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Former Homeland Security chief: Donald Trump has ability to be ‘great’ leader

America’s former domestic security chief believes Donald Trump may have the makings of a historic leader.

In an MSNBC interview Wednesday, previous U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Trump could be a “great president.”

However, Johnson expressed concern over the president’s affinity for social media and worried he didn’t have a full staff in place yet to appropriately advise him on matters of national security.

“I actually believe Donald Trump has the potential to be a great president in sort of the ‘Nixon goes to China’ way or ‘Reagan goes to the Soviet Union’ way,” Johnson told host Willie Geist on MSNBC’s show, ‘Morning Joe.’ “If he can find a way to rein in some of — some of the more unhealthy impulses, listen to his staff, bring on a full complement of political appointees, who will help him govern.”

He continued: “And I’m very concerned about the tweets, obviously. And very concerned about the direction we’re taking in a lot of — in a lot of national security areas.”

In an exclusive interview with the TV cable-news network, Johnson also addressed the recent ban on devices larger than cell phones on flights emanating from more than a dozen Muslim countries to the U.S., enacted by DHS and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

”It’s a little unfair in this context to refer to this as a ban on electronics coming from Muslim-majority countries,” he said. “We look at where the direct flights are coming from, we look at the security around the airports, and we make the appropriate judgments. And this judgment was almost certainly a judgment made at the TSA, DHS, Intelligence Community level.”

The move has been viewed as a controversial and is being challenged.

Democratic Senators: GOP ‘wealthcare’ will hit Floridians in pocketbooks

As the U.S. House prepares to vote this week on the American Health Care Act, Senate Democrats are messaging against the bill.

On Tuesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dropped a new television ad and launched a digital campaign around a hashtag: #FightWealthcare.

From the DSCC press release:

“The campaign features the DSCC’s first television advertisement of the 2018 cycle, “The Price,” a spot highlighting the stark and crippling burden the Republican plan would put on middle-class families in Florida who would be forced to pay more as insurance costs skyrocket while insurance companies get a tax break.”

In a conversation Wednesday morning, DSCC Press Secretary David Bergstein framed the Florida effort as a “targeted TV and digital ad buy,” though during the call he lacked more specific details as to spend and markets.

DSCC Chairman and Sen. Chris Van Hollen noted, via the release, that “we will make sure that every single Republican Senate candidate running in Florida is held accountable for their party’s toxic anti-healthcare agenda.”

Among those likely GOP Senate candidates: Gov. Rick Scott, whose resistance to Medicaid expansion was a leit motif of the Obama years.

The themes of the ad campaign follow up on a memo pushed out by the DSCC last month.

“During the 2018 cycle there will be no rock that Republican Senate candidates can hide under to escape the GOP’s dangerous attack on American families,” the memo reads.

“As the 2018 campaign cycle continues, there will be nowhere for Republican Senates candidates to hide — and at every turn, Democrats will remind voters that the Republican Plan puts the rich, the powerful and the well-connected first, while hardworking Americans pay the price,” the memo concludes.

Rick Scott to lead South American trade mission arranged by State Dept.

Gov. Rick Scott will lead a delegation of representatives from small- to midsized Florida businesses on an export trade mission to Argentina in April.

The trip will be to boost business relations between the state and the South American nation, a spokesman with Enterprise Florida said Wednesday.

Scott’s visit will be from April 23-27 and will begin in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. It is being coordinated by the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, Florida’s fourth-largest global export destination with an estimated $3.3 billion worth of exports in 2015 alone.

“Florida is the gateway to Latin America and with more than 60,000 exporting businesses,” Scott said in a statement. “Enterprise Florida provides the platform for growing Florida companies to take their products to expanding markets worldwide. We look forward to expanding our trade relationship with Argentina and growing Florida’s business presence in Latin America.”

Manny Mencia, Enterprise Florida’s senior vice president of international trade and development, will be accompanying Scott on the trip.

“This mission will increase opportunities for the small businesses traveling with us,” Mencia said in the statement. “Since the election of President Mauricio Macri, Argentina has rebuilt its relationship with the U.S. The Argentina market will offer excellent opportunities for Florida companies in the years to come, and this mission will allow them to connect with new partners and clients looking to purchase U.S. products and services.”

With a population of 41.5 million people and a gross domestic product of approximately $609 billion, Argentina offers excellent opportunities for Florida companies interested in increasing their footprint in the Southern Cone. The United States is Argentina’s third largest trading partner. U.S. goods and services trade with Argentina totaled an estimated $22.4 billion in 2015; making Argentina the U.S.’s 28th largest goods export market in 2015, according to the announcement on the Florida Enterprise website.

