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Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio file bill wooing Canadian snowbirds for longer visits

Florida’s U.S. senators agree that those crossing the nation’s northern border should get to stay here for a while.

Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio filed The Canadian Snowbird Act, legislation that would let older Canadian visitors to the United States stay here as long as eight months without being considered residents.

“It’s no secret that Canadians love to visit Florida in the winter,” said Nelson. “The millions of Canadian snowbirds who visit our state each year play an important role in our state’s tourism-driven economy. Allowing them to stay even longer is a win for them and for the local economies they visit.”

With certain exceptions, Canadians merely visiting the United States do not typically need visas, according to the State Department. But under current law, those who come to the U.S. and stick around for longer than six months will be considered full-time residents of the U.S. and must pay income tax on their entire annual income, even money made in Canada.

Canadians who become permanent residents of the United States must have a visa or a waiver that says that the foreign nationals intend to be in the United States for less than 90 days.

If the new bill becomes law, Canadian citizens over the age of 50 could stay here for 240 days, or eight months, though they would be expressly prohibited from working for American employers or seeking public assistance in the U.S.

Regardless, visitors from the Great White North find their way to Florida and stay around for some time.

Visit Florida, which endorsed the legislation filed by Rubio and Nelson, estimates 3.2 Canadians visited the state in 2016. The Canadian embassy forecasts visitors from Canada contribute $4 billion each year to Florida’s economy.

The Canadian Snowbird Association is also endorsing the legislation.

Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz call on Donald Trump to cancel Vladimir Putin meetup

Florida congressmen Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz joined national Democrats calling for President Donald Trump to cancel an upcoming meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Deutch and Frankel signed onto a stern letter from Democrats on the House Foreign Relations Committee sharply criticizing Trump’s meeting with Putin.

“Unfortunately, due to your constant expressions of sympathy for Vladimir Putin, your conflicts of interest, and your attacks on our closest allies, we do not have faith that you can faithfully negotiate with the Russian leader, and we urge you to cancel the meeting,” the letter closes.

Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat, furthered criticism of Trump in his own message on Twitter, where he asserted the president believes Putin over U.S. intelligence when it comes to election interference.

House Democrats issued the letter the same day a fresh round of indictments came out of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling. The Tampa Bay Times notes those indictments show efforts specifically involving Florida election efforts.

Weston Democrat Wasserman Schultz suggested on Twitter that Trump cancel the meeting and “use the opportunity to publicly call on Russia to extradite the 12 Russian intelligence officials who were just indicted for interfering in the 2016 election.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, also made note Florida elections offices had been targeted by Russian meddling, and said Trump should demand criminals be turned over and “quit denying that criminal conspiracy took place.”

On that part, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio also strongly said Putin’s meddling was clear. “I don’t ‘believe’ Putin interfered in our elections,” Rubio tweeted. “I know for a fact he did.” He went on to criticize the partisan nature of media reaction to the Muller indictments.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, while less sharp in his critique than Democratic colleagues in the House, also said the indictments should be a “wake-up call for all Americans.” The Democrat did not go so far as to call for Trump to cancel his meeting.

Florida politicians reflect on passing of nursing legend Barbara Lumpkin

Barbara Lumpkin, a widely respected nurse and advocate in the Sunshine State, sadly passed away Thursday night at the age of 81.

An Ohio native, Lumpkin worked as a nurse for 16 years prior to moving in 1974 to Florida. There, she began work as a lobbyist for the Florida Nurses Association. 

“Barbara Lumpkin was the backbone of the FNA legislative program for over 30 years. She has educated and mentored countless nurses and built the foundation for a strong presence for nurses in the health policy arena in our state as well as nationally,” FNA Executive Director Willa Fuller said. “Her legacy is undeniable. She will be missed.”

She joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2007, but the fruits of her labor at FNA would continue to be witnessed almost a decade later.

Lumpkin — who was a fixture in the Capitol during legislative sessions — was “a trailblazer” and “giant of the nursing profession,” said Phillis Oeters, vice president of government relations for Baptist Health South Florida.

