler with the Florida Bar.
A new lawsuit filed on behalf of North Tampa MHP and Sunbuild Phase I, another company headed by Philipp, says Hosler’s delays in the case cost the company and led to “severely excessive interest and fees.”
The complaint says after being fired, Hosler sent a $30,800 bill to the clients, and when that wasn’t paid, she refused to withdraw from the foreclosure case.
Moreover, she continued to participate in settlement discussions while running up more bills, the suit says. She eventually filed a lien on the North Tampa MHP property at the center of the case, and began “making rampant threats about legal actions and Florida Bar complaints” on opposing counsel, according to the suit.
Hosler has practiced law in Florida since 2002 and works as an in-house attorney for Geico. She remains a member in good standing with the Florida Bar and has a clean 10-year discipline history.
She’s also enjoyed appointments by Gov. RickScott to the Hillsborough County Civil Service Board, originally getting tapped to fill a vacancy in 2016, then being reappointed to the position for a full term starting in 2017.
North Tampa MHP and Sunbuild Phase I now seek damages from Hosler for malpractice, tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty.
Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Friday that Democratic former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen is “trying to pull a fast one” on voters by promising to be moderate if he’s elected to the Senate in a critical race.
The Florida senator made the comments to reporters Friday after attending a Tennessee campaign roundtable with Hispanic community members for Bredesen’s opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Rubio praised the congresswoman as having the right background to contribute to what Republicans are doing in the Senate.
Bredesen and Blackburn are locked in a tight contest to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker. Democrats’ hopes to overturn a 51-49 GOP Senate majority could hinge on the outcome in Tennessee, a red state where Bredesen is hoping to draw some support from moderate Republicans, and Blackburn is trying to curb his crossover appeal.
Rubio said Democrats like Bredesen promise that they’re middle of the road, but when they get to Washington, they vote 99.9 percent of the time with lawmakers whom Tennesseans would never vote for themselves. Rubio also touted the recent economic growth, tax cuts, GOP judicial appointments and other occurrences while Republicans have been in control.
“So you have a great candidate,” Rubio told reporters. “You have someone on the other side who’s trying to pull a fast one on you. And you have real progress in this country, despite all the rhetoric and the noise, that would all stop if too many of the wrong people get there, like the individual running as a Democrat here in this state.”
Bredesen campaign spokeswoman Alyssa Hansen responded Friday that, like Bredesen, Tennesseans are independent thinkers and don’t need out-of-state politicians telling them what to do.
“Congresswoman Blackburn should keep this in mind the next time she wants to bring one of her D.C. friends to town,” Hansen said in a statement.
The roundtable event delved into a discussion on immigration, a system that Rubio said needs to be modernized away from being “almost entirely built on, ‘How many relatives do you have living here now?’”
“Now, if you can dunk a basketball or throw 98 mile-an-hour fastballs, you’ll have no problem getting into the U.S.,” Rubio said. “But if you’re going to be a Ph.D. that’s going to cure cancer, you may or may not get to come depending on when you apply and how lucky you are. That’s got to be fixed.”
Blackburn has been a strong advocate of President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown plans, including his proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
She also has opposed a President Barack Obama-era program that shields from deportation young immigrants brought or kept here illegally as children. Blackburn said in September 2017 that the program offers “the false hope of amnesty that led to a surge of illegal immigration and stole jobs from American citizens by giving illegal aliens work permits,” while also calling for a larger fix to the immigration system.
Hansen, the Bredesen campaign spokeswoman, said Blackburn’s roundtable displayed “jaw-dropping hypocrisy” on immigration.
When a reporter asked Blackburn why Friday’s discussion didn’t touch on Trump’s wall, she refocused the conversation on support for economic growth, entrepreneurial activity and emphasis on “religious liberty” to help charities under Trump.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.
Incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva will take over chairmanship of the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee “to investigate the misuse of funds by the University of Central Florida,” term-limited Speaker RichardCorcoran announced Friday.
The university’s chief financial officer, WilliamMerck, stepped down Thursday after an audit revealed the school improperly used $38 million in state funding to construct a campus building.
UCF President DaleWhittaker told the state university system’s Board of Governors on Thursday that the school has replenished the state money, while taking steps to investigate the problem and to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
The use of state operating funds to build the 137,000-square-foot Trevor Colbourn Hall, which opened this semester at UCF, was in violation of state policy that restricts that money to activities like instruction, research, libraries, student services or maintenance.
Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican who leaves office in November, released a letter he sent to Whittaker. He’s made a reputation for bird-dogging state spending during his 2-year tenure as leader of the House.
Whittaker took over Florida’s largest state university in July. The issue could have ramifications for the entire university-system budget, as it will provide fodder for lawmakers who have been skeptical about the universities’ control of large reserve funds.
“Unfortunately, this occurrence is one more example of mismanagement of taxpayer funds by public entities, and it has tarnished the reputation of UCF,” Corcoran told Whittaker.
“I am baffled by how the actions of one irresponsible officer’s effort at flouting the Legislature’s and State University System’s budget controls could result in a four-year-long unauthorized endeavor of this magnitude.
“There are only two possibilities: That others within UCF were aware of and conspired in this misuse of public funds, or your administration lacks the necessary internal controls to manage its fiscal responsibilities. Either scenario warrants an internal investigation and correction,” Corcoran wrote.
Copies of the letter also were given to Senate President-designate Bill Galvano, State University System Board of Governors chair Ned C. Lautenbach, State University System Chancellor Marshall M. Criser III, and Marcos R. Marchena, chair of the UCF Board of Trustees.
Updated 4:30 p.m. — The University of Central Florida issued a response below:
The university will hold a special meeting of its Board of Trustees on Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. to further discuss the issue with the independent, external investigation team. A formal meeting and agenda information will be available soon.
A review of actions the university has already taken follows these statements.
Marcos Marchena, UCF Board of Trustees Chairman: “We welcome this action, and agree that this serious matter deserves a thorough review. I pledge UCF’s full cooperation, as this will add to the independent, external investigation we have already begun. Although the decisions that led to this issue took place several years ago, I applaud President Whittaker for taking strong action to address it immediately as his presidency begins.”
Dale Whittaker, UCF President: “Speaker Corcoran is correct that UCF and the state need to get to the bottom of this. We’ve taken immediate, aggressive action to thoroughly and transparently investigate this matter, how it happened and who was involved. Our Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Sept. 20 with the external investigation team to discuss the process moving forward in cooperation with the Board of Governors and Florida House.”
The decision to inappropriately use about $38 million in state funds to build Trevor Colbourn Hall was made several years ago. The State Auditor General flagged this in a preliminary finding that was shared verbally with UCF in August President Dale Whittaker and Board of Trustees Chairman Marcos Marchena have acted swiftly to make corrections and ensure this will never happen again.
UCF has taken several actions, including:
— Accepted the resignation of the Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer who made the decision to use the inappropriate funds for Trevor Colbourn Hall.
— Ordered an external review by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, an Atlanta-based law firm specializing in corporate internal investigations. This will review UCF’s processes, delegations of authority, procedures and personnel. Representatives of the firm will visit campus on Sept. 20 to start the review.
— Called a special Board of Trustees meeting for Sept. 20 to begin the external review.
— Held a specially called Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 6 for immediate approval of:
• Replenishing with eligible state funds the state dollars improperly used for construction, with no impact on services to students.
• Requiring future approvals of capital projects to include written certification by the President, the Vice President presenting the item, the General Counsel, and the new CFO. The certification will identify the source of all funds and certify that they are appropriate for the purpose sought.
President Whittaker appointed UCF’s Associate Director of University Audit to serve as the Interim CFO, who will report directly to him. He appointed the UCF Foundation’s Assistant Vice President and CFO to serve as the university’s interim Vice President for Administration and Finance. Splitting these positions will separate the financial responsibilities from facilities planning.
Among many lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina 13 years ago is that politics are a big part of natural disasters. Rightly or wrongly, depending on one’s view, then-President George W. Bush took a big hit on his approval rating based on how he was perceived to have handled preparations and the aftermath of the storm that devastated New Orleans.
In 2018, the politics began before Hurricane Florence even reached the shore. A Washington Post editorial — not an op-ed, an editorial — said President Donald Trump is “complicit” in extreme weather due to his skepticism on the role of humans in climate change.
The President also fired up his opponents by revisiting last year’s devastation of Puerto Rico brought on by Hurricane Maria. The purpose of an early week briefing was to demonstrate how his administration was ready for Florence, but all that was heard were the words “incredibly successful” when describing last year’s effort in Puerto Rico.
