WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) released the following statement after meeting several agencies regarding the Cuban migrant crisis.
“This morning we met with representatives from the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Health and Human Services regarding the Cuban migrant crisis. Over the last several months, there has been a dramatic surge of people leaving the repressed island, yet it was only recently that the Obama administration acknowledged the problem. With an increase of 84% in the numbers of migrants reaching the U.S., it is critical that the administration has a credible plan to deal with the influx of migrants and the possible costs associated with their arrival. It is also important that in crafting this response, the administration communicate and work with us on a regular basis find the best solution for our South Florida community. It is becoming apparent that municipalities in South Florida will have to handle the influx of migrants, and accordingly, we strongly encouraged the administration to collaborate closely with local official officials to ensure that the federal response to the migrant crisis provides the necessary support to manage the increase in population and potential additional burdens on local resources.”
In attendance at the meeting were: Congressman Diaz-Balart, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, Congressman Curbelo, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), and staff from the offices of Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.
“I was pleased to join my colleagues for a meeting with President Santos this morning. As we move forward following the success of Plan Colombia, we must ensure our bilateral relationship remains strong and enduring. In order to continue combatting the drug trafficking and cartels, we must further collaborate with the Colombian government at all levels to succeed. This relationship is also crucial to continuing trade and the positive affect it has on our economy, especially right here in Southern Florida. I have a number of serious concerns about the FARC and the ongoing negotiations with the terrorist organization. Among them, I strongly believe the organization must denounce terrorism and stop all terrorist activities. It must dismantle its entire narcotrafficking operation - no exceptions. The United States must also stand firmly against the release of narcotraffickers like Ricardo Palmera (‘Simón Trinidad’); their release will compromise national security and should not be used as a bargaining chip.”
(Photo courtesy of Colombian Government)
WASHINGTON -- Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the Obama administration announced another round of concessions to the Castro regime.
"This brazen attempt to allow direct trade with the Castro regime has revealed fully that President Obama's policy has nothing to do with supporting the Cuban people but has everything to do with propping up a brutal, anti-American dictatorship 90 miles from our shores.
"With political arrests surpassing 8,000 last year and brave political prisoners such as Vladimir Morera Bacallao, Danilo Maldonado Machado ('El Sexto'), and Misael Canet Velazquez nearly perishing in prison over the past several months, the Castro regime's human rights record remains the worst in our hemisphere. Shamefully, for the first time since the murderous Castro regime seized power decades ago, we have a U.S. president who repeatedly sides with the oppressors over the oppressed.
"However, the majority in Congress and every Cuban-American member, whether Democrat or Republican, whether in the House or Senate, continues to fiercely oppose President Obama's appeasement of the Castro regime. In contrast to the President, we remain in steadfast solidarity with Cuba's true leaders -- the political prisoners and human rights activists who risk everything to demand change in Cuba. We will continue to oppose the Obama-Castro deals that undermine the Cuban people's struggle for freedom by supporting their jailers."
WASHINGTON – El congresista Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL) hizo la siguiente declaración para exigir la liberación inmediata del periodista independiente Misael Canet Velázquez.
“El 17 de diciembre de 2015, el periodista independiente Misael Canet Velázquez del Frente de Resistencia Cívico Orlando Zapata Tamayo fue violentamente detenido y encarcelado por expresar su deseo de libertad. Ha estado en huelga de hambre desde hace 28 días y, según su familia, está detenido en condiciones deplorables en la notoria prisión Kilo 8 de Camagüey, sin ropa o un lugar adecuado para dormir, y acceso limitado al agua.
“El arresto de Misael fue uno de los más de 8.000 que se produjo en Cuba desde el 17 de diciembre 2014, cuando el presidente Obama anunció concesiones incondicionales al régimen comunista de Castro. Es vergonzoso que no hayan mejorado los derechos humanos en este tiempo. De hecho, varios de los 53 presos políticos liberados en el acuerdo Obama-Castro han sido detenidos de nuevo. Insto al gobierno de Obama que presione para la liberación inmediata de los activistas incluyendo Misael, Hugo Damián Prieto Blanco, Vladimir Morera Bacallao, Jorge Ramírez Calderón, y el resto de los presos políticos en Cuba. Hasta que los gulags de los Castros se vacíen de todos los presos inocentes y se respeten los derechos humanos y las libertades básicas, no debe haber concesiones al régimen de Castro.”
