Delegation for 7.9.24: Biden — inflation — winners — El Salvador — Alzheimer’s

Firefly The U.S. Capitol 62071
Joe Biden is staying in the race. Now what?

Still standing

Still seeking to reassure his party’s leaders, President Joe Biden is reaching out directly to Democratic congressional leaders. He sent a letter emphatically stating he has no plans to step aside as the party’s presidential nominee.

Currently, there is a unified front within Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation, with no public calls for Biden’s replacement. The President’s letter has only strengthened this unity, prompting some members to speak out in his defense.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Co-Chair of Florida’s delegation, said the entire debate was essentially a failure by the media to apply equal scrutiny to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s fitness to serve.

Joe Biden is emphatically staying in the race. Now what?

“I’m frustrated that the media is literally dissecting every word that comes out of Joe Biden’s mouth and is ignoring the fact that the Republicans are about to nominate — again — a convicted felon whose an adjudicated rapist who still denies he lost the 2020 election, who is committing to upend every single accomplishment that Joe Biden has helped make sure we can recover after COVID and the 15 million jobs that were created,” the Weston Democrat told CNN.

“I am pushing to make sure that we can focus on what the danger lurking down the road is. If we don’t make sure that we rally and focus on Donald Trump and the extremist good-versus-evil extremist existential threat that he represents to our democracy, that we are going to end up back there again we will end up back with him in the White House again.”

Other members have offered varying levels of support. Rep. Lois Frankel issued a statement supporting the President on the night of the debate that sparked dissent on Biden. “I was reminded tonight how grateful I am to have Joe Biden as our President,” she posted, even as criticism of his performance mounted.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Miami Democrat, emphatically pushed for Democrats to keep focused on Trump and agendas like Project 2025, a Heritage Project-led blueprint for the next Trump term. She has promised to speak out against the GOP ticket, including as Trump planned rallies in Doral.

Wilson has shown unwavering determination in her fight against the GOP ticket. A recent post reflects her steadfast commitment to the Democratic cause, inspiring others to join her in the battle for democracy.

That certainly doesn’t mean there are no congressional Democrats with knives out. NBC News reports four more Democrats in the House called for Biden to drop out the same day he met with Representatives.

Meanwhile, Republicans like Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, a St. Petersburg Republican, brushed off the push for Biden to drop out as a flashpoint that more signified problems for the other party.

“Being able to see through the news cycles is also another gained talent,” she posted on X. “You can see planted and coordinated stories. For example, what happened after debates. Massive coordinated effort to oust Biden = Dem internal power struggle.”

Economic dispute

For the entirety of Biden’s presidency, Sen. Rick Scott has raised concerns about inflation. As the administration touts job growth, the Naples Republican last week accused the Democrat of “touting doctored jobs numbers.”

“In this latest report, the Biden administration will again try to spin the data and trick folks into thinking our economy is on the right track. Sadly, it’s a lie,” Scott said. “We want a strong economy and a great jobs market, but this administration has had to revise down nearly every single jobs report since Biden took office because his radical agenda is killing opportunity for American families.”

Rick Scott raises the alarm over inflation — again.

He said the administration touted job growth when full-time jobs are down 1.6 million and part-time jobs are up 1.8 million. He also noted that the June jobs report released last week revealed 111,000 fewer jobs than initial reports from prior months suggested.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a 206,000-job increase in nonfarm payroll employment, which is long considered the chief economic indicator announced each quarter. Unemployment is at 4.1%.

Biden touted the figures as progress in the U.S. economy, saying the country had created 15.7 million jobs since he took office in 2021.

“We have more work to do, but wages are growing faster than prices and more Americans are joining the workforce, with the highest share of working-age Americans in the workforce in over 20 years,” Biden said. “That’s real progress for hardworking families (with) the dignity and respect that comes with earning a paycheck and putting food on the table.”

Democracy awards

Two Florida congressional delegation members won at the Congressional Management Foundation’s Democracy Awards for Extraordinary Public Service. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Gus Bilirakis earned recognition at the nonpartisan event, which celebrated constituent service over policy goals.

The foundation awarded one Republican and one Democrat in each category. Seven congressional lawmakers were honored, and only the Sunshine State saw more than one member win an award.

