Marco Rubio Archives - Page 2 of 244 - Florida Politics

Despite new law, Florida will still ‘fall back’ for end of Daylight Saving Time

The “Sunshine Protection Act” aimed to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Florida, meaning those in the Sunshine State would no longer have to set their clocks back an hour each November.

But even though the bill passed the Florida Legislature and was signed by Gov. Rick Scott seven months ago, Floridians will still “fall back” this weekend.

That’s because the measure cannot take effect unless Congress changes federal law to allow it. The state would have to be exempt from the Uniform Time Act of 1966; both Hawaii and Arizona have exemptions, though they stay on standard time rather than recognizing Daylight Saving Time.

Sen. Marco Rubio introduced two bills in the U.S. Senate to facilitate Florida’s bill: one to exempt the state from the Uniform Time Act and another that goes one step further by making Daylight Saving Time permanent nationwide.

“Last week, Florida’s Legislature overwhelmingly voted for permanent daylight saving time for the state of Florida,” Rubio said when the state’s bill passed in March. “Reflecting the will of the Sunshine State, I proudly introduce these bills that would approve Florida’s will and, if made nationally, would also ensure Florida is not out of sync with the rest of the nation.”

Rubio said the time change affects Florida’s agricultural economy by disrupting farmers’ schedules and says Daylight Saving Time reduces traffic accidents because of greater visibility.

Gov. Scott said he supported the move because it would help the state’s tourism industry. He said it would allow residents and visitors to “enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer later in the day.”

The Florida PTA had asked for a veto because more children would go to school in the morning in the dark.

Material republished with permission from The Associated Press.

‘Principled conservative’: Marco Rubio endorses Jason Fischer re-election

With days left in state Rep. Jason Fischer‘s re-election bid in House District 16, the Jacksonville Republican scored an endorsement from a former Speaker of that body: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

This is Rubio’s only endorsement in the region this cycle for state House races.

“Jason Fischer is a principled conservative who has delivered real results for Jacksonville,” said Rubio.

“Jason is a tireless advocate for working families, small businesses, and our children’s future. I’m proud to endorse Jason Fischer for State Representative,” Rubio added.

“I am honored to have received the endorsement and confidence of Senator Rubio. Senator Rubio has spent his entire career dedicated to making Florida a better place for our children and families. I look forward to continue working with Senator Rubio as we pursue our common vision to promote a vibrant economy in Florida and working for a better future for our children,” Fischer said.

Fischer goes into the homestretch with a significant fundraising advantage:

HD 16, meanwhile, continues the trend of Republican fundraising advantage: between his campaign account and his political committee, Fischer has raised over $368,000 in this cycle through Oct. 30. He has nearly $85,000 on hand.

Fischer’s Democratic opponent, Ken Organes, has raised nearly $49,000, yet retained under $13,000 through the same period.

HD 16 has a strong GOP plurality: of its 120,186 registered voters, over 55,000 are Republican.

Mike Pence says storm-damaged base will be rebuilt

 Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday vowed reconstruction of Tyndall Air Force Base in Northwest Florida, after the facility took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael just over two weeks ago.

Saying the message from the White House is, “We will rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base,” Pence praised the actions of base commanders in preparing and evacuating the facility “on short notice” ahead of the powerful Category 4 storm.

“President [DonaldTrump and I are committed to provide the resources necessary to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base so that it can continue to be a vital and critical part of our national defense,” said Pence, who toured the widespread damage at the 29,000-acre facility.

Since the Oct. 10 storm, state lawmakers and regional officials have expressed concern that the base, where pilots train to fly the F-22 stealth fighter, could face downsizing or closure.

The base employs about 11,000 military and civilian personnel. All but 93 airmen were evacuated prior to Michael, which made landfall in nearby Mexico Beach. No injuries were reported at the base, but video after the storm showed extensive damage to buildings and hangars that continued to shelter aircraft during the storm.

