Florida

More Democrats Say They’ll Skip Trump’s State of the Union
Lawmakers cite president’s ‘racist’ comments, say they’ll have ‘state of our union’ event

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla., will not attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address later this month, joining four other Democrats in protest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Add two more Democrats to the list of House members catting on President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address later this month.

Reps. Frederica S. Wilson and Pramila Jayapal announced over the weekend they will join three other lawmakers boycotting the event held in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.

Soto Takes Heat for Telling Puerto Rican Evacuees to Say They’re Staying
Evacuees should say they’re staying in Florida to access Medicare or Medicaid, South Florida Democrat says

Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., made waves over the weekend for comments to Puerto Rico hurricane evacuees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Florida Democrat caught heat over the weekend for telling a group of newly arrived hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico to say they intend to stay in the state so that they can access health care benefits.

If the evacuees do not check that box on a federal form for Medicare and Medicaid, they will be ineligible to be recipients of those programs.

Diaz-Balart Isn’t Saying What Trump Said
South Florida Republican rep says he wants to keep his seat at the table in discussing Dreamers

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., would not comment about whether President Donald Trump used the word “shithole” in describing the countries from which some immigrants are coming to the U.S. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said he would not delve into whether President Donald Trump called Haiti and African countries “shithole countries.”

Diaz-Balart was in the immigration meeting with other lawmakers in which Trump is reported to have made the remarks, but told Florida TV station WPLG he would not comment on whether Trump made them.

Inspired by #MeToo, Some Staffers Are Telling Congress’ Secrets
Beneficiaries of confidential settlements challenge code of silence

A former staff member of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden says he was inspired by the #MeToo movement to release documents outlining a $7,000 workplace discrimination and disability settlement with Walden’s office in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Cody Standiford is not exactly saying #MeToo.  He’s never been a victim of sexual misconduct.

But he may end up helping congressional staffers who have. The Iraq War veteran recently defied a legal agreement to shed light on how Congress handles harassment and discrimination complaints.

Riding Shotgun: Steve Cohen’s 1986 Cadillac
Tennessee Democrat’s ride sports campaign stickers from his run for governor

Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen gives Capitol Police officers a peace sign as he drives his Cadillac on to the Capitol grounds. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police officers know who can drive onto the Capitol grounds by the “115th Congress” plates displayed in their windshields.

But officers don’t need to look for Rep. Steve Cohen’s plate — they can see him coming.

He Said, He Said: Lawmakers in Trump Meeting Appalled — Or ‘Don’t Recall’
Trump’s reference to ‘shithole countries’ sets off a s---storm

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, left, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham were both in a meeting with President Donald Trump when he reportedly referred to African nations and Haiti as “shithole countries.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:41 p.m.| Members of Congress who were in the meeting when President Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” have different memories of what happened.

The Washington Post reported that Trump asked Thursday why “all these people from shithole countries” were coming to the United States, alluding to Haiti and countries in Africa.

Members of Both Parties Criticize Trump’s Vulgar Immigration Remark
After White House initially doesn’t deny accounts, Trump tweets early Friday that he didn’t say it

President Donald Trump early Friday said that he didn’t call Haiti and African countries “shithole countries” despite multiple media reports of accounts from lawmakers who were in a meeting about immigration policy. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

Members of both parties roundly criticized President Donald Trump after the Washington Post reported he called Haiti and African countries “shithole countries.”

The White House did not initially deny that Trump made the remarks in a bipartisan meeting about immigration.

Fact Check: Trump’s Dossier Tweet Full of Dubious Claims
Tweet registers high on defensive scale, but low on accuracy meter

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday labeled a dossier of information about his alleged Russia ties “disproven,” suggesting it was directly paid for by the Democratic Party and used by the FBI to tip the scales in the 2016 election.

But each of those claims is dubious at best.

Spending, Immigration Talks Entangled
Ahead of Jan. 19 deadline, little progress has been made on either

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer confer after the Senate policy lunches in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite Republican leaders’ best efforts to decouple spending and immigration negotiations, the two issues have become intertwined. And with five legislative days before the Jan. 19 government funding deadline, little progress has been made.

Lawmakers have acknowledged that a fourth stopgap spending measure is needed to keep the government open while broader talks about fiscal 2018 spending and a legislative replacement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, continue. House Republicans will huddle Thursday morning to discuss both issues.

Florida Offshore Decision Unleashes Opposition Tidal Wave
Other states want similar treatment

The Interior Department wants to expand offshore drilling but has decided to remove Florida’s coasts from its plan.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Interior Department’s decision to remove Florida’s coasts from its draft five-year offshore oil and gas drilling plan because of staunch opposition from the state has opened a floodgate of coastal state governments demanding similar treatment.

[Florida to Be Spared In Offshore Drilling Expansion, Zinke Says]