Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio and Murphy both try to show they are fighting for Orlando victims



Three months after the Orlando nightclub massacre, both major candidates for the U.S. Senate in Florida are trying to show that they are using their positions in Congress to advocate for the victims.

On Tuesday, both Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Patrick Murphy released copies of letters they sent to different federal agencies that aim to clear up potential bureaucratic problems for victims of the Pulse nightclub attack.

Rubio, a Miami Republican, sent a letter to FBI director James Comey calling on his agency to share forms with the city of Orlando that include nearly 1,000 victims and the families who may need resources as they recover. He said many people who filled out those intake forms after the attack in June did not realize the FBI would not share that information with local agencies. That has left many people waiting for help that has yet to arrive.

“These cases have fallen into what is essentially a black hole,” Rubio says in the letter dated Aug. 24, but posted on his official Senate website on Tuesday. “I understand there are privacy concerns regarding the fact the forms in question are part of an ongoing investigation into a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. However, I believe there should be some way to strike a balance between those privacy concerns and making sure my constituents receive the assistance they need - and that many though they were applying for when they filled out these forms in the first place.”

That comes a day after Rubio introduced legislation that would grant student loan deferments to survivors of the Pulse nightclub attack.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Murphy, a Democrat from Palm Beach County, sent a letter to IRS commissioner John Koskinen asking that the IRS not tax money given to victims through the One Orlando Fund, which has raised $25 million to help victims and their families.

“The compassion of a heartbroken nation should not lead to a massive tax bill,” Murphy wrote in his letter dated Sept. 20. “As of the date of this letter, the OneOrlando website responds to the question of taxation by recommending that victims and their families consult a tax advisor. This should not be necessary.”

Rubio and Murphy are facing off in the Nov. 8 election, which is now less than 50 days away.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 7:27pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours