Last week: A vote in Congress on military intervention in Syria got delayed because of a possible diplomatic resolution proposed by Russia. I have spent much of the week focused on the crisis in Syria. I had nearly 7,500 constituents on a listening session about Syria on Wednesday evening, met at the White House with Vice President Joe Biden and attended classified briefings. In addition, I recently went on a bipartisan mission to the Middle East — Egypt and the United Arab Emirates — and to Japan and NATO in Brussels and talked to world leaders about Syria.
Looking ahead: A government shutdown is looming unless Congress comes together to fund the government beyond Sept. 30. A government shutdown would be irresponsible. It could harm our fragile economy and result in the stock market plunging, reduced consumer spending and some Social Security and veterans benefits and services could be impacted.
Last week: Although Syria is on everyone's minds, there’s another issue of great focus in South Florida. We are fast approaching the date (Oct.1) when Floridians can sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s new marketplaces. This week I joined with Obama officials and key local hospital executives and community health centers to discuss important next steps for the new marketplaces. With 70 percent of Americans opposed to defunding the health care law, I feel it’s important Americans and South Floridians can take advantage of the new benefits they will be eligible to receive.
Looking ahead: Two important holidays: Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah. With Labor Day, I want to salute all the hardworking men and women for all their contributions to our economy and society. And with Rosh Hashanah, I want to extend my warmest wishes for a peaceful, safe and sweet New Year.
Last week: I recently toured the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale with Mayor Jack Seiler, the Chief Judge and officials from the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority. We surveyed the deteriorating conditions in the courthouse, which is in disrepair and plagued by flooding and leaks. It’s imperative our community has a court venue where people can solve their differences in a safe, secure and respectful environment. During the tour we also talked about the possibility of a public-partnership pilot program that could lead to construction of a new courthouse.
Next week: The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is on Aug. 28. On this special anniversary, we remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and commemorate this defining moment in the Civil Rights movement. We’ve made so much progress for civil rights since 1963, yet much work remains for freedom and equality for all Americans.
Last week: As peace talks continue between Israelis and Palestinians, deadly chaos increases in Egypt. Promoting stability in the Middle East is important to the United States' national security interests.
Looking ahead: School starts for thousands of South Florida children. More than ever it is imperative that we ensure our children are receiving an education that allows them to compete in a global economy.
Last week: We finally passed a bipartisan student loan bill that reverses the student loan rate hike that went into effect on July 1 and it went to President Obama to be signed into law. This bipartisan compromise is a victory for today's students and families in South Florida. Congress should continue to work together to ensure a college education is affordable for everyone because it's one of the most important pathways to economic prosperity.
Looking ahead: I believe interest will continue to build as negotiations move forward between Israel and the Palestinians. Against the backdrop of the peace talks and instability in the Middle East, freshmen Members of Congress will be traveling to Israel in August to focus on the strategic US-Israel relationship. America's national security interests are directly tied to developments in the Middle East and to Israel’s security.
Last week: Kudos to President Obama for pivoting back to growing the economy and reinvigorating the middle class by investing in education, infrastructure and affordable health care.
Looking ahead: With the summer work period approaching, Congress has one more week before the break to make progress on some big issues: immigration reform, student loan interest rates, the farm bill, budget and government funding to avoid a shutdown Sept. 30. I look forward to working together in a bipartisan manner.
Last week: Democrats launched an economic agenda focusing on policies that address real economic needs facing women and families: ensuring equal pay for equal work, promoting work and family balance and providing access to quality, affordable child care. When women succeed, America succeeds!
Next week: Next week Congress may finally take action to address the student loan rate hike that doubled on July 1, adding to the ever increasing financial burden of obtaining a college education. Higher education is an important pathway to economic prosperity.
Last week: Following a fierce partisan battle, Republicans in the House passed a farm bill after shamefully stripping food nutrition programs for the elderly, poor and disabled over strong objections by Democrats. Sadly, this ended decades of bi-partisan cooperation on food supply and hunger issues.
Looking ahead: Immigration reform. With 11 million aspiring Americans living in the shadows, it still remains unknown whether the House will follow the Senate and establish a new immigration process that creates a roadmap to citizenship. I will be holding a local call to action event this week before I return to Washington urging the House to bring up the bipartisan immigration bill the Senate passed.
Last week: The military coup in Egypt. Millions took to the streets of Cairo in protest of President Morsi and then celebrated his ouster. With the overthrow of President Morsi and the suspension of the Egyptian Constitution, there are many questions yet to be answered. What does this mean for democracy in Egypt? How will this impact Israel and stability in the Middle East?
Looking ahead: Will Congress reach a deal to keep student loan rates low? Subsidized federal student loan rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, however Congress has a chance to work in a bipartisan way to retroactively freeze loan rates and keep college more affordable for students and families.
On or before June 30
Looking ahead: 4th of July. After a week of advancing LGBT equality and immigration reform, we joyfully celebrate America's birthday!
Last week: The Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. It's a giant step forward toward any person being allowed to live in a committed relationship with the person they love regardless of gender. It's a triumph of law and humanity.
Looking ahead: The story of the next week will be the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
Last week’s headline: To me a big story this week was the transition in Afghanistan from U.S. and coalition forces to the Afghan security forces. This represents a milestone in the President's promise to withdraw American troops by the end of 2014.
June 16, 2013
Last Week: The big story out of DC was data collection by the NSA. It begins a needed discussion about the balance between personal privacy and public security.
Looking Ahead: The story the media will talk about will most likely be immigration reform. What we should be talking about is how Congress could act to get people back to work with smart investments in education, clean energy,research, and infrastructure.Copyright © 2015, CT Now