Impeachment Woes for Democrats
It’s Friday and the Senate impeachment trial is all but wrapped up after a key Republican senator, to quote Senator Rick Scott, “kneecapped” Democrat Party hopes to call new witnesses, including John Bolton.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already signaled that he would call for a quick vote, a move that would kill the trial because Democrats would need a 2/3 vote to remove the president.
The Fat Lady is tuning up her chores as we speak because this trial is over. MUST READ
The annual Everglades Action Day is next week and State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) is not all to keen on being lobbied by a “fringe” eco group that has sued President Trump some 179 times, and counting. This same litigation-loving group has also received funding from George Soros’ Tides Foundation. READ MORE
Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio penned a letter to President Trump urging him to include $250 million for continued Everglades Restoration.
Remember, this money would add to the “$200 million in construction funding for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Senator Scott, Senator Rubio and Governor Ron DeSantis fought for and secured last year, as well as the $2 billion in state funding invested in restoring the Everglades throughout Senator Scott’s time as Governor.”
U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R) has introduced legislation to help modernize the national water quality allocation formula to states. “Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.”
H.R. 5628, the Clean Water Allotment Modernization Act, would update the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) formula, which determines the amount of money states receive for water quality projects. The current formula has not been updated since 1987.
Pull out your Nike and New Balance sneaks…
Senator Lauren Book and the Lauren’s Kids foundation are hosting the second annual “42 for 42 million” advocacy walk at the Florida Capitol February 4-6. Some of the state’s top leaders will join Senator Lauren Book along with survivors, advocates, law enforcement, and community members in a 42+hour walk to honor the more than 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse who live in the United States today.
Rx Drug Costs
‘Legislators and advocates for reducing costs and improving access to prescription drugs today hailed a new independent study documenting that Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) have pocketed millions of dollars from the Florida Medicaid system – funds that should have been directed toward health care for millions of low-income residents.
The study, commissioned by the Florida Pharmacy Association and American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. with data obtained from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) by the Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR), highlights the predatory nature of a handful of vertically integrated PBMs and managed care organizations (MCOs).
Sen. Gayle Harrell and Rep. Jackie Toledo, who have each filed legislation to rein in predatory PBMs, underscored the need for greater transparency and oversight when it comes to PBMs’ role in Florida.
“We have a responsibility to assure that there is no manipulation of prices or anti-competitive practices by PBMs and other entities that result in increased costs to patients and push our local pharmacies out of business,” said Sen. Harrell.’
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“Key Republican Senator dashes Democrat impeachment hopes” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The Senate impeachment trial may be over by the end of the week. Democrats were hoping to get three Republican Senators to vote in favor of calling witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, but those hopes were dashed when Sen. Lamar Alexander (D-TN) flatly dismissed the impeachment trial as being nothing more than a “shallow, hurried and wholly bipartisan” effort by House Democrats. “If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist,” Alexander said. “It would create the weapon of perpetual impeachment to be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party.” Sen. Alexander then added: “The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment. That is why the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate for conviction. Yet not one House Republican voted for these articles.” Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) reminded constituents that then-Senator Joe Biden “argued against allowing witnesses during Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999” and accused Democrats of “changing their tune” out of utter hatred for President Trump. Democrats now must rely on the three moderate Republican senators that have signaled support for more witnesses, Sens. Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski.
“Sabatini dismisses Soros-linked Eco-friendly group as “radical left”” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The 8th annual Everglades Action Day is upon us and will be held on February 11th in Tallahassee, Florida to bring awareness to the state’s fragile Everglades ecosystem. Florida’s Everglades Coalition, which includes the Everglades Foundation and Everglades Trust, is sponsoring the event aimed to lobby state legislators about keeping this issue a top priority throughout the 2020 legislative session. The Everglades Coalition also includes the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the national group that has received money from billionaire George Soros’ Tides Foundation and has sued President Donald Trump 179 times since he took office, will also be in attendance. Let me repeat. The CBD has sued President Trump 179 times. Florida Army National Guardsman and Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini (R), who is considered one of the state’s rising conservative stars, isn’t expected to receive the CBD with open arms when they descend upon the state capitol to try to influence the Republican-led state legislature. Sabatini told The Floridian that the CBD was nothing more than a “radical left” organization that more interested in abusing the courts for their selfish political agenda. “The abuse of the court system for political ends is nothing new for the radical left,” said Sabatini “Although this level of court abuse may be a new low for the Never Trump fringe.”
