Marco Rubio – Page 4 – Florida Politics

Marco Rubio calls on Army Corps of Engineers to give priority to Florida projects

Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter Thursday to the top official for the Army Corps of Engineers urging priority for scores of Florida water projects from the Herbert Hoover Dike to the harbors in Jacksonville and Pensacola.

Rubio, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, sent his letter Thursday to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James. It reminds James that the budget bill Congress approved and President Donald Trump signed last week authorizes and allocates money for numerous projects, and Rubio wants to make sure Florida gets its share into the Army Corps of Engineers’ Fiscal Year 2018 work plan.

Rubio’s letter serves to show how much water work is sought by Florida, and how much assistance the Sunshine State could use from the federal government, notably the Army Corps of Engineers, to address pollution, flooding, ecosystem restoration, water management, and harbor, coastal, and river marine navigation maintenance and operations.

Florida’s big projects involving the Everglades, the Kissimmee and St. Johns rivers, and others are in there. So, too, are a number of lesser-known projects dealing with harbor, beach, river, and water quality issues stretching from the Florida Keys through the Panhandle.

The list Rubio forwarded includes 22 congressionally authorized engineering and construction projects, including some that have numerous sub-project parts; two local projects authorized to receive federal assistance; and another couple dozen programs that need ongoing maintenance and operation money.

“These projects prevent flooding in our communities, protect vital drinking water and irrigation sources, bolster economic growth and prosperity, and conserve and restore unique aquatic ecosystems in our state, including America’s Everglades,” Rubio wrote.

“As you finalize the planning and selection process for the FY18 Work Plan following passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, it is critical that all proposed and ongoing Florida projects receive your full and fair consideration while taking into account each project’s value to the local community, our state, and to our nation as a whole,” he added.

Among the congressionally authorized projects he urged James to not overlook: Brevard County shore protection; Canaveral Harbor sand bypass; Collier County shore protection; Daytona Beach flood protection; Flagler County shore protection; Florida Keys water quality improvements; Fort Pierce Beach; Herbert Hoover Dike; Jacksonville Harbor deepening; Jacksonville Harbor, Mile Point project; Martin County beach erosion control; Miami Harbor Channel; Nassau County shore protection; Okaloosa County shore protection; Palm Beach County beach erosion control; Panama City Harbor; Pinellas County shore protection; Sand Key and Treasure Island segments; Port Everglades Harbor deepening; Putnam County comprehensive water supply infrastructure modernization; South Atlantic Coast comprehensive study; South Florida ecosystem restoration; and St. John’s County shore protection.

The two “Continuing Authorities Programs” projects he highlighted in the letter were Lake Toho restoration and Mt. Sinai Seawall rehabilitation.

Finally, Rubio cited the continuing funding needed for the operation of programs at the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers; Canaveral Harbor; Central and Southern Florida; Escambia and Conecuh rivers; Fernandina Harbor; Fort Pierce Harbor; Jacksonville Harbor; Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam; Manatee Harbor; Miami Harbor; Okeechobee Waterway; Palm Beach Harbor; Panama City Harbor; Pensacola Harbor; Ponce De Leon Inlet; Port Everglades Harbor; Port St. Joe Harbor; shallow draft harbors; St. Augustine Harbor; St. Johns River; South Florida ecosystem restoration; Suwannee River; and Tampa Harbor, and various ongoing statewide programs such as removal of aquatic growth.

Bill Nelson pledges VA will not be privatized

Florida’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson charged in Orlando Thursday that the latest shakeup at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has to do with President Donald Trump‘s desire to privatize health services for veterans and he vowed to block it.

Nelson was joined Thursday by fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island in honoring dozens of Central Florida veterans, many of them disabled and in wheelchairs or gurneys at the Orlando VA Medical Center at Lake Nona.

The appearance came less than a day after Trump fired VA Secretary David Shulkin and announced he would nominate Dr. Ronny Jackson, a Navy rear admiral who serves as White House physician for Trump and did so for previous presidents.

In addition to pledging to support the VA, Nelson also responded to media inquiries about Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s claim that the two senators have a great relationship, and thus Rubio would not be strongly campaigning for Nelson’s Republican opponent this fall, likely Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Nelson re-affirmed his side of the bromance between himself and Rubio.

