U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said she hopes Gov. Rick Scott will veto the state budget and call legislators back to Tallahassee to come up with a plan to expand Medicaid.
Speaking Thursday to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, Castor said Scott should use his "political chops" to force a solution on Medicaid. The governor surprised many when he came out in favor of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a law he actively campaigned against. Now he's taking criticism from the law's backers for not trying harder to sway Florida House members who have fought accepting federal money to get health coverage for more uninsured Floridians....
04/30/13 State Roundup
PORT RICHEY — Speaking to 600 diehard Pasco Republicans, Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday night cast the sensitive work of immigration reform as a national security issue that can't be ignored.
"We have to deal with the people who are here now, and I want to know who they are so I can run them through a background check and a national security check," Rubio said in his keynote speech at the local party's annual Reagan Day dinner fundraiser....
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will headline tonight’s Republican Party of Pasco County Reagan Day Dinner in Port Richey.
The event, which has been sold out for weeks, is at 6 p.m. at Spartan Manor. Rubio is expected to speak after dinner.
But protesters will be out at 5:30 p.m. to greet the crowd. The Pasco Democratic Party and the Pasco chapter of the National Organization for Women announced that they will protest, citing Rubio’s recent votes against new background checks on gun purchases and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act....
As Sandy Hook Elementary parents watched from the balcony, a bipartisan effort to expand background checks on gun sales died Wednesday on the U.S. Senate floor.
Reaction from all sides was intense. Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who nearly died from a gunshot to the head in 2011, wrote an impassioned op-ed, charging that senators "gave into fear" and ignored the will of the public....
It was the trip that inspired both a congressional inquiry and a rap song.
When pop star Beyonce and husband, the rapper Jay-Z, traveled to Cuba last week, their getaway ignited a storm of news coverage and questions — because of the couple's celebrity status, but also because of the five-decade-old political stalemate between Washington and the Communist island nation.
Under the United States' longstanding trade embargo, Americans are prohibited from traveling to Cuba for simple tourism. In most cases, they need a license from the U.S. government permitting visits for educational, research, journalistic or missionary work. As reports trickled out of the stars salsa dancing till dawn, two Florida congressional members fired off a letter to President Barack Obama's administration, blasting the trip and invoking the Castro regime's oppression of Cuban people....
After years of inaction, eight senators say they're on the cusp of unveiling a bipartisan proposal to fix the nation's broken immigration system.
Border security, visas and family considerations are all part of the debate. But no topic is so emotional as creating a pathway to citizenship for 11 million unauthorized immigrants.
They should be able to earn the right to be called Americans, some advocates argue, with years of work and payment of fines. Others call for legal residency only, allowing people who came illegally to live here but not attain all the benefits of citizenship....
For decades, the National Rifle Association was the one holding the megaphone. Leaders David Keene and Wayne LaPierre voiced vigorous defenses of the Second Amendment and rallied members to resist new gun laws, often with great success.
Now, they have an opponent. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wields the power of public office and his own personal fortune, and he's using both to push for legislation that puts new limits on firearms....
Sequestration is serious business. Jobs are on the line. Day care for poor kids is under the ax.
Yet even in this budget climate, your federal government still has the money to pay for — please disregard our blushing — a study examining duck penises.
You read that right: duck penises.
This waterfowl kerfuffle erupted last week, when the conservative website CNSNews.com published a story pulling back the curtain on a $384,949 grant from the National Science Foundation for a Yale University study looking at ducks' sexual behavior and anatomy and the evolutionary consequences....
"Our debt is already bigger than our economy."
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a speech at CPAC
The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently put GDP at just over $15.8 trillion. The government defines the GDP — gross domestic product — as the market value of the goods and services produced by labor and property within the country....
"More than 64 percent of minimum-wage earners are women."
Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House minority leader, in a news conference
On news of the stock market hitting an all-time high, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it's time to raise the minimum wage.
In a news conference on March 7, Pelosi, D-Calif., announced her support for a bill raising the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour....
03/09/13 State Roundup
Jeb Bush was for it before he was against it.
And now he's for it again?
That's the refrain these days on where the former Florida governor stands on creating a process for people in the U.S. illegally to become American citizens — or something secondary to that, such as legal residents. Since his book Immigration Wars was released last week, Bush has been accused of changing position....
"There's no plan from Senate Democrats or the White House to replace the sequester."
House Speaker John Boehner, Sunday on Meet the Press
It didn't take us long to find the White House plan. We found it on the White House home page by clicking the prominent button that says "SEE THE PLAN." It leads to a page titled "A Balanced Plan to Avert the Sequester and Reduce the Deficit."...
"There's going to be a slowdown and delays in flights" as a result of the sequester.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in an interview
Sequestration will force the Federal Aviation Administraion to carve $600 million from its budget. But Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst with the advisory firm Hudson Crossing, said much of the real effect of the sequester is unknown....
02/22/13 State Roundup
It's Washington's latest case of economic hostage-taking: If Congress and President Barack Obama don't reach a deal by Friday, the budget gets whacked!
Voters have heard these fiscal threats before. This time, the cuts are part of existing law. Inaction means nearly across-the-board spending cuts, with half taken from defense and the military.
Here's PolitiFact's guide to that funny word, sequestration....
"We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas."
President Barack Obama, Tuesday in the State of the Union address
President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that the country's progress toward energy independence can be measured in miles per gallon.
"Today, no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future," he said. "We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar, with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show for it."...