“Rick Scott’s threat worked, Lobbying firm drops Maduro ally” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Days after Sen. Rick Scott (R) threaten the lobbying firm of Foley & Lardner to blackball them for accepting Venezuelan Inspector General Reinaldo Munoz as a client, the partners at the firm quickly heeded Scott’s warning/threat. Here is what Sen. Scott wrote to Foley & Lardner: “It has recently come to my attention that your firm was hired by Inspector General Reinaldo Muñoz, the top lawyer for Nicolas Maduro’s brutal regime in Venezuela. This is shocking news considering the absolute genocide Maduro is committing on his citizens. He is a thug and a dictator who is murdering children and starving his people. No business in the United States should have any contact with Maduro’s government, let alone willingly take money to lobby on its behalf. As Governor and now as U.S. Senator, I’ve been committed to fighting for freedom and democracy around the globe. The United States has taken strong action to try to force Maduro aside, but more must be done to bring freedom to the people of Venezuela. Frankly, I’m disgusted to learn that your firm has decided not to support this fight, and is instead choosing to stand with Maduro.” Being called out as someone or group standing by a murderous and repressive regime will make anyone take pause and jump ship. Foley & Lardner has now dropped Munoz as a client, and Scott is out making sure everyone thinking about working with Maduro knows what consequences lie before them if they decide to side with the Maduro regime.
“Drug overdose death rate drops under Trump” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Just as President Donald Trump announced that he had created a Coronavirus task force to combat the recent break out of that deadly disease in China, the administration submitted statements after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their 2018 mortality statistics that showed a decrease in drug overdose deaths. “This sign of progress is an example of what can happen when an Administration prioritizes an issue, makes the necessary investments, and deploys a whole-of-government approach to accomplishing our ultimate goal of saving lives. While there are still far too many Americans dying from drug overdoses, today’s historic news means fewer parents burying their children, fewer friends mourning the loss of their loved ones, and fewer communities hurting – and that is an incredible thing,” Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll said. President Trump’s senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, pointed to the efforts the president, the First Lady, and the administration, have made to bring the drug overdose death rate down. “Those suffering from addiction were ignored, indeed forgotten, for decades. In 2018, there were 4.1% fewer deaths in America from drug overdoses than in 2017,” said Conway “President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and the entire Trump Administration have brought an unprecedented level of leadership to combating this crisis, and for the first time in nearly 30 years, drug overdose deaths have declined in America.” The drug overdose epidemic continues rage on, but it looks as if the overall effort to save lives has made significant progress.
“Waltz Floats new Bill for Cleaner Water” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida lawmakers continue to tackle environmental issues as it has just been announced that Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R) and Florida Senators Rick Scott (R) and Marco Rubio (R) have just introduced a bill to modernize state water quality allocation. Working alongside Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown (D), Rep. Waltz introduced legislation that would modernize the national water quality allocation formula to states. With the Clean Water Allotment Modernization Act, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund formula would be updated, which is responsible for determining the amount of money states receive for water quality projects. The formula that is currently in use has not been updated since 1987. Commenting on the bill, Rep. Waltz expressed that “as a lifelong Floridian, one of my first goals when I came to office was to improve our state’s water quality.” Moreover, “I quickly discovered Florida has been shortchanged by the outdated Clean Water State Revolving Fund. In order to keep our water clean, every dollar matters.” In the Senate, Florida Senators Rubio and Scott introduced the companion to the bill, and Senator Rubio echoed in Waltz’s remarks when speaking on the importance of getting this done.
“Deutch Slams Scott’s “Appalling” Hostage Advertisement” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) has released an advertisement, slamming Democrats for not doing their job and holding him “hostage with 99 other people in the U.S. Capitol.” He elaborated that the reason why Democrats were acting in a partisan why is because they “are trying to cover up Joe Biden’s corruption.” As the impeachment trial heads to the Senate, Republicans have been trying to highlight Hunter Biden’s time while on the board of Burisma through Vice President’s time in the White House. However, responding to the Senator’s accusation, Florida Red. Ted Deutch (D) is blasting the former sunshine state Governor. Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, and highlighting what he believes is failed leadership on behalf of Senator Scott, Rep. Deutch commented that “after working w/me to ask POTUS to secure release of our constituent Bob Levinson, you must understand why this ad is so appalling.” Deutch explained that “Bob has been held hostage in Iran for almost 13 years.” He concluded by saying that “doing the job you swore an oath to do as our senator doesn’t make you a hostage.” With the impeachment trial moving forward with possible new witnesses being called to the stand, the back and forth between lawmakers from both sides of the aisle has only escalated.
