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December 19, 2014

Posts in "Marco Rubio"

August 20, 2014

Paul Ryan Rules Out Another Government Shutdown

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Ryan, kicking off his book tour in Philadelphia, ruled out another government shutdown. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PHILADELPHIA — House Republicans won’t shut down the government in September, Heritage Action is “constructive at the end of the day” and a person can write a book without necessarily running for president.

Those were some of the points Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., hit home during an exclusive interview with CQ Roll Call Wednesday afternoon from the ornate Union League Building in downtown Philadelphia.

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The House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee was in the city to kick-off a 10-day national tour promoting his new book, which hit the stands Tuesday.

“The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea” is part-memoir, part-sweeping policy proposal, and Ryan will be spending some of the waning days of August recess touting it in Wisconsin, Chicago, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and California.

Full story

May 16, 2013

Q&A With Gov. Brian Sandoval (Part II)

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Gov. Brian Sandoval has cut a lower, less-partisan profile than many Republican chiefs executive.

But as a Hispanic Republican and the relatively popular leader of a Western swing state that sided with President Barack Obama last November, Sandoval might be uniquely qualified to offer his party political advice as it seeks to recover in the wake of the disappointing 2012 elections.

In part two of our discussion pulled from my wide-ranging interview conducted earlier this week in the governor’s private office in Nevada’s historic Capitol, Sandoval sounded off on how efforts to change U.S. immigration law might affect the GOP nationally, and what he really thought when 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talked about “self deportation” as an immigration policy.

The governor revealed some of his thinking about the political landscape at home ahead of the 2014 and 2016 elections and discussed how the actions of the Congress and the White House, or lack thereof, have affected his ability to help Nevada recover from an economic downturn that was felt more acutely in the Silver State than perhaps any other state in the nation.

And we closed the interview with a short segment on Sandoval’s choice of footwear — and discovered a Capitol Hill connection.

Q. Over time, will the Senate immigration reform proposal help the image of the GOP with different ethnic demographics?

Full story

May 15, 2013

Q&A: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval

CARSON CITY, Nev. — From his spacious office in the Silver State’s historic Capitol, Gov. Brian Sandoval keeps one eye focused on Washington, D.C., as he attempts to mitigate the political and economic minefield that has become the implementation of Obamacare.

The first-term Republican governor opposed the Affordable Care Act and joined the lawsuit challenging the legality of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law. But after the Supreme Court upheld the statute, he moved ahead with the creation of a state health insurance exchange, deciding he would rather have Nevada shape its citizens’ access to care under the law rather than have federal bureaucrats do it 3,000 miles away.

But that doesn’t mean Sandoval, who is up for re-election in 2014 and has been mentioned as a GOP vice-presidential candidate, is happy with the law’s implications for Nevada’s arduous recovery from what was arguably an economic depression brought on by the 2008 real estate collapse. Nor is the governor pleased with the Obama administration’s slow and uncertain pace for writing the regulations that will dictate how states are supposed to operate under the new health care regime.

In part one of my broad interview with Sandoval: our discussion about Obamacare and his thoughts on an immigration overhaul. As a Hispanic Republican and a former federal judge who both presided over citizenship ceremonies and prosecuted undocumented immigrants for breaking immigration laws, Sandoval shared his unique perspectives on the matter and the bill that is currently winding its way through the Senate.

Q. Let’s talk about the Affordable Care Act. We know about the old debate, but now there’s the new debate about implementation. Is the implementation process making it harder for Nevada businesses to expand, or for other businesses that want to expand into Nevada, is the uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act making things difficult?

Full story

May 8, 2013

What Rubio Wants Out of Immigration Markup

As the Senate immigration bill moves toward a markup in the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Marco Rubio is signaling the changes he supports as he works to make the legislation more palatable to conservatives.

The Florida Republican is a key architect of the “gang of eight” proposal, and his continued backing is crucial to its prospects. A Rubio aide on Wednesday provided CQ Roll Call with a “sampling” of the kinds of amendments to the bill that the senator will urge the Judiciary Committee to approve. About 300 amendments have been filed in committee.

Changes Rubio would support include:

  • An amendment mandating that specific portions of the southwest border be fenced with double-layered fencing, along with the funding to do it.
  • Amendments that would strengthen the grounds for ineligibility/inadmissibility for currently undocumented aliens convicted of more than one misdemeanor.
  • Amendments that would increase the number of background checks that immigrants are subject to as they go through the process to make sure they do not violate the criminal/national security grounds for eligibility. The issue has cropped up in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • Amendments that go after immigrants who commit welfare fraud, and by extension, those that create a rebuttable presumption that an immigrant is a public charge if they accept state and local welfare benefits.
  • Amendments that eliminate all of the exceptions for eligibility for the Registered Provision Immigrant program for people who were illegally here and were either removed or left the country after Dec. 31, 2011 and then re-entered illegally. They should not be allowed to qualify for a program when they don’t meet the physical presence requirement that we fought for, Rubio contends.

