1. Florida Politics

Rep. Brown rips Gov. Scott over VA lawsuit

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, is a member of the House VA committee.
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, is a member of the House VA committee.
Published Jun. 11, 2014

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, sent a scathing letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday calling his lawsuit seeking state access to federal VA records "inappropriate, unprecedented" and suggesting it "could be a violation of the law."

Scott directed his health care agency to file the suit last week after federal officials refused attempts to gain access to records amid the national controversy over the veterans hospitals.

Brown, a member of the House VA committee, goes on to write: "Ironically, the same agency you directed to make these unauthorized visits, purportedly out of a concern for the quality of health care being provided to our veterans, has failed to provide health services to 900,000 deserving Floridians. Even more troubling, the $55 billion dollars being provided by the federal government to expand Medicaid to uninsured Floridians is made up of taxes Floridians have already sent to Washington. Yet just like the federal funds for high-speed rail that were refused by the governor and quickly disbursed to other states, this funding for Medicaid expansion will eventually be accepted by other states who choose to provide health coverage to their residents. Meanwhile, the majority of Florida's nearly one million uninsured citizens would continue to go without insurance."

Sen. Rubio blasts Clinton

Sen. Marco Rubio criticized Hillary Clinton over Benghazi during an interview Tuesday on CBS This Morning, saying, "She should have known of the dangers that existed there."

"If she's going to brag about her time at the State Department," he said, "she also has to talk openly about their failures."

On Monday, Rubio provided more extensive remarks in an interview with Hugh Hewitt. Would he be "afraid," to debate Clinton on foreign policy?

Rubio: "You know, anyone, whoever runs for president against Hillary Clinton, I think, is going to have ample space to criticize foreign policy. What is the signature foreign policy achievement of this administration? If you look at the world today from where it was a few years ago, doubts about America's leadership have never been higher, certainly in the last decade. You know, with George W. Bush, people can disagree about different decisions that he may or may not have made with regards to foreign policy. But there was never any question that the U.S. was going to lead the free nations of the world. Around the world today, perhaps, the most common theme is one of serious doubt about the U.S.' willingness to lead or ability to lead, whether it's in Asia or Europe, or in any part of the planet, so what is the signature achievement of her 41/2 years at the State Department?"

Scott acts on rail concerns

Gov. Scott on Monday called on developers of a private railroad project to take more steps in response to questions and concerns of residents who may be affected by All Aboard Florida, the first passenger train service on Florida's east coast in five decades.

Scott wrote to the project's president, Mike Reininger, on the same day that the Times/Herald published a story detailing the intense level of resistance, including formal opposition by Martin and Indian River counties and several towns along the route. All Aboard Florida plans to run 32 trains daily beginning in late 2016 between Miami and Orlando.

"In response to local communities' questions about All Aboard Florida, we must ensure that there is a detailed conversation about this new rail service. Many families are worried about how these additional trains will affect their neighborhoods and their concerns should be heard," Scott wrote.

Scott said he has asked state transportation secretary Ananth Prasad to meet with community leaders and legislators. He also asked that the public comment period on the project be from 75 to 90 days.

Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.


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