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December 21, 2014

Posts in "Marco Rubio"

December 19, 2014

Paul Challenges Rubio Over Obama’s Cuba Plan

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky trolled Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, his potential rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, on Twitter Friday over Rubio’s opposition to President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba.

Paul’s twitter-storm comes after the president announced sweeping changes in relations with Cuba Wednesday, including expanding exports, relaxing travel restrictions and renewing diplomatic relations with ambassadors and embassies.

Paul’s position puts him at odds with most Republicans, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who in a recent interview said he defers to Rubio, a Cuban-American, on the issue, and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who torched the move.

The Kentucky Republican, who often gets tagged with the isolationist label by his critics, said Rubio is “acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism.”

Paul drew an analogy with China and Vietnam, which are both communist nations with which the U.S. now has normalized relations. “So why not Cuba?” Paul asked.

Paul also prodded Rubio about the fact that young Cuban-Americans are increasingly supportive of normalizing relations between the two countries.
On Friday, Paul published an op-ed in Time making many of the same points.
“Let’s hope cooler heads will ultimately prevail and we unleash a trade tsunami that washes the Castros once and for all into the sea,” Paul said in his op-ed.
Rubio’s office didn’t respond inquiries seeking comment. But in recent days Rubio has pledged to use every means available to him to unravel Obama’s Cuba plan, which he believes will do nothing to bring about free elections and democracy in Cuba.

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December 17, 2014

Rubio Threatens To Unravel Obama Cuba Deal

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Rubio adjusts his tie ahead of a press conference blasting President Barack Obama’s deal with Cuba. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., excoriated President Obama’s plan to normalize relations with Cuba and threatened to hold up efforts to confirm an ambassador and fund an embassy.

“This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime who has basically given the Cuban government everything it asked for and received no assurances of any advances of democracy and freedom in return,” ripped Rubio, who may run for president in 2016, at a press conference. Full story

December 14, 2014

How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

cruz 206 062713 445x274 How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

Eleven Republicans sided with Ted Cruz on all three key votes on the ‘cromnibus.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a question that will prove crucial next year when Mitch McConnell takes the reins of a new Senate: Just how big is the Ted Cruz caucus?

Three votes on the “cromnibus” late Saturday night suggest it could be as large as 22 senators — a dangerously high number for McConnell — or as few as a handful.

Let’s break down the three votes — on filibustering the $1.1 trillion package, on Cruz’s point of order aimed at targeting the president’s immigration action, and final passage. Full story

December 12, 2014

Paul and Rubio Spar Over Foreign Policy, ISIS AUMF

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Marco Rubio has staked out a more hawkish foreign policy than rival Rand Paul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The nation may have gotten a little taste of 2016 Republican presidential politics Thursday as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky squared off with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on foreign policy.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee markup, Paul, a potential 2106 presidential candidate, offered an amendment setting geographic limits to an Authorization for Use of Military Force cleared by the committee that would set parameters on the nation’s fight against the terror group known as Islamic State, ISIS, or ISIL.

The amendment failed on a 13 to 5 vote. But the preceding debate, which was respectful, saw Paul and Rubio, who may also seek the Republican nomination for president, disagree over how much Congress should rein in the commander in chief.

The split highlights a debate within the party over America’s role abroad that will likely play out in the run up to 2016. Full story

October 30, 2014

McCain, Graham and Rubio: No Executive Immigration Relief

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three Republican architects of the Senate’s immigration bill are warning President Barack Obama not to give relief without Congress to immigrants here illegally, warning that would “open the floodgates” to more illegal immigration.

“We write to you today to strongly discourage such action,” John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida said in a letter Thursday.

“Providing legal status by executive order to people who entered this country unlawfully will only incentivize illegal immigration and open the floodgates to more visa overstays and illegal entries over our southern border,” the letter continued. Full story

September 4, 2014

Rubio Asks Reid to Bypass Landrieu on Venezuela Sanctions

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio wants Majority Leader Harry Reid to bypass one of his vulnerable incumbent Democrats in a bid to impose sanctions on Venezuela.

