Marco’s First Term Accomplishments

Achieved VA reform to make sure incompetent VA executives would be fired.

Marco played “a vital role” in passing legislation to overhaul the VA. “A bill to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, didn’t pass on its own but became part of a much-larger VA bill that did pass; Rubio played a vital role on a special committee that finalized that legislation.” (McClatchy, 3/16/15)

  • Marco was asked to be part of the conference committee to ensure his VA Management Accountability bill became law.  “U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will now be part of the group working to fix issues with veterans healthcare. … While he is not a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Rubio was asked to be part of the conference committee due to his work in sponsoring the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, which was passed by the House in May. It was also included in the Senate-passed VA reform legislation earlier this month.” (CBS Miami, 6/18/14)
  • Marco’s proposal to allow the VA Secretary to fire incompetent bureaucrats was included in the legislation signed into law.  “The new law would grant the VA secretary additional powers to fire incompetent managers, something Obama noted in his comments. ‘If you engage in an unethical practice, cover up a serious problem, you should be fired,’ Obama said.” (The Hill, 08/07/14)

Passed crippling sanctions on the terrorist group Hezbollah.

In June 2015, Marco introduced legislation to “block the Lebanon-based group’s access to money and logistical support.” “The Florida Republican and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have introduced legislation that aims to block the Lebanon-based group’s access to money and logistical support. ‘[It] ensures that the United States is doing everything in our power to cut off Hizballah’s financial, media and logistical resources wherever they exist,’ he added.” (The Hill, 6/19/15)

  • The Associated Press: “Hezbollah condemns Senate bill to block its financing.” “Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group has condemned a bill approved by the Senate to block its financing, describing it as ‘a new crime by American institutions against our people and nation.’ Hezbollah said in a statement Monday that the American ‘aggression’ the group is facing is the price for ‘resisting all evil projects against our holy places, rights, nations and people.’” (The Associated Press, 11/23/15)
  • In December 2015, President Obama signed the legislation into law. “President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law legislation that increases sanctions on Hezbollah, the White House said. ‘This strong, bipartisan bill intensifies pressure against the Hezballah terrorist organization and provides the administration additional tools with which to target Hezballah’s financial lifeblood,’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.” (Reuters, 12/18/15)

Led the effort to secure federal funding to combat the Zika virus.

Marco was the first Republican senator to call on the Senate to fully fund the effort to combat Zika. “Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing lawmakers to meet President Obama’s request for $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus as they prepare to merge competing proposals. The Florida Republican and former presidential candidate sent a letter to 33 lawmakers who will be part of the House-Senate conference committee arguing that ‘time is of the essence.’ ‘I ask you to consider fully funding the fight against the Zika virus,’ Rubio wrote. ‘Florida, along with Puerto Rico, are expected to be the hardest hit by detrimental impacts of the Zika virus, and it is imperative that Floridians, Puerto Ricans and all Americans are protected by all available resources and courses of action.’” (The Hill, 6/9/16)

Miami Herald headline: “Bill Nelson comes to Marco Rubio’s defense on Zika funding.” “One of Patrick Murphy’s key supporters in his bid for U.S. Senate has undercut the Democratic congressman’s recent attack on Marco Rubio over federal Zika funding. Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson came to Rubio’s defense Tuesday following another unsuccessful vote in the Senate. Nelson told reporters on Capitol Hill that it’s not Rubio, Florida’s Republican incumbent, who has failed to deliver on the federal aid — as Murphy alleged in a media conference call earlier in the day. (The Miami Herald, 9/7/16)

In September, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law over a billion dollars in federal funding to combat Zika. “More than eight months after the White House first asked for it, Congress has finally agreed on some funding to help fight the Zika virus and study its effects. President Barack Obama signed stopgap spending bill Thursday. It provides $1.1 billion to use in continuing work on a vaccine against Zika virus infection, as well as studies of the effects on unborn babies, adults and children. It will also help states control the mosquitoes that spread the virus.” (NBC News, 9/29/16)

Passed tough new sanctions on Venezuelan human rights violators.