“Exclusive video shows Florida school shooting suspect attacking deputy in jail” by Channel 7 News – Exclusive video obtained by 7NEWS shows Nikolas Cruz attacking a deputy inside a jail months following his arrest in connection with a deadly Florida school shooting. The nearly six-minute video recorded on Nov. 13, 2018 starts with Cruz walking around tables inside the Broward Main Jail. The video has no audio but court records read that Sgt. Raymond Beltran “requested that Cruz not drag his sandals on the ground while walking around.” Cruz can then be seen giving Beltran the middle finger before he charged at the deputy and began to punch him. They struggled near the staircase and then fell into a table and onto the floor, the video shows. Beltran attempts to take control when Cruz grabs a stun gun from the deputy’s belt, which deploys but does not strike either of them. Beltran grabs the stun gun and the two stand up and get into fighting stances. Cruz swings and Beltran hits back before Cruz suddenly walks away and sits down at one of the tables. Cruz can then be seen getting on the ground and putting his hands behind his back while Beltran points the stun gun at him. Beltran places Cruz in handcuffs and they walk away. Psychologist Dr. Tom Bonner viewed the video and said Cruz looked obsessive just before the altercation.
“South Florida Students And Teachers Return To School After Coronavirus Scare” by WLRN, Michelle Marchante (Miami Herald) – Thirty high school students and three teachers from a Palm Beach County school were given the “all clear” to return to campus after a potential coronavirus scare that started with a visit to Yale University over the weekend. School officials say the group has not shown any signs of sickness following the four-day conference in Connecticut. “Based on the most up to date information, including an overnight article in the New England Journal of Medicine, CDC guidelines, and consultations with local and state health officials as well as the lack of signs of illness amongst our returning students over the last 5 days since the potential exposure, we feel confident in allowing all to safely return to normal daily activities,” Thomas J. Reid, Benjamin School’s interim head of school, wrote in an email sent to the campus community on Thursday
“Florida Senate, House $1.4 billion apart on budget proposals” by Associated Press – The Florida Senate and House released budget proposals Thursday that are about $1.4 billion apart, leaving the chambers with less than six weeks to work out the differences. The Senate is seeking $92.8 billion for the fiscal year that begins July 1, while the House is proposing a $91.4 spending plan. In total dollars, at least, the House proposal is close to the $91.4 billion recommendation Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in November. The current state budget is just under $91 billion. All three proposals include money to raise teachers’ minimum salaries, with the Senate and House proposing $500 million and DeSantis recommending $600 million. “The Senate budget builds on our commitment to elevate the teachers and school personnel who serve students in our neighborhood public schools,” Senate President Bill Galvano said in a news release announcing the proposal. “Our proposed Senate budget raises per-student funding to an unprecedented level.” Overall, the Senate is proposing $22.6 billion for public schools and the House is seeking $22.5 billion. The Senate proposal is an increase of nearly $763 million for schools, or an additional $181.29 per student over the current budget. The House released its 424-page budget proposal after business hours Thursday with no comment or summary. The Senate is calling for a 3% across the board raise for state employees, while DeSantis isn’t proposing state worker raises. The Senate proposal also calls for the state picking up the full increase in state employees’ health insurance costs rather than passing it along to workers. The increase is expected to be $640 for an individual and $1,440 for family coverage.
“Florida’s red tide task force set to deliver new recommendations to state lawmakers” by ABC News’s Lauren Rozyla – Florida’s red tide task force is preparing to give new recommendations to state lawmakers on how to prevent red tide by Friday. To date, the task force has convened on five separate occasions to discuss the issue of nutrient over-enrichment and blue-green algal blooms. They’ve developed a document that they are working to send to state lawmakers on what they need to be done. ABC Action News is still working to get the latest report to lawmakers, but they’ve developed this list of what their priorities are. New Recommendations – Human Waste – There are, in fact, more than 2.5 million septic systems in Florida that treat approximately one-third of the wastewater generated in the state. The nutrients in the effluent from these systems contributes to the development and maintenance of harmful blue-green algae blooms, according to the report. The task force is recommending more regulatory oversight of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems to ensure that those systems function properly, protect the environment against nutrient pollution and are protective of human health. The Department of Environmental Protection should develop a comprehensive regulatory program to ensure that on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems are constructed and maintained to prevent nutrient pollution, reduce environmental impact and preserve human health. Scientists also say acute power failure during storm events and hurricanes is a leading cause of sanitary sewage overflows (SSO). According to the report, thousands of lift stations across the state were constructed prior to 2003 and are not required to have an emergency back-up power source. To alleviate the risk of an SSO due to power failure, the task force is recommending emergency back-up capabilities be identified for all lift stations constructed prior to 2003.