Shortly after that, a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation pollfound that 80 percent of Puerto Ricans have negative reviews of the administration’s response. More than 70 percent are critical of the Puerto Rican government’s response, with two-thirds unhappy with Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who recently reported the results of studies that increased the death toll estimate to nearly 3,000.
Trump’s Thursday tweet that the revised estimate was wrong and inflated, fanned the flames. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami said it takes “a warped mind” to doubt the figures, while Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando, an American of Puerto Rican descent, said Trump was “dancing on the graves” of those who perished.
Two of Trump’s most prominent backers, Gov. Rick Scott and Republican Congressman (and nominee for Governor) Ron DeSantis, both disagreed with Trump and did not question the estimates.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson jumped in via Twitter.
“Less than a year after an unprecedentedly severe hurricane season — and just at the start of another — the Trump administration diverted nearly $10 million from FEMA, including its preparedness, response and recovery programs,” he said. “This is unacceptable!”
“The money in question, transferred to ICE from FEMA’s routine operating expenses, could not have been used for hurricane response due to appropriation limitations,” said DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton. “DHS/FEMA stand fiscally and operationally ready to support current and future response and recovery needs.”
In the end, if FEMA performs well, this will not be an issue. No matter what happens, the administration will be criticized for something while Trump and his team will say they did great.
While the politics continue outside of the Carolinas, Florida sends best wishes to those going through what our state endured last year.
Nelson, Scott agree on debate dates, networks
Nelson’s campaign has announced that there will be an October 2 debate vs. Gov. Scott, hosted by Telemundo in Miami. The event will be broadcast by network affiliates in Miami, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.
This debate will be the first of three between the two high-profile candidates. Scott, who entered the race in April, poses the first real threat to Nelson as they are tied according to a Quinnipiac pollreleased last week.
Scott has already attacked Nelson with an ad accusing him of debate dodging. Nelson outlined his acceptance of the debate as Scott “finally” agreeing to take the stage with him. Scott responded to Nelson urging him to accept the other two debates.
Serving as debate moderators will be Telemundo’s Marilys Llanos and Jackie Nespral, news anchor at WTVJ Channel 6. A second debate, to be shown on CNN on October 16, has been agreed upon, but with no further details yet available.
Nelson, Scott dueling education ads
A recent ad from Nelson criticized Scott’s record on education. The ad called “Math” says Scott’s policies have led Florida to a ranking of 40th in the nation when it comes to education.
“Less money for teachers, less money for students,” the ad states. “When it comes to public education, Rick Scott failed our kids.”
In rapid response, Scott launched his own ad called “First.” Nelson is not mentioned and instead shows Scott listing on a message board the areas in education where Florida ranks first among the 50 states.
The script asserts that Florida’s “strong economy” has led the state to lead in “fourth-grade reading and math scores … eighth-grade reading … High school AP classes and college education … ranked first in the nation.”
In a race expected to be among the most expensive, if not THE most expensive in the nation, the battle of the airwaves will continue until November 6.
Rubio praises protesting Dolphins player
Week Two of the NFL season got underway Thursday night, but the previous week seemed to center more on football and less on any protests conducted by players during the national anthem. One of those who did kneel was Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, who waspraised by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio did not salute Stills for “taking a knee,” but instead tweeted support for the player’s service to the community. Stills spent 9/11 working with local area veterans, saying it was “powerful to be with them on this day.”
“You don’t have to agree with how or why he has chosen to exercise the 1st Amendment before every game to acknowledge the hours he gives voluntarily, on his day off, to serve his fellow Americans,” Rubio said in the tweet.
The two-term Senator says he does not agree with the anthem protests, but says players have a right to do what they are doing. While lauding Stills’ volunteer work is one thing, acknowledging the right of Colin Kaepernick to be an activist in the movement he started could be another matter to Rubio’s Republican and conservative base.
“Look, I support his right to stand for what he does. I don’t agree with what he did, but I support his right to do it,” Rubio said in May.
Republicans and conservatives hold up Kaepernick for special scorn after photos surfaced soon after he launched the kneeling movement showing him wearing socks depicting police officers as pigs. Rubio also told TMZ in May that Kaepernick deserves to be on a team.
The use of cannabis for research took another step forward on Thursday when the House Judiciary Committee approved the Medical Cannabis Research Act. The bill is sponsored by, and a top priority of, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach.
