Delegation for 11.7.23: Iran away — fall back — right attack — Dem on Dem action
Dark storm clouds above the US Capitol building in Washington DC

Dark storm clouds above the US Capitol in Washington DC
Congress moves ahead with more Iranian sanctions.

Iran so far away

Congress took a significant step toward passing new sanctions on Iran.

Florida lawmakers acted as a driving force in the House as it passed the bill. Now, Florida’s senior Senator will push to pass the matter in the upper chamber.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Parkland Democrat, has been one of the most prominent defenders of Israel since attacks by Hamas last month. With many believing funding by Iran made the act of war possible, Moskowitz introduced the Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum (SHIP) Act (HR 3774) in the House with Rep. Mike Lawler, a New York Republican.

Jared Moskowitz is one of the biggest voices in support of Israel.

On Friday, the House passed the legislation 342-69, with every Florida lawmaker voting “yes” except Rep. Maxwell Frost, an Orlando Democrat.

Moskowitz and Lawler issued a joint decision after the bill’s passage.

“The SHIP Act is a critical step in preventing Iran from continuing to fund terror across the Middle East. We are proud to see this legislation receive widespread, bipartisan support here on Capitol Hill. It’s critical that we work to hold America’s foreign adversaries accountable for their actions in supporting terrorist organizations across the globe,” the statement reads.

“The SHIP Act sends a clear and strong message to bad actors like China, Russia and others — do not help Iran avoid sanctions and assist them in their funding of terror or face the consequences. That’s a message the Senate should be able to get behind. We look forward to its passage through the Senate.”

There, Sen. Marco Rubio serves as the chief sponsor. He applauded the work of bill supporters on both sides of the aisle.

“Our nation’s foreign adversaries must know they will face consequences for empowering other regimes that are anti-democratic and anti-American,” the Miami Republican said. “We must enact and then rigorously enforce this bill so that those who are enriching themselves through the sale of sanctioned oil, or linked with its illicit trade, are held accountable.”

The language of the legislation, as passed in the House, would impose sanctions on any ports internationally that accept petroleum originating from Iran and extend punishments for refineries using Iranian oil. The legislation also allows for the freezing of bank accounts and banning visas for entities that transport, offload, or otherwise deal in oil products, even on ship-to-ship transfers.

The Senate version of the SHIP Act boasts 29 co-sponsors, hailing from both parties. That number includes Sen. Rick Scott, a Naples Republican. “The SHIP Act is a no-brainer,” Scott said, slamming President Joe Biden’s policy of taking “murderous regimes’ word at face value.”

It remains to be seen if the legislation will be taken up in the Democratic Senate or what role the administration will play in talks.

Clock shot

The clocks this weekend once again fell back, and that means a fresh chance for Florida lawmakers to demand an end to twice-a-year time changes. Scott and Rubio on Friday resubmitted the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time the standard year-round.

Scott, as Florida’s Governor in 2018, signed legislation that would allow the state to keep clocks sprung at all times, a move that would require federal permission yet to be given.

Marco Rubio and Rick Scott hope to never fall back again.

“Permanent daylight saving time means more time in the sunshine, and that’s something everybody should support,” the Naples Republican said.

“I constantly hear from Floridians on this — changing the clock twice a year is outdated, confusing and completely unnecessary. When I was Governor of Florida, I was proud to sign a bill into law that (would) stop the clocks on the state level, but we need federal action. I’m proud to fight alongside Sen. Rubio to pass our bipartisan Sunshine Protection Act and make a permanent change that benefits families in Florida and across the nation. It’s time to get this bill across the finish line and on the President’s desk.”

Of note, the Senate passed a version of the bill Rubio filed last year through unanimous consent. It never has gained traction in the House, but Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican, filed a version of the bill in March to consider this Congress.

Attack from the Right?

Could Republican Rep. John Rutherford draw a serious Primary challenge in 2024?

One of the most vocal critics of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster, the Jacksonville Republican was among those ardently opposed to elevating Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan to lead the House and voted to block his election three times on the floor.