Marco Rubio and Gus Bilirakis are honored for their constituent services.

Florida’s senior Senator, Rubio, received the Democracy Award for Innovation and Modernization. This award honored the original and creative ways the Miami Republican communicates and interacts with citizens in the nation’s third-most populous state.

“It is an immense honor to receive this award that recognizes my office’s dedication to originality and creativity,” Rubio said. “I am honored that the Congressional Management Foundation has acknowledged my staff’s work on behalf of Floridians.”

Bilirakis, meanwhile, won two awards. The Palm Harbor Republican won one honor for Constituent Service and the other for Constituent Accountability and Accessibility.

“I’m humbled to once again be recognized for outstanding constituent service, communication and accessibility as one of the top performers in Congress,” Bilirakis said.

“I’m blessed with a top-notch team of professionals who share my passion for public service and work together to ensure continuous improvement. I’m proud of the work we are continuing to do to help individual constituents and I’m confident we will continue going the extra mile to boost constituent engagement.”

El Salvador caucus

A month after attending El Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele’s second inauguration, Rep. Matt Gaetz announced the formation of a bipartisan El Salvador caucus in the House.

Gaetz gave a speech on the floor Monday stressing the importance of a U.S. relationship with the Central American nation.

“El Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele, has converted El Salvador from the murder capital of the world into a reliable and stable partner for peace and security for the United States of America,” said Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican. “The El Salvador Caucus will exist to nurture and advance the U.S.-El Salvador relationship to encourage strong borders, strong culture, and the strong reforms that President Bukele has put into effect.”

After a visit to El Salvador, Matt Gaetz proposes a new caucus.

He launched the group with Rep. Tony Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat who also attended Bukele’s swearing-in.

“I am proud to be part of this bipartisan group that will continue the important work between the U.S. and El Salvador,” Gonzalez said. “I look forward to working on trade, immigration and security issues with our counterparts.”

Gaetz suggested improvements in El Salvador would benefit the U.S. and pointedly said the states could imitate some of the reforms there.

“Through the inspiration from El Salvador’s astonishing transformation, the great American rejuvenation can become a reality as well, so that we can experience a triumphant return of safety and prosperity that we once inspired in others I would invite my colleagues in the House and Senate to become members of the El Salvador Caucus as we strengthen the U.S.-El Salvador relationship and work to amplify some of the good decisions that are being made by President Bukele and his government,” Gaetz said.

Of note, Bukele’s administration has received international criticism for political prosecutions, including arrests earlier this year of human rights defenders from the National Alliance for Peace in El Salvador, according to El Faro.


The latest scorecard for Family Research Action gave several members of the delegation a chance to tout their anti-abortion credentials ahead of the election. That included Rep. Aaron Bean, a first-termer who earned a 100% score on issues “affecting family values.”

“While the Biden administration tries to radically crackdown on our precious freedoms and erode our religious liberty, I’m standing strong against cancel culture and far-left initiatives while aggressively defending our American values,” the Fernandina Beach Republican said. “In the halls of Congress, I’ll always take a stand for Northeast Floridians who believe in strong family values.”

A new scorecard touts Aaron Bean’s anti-abortion credentials.

Other lawmakers earning a perfect score included Reps. Bilirakis, Kat Cammack, Byron Donalds, Luna, Brian Mast, Cory Mills, Bill Posey, Greg Steube and Daniel Webster.

Every Republican in the House delegation earned a 93% or greater score. In a true partisan divide, no Democrat in the delegation scored higher than 6%.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz earned the lowest score from the group. The Parkland Democrat earned a 0%, meaning he voted opposite of the Family Research Council’s desires in 17 flagged votes.

In the Senate, where members were graded on just 11 votes, Scott earned a score of 91%, while Rubio landed at 88%.

Platform player

As the Republican National Committee released an abridged platform for the 2024 election, Rep. Michael Waltz was one of the voices making the delivery. He served as Vice Chair of the party’s platform committee, which launched its 16-page platform on Monday.

He led the platform process alongside committee Chair Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Senator, but said Trump ultimately was the driving force.

“The President was hands-on,” Waltz said in a video announcement. “This is a document the American people can get behind, that lays out his vision, that explains how we’re going to get there to make America strong again, safe again, wealthy again and great again.”

