Delegation for 7.1.22: Justice — free debt — post-born — stay woke — stay in Mexico

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History is made in a sharply divided SCOTUS.

Justice Jackson

The first U.S. Supreme Court Justice from Florida is now officially sworn in.

Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson took her oath upon the formal retirement of Stephen Breyer, for whom she once served as a clerk. As of noon Thursday, she holds a space on the bench for the highest court in the land.

Ketanji Brown Jackson makes history.

“I am truly grateful to be part of the promise of our great nation,” she said during the ceremony.

Delegation members cheered the historic event.

“Thrilled to see Florida’s own Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in as a Supreme Court justice,” tweeted Rep. Darren Soto, a Kissimmee Democrat. “As we face historic injustices, Justice Brown Jackson will use her voice on the court to ensure justice for all Americans.”

Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick shared a photo of the female interns in her office watching Jackson be sworn in live as the first Black woman ever on the high court.

“Justice Jackson’s record demonstrates that she is a fair and impartial judge that follows the facts and the law. Justice Jackson’s nomination has also received support from a broad range of legal experts,” Cherfilus-McCormick said. “Today, history was made — we have our first African American woman Supreme Court Justice. Justice Jackson is a brilliant legal mind with the utmost character and integrity. She will make an exceptional Supreme Court Justice.”

The day proved especially sweet for Rep. Frederica Wilson. The Hollywood Democrat personally lobbied President Joe Biden to name Jackson as his first Supreme Court appointment.

“Today is a proud day for Miami and the nation as we witness the historic swearing-in of the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice,” Wilson said. “As a product of the Miami-Dade public school system and our very own community, Justice Brown Jackson shines as a bright example that there is no limit to what Black girls and boys can achieve.”

Her arrival also means the U.S. Supreme Court will have four women for the time, the closest to gender parity the nine-justice court has ever seen.

Brown made Florida history. Jackson graduated from Palmetto Senior High School in 1988 and now becomes the first member of the high court to list Florida as her home state. But she took the step without the support of either of Florida’s Senators. When she was confirmed in April on a 53-47 vote, both Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted “no.”

Budgeting forgiveness

If Biden wants to cancel student loan debt, Scott says the administration better have a way to pay for it. The Naples Republican filed new legislation, the Debt Cancellation Accountability Act, to require the Department of Education to secure actual appropriations in the budget to account for student loan debts.

“The Biden administration’s latest move to cancel millions of dollars in student loans is yet another example of how far it will go to appease the radical left,” Scott said.

Rick Scott says Joe Biden shouldn’t write checks he can’t cash. Image via AP.

“The reality is a blanket forgiveness of student loans only benefits a small percentage of the population at the expense of millions of other hardworking Americans. Those who have saved to pay for the education they chose to get or have no debt at all because they chose a valuable career that doesn’t require a college degree, shouldn’t be on the hook to bail out folks that voluntarily took on debt and now want someone else to pay for it. That’s not how the real world works.”

Sens. John Barrasso, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, and Mike Braun of Indiana, all Republicans, co-sponsored the bill.

Scott said the bill “will hold this administration accountable to American taxpayers by requiring Congressional approval for any mass cancellation of student debt.”

“When I was Governor of Florida, we focused on solving the real problem behind massive student loan debt: the rising cost of higher education,” Scott said. “Biden should do the same.”

The bill would apply for every $1 million granted to cover loans for multiple borrowers and not on any loan agreement changes granted to individuals on a case-by-case basis.

The post-born

Rubio introduced legislation to dispel the widely held view Republicans don’t care about a fetus once their lungs fill with air.

The senior member of Florida’s Senate delegation has long represented the most restrictive viewpoint on abortion’s legality, and now he’s proposing a measure he’s calling the “Providing for Life Act.” It’s trying to make parenthood more affordable as the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade is felt.

A key provision of Rubio’s vision of the post-Roe world would allow parents to draw down Social Security benefits decades ahead of retirement for three months after the birth or adoption of a child.

Marco Rubio dispels the idea of Republicans and the post-birth.

Current federal law provides only that these parents get 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave with health benefits.