At the time, Matt Boyle, Breitbart’s Washington Bureau Chief, teased a potential challenge to Rutherford in his district. Now, Steve Bannon, a conservative podcaster and former White House political adviser, has started to promote Boyle.

Matt Boyle is being groomed to Primary John Rutherford. Image via Nordiske Mediedager/Flickr.

“UltraMAGA Matt Boyle will be the next Congressman from Florida,” Bannon told Semafor in an interview. “Boyle has been with President (Donald) Trump from the early days and gets the America First Movement like few others.”

But it’s unclear how vulnerable Rutherford will be in a Republican Primary or what the district will look like next year.

Rutherford notably has endorsed former President Donald Trump, the originator of the Make America Great Again movement.

Two challenges to Florida’s congressional map are in state and federal court. A circuit judge tossed Florida’s map for diminishing Black voting power in Northeast Florida, which could prompt the Florida Legislature to redraw districts represented by Rutherford and Rep. Aaron Bean.

That prompted Cook Political Report last week to deem Rutherford’s district as a tossup seat, which isn’t exactly begging for a more right-wing candidate.

Regardless, Jordan ultimately failed in his bid for Speaker and social conservative Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, eventually secured the gavel. That has quelled many fears of a MAGA uprising in Primaries in Florida and nationwide.

Easing pollution policing

The House passed a measure introduced by Rep. Bill Posey to reverse emissions regulations on truckers. But the legislation likely still faces a bumpy road ahead.

The Rockledge Republican proposed an amendment to environmental rules that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from targeting specific businesses and enforcing regulations on fuel use through surprise inspections.

Bill Posey looks to reduce federal emissions regulations on truckers.

“The EPA’s Air Office used the regulatory process to wipe out an entire American trucking industry that tens of thousands of small-business owners depended on, allowing China to move in and corner that market,” Posey said.

“The agency has been aggressively targeting and harassing small family-owned farms and other businesses like one in my district that supplies the only domestic manufactured outboard motor used by the U.S. Navy SEALS and other special operation forces, including our allies.”

Posey questioned EPA Administrator Michael Regan about heavy-handed enforcement, sometimes using military weapons and equipment for business visits. His budget amendment was scaled by an administrative budget for the EPA by half to curb the practices.

But Biden has promised to veto the measure if it ever reaches his desk, according to Reuters. Regan has continued to defend strict enforcement of regulations.

“It’s really important, especially for protecting the health of the 72 million people living near truck freight routes in America,” he said.

Budget blowup

Reps. Frost and Cory Mills introduced a budget crackdown that boasted bipartisan support in the delegation.

The Orlando Democrat and Winter Park Republican joined forces to introduce the Defense Spending Oversight Act (HR 6187). The bipartisan legislation would require inspectors general to add extra budget oversight on Department of Defense (DOD) military contracts. The Pentagon recorded $13.2 million in wasteful spending with contractors over six months after a whistleblower hotline was put in place last year, and the Congressmen figure there’s a lot more grift out there.

Cory Mills is introducing a budget crackdown for DOD contractors.

“The American people have a right to know their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being used effectively,” Mills said. “I’m pleased to join my colleague, Rep. Frost, in this bipartisan effort to ensure there is proper transparency and spending oversight of the DOD. We must strive toward eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse from our federal agencies.”

Mills notably worked for years as a military contractor before his election to Congress. Frost, meanwhile, serves on the House Oversight Committee scrutinizing federal spending and pushed for similar auditing in a defense bill earlier this year. Both won election to Congress in November.

“Waste, fraud, and abuse in defense spending is too common,” Frost said. “Congressman Mills and I both know that adequate funding to ensure our national defense is entirely different from writing a blank check at the cost of Florida’s taxpayers. Our bipartisan bill is an important part of cracking down on wasteful spending and recouping our tax dollars to hold bad actors accountable in the long run.”

Save the manatees

Buchanan pushed for two amendments ultimately included in the House’s Interior and Environment government funding.

