US Senate passes major gun reform bill; Fla. Sens. Scott, Rubio oppose; passage likely in House

The final vote on Senate 2938 last night. (Image: US Senate)

June 24, 2022 by David Silverberg

By a vote of 65 to 33, he United States Senate last night passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to make American communities safer (Senate 2938) by regulating gun sales and possession.

Both of Florida’s Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, voted against the bill.

The bill now returns to the House of Representatives for final approval, which may occur as early as today.

In a bizarre bit of legislative maneuvering, the major provisions were tagged onto a bill that Rubio introduced in May renaming a US courthouse in Tallahassee after Joseph Woodrow Hatchett, a former US Appeals Court judge.

The bill expands criminal background checks for gun buyers, bars a larger group of domestic-violence offenders from being able to purchase firearms, and funds “red flag” programs that would allow authorities to seize guns from troubled individuals.

“Many are comparing the bill being considered in the Senate to what we did in FL. However, they aren’t the same at all,” stated Scott in a tweet explaining his vote.

In 2018, as governor, Scott signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act, which went further than the Senate bill in restricting gun sales and establishing “red flag” provisions to allow seizure of guns from people considered a danger to themselves and others. Nonetheless, stated Scott, “The Senate bill is unacceptably weak on protecting due process & automatically restores gun rights to convicted domestic abusers. That’s why I can’t support it.”

As of this writing, Rubio had not issued a statement on any online platform explaining his vote.

Immediately after the 9:42 pm vote in the Senate, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.) issued a statement: “On behalf of the House, we applaud the Senate for passing its gun violence prevention package on a strong bipartisan vote.

“Every day, gun violence steals lives and scars communities — and this crisis demands urgent action.  While we must do more, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a step forward that will help protect our children and save lives,” she stated.

“First thing tomorrow morning, the Rules Committee will meet to advance this life-saving legislation to the Floor.  When the Rules Committee finishes its business, we will head immediately to the Floor.  And we will send the bill to President Biden for his signature, with gratitude for his leadership.”

All of Southwest Florida’s members of Congress voted against the bill when it was first considered in the House.

Some indication of their likely votes came yesterday, June 23, after a Supreme Court decision striking down a New York restriction on concealed weapons. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) tweeted: “Today’s SCOTUS ruling is a massive win for our Republic and the Constitution that guides it. As Justice Thomas stated, the Second Amendment is NOT a second-class right, and this 6-3 ruling sets that in stone. DON’T TREAD ON ME & MY RIGHT TO KEEP & BEAR ARMS.”

Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) similarly praised the Supreme Court decision.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) did not issue any statement.

Liberty lives in light

© 2022 by David Silverberg

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US Senate passes American Rescue Plan; amended bill expected to pass House next week

Rubio, Scott vote against bill with rest of Republicans; Donalds praises defunding Planned Parenthood

The US Capitol.

March 6, 2021 by David Silverberg

Today, shortly after noon, the United States Senate approved the American Rescue Plan (House Resolution 1319) by a party-line vote of 50 to 49.

Both of Florida’s Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, voted against the bill along with the rest of the Republican caucus. One senator, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), did not vote.

The Senate worked through the night to consider and vote on numerous amendments following a demand by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that the 628-page bill be read aloud in its entirety, an effort that added 12 hours to deliberations.

The amended bill now returns to the House of Representatives to be voted upon with the Senate amendments. The House is scheduled to reconvene at noon on Monday, March 8 and a vote may take place on Tuesday.

All of Southwest Florida’s members of Congress, Reps. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) and Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.), voted against the bill when it was first considered in the House last Saturday, Feb. 27. Their positions are not expected to change when it returns to the House. Donalds has strenuously spoken out against the bill on the House floor and in subsequent statements.

Immediately after the Senate vote today Donalds tweeted: “I am happy to see that PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] money will no longer be going to institutions like Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood. Taxpayer dollars should never fund abortion on American soil or abroad.” He also expressed thanks to Democratic senators who rejected a minimum wage increase: “Thank you to the Senate Democrats who sided with Senate Republicans on rejecting the $15 minimum wage increase. Bernie, Pelosi, and Schumer want to run America like California, New York, and Vermont; let me remind them that there are 47 other states in our union.”

Among its many provisions, the $1.9 trillion spending bill provides for $1,400 in economic stimulus to American families, $300 in weekly unemployment benefits to workers affected by the pandemic until Sept. 6, funding for COVID vaccine distribution, and aid to state and local governments affected by the pandemic.

In her own statement following Senate passage House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Calif.), stated: “Today is a day of great progress and promise for the American people, as the Democratic Senate has passed President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to save lives and livelihoods.”

She concluded: “The American Rescue Plan is a beacon of hope for America’s families and a sign that, as President Biden has promised: Help Is On The Way.”

