Archive for the ‘Tom Rooney’ Category
A bipartisan budget deal passed the House by a lopsided 332-to-94 margin on Thursday with three members of Palm Beach County’s delegation — Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar; and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter — joining the majority. Former Palm Beach County delegation member Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, also supported the deal.
Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, voted no, joining a coalition of liberals (including Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Jan Schakowsky of Illiniois) and tea party conservatives (including Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Raul Labrador of Idaho) in opposition.
Said Frankel: “This budget deal is better than the status quo and it’s good to see bipartisan cooperation. With that said, because of the cuts to Medicare, reduction to military retirement payments and leaving millions of Americans desperate without any source of income because of failure to renew unemployment insurance, I voted no.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, voted against the Wednesday deal to end the federal government shutdown and raise the government’s borrowing authority. The Palm Beach County native, who now represents a district that’s generally north and west of Lake Okeechobee, was one of 144 House Republicans to vote no on the deal.
“I made a pledge to my constituents that I would not vote for any bill to increase the debt ceiling unless it included serious steps to address our debt crisis. The bill before the House (Wednesday) clearly fails to meet that standard. If we’re going to increase the debt ceiling, we have to include reforms to save Social Security and Medicare and to fix our broken tax code,” Rooney said.
“This bill puts us on a collision course for another possible shutdown in January and default in February. Based on what I’ve seen over the last several months and years, I have no confidence that President Obama or Harry Reid will use this time to negotiate with us on serious spending reforms. I cannot in good conscience support a bill that increases the debt without long-term reforms to the underlying drivers of our debt.”
Republicans and Democrats have paid tribute today to former Rep. Clay Shaw, who died of lung cancer Tuesday night at age 74. Fort Lauderdale Republican Shaw represented a South Florida district from 1981 to 2007 and authored landmark welfare reform and Everglades restoration bills.
Some statements on Rep. Shaw:
Former Gov. Jeb Bush: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Emilie and all of Clay’s family and friends. He was a dedicated public servant with a big heart who loved family, country and his beloved state of Florida. He leaves behind a legacy of service that is an example to many.”
Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach: “We have lost a great statesman for South Florida. I will always fondly remember Clay Shaw from my time as Mayor of West Palm Beach, as someone who you could work with in a bipartisan manner and as a true gentleman. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.”
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: “I have a heavy heart today. Clay was a good friend of mine. My overall feelings turn to the extraordinary work he did on behalf of South Florida…I consider that we’ve lost a great American and a real dynamic congressperson who I would describe as a cross-aisle politician.”
Obama makes his case for military strikes in Syria, but asks Congress to delay vote; Florida reactionsTuesday, September 10th, 2013 by George Bennett
In a 15-minute address to a skeptical nation, President Barack Obama tonight acknowledged criticism of his plan for military strikes in Syria but said the U.S. has both a moral and national security interest in responding to Bashar Assad‘s use of chemical weapons.
After more than a week of pressing Congress with apparently little success to approve the use of military force in Syria, Obama tonight asked the House and Senate to delay a vote on authorizing force while the U.S. pursues a diplomatic solution brokered by Russia that emerged Monday.
Two of Florida’s strongest supporters of military strikes — Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton — responded soon after Obama’s speech by urging Congress to approve military action in case negotiations fail.
But U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, said the president’s address didn’t shake his opposition to military force in Syria.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, says he’s “apprehensive” and “wary” of any U.S. military action in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad‘s use of chemical weapons to kill civilians has heightened speculation that President Barack Obama will approve military action against the Assad regime.
Rooney called Assad a “despot,” but said the rebels opposing him have been infiltrated by Al Qaeda. Rooney last month proposed legislation to bar the U.S. from helping arm groups fighting in Syria.
“I’m pretty against getting involved in a Sunni-Shia civil war,” Rooney said in an interview today. He said he’s adamantly opposed to committing ground troops to the region and skeptical that bombs or missiles alone would be effective.
“If he (Obama) can show evidence that the way he wants to get rid of the chemical weapons doesn’t include us getting involved with personnel, certainly I’m not shutting off his game plan. But I don’t think he has one yet,” said Rooney, a former Army officer and a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
“What are we bombing?…What is the target? Using Tomahawk Cruise missiles from battleships to target known chemical weapons sites…certainly that’s something to talk about, but I don’t know that you could have any kind of surety,” Rooney said. “You’re increasing the risk that there’s going to be mission-creep.”
The best hope for Syria might be some type of cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia, Rooney said. But, he added,”our relationship with them is as bad as it’s been since the Cold War…I don’t see a pathway to any kind of United States involvement that brings any kind of resolution to the matter.”
But Rooney says the U.S. should not arm rebels trying to overthrow him because the opposition has been infiltrated by al-Qaeda.