A Pentagon study in 2017 put a $3.4 billion value on the facilities at Tyndall and projected its annual economic impact — combining payroll, expenditures and jobs created — at $596 million.

Gov. Rick Scott, who joined Pence on the tour, called the base an economic driver impacting about 20,000 jobs in the region.

“It’s not only just important to the safety of the country, but it’s important for jobs,” Scott said.

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City resident, tweeted that the vice president’s message represented “good news.”

“Tyndall is a major part of this community,” Patronis tweeted. “We will come back stronger.”

Lawmakers arguing for the base have also pointed to its location near the Air Force Eastern Gulf Test and Training Range.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is being challenged for his seat by Scott, said in a statement Thursday he was glad the White House is “paying attention to the situation at Tyndall.”

“Given the extent of the destruction I saw there two weeks ago, it will take a long-term commitment in Congress to fully rebuild the base,” Nelson said in a statement.

Pence noted the federal government has designated $100 million toward the recovery of the southeastern Bay County base, which is open during the day to service members and civilians to inspect and retrieve belongings from their homes.

“I want to assure you Governor that we’re going to not only continue to meet the federal obligations here at Tyndall Air Force Base, but we’re going to continue to work with you and your team for all the families impacted by Hurricane Michael,” Pence said during brief comments open to the media as the tour got underway.

Pence said pilot simulator training and air operations should return to Tyndall by the start of the new year.

The intent of the visit was to showcase the needs of the base, which President Trump flew over during an Oct. 15 tour of the hurricane’s overall destruction.

Pence was advised that eight of the 17 F-22 Raptors that had been sheltered at the base during the storm — due to maintenance or safety issues — flew out Wednesday, and the remainder of the planes should be ready to leave by early next week.

Before the storm, most of the F-22 jets assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall were moved to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Those planes were later relocated to the Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

In a letter Monday to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio expressed concern about the readiness of the nation’s F-22 fleet, pointing to 31 percent of the 55 F-22s at Tyndall being designated “non-mission capable” before the hurricane.

“I ask you waste no time or effort in providing a supplemental funding request to Congress to repair and restore these aircraft to mission capable status as soon as possible,” Rubio wrote.

Tyndall also houses the 601st Air Operations Center, which directs operations for NORAD Defensive Counter Air activities and responds to natural and manmade disasters.

‘Attack on America’: Florida leaders decry mail bomb terror

An apparently coordinated plot to send mail bombs to an array of figures on the cultural left has dominated national news today.

CNN was evacuated. The Obamas, the Clintons, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz all were targeted Wednesday, following a similar targeting of George Soros on Monday.

The news went global quickly, with the Congresswoman’s office address being used by the conspirators as a false flag.

Florida leaders are reacting to the news of the day. Party divisions notwithstanding, there is a unity against what all agree is terror.

Sen. Marco Rubio was blunt in asserting that despite domestic political divisions, the American spirit is one of unity against terror.

“That’s an attack on America. That’s terrorism,” Rubio said Wednesday, adding that he expected the federal government to “find the people who did this, arrest them, try them, and punish them.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis likewise condemned these “acts of terror.”

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo offered a statement: “This kind of targeted hate and violence has no place in our country and will not be tolerated. This isn’t about politics, this is about national security and our number one concern is the safety of Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and first responders called to these scenes.”

“Unfortunately, we have seen some candidates for office use highly divisive and toxic rhetoric during this cycle. Today’s greatly disturbing events are a reminder that everyone needs to tone it down in the last two weeks and focus on the issues. That’s the type of campaign Floridians deserve,” Rizzo added.

Marco Rubio highlights need to restore fighter jets at Tyndall

Several expensive fighter jets stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base were sheltered on site instead of being moved to a different location while Hurricane Michael crept toward Florida’s Panhandle.

That’s cause for concern to Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who noted that at least 17 of the 55 F-22 Raptors at the Panama City facility — almost one third— were designated non-mission capable, or NMC, and consequently unable to be relocated ahead of the storm.