In 2016, the state passed the Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Act. The legislation, backed by FNA, had appeared before the legislature for 22 years prior. The law permits advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances.

“Her life’s work culminated with the passage of the Nurse Prescribing Act in 2016,” said Martha DeCastro, Vice President for Nursing and Clinical Care Policy at the Florida Hospital Association. “The outpouring of support from nurses across the state is a testament to her incredible legacy. I am so very grateful for her life, her passion, and for her friendship.”

Appreciation of her work and the widespread impact of her influence are evident. On Friday, a handful of politicians from both parties mourned Lumpkin’s passing. 

Gov. Rick Scott:

“Barbara Lumpkin was a relentless supporter of patients, nurses and the nursing profession in Florida. My wife, Ann, and I send our sincerest condolences to her family and friends.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson:

“Barbara Lumpkin was a champion for nursing and access to healthcare. While we mourn her loss, we also celebrate her life, her service, and her immense legacy.

“She defined what it means to care deeply for others, and to use her compassion to get things done through the legislative process. We are all grateful.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio:

“I am saddened by the loss of nursing champion Barbara Lumpkin. We are grateful for her service to our state, our nurses, and all those in need of compassionate care.”

Former Governor and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist:

“Barbara Lumpkin represented the best of the nursing and healthcare profession in our state. We will remember her for her decades of advocacy, selflessness, and service to our state. And we will honor her by serving others with the same compassion, kindness, and tenacity that made her so dearly loved.”

Former Gov. Jeb Bush:

“Barbara Lumpkin was unmatched in her advocacy on behalf of nurses. She accomplished so much for so many, and her legacy will live on through the caring, hardworking nurses she loved so much.”

State Sen. Denise Grimsley:

“Barbara Lumpkin was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration to so many. She was a nurse at Highlands General Hospital in Sebring the year I was born, and led the Florida Nurses Association the year I was first elected.

“We worked together to pass the Nurse Prescribing Act that I renamed the Barbara Lumpkin Act, a proud moment for both of us. I will miss Barbara’s wisdom, her wit, and we take comfort in the inspiration and example of her life, so very well-lived.”  

The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

Ross Spano

Ross Spano picks up Marco Rubio, Pam Bondi endorsements in CD 15

Republican state Rep. Ross Spano of Tampa received what could be a major boost Thursday in his six-way Republican Primary for Florida’s 15th Congressional District with an endorsement by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Earlier, Spano’s campaign released a poll showing he was 12 points ahead of his closest competitor, former state Rep. Neil Combee of Polk City. But with six Republicans running for their Party’s nod to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland, someone could when with only 25 percent of the vote, making the race still a tossup.

The Rubio endorsement could be an aid in getting higher than that 25 percent.

“It is certainly an honor and I think it validates the very hard work done by our grassroots organizing,“ Spano said. “I am more energized than ever after this.”

Rubio said Spano has a proven history of advancing conservative values and his credentials as a member of the Florida House.

Spano also has picked up the endorsement from Attorney General Pam Bondi as well as three Polk County Commissioners, in part because of what they called Combee’s meddling in the election to choose his successor to his House seat.

CD 15 includes portions of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties. The winner of the Aug. 28 primary will face the winner of the three-way Democratic primary in the general election.

Gloves off: Greg Steube slams Julio Gonzalez as ‘Never Trump’ Republican

Sen. Greg Steube lambasted Rep. Julio Gonzalez Wednesday over tweets he made in 2016 disparaging then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Gonzalez and Steube are the two leading Republicans in the race for Florida’s 17th Congressional District, which is open in 2018 due to the retirement of current U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney.

Steube’s attack included screenshots of five tweets, all from March 2016, where Gonzalez states his opposition to the eventual president using the “#NeverTrump” hashtag.