“We need to adopt pro-life policies that support families, rather than destroy them,” Rubio said, citing the Supreme Court ruling, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “This comprehensive legislation would make a real difference to American parents and children in need.”

Rubio has been floating the Social Security idea since 2018 when he introduced the Economic Security for New Parents Act. Now it’s one of several legislative efforts he outlined in the Washington Examiner last week.

Rubio also wants to expand the child tax credit for working families, allow pregnant mothers to claim the child tax credit for unborn babies and strengthen child support enforcement rules.

“What we need is a pro-life plan for post-Roe America,” Rubio wrote.

But it’s not popular with advocates for Social Security, given how it will drain parents’ income in their retirement years. Rubio’s working on the wrong end of these problems, said Jon Bauman, president of the Social Security Works PAC.

“No one should be forced to choose between taking care of their loved ones today and enjoying a secure retirement tomorrow,” Bauman said in a prepared statement. “Instead, parents need real paid leave, and women need the right to control their own bodies. Rubio disgracefully opposes both.”

Woke relief

Rubio’s re-election campaign grabbed a Fox News report on questionable grants coming from the American Rescue Plan to blast his likely General Election opponent, Orlando Democratic Rep. Val Demings, for supporting a COVID-19 economic stimulus bill he opposed last year.

Within that $1.9 trillion package were “hundreds of thousands of dollars” that went to causes Fox News characterized as having little to do with economic recovery and Rubio’s campaign characterized as “woke” causes.

Val Demings and Marco Rubio land on different sides of the PPP fence.

Among the items Fox News reported which Rubio’s campaign highlighted: grants for “under/unemployed oral historians” and their research related to studies in anti-racism and Indigenous and ‘Latinx’ histories.”

That’s on top of the 8.6% inflation that America is suffering, which many economists have blamed in part on the recovery spending, Rubio’s campaign pointed out.

“The American Rescue Plan that Val Demings championed last year not only made inflation worse but also included a truckload of wasteful spending,” Rubio’s campaign declared.

Remain in Mexico

While this month has seen tremendous Supreme Court victories for conservatives from gun control to abortion, the final ruling of the term swung the opposite direction. Justices in a 5-4 vote affirmed the ability of the Biden administration to abandon former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Some in the delegation quickly chimed in.

“To say I’m disappointed in today’s Supreme Court ruling is an understatement,” said Gainesville Republican Kat Cammack. “I’m frustrated that this administration can continue with their utter disregard for our national security, American lives, and the agents doing the impossible task of managing the influx of migrants pouring across our borders. During the worst crisis at our southern border in American history, there are very few measures that allow our agents to do their jobs and process the millions of illegal immigrants who have crossed our borders since Biden took office, and now that tool — ‘Remain in Mexico’ — is gone.”

Kat Cammack quickly chimes in on the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.

Hialeah Republican Mario Díaz-Balart said changing course as record numbers of migrants get retained at the border would be foolish.

“At a time when the U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented border crisis, record-high illegal crossings, skyrocketing fentanyl-related deaths, and hundreds of inhumane, tragic migrant deaths, terminating the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy would be exceedingly irresponsible and dangerous,” he posted.

Of note, another Florida Republican and former delegation member, Gov. Ron DeSantis, agreed with the GOP Representatives that removing the policy would be a bad policy. But he suggested the court may have been right as far as a reading of the Constitution.

“They made Trump jump through a lot of hoops and now they’re saying Biden can just get rid of it. That may actually be what the Constitution (says), but they’re treating him differently than they treated Trump, which I don’t think is appropriate,” he said. “But nevertheless, if Biden revokes the Remain in Mexico policy, you’re going to see the worst border crisis in history get even worse.”

Pollution ruling

Meanwhile, another court order left Democrats in the delegation reeling. The Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision ruled the Environmental Protection Agency could not regulate carbon output for existing power plants, saying the agency reached beyond the authority granted by Congress.

“Supreme Court ignores the climate emergency, endangers lives and gives fossil fuel corporations another handout,” tweeted Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat and chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. “The GOP and Supreme Court rob women of the right to determine their futures. And now they are robbing our kids of a livable future and sustainable planet. We will fight back.”

