Delegation for 7.19.22: Legalize it — lunacy — superspreading — ground Turkey

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Abortion is keeping the chatter on Capitol Hill alive.

Codifying Roe

Whether abortion should remain legal in America continues to drive the conversation in Washington.

And members of both sides of the issue made it clear where they stand.

The Women’s Health Protection Act (HR 8296) and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act (HR 8297) both cleared the House on nearly party-line votes Friday, with every Florida Democrat voting “yea” and Republican voting “nay.”

“Over the past few weeks, we have heard the pleas from across the country of diverse ages, races and backgrounds who have taken to the streets to protest statewide abortion bans and reaffirm their support for the constitutional right to access reproductive health care for all Americans,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Hollywood Democrat.

Democrats ensure reproductive rights remain front and center. Image via AP.

“It is clear where the majority of our nation stands, and it’s time that Congress delivers. We cannot afford to let radical Republicans take away our rights. I am proud to vote with the people and for the people to protect reproductive health freedoms across our nation.”

Months after a similar attempt to codify abortion rights died in the Senate, a motion stirred on the issue again following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out Roe v. Wade and leave states to decide whether and how to restrict access.

“As Republicans push toward their dark and extreme goal of a nationwide abortion ban, Democrats are working quickly to stop them in their tracks and ensure that women, not politicians, have the freedom to make important, personal decisions,” said Rep. Lois Frankel, a West Palm Beach Democrat. “These Democratic bills would prohibit states from banning abortion, enacting unnecessary restrictions, or creating obstacles to access abortion services, and protect doctors who provide abortion services as well as the women and their loved ones who travel across state lines to get the care they need.”

But for all the passion stirred by Democrats, Republicans felt just as enthusiastic about the need to stop the practice of abortion. Rep. Daniel Webster, a Clermont Republican, called the two bills “extreme.”

“These bills seek to abolish existing state laws preventing late-term abortions and create a national standard permitting late-term abortions without health standards and accountability that protects women, particularly minority women,” Webster said. “Furthermore, these bills would prohibit states from acting on an individual’s ability to travel across state lines in order to obtain an abortion. Many pro-choice supporters claim they want abortions to be only for ‘rare and uncommon’ circumstances, but that’s not what H.R. 8296 does. It promotes the abhorrent practice of eugenics by allowing an unborn child to be killed because they possess an undesirable sex, race or disability.”

Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, went as far as to argue for reading the U.S. Constitution in a way more conservative than even the court’s latest ruling.

“There never has been a constitutional right to end the life of an innocent unborn child. Never. It doesn’t exist in the Constitution, and Congress has never passed a law allowing for the murder of the unborn. In fact, the opposite exists,” he said.

“In the 5th and 14th amendments to the Constitution, there is a constitutional right for any person to not be deprived of life, liberty, or property. Certainly, an unborn child is a person — what else could it be? Therefore, that person shall not be deprived of life pursuant to the Constitution. Period. And finally, the U.S. Supreme Court got it right and made it clear that, and I quote: ‘the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.’ Over 63 million children have been murdered since Roe was decided. That’s not freedom — that’s genocide.”

‘Utter lunacy’

Sen. Marco Rubio again took aim at the specter of liberal indoctrination in public schools and the spread of left-wing policies and ideologies at a Saturday rally that drew hundreds of conservatives from Sarasota and Manatee counties.

During his keynote speech inside the Robarts Arena at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, Rubio called for unity against “lunacy” and predicted some of the cultural movements sweeping the nation will result in a strong showing for the GOP this year.

“Every single one of you knows someone who has never voted for a Republican in their lives, but they’re going to now, not because they agree with us on every issue … but because we agree on what we can agree on. And what we can agree on is common sense,” he said.

“The choice in American politics today is no longer simply left and right, or Republican and Democrat. The choice is between common sense and complete and utter lunacy.”

Rubio lambasted controversial subjects like critical race theory and the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sports, both of which were banned in Florida, prompting legal challenges.

He slammed Democrats for inflation and soaring prices as the gas pump. There has never been a time in modern history, he said, “when the choice has been as stark as it is today.”