In three of the tweets, the Venice Republican – who has since festooned his twitter bio with the “#MAGA” hashtag – expresses his support for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who was still competing for the GOP nomination at the time. Rubio has endorsed Gonzalez in the CD 17 race.

In one tweet, Gonzalez says “Trump is no conservative.” In another, he says “the fact that Trump is still in the race is deplorable.” All five tweets were still live as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Steube campaign seized on those tweets to paint comments Gonzalez made during a meeting with the Lee County Executive Committee last month as inconsistent in his views.

“The interesting thing about me as a candidate is that my views on these issues are all there for you to see and hear. If I say something inconsistent with where I have stood, you will find out about it. And a lot of those things were there before I ever decided I was going to run for Congress, so, the views are consistent,” Gonzalez is quoted as saying.

The Steube campaign said the tweets poke holes in Gonzalez’ claims of consistency and pointed to the recent primary defeat of longtime U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina as the consequence of being a “Never Trump” Republican in the current political climate.

When it comes to CD 17, that argument isn’t unsupported. The expansive and safely Republican district voted plus-27 for Trump two years ago.

“We need to send a conservative we can trust to Congress,” said Alex Blair, Steube’s campaign manager. “It’s clear that conservative is Greg Steube. He has always supported President Trump and will continue to do so in Congress.”

Gonzalez and Steube will be on the Aug. 28 primary ballot alongside little-known Republican Greg Akins.

Steube filed for CD 17 shortly after Rooney announced in late February that he would not seek re-election. Gonzalez followed shortly after the 2018 Legislative Session wrapped.

Gonzalez held a large fundraising lead at the end of the first quarter thanks in part to $150,000 in candidate loans, though his $84,000 in outside fundraising still bested Steube’s $63,550 Q1 haul. Earlier this week, Gonzalez said he’d reeled in another $225,000 in Q2, while Steube has yet to announce his tally.

CD 17 sprawls across parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties. Rooney has held the seat since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections.

Marco Rubio backs Matt Caldwell for Ag Commissioner

Wednesday saw Sen. Marco Rubio endorse Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell in the GOP primary for Agriculture Commissioner.

The media release stressed each man’s conservative credentials, a logical move ahead of the August election.

“As the most conservative candidate in the race for Commissioner of Agriculture,” Rubio said, “Matt Caldwell has been an unwavering supporter of the Second Amendment, consistently voted to cut taxes and reduce the size of government, and is a staunch supporter of the right-to-life.”

It’s uncertain what abortion politics have to do with the position at hand. However, Rubio added that “there is no harder working or more qualified candidate in the race for Commissioner of Agriculture.”

Caldwell, “proud to have Senator Rubio’s endorsement,” asserted that he is “working from the winning playbook of Senator Marco Rubio in 2010 when he was the underdog candidate and won because he was the most conservative and the hardest working..”

“Unlike my opponents, I have never voted against our Second Amendment rights, to expand Obamacare in Florida, or to raise taxes on hard working Florida families,” Caldwell said, even as it likewise is uncertain what the connection is between Medicaid expansion and the position at hand.

“As the true conservative candidate in the race,” Caldwell added, “I am battle-tested and ready to stand on principle for Florida’s families.”

The primary election is Aug. 28.

The Rubio endorsement is a key get given the crowded and expensive GOP primary battle.

Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley, retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman are all in the mix, with Caldwell, Grimsley and Troutman each having raised more than a million dollars.

Material from Florida Politics’ Drew Wilson was used in this post.

White House backs Everglades reservoir

The White House has backed Florida’s effort to secure federal funding for a reservoir intended to move water away from Lake Okeechobee and reduce discharges that residents blame for repeated toxic algae outbreaks spreading on both coasts.

The request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to include funding for the roughly $1.6 billion Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, approved by the state Legislature last year, now heads to the U.S. Senate. The plan is expected to be included as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

The reservoir was a priority for Florida Senate President Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who is leaving office in November.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly welcomed the White House action.