“While the damage assessment of these remaining aircraft is still underway, the facts are clear that any damage sustained could have been avoided if the NMC rate for the F-22 was lower,” Rubio wrote in a Monday letter addressed to Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force. “This concerning figure highlights the dismal state of readiness across our fifth-generation fleet.”

At stake, according to Rubio: “The threat from near-peer competitors continues to evolve and grow … This aircraft is vital to the U.S. military’s ability to defeat high-end adversaries.”

The Pensacola News Journal reported that up to 22 Raptors could have been sheltered at the base during the storm. Damage sustained to the jets, which reportedly cost $330 million apiece, is unclear.

The Air Force Times reported last week that damage was not as bad “as originally feared.” Tyndall Air Force Base, however, suffered catastrophic damage during the Category 4 hurricane.

Last week, Rubio co-signed with Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and North Florida GOP Congressman Neal Dunn a letter asking President Donald Trump to commit to “moving quickly” to restore normalcy at Tyndall.

As well, Gov. Rick Scott has asked the Commander-in-Chief to provide some timely federal remedy.

In the Monday letter to the Air Force, Rubio noted that Secretary of Defense James Mattis has requested the American military achieve a minimum 80 percent mission capability for fiscal year 2019-20.

“As you finalize damage assessments of the aircraft that endured Hurricane Michael, I urge you to begin implementation of the framework laid out by Secretary Mattis starting with all Tyndall AFB fighter aircraft,” Rubio wrote.

“Additionally, I ask you waste no time or effort in providing a supplemental funding request to Congress to repair and restore these aircraft to mission capable status as soon as possible.”

Lobby Up: Hurricane cleanup firm AshBritt Environmental hires Ballard Partners

AshBritt Environmental, a “rapid-response disaster recovery and special environmental services contractor” in Deerfield Beach, has hired Ballard Partners‘ namesake Brian Ballard and its Christina Daly Brodeur.

Veteran influencer Ron Book also remains the company’s lobbyist, according to lobbying registration records accessed Wednesday.

Daly Brodeur, formerly Secretary of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice under Gov. Rick Scott, joined Ballard’s firm last month.

The new registration comes as the Gulf coast cleans up and starts rebuilding after category 4 Hurricane Michael ravaged it and a swath of north Florida last week.

AshBritt rose to prominence in the disaster mitigation industry after Hurricane Andrew passed through South Florida in August 1992.

At the time, founder Randy Perkins and his wife were running a small landscaping company which borrowed two wood chippers to help with Andrew as a local hurricane cleanup contractor.

Since then, AshBritt has become one of the nation’s leading disaster-recovery and debris cleanup firms, assisting after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, 2012’s “Superstorm” Sandy and last year’s Hurricane Irma. 

The firm’s history is not without controversy. “With the company’s success came accusations that Perkins overcharged the federal government, stiffed a consultant and subcontractors and used campaign donations to influence politicians to give him no-bid government contracts,” TCPalm has reported.

And the Miami Herald last month reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general now “is conducting an audit of debris-removal contracts in the Florida Keys approved right after Hurricane Irma ransacked the island chain.” Contracts were with six companies, including AshBritt, the paper reported.

Perkins self-funded an unsuccessful bid for Florida’s 18th Congressional District as a Democrat in 2016. He reportedly was worth about $200 million as of last year. 

Former Congressman Patrick Murphy vacated the Treasure Coast seat to mount a run for U.S. Senate. Murphy lost to incumbent Republican Marco Rubio; Perkins later lost to Republican Brian Mast.

State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat, is AshBritt’s general counsel and director of government relations, according to his member page

The company was named after two of Perkins’ daughters, Ashley and Brittany, who is now its CEO.

In 2016, Perkins stepped down as CEO “to focus on the AshBritt Foundation, his work with mental health, and other business and philanthropic endeavors,” his website says. “The AshBritt Foundation supports communities impacted by disaster or crisis and internal and external workforce development and job training programs, with a focus on working with veterans.”

