I asked U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (FL-19), a fellow member of the House Oceans Caucus and Everglades Caucus, to join me in saying that the Speaker and the House of Representatives acted decisively to protect Florida; and now we need the Senate and the Trump administration to do their part.
We heard from Emma Haydocy, the current Director of Florida Bay Forever, a Keys-based grassroots nonprofit dedicated to protecting, preserving and improving Florida Bay, and Captain Daniel Andrews, Executive Director of Captains for Clean Water, a grassroots nonprofit that advocates for the restoration of natural flow of Lake Okeechobee water south into the Everglades and Florida Bay.
I also released the results of a new survey of my constituents that gauged their feelings on offshore drilling. I found that of over a thousand respondents, more than 82% opposed drilling off Florida’s coast; 86% said the U.S. should prioritize developing alternative energy sources; and 80% said we should prioritize renewables over fossil fuels.
And, in celebration of World Ocean Month, I published an op-ed detailing the importance of protecting our oceans and using the ocean to combat climate change.
After hearing reports about President Trump’s willingness to meet with Venezuelan Dictator Maduro, I pushed back forcefully against what I see as a betrayal of the Venezuelan people. Taking a meeting with Nicolás Maduro, who was just indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for narco-terrorism, exemplifies his incoherent and inconsistent foreign policy toward Maduro’s narco-regime and endangers the prospects of a free Venezuela. The President’s complete disregard for freedom and his abandonment of Venezuelans who yearn for democracy is appalling.
I am a strong supporter of the Economic Impact Payments (EIPs), or stimulus checks because I know that they have been a lifeline for individuals and families during this public health crisis. I believe that Congress should provide another round of stimulus checks for people. I have also received many calls from constituents who had issues getting their stimulus checks. With these concerns in mind, I conducted a survey to measure overall public opinion and received over 1,000 responses.
Of those surveyed, 94% were in favor of another stimulus check. The money was by-and-large used for crucial necessities. It’s clear that one payment is not enough to help individuals and families get through this ongoing heath and economic crisis.
Here are the key findings from the survey:
- 81% support another stimulus payment for Americans in future legislation.
- 80% of recipients said the stimulus money is very important to their current financial situation.
- 33% of those who are eligible say have not yet received their stimulus check.
- 40% of recipients feel somewhat negative or very negative about how the IRS handled the processing of stimulus checks.
- How long the stimulus check supported eligible recipients:
- 14% - Over one month
- 27% - One month
- 22% - 2 to 3 weeks
- 7% - 1 week
- 5% - A few days
- 25% - Other/ineligible
- What stimulus money was used for by eligible recipients:
- 56% - Monthly bills such as rent/mortgage/utilities
- 20% - Day to day essentials like food, medicine, or supplies
- 3% - Savings
- 5% - Debt
- 1% - Discretionary/non-essential spending (travel, recreation, etc.)
- 1% - Investing
- 11% - Other
It’s been one month since George Floyd called out, “I can’t breathe.” And the calls for action led to my colleagues and I in the House passing groundbreaking police reform legislation in his name.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would stop no-knock warrants, end the qualified immunity doctrine that keeps police officers from being held accountable, combat racial profiling, mandate data collection on body and dashboard cameras, establish new standards for policing, and ban the choking maneuver used by a Miami Gardens police officer, who was charged with battery and official misconduct this week.
Ahead of the vote, I conducted a week-long survey to gauge constituents’ sentiments on policing practices and race in the United States. Over 1,000 constituents responded. The survey found that South Floridians believe racial bias exists in police departments, both nationally and locally, and that there should be greater accountability for police officers. Specifically, 72% of respondents believe that systemic racism exists in our police departments nationally, while 54% of respondents believe that systemic racism exists in our police departments locally. Of those surveyed, 89% agree with calls for greater accountability for police officers accused of misconduct. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act addresses these concerns, and I am proud to support it.
See the survey results HERE.
View my breakdown of the survey results HERE.
After hearing reports that Homestead Hospital was at capacity due to surging COVID-19 cases, I immediately contacted Homestead Baptist Hospital, Homestead Mayor Steven Losner, and Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace to offer assistance and gather information. It is extremely concerning that Homestead Baptist Hospital’s ICU is at capacity. This should serve as a warning sign to healthcare providers.