“For 18 months, the entire federal government has been in the hands of one political party,” he said. “They are 100% responsible for the challenges our country is facing today.”

Cuban conditions

Following reports that Cuban dissident leader José Daniel Ferrer may be suffering under poor prison conditions, Sen. Rick Scott said President Joe Biden must act.

“It has been more than a YEAR since José Daniel Ferrer was unjustly detained in isolation, and has being subjected to physical and psychological torture by the illegitimate communist Cuban regime,” Scott said. “According to his family, José Daniel has gone three months without sunlight, months deprived of receiving medicine, medical treatment or food, and he recently went 38 days without contact with his family. What has Joe Biden had to say about the horrific treatment of José Daniel and the nearly 1,000 other innocent Cubans facing these brutal conditions? Nothing.”

Rick Scott is calling Joe Biden to intervene on behalf of Cuban political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer. Image via Diario las Américas.

The harsh words came after a Diario las Americas report that after a visit between Ferrer and wife Nelva Ismarays Ortega Tamayo, she reported he was covered in mosquito bites and fungal lesions. Scott said the dire health shows the Cuban government has been torturing political prisoners.

More than a year after protests broke out on the island July 11, 2021, Scott said the administration needs to do far more.

“All Biden has done is appease the illegitimate Castro/Díaz-Canel regime and ease sanctions, further fueling its oppression of the Cuban people.”

Still spreading

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Val Demings tested positive for COVID-19.

Demings “has tested positive for COVID and is currently isolating. Her symptoms are mild, and she is so grateful for the many well-wishes,” her office reported in a brief statement.

It’s Val Demings’ turn.

The announcement comes the day after the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue 2022 statewide conference wrapped up in Tampa Sunday. Demings was one of the featured speakers at that event.

Her husband, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, contracted COVID-19 in January, and fully recovered.

Mo money, mo simulators

The House passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2023 Fiscal Year, and several members of the delegation touted wins.

Winter Park Democrat Stephanie Murphy, Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations pushed for several provisions to be included in the legislation. That included several efforts specifically geared for countering Russian aggression in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as enhancement of Special Operations’ authority to engage in “irregular warfare” with modern adversaries.

Stephanie Murphy secures federal money for simulation training in Orlando.

“To meet the defense challenges of tomorrow, we must invest in the people, programs, and technologies protecting America and her allies today,” Murphy said.

“I was proud to work on this bipartisan bill as a leader on the House Armed Services Committee, which will deliver the largest service member pay raise in decades, as well as measures to help deter Russian and Chinese aggression and enable the U.S. military to increase assistance to our allies and partners like Ukraine. These investments will ensure our military forces have everything they need to combat the complex array of international threats and domestic challenges our nation faces.”

On a more local level, Murphy heralded a $57.7 million appropriation for modeling, simulation, and training-related research and development, where a significant sector of that industry operates out of the Orlando area.


Kissimmee Democrat Darren Soto and Rockledge Republican Bill Posey also co-wrote a few amendments that made it into the House-passed NDAA. That included language he introduced requiring the Space National Guard to prioritize proximity to launch and mission control facilities when establishing locations to house the Guard. The bipartisan measure obviously would increase Central Florida’s attractiveness.

Another amendment adds “Sense of Congress” language that makes clear that the body sees it as a matter of national security and economic vitality that the federal government encourages more commercial space launch activity.

Darren Soto seeks to make Central Florida more attractive to the Space National Guard.

“The passage of my amendments will promote space operations in Central Florida, develop emerging technologies, and help the military oppose discrimination,” Soto said.

In addition, several other measures proposed by Soto made it into the budget, including improved ledger technology to boost the nation’s cybersecurity and energy resilience. He also pushed for better military education in the field of artificial intelligence.

And legislation Soto introduced with delegation Republicans Byron Donalds and Mike Waltz calling to develop a national blockchain strategy made it into the final bill.

“It is also an honor to be part of the bipartisan effort to foster a national strategy for the research and development of distributed ledger technologies and their applications,” Soto said. “Today and every day, I will stand for a strong national defense that honors our values, protects our citizens, and strengthens our leadership in the world.”

