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Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Rubio: Critics distorting facts on Senate health care bill

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio this morning defended the Senate GOP health care proposal -- though still not saying definitively he's in support -- and accused critics of distorting facts about the number of people who could lose coverage.

    ...

  2. Rubio, Scott talk health care as vote put off for now

    Blog

    By Alex Daughtery of the Miami Herald

    WASHINGTON - Minutes after he delayed a vote on a bill to repeal Obamacare when a number of Republican senators said they could not support it as written, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell retreated to his office.

    Rick Scott and Marco Rubio were waiting for him.

    The pair met with McConnell for half an hour, and after the meeting Rubio said the vote delay was “helpful to us.”...

  3. Bill Nelson knocks Rick Scott over Senate health bill

    Blog

    Sen. Bill Nelson attacked Gov. Rick Scott, his likely 2018 rival, over today's trip to Washington.

    "Rick Scott is supporting and urging Republican senators to vote for a bill that makes huge cuts to Medicaid, takes coverage away from 22 million people and allows insurance companies to hike rates for older Americans," Nelson said in a statement. "If he really cared about the people of Florida, he’d be doing the exact opposite of what he’s doing now.”...

  4. Gov. Scott in Washington as health care debate intensifies

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday began a daylong series of meetings in Washington on health care, saying he wants to ensure Florida gets its share of Medicaid funding while praising parts of the Senate GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

    “I like the fact that they are getting rid of the mandates (to carry insurance) and they are getting rid of the taxes,” Scott said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at Creative Sign Designs in Tampa on June 13.
  5. Rubio remains noncommital on Obamacare replacement but a likely yes vote

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio has been bombarded with phone calls, emails and on Monday, protests took place outside his offices in Doral and Palm Beach Gardens. But while the effort is most unlikely to dissuade the Florida Republican from voting for the Obamacare replacement -- if it even comes up for a vote this week -- he remains noncommittal.

    Rubio's office worked Monday to show him engaged on improvements to the bill, distributing a picture of a meeting with staff for legislative leaders in Tallahassee, whom Rubio invited to Washington. (It's not clear what those meetings have produced.)...

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at an event in Miami, Friday, June 16, 2017, where President Donald Trump announced a revised Cuba policy aimed at stopping the flow of U.S. cash to the country's military and security services while maintaining diplomatic relations.
  6. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'

    Blog

    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

    Jolly lost his seat in November to Democrat Charlie Crist and was suddenly unemployed with a pre-existing condition. "If I had to rely on it, I knew it was there," Jolly said of Obamacare on MSNBC. "And that's why the politics of Obamacare in 2017 are different than 2013. I lost my doctor and I lost my plan in 2013 and I was angry about Obamacare ..."...

    Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly.
  7. Florida congressmen: Ruth Bader Ginsburg should recuse herself for Trump 'bias'

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Seven Florida Republican House members are calling for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to recuse herself from the upcoming deliberation on the travel ban, asserting she has shown "bias" towards President Donald Trump.

    “Your public criticism of Donald Trump during the campaign included statements such as ‘I can’t imagine what this place would be - I can’t imagine what the country would be - with Donald Trump as our president’ You referred to Donald Trump as ‘a faker.’ When asked about the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency, you responded, ‘I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.’ ”...

  8. Shark Tank blogger interested in congressional run

    Blog

    A Democratic district doesn’t seem like ideal territory for a conservative blogger but Javier Manjarres of the Shark Tank says he’s “exploring” a challenge to Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton.

    “It was clear that after the historic 2016 elections, Americans rejected the agenda and policies of the outgoing Obama Administration that they believe were threatening the American way of life,” Manjarres said Sunday on his website....

  9. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blog

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.

    Bush has joined forces with businessman Tagg Romney in a group trying to buy the Marlins, two people familiar with the negotiations said Friday. The people confirmed Bush’s new role to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the parties involved in the sales talks aren’t commenting publicly....

  10. Trump signs 'VA accountability' bill, as Gus Bilirakis watches

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Rep. Gus Bilirakis was among a group of lawmakers on hand to see President Trump sign a "VA accountability bill that will make it easier to dismiss problem employees.

    The White House said a Florida veteran, Rick Disney, also attended.

    The legislation was sponsored in the Senate by Marco Rubio, and was supported by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson....

    Rep. Gus Bilirakis, at President Trump's left, watches the bill signing.
  11. Marco Rubio says he's studying Florida impacts of health care bill

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio is declining to take a position for now on the health care bill, saying he'll take time to study the effect on Florida.

    From his office: “Senator Rubio will decide how to vote on health care on the basis of how it impacts Florida. He has already spoken to Governor Scott, Senate President Negron and Speaker Corcoran about the first draft of this proposal. He has instructed his staff to share with state leaders the first draft and has asked them to run numbers and provide input on how this initial proposal would impact Florida’s Medicaid program and individual insurance marketplace. He has invited them to send staff to Washington next week to help us formulate changes and amendments to this proposal. He will continue to reach out for input and suggested changes from Florida providers, insurers and patient advocate groups.”...

  12. Bill Nelson on GOP health care bill: 'Now we know why they tried to keep this secret'

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Bill Nelson lashed out at the GOP health care plan released Thursday, deeming it "just as bad as the House bill."

    "Now we know why they tried to keep this secret," Nelson said. "This bill is just as bad as the House bill, taking coverage away from millions of people and making huge cuts to Medicaid. If that weren’t enough, it also allows insurance companies to hike rates for older Americans. Fixing our nation’s health care system shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We should be working together, not plotting behind closed doors to make it worse.”...

    Reporters on Thursday wait for Republican senators to leave a briefing on the health care bill
  13. Charlie Crist calls for national day of civility

    Blog

    WASHINGTON – A week after a gunman opened fire on a group of Republicans, Rep. Charlie Crist this morning called for the establishment of a national day of civility, saying “the need for action could not be more urgent.”

    “As public officials I believe we have a responsibility to try to lead by example,” Crist said, joined at a news conference by two other freshmen representatives. ...

    Rep. Charlie Crist shows off the wristband, joined by Reps. Nanette Barragan and Mike Johnson
  14. Rubio suggests health care bill may need to slow down

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - While Senate Republican leaders push for a vote next week on a yet-to-be-seen health care bill, Sen. Marco Rubio today suggested that won’t happen.

    “Perhaps what they produce is something that everyone is agreement in, so you can move to a vote fairly quickly. But my sense of it is there will still be some differences that need to be worked out,” the Florida Republican said on Fox & Friends....

    Sen. Marco Rubio on Fox & Friends
  15. Rep. Alcee Hastings blasts 'dog meat festival'

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Rep. Alcee Hastings is on a crusade to end a dog meat festival in China.

    Though past efforts to pass a resolution condemning the practice failed under Republican leadership, the Broward County Democrat is trying again, this time with Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.

    "Our sincere hope is that Congress will expeditiously pass this measure, sending a strong signal to all nations that we will not stand by while the brutal and inhumane treatment and consumption of dog and cat meat continues.”...

    Dogs for sale at the festival in 2016