Fighting for Florida

In 2014, I was honored to meet with several North Korean defectors during an official visit to South Korea. They spoke movingly about the brutality they experienced at the hands of the regime in Pyongyang. For me, that experience was a powerful reminder that every day millions around the world are denied their most basic human rights and robbed of their God-given freedoms.

On this occasion of the Korean New Year, I join with millions of Americans in celebrating this occasion, while also hoping and praying for the day when the people of North Korea are able to live, work and raise their children free from oppression and fear.  The current conditions endured by millions of North Koreans are reprehensible and unacceptable. It is difficult to comprehend that in the 21st century, modern day gulags still exist. No government has a right to violate its citizens’ basic human rights and deny their fundamental freedoms.  

I will continue to be a voice for the repressed North Korean people, raise awareness of the suffering that occurs there and work to end the cycle of inhumanity.  The United States and our partners must tighten restrictions on the regime and stop its ability to continue its brutality.

Until the people of North Korea are able to enjoy basic human rights, I will continue to stand in solidarity with this great cause of achieving the freedom and opportunity every human being deserves.

This message was transmitted to the North Korean people via Free North Korea Radio.

The issue of life is more than political or policy-related, it is a definitional issue about the kind of country we want to be.
America has always been a nation willing to accept those displaced by war or religious and political persecution, but gross and widespread incompetence from the Obama Administration, coupled with Islamic extremists and terrorists preying on and taking advantage of that spirit of compassion, has made this increasingly difficult. As the refugee crisis in the Middle East grew, I warned President Obama of the national security implications of his disastrous policies. In recent months, as attacks occurred in Paris and San Bernardino, our intelligence community and law enforcement officials have stated that we could not ensure that those affiliated with a terrorist organization do not use this crisis to their advantage and try to gain entry to the United States. Yesterday, I voted to force this administration to take refugee screening seriously and prevent our refugee programs from being exploited by ISIS or other terrorist groups. Senate Democrats are clearly more interested in the politics of this issue than its national security implications, and that's why they blocked this bill from being considered.
 
Even if just one person is a terrorist among the millions of refugees fleeing violence and persecution in the Middle East, allowing that one person in is a national security risk we cannot accept. We need to strengthen the screening process for refugees from Iraq and Syria by ensuring that intelligence, national security and law enforcement officials are all in agreement and working together to check the background of each refugee that comes to our shores.

Today, Americans of all backgrounds pause to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., a true American hero. Dr. King was a man whose passionate words and courageous actions forever transformed our society, a man who refused to let his dreams falter, despite the vast odds against him. Dr. King envisioned an America that lived up to its founding promise. He dreamed of a free America bound by equality of opportunity for people of all races, a stronger America driven by values of progress and peace.

America continues to build on the foundation Dr. King laid 52 years ago in his 'I Have a Dream' speech. While our nation has made great strides, Dr. King’s work remains unfinished. In the 21st century, we must follow the example set forth by Dr. King and expand the American Dream to ensure every American has access to equal opportunity.

On the Eve of his death, Dr. King stated, “We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” It is now in our hands to stand united and continue to make our nation a better place for future generations.

Auditing the Fed

Jan 14 2016

This week, I voted to debate a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, a measure that which I have co-sponsored and that would provide long-overdue transparency to the Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, this legislation was filibustered by most Senate Democrats and failed. 
 
I voted yesbecause I believe the Federal Reserve must be held accountable for its decisions and must be transparent in its monetary policies. Our economy is unable to reach its maximum potential in part because of poor monetary policy that is written at the whim of a few and at the expense of most. 
 
A robust audit of the Federal Reserve is the first step in modernizing the Federal Reserve and bring about stronger monetary policy, but it is no substitute for a comprehensive pro-growth agenda rolls back the damage President Obama has done and facilitates increased economic growth, stronger personal savings, and greater prosperity for more Americans than ever before.
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As we look ahead to what promises to be an exciting and eventful 2016, my wife, Jeanette, and I would like to pause for a moment to reflect and give thanks for the year we are leaving behind.

Happy Hanukkah

Dec 06 2015

I hope the burning candles of this Festival of Lights will serve as a symbol of hope to all those around the world without the freedom to worship freely and openly.
As someone with several first responders in my family, I value the work they do across the country each day. Our nation especially owes a debt of gratitude to the heroes and volunteers who served our fellow citizens during and after the September 11th attacks.
 
Programs designed to meet the unique health needs of those Americans should be renewed, and those who rely on them should not face uncertainty and continued anxiety over their future. To help achieve these goals, today I co-sponsored S. 928, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.
 
I continue to believe that we should prioritize our 9/11 first responders' needs above other things that the federal government is spending money on – and in many cases, wasting money on. While I am co-sponsoring this bill, Congress should nonetheless find appropriate ways to pay for this reauthorization and ensure a sustainable long-term solution.
 
Congress must keep faith with the heroes and victims of 9/11, while also making sure our federal government is living within its means and protecting taxpayers. As we continue working on this issue, I hope we can improve this legislation or reach an agreement that meets both these goals.
Today marks the 6th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s murder at the hands of Russian officials. Sergei was detained and tortured for over a year after exposing Russian government corruption. The anniversary of his brutal murder reminds us that governments will go to great lengths to hide their corrupt practices, even take an innocent man’s life. Unfortunately, the Russian officials who are responsible for Sergei’s murder remain at-large. The U.S. should intensify efforts to implement the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 to bring to justice the individuals responsible for Sergei’s death as well as other Russian human rights violators, such as those involved in the brutal assassination earlier this year of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov.
 
In honor of Sergei’s memory, the Senate should pass the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act which would impose financial and visa sanctions on individuals responsible to human rights abuses and corrupt government officials around the world. The United States should not allow these criminals access to our country or financial institutions.
 
My thoughts and prayers are with Sergei’s family and friends today as they remember a man who died for trying to expose the corrupt practices of the Russian government.  The United States stands by the Russian people on this sad day and will continue to support their efforts to ensure their leaders respect the rule of law.