SCOTUS scales back the nation’s main air quality agency.

Tallahassee Democrat Al Lawson also expressed concern. “The Supreme Court’s ruling today dangerously undermines the EPA’s authority to protect the environment,” he posted. “This decision endangers the health of our children and future generations by restricting the EPA’s ability to protect public health and regulate harmful air pollution.”

Hatchett act

A federal courthouse in Tallahassee will now bear the name of Florida’s first Black state Supreme Court justice. Biden on Saturday signed gun violence prevention legislation (S 2938) that includes a measure championed by Lawson that will rename a federal courthouse for Justice Joseph Hatchett.

“Judge Hatchett’s work for the state of Florida speaks for itself,” Lawson said. “He was a groundbreaking judge and honorable man who served in our country’s military. Judge Hatchett’s leadership was demonstrated in his civil rights advocacy.”

Joseph Woodrow Hatchett gets his due — finally.

Former Gov. Reuben Askew named Hatchett to the state Supreme Court in 1975. Hatchett later was named to a spot on the federal Court of Appeals by former President Jimmy Carter. The judge died in April 2021.

“Naming the federal courthouse in Tallahassee would honor his effort to improve the lives of minorities across America,” Lawson said. “Judge Hatchett will always be remembered as ‘Florida’s Voice of Justice.’”

All aboard

Demings hopped on the “Sunshine Corridor” train proposal in Orlando, seeking to get some mileage from the plan for the missing link needed to connect Central Florida’s regional SunRail commuter train and the statewide Brightline passenger train.

The Sunshine Corridor idea was hammered out earlier this year with help from the full Central Florida delegation, Brightline, the U.S. Department of Transportation, local leaders such as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (the Congresswoman’s husband), and many, but not all, local business leaders.

Will Orlando get onboard? Image via AP.

It commits Brightline and Sunrail to a shared route that connects Orlando International Airport to SunRail’s nearest station, International Drive, and to a route to Tampa. Nearly all community leaders are on board, apart from Walt Disney World, a key player needed to make economic sense of the lines’ proposed expansions.

Demings wrote this week to Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose in support of the proposal. She used the event of that letter to trumpet the $16 million grant the feds have offered the Sunshine Corridor project as a key benefit of the $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which she supported and which her Senate election opponent, Rubio, opposed.

“The Sunshine Corridor plan is a clear win, which protects local Central Florida families while giving a path forward to grow our region,” Demings said. “I’m pleased to see public-private consensus among our local leaders. I have met with neighborhood representatives, local officials and tourism stakeholders, and I strongly support the Sunshine Corridor, which will add efficient transit options for the tens of millions of annual visitors to Orlando.”

Rising China

Daniel Webster is among a small group of Republican Representatives pushing the State Department to strengthen relationships in the Indo-Pacific region. The language of the message warns of a potential aggression from China against U.S. allies.

“In recent years, China has used coercion and intimidation to demand policy changes, assert illegal maritime claims, and threaten countries that work with the United States or our allies,” reads a letter from the Clermont Republican to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “If left unchecked, the United States and our allies will be unprepared and unable to respond to China’s presence in the region.”

Other signers include Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Lance Gooden and Louie Gohmert of Texas, Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Lisa McClain of Michigan.

Will the U.S. be ready when the Chinese come?

The group raised concerns China may be building up resources with nations under its influence. For example, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Li just visited the Solomon Islands, where national leaders just signed a security agreement with the socialist superpower. China also appears to be establishing a military presence in Kiribati, despite a U.S. treaty dating to 1979 forbidding the small nation from hosting military operations.

“We request the Department of State (DOS) review existing agreements and treaties in the Indo-Pacific region and prepare to utilize any existing authorities or privileges we may have in the region to counter China,” the letter reads. “Additionally, we urge you to reiterate to our regional partners that agreements with China will undermine our relationship and impact our ability to provide foreign and military aid in the region.”

International accounting

Charlie Crist heralded a House State and Foreign Operations Budget that includes money to support countries in the Caribbean and strengthen democracy in Cuba and Venezuela.