“This project, spearheaded by state Sen. Negron and coupled with existing efforts, will greatly reduce the harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges once again threatening our coastal communities,” Rubio said in a press release before discussing the algae outbreak on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

“I am encouraged by the administration’s continued engagement on Florida’s water issues, and I look forward to working with the president to fund the expedited construction of these critical Everglades restoration projects.”

On Wednesday, Rubio asked the Small Business Administration to provide help to small businesses adversely affected by the algal blooms.

Gov. Rick Scott, who has close ties to President Donald Trump, took to social media to praise the White House action, which came a day after the governor took a boat tour of the impacted waters in Southwest Florida and issued an emergency declaration regarding the outbreak.

“This critical project will help us move & store more water south of Lake Okeechobee,” Scott, a Republican running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, tweeted Tuesday.

The state is banking that the federal government will pick up the tab for half of the project, projected to cost about $1.6 billion.

“This reservoir is an indispensable component to finally eliminating the harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee that are polluting our estuaries and waterways,” Negron said in a statement Tuesday night.

Negron expressed hope that the initial permitting and engineering for the reservoir can begin within the next few months.

“This is an emergency; time is of the essence,” he said.

Tuesday’s approval by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget came a day after Scott imposed an emergency order for Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties over the reemergence of toxic algae outbreaks in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. A similar outbreak of “guacamole-thick” algae blooms spreading across the Treasure Coast spurred the Legislature to advance plans for the reservoir two years ago.

Scott’s emergency declaration Monday also enlisted a number of state agencies to address the toxic waters.

The governor directed the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the South Florida Water Management District to waive various restrictions and regulations to store water in additional areas south of the lake.

Also, Scott ordered the DEP to set up a grant program to help local governments pay for clean-up services. The governor told the Department of Economic Opportunity to assist businesses impacted by the algae outbreak.

And Scott ordered state health officials to inform Floridians and visitors of the dangers of algal blooms, and directed tourism officials to find ways to reduce the impact of the outbreak on the state’s travel industry.

Updated 1 p.m. — Scott in a statement said he has “aggressively fought for these communities since I became Governor … The approval of the reservoir project is a tremendous step toward storing more water south of Lake Okeechobee.

“Once again, our communities are facing a threat from water being released by the federal government from Lake Okeechobee. In Florida, to minimize the impact of these water discharges, we have taken decisive action to find more water storage to protect our rivers and coastal estuaries. This includes the reservoir project that I worked with the Florida Legislature to accelerate and the critical repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike that we urged to be included in supplemental disaster funding.

“Also, I issued an emergency declaration this week, so the state can do everything in our power to mitigate the immediate threat of the Army Corps of Engineers’ water releases.

“Now that this project has been approved by the White House, there is no excuse for Congress not to advance and fund the reservoir as soon as possible. Congress must act immediately to help find a solution to the water that the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing into our coastal communities.”

Florida politicians react to Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump is nominating influential conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as he seeks to shift the nation’s highest court further to the right.

Trump chose the 53-year-old federal appellate judge for the seat opened up by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh would be less receptive to abortion and gay rights than Kennedy was.

Kavanaugh is Trump’s second high court pick after Justice Neil Gorsuch. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch served as law clerks to Kennedy at the same time early in their legal careers.

Kavanaugh is a longtime fixture of the Republican legal establishment. He has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton and worked in the White House during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Here is a running compilation of reactions from Florida’s elected officials and politicians:

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:

“Brett Kavanaugh is a qualified, mainstream jurist who possesses the right temperament and experience for the position, and I’m pleased to see his nomination to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“My decision on whether to ultimately support Kavanaugh’s nomination will be based on his commitment to original intent, judicial restraint, and the understanding that the Supreme Court is a ‘trier of law’ appellate court and not a ‘trier of fact’ trial court.

“This is critically important because too many in the federal judicial system today believe it is appropriate for judges to craft new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as written.

“Regrettably, Senate Democrats made up their minds to oppose this nomination long before tonight’s announcement. I would remind them that just over a year-and-a-half ago the American people elected the president and a Republican-controlled Senate.

