Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board Slams Marco Rubio And Rick Scott For Opposing Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

11 mins read

“Rubio and Scott failed to promote the economic interests of the Sunshine State” 
The bipartisan infrastructure deal passed by the U.S. Senate yesterday and opposed by Marco Rubio and Rick Scott will deliver good-paying jobs and vital infrastructure investment that’ll improve the lives of millions of Floridians. Today the Tampa Bay Times editorial board blasted Rubio and Scott for their failure to deliver for Floridians at a critical time of need, writing that they “could not hoist themselves from the partisan sideline to do what was best for the Sunshine State.” 

Read key excerpts from the editorial below:

Tampa Bay Times: Senate infrastructure plan a boost for Florida
The infrastructure plan the Senate passed Tuesday is a boon to Florida, a bipartisan achievement and a much-needed investment in the nation’s future. It was too bad, but entirely predictable, that Florida’s two senators could not hoist themselves from the partisan sideline to do what was best for the Sunshine State. […]

The vote, 69-30, capped weeks of bipartisan negotiations, and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, joined 18 colleagues from his party in approving the $1 trillion package. The bill calls for $550 billion in new spending over five years, with $110 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for rail, $42 billion for ports and airports and $39 billion for public transit. The measure also includes $65 billion to expand high-speed internet, $73 billion to modernize the nation’s power grid and tens of billions of dollars for water, transportation safety and climate resilience projects, among other spending.

Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott both voted “no” on the package, with Scott complaining that “the Democrats want to spend all the money, but they don’t want to take responsibility for the debt.” Where was the Republican concern for debt when tax cuts and runaway spending under then-President Donald Trump added nearly $4 trillion to the deficit?

Whether they are road-testing a talking point for reelection or as they mull a presidential run in 2024, Rubio and Scott failed to promote the economic interests of the Sunshine State. The White House estimates that the bill would send $13 billion to Florida for highway projects and $245 million for bridge replacement projects over the next five years. It also estimates that Florida would receive $2.6 billion for public transportation, $198 million to expand electric vehicle charging networks across the state and a minimum of $100 million to expand broadband access.
As the nation’s third-largest state, Florida also stands to benefit from the new spending on infrastructure across the country. Better roads, ports and airports are new pipelines for Florida’s tourism and export sectors. Expanded access to high-speed internet means new markets. Improved mobility and hardening for climate change also brings new opportunities for growth, coastal protection and commercial research.

Congress has a meaningful infrastructure package within reach. It’s a bipartisan accomplishment for both parties and a legislative victory for President Joe Biden. Moderate and progressive Democrats need to focus on a win. That requires a practical spending plan and a speedy timetable moving forward.

Statement from Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz One Month After Massive Freedom Protests in Cuba

Exactly one month ago, on July 11, 2021, the people of Cuba took to the streets to protest against the island’s communist regime and the oppressive conditions the Cuban people have endured daily for decades under that country’s dictatorship.

In recognition of this important date, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz released the following statement:

“One month ago, the people of the world heard the anguished cries of the Cuban people, a people whose voice had been silenced for far too long by the island’s cruel regime. Some across the world have chosen to either downplay or politicize those pleas for ‘Libertad.’ Others, like President Joe Biden and the members of his administration, have boldly stepped up to support these brave men and women in their struggle. As the son of a former Cuban political prisoner, the hardships that have afflicted those on the island have never been far from my heart and mind. That is why I am pleased to know that President Biden not only heard the pleas of the Cuban people, but has become personally committed to putting the power of the U.S. government behind efforts to help Cubans in their fight for freedom.

“Since the protests began, sanctions on the regime have been expanded, our diplomatic officials have redoubled their efforts to consolidate international support for the Cuban people and initiatives have been launched to study ways to bring free internet access to the country’s citizens, to enable direct financial support to them without the dictatorship’s interference and to safely expand our diplomatic presence on the island. I am thankful that the Biden administration has put this issue on the front burner. I am convinced of the President’s deep and sincere commitment to the cause of the Cuban people and I am heartened by the President’s own words on his moves to support them: this is only the beginning.”

Statement by FDP Chair Manny Diaz as Florida Shatters Record for New COVID Cases For the Third Time in One Week

On Tuesday August 10 the State of Florida reported 24,753 new COVID cases to the CDC, breaking its record for new infections for the third time in a week. The state, which accounts for roughly 6.5% of the nation’s population, is now seeing almost 19% of new cases in the United States. The seven-day moving average for new cases has exploded over the last month by a factor of over 450%.

In reaction to this development, Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz issued the following statement:
“For over a month Floridians have been waking up every morning to increasingly worrying news about the spread of COVID-19 in our state, the rising rate of hospitalizations, and Governor DeSantis’s deliberate campaign to oppose every measure our nation’s top scientists have recommended to help alleviate the crisis. 
“Today was no exception. On Tuesday Florida once again broke its record for new coronavirus infections, the third time it has done so over the last seven days.

“The Governor’s response to the growing crisis has been both astonishing and infuriating. Not only has he failed to address the problem, he has literally stood in the way of local governments, school boards and businesses as they have attempted to fill the leadership vacuum he has left at the top of our state’s government. 

“Governor DeSantis may believe it is in his own political interest to throw his lot in with the radical anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers in his own party, but the people of Florida see the crisis he has cravenly enabled worsening by the day. By putting politics over the safety of the people he governs, Ron DeSantis has personally become a top health threat to the citizens of this state.”

As COVID Cases Surge, Marco Rubio Failed to Support Critical Pandemic Relief That Would Help Florida 

As Florida experiences a dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases, it is important to remember that when Marco Rubio had the chance to deliver billions of dollars in funding to speed up vaccinations, get personal protection equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, and keep Floridians safe he didn’t have the courage to do what was best for Florida. 
“If it were up to Marco Rubio, fewer people would be vaccinated, those most in need would have a harder time affording health care, and more Floridians would be at risk during the current spike in infections. Rubio’s spineless opposition to the American Rescue Plan is yet another reminder that when his constituents need help the most, he fails to show up,” saidFloridaDemocratic Party spokesperson Grant Fox
The American Rescue Plan included a number of key provisions to address Americans’ health care needs during the pandemic and speed up vaccinations. Rubio shamefully voted against: 

  • Over $7 billion to help distribute vaccines faster and more effectively, particularly to underserved areas.
  • More funding to ramp up testing, contact tracing, and public health efforts to keep people safe and limit the spread of infections. 
  • $10 billion to speed up production of PPE, medical supplies, and vaccines that will help keep frontline workers safe. 
  • New tax cuts to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums for millions of Americans, helping more people get health insurance when they need it most. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, Floridians buying health insurance on the marketplace have on average seen a 44% cut in their premiums.

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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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