“With the dictator (Vladimir) Putin waging war in Ukraine, and Socialist and Communist dictators in Latin America terrorizing their own people, it is clear that our support for democracy and human rights is as important as ever,” said the St. Petersburg Democrat, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee. “Thanks to American leadership, democratic societies around the world have rallied together to promote peace, stability, and security. I’m proud to support this bill that provides funding to lift up people across the globe and keep the American people safe.”

Charlie Crist seeks more cash for democracy in the Caribbean.

The proposed budget includes $20 million for pro-democracy programs in Cuba, where mass protests last year raised the prospect of an end to communist leadership. The plan also sets aside $60 million to provide for refugees from Venezuela and to support bilateral democracy programs in the South American nation.

Other budget lines Crist highlighted included $3.3 billion for security assistance in Israel, $25 million for the Global Equity Fund and another $25 million to support LGBTQ human rights around the world.

The budget also included $1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund, which aims to address climate change on a global scale.

Vandalism or terrorism?

Vandals apparently angry at a Supreme Court decision overturning abortion protects covered a Winter Haven pregnancy center in graffiti over the weekend. Words painted on the walls cited the “Jane’s Revenge” militant pro-choice movement formed since the Roe opinion leaked and employed much of the same language, according to photos published by The Ledger.

Phrases like “We’re coming for U” and “We are everywhere” covered the sides of the LifeChoice Pregnancy Center.

Lakeland Republican Scott Franklin, a member of the Pro-Life Caucus in the House, condemned the act.

Pro-choice vandalism catches Scott Franklin’s ire. Image via WFLA.

“The attack on LifeChoice Pregnancy Center is just one of many instances of political violence against pro-life organizations since the irresponsible leaking of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision,” Franklin said.

“This is precisely why 125 of my colleagues joined me to demand the Department of Justice investigate these attacks as incidences of domestic terrorism. I renew my call on the Department to redouble their efforts and bring these terrorists to justice before any other communities are victimized. I also want to make clear to the perpetrators that our community will not be intimidated by cowards who resort to politically motivated violence.”

Franklin led a letter earlier this month stating that while protests are protected by freedom of speech, destruction of property and violent threats are not.

Free Mickey?

Florida came for Disney’s taxing district. Now Sarasota Republican Greg Steube wants Congress to end Disney’s copyright on Mickey Mouse.

The Congressman filed legislation that would limit new copyright protections to 56 years and eliminate retroactivity. The Disney corporation has long been the strongest force pushing for copyright extensions.

Should Mickey Mouse be in the public domain?

“Disney should no longer benefit from special favors created by establishment politicians in Washington and Tallahassee. This legislation will remove their special privileges and even the playing field for all entertainment companies,” Steube said. “Disney has leveraged their privileges to conduct reprehensible work with the Chinese Communist regime, force sexual indoctrination on America’s youth, and most recently, aid the murder of unborn babies.”

He will carry legislation in the House while Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, champions the change in the Senate.

Steube online has called the inclusion of lesbians in the new Lightyear film an attempt to “indoctrinate” and recently called for his Twitter followers to cancel their Hulu accounts.

If Congress takes no action to extend current copyright protections, which notably will impact all pieces of intellectual property and not just Disney’s works, Mickey Mouse will enter the public domain in 2024.

Before the fall

In another budget silo, West Palm Beach Democrat Lois Frankel championed some important funding for seniors and families in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

That included $4 million for elderly prevention through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and another $1 million for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Healthy Aging and Age-Friendly Communities to coordinate efforts on reducing falling injuries. There is also $10 million for the Aging Network to develop fall prevention strategies.

Lois Frankel scrapes up some cash for senior services.

Big pots of money were also devoted to the cause, including $36.96 million for Aging Network Support Activities to provide technical training and assistance for local agencies on aging to implement fall prevention strategies. That’s roughly double the amount budgeted for the same purpose last year. There’s also $27.5 million set aside for Older American Act Preventative Health funding to reduce disease and injury among older adults, some of which will likely address the topic of falling.

