Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against a resolution authorizing a military strike in Syria, during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Rubio’s vote put him in the minority and on the side of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), an uncommon ally. But Rubio sought distance from Paul after the vote, saying that he opposed the measure because he is “unconvinced” that a military strike will work. Rubio: “Those who argue that what happens in Syria is none of our business are wrong. … [I]f we follow the advice of those who seek to disengage us from global issues, in the long run we will pay a terrible price.” (Palm Beach Post)
STILL FOCUSED ON OBAMACARE. Rubio sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday, calling on the department to cancel a planned $8.7 million ad buy promoting the Affordable Care Act. Rubio wrote: “Until critical questions can be answered regarding the availability and type of health insurance to be provided by ObamaCare, it is unconscionable to spend taxpayer dollars to promote and advertise ObamaCare plans that have yet to be finalized.” (Talking Points Memo)
NEW MESSAGE ON IMMIGRATION. Rubio is profiled in Sunday’s upcoming Parade magazine, in which he addresses his push for immigration reform. Rubio: “It’s one thing to consider immigration reform as a theoretical policy issue, and another to meet real people whose lives are impacted by it. As a senator, I interact with people who flat-out tell you, ‘Look, my kids were hungry. And I am going to do what it takes to feed them.’ You think, ‘If I had been in that position, would I have done something different?’” (release)
— Sarah Mimms
What We're Following See More »
The Supreme Court announced "that it would consider a challenge to President Trump’s latest effort to limit travel from countries said to pose a threat to the nation’s security." The case concerns Trump's most recent attempt to make good on a campaign promise "tainted by religious animus" and only questionably justified by national security concerns. The decision to take the case, called Trump v. Hawaii, comes almost exactly a year after Trump issued the first travel ban. The ban under consideration affects Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea.
Trump wants to move the two grants, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas grant and the Drug Free Communities Act, to the Justice and Health and Human Services departments, respectively. This would result in a $300 million plus reduction in funding, about 95 percent of the cost of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "'I’m baffled at the idea of cutting the office or reducing it significantly and taking away its programs in the middle of an epidemic,'" said Regina LaBelle, who served as ONDCP chief of staff during the Obama administration. This is the second time the Trump Administration has proposed gutting the agency.
A new report assembled by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has identified more than 500 potential conflicts of interest in President Trump's first year. First, the report notes, Trump spent 122 days at his properties during his first year. He has been accompanied by 70 federal officials and 30 members of Congress. "Second, far from this signaled access to power being an empty promise, those who patronize President Trump’s businesses have, in fact, gained access to the president and his inner circle." Lastly, about 40 special interest groups and 11 foreign governments have held events at Trump properties.