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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. 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.”...

  2. 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
  3. 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. ...

    A note from Rep. Charlie Crist
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. After early stumbles, Congressman Crist pushes for civility in Washington

    Blog

    WASHINGTON — It was dark out and the rookie congressman waited for the police with an aide, a fender bender delaying their trip to the Israeli Embassy, when a trolley full of tourists rolled by.

    "Hey, Charlie!" one yelled as others cheered from near the National Mall.

    Few politicians in Washington command instant recognizability, yet few have arrived like Rep. Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor with the white hair and perma-tan, a figure once courted by presidential candidates....

    Rep. Charlie Crist in his Washington office
  7. Charlie Crist raising money and trying to make nice in Washington

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — It was dark out and the rookie congressman waited for the police with an aide, a fender bender delaying their trip to the Israeli Embassy, when a trolley full of tourists rolled by.

    "Hey, Charlie!" one yelled as others cheered from near the National Mall.

    Few politicians in Washington command instant recognizability, yet few have arrived like Rep. Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor with the white hair and perma-tan, a figure once courted by presidential candidates....

    Charlie Crist's office was previously used by Reps. Lyndon Johnson and Dick Cheney. Crist also has a photo of Bill Young on his wall. (Alex Leary  |  Times)
  8. Poll: Trump's Cuba policy has some support but less popular than Obama's

    Blog

    President Donald Trump's Cuba policy is less popular than the opening created by President Barack Obama, a new Florida poll shows.

    "Overall, 47 percent of Floridians support Obama’s Cuba policy, while Trump’s policy changes announced on June 16 in Miami garnered 34 percent support. However, Trump’s policy changes did receive a plurality of support," reads a release from Florida Atlantic University....

    Cuba poll
  9. Rubio meets with Ivanka Trump on 'pro-family' tax reform

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio met this morning with Ivanka Trump to discuss “pro-family tax reform," including a child tax credit.

    “As some of you may recall now for a couple years, I’ve been supportive of doing something to incentivize paid family leave, because we’re a pro-family family, but also the child tax credit because I truly believe that being a parent is the most important job anyone will ever do,” Rubio said in a Facebook live chat. “And strengthening our families will help our country economically, socially … .”...

    In March, Marco Rubio joined Ivanka Trump at a school event in Orlando
  10. Bill Nelson plays it safe on Trump's Cuba shift

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Bill Nelson was quiet as President Trump unveiled his new policy on Cuba. So we were curious about his views, especially as future rival Rick Scott embraced the change.

    What we got Monday evening was a statement that seemed to have it both ways.

    "While I support the embargo and agree that American dollars shouldn't go to the Cuban government or military, I also support the people of Cuba,” the Democrat said. “I support families helping families. And I believe allowing more Americans to interact with the people of Cuba is in their best interest, while we continue to pressure the Castro regime for human rights and freedoms."...

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
  11. David Jolly sizes up the $50 million House election in Georgia

    Blog

    Back in the quaint days of 2014, when David Jolly defeated Alex Sink for a seat in Congress, $12 million was an outrageous amount of money for a special election.

    Today in Georgia the winner of a $50 million contest will be decided. “It’s why I’m a campaign finance reform advocate,” Jolly tells the Buzz. “The message hasn’t been their own in weeks.”...

    Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly.
  12. Mar-a-Lago proving profitable for President Trump

    Blog

    Donald Trump is making bank at Mar-a-Lago, taking in millions in more revenue since running for president, new records show.

    He reported $37.2 million for 16-months from January 2016 to April 15, 2017, up $7.4 million shown on a previous financial disclosure.

    Trump saw a spike in interest in the Palm Beach estate and capitalized in January by doubling the initiation fee to $200,000....

    President Trump's financial disclosure form
  13. Cuba rejects new US policy, saying pressure will not work

    Blog

    HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s foreign minister has rejected President Donald Trump’s new policy toward the island, saying “we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat” and refusing to return U.S. fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba.

    In a hard-edged response to the policy announced Friday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said from Vienna Monday that Trump’s restrictions on transactions with the Cuban military would not achieve their objective of weakening the government. He said they would instead create unity behind the communist leadership....

  14. Even Donald Trump knows Rick Scott is running for Senate

    Blog

    "Rick, are you running?"

    President Donald Trump looked across the stage in Miami at Gov. Rick Scott, who just smiled, unshakable as usual.

    Scott hasn't announced he's running against Sen. Bill Nelson but it's obvious he will and the playful president called him out on Friday.

    "And I also want to thank my good friend, and just a man who was of tremendous support in the state of Florida, for being with us -- Governor Rick Scott," Trump said to applause. "Great job. He’s doing a great job. I hope he runs for the Senate. I know I’m not supposed to say that. I hope he runs for the Senate. Rick, are you running? I don’t know. Marco, let’s go, come on. We got to get him to -- I hope he runs for the Senate."...

    Gov. Rick Scott, center, watches President Trump sign a policy order on Cuba
  15. Ads tie Rick Scott to GOP health care plans

    Blog

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is promoting a Google "takeover" ad that seeks to tie Gov. Rick Scott to the GOP health care plan in Washington.

    The DSCC said the video will be shown across a full screen and targets mobile viewers and people who consume television lightly. "The ad will reach targeted voters in Florida who comprise key elements of the 2018 midterm electorate, including older, women and swing voters as part of an ongoing six-figure digital ad buy," the group said....