Nelson and Reed both said they assume Jackson is a decent man and that they intend to reserve judgment on his nomination until after Senate hearings. But Nelson said he is confident the shakeup is a result of Trump’s desire to privatize veteran medical care, something Shulkin had publicly pushed back on.

He and Reed said they would not let privatization happen.

“I want all of you to know that against all of the rumors swirling that VA. medical care is going to be privatized, don’t worry. It will not be. And I guarantee you that Sen. Reed and I will be two of the people that will not let it happen,” Nelson told the gathering of disabled veterans.

Neither Reed nor Nelson said they had any information to suggest that Jackson would favor privatization.

“The veterans certainly don’t want it,” Nelson said afterwards. “All the veterans medical care is considered excellent. The problems have been in the administrative operation in a very large, gargantuan, administrative agency. But the veterans should have confidence to know that they will continue to have a veterans medical care system. We owe that to them. They fought for this country. They were promised that would have a medical system that would take care of them. And we’re going to make good on that promise.”

As for the Rubio relationship, Nelson said, “Marco and I are personal friends. We get along well, That’s important for Florida. Because we do a lot of stuff for our state that you would never see, such as the appointment of federal judges. It would be absolutely miserable if you didn’t get along with your fellow senator.

“Fortunately, I think his comments reflect exactly what I would say about him,” Nelson added.

Marco Rubio’s decision not to campaign for Rick Scott becoming an issue in congressional race

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s reluctance to give full-throated support for Gov. Rick Scott‘s anticipated run for Florida’s other U.S. Senate seat is becoming an issue in the Republican primary contest between Scott Sturgill and Mike Miller in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

The congressional campaign for Sturgill, a businessman from Sanford, is criticizing Rubio’s loyalty, and questioning whether an alliance with Rubio might be an issue for Miller as Republicans look to support Scott this fall against Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

Miller used to work on Rubio’s campaigns, and Rubio had endorsed him in the CD 7 contest, following a pattern in previous races when Miller was elected and re-elected to the Florida House of Representatives in Florida’s House District 47. Rubio will be featured at an April 6 fundraiser for Miller.

In a sit-down with Tallahassee reporters Tuesday, Rubio said he would not campaign against Nelson, whom he considered a good colleague and partner in several matters they worked together on for Florida.

Sturgill’s campaign spokesman Frank Torres declared in a statement released early Thursday that Rubio’s reluctance is something Republicans need to think hard about when they’re considering whom Rubio is or isn’t supporting.

Miller, too, seems to be seeking a little distance from Rubio. An unconfirmed audio clip sent to Florida Politics appears to be a Miller speech in which he criticizes Rubio’s spending in Washington.

Nonetheless, his campaign shot back at Sturgill, noting the praise that Scott gave Miller at an event in Orlando last week, and suggested that Sturgill was “upset” by the Governor’s acknowledgment.

Miller and Sturgill top a multi-candidate Republican primary seeking a shot at Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in November. Once solid red, CD 7 was redrawn to take in more Democratic neighborhoods in Orlando, and now is pretty purple, covering the predominantly Republican Seminole County and the predominantly Democratic north and central Orange County.

Also in the CD 7 Republican primary are Vennia Francois and Patrick Weingart.

There’s a chance backlash against Rubio’s reluctance to support Scott could spread, as Rubio offered endorsements in other Republican primaries, notably when he tapped  Julio Gonzalez in Florida’s 17th Congressional District. CD 17 came into play last month when Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney announced he would not seek re-election. Several Republicans have since entered or are considering a bid.

“Senator Rubio’s decision to not campaign against Bill Nelson is unfortunate and a ‘must know’ for Republicans living in Florida’s 7th District,” Torres stated. “While Republicans all over the state will likely be rallying behind the ‘Jobs Governor’ Rick Scott, in this year’s Senate race, Rubio will be on the sidelines because he has a ‘good working relationship’ with Nelson.”

Torres fired a suggestion at Republicans considering attending Miller’s fundraiser next week, at which Rubio is the headliner. He also took a shot at Miller, charging that the Winter Park house member hasn’t been Scott’s best ally in the Florida Legislature.

“Republicans supporting Mike Miller need to know this ahead of Senator Rubio’s visit next week,” Torres added. “Mike himself has opposed the governor on issues such as economic development and cutting regulations while continuing to fund organizations like Planned Parenthood. He’s not a conservative and not the best chance to defeat Stephanie Murphy in November.”

