MIAMI – Today, President Trump announced a new policy toward the Castro dictatorship. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart delivered the following statement. To watch Congressman Diaz-Balart’s remarks, click here.
As prepared for delivery:
“Today, I stand here in the presence of the heroes of the 2506 Brigade and so many others who have suffered at the hands of the Castro regime. The brigade in particular is a symbol of dignity, made up of men who personify sacrifice and heroism. And who, having experienced betrayal, have nevertheless never wavered in the struggle for freedom. Many presidents have made commitments, but some of them were not kept.
“In contrast, then-nominee, Donald Trump promised that he would pursue a policy on Cuba that would put U.S. law, the American values of freedom and democracy, and American national security interests, first.
And now, he comes back to Miami, in his very first year as President, to keep that promise.
“I have a message for the Cuban people, and to all of those struggling for freedom, President Trump stands with you. He will not stand for the suppression of basic rights. He will not gloss over human rights abuses or the pleas of political prisoners. You will no longer have to witness the embarrassing spectacle of an American president doing ‘the wave’ with a ruthless dictator at a baseball game in Cuba. Now, the President of the United States stands with you.
“Tengo un mensaje para el pueblo cubano y para los que luchan por la libertad. El presidente Trump está con ustedes. No aceptará como normal la supresión de los derechos fundamentales. No pasará por alto los abusos contra los derechos humanos ni las súplicas de los presos políticos. Ahora, el presidente de Estados Unidos está con ustedes.”
“I am honored to be here as President Trump sets a new course that is faithful to the values we cherish, and to the struggle for freedom which has come at such a great cost to so many.
“President Trump will treat the Castro regime for the malevolent dictatorship that it is.
“Thank you, President Trump, for keeping your commitment. You have not betrayed us. You kept your promise; you stand in solidarity with the Cuban people and freedom-loving people everywhere; and you are putting American values and U.S. national security interests first.
“Thank you, Mr. President.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the passage of H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act.
“At the peak of a financial crisis, Democrats passed legislation aimed at helping consumers and small businesses. Seven years later, we learned the truth: Dodd-Frank didn't help them; it destroyed the community banks small businesses owners depend on. In fact, 56 local banks in Florida have either closed or merged since 2010. Today, House Republicans voted to change that, supporting the community banks and credit unions that help our local communities. By making it easier for entrepreneurs to gain access to capital and removing bureaucratic red tape that hinders innovation, the Financial CHOICE Act encourages and incentivizes job growth.
“I thank Speaker Ryan and Chairman Hensarling for their leadership on the Financial CHOICE Act, and look forward to continue working with them to support Main Street, its banks, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.
WASHINGTON - Today, Representatives Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Everglades Caucus, introduced the bi-partisan Everglades for the Next Generation Act. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced the Senate companion. The legislation authorizes Everglades restoration projects that have completed the planning process and are shovel-ready, ensuring that necessary progress in the region continues. (Please find attached a copy of the bill).
“Protecting and restoring the Everglades is vital to the overall health of both South Florida’s ecosystem and economy,” said Congressman Hastings. “This bill works to restore this unique ecosystem by ensuring that as final planning for restoration projects is completed, these projects are authorized and brought on line as expeditiously as possible. I am proud to work with Congressman Diaz-Balart and Senator Nelson in ensuring that progress toward Everglades restoration continues as quickly as possible, and that this national treasure is protected for future generations.”
“Restoring the Everglades is a top priority,” said Senator Nelson. “There’s simply too much at stake here in Florida to wait around for Congress to pass a water bill every few years. This bill will allow the Corps to begin work on these projects as soon as they are ready.”
“I am proud to work with my Everglades Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Hastings to introduce this important legislation. Everglades restoration is a complex, but necessary process. By reducing the red tape after each project is completed, we can help the Army Corps continue preserving this natural treasure. As Floridians, we are fortunate to have the Everglades in our backyard, and we must do everything we can to protect it for future generations,” said Congressman Diaz-Balart.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the Department of Transportation announced Positive Train Control grant awards for FY17. Diaz-Balart is Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee.
“I am proud to announce Florida was awarded two Positive Train Control (PTC) grants. Tri-Rail, one of the recipients, connects residents in South Florida from Palm Beach to Miami-Dade counties. The Florida Department of Transportation, the second recipient, was awarded funding to implement an interoperable PTC system along the Central Florida Rail Corridor (CFRC). This will help ensure the safety of the more than 1.2 million Floridians and visitors traveling on SunRail and Amtrak.
“PTC is a critical safety tool and investment in the implementation and maintenance of this system is of the utmost importance to both railway passengers and employees. As Transportation Appropriations Chairman, I worked to ensure this critical PTC program was funded so that Florida can compete for these safety enhancements. I will work to continue supporting PTC grants in Florida and across the country to keep folks moving safely and efficiently.”
WASHINGTON – After the Trump administration announced Monday it would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) spoke at length to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Congressman Diaz-Balart issued the following statement regarding the call.