The Florida Republican sent a letter to Reid calling for the Nevada Democrat to use his prerogatives as leader to get a sanctions bill to the floor. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., opposed granting unanimous consent to advance the measure before the August break.

Full story

July 10, 2014

Rubio Calls for Obama to Help Vet in Mexican Jail

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., voiced concerns Thursday about a Mexican judge’s decision to return Afghanistan war veteran Andrew Tahmooressi to jail for breaking Mexico’s strict gun laws.

“I am very dismayed by the judicial order to continue detaining Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi in Mexico,” Rubio said. “Sgt. Tahmooressi has been languishing in a Mexican prison long enough.”

Tahmooressi is from South Florida, according to Rubio’s office.

“My office met with Sgt. Tahmooressi’s mother in Florida last week and has been in contact with the family from the start of this ordeal,” Rubio continued. “We remain committed to doing whatever we can to assist them during this difficult time.”

Rubio also called on action from President Barack Obama to help secure Tahmooressi’s release. Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 12:20 p.m.
Marco Rubio

March 6, 2014

Ukraine Bill Could Attract Amendments on Iran Sanctions, Natural Gas Exports

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Thune said an aid package for Ukraine could draw amendments related to Iran. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Some Senate Republicans said the upcoming aid package for Ukraine could draw an amendment adding sanctions on Iran, although others cautioned against that approach.

“It could be,” Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said when asked if such an amendment would come up. “I am sure there will be some interest.” Full story

November 6, 2013

Supreme Court Invokes Senate Pages in Prayer Case

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday morning about a case involving prayers at town board meetings in Greece, N.Y., the potential implications for Congress rang through the packed chamber.

The case pits the town against members of the public who contested the overwhelmingly Christian bent — with frequent direct reference to Jesus Christ as the savior — of the town board’s opening proceedings.

Speaking for the federal government, Deputy Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn argued against some of the prayer opponents’ positions. At one point, he specifically referenced a concern about a potential ruling that children could be unduly coerced by hearing prayers at legislative sessions.

“We think the other elements that the respondents have pointed to for coercion are ones that trouble us because they are things that have analogs in our history. So, for example, they point to the presence of children. But, of course, on the Senate floor are the Senate pages, who are all high-school juniors,” Gershengorn said. “And as the reply brief points out, there are often children in the galleries at state legislatures being acknowledged.”

Full story

August 13, 2013

McConnell: ‘Shutting Down the Government Will Not Stop Obamacare’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told a crowd at a health care forum in Kentucky on Tuesday that while he does not like the president’s health care law, shutting down the government over funding it “will not stop” it from existing.

“I’m for stopping Obamacare, but shutting down the government will not stop Obamacare,” McConnell told the audience at Baptist Health Corbin, according to a WYMT-TV reporter at the event.

Several conservative senators — including Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida — have said the GOP should not vote to fund the government unless they can stop money from flowing to Obamacare. Of course, the effort is likely to go nowhere, given that the Democratic-controlled Senate would never approve such a measure and President Barack Obama certainly would never sign it into law. Full story

August 5, 2013

Senate Prayer at Risk? 34 Senators File Court Brief

Thirty-four senators are concerned an upcoming Supreme Court case could affect one of the Senate’s long-standing traditions — the daily Senate prayer.

On Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., led the filing of an amicus brief in a case involving the town of Greece, N.Y., where the local board’s monthly meetings begin with a prayer (as do the meetings of the House and Senate).

“The Court of Appeals’ decision was flawed in its interpretation of the founders’ intention for religious liberty,” Rubio said in a statement. “America was founded on the ideal that Americans have the right to practice or not practice any religion, not that public forums should be free from religious expression or limited to court-approved prayer.”

The senators argue that “the practices that the court found unacceptable generally reflect the practice of legislative prayer in Congress.”