Florida companies seeking to participate can still register and access all mission networking events, airport transfers in the country when traveling on official mission flights, and ground transportation to mission events.

The deadline for Delegate registration is April 1. To register, contact Jorge Riano at jriano@enterpriseflorida.com.

Paul Manafort had plan to benefit Vladamir Putin government

President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse. Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.

The disclosure comes as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI probe and two congressional investigations. Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign. Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided, and said he never worked for Russian interests. The documents obtained by AP show Manafort’s ties to Russia were closer than previously revealed.

In a statement to the AP, Manafort confirmed that he worked for Deripaska in various countries but said the work was being unfairly cast as “inappropriate or nefarious” as part of a “smear campaign.”

“I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia’s political interests.”

Deripaska became one of Russia’s wealthiest men under Putin, buying assets abroad in ways widely perceived to benefit the Kremlin’s interests. U.S. diplomatic cables from 2006 described Deripaska as “among the 2-3 oligarchs Putin turns to on a regular basis” and “a more-or-less permanent fixture on Putin’s trips abroad.” In response to questions about Manafort’s consulting firm, a spokesman for Deripaska in 2008 — at least three years after they began working together — said Deripaska had never hired the firm. Another Deripaska spokesman in Moscow last week declined to answer AP’s questions.

Manafort worked as Trump’s unpaid campaign chairman last year from March until August. Trump asked Manafort to resign after AP revealed that Manafort had orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation until 2014 on behalf of Ukraine’s ruling pro-Russian political party.

The newly obtained business records link Manafort more directly to Putin’s interests in the region. According to those records and people with direct knowledge of Manafort’s work for Deripaska, Manafort made plans to open an office in Moscow, and at least some of Manafort’s work in Ukraine was directed by Deripaska, not local political interests there. The Moscow office never opened.

Manafort has been a leading focus of the U.S. intelligence investigation of Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a U.S. official. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation were confidential. Meanwhile, federal criminal prosecutors became interested in Manafort’s activities years ago as part of a broad investigation to recover stolen Ukraine assets after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych there in early 2014. No U.S. criminal charges have ever been filed in the case.

FBI Director James Comey, in confirming to Congress the federal intelligence investigation this week, declined to say whether Manafort was a target. Manafort’s name was mentioned 28 times during the hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, mostly about his work in Ukraine. No one mentioned Deripaska.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign, even though as Trump’s presidential campaign chairman he led it during the crucial run-up to the Republican National Convention.

Manafort and his associates remain in Trump’s orbit. Manafort told a colleague this year that he continues to speak with Trump by telephone. Manafort’s former business partner in eastern Europe, Rick Gates, has been seen inside the White House on a number of occasions. Gates has since helped plan Trump’s inauguration and now runs a nonprofit organization, America First Policies, to back the White House agenda.

Gates, whose name does not appear in the documents, told the AP that he joined Manafort’s firm in 2006 and was aware Manafort had a relationship with Deripaska, but he was not aware of the work described in the memos. Gates said his work was focused on domestic U.S. lobbying and political consulting in Ukraine at the time. He said he stopped working for Manafort’s firm in March 2016 when he joined Trump’s presidential campaign.

Manafort told Deripaska in 2005 that he was pushing policies as part of his work in Ukraine “at the highest levels of the U.S. government — the White House, Capitol Hill and the State Department,” according to the documents. He also said he had hired a “leading international law firm with close ties to President Bush to support our client’s interests,” but he did not identify the firm. Manafort also said he was employing unidentified legal experts for the effort at leading universities and think tanks, including Duke University, New York University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Manafort did not disclose details about the lobbying work to the Justice Department during the period the contract was in place.

Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the department. Willfully failing to register is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, though the government rarely files criminal charges.

Deripaska owns Basic Element Co., which employs 200,000 people worldwide in the agriculture, aviation, construction, energy, financial services, insurance and manufacturing industries, and he runs one of the world’s largest aluminum companies. Forbes estimated his net worth at $5.2 billion. How much Deripaska paid Manafort in total is not clear, but people familiar with the relationship said money transfers to Manafort amounted to tens of millions of dollars and continued through at least 2009. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the secret payments publicly.

In strategy memos, Manafort proposed that Deripaska and Putin would benefit from lobbying Western governments, especially the U.S., to allow oligarchs to keep possession of formerly state-owned assets in Ukraine. He proposed building “long-term relationships” with Western journalists and a variety of measures to improve recruitment, communications and financial planning by pro-Russian parties in the region.

