Dec 22 2017
Washington, D.C. – The Office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio today released the following summary of his 2017 accomplishments serving the people of Florida, including eight bills signed into law by President Trump in the past year alone:
Tax Relief for Working Class Families
Since 2014, Rubio has pushed for an enhanced child tax credit to help working, middle-class American families. Standing up to his own party’s leadership during tax reform, Rubio won provisions in the tax bill that doubled the per-child tax credit to $2,000 and increased the amount working class families can receive to $1,400, indexed to inflation until the full credit applies.
Shaping U.S. Policy Toward Cuba
Rubio worked closely with President Trump and his Administration to develop a new U.S. policy toward Cuba that rolls back the Obama Administration’s one-sided concessions to the Castro regime, and instead works to economically and politically empower private Cuban citizens and entrepreneurs.
Leading the Charge to Impose Sanctions on Corrupt Venezuelan Officials
Rubio has been at the forefront of the fight for human rights and democracy in Venezuela, and has worked closely with the Administration to impose and enforce sanctions against Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorial regime.
Leading the Charge for VA Reform
After years of negligence at VA facilities came to light, Rubio pushed for reform at the department and put our veterans first by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees, and ensuring appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers. In June, Rubio’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was signed into law by President Trump.
Fighting to Improve Treatment for Kids with Cancer
Pediatric cancer is a leading cause of death by disease among children, but children do not have the same number of treatment options as adults. In August, Rubio’s RACE for Children Act was signed into law, which provides children battling cancer with more innovative and promising treatment options.
Promoting Human Rights and Democracy Around the World
From Venezuela to Cuba to Egypt to China, Rubio has led the charge in championing human rights across the globe. He brought Lilian Tintori to the White House, prompting a tweet from the president and putting a spotlight on human rights abuses in Venezuela.
Over the past year, Rubio and his office have assisted in over 7,500 federal constituent cases to help Floridians in their communities.
Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts
After failures at a Florida nursing home led to the deaths of patients, Rubio secured investigations into nursing home providers and coordinated with CMS and Lincare in order to supply oxygen to over 250,000 Floridians. His staff opened Recovery Assistance Centers across the state, assisting over 10,000 Floridians.
Hurricane Maria Relief Efforts
Immediately after the hurricane, Rubio visited Puerto Rico to survey the destruction and receive a briefing on recovery efforts at the emergency operations center in San Juan. He deployed staff to Puerto Rico to assist officials with recovery efforts. Rubio’s office also facilitated the evacuation of a number of critically ill or endangered Puerto Rican citizens and helped to ensure they received vital or life-saving medical care upon their arrival in Florida.
Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries
Following Rubio’s urging, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) prevented implementation of President Obama’s Medicare home health pre-claim review demonstration, which would have harmed Florida’s seniors.
Fighting for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Program
Rubio helped secure almost $300 million for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program and was thanked by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González for his leadership.
Advocating for Tampa General Hospital
After Rubio’s intervention, Tampa General Hospital (TGH) recovered $2 million in federal funding that was inappropriately withheld withheld by Medicare.
Improving Basic Education for Children in Developing Countries
In September, the president signed Rubio’s READ Act into law that provides accountability for existing U.S. programs to improve basic education in developing countries.
Standing With Our Ally Israel
In April 2017, Rubio led all 100 U.S. Senators in a letter urging U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres to counter anti-Israel bias at the United Nations. Rubio previously introduced a bill that would relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He commended the president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Countering Iran-Backed Hizballah Terrorists
Recognizing the threats Hizballah poses to America, Rubio has consistently led the fight against the terrorist organization. The Senate passed Rubio’s anti-Hizballah sanctions bill in October.
Protecting Religious Minorities in Iraq Targeted with Genocide by ISIS
In October, Rubio chaired a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing focused on the plight of Iraq’s minority communities and deficiencies in the current assistance structure. After Rubio’s efforts to highlight these human rights challenges, the Trump Administration began working to ensure Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities in Iraq targeted by ISIS with genocide are able to access U.S. humanitarian assistance and begin to rebuild their lives.
Improving Hurricane Forecasting
Rubio’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Act was signed into law in April, which codifies NOAA’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project and aims to reduce the loss of life, injury, and damage to the economy by reducing errors of tracking and intensity forecasts.
Supporting Florida’s role as a Leader in U.S. Space Program
Rubio pushed for the NASA Transition Authorization Act, which was signed into law in March and supports NASA’s SLS and Orion programs, benefiting thousands of workers across Florida, at Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
Advocating for Florida Fishermen
Following Rubio’s advocacy efforts, NOAA approved the opening of recreational red snapper fishing in federal waters in the South Atlantic this past fall. In the past seven years, recreational anglers have only had access to the fishery for a combined 17 days. Under this opening, commercial fishermen were also granted the opportunity to harvest red snapper in federal waters along Florida’s east coast for the first time since 2014.
2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
In December, the president signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, which includes two Rubio amendments. The first would provide Congress with the information it needs to ensure our national security assets and capabilities are fully repaired in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The second would require the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a report detailing training infrastructure for cyber forces, which would particularly benefit Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station.
Combating Human Trafficking Domestically and Abroad
Human trafficking occurs in almost every corner of the globe, including in Rubio’s own backyard of Florida. In September, Rubio joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in passing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which includes Rubio-Menendez legislation, the Trafficking in Persons Report Integrity Act (TIPRIA). Rubio continues to lead efforts to combat human trafficking both domestically and abroad.Two bills that Rubio co-sponsored, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act and the Combatting Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, await the president’s signature to become law.
Improving Federal Housing
In May, a main component of Rubio’s bill, the HUD Inspection Process and Enforcement Report Act, was signed into law. It reforms federal housing inspections processes and brings needed accountability to ensure slumlords do not take advantage of tenants like at Jacksonville’s Eureka Garden.
Fighting for Florida’s Military
In his first year on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, Rubio secured nearly $300 million for military construction projects in Florida.
Bringing Two New Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Florida
In June 2016, Rubio urged then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to locate the Triton UAS in Florida. This February, the U.S. Navy announced that the East Coast Forward Operating Base of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (Triton UAS) will be Naval Station Mayport in Northeast Florida.
Improving Bankruptcy Court System
In October, the president signed the Bankruptcy Judgeship Act into law, introduced by Rubio earlier this year, which will ensure more manageable caseloads and a more efficient bankruptcy court system, so Floridians can get more timely access to the courts.