Defend the Homeland

Four measures introduced by Demings also made the cut, related to improving public safety at home and combating authoritarian regimes in the Western Hemisphere. She filed a bill calling for the U.S. to deliver internet service to Cuba and Venezuela, and that language made it into the NDAA.

The former Orlando Police Chief also pushed for anti-terrorism funding through the Urban Area Security Initiative; Orlando in 2016 suffered the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 when an ISIS follower killed 49 people in Pulse nightclub.

Can Val Demings bring Wi-Fi to Cuba?

Additionally, Demings penned language about enhancing gun programs and improving Homeland Security Department officer training that landed in the budget.

“Today’s bill will protect our national security and keep us safe, ensure that our warfighters have what they need, counter Russia and China, combat human rights abuses, and protect us from terrorism and cyberattacks,” Demings said.

‘I’m proud that today’s legislation included four bills that I introduced to support global freedom, anti-terror programs, and law enforcement. I voted yes because not only is our safety my #1 priority, but this bill also includes new protections to make sure that our troops get the pay they deserve, and that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and transparently.”

Grounded Turkey

As a co-Chair of the House Hellenic Caucus, Palm Harbor Republican Gus Bilirakis led bipartisan criticism of a Biden administration plan to sell F-16 fighters to Turkey. The House NDAA includes legislation Bilirakis co-sponsored that prohibits such a transaction.

“Turkey has consistently demonstrated a complete disregard for following international law,” Bilirakis said. “(Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan repeatedly acts contrary to American interests, with his dangerous behavior contributing to the instability of the region. By passing this amendment, we are sending a strong message that this behavior will no longer be ignored or tolerated. Additionally, we are solidifying our steadfast support of Greece, which has consistently proven itself to be a reliable and unwavering ally.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is making a big purchase from the U.S. Is it the right thing to do?

Bilirakis also suggested Turkey has enough firepower, including an S-400 missile system illegally obtained from Russia.

The amendment requires congressional oversight for international deals such as a plane sale to Turkey to go forward.

Mental crisis

Three measures introduced by Longboat Key Republican Vern Buchanan passed out of the House this week as part of the NDAA. All passed as amendments to the defense budget.

One would require a report to Congress on the accessibility of mental health care on military bases. A second would kick-start an assessment of equipping military vehicles with black box technology similar to airplanes. Finally, a third measure would allow drop boxes to be placed on bases where soldiers could dispose of unused prescription drugs.

Vern Buchanan manages a hat-trick in the defense budget.

“These three proposals seek to address the health and safety of our active-duty military community, one of my top priorities in Congress,” Buchanan said. “I’m pleased to see these provisions pass the House this week with unanimous support and am very hopeful they will be enacted into law.”

Buchanan noted the high suicide rate among active duty service members — 328 died from suicide in 2021, according to a Defense Department report — and suggested that increasing services and reducing opioid availability could address the problem. He also secured $2 million in the federal budget for grants to fight opioid and other drug overdoses.

Buchanan has also focused the past few years on reforms aimed at reducing training accidents, which have claimed more active duty lives than combat.

Nicaragua TPS

Florida has been at the forefront of pushing temporary protected status for Venezuelan refugees. Now, St. Petersburg Democrat Charlie Crist and other delegation members want the same refuge offered to those fleeing Nicaragua.

The Congressman led a letter to Biden and Homeland Security Investigations Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking the administration to redesignate and extend TPS for more than 60,000 Nicaraguans. The status existed in the past, and 4,500 Nicaraguans in the country just saw TPS expire dating back to Hurricane Mitch in 1998. But another 60,000 Nicaraguans have come to the U.S., fleeing the repressive policies of the Daniel Ortega regime.

Charlie Crist seeks protections for Nicaraguan refugees fleeing Daniel Ortega.