Full story

July 31, 2013

Early Test for McConnell’s Bid to Hold Line on Spending (Updated)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:25 p.m. | The Senate will have one more fiscal standoff before leaving for the August recess in what will be an early test of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to hold the line on spending this fall.

It’s been a rough road for the Transportation-HUD spending bill that’s the vehicle for that debate.

Missouri Republican Roy Blunt criticized the decision by Majority Leader Harry Reid to move the THUD bill first, rather than starting with a bill like the Military Construction-VA measure, on which Democrats and Republicans could more easily agree.

“I believe if I’d have been the majority leader, I would have picked one of the bills that Republicans are more in line with Democrats on because … the House and Senate number[s] are fairly close together. This is not one of them,” Blunt said. “That’s a decision that the majority leader makes and he may have been looking for a fight, and if he was, he may have gotten one.”

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the chairwoman of both the Budget Committee and the Subcommittee on Transportation-HUD, has run point for Democrats. “I know there are those in the Republican leadership that are working very hard now to not allow this bill to be finished,” Murray said Wednesday. “We are hoping that our Republican colleagues will join us tomorrow to make sure that we are making the right investments, that we are not managing by crisis, but doing the job that we were sent here to do.”

McConnell announced Wednesday morning on the Senate floor that he was encouraging opposition to the bill, which should come as no surprise since the Kentucky Republican has voted against the measure in committee, where he has maintained his seat.

Full story

July 23, 2013

Republican Worlds Cross Paths in the Capitol

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(Courtesy Office of Sen. Ted Cruz)

Visions of the Republican Party literally crossed paths in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday evening.

On one side, current and former lawmakers gathered in Statuary Hall to fete former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. On the other, members and senators gathered with the party’s conservative base to discuss the legislative agenda for the future.

The irony wasn’t lost on the tea party organizers, including Scottie Hughes of TPNN.com.

“Within a few feet of each other, under the same roof of the U.S. Capitol, there were two differing visions for Republicans, one for the future and the other rooted in the past. The fact that we had an overflowing room with dozens of Senators and members says a lot about the future of the tea party and conservatism,” Hughes said. “Bob Dole may not like the fact we’re around and vibrant, but we are here and here to stay.”

Full story

July 17, 2013

‘Nuclear Option’ Deal, Perez Survive Rubio Filibuster Push

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:05 p.m. | Both the nomination for the next Labor secretary and a bipartisan agreement to avoid the “nuclear option” remain on track, barely.

The minimum of 60 senators voted to cut off debate on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Thomas E. Perez to be Labor secretary, after it became clear some Republicans had qualms about including Perez in the deal struck Tuesday to get seven presidential nominees confirmed. The vote shows how tenuous the agreement to move executive branch nominations might be.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio gave a floor speech earlier Wednesday afternoon encouraging fellow GOP senators to take an act that would blow up the bipartisan deal to avert the “nuclear option” on executive branch nominations.

“If just one more Republican Senator had voted against cutting off debate, we could have stopped nomination of Obama labor nominee #surrender,” Rubio tweeted after the vote closed.

Full story

June 13, 2013

Senators Work on Border Security as Floor Debate Crawls Along

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic members of the Senate’s immigration “gang of eight” headed down Pennsylvania Avenue for a White House meeting, but public work on their bill — and the key issue of border security — will wait until next week.

In the meantime, negotiations are under way to try to thread the needle on border security, to come up with a specific plan that will win Republican votes and maintain Democratic support.

“We are trying to set achievable goals that [Democrats] can support,” Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a GOP member of the gang of eight, told reporters.

McCain explained that what’s under discussion would be somewhat different from a border security amendment already filed by Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas.

The amendment “would define ways that can assure them that we can achieve 90 percent effective operational control of the border, that we have sufficient funds devoted to it, and that we have sufficient other measures taken to ensure that we have border security and still keep in the parameters of what the Democrats can support,” he said.

Full story

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