To watch the announcement, please click the image below:


Bilirakis Act

A new law bears the name of Bilirakis’ late brother.

Last week, Biden signed the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act. This act will establish a public-private partnership to advance a national project to prevent, treat, and hopefully cure Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s claimed the Pasco County physician’s life in May 2023.

Biden signs the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act.

“Today is a great day for Parkinson’s patients and their families. I celebrate this important milestone in memory of my dear brother, other family members, and on behalf of all Americans who are still struggling with this debilitating disease,” Bilirakis said. “It takes a terrible toll on the physical, emotional and economic well-being of everyone involved. The lack of treatment options leaves patients, families, and American taxpayers in a terrible quandary. We must change our approach to get better results, which is exactly what our legislation will do.”

Alzheimer’s access

A legislative package that could give older Americans greater access to cutting-edge health care is ready for a vote on the floor. Rep. Vern Buchanan championed the American Medical Innovation and Investment Act (HB 8816), which cleared the House Ways and Means Committee on a unanimous vote.

“This critical package of bills will help ensure that our nation’s seniors have access to breakthrough new treatments to help them live longer, healthier and happier lives,” said Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican. “I look forward to seeing this legislation move one step closer to becoming law and improving health outcomes for our nation’s most vulnerable population.”

Vern Buchanan champions giving older Americans greater access to cutting-edge health care.

As Chair of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the full panel, Buchanan worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to craft the legislation. The bill would tackle access issues in several ways.

As written, it would ensure coverage of potentially lifesaving drugs and new treatments for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other conditions by prohibiting initial clinical trials of new medicines from lasting longer than 10 years.

The legislation would also allow artificial intelligence-powered dosing devices and therapies and require cognitive impairment tests for Alzheimer’s to be conducted with up-to-date devices.

It would guarantee coverage of self-administered home infusion pumps and establish a pilot program for medically tailored meals for seniors.

Avoiding the wilderness

Members of the delegation continue to make the case that decisions about Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve should be left mainly to the Miccosukee Tribe. Most recently, Rep. Scott Franklin, a Lakeland Republican, spoke on the issue at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee.

He urged the passage of legislation (HR 8206) prohibiting the reclassification of the land to a federal wilderness preserve.

“Only federal government bureaucrats believe they are better equipped to protect Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve than the Miccosukee Tribe and the Gladesmen who have successfully used and maintained the land for generations,” said Franklin, whose district includes much of the area in question.

Florida lawmakers say decisions for the Big Cypress National Preserve should be left mainly to the Miccosukee Tribe.

“The Preserve is an essential part of the community in South Florida. If the Biden administration continues to pursue extreme restrictions on this land — despite the vehement opposition of state and local government and the tribes — it would have disastrous effects on the region. My bill will prevent this overreach and ensure that only an act of Congress can alter the protected status of the Preserve, as intended.”

In 1974, the land became the first federal wildlife preserve in the country, a move made with the support of tribes to protect the region from overdevelopment, including creating an airport. At the time, a wilderness designation was ruled out. In 2020, the National Park Service, based on further study, started managing about 148,000 acres of land with wilderness standards, according to Franklin’s office.

Talbert Cypress, Miccosukee Tribe Chair, testified any expansion of that designation would be detrimental.

“While wilderness designations are, in theory, designed as conservation tools, they have developed a troubling history with respect to their impact on Indigenous peoples. Wilderness designations have plagued Indian Country ever since the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964,” he said.

“The impact of wilderness designations, too often, is to dispossess native people of their lands in the name of conservation. That is because the Wilderness Act is designed to prevent occupancy, permanent improvements, or mechanized vehicle usage on designated lands. As a result, Natives still living on traditional lands have been removed, harassed, and convicted of crimes related to their traditional practices under the Wilderness Act. Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the few places in the nation where Tribal rights reserved by treaty or statute are in conflict with a proposed wilderness designation.”

Haiti transition

Haiti’s new Prime Minister traveled to the U.S. to meet with political leaders, including multiple members of the Florida congressional delegation.

Wilson, a Miami Democrat, met with Prime Minister Garry Conille when he flew into Miami. There, he acknowledged to U.S. media that a path to stability on the violence-stricken island required resolve and support from Haitian Americans.

Frederica Wilson meets with Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille during a recent trip to Miami.