Perkins also sits on the board of directors of Lauren’s Kids, the child sexual abuse prevention organization founded by Ron Book’s daughter, Democratic state Sen. Lauren Book of Plantation.

Marco Rubio, Puerto Rican legislator pitch for Ron DeSantis in Spanish-language ads

Florida Republicans released a trio of Spanish-language ads Tuesday on behalf of Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis.

These spots will air in the Tampa, Orlando, and Miami markets.

Making the pitches, produced by the Republican Party of Florida, are two prominent Hispanic leaders: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón.

Rubio actually cut two spots, with the Congresswoman picking up the third.

One Rubio pitch was soft-focus and positive, with Rubio maintaining DeSantis “understands the importance of the state helping your family prosper.”

“DeSantis is a veteran of the Iraq War with a clear vision, and I know he will be a great governor. Do not let others decide the well-being (or welfare) of our families,” Rubio said.

In his second spot, Rubio made a more express appeal to the base, warning of “special interests from the extreme left, that are not from our state, spending millions of dollars in the governor’s campaign race.”

“They are looking to force their agenda which goes against the interest of our families here. Ron DeSantis is standing up to them. As a veteran,” Rubio maintains, “DeSantis understands the importance of families having an opportunity to prosper. But he can’t accomplish this alone. That’s why it’s important that you vote. Don’t let others decide for you!”

González-Colón, meanwhile, affirmed DeSantis’ credentials.

“Elections are to choose who will work for you. That is, Ron DeSantis. A War Veteran. An Effective legislator. A Believer in equality. He looks out for our community. I know this first hand. Because in Congress he has been one of our best allies. Giving support and efforts for our recovery. DeSantis is approved, I know him. We have worked together for Puerto Rico. That’s why today, I am asking you to vote Ron DeSantis for Governor,” the Congresswoman said.

Lawmakers vow to rebuild damaged Air Force base

Northwest Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where pilots train to fly the F-22 stealth fighter, won’t be abandoned because of major damage it sustained in Hurricane Michael, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson vowed Monday.

Speaking to reporters at Tallahassee International Airport, Nelson sought to dismiss growing concerns that the storm-battered base outside Panama City will follow the path of what had been Homestead Air Force Base, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and subsequently became an Air Force Reserve base.

“I think that fear is unfounded,” Nelson said. “As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I can say that Tyndall will be rebuilt, and it will be an example of a modern U.S. Air Force base. That is because it is critically located right next to one of our greatest national assets, the Air Force Eastern Gulf Test and Training Range, which is the largest testing and training range for the United States military in the world.”

Nelson, a Democrat, is up for re-election and has been touring the storm damage in the Panhandle as his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, has overseen the state’s response.

On Friday, Nelson joined U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Republican U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a Republican from Panama City, in a letter to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Pentagon Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein showing support for rebuilding Tyndall.

“Each of us stand ready to work with the Air Force to rebuild Tyndall AFB and advocate for the resources needed to do so,” the lawmakers wrote.

After Andrew devastated Homestead, the Pentagon failed to get funding to rebuild the Air Force base. Later, the military and civilian workforce were reassigned, and the facility reopened as a smaller Air Force Reserve base.

A year ago, the Pentagon put a $3.4 billion value on the facilities at Tyndall — which encompasses 29,000 acres in southeastern Bay County and has about 11,000 military and civilian personnel. The Pentagon estimated the base’s annual economic impact — combining payroll, expenditures and jobs created — at $596 million.

Tyndall is home to the 325th Fighter Wing, which trains pilots for the F-22 Raptors, which are each valued at up to $339 million.

Of the 55 F-22 stealth fighters housed at Tyndall, at least 33 were sent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio before Michael made landfall in nearby Mexico Beach with 155 mph sustained winds.

The base also houses the 601st Air Operations Center, which directs operations for NORAD Defensive Counter Air activities and responds to natural and man-made disasters.

Base command at Tyndall last week called the hit from Michael “widespread catastrophic damage,” with every structure damaged, including hangars where planes that could not be flown out — due to maintenance or safety reasons — had been sheltered.