“Rep. Garcia not optimistic she’ll sway Cruz and Cornyn in impeachment trial” by Hispolitica’s Javier Manjarres – Shortly before Thursday round of questions in the U.S. Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, one of the House trial managers, Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D) told reporters that it appeared to her that the president’s team did not appear to be defending him rather, adding that she also believed that there could “still be a possibility to get John Bolton as a witness.” The former municipal judge also said that the House managers job was to “convince 3-4 senators” to call for witnesses and that they reserved the right to call former Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who she said was “one of the three amigos” involved whole impeachment inquiry into what the president said or didn’t say in regards to Ukraine. As far as swaying those 3-4 senators, Rep. Garcia was asked if she thought she could influence Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn to vote in her favor, but that appears to be somewhat of a lost cause.
“Biden: Sanders ’Is Not a Registered Democrat’” by Hispolitica Mona Salama – Former Vice President Joe Biden attacked his top Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders for not being a Democrat, while criticizing his issues and his record. “I’m a Democrat,” Biden told reporters during a campaign stop at a Dairy Queen in Pella, Iowa, on Thursday when asked about his biggest difference between himself with Sanders. “He says he’s not. He’s not a registered Democrat, to the best of my knowledge.” Throughout his 29-year congressional career, Sanders has been elected as an independent in Vermont, and caucuses with the Senate Democrats. He describes himself as a Democratic socialist, but refuses to join the Democratic Party. After filing to run for president last year, Sanders signed a loyalty pledge, required under new Democratic National Committee rules to formally declared himself a “member of the Democratic Party” as he seeks its presidential nomination. Sanders’ campaign quickly responded to Biden’s comments, calling it “last-minute, cheap barbs of desperation.”
“Sanders Vows If Elected to ‘Immediately Renegotiate’ USMCA Trade Deal” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) vowed if elected president to immediately renegotiate the “disastrous” United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal. “As the only leading presidential candidate to oppose Trump’s NAFTA 2.0, I am pledging today that upon being sworn in as president, I will immediately begin renegotiating this disastrous deal to combat climate change, stop the outsourcing of American jobs and end the destructive race to the bottom,” Sanders said in a statement he issues shortly after President Trump signed USMCA into law. “The NAFTA 2.0 that Trump signed today is an absolute disaster. In addition to doing nothing to stop the offshoring of jobs, the deal is a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry at a time when climate change threatens our planet.” He added, “It does not even mention the words ‘climate change’, the most existential threat facing our planet. We need a trade policy that works for the working class and improves the environment. And that’s exactly what I will fight for as president.” Sanders, along with eight other senate Democrats voted against USMCA earlier this month, citing environmental concerns. The Senate overwhelmingly passed the proposed replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by a vote of 89 to 10. He is also the sole 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to oppose the trade deal. In the last Democratic Debate, Sanders said he would vote against the agreement because “it does not even have the phrase ‘climate change’ in it,” and would “us back a number of years.” “We could do much better than a Trump-led trade deal,” Sanders said at the Iowa debate stage in January. “Every major environmental organization has said no to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase “climate change” in it. And given the fact that climate change is right now the greatest threat facing this planet, I will not vote for a trade agreement that does not incorporate very, very strong principles to significantly lower fossil fuel emissions in the world.”