“We know for sure the only way we get out of this successfully within the next 20 months is if our brothers and sisters in the diaspora are actively engaged in the process, and we’re looking forward as a transitional government to establishing the systems, the processes and the platforms to make sure we can make the most of these incredible assets,” he told Local 10 News.

“We are forever fighting for Haiti,” Wilson said at the same news conference, noting the State Department just extended temporary protected status for Haitian refugees currently in the U.S. “We’re working with the White House to increase the funding for the transition in Haiti.”

Conille later traveled to Washington, where he met with Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Co-Chair of the Haiti Caucus and the only Haitian American serving in Congress. The Miramar Democrat hosted a joint meeting with the world leader and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory Meeks, a New York Democrat.

“We stand at a defining moment in Haiti’s future,” Cherfilus-McCormick said, noting the arrival of Kenyan police forces to restore order on the island. “After months of delay, the commencement of the Multinational Security Support mission marks a significant first step toward restoring order and stability in Haiti.”

However, she also stressed to Conille the importance of the island holding elections and implementing anti-corruption policies as she and her allies seek to pass more foreign aid to Haiti.

“We must get it right this time and lay the foundation for a brighter future for Haiti. Breaking the cycle of instability is key to advancing Haiti’s future and establishing the nation as a global partner,” she said.

“As an ally, the United States is committed to supporting Haiti’s security and prosperity through these troubling times while upholding the principles of justice and democracy. I thank Prime Minister Conille for sharing insight into the government of Haiti’s plans and for outlining how the U.S. can assist in rebuilding institutions needed to create the enabling environment for a stable and prosperous society.”

Marxism alarms

As one of the most prominent Marxist conferences in the world convenes in Honduras, Rep. María Elvira Salazar sounded alarms about the spread of socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Coral Gables Republican chaired a hearing of the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee and used the opening to denounce governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Honduras. The speech was timed ahead of the São Paulo Forum.

“Across Central America and the Caribbean, the Biden administration is sending the message that the socialists in the Western Hemisphere can mess with democratic institutions and get away with it,” Salazar said. “It’s time to support genuine liberty in these countries as the shining city on the hill that the United States is.”

María Elvira Salazar warns about the spread of socialism in Latin America and the Caribbean.

At the hearing, she challenged administration interactions with the nations, including rumors Cuba may be removed from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. She urged the administration instead to focus on providing internet access for Cubans, which the government has fettered since pro-democracy protests broke out in 2021.

She also pushed for the State Department to expose cooperation between Honduras and the anti-American regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. She also asserted that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega facilitated the transport of people, including eight Tajakistanis tied to ISIS, into the U.S. illegally.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Eric Jacobstein, on behalf of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said in the hearing that the administration shares many of Salazar’s concerns.

“We continue to urge countries hiring Cuban workers to keep agreements transparent and respect human rights and internationally recognized labor rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials from communist nations at the São Paulo Forum committed to more regional unity and resource integration, as Cuban state media reported.

“Cuba continues to heroically face for more than 60 years the unjust, criminal, genocidal and intensified blockade of the imperial power of the United States, as well as the inclusion in the illegal list of State Sponsors of Terrorism,” read a statement on the conference from the Cuban government. “The dignity of the Cuban people is an example for all nations and popular parties in the world.”

On this day

July 9, 1987 — “Oliver North admitted Thursday he shredded sensitive documents” via UPI — North admitted he shredded sensitive documents under the noses of Justice Department officials as they searched his office as part of the first probe of the Iran-Contra scandal. North denied that he was destroying documents relating to a potential investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal, and he said the Attorney General’s investigators could hear the shredder going as he dropped documents into it. North did not deny that he was destroying documents that would have been politically embarrassing to the administration.

July 9, 1959 — “First Americans killed in South Vietnam” via — Maj. Dale R. Buis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand became the first American service members killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas struck a Military Assistance Advisory Group compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group arrived in South Vietnam on Nov. 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers and province and district headquarters.

Happy birthday

Best wishes to Rep. Brian Mast, who turns 43 on Wednesday, July 10.


Peter Schorsch publishes Delegation, compiled by Jacob Ogles, edited and assembled by Phil Ammann and Ryan Nicol.

Staff Reports


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