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg

BREAKING NEWS: Scott, Rubio join Senate majority to override Trump defense bill veto

The US Capitol. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Jan. 1, 2021 by David Silverberg

In a major blow to President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted this afternoon to override his veto of the Department of Defense appropriations bill by a vote of 81 to 13.

Both of Florida’s Republican senators, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, voted with the majority to override. As of this writing, neither had issued a statement explaining his vote.

Their votes were remarkable given both senators’ past vocal support for the President.

The override was also an indication of Trump’s rapidly eroding clout. He had called for an end to Section 230, a non-defense provision protecting Internet companies from liability for postings on their sites and objected to changing the names of military bases from those honoring Confederate generals. When the bill did not include those measures he vetoed it.

The National Defense Authorization Act (House Resolution 6395) provides $750 billion for US military operations and national defense including a pay raise for servicemembers. It will now go into effect.

The 13 members opposing the override included Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who had insisted that there not be a vote on the defense bill unless there was also one on providing Americans financially hurt by the pandemic with $2,000. House Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, opposed submitting that to a vote and finally proceeded with the override vote separately.

This was the first override of a Trump veto in his presidency.

Liberty lives in light

©2021 by David Silverberg

For the record: SWFL Democrats, Republicans, react to Ruth Bader Ginsburg passing

The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo: SCOTUS)

Sept. 19, 2020 by David Silverberg

In a rare show of common sentiment, Southwest Florida Democrats and Republicans expressed respect and admiration for Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her passing on Friday, Sept. 18.

Immediate reactions to the news of Ginsburg’s death, which was released around 7:00 pm, went out on social media.

“Complete shock and sadness to learn of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sending my condolences to her family. We are so fortunate to have had her leadership. Thank you RBG. Now it’s our turn to pick up the fight,” tweeted Cindy Banyai, Democratic congressional candidate in the 19th Congressional District.

“Tonight, as we mourn the passing of one of the most effective Supreme Court Justices in history, we remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s work as critically important in the way that many Americans are able to live their lives in freedom,” stated Annisa Karim, Collier County Democratic Party chair on Facebook. “Not only did she blaze a path for equality for women, she was a staunch defender of everyone’s civil liberties. She used her immense talent to do her work to the best of her ability. The freedoms we have won through her hard work and determination can just as easily be reversed with the appointment of Supreme Court Justices bent on returning the Country to a place of liberty and justice for the privileged few. Her legacy is in our hands now and we must work to protect it because when we succeed in that, we succeed in procuring liberty and justice for all.”

State Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee), Banyai’s Republican opponent in the 19th Congressional District tweeted: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer and a tenacious fighter for what she believed in. May she rest in peace, and may God comfort her children and grandchildren at this time.”

Among Republican members of Congress, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) tweeted: “It is a sad day for our nation. Kathleen & I offer our deepest sympathies on the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The passing of Justice Ginsberg is a great loss for our highest court, and for America. She was a champion of women’s rights and had a love of our country that was unchallenged. Her passion and opinions will remain with us throughout history. May she rest in peace.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) tweeted: “Saddened to hear of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. She was the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court. Her legacy and public service to our nation will not be forgotten. My condolences to her family and colleagues. May she Rest In Peace.”

The tweet of Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) took a Biblical turn: “May the Lord be with the family of Justice Ginsburg during this difficult time. Despite our different perspectives, she had an immense impact on generations of women lawyers across our country. Rev. 21:4.” The reference is to Revelations Chapter 21, verse 4 in the New Testament: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Florida’s two Republican senators, who will vote on confirming Ginsburg’s replacement, both praised her service on the court.

“Even those who disagreed with many of her decisions recognize Justice Ginsburg was a woman of extraordinary intellect & an American who had a historic impact on the court & the nation. May she Rest In Peace,” tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Ann and I send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during this time,” tweeted Sen. Rick Scott. “She was a trailblazer with a distinguished record of service to her country.”

Scott has since called for a vote on Ginsburg’s replacement before Election Day, Nov. 3.

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg

Karim blasts back at Rubio impeachment remarks

February 1, 2020

12-19-19 Annisa Karim
Annisa Karim

In a statement issued today, Collier County Democratic Party Chair Annisa Karim responded to Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s statement that an impeachable offense does not necessarily warrant removal from office. The statement follows in full:

Hello Democrats!

What we are seeing in Washington is absolutely crazy. We have Senators and Congressmen putting Party over Country and it has to stop.

Here’s what Marco Rubio said yesterday: “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office.”

Here’s how I responded: “Actually, Senator, that’s exactly what it means. Your position as a public servant and the Constitution compel you to act in the best interest of your Country. How incredibly unpatriotic of you to acknowledge that the President’s actions rose to the level of impeachment and you are simply going to ignore your constitutional duty. That is a dereliction of duty; you should be ashamed.”

Liberty lives in light

(c) 2020 by David Silverberg