“36 million people over age 65 fall each year, leading to thousands of deaths, millions of injuries, and billions in health care costs,” Frankel said. “The bill makes significant investments to support and scale up fall prevention programs that will save lives and avoid heartbreak.”

Middle East expertise

Tampa-based public affairs firm Shumaker Advisors just hired a former lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates to its team. Hagir H. Elawad was named as senior vice president of Federal Affairs, where she will serve as a key leader for government affairs teams, advocacy and public policy solutions.

“Shumaker Advisors is experiencing exciting growth and having Hagir on board will undoubtedly accelerate our current momentum,” said Ron Christaldi, president of Shumaker Advisors Florida. “The addition of Hagir adds to an already solid federal team across our platform.”

Hagir H. Elawad is the latest solid hire at Shumaker Advisors.

Elaward has worked as a government relations strategist in Washington for 15 years and become a respected voice on Middle Eastern issues. A former senior policy adviser for Akin Gump Strauss & Feld, her work included serving on a select team involved in the UAE-Israel Abraham Accords.

“I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to use my years of experience to help clients achieve their goals and make a difference. Shumaker Advisors is one of the most prestigious firms, and I am excited to join this elite team,” she said.

She serves as the UAE’s legislative affairs chief, focused on legislative, political and military affairs for the Middle Eastern nation. She also has handled a number of delicate matters from sanctions and counterterrorism and counter-extremism programs. And she led the UAE Embassy’s Congressional Affairs Section and Political-Military Affairs portfolio and engaged with Congress and administration branch agencies on key areas of UAE bilateral cooperation.

On this day

July 1, 1971 — “26th Amendment gives 18-year-olds the right to vote” via Reuters — North Carolina became the 38th state to approve the 26th Amendment, giving the amendment the required approval by at least three-quarters of the states. The amendment came about due to the growing belief that it was unfair to force young men to fight in the Vietnam War when they couldn’t even vote for or against the elected leaders who put them there. The ratification process took less than four months — the shortest time ever for a constitutional amendment.

July 1, 1898 — “The Battle of San Juan Hill” via History.com — The Army 5th Corps landed in Cuba with the aim of marching to Santiago and launching a coordinated land and sea assault on the Spanish stronghold. Included among the U.S. ground troops were the Theodore Roosevelt-led “Rough Riders,” a collection of Western cowboys and Eastern blue bloods officially known as the First U.S. Voluntary Cavalry. The Corps fought its way to Santiago’s outer defenses, and General William Shafter ordered an attack on the village of El Caney and San Juan Hill. The Roughriders and the Black soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments were the first up Kettle Hill, and San Juan Hill was taken soon after.

___

Delegation is published by Peter Schorsch and compiled by Jacob Ogles, edited and assembled by Phil Ammann and Ryan Nicol, with contributions by Anne Geggis and Scott Powers.

Staff Reports


4 comments

  • Jim

    July 1, 2022 at 4:37 pm

    Congrats to all of you who worked on this piece. Well done! I used to work in “the business” and I know about what went into this.

  • Which comes first?

    July 1, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    “Today, history was made — we have our first African American woman Supreme Court Justice. Justice Jackson is a brilliant legal mind with the utmost character and integrity.”

    Funny, isn’t it, that they mentioned her gender and race first and her brilliance, integrity and character second. Congratulations to Justice Jackson. Something less to the pundits who can’t seem to tell what is truly important.

    • TJC

      July 1, 2022 at 10:13 pm

      You read it that way, but those who will read the history of the U.S. decades from now will get the point: this is historic. Hopefully every member of the court has a “brilliant legal mind with the utmost character and integrity.” The point is, this is the first female Black American to be recognized as a worthy peer. She will not be the last, and there were many deserving women and men, black and white and you-name-it, before her, but all of that aside, it is historic. The race, the gender, is historic. That’s why it is mentioned first, and if you think that’s “Funny, isn’t it,” you are kidding only yourself.

  • Just a comment

    July 3, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    What ever it is it is 53 ways of being divided federal taxes well all states pay

Comments are closed.


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