“Few people are more knowledgeable about this hemisphere and the current situation in Haiti than Secretary Kelly. While Haiti continues to rebuild after the 2008 hurricane season and the 2010 earthquake, there is still extensive work to be done. Clearly, Secretary Kelly understands and is sensitive to the circumstances Haiti faces, and I am grateful to him for always being accessible. I am committed to working with Secretary Kelly and my congressional colleagues to do whatever possible to help the Haitian community.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), a senior member of the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s FY 18 budget request.
“As a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, I will thoughtfully review and consider the President’s request. The Constitution is clear in that funding decisions are ultimately in the hands of Congress, and it is critical we ensure hard earned taxpayer dollars are well spent. I look forward to working with Chairman Frelinghuysen, Chairwoman Black, and the White House to put together a fiscally responsible budget.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the Trump administration announced it would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti.
“For almost a decade, the people of Haiti have suffered at the hands of Mother Nature. First wreaked by a destructive 2008 hurricane season, a catastrophic earthquake in 2010 killed hundreds of thousands of people and leveled many parts of the country. Countless Haitians living in the United States, including those in the 25th district, have benefited from Temporary Protected Status. I thank President Trump and DHS Secretary Kelly for this TPS extension and I support the people of Haiti as they continue to rebuild.”
MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement ahead of Cuban Independence Day.
“More than a century ago, a courageous and determined people were inspired by heroes such as Jose Marti and won freedom for their island home just ninety miles from our shores.
“Regrettably, a few decades later, that noble effort was marred by a brutal regime that has oppressed the Cuban people and insulted the memories of those who sacrificed for its freedom. The devastation wreaked by the Castro regime can be found in its legacy of firing squads, gulags, torture, terrorism, subjugation, and widespread deprivation for the Cuban people.
“Some look toward the stepping down of one dictator as an evidence of change. But, as Jose Marti wisely said, ‘To change masters is not to be free.’ Without fair, multiparty elections, the rights to association, free expression, and religious belief, an independent media, and the liberation of all political prisoners, the Cuban people are not free. We cannot tolerate the swapping of one dictator for another.
“I am confident that the Cuban people once again will achieve their independence, as they did one hundred and fifteen years ago. Until then, we stand with those heroes of today who, in the vein of Marti, persist in the struggle for freedom. They are Berta Soler and the Ladies in White, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, Yris Perez Aguilera, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, Rosa Maria Paya, Danilo Maldonado Machado ‘El Sexto,’ Antonio Rodiles, Jose Daniel Ferrer, Eduardo Cardet, and so many others. These heroes are recognized around the world for their strength and resilience. In the last month alone, I had the privilege of attending ceremonies honoring Dr. Biscet and the Ladies in White. They have endured countless sacrifices and assumed grave risks so that the Cuban people may be free.
“Today, as we mark Cuba’s independence from a foreign foe, we also honor the spirit of independence that continues within the Cuban people today. Together, we look forward to the day when the Cuban people celebrate their independence from the tyranny that has burdened them for nearly sixty years.”
WASHINGTON – El congresista Mario Díaz-Balart (FL-25) emitió la siguiente declaración después de que el Departamento del Tesoro emitiera sanciones contra miembros del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia del régimen de Maduro en Venezuela.
"Hoy, el Presidente Trump impuso severas sanciones al Tribunal Supremo de Maduro en respuesta a la escalada de abusos y represión del régimen así como a los gravísimos atropellos a las instituciones democráticas de Venezuela, como la Asamblea Nacional. La decisión del Tribunal Supremo de destituir a la Asamblea Nacional electa de sus poderes fue una afrenta a la voluntad del pueblo venezolano, que tiene derecho a un gobierno representativo y a un poder judicial independiente. Estas sanciones, así como las palabras de la embajadora Nikki Haley ayer en las Naciones Unidas, son una fuerte condena a la devastación y tiranía del régimen de Maduro. Maduro encarcela a sus opositores políticos, censura a los medios de comunicación, corrompe las instituciones e instiga la violencia contra los manifestantes, y felicito al presidente Trump por tomar, una vez más, una posición firme a favor del pueblo venezolano".
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the Treasury Department issued sanctions against members of the Maduro regime’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice, sometimes referred to as the Supreme Court, in Venezuela.
“Today, President Trump imposed tough sanctions on the Maduro regime’s puppet Supreme Tribunal of Justice in response to escalating human rights abuses and repression, and the shameful assaults on Venezuela's democratic institutions such as the National Assembly. The Supreme Tribunal Court’s decision to strip the elected National Assembly of its powers was an affront to the will of the Venezuelan people, who are entitled to representative government and an independent judiciary. These sanctions, in addition to Ambassador Nikki Haley's words yesterday at the United Nations, are a strong condemnation of the devastation and tyranny wreaked by the Maduro regime. While Maduro imprisons political opponents, censors media, corrupts institutions, and instigates violence against protesters, I commend President Trump for once again taking a strong stand on behalf of the Venezuelan people.”
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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