Gaetz has been a strong proponent of updating laws to further the use of medical marijuana around the country, as well as its use in research. He says legislation on this topic has not come out of Congress in 40 years.
The bill has 40 co-sponsors comprised of 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans. The six Floridians signing on range from Republican Reps. Ted Yoho of Gainesville and John Rutherford of Jacksonville among conservatives, to progressive Democratic Reps. Darren Soto of Orlando and Alcee Hastings of Delray Beach.
Moderate Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami and Carlos Curbelo of Kendall are also co-sponsoring the bill.
“We must ensure that an adequate and uninterrupted supply of research-grade cannabis is available to safe harbor provisions for research facilities,” Gaetz said before the hearing. “I am proud to lead the efforts to unlock cures through important scientific research.”
If enacted, the Department of Justice would be required to issue more licenses for cannabis research. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a hard-liner on legalizing marijuana.
Despite the insertion of a controversial provision precluding anyone with a felony or misdemeanor drug conviction from engaging in cultivation, the measure was reported out of committee on a voice vote.
Dunn’s veterans’ education bill moving in Senate
Nine months after passing the House 420-1, legislation sponsored by Republican Rep. Neal Dunn of Panama City is finally showing some movement in the Senate. The Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, which would expand veterans’ job and educational opportunities, recently cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
The bill requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a veterans outreach plan and publish data on veterans’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in its annual “Indicators” report.
It updates the NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, fellowship program, and cyber grant programs to include outreach to veterans. Additionally, the bill tasks the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with examining how to increase veteran participation in STEM career fields.
“Our veterans deserve every opportunity to succeed when they enter civilian life and this important legislation is a step in the right direction by expanding educational and job opportunities for our heroes,” Dunn said in a news release. “With the surge in technology over the last decade, we desperately need more experts in the science and math fields. Our veterans are equipped to take on this challenge and many have already worked in the technology field while serving our country.”
Castor announces $1.4 million reimbursement for local schools
Not only did Hurricane Maria force many Puerto Rican families to relocate to Florida, children of school age were placed in local schools throughout the state. Tampa was no exception and Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor sought reimbursement for the local school district.
Last week, she announced that Hillsborough County Public Schools will receive $1.4 million in federal reimbursement for costs incurred during the 2017-2018 school year for serving K-12 students displaced by the hurricane.
Hillsborough County Public Schools enrolled approximately 1,500 students displaced due to Hurricane Maria and 70 percent of students have remained in those schools for the new school year.
“Hillsborough teachers, caseworkers and the school district aided students and families from Puerto Rico to ensure that their education was not disrupted in the wake of one of the most serious disasters in American history,” Castor said in a news release. “I am very proud of their dedication to the education of these students and support for families.
Additionally, a total of $75 million funding is being disbursed to colleges and universities around the country that enrolled displaced students. The University of South Florida received about $171,000 for its work aiding displaced students.
Castor has been leading a Puerto Rico Recovery & Assistance Task Force made up of local and regional government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations to maximize collaboration and assist relocated families following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
Mast touts compromise for South Florida reservoir
South Florida delegation members believe a major cause of the algae-infested water in their region is a giant step closer to being fixed. Earlier this week, Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Palm City announced a deal between the House and Senate to pass a bipartisan Water Resources Development Act that would, among other things, officially authorize building a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.
The significance of that action is that instead of releasing the polluted water from the lake into local waterways, that water can be directed into the reservoir. It would also expedite an enhanced regulation plan for the lake.
The House had previously passed the bill in June but had not received a vote in the Senate.
“This bipartisan bill includes all of the Treasure Coast priorities from the version passed by the House on June 6, 2018 and also includes an updated bipartisan provision that I wrote with Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Bill Nelson to authorize the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir,” Mast said in a communication with constituents. “Getting this bill signed into law is absolutely critical in our fight for clean water.”
Mast said the compromise bill is expected to be voted on in both chambers during September.
Wilson questions Trump’s fitness to lead
Things between Trump and Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson have been rather quiet since last year’s dust-up over a planned condolence call to the widow of Wilson’s Miami Gardens constituent. It got uglier when White House Chief of Staff John Kelly got involved.
On the recording, played on the television program, The View, Trump can be heard saying that being a terrorist is “the only thing” one can do in Niger to earn a living. He also said, “I wouldn’t want to be a terrorist right now.”