In the unconfirmed audio recording, Miller criticizes out-of-control spending in Congress and notes that even Republicans are part of the problem. He states: “I love Marco for a lot of the good things. I wonder how fiscally conservative he is. I want to remind him sometimes, ‘Heads up, we’re spending a lot of money.’ Fiscal conservatism is where it all begins.”

On Thursday, Miller’s campaign responded to Sturgill’s statement with this statement:

“It is sad Mike’s opponent is more focused on politics than the issues that are most important to voters. We should be talking about building the wall, balancing the budget, and protecting the Trump tax cuts, but instead Mike’s opponent is upset by the kind words Governor Scott has said about Mike recently, and is using them to infuse unnecessary politics into our campaign. Mike is focused on discussing real issues and ensuring Central Floridians have a representative in Congress that is fighting for them – not special interests. Governor Scott is a great American and Mike has enjoyed working with him keeping taxes low and making life better for all Floridians.”

On Tuesday, Rubio said he wouldn’t campaign against Nelson if Scott, as expected, runs: “Bill Nelson and I have a very good working relationship.”

The full transcript of Rubio’s comments, provided by his office, read: “I don’t campaign against Bill Nelson. Bill Nelson and I have a very good working relationship. I think come election time, both of us understand — he supported Patrick Murphy because he wanted his party to have more seats in the Senate. And I’ll support the Republican nominee, and if Rick Scott runs, it’s going to be him. And I think he’ll do a good job here in the Senate. It’s not an indictment on Bill. I couldn’t ask for a better partner — especially from the other party. Come election time I want my party to win, just like he wants his party to win. So I don’t have anything negative to say about him, but I clearly want to have more Republicans in the Senate.”

Scott has scheduled an April 9 event, when he is expected to formally announce his entry into the U.S. Senate race.

“We’re proud to stand with Gov. Rick Scott in his anticipated campaign for Senate and will run side by side as the voters reject both Bill Nelson and Stephanie Murphy at the polls this November,” Torres stated.

As for Francois, her campaign issued a statement Monday suggesting the bickering between Miller and Sturgill shows why they’re both bad for the district.

“Two men running for Congress arguing about whether the Senator should support the Governor is the type of backroom bickering from career politicians that people are sick of. Everyday Vennia will continue to talk directly to the voters about the issues that keep them up at night and it’s why she’ll prove she’s the only Republican who can win against Stephanie Murphy,” stated Larry Farnsworth, spokesman Vennia for Congress.

Marco Rubio: China may be bigger threat than Russia

Alleged Russian meddling in American elections may get the headlines, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said on Tuesday, but it’s Chinese espionage that worries him more.

Rubio, the former Florida House Speaker first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, spoke with reporters in a rare media briefing in his Tallahassee office on the 21st floor of the Capitol.

“Under the Bush administration, there was still a hope that in China, free enterprise would lead to democracy and they would become more like us,” he said. “I think by the second half of the Obama administration there was a realization about the threat that China was posing.”

The threat is “deeper” than the Big Brother-like oppression of its own people, Rubio said.

“I’m talking about the ability to send people to study in the U.S., become U.S. citizens, embed themselves in American corporate entities that work in defense, and deliver secrets,” he said.

He’s not the first Florida politician to recently sound an alarm over that type of intervention.

Last August, Republican Congressmen Matt Gaetz and Neal Dunn, both of whom represent Florida Panhandle districts, held what they called a “field hearing” at Florida State University on Chinese intellectual property theft.

A panel included Dean Minardi, CEO of Tallahassee-based Bing Energy, which is embroiled in federal litigation against its sister Chinese company, Nantong Bing Energy, over the alleged theft of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

It’s “not just an accusation: It is very real and it hurts very real people,” Minardi said, calling it “breathtaking thievery on a grand, international scale.”

China engages in an “outright pattern of stolen ideas,” the “immoral equivalent of an act of war,” he said. A Nantong Bing Energy official has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Added Rubio on Tuesday: “I’m talking about them sending agents to the United States to coerce or even kidnap Chinese nationals, wanted by them for alleged crimes. Not to mention how they’re using their investment power to reach into local governments, state governments.”

Chinese influence includes investing in smaller foreign companies under the radar, to “get to the core of a product” in supply chains.