WASHINGTON —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement calling for the immediate release of independent journalist Misael Canet Velázquez.
“On December 17, 2015, independent journalist Misael Canet Velázquez of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo Civic Resistance Front was violently arrested and imprisoned for expressing his desire for freedom. According to reports, he has been on hunger strike for at least 27 days and, according to his family, is being held in abhorrent conditions in Camaguey’s notorious Kilo 8 prison without clothes or a suitable place to sleep, and has been provided limited access to water.
“Misael’s arrest was one of more than 8,000 that occurred in Cuba since President Obama’s December 17, 2014 announcement of unconditional concessions to the Castro regime. Shamefully, the dictatorship’s human rights record has not improved. In fact, several of the Obama-Castro ‘53’ released political prisoners have been rearrested. I urge the Obama administration to press for the immediate release of activists including Misael, Hugo Damian Prieto Blanco, Vladimir Morera Bacallao, Jorge Ramirez Calderon, and all other political prisoners in Cuba. Until Castros’ gulags are emptied of all innocent prisoners, and basic human rights and liberties are respected, there must be no further concessions to the Castro regime.”
WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) sent a letter to President Obama expressing concern about the imprisonment of independent labor activist Jorge Ramirez Calderon, one of the 53 political prisoners released as part of the Obama-Castro deal of December 2014. Diaz-Balart also demanded the permanent and unconditional release of all of Cuba’s political prisoners.
You may find a copy of the letter here.
WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today announced that Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) will deliver the Republican Address to the Nation in Spanish following the State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.
“Mario Diaz-Balart has long been a tremendous ambassador for communicating conservative principles and bold, pro-growth solutions,” Speaker Ryan said. “In a year when the country is crying out for an alternative to the status quo, we will offer a vision for a more confident America at home and abroad.”
“I am grateful to Speaker Ryan for giving me the opportunity to deliver the Republican address in Spanish,” Rep. Diaz-Balart said. “The United States and the American people face grave challenges, all of which can be overcome with leadership in Washington, DC that understands the greatness of our country. We need a president who will unify, not divide; a president who will stand with our allies and stand up to enemies of freedom. House Republicans are committed to putting our country back on a path to prosperity, creating solutions that will bolster the economy, cultivate job growth, and provide for a robust national defense. The American people deserve nothing less.”
Mario Diaz-Balart is fulfilling his 7th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on the Budget, and is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference and the Congressional Everglades Caucus. Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served 14 years in the Florida State Legislature. Mario Diaz-Balart was born on September 25, 1961 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He studied at the University of South Florida and currently resides in Miami, Florida with his wife and son.Read More
WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s executive order.
“By announcing his executive order yesterday, President Obama is targeting the rights of millions of law-abiding citizens. Instead of clearing the path for serious mental health reform or supporting law enforcement, he is making a political gesture to make a so-called legacy out of his last year in the White House. The brave men and women who risk their lives for our communities deserve to be protected too, which is why I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 814, the Thin Blue Line Act, a bill that ensures those convicted of murdering a first responder face the harshest penalty for such a malicious act. I am pleased that Speaker Ryan has made mental health reform a priority for the 114th Congress. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which makes real reforms to our nation’s mental health system. I believe in taking tangible steps that will not only support our law enforcement and truly reform the mental health system, but also work towards preventing senseless violence that claims innocent lives.”
WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement regarding incarcerated Cuban pro-democracy activist Vladimir Morera Bacallao.
"Vladimir Morera Bacallao is in intensive care after being transferred from his prison cell where he has been on hunger strike since October 9, 2015. Reports indicate that he is gravely ill.
"Morera Bacallao was released as part of the Obama-Castro deal announced on December 17, 2014. However, he was re-arrested in April 2015 for placing a sign outside his home during the Castro regime's sham 'elections' that said, 'I vote for my freedom and not in an election where I cannot choose my president.' Last month, the Castro regime gave Morera Bacallao a new four-year prison sentence for the 'crime' of expressing his political opinion.
"During the Obama administration, activists Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Wilman Villar Mendoza died under uncannily similar circumstances. Activists Laura Pollan and Oswaldo Paya also perished at the hands of Castros' thugs during this administration.