“Why should America involve itself in a sectarian civil war in Syria? Which side are we on — Sunni or Shiite? Why send arms to rebels knowing they will wind up in the hands of al-Qaida? Why spend American treasure or risk American lives to escalate a war in which neither side can be counted as an ally? How is this in our national interest?” Rooney says in a column published over the weekend.
Rooney, who also opposed U.S. military involvement in toppling Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, has introduced a bill to block military action in Syria.
Republican-turned-independent-turned Democratic former Gov. Charlie Crist was in Washington supporting his new team at Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.
Crist posed with Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, in a picture that Murphy’s campaign circulated along with news that the freshman House member had belted an RBI double in the first inning. Murphy may be a rookie, but he showed a veteran’s awareness of political visuals, wearing a jersey from Indian River State College in his Treasure Coast swing district.
The Democrats shellacked the Republicans 22-0.
“Is there any better proof we need more young & Hispanic Republicans in Congress?” said Miami-based Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro on her Twitter account.
On his Twitter account, Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, managed to find a silver lining for the GOP: “Didn’t go our way but raised a lot of money for some great charities.”
Republicans hold a 38-to-36 advantage, with one tie, in the games. But Democrats have dominated since Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, a former college player, took office in 2011 and brought his overpowering pitching to the game. Republicans are hoping to counter Richmond this year with freshman Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, who pitched in the 1991 Little League World Series and at Yale.
DeSantis, Rooney and Murphy are the only Floridians in the game.
Murphy can pitch and play center field for the Democrats. Rooney plays first base for the GOP squad.
Rooney is co-sponsoring bills that take aim at the IRS and its key role in implementing Obamacare.
“With the power to tax comes the power to destroy, and when the agency with that power becomes corrupt, we have a responsibility to tear it down and start over,” a Rooney statement says. “The IRS has proved that it is both biased and corrupt, and I have completely lost faith in its ability to enforce the tax code honestly, fairly and effectively, and so have my constituents.”
Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, quickly called for an investigation of the IRS while Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, used the IRS scandal to take aim at the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Read about it in this week’s Politics column.
That’s a pretty big “if” for Rooney. So far, he says he hasn’t seen evidence that Democrats are willing to commit to serious spending cuts.
Rooney’s position is in line with House Speaker John Boehner, who has suggested raising tax revenue via the loophole route while opposing an increase in income tax rates as favored by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.
Rooney is one of 238 House members and 41 Senators (all but three of them Republicans) who signed Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist‘s pledge not to raise taxes. Signers promised not only to oppose tax rate increases but to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”
Asked if he considers raising revenue through tightening loopholes a violation of the Norquist pledge, Rooney said, “I don’t think that it is….Quite frankly, I don’t care. The bottom line is that our country is in trouble.”
UPDATED with Rooney response after the jump…
U.S. Sen. John McCain took to the floor of the Senate today to blast suggestions by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, and four other House Republicans that a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Without mentioning Rooney or his colleagues by name, McCain slammed the “specious and degrading attacks” against Huma Abedin, who is Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and is also the wife of former New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Rooney last month joined an effort led by Minnesota Rep. and former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to seek investigations into “serious questions” about the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in five federal entities that deal with national security.
Letters to the agencies were signed by Bachmann, Rooney and Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia.
“The Muslim Brotherhood openly calls for violence against the United States, but we’re learning that this organization may be infiltrating our ranks, even within our military,” Rooney said in a June 13 press release when the letters were sent.
The latest batch of Federal Election Commission reports filed Sunday show West snagged $2.2 million during the quarter that ended June 30, including more than $1 million from people who gave less than $200. West has $3.7 million in cash on hand for what is expected to be a close race for Palm Beach-Treasure Coast District 18. Murphy, one of the nation’s top Democratic money-raisers, has nearly $1.3 million in cash on hand. Both West and Murphy face Aug. 14 primary challenges from meagerly financed rivals.
In the open race for West’s old Palm Beach-Broward District 22 seat, Republican Adam Hasner raised $558,936 between April 1 and June 30 — slightly more than the combined contribution total of Democratic candidates Lois Frankel and Kristin Jacobs during the quarter.
Former West Palm Beach mayor Frankel raised $359,887 in contributions for the quarter and supplemented her total with a $50,000 loan. Broward County Commissioner Jacobs raised $152,820. She and Frankel square off in an Aug. 14 primary.
Hasner, who does not face a primary opponent, has more than $1 million in cash on hand for November. Frankel has more than $1.3 million in her account while Jacobs has only $75,590 in the bank.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney told Attorney General Eric Holder to stop meddling in Gov. Rick Scott’s effort to clean up the voter rolls in Florida, accusing Holder of “blatant politicization” of the non-citizen voter purge.