Manafort proposed extending his existing work in eastern Europe to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia, where he pledged to bolster the legitimacy of governments friendly to Putin and undercut anti-Russian figures through political campaigns, nonprofit front groups and media operations.

For the $10 million contract, Manafort did not use his public-facing consulting firm, Davis Manafort. Instead, he used a company, LOAV Ltd., that he had registered in Delaware in 1992. He listed LOAV as having the same address of his lobbying and consulting firms in Alexandria, Virginia. In other records, LOAV’s address was listed as Manafort’s home, also in Alexandria. Manafort sold the home in July 2015 for $1.4 million. He now owns an apartment in Trump Tower in New York, as well as other properties in Florida and New York.

One strategy memo to Deripaska was written by Manafort and Rick Davis, his business partner at the time. In written responses to the AP, Davis said he did not know that his firm had proposed a plan to covertly promote the interests of the Russian government.

Davis said he believes Manafort used his name without his permission on the strategy memo. “My name was on every piece of stationery used by the company and in every memo prior to 2006. It does not mean I had anything to do with the memo described,” Davis said. He took a leave of absence from the firm in late 2006 to work on John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign.

Manafort’s work with Deripaska continued for years, though they had a falling out laid bare in 2014 in a Cayman Islands bankruptcy court. The billionaire gave Manafort nearly $19 million to invest in a Ukrainian TV company called Black Sea Cable, according to legal filings by Deripaska’s representatives. It said that after taking the money, Manafort and his associates stopped responding to Deripaska’s queries about how the funds had been used.

Early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Deripaska’s representatives openly accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the nomination, Deripaska’s representatives said they would no longer discuss the case.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Andrew Gillum: GOP plan to raise food stamp eligibility ‘inhumane’

Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is pushing House Republicans to drop an idea that could take away food stamps for about 229,000 Floridians.

Gillum held a news conference Tuesday and then dropped off a petition at House Speaker Richard Corcoran‘s office that asks lawmakers to maintain current food stamp eligibility rather than making it harder to receive assistance.

A House bill would limit food stamps to families that earn less than 130 percent of the federal poverty limit or $2,633 a month for a family of four. Families who earn twice the poverty limit are now eligible for food assistance.

Gillum told reporters it would be “inhumane” to remove the assistance. He noted that his family relied on food stamps when he grew up.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Donald Trump signs NASA bill, ponders sending Congress to space

President Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday adding human exploration of Mars to NASA’s mission. Could sending Congress into space be next?

Flanked at an Oval Office bill-signing ceremony by astronauts and lawmakers, Trump observed that being an astronaut is a “pretty tough job.” He said he wasn’t sure he’d want it and, among lawmakers he put the question to, Sen. Ted Cruz said he wouldn’t want to be a space traveler, either.

But Cruz, R-Texas, offered up a tantalizing suggestion. “You could send Congress to space,” he said to laughter, including from the president.

Trump, who faces a crucial House vote later this week on legislation long promised by Republicans to overhaul the Obama-era Affordable Care Act health law, readily agreed. The health care bill is facing resistance from some conservative members of the party.

“What a great idea that could be,” Trump said, before turning back to the space exploration measure sponsored by Cruz and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

The new law authorizes $19.5 billion in spending for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for the budget year that began Oct. 1. Cruz said the authorization bill is the first for the space agency in seven years, and he called it a “terrific” achievement.

Trump last week sent Congress a budget proposal that seeks $19.1 billion in spending authorization for the agency next year.

“For almost six decades, NASA’s work has inspired millions and millions of Americans to imagine distant worlds and a better future right here on earth,” Trump said. “I’m delighted to sign this bill. It’s been a long time since a bill like this has been signed, reaffirming our commitment to the core mission of NASA: human space exploration, space science and technology.”

The measure amends current law to add human exploration of the red planet as a goal for the agency. It supports use of the International Space Station through at least 2024, along with private sector companies partnering with NASA to deliver cargo and experiments, among other steps.

After signing the bill, Trump invited several lawmakers to comment, starting with Cruz. When Trump invited Vice President Mike Pence to speak, he suggested that Nelson be allowed to say a few words. Nelson traveled into space when he was in the House.

“He’s a Democrat. I wasn’t going to let him speak,” Trump quipped, to laughter. Nelson ultimately got a chance to briefly praise his bill.

Pence also announced that Trump plans to re-launch the National Space Council, with Pence as chairman, to coordinate U.S. space policy. The council was authorized by law in 1988, near the end of the Reagan administration, but ceased to operate soon after Bill Clinton took office in January 1993.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Vacation rentals de-reg bill gets nod despite pleas from cities, counties

The move to strip cities and counties of their authority to explicitly regulate vacation rental homes got approval of another Florida Senate committee Tuesday despite impassioned pleas from several local government representatives that the bill could expand what they see as emerging community chaos.