"Morera Bacallao has risked everything for the basic right to have a voice in his government. His unjustifiable imprisonment and mistreatment are further indictments of the brutal malevolence of the Castro regime, and the utter failure of Obama's appeasement of Cuba's dictators. I urge human rights organizations and the Obama administration to bring attention to the urgent case of Vladimir Morera Bacallao, and to demand that he receive immediate medical attention. We must not remain silent while another courageous activist hovers on the brink of death."
WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the passage of the omnibus appropriations bill.
“Today, I joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle to prioritize crucial programs that keep our country running. With this bill, we are able to provide robust resources to protect and enhance our national security, provide housing assistance to our nation's most vulnerable, and permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. I want to commend Speaker Ryan and Chairman Rogers for their leadership in negotiating and finalizing this legislation. I look forward to beginning the 2016 appropriations process in the new year.”
Congressman Diaz-Balart, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, was successful in including the following items in the appropriations omnibus:
436 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Mario Diaz-Balart is currently fulfilling his 6th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the beginning of the 112th Congress, Diaz-Balart was asked to serve on one of the most prestigious committees: House Committee on Appropriations. As part of the House Committee on Appropriations, he sits on three of its subcommittees: State and Foreign Operations, Commerce, Justice, and Science, and as Vice-Chair of Financial Services.
Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to represent Florida’s 25th Congressional district, which at the time, covered portions of Miami-Dade County, Collier County, and Monroe County. Diaz-Balart continued to represent the three counties until 2010, when he ran unopposed for Florida’s 21st Congressional district. After the 2012 redistricting cycle, he ran for the newly redrawn 25th Congressional district, to which he was elected. The 25th district now includes parts of Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, and Hendry Counties.
Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served 14 years in the Florida State Legislature in both chambers, House and Senate. At age 31, Diaz-Balart became the youngest person ever elected to the Florida Senate, as well as the first Hispanic to serve as Chair of the Combined Appropriations / Ways and Means / Finance and Tax Committee. During his tenure in the state legislature, he consistently ranked among the most effective legislators in Florida, developing a reputation as a budget hawk, and supporting minority voting rights.
In Washington, Diaz-Balart has worked tireless to make American homes and communities safer and stronger in the face of hurricanes and other natural disasters. In 2013, he introduced the Safe Building Code Incentive Act (H.R. 1878), legislation that would provide financial incentives to states that adopt and enforce nationally recognized model building codes. These states would also qualify for an additional 4 percent of funding for hazard mitigation grants. That same year, he introduced the Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act (H.R. 2241), which would incentivize home and building owners to utilize resilient construction methods when building and renovating home and commercial structures in federally declared disaster areas. Over the long run, both of these bills would save hard-earned taxpayer dollars and minimize the risk of property damage, but more importantly, would reduce the loss of life.
Diaz-Balart has also been a strong proponent of improving public safety and transportation. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Diaz-Balart has helped deliver millions of federal dollars for the I-75 widening project and Miami-Dade Transit. As a true South Floridian, the Everglades restoration has been an ongoing project for Diaz-Balart. As founder and co-chairman of the Everglades Caucus, he has consistently fought to secure billions for the overall restoration and prevented massive funding cuts in recent years. Diaz-Balart has promoted hurricane preparedness and ensured federal relief for Florida in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita.
Diaz-Balart was born on September 25, 1961 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Rafael and Hilda Diaz-Balart, and the youngest of four brothers (Rafael, Lincoln, and Jose). He studied Political Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Diaz-Balart currently resides in Miami, Florida with his wife and son.
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Clawson, Diaz-Balart Announce Dredging of the Gordon River Pass Expected To Commence in 2016 https://t.co/EVuCdzH59q
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Deep honor to meet Rob O'Neill, the man responsible for bringing Bin Laden to justice. Grateful for our troops every day.
Congressman Curt Clawson (FL-19) and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) today announced that dredging of the Gordon River Pass, connecting
This morning, students from Naples Christian Academy visited my office. The students and their chaperones were in town for the 7th grade trip
The Miami VA Healthcare System will be hosting a Veterans and Military Career and Resource Job Fair on Friday, February 19th at Florida International
Joint statement from Reps. Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lehtinen, and Curbelo: This morning we met with representatives from the Departments of Homeland