One would dedicate $1.15 million to the rescue and rehabilitation of manatees. Several facilities in Florida handle manatees, including the South Florida Aquarium and Mote Marine Laboratory in the Bradenton-Sarasota region. Nearly 2,400 manatees have died in Florida just since 2021, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, an especially large number considering only an estimated 6,599 West Indian manatees live in the entire Southeastern U.S.

Vern Buchanan seeks to give Florida manatees some extra protections. Image via Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The budget also includes $2.5 million for research into harmful algal blooms, a vital issue to the Gulf Coast after several seasons contending with red tide in the past five years. Manatee County alone cleared 5 tons of fish killed during red tide blooms last tourist season, according to Buchanan’s Office.

“These common-sense proposals will help ensure the survival of the iconic Florida manatee and combat red tide, which for too long has wreaked havoc on marine life, our waters, and the many businesses that rely on Florida’s tourism-based economy,” Buchanan said.

“I am very pleased to see these measures pass with broad bipartisan support and look forward to working to see them enacted into law.”

Hack away

The digital realm continues to develop as a front in a cyber war with America’s adversaries. Rep. Scott Franklin wants the next generation ready to fight hackers from around the globe.

The Lakeland Republican hosted a cyber-Capture The Flag event at Florida Southern College, intended to introduce youth in Central Florida to pursue high-tech careers. A twist on a hackathon, organizers task a group of high school students — divided into four teams — to compete online and capture as many digitally hidden “flags” in code as possible.

Scott Franklin looks to a new generation to join the fight against cyber criminals.

“At a time when cyberthreats from foreign adversaries like China are escalating, we must act to address the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in this country,” Franklin said. “Events like this challenge and inspire the next generation to develop the skills necessary to meet our high-tech security needs. Thank you to Cyber Florida, Florida Southern College, and the educators and community leaders who helped make this event a success.”

More than 130 students competed from schools throughout Florida’s 18th Congressional District, including Moore Haven Middle-High, Bartow High, George Jenkins High, Lakeland Christian School and McKeel Academy. Teams from McKeel won the top three spots.

Tossing Hamas

On top of Iranian sanctions, the House also passed legislation filed by Rep. Brian Mast, a Stuart Republican, which threatens financiers anywhere in the world who back Hamas. He sponsored the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act (HR 340) with Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat.

“An attack on Israel is an attack on the American ideals of freedom and rule of law,” Mast said. “The attack waged by the Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 that left thousands of innocent people dead will go down in history as one of the biggest violations of the ideals that we cherish. The United States needs to send a clear message that anyone or any group that enables these barbarians will not go unpunished and that the U.S. will never waiver in its commitment to freedom.”

Brian Mast goes all-in on denying all funding for Hamas.

The House passed the bill in a 363-46 vote. “No” votes included Reps. Frost and Frederica Wilson, a Hollywood Democrat. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, a Coral Gables Republican, did not vote on the bill.

If passed in the Senate and signed, the bill would impose sanctions on any entity that offers financial or material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or its affiliates.

Democrat on Democrat

Emblematic of the rupture that the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks ignited in the Democratic Party, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz chided controversial colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

The Michigan Democrat posted that the phrase “From the river to the sea” has been unjustly maligned.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rashida Tlaib enter a war of words over a well-known colloquialism.

It “is an aspirational call for freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction or hate,” Tlaib wrote, adding that she works for justice and dignity for all people, no matter their faith or ethnicity.

That’s not correct, Wasserman Schultz fired back in a post quoting Tlaib.

“This phrase means eradicating Israel and Jews. Period,” read the post on the Weston Democrat’s account. “Dressing it up in a new PR ploy won’t change that. Only a return of hostages, eliminating Hamas and liberating Gaza from oppressive terror will save civilian lives and secure the peace, justice and dignity you seek.”

Both Congresswomen inspired replies rebutting their respective arguments. Wasserman Schultz was accused of deflecting from the mass deaths occurring in Gaza because of Israel’s bombing. Tlaib was accused of echoing a terrorist organization.