“It sounds like science fiction, but it is an all out effort,” Rubio told reporters. “When you lift the veil on this, you realize what you’re confronting … It’s not paranoia, it’s a real thing.”

 

Joe Henderson: March leaders’ next challenge is keeping momentum

Maybe the March For Our Lives pulled some people off the sideline and converted them to the cause of ending gun violence here and around the world.

I hope so.

But you know what?

I know how the other side thinks, and they are betting against that. They figure that within a few more days, maybe a couple of weeks, the story of Saturday’s world-wide protests will vanish from the nightly news, front pages and the public’s collective interest.

They figure everyone will be distracted by Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels, or some other event that becomes THE story of the news cycle.

Sure, the students who organized and led marches – especially those from Parkland – were compelling and the crowds were large. But the other side is wagering that the majority of participants will soon lose the fire in their bellies that pushed them to get involved following the slaughter of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

They’ll be distracted enough with final exams, summer jobs, or heading to college in the fall. Oh sure, some of them will follow through on their vow to stay active during the buildup to the mid-term elections and that might flip a few seats to the Democrats.

Not enough to change the balance of power though.

That’s why we haven’t heard much from Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell.

Just lay low, let it burn out.

That’s why the president, who tweets about everything, acted like the march had typhoid and avoided it – although, to be fair, he did say Friday his administration will work to ban bump stocks.

He did, by the way, find time to declare Sunday national Greek Independence Day – so there is that.

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio tried, as usual, to have it both ways. In a tweet he noted, “Many support gun ban. But many others see it as infringement of #2A that won’t prevent shootings. Protest is good way of making a point, but making a change will require both sides finding common ground.”

Stop right there, Senator.

Multiple polls have shown that about 70 percent of Americans want strong regulation of firearms. That’s a bit more definitive than “some want this, but some want that.”

Rubio also has been singled out by protesters for taking large donations from the National Rifle Association, a group for whom “common ground” means “see it our way.”

The NRA recently filed a federal law suit against a Florida bill that imposed modest restrictions on the sale of weapons like the AR-15. The state raised the minimum age to buy such a gun to 21 from 18, mandated a three-day waiting period, and an end to bump stocks.

Important note: The law doesn’t say an 18-year-old can’t receive and own an AR-15 as a gift or through other means. They just have to wait to before they can go to a gun store and buy one.

The NRA called that an attack on the 2nd Amendment.

How is anyone to supposed to find Rubio’s goal of common ground against stubbornness like that?

And, trust me kids, the NRA knows a thing or three about how to play the political game. It has gotten really good at that, which brings us back to the original point.

Protesters are correct that the only way to change the law is to change the people who make the laws. Doing that is hard, tedious work – the kind work the NRA and its supporters have done for years to gain the political advantage they have now.

Those same polls that show Americans want change also don’t believe they’ll get that. In a Marist survey, 63 percent said they approved of the march. But 62 percent also said they don’t believe the protests will bring about significant change.

That’s what the kids are up against.

The NRA and gun supporters have beaten the opposition down by offering no common ground, as Rubio would say it. You are either with the NRA all the way, or not.

But as we looked around the nation Saturday, we saw millions of faces saying that things have to change. Some of them have lived through a horror a lot worse than having to wait a little while to buy an AR-15.

The momentum generated by the march could change this country and the world.

The opposition is betting it won’t.

It’s up to protesters to prove them wrong.

 

David Richardson, Mary Barzee Flores jointly rip Donna Shalala in CD 27 race

In a joint press conference of rivals Thursday afternoon, David Richardson and Mary Barzee Flores united to rip fellow Democratic congressional candidate Donna Shalala over reports that she has given generously to Republicans.

Richardson, a state representative from Miami Beach, and Barzee Flores, a former judge from Miami, responded to reports in POLITICO and elsewhere that their newest rival for Florida’s 27th Congressional District Democratic primary, Shalala, has over the years donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans and organizations supporting Republican candidates.

A Bill Clinton Cabinet alum, Shalala also is the former president of the University of Miami and served on the board of directors of UnitedHealthGroup. She just entered the CD 27 contest last month seeking to succeed longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in a district more registered Democrats than Republicans.

She and her campaign could not be immediately reached Thursday afternoon to respond.

