Delegation for 6.21.22: End of Roe — base budget — vet care — debates — boats & trains

capitol u.s. green 9.30.19
The delegation (and nation) prepares for a post-Roe world.

Post Roe

With the Supreme Court going into summer recess on Sunday, this week could mark the end of Roe v. Wade. As the White House considers what the reaction will be — the delegation remains split on one of the most divisive issues in modern politics.

President Joe Biden told reporters last week he will likely respond to a court ruling overturning a 50-plus-year prohibition on abortion restrictions with administrative responses.

“There’s some executive orders I could employ, we believe,” he told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. “We’re looking at that right now.” Media reports suggest the President will declare a public health emergency if millions of women lose access to health care overnight, including in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed a 15-week abortion ban anticipating the end of Roe.

But voices opposing abortion rights responded to Biden’s plans with umbrage.

Joe Biden hits the late-night circuit while deciding how to respond to the end of Roe v. Wade.

“The real emergency in this country is that thousands of unborn Americans are killed every day,” said Sen. Marco Rubio. “It is a cruel and grotesque abuse of presidential power to protect that practice. I wish President Biden and Democrats were as motivated to protect our border, increase energy production, and crack down on violent crime as they are to protect the ability for companies like Planned Parenthood to kill innocent babies. I will do everything I can to protect life and block this outrageous presidential power grab.”

But that’s not an opinion universally held. Indeed, Rep. Val Demings, the lead Democrat challenging Rubio, has made protecting abortion access a critical issue in her campaign. “Marco Rubio wants to overturn Roe v. Wade,” she tweeted in May. “I would vote to save it.” The tweet has been pinned to the top of her newsfeed since a Supreme Court opinion leaked, signaling the end of Roe.

Rep. Lois Frankel, a West Palm Beach Democrat, said eliminating a woman’s right to choose will effectively result in “government-mandated pregnancies.” She’s one of the introducing co-sponsors for legislation that would effectively codify Roe v. Wade into law, which has already passed in the Democrat-controlled House but stalled in the Senate.

“You heard about in China or countries where they forced abortions, which is horrifying. This is forcing pregnancies,” she told Business Insider.And, to me, it is probably one of the worst ways you can deprive a woman of her ability to really be who she wants to be.”

But abortion opponents wait anxiously for a change and promise everything possible to limit abortions if the legal environment changes.

More than 63 million unborn children have been murdered by abortion since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973,” tweeted Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican. “Many of them would be adults now, contributing to our communities and economy, making our world a better place. But they never had a chance.”

Budgeting Florida’s bases

As the Senate advanced a Defense budget, Sen. Rick Scott touted significant wins in the making for the Sunshine State, while also complaining Biden had not requested more for America’s bases.

“With 21 military bases and three unified commands, Florida plays an important and strategic role in America’s national defense and security. Floridians know how important military strength and readiness is to our national security, and I am fighting hard to make sure the Sunshine State gets big wins for our military in this year’s (National Defense Authorization Act),” the Naples Republican said.

Rick Scott touts defense money for Florida. Image via AP.

“As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I’ve been proud to advocate for major investments in our defense capabilities and in Florida’s military bases over the past four years. This year’s NDAA is no different. What we passed out of the Committee today is a huge improvement over President Biden’s woefully inadequate defense budget proposal and a great win for Florida’s military communities, families, and our national security. I look forward to continuing my fight for Florida and our military on the Senate Floor and seeing this good bill passed and signed into law.”

The Committee sent the Senate’s version of the NDAA on Friday. The budget includes more than $600 million in funding for Florida military base construction projects, including child care and training facilities.

The total budget is more than $857 billion, about $45 billion more than the White House requested.

House funding

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies also voted on budgeting for Florida’s military, approving a $314-billion budget. That was a $29.5 billion boost over last year’s budget.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat and one of the top Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, supported the bill as it headed to the full Committee for a markup.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz signs on to a significant defense boost.