Rubio Meeting Softens Immigration Skeptic’s View

At least one tea party skeptic of the immigration overhaul bill created by the “gang of eight” emerged from a private Tuesday meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio encouraged that the Florida Republican is committed to adjusting the legislation in a way that would make it palatable to conservatives.

Niger Innis, of TheTeaParty.net expressed deep reservations with the Senate bill before the gathering, which featured about 30 conservative supporters and skeptics of the comprehensive rewrite package. In a statement provided to this blog before the meeting, Innis referred to the bill as “more Schumer than Rubio,” in reference to New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, one of four Democrats in the gang of eight. Innis also made a point of expressing suspicion about the legislation’s pathway to citizenship component, which he called “amnesty.”

But Wednesday morning, Innis sounded a slightly different tune after hearing Rubio’s remarks about where the legislation is headed and the changes he is committed to pushing. Although Innis did not change his mind about the group’s legislation in its current form — and made clear that activist members of TheTeaParty.net are unlikely to support the proposal — he signaled that his grass-roots organization is poised to back Rubio’s immigration effort if he can push the changes to the bill that he has said he wants.

Full story

May 7, 2013

Conservatives Expect Immigration Bill to Move Right

Conservatives exiting a private meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio to discuss immigration reform predicted that legislation pending before Congress would move significantly to the right as it proceeds toward President Barack Obama’s desk.

The Florida Republican, a key architect of the Senate bill, called the gathering to update conservative supporters and skeptics of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Rubio also invited feedback and recommendations to strengthen the package in his bid to build support among the conservative grass roots and GOP lawmakers.

More than one who attended the meeting said changes are probably needed to strengthen the border security measures — and to counter conservative fears that neither this White House, nor future administrations, will follow through on the legislation’s security directives.

“Whatever bill makes it to the president’s desk will be different than the one that we see now, and I think it will move significantly to the right,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute and one of 30 who attended the late Tuesday afternoon meeting.

An individual present at the meeting described the hour-plus exchange as mostly positive, adding that about 30 people attended, including representatives of tea party groups. When asked if Rubio’s staff provided any refreshments, a few who were present said that plenty of water bottles were provided, a sly reference to the senator’s State of the Union rebuttal, when he paused mid-speech to a big gulp of bottled water. A partial list of those who were present is included after the jump.

Full story

Rubio to Hear From Immigration Critics

At least one conservative organization attending a Tuesday afternoon meeting to discuss immigration reform with Sen. Marco Rubio is opposed to the “gang of eight” bill.

TheTeaParty.Net is a grass-roots organization on the guest list of about two dozen grass-roots conservative leaders invited to discuss the Senate immigration overhaul with the Florida Republican. The group released a statement ahead of the meeting making clear that it opposes the legislation in its current form.

In the statement, TheTeaParty.Net Chief Strategist Niger Innis makes clear that the group is open to hearing from Rubio out of respect for his conservative bona fides. But at this point, the group views the proposal as “more Schumer than Rubio” — a reference to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the gang — because of the path to citizenship component, which the organization refers to as amnesty.

See TheTeaParty.Net’s statement after the jump.

Full story

Rubio Meeting Supporters of Immigration Overhaul

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Rubio, center, is set to meet Tuesday with grass-roots conservative leaders to discuss immigration. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio is scheduled to meet Tuesday with about two dozen grass-roots conservative leaders to discuss an immigration rewrite.

The late afternoon gathering, set for the Florida Republican’s Capitol Hill office, is closed to the press. Rubio is also scheduled to participate in a tele-townhall meeting Tuesday to promote the immigration overhaul bill from the Senate “gang of eight.” That event, set for the evening, was organized by the Hispanic Leadership Network, which is affiliated with the Republican-friendly American Action Network.

According to a Republican who plans to attend the Tuesday afternoon meeting in Rubio’s office, most of those invited, though not necessarily all, are supporters of the Senate immigration bill. Senate hearings on the group’s legislation are set to continue this week.

May 1, 2013

LGBT Groups Demand Equality in Immigration Bill

As the immigration overhaul process accelerates in Congress, expect specific constituencies with a stake in the outcome to begin signaling their demands for support — as well as grounds for joining the opposition.

The latest to speak out was a collection of leading advocacy organizations for individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual. In a joint statement released Wednesday afternoon, these groups reiterated support for comprehensive changes to federal immigration law, but they made clear they could oppose legislation that they feel discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. The following was issued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project: Full story

April 24, 2013

House Immigration Group’s First Meeting Since Boston Bombing

House immigration negotiators are scheduled to meet Wednesday evening for the first time since the Boston terrorist attacks and their aftermath, and sources expect the group to discuss the criticism leveled at the Senate’s overhaul bill.

Last week, House Republicans negotiating an immigration overhaul reacted positively to the Senate “gang of eight” moving first to release their bill. They said it would allow the bipartisan House working group to react to any problems found in the Senate legislation and address them in their bill before it is unveiled.