There are a half-dozen other Democrats in the race, including state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, Matthew Haggman, Ken Russell and Kristen Rosen GonzalezYet both Richardson and Barzee Flores have focused attention on Shalala since she emerged as a potential candidate in the race in late January.

Taking alternating shots at her in Thursday’s press conference, Richardson and Barzee Flores charged Shalala had given $40,500 in donations to Republicans and Republican-supporting organizations, including direct contributions to Ros-Lehtinen.

The release read: “It was so jarring and so disappointing to see the newest candidate in the Democratic primary, Donna Shalala, has donated to the Republican incumbent last cycle, has donated in the past to the Republican candidate running in this cycle for this very seat, and has donated over $20,000 to anti-choice, anti-LGBT, pro-NRA Republican politicians, and has donated $20,000 to a corporate PAC that has given over $125,000 to the NRCC, an organization whose sole goal is to keep a Republican majority and Paul Ryan as speaker.”

Richardson said she also contributed to MEDNAX, which has, in turn, provided “nearly a half-million dollars to far-right wing candidates and causes” including Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

The pair called on Shalala to explain to voters why she did so, apologize to Miami-Dade Democratic voters, and make comparable contributions to the Miami-Dade Democratic Executive Committee.

Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson introduce federal legislation for ‘red flag’ gun seizures

Florida’s U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson on Friday announced a federal bill that would encourage other states to follow Florida’s lead with legislation allowing law enforcement to seek court orders removing guns from dangerous individuals.

Republican Rubio and Democrat Nelson were joined Thursday by U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, in announcing they are introducing a federal “Red Flag” bill that would create incentives for states to enact laws like Florida’s recently-signed law as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School response.

Rubio said the Florida law already has been used three times since Gov. Rick Scott signed it March 9, including in an Orlando case Wednesday. The law allows family members or law enforcement to seek orders declaring someone an extreme risk of violence to themselves or others, and then prevent them from possessing guns.

Rubio contended that in many cases, including the confessed Parkland shooter who murdered 17 people in Douglas High School on Feb. 14, there are plenty of “red flags” that tell family members, law enforcement and others that the person is an extreme danger.

“These extreme risk protection orders are in my view one of the most effective things a state can do to address it,” Rubio said at a press conference in Washington Thursday. “These tools now give authorities the ability to go in and take away their guns with due process.”

Their proposal creates an “Extreme Risk Protection Order Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Justice. It makes states enacting qualifying laws eligible for funding to help implement such laws, as well as making such states a priority consideration for Bureau of Justice Assistance discretionary grants.”

“If there is a red flag, this legislation will give the federal incentives to the states to enact laws like our state of Florida, so that if there is a red flag, get that person involved in front of a judge so that the judge can decide: “are they a risk if they have possession of a gun?” Nelson said.

Joe Henderson: Marco Rubio should let it loose on Trump

I wish Marco Rubio would just let it go and tell everyone how he really feels about President Donald Trump.

I think Florida’s junior U.S. Senator, like many Republicans, really wants to do that.

He tiptoes up the edge but can’t quite go there. He doesn’t unleash oratory of fire and fury the likes of which we have never seen on a president whose administration is built on mockery and intimidation.

Rubio did that again Sunday with his appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press.

The first question he was asked by moderator Chuck Todd was about the way now-former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired last week 48 hours before he was due to retire, jeopardizing the federal pension he earned during 20 years of service.

“I don’t like the way it happened. He should have been allowed to finish through the weekend. That said, there is an inspector general report that is due and work that is being done,” Rubio said. “After he had retired if that report indicated wrongdoing or something that was actionable, there are things that could have been done after the fact.

“But with 48 hours to go before retirement, I certainly would have done it differently.”

I think anyone with a dram of decency would agree that, yeah, it should have been done differently. And I guess Rubio figured he was showing such decency by his measured, gentlemanly response to the question.

But don’t you wish Rubio would have called the action technically taken by Attorney General Jeff “Whew, It Wasn’t Me This Time” Sessions but likely orchestrated by the president for the craven political retaliation that it was?

I think something like “the president obviously is out to squash the Russia investigation and anyone associated with it, and that makes me think he is guilty as sin” would have been what politicians call a “proportional response” in this matter.

As Rubio later noted in that interview, “I don’t like the way it went down. I would have done it differently. But I’m not the president.”