“Nevertheless, I am hopeful for a fair and thorough confirmation process as the Senate carefully examines and deliberates Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Gov. Rick Scott:

Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis:

Gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam:

Gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham:

“Donald Trump has nominated another Supreme Court justice who does not believe women have the right to make our own health care decisions. If Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the court, Roe v. Wade is gravely at risk of being overturned.

“Florida: this is not a drill. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis are elected governor, women will lose our rights to make our own health care decisions.

‘They would outlaw abortion within a year and appoint judges who will decimate Florida’s constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy.

“As governor, I will veto any legislation that limits a woman’s right to choose and I will appoint state Supreme Court Justices who will uphold our right to make our own health care decisions.”

Gubernatorial candidate Chris King:

“In Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has picked a nominee who threatens to roll back the clock on America — and with few allies in Washington, this fight now falls to the states.

“We’ve got to elect bold, progressive leaders who will stand up to the political establishment and fight for civil rights, workers’ rights and women’s health care — no matter what Donald Trump and his nominee have to say about it.”

Gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine:

“It’s more imperative than ever that reasonable Republicans join Democrats to complete a thorough vetting. Too much legal precedent is at stake — from preserving Roe V Wade to LGBT protections — we refuse to turn the clock back on the protections enshrined by a balanced court!”

Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum:

“With his pick of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has done everything in his power to push the Supreme Court into the world of ultra-conservatism.

“A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is at risk. Voting rights are at risk. Collective bargaining is at risk.

‘Here in Florida, Rick Scott will try to stack our Supreme Court in his final hours in office. We must hold the line on the three impending Florida Supreme Court vacancies, and when I am Governor-Elect, my Administration will use every tool available to ensure Floridians have their voices heard in their justice system.”

Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw:

Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody:

Attorney General candidate Frank White:

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz:

“I commend President Trump for his selection of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“He is an excellent jurist, with a deep and abiding reverence for the Constitution. I have no doubt that, when confirmed, Justice Kavanaugh will serve America’s highest court with honor and integrity.

“I also commend President Trump for maintaining the same transparent selection process that he used when he appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Like Justice Gorsuch, Judge Kavanaugh was on President Trump’s list of potential candidates. Making this list available offered the American public great transparency, and an opportunity to learn about each potential candidate.

“With this nomination, President Trump has helped shape the future of jurisprudence in America for generations to come, by ensuring that the Supreme Court will faithfully uphold the Constitution as written. This is a good day for Judge Kavanaugh, for the rule of law, and for the United States of America.”

Republican Congressman Neal Dunn:

“In announcing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for the Supreme Court, President Trump has taken another tangible step to secure the Constitution and ensure that the people of the United States remain pre-eminent, not the government. This is a victory for everyone who cherishes our nation’s conservative values. I urge the Senate to act quickly and confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Republican Congressman Daniel Webster:

“On the campaign, President Trump promised his Supreme Court pick nominee would be a jurist who is dedicated to freedom, the rule of law, and to preserving our liberties as enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. He also promised a transparent selection process.

“With the nomination of Justice [NeilGorsuch and now Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump has kept his promises.”

Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch:

“With his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump is attempting to advance a radical ideological shift of the Supreme Court that will threaten settled fundamental rights and challenge the right of every American to access affordable, high-quality health care. We know that the president has targeted the Affordable Care Act.

“He ordered his Justice Department to stop defending the Affordable Care Act. He ordered Republicans in Congress to do everything they could to weaken the law and drive up prices. And now he wants to use the third branch of government to finish the job.

“We know Judge Kavanaugh’s record. If you have a pre-existing condition and benefit from those protections, your coverage is now at risk. Americans with disabilities, nursing mothers, and others who are covered by the ACA’s basic protections are now at a greater risk of discrimination, skyrocketing costs, and loss of coverage. There is no longer a theoretical threat to Roe v. Wade.

