Super PAC slams Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Donna Shalala for missing vote on Bernie Sanders resolution
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala at one of the rare tours of a detention facility in Homestead. Image via The Hill.

Murcarsell Powell Donna Shalala
Mario Diaz-Balart introduced a resolution condemning comments about Fidel Castro.

A Republican super PAC slammed two South Florida Congresswomen who skipped a vote condemning presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, both Miami Democrats missed the vote on the resolution.

“Even when it comes to condemning their party’s embrace of communist regimes, Congresswoman Shalala and Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell are all talk and no action,” said Calvin Moore, Communications Director for the Congressional Leadership Fund.

The vote was on calling a previous question, which would have allowed a vote on a resolution introduced by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. The Miami Republican put forward a resolution condemning Sanders for remarks on 60 Minutes praising a Fidel Castro literacy program in Cuba and saying “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad” about the regime.

The procedural move to introduce the resolution failed in a 224-189 party line vote, according to The Hill.

Shalala and Mucarsel-Powell were among 16 members who didn’t vote at all on the matter.

Incidentally, Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Gardens Democrat, also missed the vote. So did Republican Reps. Francis Rooney and Matt Gaetz.

But Mucarsel-Powell and Shalala, both freshman who flipped red districts blue in 2018, serve in districts Republicans would very much like back in their column.

Sources with the National Republican Congressional Committee tell Florida Politics the GOP feels good about making those seats competitive should Sanders become the Democratic nominee for President.

Both Congresswomen did blast Sanders’ comments after they aired.

Shalala was among the first voices to weigh in on Sunday, shortly after the comments became public.

“I’m hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro,” Shalala said in a statement.

The next morning, Mucarsel-Powell leveled into the comments as well.

“As the first South American immigrant member of Congress who proudly represents thousands of Cuban Americans, I find Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on Castro’s Cuba absolutely unacceptable,” she wrote on Twitter.

But a release from the Congressional Leadership Fund characterized that response as “all talk, no action.”

“Donna Shalala and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell sure talked a lot about condemning Bernie Sanders over his praise for the communist regime in Cuba,” read the group’s release. “But given the chance to actually do something about it…. they couldn’t be found.”

The release also notes that the Democrats were available moments after the procedural vote to vote on another matter.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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