Wilson, the Air Force secretary, said — after touring the base and meeting with 93 airmen who rode out the storm — that Tyndall will reopen when safe, but she couldn’t offer a timeline for operations to return.

“Right now, it is still not safe to do so,” Wilson said in a video posted Monday on Facebook.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright added in the video, “I feel pretty good about the future of Tyndall” when discussing the recovery efforts.

Wilson, Goldfein and Wright issued a statement Sunday that noted no injuries occurred during the storm.

“That’s a testament to the base’s leadership and sound judgement in the face of rapidly changing storm predictions,” the statement said.

The statement also didn’t indicate when personnel would return other than to say “it will take time to recover, but we’ve been through this before and our airmen are up to the challenge.”

They added that the damage to the aircraft that remained on the ground “was less than we feared and preliminary indications are promising.”

“We also looked into each of the hangars that housed aircraft which weathered the storm for maintenance or safety reasons,” the statement said. “Visually, they were all intact and looked much better than expected considering the surrounding damage to some structures. Our maintenance professionals will do a detailed assessment of the F-22 Raptors and other aircraft before we can say with certainty that damaged aircraft can be repaired and sent back into the skies.”

The statement posted on Facebook didn’t say how many aircraft had been left on the base.

4 days after storm, large swath of Panhandle suffering

Crews with backhoes and other heavy equipment scooped up splintered boards, broken glass, chunks of asphalt and other debris in hurricane-flattened Mexico Beach on Sunday as the mayor held out hope for the 250 or so residents who may have tried to ride out the storm.

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17, with just one confirmed death so far in this Florida Panhandle town of about 1,000 people that took a direct hit from the hurricane and its 155 mph winds last week.

Crews worked to clear building debris along with the rubble from a collapsed section of the beachfront highway.

Mayor Al Cathey estimated 250 residents stayed behind when the hurricane struck, and he said he remained hopeful about their fate. He said search-and-rescue teams in the beach town had already combed areas with the worst damage.

“If we lose only one life, to me that’s going to be a miracle,” Cathey said.

He said enough food and water had been brought in for the residents who remain. Even some cellphone service had returned to the devastated community.

President Donald Trump plans to visit Florida and Georgia on Monday to see the damage.

Four days after the storm struck, a large swath of the Panhandle was suffering, from little beach towns to the larger Panama City to rural communities miles from where the hurricane came ashore. About 190,000 homes and businesses in Florida were without electricity.

“There are a lot of inland areas, some of these poor rural counties to the north of there. These counties took a devastating hit,” Sen. Marco Rubio said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“And we are talking about poor people, many of them are older, miles from each other, isolated in many cases from roads, including some dirt roads that are cut off right now. We haven’t been able to reach those people in a number of days.”

In downtown Marianna, the facades of historic buildings lay in pieces on the ground across from the courthouse. Jill Braxton stopped with a pickup truck loaded with hay, saying many people in rural areas nearby had trapped animals and needed supplies for their livestock.

“We’re just trying to help some other people who may not be able to get out of their driveways for a couple of days,” Braxton said. “There was a girl that had trapped horses, horses that were down, and horses that really needed vet care that could not get there. There’s been animals killed. People lost their cows.”

Some victims stranded by the storm managed to summon relief by using logs to spell out “HELP” on the ground, officials in Bay County, which includes Mexico Beach, said in a Facebook post. Officials said someone from another county was using an aerial mapping app, noticed the distress message and contacted authorities.

No details were released on who was stranded and what sort of help was needed.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Nelson said Tyndall Air Force Base on the Panhandle was heavily damaged, but he promised it would be rebuilt. The Florida Democrat and member of the Armed Services Committee said older buildings on the base were demolished, while newer ones will need substantial repairs.

The base is home to some of the nation’s most advanced fighter jets, and Nelson said some hangars were damaged severely. But he gave no information on how many planes were on the base during the storm or how many were damaged.