“This bill demonstrates an unwavering commitment to our brave service members, their families, and to our Veterans,” Wasserman Schultz said. “It addresses military infrastructure and readiness needs of current service members, and it provides the benefits and medical care that Veterans have rightly earned in their service to our nation. The bill specifically targets military housing construction and child development needs, women and mental health priorities, including infertility treatment coverage, and it also addresses our growing resiliency challenges — all while responding to unfolding global threats, notably Russia’s war of aggression in Europe. This blueprint will make our VA and military stronger and meet the pressing needs of all those who both once before and still proudly protect America.”

Money will go to retrofitting Veterans Affairs facilities. The budget also proposes $150.5 billion for building new veterans’ health care and military construction.

Veteran benefits

Rubio on Friday reached out to former military members, speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention and the American Legion’s annual convention. He suggested there the people in uniform symbolize America’s values more than the politicians on Capitol Hill.

“Today, Americans spend a lot of time thinking about politics,” the Miami Republican said. “But if you asked people around the world what America means to them, they wouldn’t point to politicians. They’d point to the men and women in uniform who saved the world from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, who defended free nations from the onslaught of communism, and who gave their lives in the fight against radical Islamic terrorists.”

Politics is one thing but honoring our hero veterans is the absolute priority.

As far as policy, Rubio noted legislation moving forward in Congress to provide better benefits to veterans exposed to toxic substances and burn pits, the latter a bipartisan bill Rubio introduced with New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Our nation’s veterans are the reason why, despite all its flaws, America continues to be a source of inspiration and hope across the globe,” Rubio said. “The people of this country and the world are forever in their debt.”

Embracing equality

Demings, an Orlando Congresswoman and Senate candidate, marched in a Pride parade Sunday in Florida’s gayest city. As an honored guest in the Wilton Manors Pride Parade, she fired up supporters concerned about the state of LGBTQ rights.

“LGBTQ Americans deserve the same equal freedoms of life, family and opportunity as every other American,” she tweeted.

Val Demings takes pride in equality.

The Democrat earlier this year secured the support of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the country.

“Demings will bring something to the U.S. Senate on behalf of Floridians that has been missing for too long — a champion for marginalized people, especially LGBTQ+ people, Black people and women,” said HRC Interim President Joni Madison. “Her track record over many years and her unwavering support of the Equality Act demonstrates her belief that everyone is entitled to the same rights and should be able to live lives free from discrimination. Meanwhile, her opponent has done precisely the opposite, positioning himself as an obstacle to LGBTQ+ equality in the Senate.”

Republican debates

Republican Primary Election fields in four congressional districts with open seats likely to be claimed in November by Republicans will get debates at the Republican Party of Florida’s 2022 Sunshine Summit in Hollywood next month.

At least a couple of those districts have Republican Primary fields that are full enough to have contenders and pretenders, and the RPOF hopes to sort that out in advance. The party will do some polling and invite only those candidates who achieve at least 5% in the poll.

Things stand relatively simple in Florida’s 4th Congressional District in North Florida, where Erick Aguilar of Jacksonville, Fernandina Beach Sen. Aaron Bean, and Jon Chuba of Jacksonville have qualified for the ballot.

Things are a bit wider open in Florida’s 7th Congressional District in Central Florida, where former DeBary Mayor Erika Benfield, Brady Duke, former Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards, Cory Mills, Rusty Roberts, Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Al Santos and Scott Sturgill all made the ballot.

In Florida’s 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County, Kevin Hayslett, Moneer Kheireddine, Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki, and Christine Quinn qualified.

In Florida’s 15th Congressional District along I-4 in Polk and Hillsborough counties, the field features Demetries Grimes, former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, Kevin “Mac” McGovern, Sen. Kelli Stargel, and Rep. Jackie Toledo.

All four districts have open seats — all four at least lean Republican in voter registration.

Protecting pregnancy centers

An attempted assassination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and known plots against pregnancy centers have many conservatives calling for proactive moves by the federal government.

Lakeland Republican Scott Franklin last week co-led a letter to the Justice Department demanding a domestic terrorism investigation of recent attacks against several anti-abortion organizations.

The assassination attempt on Brett Kavanaugh moves the abortion debate to a dangerous place.