The Justice Department last week told Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner the voter purge may violate two federal laws and gave Detzner until today to respond to its request to drop the scrub.
Scott has given no indication he’s going to back down, and Detzner insists that the law requires him to ensure the voter rolls are accurate.
Rooney, a Tequesta Republican, is the latest official to wade into the political fray over the purge, which has sparked a national partisan dust-up. Democrats blame the Scott administration of trying to keep minorities and Hispanics – who dominate the list of 2,600 flagged voters given to elections officials in April – from going to the polls in November. Republicans accuse critics of the purge, including Holder, of wanting to break the law by allowing ineligible voters to cast their ballots.
Rooney’s letter mirrors a legal analysis by a former Justice Department lawyer who says Holder is wrong.
“Your actions further demonstrate that the Department of Justice, under your leadership, is more concerned with protecting the reelection prospects of the President than with upholding justice and enforcing the rule of law,” Rooney wrote in a letter sent today.
The News Service of Florida reported that Scott earlier today defended the purge, which he initiated last year, and said he hopes to have a response to the Justice Department today and defended the purge.
“Not a single eligible voter as far, as I know, has been removed from the voter rolls,” Scott said in an interview with WNDB radio in Daytona Beach, where Scott was Wednesday. “Not one. And we’re working to keep it that way.”
Scott insisted the purge is necessary to maintain voters’ confidence in the elections process.
“Their vote should not be diluted by people who don’t have the right to vote,” Scott said. “We need to be reviewing our voter rolls and making sure only those individuals who have the right to vote … are voting.”
Meanwhile, the state’s elections supervisors have dropped the voter purge because the data they received was too flawed and they want to wait until the issue is sorted out by Scott and the feds or the courts. The 67 supervisors are the only ones who can actually remove voters from the rolls.
According to new ratings released today by the American Conservative Union, West gets an overall conservative score of 88 percent, compared to 81.5 percent for the average House Republican. West’s 88 percent ACU score is identical to that of less-polarizing U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, for votes cast in 2011.
The Club For Growth gave West a 64 percent score and Rooney a 59 percent score for 2011. The average House Republican agreed with the group 70 percent of the time on the votes it evaluated last year.
Freshman Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio lives up to his conservative billing, according to the new ratings. Rubio gets a 100 percent ACU score and a 97 percent score from Club For Growth.
Florida Democrats, not surprisingly, got low marks from the conservative groups. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson got a 14 percent Club For Growth rating and 15 percent ACU score for 2011.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch got a 0 rating from the ACU and 1 percent from Club For Growth. U.S Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, got a 5 percent ACU score and 13 percent Club For Growth rating.
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Cape Coral, who’s running for Senate, got a 92 percent ACU score and 98 percent Club for Growth rating for 2011 votes.
Crowder said voters in the new District 18, which includes all of Martin and St. Lucie Counties and a chunk of northern Palm Beach County, should have the option of choosing a homegrown candidate rather than one from Broward County. West announced Jan. 31 that he would leave his Palm Beach-Broward seat to run in the new district, which has been approved by the Florida legislature but is still subject to legal challenge.Crowder said he’s running “to provide some local representation for a new district — rather than having someone who’s not really familiar with the district coming in and purporting to represent the people here. I just think the people need to have that option. If they choose to elect an outsider, that’s their choice.”
Crowder, 66, is completing his fifth term as sheriff and had already announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. He began entertaining thoughts of running for Congress after redistricting led U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, who lives in District 18, to announce he was running in a new district to the west. Less than an hour after Rooney’s announcement, West announced plans to run in District 18 rather than his own district, which has been redrawn with a pronounced Democratic tilt.
West is a national tea party celebrity who has raised more than $5.9 million and began 2012 with more than $2.7 million in his campaign account. Crowder said he’s never raised more than $100,000 for any of his campaigns.
Crowder wouldn’t estimate how much it might cost to challenge West, but said he’ll have other advantages after living in the area more than 50 years.
“I think because of my history here there’s a lot of grass-roots things I can do that might not work for an outsider,” Crowder said.
“It looks like at the present time all the interest in running for that seat is coming out of Broward County with people relocating. First, I found that strange because I think we’ve got some good people up here who would be capable of representing their neighbors,” Crowder said this morning.
Crowder, 66, has been elected sheriff five times in Martin County and has a history of ruffling feathers in his own party, including his 2010 endorsement of and TV ad for Democrat Alex Sink in the governor’s race against GOP nominee Rick Scott.
His interest in the congressional seat was first reported by Treasure Coast political columnist Eve Samples on Saturday.