“Trump Signs USMCA into Law; Replacing ‘Nightmare NAFTA’” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – President Trump signed the historic United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement into law on Wednesday, fulfilling a key campaign promise to revamped the North American free trade agreement. “Today, we are finally ending the NAFTA nightmare and signing into law the brand new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” Trump said in a ceremony event outside the South Lawn of the White House surrounded by workers, chief executives and lawmakers. “The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved. For the first time in American history, we have replaced a disastrous trade deal that rewarded outsourcing with a truly fair and reciprocal trade deal that will keep jobs, wealth, and growth right here in America.” Replacing NAFTA, which Trump repeatedly called “the worst trade deal ever” during the 2016 campaign trail was one of Trump’s biggest campaign promise and helped him secure electoral victories in states that voted for Democrats in the last 25 years. “Two decades of politicians ran for office vowing to replace the NAFTA,” Trump said. “Yet once elected, they never even tried. They never even gave it a shot. They sold out. But I’m not like those other politicians. I keep my promises, and I’m fighting for the American worker.” Trump added, “This is something we really put our heart into. It’s probably the number one reason that I decided to lead this crazy life that I’m leading right now, as opposed to that beautiful, simple life of luxury that I lead before this happened.” USMCA keeps most of the elements of NAFTA intact, but it requires 75 percent of automobile parts must be made in North America to be duty-free. It also adds component that 40-45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023. The measures are meant to limit Mexico’s competitive advantage on labor costs, while expanding access to Canadian dairy markets for U.S. farmers and install a new regime of rules relating to digital trade. At the ceremony, Trump hailed the “momentous, historic and joyous occasion” and said the deal would “create countless new American jobs” and prevent outsourcing.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump – THE BEST IS YET TO COME!
Abuse of Power matters.
The President committed a high crime against the Constitution.
He must be held accountable.
Rick Scott @SenRickScott -Tomorrow, I plan on asking @POTUS administration to look into whether the $12.5m @FoleyandLardner was paid by the Maduro Regime violates any laws or US sanctions. Anyone doing the work of the Maduro Regime should suffer the consequences.
Marco Rubio @marcorubio – My STEM Careers Act will soon be signed into law by @POTUS It will require the National Science Foundation & Office of Science & Technology Policy to coordinate programs for veterans transitioning into STEM careers & address barriers to entry.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP – Today, the US signed the #USMCA—a bipartisan act that will go down in history. Because of the changes @HouseDemocrats demanded, this agreement takes steps to support Florida workers, farmers, businesses & environments. Proud of the work we accomplished!
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets –Having access to counsel can skyrocket your chances of making a successful asylum application. Yet DHS has used #RemainInMexico to erect overwhelming barriers between asylum seekers & counsel. Denying due process is un-American & unconstitutional. #EndMPP #DontLookAway
Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetz – Saddam Hussein died in 2006. The Authorization to Use Military Force against Saddam’s Iraq should be repealed. If we can’t claim victory now, what war is ever winnable?
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch – In order to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, President Trump must do a lot more to address issues that affect them. By continuing to associate himself with anti-LGBTQ figures & issue discriminatory orders, he is an ally to no one but the homophobes & transphobes.
RepRossSpano @RepRossSpano – Today, @realDonaldTrump made history by signing #USMCA into law. This trade agreement is a huge win for our economy as it has the potential to create over 170k new jobs & produce over $60 billion in new economic activity. #Florida #FL15
Jimmy Patronis @JimmyPatronis – Glad to give the @floridabankers Association an update today on the great health of Florida’s economy and highlight my legislative priorities including fighting fraud on behalf of all Florida consumers.
Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFL– With the #USMCA’s signing today, we look forward to having Administration officials in Florida to hear first-hand from our seasonal producers on protecting against unfair trade.
Rep. Carlos G Smith @CarlosGSmith – “Publicly pressuring corporations that fund the tax credit program may be the best option for those who want to see changes in scholarship rules because the state’s GOP leaders….seem uninterested in making changes, @CarlosGSmith
“DNA Ties Florida S*x Offender to ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ Cases: Prosecutors,” by The Daily Beasts’s Julia Arciga –
Florida prosecutors announced Thursday that a 60-year-old s*x offender’s DNA has been matched to as many as 25 rape cases from the 1980s, leading them to believe they have finally identified the so-called Pillowcase Rapist, The Sun-Sentinel reports. At a Thursday news conference, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said officials believe Robert Koehler was the Pillowcase Rapist—who s*xually assaulted over 40 women in Florida about four decades ago. “This offender will never, ever be free again,” Rundle said. “We feel confident that there are a number of sufficient cases that we can prosecute,” she said, adding that it may take time to locate victims. Koehler, who was convicted of a 1990 rape, was arrested over the weekend and has denied the allegations against him. Authorities say DNA tests show 100 percent matches between his DNA and that found on at least 25 women who claimed to have been raped by the Pillowcase Rapist. Koehler is being held without bond.