Sen. Greg Steube, sponsor of Senate Bill 188, defended the measure by arguing that no one is taking away cities’ and counties’ abilities to police vacation rental houses, but they simply would have to do so as they police problems at any other houses.

“All of the things that I heard, parking, noise, the amount of bedrooms, the amount of people in the house, they all, if this bill passes today, all the municipalities, cities and counties can still regulate on those things, they just can’t say, ‘Oh, only vacation rentals can’t do it, but our primary residences, they can do whatever. It just has to be uniformly applied,” Steube said in his closing remarks to the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries.

“So if you’re having problems with noise, do a noise ordinance. If you’re having problems with zoning and how many floors a house has, or how many bedrooms, or how many people are living there, do an ordinance,” the Sarasota Republican continued. “You just can’t say vacation rentals, this only applies to you, and it’s not going to apply to anyone else.”

The vacation rental business is booming in Florida, and houses are being converted from residences to places for visitors and tourists to rent by the night in high numbers in some places. At Anna Maria Island, Mayor Dan Murphy estimated 60 percent of the residential units are now vacation rentals, up from 15 percent in 2011. In Holmes Beach the number cited was 25 percent currently. In places from suburban Miami to Flagler County to Destin, local officials contended the vacation rental business is converting hundreds of residences into what one official called “mini hotels,” which is converting communities.

The issue pits private property rights – which Steube said his bill would protect – versus local governments’ rights to address local  situations locally.

Proponents, such as the Florida Rental Managers Association, and Home Away, an internet service that uses advertising to link homes to visitors, voiced supported the bill, as did big business groups such as the Florida Chamber, Florida Realtors and Americans For Prosperity.  Jennifer Green, lobbyist for Home Away, argued, that business is good because Florida’s tourism business is good.

“The good news for all you is people want to come to Florida, and quite frankly don’t really care how they get here or where they stay. They want to be here,” Green said.

But when they move into an otherwise residential neighborhood, they can bring disrespect for those neighborhoods, and then they’re gone in a few days, the opponents argued. Opponents included the Florida League of Cities, the Florida Association of Counties, and numerous individual cities.

“You can’t have one blanket regulation that actually addresses both rentals and non-rentals. The situations are entirely unique,” insisted Destin Councilwoman-Mayor Pro Tem Prebble Ramswell. In Destin we have a situation. We’ve had to create ordinances at the request of the public, and the shareholders, and the developers, because our situation has turned into people sleeping in hammocks, people parking in the roadway. Firetrucks cannot get down streets. Occupancy? We have homes in our area that advertise, ‘Sleeps 44.’ I’m talking 7 and 8 bedroom homes. We have four-bedrooms that sleep 22.

“The issues we’ve faced and had to tackle are innumerable,” Ramswell continued. “These are single-family residential homes… no one knows our neighborhoods and our areas better than our municipalities.”

In 2011 the Florida Legislature halted any new local ordinances to deal with them. But in 2014 the Legislature reversed itself, allowing though limiting local ordinances to register and regulate vacation rentals. But complaints about oppressive local ordinances have led Steube and others to seek to reverse course again, and SB 188 would essentially return to the 2011 moratorium.


Bill to eliminate sanctuary cities in Florida moves through another House committee

Legislation banning sanctuary city policies moved through another Florida House committee Tuesday.

Yalaha Republican Rep. Larry Metz‘s bill (HB 697) would force any “sanctuary city” or county in Florida to remove all formal or informal policies shielding undocumented immigrants from federal custody. It passed the House Subcommittee on Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs on a 9-5 vote on Tuesday.

The legislation would fine local governments that don’t comply with immigration officers between $1,000 to $5,000 a day. It requires local officials to report violations, but exempts employees of school districts and educational records. The proposal leaves local officials open to being sued if a Florida resident is injured by an undocumented immigrant because of a sanctuary policy.

Cities and law enforcement agencies would also be barred from having laws or policies blocking communication with federal immigration agents.

Taxpayers would have to foot the bill for enforcing federal immigration policies — with no guarantee of federal reimbursement.

“We are very very concerned that the underlying bill is unconstitutional,” warned Orlando Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith, who offered up seven different amendments to the bill, all of which were shot down by the GOP-controlled committee. He said that detainer requests “are not worth the paper that they are printed on.”

Smith said that there are 925,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida, and they have constitutional rights. “This bill violates their constitutional rights. Their presence, while it may be unlawful, is not a criminal act. It is a civil violation,” he said.