“With this nominee, President Trump fulfilled his campaign promise of nominating justices who are hostile to women’s reproductive rights.

“If confirmed, the conservative wing of the court — composed of five men — will be poised to strip women of the freedom to make their own health choices and control their own futures. If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court could so severely weaken women’s right to privacy that even access to basic contraception would be at stake.

“President Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court means that important precedents that have moved America forward toward a more equal and just society could be shredded. The Senate now has the responsibility to protect Americans from an ideologically-driven nominee whose confirmation would create a Supreme Court bent on setting America decades back in time.”

Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist:

“A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land is an awesome responsibility. Justices must be committed to upholding our Constitution, upholding the rights provided by it to ALL Americans, and upholding an independent judiciary where no one is above the law.

“I have serious concerns with Judge Kavanaugh’s views on presidential authority, whether the executive is accountable under the law, and the threat his record may pose to civil rights and the right to choose.

“The Senate must carefully, thoroughly, and methodically vet Judge Kavanaugh before his nomination is brought to a vote.”

Congressional candidate David Richardson:

Congressional candidate Alvin Brown:

“Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh will be a rubber-stamp for this Administration’s extreme, right-wing agenda.

“With Kavanaugh on the bench, our values and the fundamental rights of generations to come are on the line. From access to affordable health care and reproductive health, to labor unions, gun safety and civil rights, Brett Kavanaugh cannot be trusted.”

“He has a long, troubling record on issues that impact everyday Americans’ lives, and the Senate must reject Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has no business anywhere near the highest court in the land.”

Americans for Prosperity — Florida:

“We commend President Trump for nominating Judge Kavanaugh and keeping his promise to select a jurist with a sterling record of judicial restraint and a commitment to the Constitution, both of which are vital to serving on the highest court.

“Sen. Nelson put politics above country when he stated before a nominee was even announced that he was likely to oppose the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. But Judge Kavanaugh’s record deserves his consideration and support.

“Floridians deserve Senators with objectivity during this process — Senators who will assess the nominee based on his interpretation of the Constitution, instead of coming to a pre-determined conclusion based on D.C. politics. We urge Sen. Nelson to support Judge Kavanaugh and put Floridians over politics.”

Progress Florida:

“Whether you care about access to health care, reproductive rights, voting rights, protecting our environment, LGBT equality, or criminal justice reform, the fate of them all hang in the balance. Kavanaugh tried to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

“He believes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional and time and time again he has sided with large companies over the interests of consumers. And Kavanaugh’s writings clearly demonstrate that he would allow Donald Trump’s abuses of power to go unchecked.

“Recent Supreme Court decisions are a stark reminder of the damage already wrought by one Trump appointment to the high court. Worker’s rights, women’s access to health care and voting rights have all been diminished during the just-concluded Supreme Court term.

“We cannot let President Trump take over the court for the next 40 years with justices like Brett Kavanaugh, who would rewrite the Constitution and roll back a century of progress on civil and human rights.”

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia:

“It is a historic occurrence for a President to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. And now, President Trump gets a second opportunity to deliver for this nation’s highest court in less than two years.

“Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh is an immensely qualified candidate with a record of adhering to the rule of law and the original text of our finest document, the Constitution.

“A champion of our nation’s legal heritage, Kavanaugh will serve the court honorably while protecting individual liberty. We urge the swift confirmation of Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. This ‘Coach K’ is another winner.”

Material from The Associated Press was used in this post.

Joe Henderson: Marco Rubio says media is reason GOP won’t criticize Donald Trump

Huh?

Marco Rubio tweeted Wednesday that Republicans are afraid to criticize President Trump because “it means siding with a media that never cuts him a break, turns even little things he does into an act of evil….”

Huh?

I mean, Rubio is an educated man. He is a United States Senator.

And apparently, he believes the reason members of his party won’t stand up to the man who put the bully back in the pulpit is because they’re afraid of the media?

What am I missing here?

The only media they’re afraid of is @realDonaldTrump.