In describing his administration’s efforts to fight terrorism Trump further said, “you know people don’t say that’s the reason they’re there is because we forced them out (of the Middle East) and it’s not nearly as intense, but it’s pretty intense, you see that happening.”
“The recording is yet another example of how unfit Mr. Trump is to serve as our nation’s commander-in-chief and how he cannot resist any opportunity to massage his insatiable ego by taking false credit,” she said in a statement. “Unlike the four men who lost their lives much too soon, hero is a word that will never be used to describe him.”
“Sgt. Johnson’s family is still waiting for answers about how La David got separated from his unit during the deadly ambush in Niger,” Wilson added.
Barzee Flores claims Diaz-Balart’s health care record is ‘hurting families’
Democratic challenger Mary Barzee Flores has introduced her first ad of the election campaignfor District 25, criticizing incumbent Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart on his health care record. In a new ad in the new ad titled “Afford,” Barzee Flores blasts the incumbent for accepting contributions from drug manufacturers and his health care votes.
“When I was a teenager, my dad died because we couldn’t afford the health care he needed,” Barzee Flores says in the ad. “So, when Congressman Diaz-Balart takes over a hundred grand from drug companies, votes to let them raise prices and to take coverage away from people with pre-existing conditions, I know exactly how that’s hurting families.”
Barzee Flores went further in criticizing the veteran Republican.
“My opponent, Mario Diaz-Balart, has spent his 30-year political career looking out for the corporate special interests who’ve lined his pockets, not the working men and women of South Florida,” she said in a statement to Florida Politics.
The Diaz-Balart campaign responded harshly to the ad’s content.
“These are the type of lies you would expect from a radical,” the campaign statement read. “Mario has a record of supporting protections for pre-existing conditions, providing resources for mental illness, and seeking to lower skyrocketing premiums for hardworking Floridians.”
Barzee Flores’ ad comes after Diaz-Balart went after her in an earlier ad over cases handled by attorneys at her husband’s law firm.
House passes Ros-Lehtinen-named Israel security bill
The original version was jointly introduced by Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton. Ros-Lehtinen is the chair and Deutch the ranking member of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Speaking on the House floor, Ros-Lehtinen said she was “humbled to have my colleagues rename bill after me.”
.@HouseFloor: I'm proud to have authored the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act, ensuring security aid to our strategic partner #Israel + more collaboration on everything from emerging threats to drones. Humbled to have my colleagues rename bill after me pic.twitter.com/KxsrmvezQy
This bill codifies the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel that resulted in an unprecedented $38 billion in security assistance over ten years. The bill also ensures Israel has access to the weapons needed to defend itself against any and all threats, enhances Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge to better address evolving threats, and authorizes new cooperation on drones, space, and global humanitarian projects.
“My friend Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout her time in Congress, and it is a fitting honor that this bill to strengthen the US-Israel relationship bears her name,” Deutch said. “Israel is under constant threat from every direction. A threat to Israel, our strategic ally in a turbulent region, is also a threat to our national security. Enhancing Israel’s security is a step toward strengthening our own national security.”
On Wednesday the House passed the bill by a voice vote. The Senate passed the companion bill on August 1.
On this day in the headlines
September 14, 1993 — Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed their draft peace agreement at an emotional White House Rose Garden ceremony, an event that put a dramatic human face on their emerging reconciliation but also showed how difficult it may be to achieve a secure peace. Nudged by their host, President Bill Clinton, a somewhat reluctant Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and an eager PLO Chief Yasser Arafat shook hands before the world’s cameras.
But in words and symbolism, the ceremony, conducted before virtually the entire Washington political establishment, two past presidents and eight former secretaries of state, showed how difficult the road ahead may be. Clinton said the world was grateful for the important step taken by the two leaders adding “their tenacity and vision has given us the promise of a new beginning.
September 14, 2013 — American and Russian negotiators meeting in Geneva moved closer to an agreement that would ultimately strip Syria of its chemical weapons. After a marathon second day of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, both sides expressed optimism.
A significant sign of movement at the U.N. came when the Obama administration effectively took force off the table in discussions over the shape of a Security Council resolution governing any deal with Syria. Obama reportedly maintained the right to respond without U.N. backing if Syria reneges on its commitment, but Russia would not allow a resolution to contain the authorization of force.