For the few residents remaining in Mexico Beach, conditions were treacherous.

Steve Lonigan was outside his home, talking with neighbor Jim Ostman, when a loud cracking sound made both men jump. It was just a small wooden block shifting in the sand beneath the weight of the front end of Lonigan’s camper trailer.

“All this stuff is just dangerous,” Ostman said, glancing at the destruction all around. “It’s so unstable.”

Lonigan and his wife returned Sunday after evacuating to Georgia. Seawater surged into his home, leaving a soggy mess of mud and leaves, even though the house stands 12 feet above ground on concrete blocks.

The single-story house had broken windows, and part of its roof and front steps were missing. Lonigan used a ladder to climb inside.

“We’ve got a lot more left than other people,” he said. “We were able to sleep in the bedroom last night.”

In hard-hit Panama City, pastor John Blount held Sunday services at St. Andrew United Methodist Church outdoors, in front of a wall demolished by the storm. Afterward, the church held a large cookout for the storm-weary.

Untold numbers of people across the region have damaged homes and no power and don’t have the means to relocate, either to a new or temporary place.

More roads were becoming passable as crews cleared trees and power lines, but traffic lights remained out and there were long lines at the few open gas stations.

Florida officials evacuated nearly 3,000 inmates from two hurricane-damaged prisons — the Gulf Correctional Institution and Annex and Calhoun Correctional Institution. They had damage to the roof and the infrastructure critical for security, authorities said. No inmates or staff members were injured.

___

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Marco Rubio: Michael devastation a ‘total wipeout’

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that he remains concerned about reaching rural communities with help days after Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle.

On NBC’s Meet The Press, he characterized the damage from the storm as “a total wipeout.”

“It’s hard to imagine it ever being able to recapture the exact identity it once had,” Rubio told host Chuck Todd.

“It will be rebuilt. It’ll all be rebuilt at some point. But it’s going to take a long time.”

Rural counties remain the most isolated days after the hurricane made landfall.

“These counties took a devastating hit,” he said. “We are talking about poor people, many of them are older, miles from each other, isolated in many cases from roads.”

Rubio also discussed storm recovery with CNN host Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

There, the discussion turned to climate change, where Tapper asked what could be done to make sure storms don’t get worse for his or Rubio’s children.

“We’re going to have to do something about the impact on low-level coast areas,” Rubio told Tapper. “But I’m also not going to destroy our economy.”

He did acknowledge an impact on mankind of the environment.

“Scientists are saying that humanity and its behavior is contributing to that,” he said. “I can’t tell you what percentage of that is due to human activity.”

On CBS’s Face The Nation, he said the questions in Washington, D.C. about global warming haven’t been centered on denial.

“I don’t think the debate has been always about whether or not it’s human contribution. It’s about whether the public policies being advocated would be effective,” he said.

Saudi Arabia

Rubio on NBC also discussed increasing tension between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi government has been accused of ordering Khashoggi’s death. The journalist, who had a column with The Washington Post, was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

“If he’s not alive, then it is the Saudis who would know what happened,” Rubio said.

But the senator held back on accusing the foreign government outright of involvement. He cast doubt on whether a recording of any murder occurred.

“I’m not prepared to pass judgment on something I don’t know for 100 percent certainty,” Rubio said.

But he promised Congress would act strongly if evidence comes out proving involvement.

“What I do find shocking is if in fact he was lured into a diplomatic facility, murdered, his body chopped up, and that they sent a group of people down there to carry this out, that would be an outrage,” Rubio said.

President Donald Trump told 60 Minutes that there would be consequences if that occurred, but hat he was unsure whether that included ending arms deals. Rubio seemed to side with Trump on that.

“Arms sales to Saudi Arabia are important not because of money but because he’s right when he says they’ll buy it from somebody else,” Rubio said.

“There are advantages to arms sales that have nothing to do with money.”

A U.S. response to Saudi Arabia still could include changes to arms deals, but could involve other acts as well, he said.

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