And in fact, a Republican aide familiar with the House immigration negotiations said group members have taken note of the pushback the Senate bill has received in regard to the legislation’s border security “triggers.” House “gang of eight” members have watched as Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, has fielded repeated challenges from conservatives about the effectiveness of such triggers, particularly as it relates to the path to citizenship provided for in the bill. Full story

April 19, 2013

Immigration Supporters Strike Back at Boston Naysayers

Supporters of an immigration overhaul moved Friday to discredit claims that the Boston Marathon bombings undermine the case for comprehensive changes.

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, published a blog post in the afternoon arguing that passage of a Senate bill that would strengthen border security but also provide a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrant residents would enhance national security and only help in the effort to prevent future terrorist attacks. The bombings were allegedly committed by ethnic Chechen immigrants, one of whom became a U.S. citizen last year.

“Details about the Boston bombers are surfacing by the minute, but many opponents of immigration reform are already using it as an excuse to oppose reform. There is no reason to assume that continuing the status quo immigration policy will prevent future terrorist attacks,” Cato Immigration Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh wrote. “Legalizing the peaceful and otherwise law-abiding unauthorized immigrants here will allow law enforcement to focus on legitimate national security and crime threats.”

Full story

Boston Bombings Worry Immigration Supporters

Proponents of a comprehensive immigration overhaul are concerned that an effort begun with so much promise could be derailed by the Boston Marathon bombings.

A political operative working to build support for congressional action said that proponents of an immigration overhaul spent Friday morning discussing fears that the bombing suspects’ status as legal immigrants could provide opponents of comprehensive changes with fresh public backing in their bid to block an overhaul. This source said that supporters of an overhaul also believe what happened in Boston could help make the case for the changes, but they remain worried.

“There was a concern that what was happening would postpone the hearings,” said this political operative, who was a part of the supporters’ Friday morning conversations. “The anti-immigration reform forces have not found much to shoot at in current conversation, or in the Senate proposal. They’re grasping for anything, whether Marco phones, which is ridiculous, or the Boston bombings, which is horrific.”

Full story

Three Tripwires for Immigration in the House

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Goodlatte has jurisdiction over moving immigration related legislation through the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Senate “gang of eight” touting its comprehensive immigration overhaul, get ready to watch the proposal’s opponents play whack-a-mole as they seek to derail legislation that appears to have a legitimate shot of going the distance.

The distance, in this case, means President Barack Obama’s signature, and whether the Senate plan can fulfill its potential rests in no small measure on the House. Can the bipartisan immigration working group of eight House members develop a politically viable comprehensive plan? And, will the chamber’s Republican majority embrace it, whether it’s moved in pieces, as is likely, or in one big package?

The answers to those crucial questions could depend on whether the House can surmount three major policy hurdles, which were foreshadowed Thursday by House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va. In his statement reacting to the Senate bill, he commended the “gang of eight” for their work but was critical of key provisions of their legislation. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said addressing the citizenship issue for illegal immigrants looms as the chamber’s biggest challenge.

Full story

April 15, 2013

Rubio’s Fundraising Suggests Immigration Hasn’t Hurt

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(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As I just reported in Roll Call’s At the Races campaign blog, Sen. Marco Rubio raised an impressive $2.28 million during the first quarter, even as he joined with Democrats to tackle the thorny political issue of an immigration overhaul.

The Florida Republican and tea party stalwart attracted 15,000 new donors through a recently launched national direct mail program, a feat that would have been a difficult achievement had conservatives disowned him after it was revealed that he had joined the Senate’s “gang of eight” bipartisan negotiators to develop comprehensive legislation to overhaul U.S. immigration law.

Rubio and the gang of eight are scheduled to unveil their bill on Tuesday, and assuming he doesn’t back away from his push to rewrite immigration regulations, only time will tell if the senator can maintain the good will of the conservative grass roots. But for now, Rubio’s first-quarter fundraising suggests that his high-profile role in this politically risky fight hasn’t damaged his brand with conservatives. If anything, Rubio has managed to do just the opposite, while elevating his profile generally.

All of this could change, of course. There could be opposition to Rubio’s bill brewing in the House, to say nothing of it’s still uncertain future in the Senate.

Full story

April 1, 2013

Rubio Says Process Counts in Immigration Overhaul

As fans of an immigration overhaul breathlessly follow the Senate’s “gang of eight,” it’s important to understand how crucial a robust regular-order process is to keeping Sen. Marco Rubio on board.

The Floridian, perhaps more than any other Republican, has the ability to deliver conservative support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, or at least to prevent a fatal backlash, including among House members. But assuming that Rubio remains happy with the philosophical principles undergirding a deal that is still being worked out by the bipartisan gang of eight, the process by which actual legislation is moved through the Senate is just as important to maintaining the Florida Republican’s backing.

“We want public hearings, a committee markup and an amendment process on the floor,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told CQ Roll Call on Monday. “We need to get buy-in from [everyone.] We want people to understand what’s in the bill and what’s not in the bill.”

Full story

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