“Recent action by Daniel Ortega and his socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) Party to jail and torture political opposition during the 2021 election demonstrate their commitment to violence and repression of the Nicaraguan People, while justice eludes the families of up to 600 peaceful protesters murdered by the regime in 2018,” the letter states. “Since then, Ortega further solidified his dictatorial rule by systematically dismantling all democratic processes of government, leaving Nicaragua unsafe for the nearly 65,000 Nicaraguans currently seeking refuge in the United States.”

Besides Crist, six other Democrats from Florida signed the letter — Kathy Castor of Tampa, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick of Miramar, Murphy, Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Wilson — as did Republican María Elvira Salazar from Miami.

FEC fine

The second quarter of 2022 proved fruitful for Hialeah Republican Mario Díaz-Balart, who stacked $210,000 to defend his seat representing Florida’s 26th Congressional District. He also spent $140,000 while ramping up campaign efforts through a blend of print and digital marketing. By the end of the quarter, he had more than $1.6 million left to spend, according to his filings with the Federal Election Commission.

While it remains to be seen whether his sole Democratic opponent in the race fared well, her gains will be at least somewhat bittersweet, as she faces potentially steep fines from the Federal Election Commission for not filing her Q2 fundraising report on time. As of Monday evening, the report has still yet to be posted on the FEC website.

Mario Diaz-Balart makes solid bank.

Democrat Christine Olivo, a middle school teacher and small-business owner, told Florida Politics on Monday the late filing was due to a “serious” family matter concerning her finance director.

“She is the only one that can access the portal, and we have to wait a few days,” she said.

The FEC calculates fines for late filing based on financial activity, both raising and spending, during the covered period. Missing multiple filings increase those fines.

On this day

July 19, 1993 — “Bill Clinton fires William Sessions” via UPI — Clinton announced he had fired the embattled FBI Director because of ‘serious questions’ about his conduct and leadership. Making the announcement personally, Clinton said he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Janet Reno, who “after a thorough review … reported to me in no uncertain terms that he can no longer lead the Bureau.” “I fully agreed with that judgment,” Clinton said. The President, acting in a touchy personnel matter that has lingered for months, said he telephoned Sessions shortly before making the announcement ‘and informed him that I was dismissing him effective immediately.’ Sessions had refused to step aside voluntarily.

July 19, 1848 — “The Seneca Falls Convention begins” via the Library of Congress — Heralded as the first American women’s rights convention, the two-day event was held in the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York. Despite the minimal amount of publicity, there were an estimated 300 attendees at the inaugural meeting. It is not surprising that many of the convention attendees lived locally, as there were a number of abolitionists living nearby. Many people working in the anti-slavery movement eventually became a part of the struggle to obtain equal rights for women. Convention organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her husband Henry B. Stanton were both well-known and active abolitionists.


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

Staff Reports


  • Joe Corsin

    July 19, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    Vote red for lunatic theocracy and forced birth of trailer park crack and meth babies…AkA cannon fodder, prison fodder, low wage slave fodder.

    Vote RED for state funded far right propaganda in schools.

    Vote RED for paying the rich for votes on the backs of workers while brainwashing the poor with abominable far right propaganda.

  • Mark Jurgens

    July 21, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    What gives anyone the right to wilfully kill a Black, Hispanic, et al. pregnant woman’s unborn family member (human embryo, human fetus, etc.)? It is a current US Civil Right for a pregnant woman to have *Familial Status with her unborn family member as of the first moment she’s pregnant. No US citizen has the right to violate a pregnant woman’s current US Civil Rights, or to be supportive of the illegal discrimination of a pregnant woman because she has been given Familial Status as of the first moment she’s pregnant with her unborn family member.
    *Note: Sections 100-108, Civil Rights Amendment of 1988 which gives a pregnant woman, as of the first moment she’s pregnant with her unborn family member, Familial Status as a current US Civil Right. Aka Federal Fair Housing Laws.

    Should violators/anyone who in essence tries to advocate that others, in effect with their rhetoric, to go against/tries to contradict a pregnant woman’s current US Civil Right of Familial Status should immediately pay punitive damages to ProLife pregnant women and to any pregnant woman who was NOT informed by a pro-choicer/abortionist that having an abortion will kill her family member?

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