Marco led in passing the Venezuelan Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014. “The Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 was introduced by Menendez, a New Jersey senator who was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee at the time. Rubio joined three others as co-sponsors. Rubio played a pivotal role in prodding the Obama administration on the matter – in a hearing, in multiple letters, in Senate speeches. After being hamstrung for months by legislative maneuvers, the bill passed in December. Last week, the White House slapped sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials. Given the reality of Senate control, Rubio said, ‘It always helped to have a Democrat as the lead sponsor.’ He added: ‘Now obviously we worked closely with Menendez on a bunch of things and he deserves tremendous credit for it. But it was an issue that we first raised and had largely taken the lead on.’” (McClatchy, 3/16/15)

  • On December 8, 2014, Marco’s Venezuelan Human Rights and Civil Society Act became law. “The U.S. Senate on Monday passed a bill imposing targeted sanctions against Venezuelan officials responsible for violence and political arrests in the wake of anti-government protests earlier this year.” (The Miami Herald, 12/8/14)

Secured funding for the Central Everglades Planning Project after a decade of opposition.

Miami Herald: “Rubio persuades Everglades foe in Senate to back key project.” “Inhofe, the powerful chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, notably cast the only vote against a master plan to fix the Everglades in 2000. … Inhofe, who believes climate change is a hoax, said he now intends to back the Everglades project Wednesday when his committee takes up the Water Resources Development Act, the tool for getting such massive projects ready for funding. His change of heart came when Rubio explained that the Comprehensive Everglades Planning Project contains specific fixes as opposed to the sweeping changes engineered in the broader Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, Inhofe said. (Jenny Staletvich, “Rubio Persuades Everglades Foe In Senate To Back Key Project,” Miami Herald, 3/10/16)

The Guardian: “Senate passes Everglades restoration measure to fight toxic algae blooms.” “US lawmakers have voiced hopes that the ailing Everglades will start to recover after the Senate overwhelmingly approved a nearly $2bn measure to combat the toxic algae blooms that have devastated Florida’s waterways. … Nelson and Rubio were early co-sponsors of legislation to advance the Central Everglades Planning Project and have routinely emphasized the urgency of the issue. Rubio also persuaded Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the environment and public works committee that crafted the overall water bill, to back the project and reverse his longstanding opposition to Everglades restoration. Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma who in 2000 was the lone senator to vote against Everglades funding, explained his change of heart in an op-ed for the Miami Herald that also cited the degradation caused by algae blooms.”(The Guardian, 9/16/16)

Passed the Girls Count Act to combat human trafficking.

Marco’s Girls Count Act was signed into law in 2015. “The Girls CountAct 2015 was passed unanimously by the Senate, just a month after its initial introduction. First introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio in March, the Girls Count Act 2015 makes it U.S. policy to; encourage countries to support the rule of law and ensure girls and boys of all ages are able to fully participate in society,’ and ‘address the needs of birth registries in countries where girls are systematically under-counted.’” (Borgen Magazine, 6/19/15)

  • Marco’s work supports the rights of women and girls in developing countries by ensuring they are recognized and counted by their government. “The ‘Girls Count Act of 2015’ was introduced in March to authorize the secretary of state and the U.S. Agency for International Development to prioritize efforts to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries. … In a statement, Rubio on Friday said the law means the ‘U.S. is solidifying our commitment to helping all kids around the world to get registered at birth so they are counted and able to fully participate in and contribute to their societies.’ He added: ‘Failing to register children at birth leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, yet millions of children around the world continue to be denied this basic human right.’ He called the legislation ‘a strong step forward in the fight against human trafficking and forced labor.’ According to Rubio’s office, millions of children worldwide are not registered at birth, most of them girls. Having proof of birth can be critical to making sure children don’t fall victim to dangers such as exploitation.” (McClatchy, 6/12/15)

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