Miami Democrat Daisey Baez, a native from the Dominican Republican and a solider with the U.S. Army, said that it was a hostile environment when she served as a young soldier in Central Texas when she spoke limited English, but “I have never felt as unwanted and as vilified as I have felt now,” she said as her voice broke. “We are not criminals.”

Baez called the legislation “misguided,” and an example of “big government, of paranoia and persecution. That is not the nation that we are.”

“This is a terrible bill,” added Belle Glade Democrat Joseph Abruzzo.

For such a controversial and sensitive issue, the debate was mostly civil. Mostly.

“This is one step towards Nazism in the United States,” said Gail Perry with the Communications Workers of America.

In his closing statement, Metz said that his grandparents were immigrants from Germany, but that it was important to distinguish between legal and illegal immigration.

“It’s very important to recognize the rule of law in our country,” he said. “We’re simply saying cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement efforts, so that we can have seamless enforcement of the rule of law.”

In late January, President Trump signed an executive order pulling all federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal officials looking to weed out and deport undocumented people. A day after that announcement, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed an order demanding that Miami-Dade County’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation comply with every aspect of Trump’s plan.

The legislation is being sponsored in the Senate by Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean (SB 786). Abruzzo predicted it would die in the Legislature’s upper chamber.

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos endorse Andrew Gillum for governor

Andrew Gillum picked up two new endorsements Tuesday in his campaign for governor.

The Tallahassee mayor’s campaign announced that Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos are backing his candidacy for the 2018 Democratic nomination.

“As mayor of Gainesville, I know the importance of having a governor who understands the needs of our cities,” Poe said in a statement. “Mayor Gillum’s nearly fifteen years of local government experience is exactly what we need in our next governor. Tallahassee is known nationally as a leader in areas of entrepreneurship and innovation, and Mayor Gillum will leverage his experience in these areas to build an economy that works for everyone. Change happens locally, closest to the people. Mayor Gillum understands this and will promote local solutions to local problems.”

“Mayor Gillum understands that lawmakers should be looking ahead in order to prepare our children for the modern workforce,” Hayes-Santos said. “That’s why his commitment to investing in our public education system and expanding opportunities for vocational training will be critical if we want to provide every child the full measure of opportunity they deserve.”

Hayes-Santos added that “our state desperately needs bold leadership to address the challenges ahead, and that’s why I am proud to endorse Mayor Andrew Gillum to serve as our state’s next governor.”

Gillum said that he was honored to get the backing of the Gainesville public officials.

“Our state needs vibrant leaders like Mayor Poe and Commissioner Hayes-Santos to continue advocating for forward-thinking solutions at every level of government,” Gillum said. “Gainesville has a special place in my heart, and I look forward to working closely with Mayor Poe and Commissioner Hayes-Santos to make it even better.”

The 37-year-old Gillum was first elected to public office in 2003, when he became Tallahassee’s youngest city council member ever at 23. He was elected mayor of Tallahassee in 2014.

Gillum is the first elected official to announce a candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor. Orlando businessman Chris King also announced he is running. In announcing earlier than anyone else, he’s slowly building up momentum for his candidacy, where he admits he may be running against better-financed candidates.

In addition to Poe and Hayes-Santos’ backing, Gillum has also been endorsed by state lawmakers Ramon Alexander and Loranne Ausley, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan and Osceola County Commissioner Viviana Janer

Club for Growth encourages Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to oppose the GOP health care bill

The House of Representatives are poised to vote on “The American Health Care Act” Thursday, but nobody is certain whether the GOP-backed plan has enough votes to pass.

Miami Republican Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen has said she would vote against the bill; now the Club for Growth wants to ensure dissension in a new television ad, one of ten Republicans nationwide the conservative group is targeting all week.

“The RyanCare bill fails to keep President Trump’s promises of interstate competition and health insurance deregulation,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “Republicans promised a bill that would stop Obamacare’s taxes and mandates, and replace them with free-market reforms that will increase health insurance competition and drive down costs. RyanCare fails on those counts, and that’s why the Club is letting millions of constituents know that their Representative should reject RyanCare.”

“After studying the impact of this proposed legislation on my district and speaking with many of my constituents, I have decided to vote no on the bill as currently written,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement to the Miami Herald last week. “The bill’s consequences for South Florida are clear: too many of my constituents will lose insurance, and there will be less funds to help the poor and elderly with their health care.”

Other GOP lawmakers targeted by the group include New Jersey’s Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur, New York’s Peter King and John Katko, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick and Charlie Dent, Virginia’s Rob Wittman, Nebraska’s Don Bacon and California’s Darrell Issa.

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