But Tlaib’s rebuttal got more play — if social media impact was the objective.

Everglades win

The environmental budget also includes millions for the Everglades, thanks to advocacy by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart. The Hialeah Republican, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, announced millions in the budget for South Florida water restoration efforts.

That includes $11.6 million for the Everglades Restoration Project through the National Park Service, $10 million for the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge Conservation Area, and $1.465 million for Big Cypress National Preserve through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, $8.5 million for the South Florida Geographic Program and $1 million in direct funding for South Florida to expand water quality and ecosystem health monitoring and prediction network.

Mario Díaz-Balart helped divert cash flow for the Everglades.

“Continued restoration of the Everglades is critical to our ecosystem and local economy,” said Díaz-Balart, dean of the Florida congressional delegation. “I applaud Chairwoman (Kay) Granger and Subcommittee Chairman (Mike) Simpson for reining in the out-of-control spending and woke policies of the Biden Administration while securing American taxpayer dollars for the restoration of U.S. energy security, public safety, and Everglades preservation in Florida.”

Beyond the money explicitly earmarked for South Florida, the budget also includes other spending that almost certainly contains money for Florida, including $41 million for the National Estuary Program, $72.6 million for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program, and $16 million to address harmful algal blooms.

Honduran dilemma

A messy political process in Honduras has one member of the Florida delegation weighing in and calling for calm.

Salazar, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, issued a joint statement with the subcommittee’s ranking member, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, seeking a democratic solution.

“We are seriously concerned by the recent political violence in Tegucigalpa,” the statement reads. “The process of selecting an attorney general and deputy attorney general for Honduras has been lengthy, but the Honduran Congress and the administration of President Xiomara Castro must uphold the democratic principles of checks and balances and independent judiciary.”

María Elvira Salazar calls for calm in Honduras.

President Castro’s Libre Party pushed through the appointment of prosecutor Johel Zelaha, even though party members lacked the votes in the nation’s Congress to do so, according to Reuters. The country’s constitution requires an elected official to win a supermajority of 86 votes in the 128-member body, and elections for an Attorney General fell short four times, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, the Honduran President has declared a state of emergency in several cities experiencing gang violence as the prosecutor battle draws out. Government officials have also decried U.S. intervention in the process.

“We reject the interference in an internal sovereign issue since the decision of the Permanent Commission of the National Congress to appoint an ‘interim’ attorney general and deputy attorney general was made legally,” posted Honduran Foreign Affairs Minister Enrique Reina on X.

The House leaders’ joint statement, though, encourages more deliberation.

“We strongly urge the parties to return to the formal selection process and respect the will of the people through a process that upholds the 86 congressional vote requirement in accordance with the Honduran Constitution,” it reads. “We look forward to engaging with political representatives in Honduras to strengthen our bilateral relationship and emphasize our faith in democracy.”

It aligned with similar messaging from Senate leaders.

On this day

Nov. 7, 2000 — “Election results between Al Gore and George Bush too close to call” via — The presidential election resulted in a statistical tie between Democrat Gore and Republican Bush. The results in Florida were unclear by the end of election night and resulted in a recount and a Supreme Court case, Bush v. Gore, which ended the dispute in favor of Bush a month later. The election exposed several flaws and controversial elements of the American electoral process. It was, at the time, the fourth U.S. Presidential Election in which the winner lost the popular vote.

Nov. 7, 1972 — “Richard Nixon re-elected in landslide of historic proportions” via Congressional Quarterly Almanac — Nixon, a man who once had the image of a political loser, swept back into the White House with a devastating landslide victory over Sen. George McGovern, a South Dakota Democrat. Nixon, who barely lost and then narrowly won in his two previous presidential bids, carried a record of 49 states for 521 electoral votes. Only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia went for McGovern for a meager total of 17 electoral votes. Another feature of the Nixon landslide was the first Republican sweep since Reconstruction of the once solid Democratic South.


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

Staff Reports


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