West announced Jan. 31 that he would leave his Palm Beach-Broward district to run in the newly drawn district. Democrat Patrick Murphy of Fort Lauderdale has also announced he’s following West to run for the seat. U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, lives in the district, but is running for a newly drawn seat to the west that includes many of his current constituents.
The Florida legislature approved the new districts last week. The map is already the subject of legal challenges.
Gov. Rick Scott acknowledged Tuesday that he’s been lobbied by Florida members of Congress on the redistricting plan expected to be sent his way soon.
But the Republican governor didn’t want to mention any names.
“Oh, I don’t think anybody wants me to talk about any of those conversations,” Scott said, when asked if U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, was among those contacting him.
West last week announced that he would leave his battleground congressional district, straddling Palm Beach and Broward counties, to run this year in a proposed new district, which includes Martin and St. Lucie counties, and part of Palm Beach.
West’s decision emerged as part of a GOP three-step dance – touched off by U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, who said he’d run in a newly drawn, mostly rural and interior Florida district.
Former House majority leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton completed the moves by announcing he was abandoning his U.S. Senate run to run in the district that West was exiting.
House and Senate redistricting leaders say they have kept their distance from members of Congress, mostly in an effort to comply with constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2010, which ban new electoral boundaries from favoring incumbents or parties.
Scott, though, said at least some in Florida’s delegation have reached out directly to the executive office. While Scott isn’ authorized to act on legislative maps, he can veto the congressional plan.
“I’ll review it when I get it,” Scott said of the congressional proposal. “I’ve had a few phone calls from some people that have had questions about it. My response is, ‘send me what your proposal is, and I’ll review it at the time.’
Senate Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said Scott’s contacts with unnamed members of Congress doesn’t strike him as out of line — or unconstitutional.
“Any citizen is entitled to petition their government for the redress of grievances,” Gaetz said.
Allen West to run in Palm Beach-Treasure Coast district, Rooney moves west, Hasner could drop Senate bidTuesday, January 31st, 2012 by George Bennett
Facing a tough reelection fight in a district that was redrawn with a Democratic tilt, U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, announced today that he will instead run in a more Republican-leaning district to the north that’s home to U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta.
Rooney will run in a newly created rural district that extends from western Martin and St. Lucie counties to Charlotte County on Florida’s west coast and north into parts of Hillsborough and Polk counties. Rooney represents much of that area now.
With no Republican incumbent in West’s current Palm Beach-Broward congressional District 22, sources close to former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton said Hasner is considering dropping his U.S. Senate bid and running for West’s congressional seat.
West’s current District 22 is nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. But a plan approved by the Florida Senate and up for a vote in the state House this week creates a district where Democrats have a 9-point registration advantage and Barack Obama got 56.6 percent of the vote in 2008.
If approved by the House, the new congressional map could still face legal challenges under a new anti-gerrymandering law approved by voters in 2010.
Two Democrats — former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Fort Lauderdale accountant Patrick Murphy — have been running in West’s District 22 and have raised about $1.4 million apiece.
“We chased Allen West out of the district,” crowed Frankel campaign adviser Bret Wask, who said Frankel would continue to run in District 22.
House redistricting maps slated for a vote this week put a number of incumbent Republicans in tough spots, including U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.
But the chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, fired off a statement Monday refuting lingering speculation that West was being singled out.
In both the House and Senate congressional plans, West loses a Republican-leaning section of his district in northern Palm Beach County to the seat now held by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta.
Rooney’s brother, Patrick, is a Republican state representative from West Palm Beach. The Rooney family’s ownership of Palm Beach Kennel Club also has positioned them as political players in Tallahassee for decades.
“There are rumors that the Florida Legislature has targeted Congressman Allen West,” Weatherford said Monday. “This is patently false. I personally have supported and endorsed Allen West. I will continue to support this extraordinary member of Congress who has brought a much needed conservative voice to Washington, D.C.
“However, my personal support cannot and will not trump the Constitution,” Weatherford said, pointing out that the redistricting effort is guided by a range of state and federal standards.
West apparently doesn’t feel he’s getting the short end of the stick from state lawmakers. West’s chief of staff, Jonathan Blyth, told the Post last month his boss is taking a long view of the redistricting proposals, which may undergo further changes following eventual court reviews.
“This is the second minute of the first round of a boxing match,” Blyth said, when the House congressional maps surfaced and bore a strong resemblance to those out of the Senate.
While West loses a key piece of Palm Beach County, the redistricting plans push him deeper into Democratic-leaning Broward County.
Rooney’s district is reduced from a rambling eight counties to a more manageable four, under both the House and Senate proposals. But while still Republican-leaning, Rooney’s district doesn’t clearly favor the GOP, since it also acquires large portions of St. Lucie County that backed Barack Obama in 2008.