Watch news story on the Congresswoman’s actions HERE.
While hospital systems like Baptist Health are managing patients, I wrote a letter to Governor DeSantis, Surgeon General Rivkees, and Secretary Mayhew, requesting that they work quickly to use the $492 million in federal funding sent to Florida for testing and tracing to immediately (1) surge testing in the area, (2) begin contract tracing, and (3) comfortably quarantine and isolate those with COVID-19. The current transmission rate of COVID-19 is over 1, indicating an increase in community spread, while the confirmed positivity rate is as high as 12% - 16%, showing that these new cases are not just a result of more testing.
As a member of the bipartisan Congressional Coronavirus Task Force, I requested a meeting with representatives from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other relevant government agencies so that they can issue guidance to hospital systems facing similarly troubling surges in COVID-19 cases.
Read the letter HERE.
This week, I sent a letter to Jacob Walden, Managing Partner of Emerald Health Care Center, expressing serious concerns with the Crystal Health & Rehab Center and demanding a plan for how the company intends to improve facility practices and conditions after reports of mismanagement. At least 18 residents and 8 staff members at the facility have tested positive for COVID-19 in the month of May, and a recent report from the Agency for Health Care Administration found 13 unreported deaths from the facility.
Read the letter HERE.
These actions are follow-ups to a May 21st meeting with the family members of the residents of this long-troubled facility who expressed their frustration with the facility’s lack of communication. Their concerns included the misuse and shortage of masks, testing being damaged or contaminated resulting in the need to re-test, not being updated on the status of their loved ones in the facility, and having to rely on local media to hear about test results instead of hearing directly from the nursing home.
This week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on oversight of the Department of Justice. I used my time to express the importance of election security to South Florida, and to point out that Attorney General Barr has dropped cases against the Russians who hacked us. We need the Attorney General to do more to prevent the hacking of our elections and protect our democracy.
As the first member of Congress born and raised in South America, I’ve seen firsthand the danger posed by officials who place themselves above the rule of law. We cannot let this happen in the United States. Attorney General Barr is taking the Department of Justice down that path and must be stopped.
Watch my speech in the House Judiciary Committee Hearing HERE.
I also joined over 100 House Democrats and Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) in calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote on H.R.6, the Dream & Promise Act, legislation to give Dreamers a path to citizenship that passed the House of Representatives more than a year ago. Last week, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision rejected the Trump administration’s repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), protecting the status of nearly 800,000 Dreamers who have grown roots in our community and who are part of the fight on the frontlines of this pandemic.
While almost 10,000 DACA recipients in South Florida celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision, they still fear that the president’s anti-immigrant attacks are not over yet. The Senate must pass the Dream and Promise Act to give Dreamers a path to citizenship and end the president’s assaults on their livelihoods.
Read the letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell HERE.
After hearing reports about President Trump’s willingness to meet with Venezuelan Dictator Maduro, the President’s complete disregard for freedom and his abandonment of Venezuelans who yearn for democracy is appalling. Taking a meeting with Nicolás Maduro, who was just indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for narco-terrorism, exemplifies his incoherent and inconsistent foreign policy toward Maduro’s narco-regime and endangers the prospects of a free Venezuela.
Days after the four-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy I was honored to have co-led and passed legislation to designate Pulse Nightclub a national memorial. The memorial will honor those who died that night. It will reflect on the pain that their families are still suffering and serve as a reminder that we have to stop this violence and disarm hate.
Watch my floor-speech in support of this legislation HERE.
Read Some Of The Mucarsel-Powell Headlines From This Week!
A U.S. congresswoman wants answers from the owners of a Florida Keys nursing home that has become a cluster for the novel coronavirus about their plans to contain the deadly disease that has infected more than 20 residents and staff members.
Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, whose district includes the Keys, also wants to know how the owners are improving Crystal Health and Rehab Center on Plantation Key after a recent report by a state agency revealed unsanitary conditions and inadequate care…In a letter sent Tuesday to one of the center’s owners, Mucarsel-Powell called reports she has received from residents’ family members “unconscionable. The recipient of the letter, Jacob Walden, one of the owners of Emerald Healthcare, which owns Crystal Health, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday. Mucarsel-Powell in May said she met with “exasperated” relatives of residents and then went to the nursing home to speak with its director. “They reported the misuse and shortage of masks, testing being damaged or contaminated resulting in the need to re-test, not being updated on the status of their loved ones in the facility, and having to rely on local media to hear about test results instead of hearing directly from the nursing home,” wrote Mucarsel-Powell. “Other constituents have also reported to me that the staffing levels at the facility are not meeting state minimum standards, with at times one or two staff members responsible for tending to all residents,” she wrote.
President Trump tweeted Monday that he would only meet with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro "to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power."
Why it matters: The president's comments represent a backtrack from his interview with Axios' Jonathan Swan last week, where he set no such precondition for a Maduro meeting and suggested he's had second thoughts about his decision to recognize
The big picture: Trump's comments during his interview with Axios drew ire from top lawmakers and other officials in South Florida, per CBS Miami.
"The president’s words and actions are putting in danger the future of Venezuela, and the pattern is clear: Trump stands with dictators and authoritarians and desires to be one," said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.), the first member of Congress born in South America.
South Florida lawmakers are criticizing President Trump who recently said he would consider a meeting with Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro…Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the first member of Congress born in South America, said Trump’s willingness to meet with Maduro exemplifies his incoherent and inconsistent foreign policy. “Taking a meeting with Nicolás Maduro, who was just indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for narco-terrorism, clearly shows his complete disregard for freedom and democracy and undermines the gains made by the legitimate President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, to restore democracy. The president’s words and actions are putting in danger the future of Venezuela, and the pattern is clear: Trump stands with dictators and authoritarians and desires to be one,” said Mucarsel-Powell in a statement.
Los comentarios erráticos del presidente Donald Trump a funcionarios de la Casa Blanca y a los medios de comunicación sobre la política hacia Venezuela abrieron la puerta para que el partido Demócrata empiece a socavar la confianza en su política hacia Venezuela, especialmente entre la gran comunidad de origen cubano y venezolano del sur de la Florida…La congresista demócrata Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, tuiteó: "El patrón es claro: Trump apoya a dictadores y autoritarios y desea ser uno"…
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: Trump is following through on his word to slow down testing, as COVID-19 cases surge. This makes NO sense. Congress passed aid for testing to keep our communities safe, and it is unacceptable for the president to stand in the way of those funds accomplishing that goal. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: Today, as COVID-19 cases spike across the country, the White House is at the Supreme Court asking to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Attacking the health care of 2.2M Floridians. ...during a pandemic. I am fighting this relentlessly. Our community depends on the ACA. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: The news that Trump is willing to abandon Venezuelans yearning for democracy exemplifies his incoherent and inconsistent foreign policy toward Maduro’s narco-regime. The pattern is clear: Trump stands with dictators and authoritarians and desires to be one. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: La noticia de que Trump está dispuesto a abandonar a los venezolanos que anhelan la democracia, muestra la incoherencia e inconsistencia en su política exterior hacia el narco-régimen de Maduro. El patrón es claro: Trump apoya a dictadores y quiere ser como ellos. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: Health experts say without a vaccine, the only way to safely reopen is to do millions of tests each day. We're nowhere close, but because numbers are making him look bad, @realDonaldTrump is slowing down testing. This is unacceptable. He is endangering lives to spare his ego. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: Datos preocupantes sobre el COVID-19 en FL: mas de 100K casos, 12% positivos. Seguimos en medio de esta crisis. Por favor, tomen precauciones. @GovRonDeSantis necesitamos un plan. Le envié una carta sobre este tema el 6/5 y aún esperamos su respuesta. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: A bleak milestone for COVID-19 in FL: we just passed 100K cases and positivity rate is at 12%. This is a siren that we're still in the thick of this crisis. Please continue to take precautions. @GovRonDeSantis FL needs a plan. See the letter I sent on 6/5 & respond swiftly. LINK
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP: There are almost 10,000 DACA recipients in #FL26 who contribute almost $2B in Florida's economy. Dreamers are Americans. Last week's Supreme Court decision was just the beginning. The Senate needs to enact this ruling into law by passing #HR6. LINK