Part of the reason Rubio isn’t president is that he got bullied in during the 2016 campaign. Who can forget Trump hanging the “Little Marco” insult on him? Rubio never recovered and was embarrassed by Trump during the Florida Republican primary.

Given that, what does Rubio owe to a president who demands unflinching loyalty but gives none himself, even to those closest to him?

In other words, let it loose man!

Trump has rewritten the rules – temporarily at last – about governance, and the only way to deal with a bully is to put it right back in his face.

So, when Rubio says, as he did Sunday, “I don’t like the whole tone” of this issue, well … OK.

That’s telling him off!

Come on, Senator Rubio.

Someone has to emerge as the Republican face of “enough is enough” when it comes to this president. Rubio could be that guy.

All he has to do is say what I believe is really on his mind about our country and the man at the top.

Look at the polls. To use the president’s own words, what have you got to lose?

Marco Rubio to headline Mike Miller fundraiser

Florida’s Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will appear at an April 6 campaign fundraiser for state Rep. Mike Miller‘s run for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

Miller once worked on Rubio’s campaign, and Rubio endorsed Miller last summer in the Republican primary.

“It is an honor to have Marco’s support,” Miller said. “I admire his conservative principles and his commitment to serving all Floridians – keeping us safe, providing tax reform, and supporting our veterans.

Miller faces three other Republicans in the Aug. 28 primary to run for Congress in CD 7: Scott SturgillPatrick Weingart, and Vennia Francois. They all seek to take on Democratic U.S Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and north-central Orange County.

Last summer when Rubio endorsed Miller, he said, “Jeanette and I have known Mike and Nora for many years, and like us, they are raising their children and serving in public office, all while balancing the same challenges Florida families do every day. Mike is a tireless advocate for Central Florida and will bring his conservative values to Washington and give me a great partner to work with in the Congress.”

U.S. House passes STOP School Violence Act

The STOP School Violence Act of 2018 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Of the bill’s 94 co-sponsors, 18 are members of the Florida Delegation. The bill was introduced two weeks before the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The bill offers funding for training to prevent student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students, including but not limited to active shooter training.

As well, the bill funds technology and equipment to boost security and stymying attacks, including anonymous reporting measures and school hardening technology. Threat assessment and crisis intervention teams are funded within the legislation also. Additionally, the bill makes provisions for better cooperation between law enforcement and school officials.

Legislators, including the two Florida co-introducers, lauded the passage of the legislation.

“Today’s vote in the House marks an important step toward keeping our children and our schools safe,” Jacksonville Republican Rep. John Rutherford, one of four introducers of the legislation, said Wednesday.

“As a career law enforcement officer in Jacksonville, I know that security requires a multi-layered approach. The STOP School Violence Act will give schools and communities the resources they need to identify threats and prevent acts of violence before they occur so we can avoid tragedies like what transpired at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a month ago today.”

“I commend Rep. Ted Deutch, along with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, for working with us to make schools more secure, and I look forward to seeing the Senate join us in the effort to protect our kids,” Rutherford said.

Deutch lauded the bipartisan commitment to the bill, even as he pushed for more action.

“When we first introduced this bill,” Deutch said, “I had no idea it would hit so close to home for me and my community. This vote is proof that Congress can take bipartisan action to keep our children safe. However, my colleagues should not be mistaken to think this is enough. We cannot tackle the rampant gun violence in our country without addressing guns themselves. Let’s move with this bipartisan momentum and pass meaningful legislation to make our communities safe.”

Rep. Brian Mast, a Florida Republican, used the bill’s passage as a tie in to that further action.

“Our schools should be as safe as the halls of Congress and today we moved one step closer to that goal by passing the STOP School Violence Act,” Rep. Mast said.  “At the same time, we must recognize that this issue is not limited to our schools.  We must make sure that our concerts, night clubs, churches and other community areas are just as safe.  We won’t accomplish this without a comprehensive approach that addresses security, mental health and gun violence.”

“That’s why today I’m introducing the first bipartisan bill to address the sale of assault weapons by putting a 60-day pause on the sale of firearms like the AR-15 while President Trump’s task force evaluates school safety and Congress works on a comprehensive solution to address this community safety crisis,” Mast asserted.

Sen. Marco Rubio is a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, which he has stumped for vociferously in recent weeks.

Rubio extolled the legislation in a meeting between members of Congress and President Donald Trump weeks ago.

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