“Free speech is a critically important constitutional right,” Franklin said. “However, threats, destruction of property and acts of violence are against the law. When they are done as a means of intimidation against lawful organizations, or as an attempt to influence the highest Court in our land, they must be identified and investigated for what they truly are — domestic terrorism. In doing so, the Department must make it clear to both the perpetrators and the Democrats who have incited them that this behavior will not be tolerated in our society.”

The letter lists 14 recent attacks on centers offering pregnant mothers a place to bring pregnancies to term in lieu of having abortions. The incidents, all reported since May, took place in Colorado, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C., Washington state and Wisconsin. The missive asks Attorney General Merrick Garland to detail any decision on why to investigate attacks as terrorism or not and what measures will be taken to prevent further violence.

Water line

As Brightline expands land transit in South Florida, Stuart Republican Brian Mast wants to ensure another mode of transportation won’t be hampered. This month, he sent a letter to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson asking that boater access be preserved on the St. Lucie River in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

He wants the Guard to ensure the St. Lucie River railroad bridge won’t close longer than 30 minutes during any two-hour period as the train line expands.

For Brian Mast, trains and boats must coexist.

“Water, whether it’s for commerce or recreation, is a cornerstone of life on the Treasure Coast, and it’s something that must be protected,” Mast said. “This potential change in the bridge’s operations prioritizes rail traffic over boat traffic, and that’s not right. Moreover, it could jeopardize emergency operations and inhibit first responders. The Coast Guard must protect the right of way for boaters.”

He also encouraged the public to submit comments to the Coast Guard about similar concerns.

Colombia to Miami

Elections in Colombia sparked bipartisan concern in a state where Latin American politics hold prominence. Voters in the South American nation elected Gustavo Pedro as President, marking the first time a leftist became Colombia’s head of state, La Prensa Latina reports.

For Rep. María Elvira Salazar, the event seemed like an international tragedy.

“Very dismayed by the results in Colombia,” she tweeted in Spanish. “Petro is a thief, a terrorist and a Marxist, an apologist for (Fidel) Castro and (Hugo) Chavez. From Congress, we will be monitoring your actions to ensure the rights and freedoms of Colombians. God protect my Colombian brothers!”

Gustavo Petro is Colombia’s first leftist leader — which is not pleasing to some South Florida Republicans.

Meanwhile, her Democratic opponent Annette Taddeo, a state Senator, also leveled critiques but said she respected the results. Taddeo would be the first Colombian American elected to Congress.

“Colombia has been the U.S.’s longest standing ally in Latin America. A relationship that has lasted 200 years,” she tweeted. “Petro Gustavo, Colombians both home and abroad hope you honor that relationship and do not impede on freedom of the press, property rights and upholding Colombia’s Constitution. Just as the transition will be a democratic process, so should your term.”

According to the Pew Research Center, about a third of the 1.2 million Colombian Americans living in the U.S. live in Florida. Many live in the Miami area, including Florida’s 27th Congressional District.

On this day

June 21, 1788 — “The day the Constitution was ratified” via the Constitution Center — The Constitution became the official framework of the government of the United States of America when New Hampshire became the ninth of 13 states to ratify it. The journey to ratification, however, was a long and arduous process. Until the new Constitution was ratified, the country was governed by the Articles of Confederation. That document was tailored to a newly formed nation of states acting more like independent, sovereign countries. It quickly became apparent to some of America’s leaders that future stability required a stronger, more centralized government. New York’s Alexander Hamilton thus led the call for a constitutional convention to reevaluate the nation’s governing document.

June 21, 1982 — “John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan, found not guilty” via — Hinckley, who on March 30, 1981, shot Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel, was found not guilty of attempted murder because of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, and had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film “Taxi Driver,” in which the main character attempts to assassinate a fictional Senator. His lawyers claimed Hinckley had watched the movie more than a dozen times, was obsessed with lead actor Jodie Foster, and attempted to re-enact the film’s events in his own life.


Delegation is published by Peter Schorsch and compiled by Jacob Ogles, with contributions by Scott Powers.

Staff Reports


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