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September 30, 2014

Rubio Asks Reid to Bypass Landrieu on Venezuela Sanctions

rubio013 051314 445x294 Rubio Asks Reid to Bypass Landrieu on Venezuela Sanctions

(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.

“You were quoted in July saying that you support bipartisan legislation to sanction the Venezuelan officials responsible, yet in the two months since, the heart wrenching stories of savage violence from the Maduro government have worsened while Congressional action has only stalled,” Rubio wrote in Thursday’s letter to Reid. “Just last month, as the Senate was about to pass the sanctions bill that unanimously passed the House, Maduro’s regime found a way to influence our legislative process. Even though the legislation would have targeted individuals only and posed no threat to American jobs or Venezuelan firms, a Venezuelan government-controlled oil company with operations in the U.S. succeeded in convincing a member of the Senate’s Democratic majority to block the bill’s passage.”

Landrieu’s opposition, first reported by Politico, stems from concerns about jobs in Louisiana tied to the Venezuelan state-run oil giant Citgo. That’s a double-edged sword, given the repressive practices of the current regime in Venezuela.

The issue has entered into Landrieu’s race back home, with Rubio having teamed up with Republican challenger and current Rep. Bill Cassidy on an opinion piece in The Advertiser calling for the sanctions to move, as The Associated Press reported earlier this week.

“When the Senate reconvenes in September, she and the Democratic majority will face an important choice about whether the U.S. will continue to stand up for human rights, or whether we will allow repressive strong men like Nicolas Maduro to dictate America’s human rights policy,” the two lawmakers wrote. “This issue and this sanctions legislation is about human rights and is specifically targeted at individuals in Venezuela’s government who abuse them. It has nothing to do with jobs and energy policy.”

Landrieu, in a statement to the AP, said she is seeking a rather small change to the legislation.

“I am very concerned that Senator Rubio’s bill would endanger 2,000 full time and contract workers at the Citgo oil refinery in Lake Charles. Once a simple sentence that protects these hard working Louisianians is added to the bill, I will be happy to support the legislation,” she said.

Landrieu is on Roll Call’s list of most vulnerable incumbent senators this fall.

The full text of the Rubio letter appears below:

Dear Majority Leader Reid,

As the Senate prepares to reconvene, I would like to call your attention to a worsening human rights crisis in our own hemisphere that I believe demands an immediate response from the United States Senate.

In recent months, the people of Venezuela have been in the throes of a bitter, agonizing struggle against their country’s own leadership. The corruption, incompetence, and malicious negligence of Nicolas Maduro’s government have left Venezuela on the verge of collapse, with a dangerous scarcity of food and goods, soaring crime and murder rates, and virtually nonexistent economic opportunity.

The people of Venezuela have responded by exercising a right that our nation’s founders recognized as universal. They have lifted their voices to protest what has been a long train of abuses and usurpations, demanding their government provide basic economic opportunity and public safety. But these peaceful protesters have been met in the streets with bullets, tear gas, and brutal beatings from government thugs.

This sweeping arc of human rights abuse demands the attention of the United States Congress. You were quoted in July saying that you support bipartisan legislation to sanction the Venezuelan officials responsible, yet in the two months since, the heart wrenching stories of savage violence from the Maduro government have worsened while Congressional action has only stalled.

Just last month, as the Senate was about to pass the sanctions bill that unanimously passed the House, Maduro’s regime found a way to influence our legislative process. Even though the legislation would have targeted individuals only and posed no threat to American jobs or Venezuelan firms, a Venezuelan government-controlled oil company with operations in the U.S. succeeded in convincing a member of the Senate’s Democratic majority to block the bill’s passage.

As Majority Leader, I hope you will use your authority to ensure that the bipartisan legislation sanctioning Venezuelan officials – legislation which you have spoken in favor of – will be allowed an up or down vote immediately upon our return on September 8th.

The people of Venezuela can wait no longer. Their government is striking out more frantically every day, working to beat them into submission, to tear at the very fabric of their nation. Now is the time to implement targeted sanctions that end this abuse – that allow the cries of the Venezuelan people to finally be heard, and bring them at last to justice and peace.

Sincerely,

Senator Marco Rubio

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  • http://none.com Jack Everett

    Such a scum bag Rubio is. How much is Exxon or some other energy pig paying this scum bum off. Which endless war profiteering scheme will they be practicing next?

    • papacito9999

      Last I checked the Venezuelan people don’t have any rights under our constitution

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