Republicans don’t criticize Trump because they don’t want to be the target of his Twitter attacks. Their knees shake at the notion that offering even reasoned opposition to the president’s globe-stomping antics would earn them the rebuke of hard-liners and a primary challenge.

The money tap could be turned off.

Appearing to be in step with Chuck Todd is the least of their concerns.

They have seen members of their own party mocked and humiliated by the president. They have seen him attack John McCain, for goodness sake.

Rubio should know that better than anyone, or has he forgotten the “Little Marco” face-slap that put the final nail in his presidential campaign?

Then again, Rubio has always growled like a pit bull until it’s time to show his cards and he turns into a parakeet.

The unfortunate thing about this tweet is that Rubio has been doing some good things lately. He and Democrat Bill Nelson have developed a cooperative relationship on several issues, to the benefit of Floridians.

He created some chatter in an interview with the Economist when he said workers weren’t seeing much benefit from the big Trump tax cuts, but the fat cats sure were.

“There is still a lot of thinking on the right that if big corporations are happy, they’re going to take the money they’re saving and reinvest it in American workers,” he said then. “In fact, they bought back shares, a few gave out bonuses; there’s no evidence whatsoever that the money’s been massively poured back into the American worker.”

Did that refreshing bit of honesty hurt Rubio?

Didn’t seem to.

And even if some of his trickle-down GOP pals were annoyed, it was because he strayed from the reservation. It wasn’t because Rubio was “siding with the media.”

So, it’s hard to figure what Rubio was trying to gain by this tweet.

Did the president slip in a new executive order requiring all GOP politicians to attack the press at least once a week?

But seriously folks, it’s not the media’s job to give politicians a break. The media is supposed to be cranky, ask uncomfortable questions and all that stuff.

Anyone with enough time in the public eye as Rubio has had surely knows that. I’m sure his Republican and Democratic colleagues know that too.

GOP members who might otherwise speak up against Trump aren’t afraid of siding with the media.

My guess is, they’re simply afraid.

Marco Rubio: Fatherhood is essential

For Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator, Father’s Day isn’t about gifts.

Instead, it’s a reminder of an important aspect of parenting, and the obligations that come with raising children in America.

Sen. Marco Rubio recently authored an op-ed for The Federalist, a conservative online magazine, in which he opines on fatherhood ahead of the holiday celebrating it.

Commercialization, Rubio wrote, fogs the “true meaning” of Father’s Day. He borrows words in a resolution by former President Calvin Coolidge to describe of the mission of the holiday: “to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

“Fathers play the indispensable role in protecting their families from harm, encouraging children to overcome challenges, disciplining children with authority, and teaching boys how to become responsible men by modeling responsibility themselves,” wrote Rubio.

The tenets of being a dad are bipartisan, Rubio claimed. He cited words from former Democratic President Barack Obama: “[Fathers] are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.”

The Senator said “social chaos,” created by those who commit atrocities, is a direct result of “broken families” and the “absence of fathers.” He pointed to research conducted by psychologist Dr. Peter Langman, who studies mass shooters.

“More than 75 percent of the most-cited school shooters since Columbine came from broken homes,” Rubio wrote. It’s an almost-definite nod to Nikolas Cruz, the confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter, who was adopted at birth and lost his father at a young age. Since the Parkland shooting, Rubio has made a point of advocating for solutions that are less myopic than restricting access to guns.

When fathers don’t exercise enough positive influence on their sons, “it makes for an alarming number of working-age young men who do not work, seem to have no drive, and take drugs to escape their frustration. It makes for an equally alarming number of young men who abuse women, abandon financial responsibility for their children, become thugs, or become ridiculous hyper-masculine idiots,” Rubio wrote.

He concluded: “For this Father’s Day, let’s focus less on the latest gadgets and cultural outrages, and more on the distinct value — and obligations — of fatherhood and the fatherly virtues of honor, drive to provide, bravery, courage, conviction, gentle toughness, and strength of will.”

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