Your congressmen have sponsored a combined 61 bills so far this session.
Senior Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is behind nearly 80 percent of those, which doesn’t include dozens of co-sponsored bills filed in Washington, D.C.
Some of the legislation involving Rubio, along with freshman Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), new Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL-17) and longer serving Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16), rings similar to President Donald Trump’s agenda.
Charlotte and Sarasota counties do not have federal lawmakers that swing Democrat. And both counties possess a predominantly Republican population among their registered voters.
From security, to foreign policy and “draining the swamp”, here’s a look at what your congressmen are doing right now.
SecurityThey’re Republican and they agree: Build the wall.
“We are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws,” Buchanan said. “Strengthening border security should not be a controversial issue.”
Buchanan hopes to first address criminal gang members who entered the country illegally. His bill, H.R. 98, would allow the immediate deportation of any member of a gang engaging in violent crimes or felony drug offenses.
Also in the House, Steube is focusing on people in general who have entered the country illegally, and are dangerous. H.R. 1412, which was introduced in late February and has eight co-sponsors, would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with state and local law enforcement agencies, to be notified whenever a person illegally in the country attempts to purchase a firearm.
“Illegal immigration is a serious problem facing our country,” Steube said. “This bill will use resources we already have through (the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) to help curtail the flood of illegal aliens currently in the United States while also guaranteeing they don’t have access to firearms. It’s a win-win.”
Steube submitted a similar piece of legislation as an amendment to H.R. 8: The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which requires all purchasers of firearms to undergo a background check. However, the amendment was defeated Feb. 22 in a roll-call vote of 14 to 20 in the Judiciary Committee. He was among the 190 House members who voted against H.R. 8’s eventual passing in the House.
“H.R. 8 claimed to be a solution to gun violence, yet would do nothing to solve real problems that contribute to this crisis,” Steube said in a statement to the Sun in early March. “It would have done nothing to prevent many of the prominent tragedies involving firearms in the last decade. Instead, it only infringes on the constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights of millions of Americans”
Steube particularly did not like the fact that the bill criminalizes the private transfer of firearms, “including family members,” as well as “extensive delays in background check processing.”
Steube fears the law could lead to a national gun registry.
“We should continue to have a generous immigration policy,” Rubio, whose parents came to the United States in 1956 from Cuba, said in a Jan. 15 tweet. “However our government also has an obligation & right to promote & defend our national interests by placing limits & requirements on immigration & expecting immigrants to comply with them.”
In early March, Rubio, along with Republican and Democrat senators, introduced the S. 636, which would immediately grant temporary protected status for eligible Venezuelan nationals fleeing their country.
Rubio and these members also wrote a letter to the Trump Administration urging him of the importance of this legislation. Twenty-four senators also signed the letter.
“As the United States and our partners in the international community have condemned the illegitimate Maduro regime’s brutal campaign of repression, granting (temporary protected status) to Venezuela is a concrete measure your Administration can immediately take to alleviate the suffering of innocent Venezuelan civilians and to demonstrate our nation’s commitment to supporting a safe democratic transition in Venezuela so that individuals can safely return home soon,” the members wrote to Trump.
Scott hasn’t filed or co-sponsored any bills regarding border security as of last week. But he wants a compromise between the parties regarding a physical barrier and he wants dreamers to be “welcomed into our society,” he said in a Washington Post opinion piece Feb. 1.
“Florida is home to more than 27,000 dreamers. The notion that we would — after educating them, protecting them and raising them — kick them out of the country, well, it’s just absurd,” he wrote.
Scott does want to make it clear, though, that he is “inflexible when it comes to illegal immigration.”
Foreign PolicyThough the southern border seems to be our representatives’ main priority, Rubio is also focusing on our foreign policies regarding the Middle East.
His bill S. 1, which passed in the Senate, strives to make improvements to defense and security assistance provisions in the Middle East, authorize security assistance to Israel and reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015.
Also, through his roles on the Foreign Relations committee, Intel committee, and as chairman of the Small Business Committee, Rubio is focused on making the American people aware of the threats the Chinese government and Communist Party, including state-directed telecom companies like Huawei and ZTE, pose to our national and economic security, spokesperson Arielle Mueller told the Sun.
“This challenge is ultimately one of national security, and more fundamentally about whether or not the future of the world will be defined by authoritarianism or by democracy,” Rubio said in a speech March 12.
Buchanan is focusing more on how neighboring counties, such as Mexico, are affecting Florida’s agriculture.
“Florida farmers are also under attack from unfair trade practices by Mexico,” Buchanan said. H.R. 101 would “level the playing field,” he said, particularly industries that are affected by antidumping or countervailing duty investigations. This would mean the industry is under investigation for whether the product is sold at less than fair value or if it benefits from subsidies through foreign government programs, according to the United States International Trade Commission.
Draining the SwampMany of President Trump’s congressional supporters have touted the key to fixing Washington is to simply “drain the swamp.”
But, how exactly, do they plan to do that?
Back in Scott’s gubernatorial days, he created a 10-point plan that, if followed, would hold politicians accountable, end the “special interest gravy train” and “make it harder for Washington to reach into your pockets and pay for its spending.”
Points in the plan include implementing term limits, end congressional pensions and prevent members of Congress from getting paid during a government shutdown. Though he hasn’t personally filed these bills, he has co-sponsored bills similar to his goals. He has also co-sponsored legislation to implement a permanent lobbying ban for Congress members.
“Congress must face real consequences for its own dysfunction,” he said. “This plan will remind politicians that we don’t work for them; they work for us.”
On the House side, Buchanan has filed a bill that wouldn’t allow members of Congress to adjust their rate of pay. The bill, H.R. 102, was introduced in early January and currently does not have co-sponsors.
Buchanan also proposed an amendment to the Constitution relative to balancing the budget. H.J. Res. 5 would require a two-thirds vote of each chamber to impose a new tax, increase the rate of any tax, or spend more than received in a fiscal year.