Mario Diaz-Balart

Mario Diaz-Balart

FLORIDA's 25th DISTRICT

Diaz-Balart: Completion of Merritt Pump Station Marks Major Milestone for Everglades Restoration

2014/10/24

MIAMI — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement in celebration of the completion of the Merritt Pump Station, a critical part of the Picayune Strand Restoration Project. This project is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), and the Merritt Pump Station is the first major construction contract to be completed from CERP. “Today’s event marks a major milestone in the restoration of the Everglades. The completion of the Merritt Pump Station is the first major piece of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which will not only benefit Southwest Florida, but will also show the nation that ecosystem restoration is possible. When the Picayune Strand Project is completed, it will fill in canals, remove roads, and return 55,000 acres of land to its natural splendor. But the impact this will have is even greater – over 70,000 acres of uplands and wetlands will be improved as habitat for Florida’s native wildlife. “I would like to thank Colonel Alan Dodd, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, Blake Guillory, Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and Eric Draper, Executive Director of the Audubon Florida for their continued leadership in seeing through CERP’s completion. As founder and co-chair of the Everglades Caucus and a member of the Appropriations committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to make sure these restoration projects are a top priority and receive the critical funding they need.”     ### Read More

Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen Applaud TPS Extension and Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

2014/10/17

WASHINGTON — Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) released the following statements after the Department of Homeland Security took several steps to help Haitians, Hondurans, and Nicaraguans. Temporary Protected Status was extended through July 5, 2016 to eligible Nicaraguan and Honduran nationals. DHS also announced the implementation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, to begin in early 2015. "I commend the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for extending Temporary Protected Status to Nicaraguans and Hondurans. As President Bush had done previously, we are recognizing the countless contributions these individuals have made to the United States. I am gratified that the Obama Administration acknowledged their importance by extending TPS.  I also commend DHS for following broad bipartisan urging from Members of Congress to initiate the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program. I have long advocated for a program that will allow Haitians to reunite with family members who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, especially those still suffering from the 2010 earthquake.  I am glad that the specific circumstances within Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua have been recognized. Through these programs, we can continue to strengthen and enrich our local communities," said Diaz-Balart. "I am pleased that once again the Department of Homeland Security has extended Temporary Protected Status benefits to eligible nationals of Nicaragua and Honduras. With their energy and drive, these individuals have integrated into our communities and continue to contribute to our country's diverse social fabric and economy. I am also encouraged that this Administration has finally created the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program, modeled after the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program, which will assist in accelerating Haiti's recovery efforts. This idea has strong bipartisan support because it will bring much needed relief and security to Haiti and help build a brighter future to the Haitian people, who have suffered greatly after the tragic 2010 earthquake," said Ros-Lehtinen. ### Read More

Diaz-Balart: UN’s Mission Undermined by Venezuela’s UNSC Seat

2014/10/17

WASHINGTON —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after Venezuela was elected to the United Nations Security Council.  "It is outrageous that Venezuela was elected to the UN Security Council.  The very purposes of the United Nations in protecting human rights and promoting peace among nations are further undermined by Venezuela's position in the Security Council.  In addition, the Obama administration's latest failure in diplomacy has diminished the integrity of the UN system and called into question the UN's ability to fulfill its mission.  Venezuela's human rights abuses and destabilizing efforts throughout the world should have disqualified it for that key UN post.  Regrettably, the Maduro regime's inclusion, and its inevitable opposition to U.S. interests in the Security Council, will only exacerbate the surmounting challenges facing the international community at this time."   ### Read More

Diaz-Balart Receives Prestigious Award from Hungarian Government

2014/10/03

WASHINGTON —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary. The award was presented by Mr. Zsolt Németh, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament. It is the highest award given by Hungary to non-Hungarians.  “I am truly honored to receive this prestigious honor. I am proud to stand alongside such an inspiring people with such a rich and moving history. In the past several decades, they have demonstrated to the world how, through courage and sheer determination, they have conquered tyranny and transitioned to a vibrant democracy. Today, as the Hungarian people thrive in freedom, they have not forgotten the oppression that continues in too many corners of the globe. I remain forever grateful for their commitment to helping others achieve the liberties and right to self-governance which the Hungarian people so bravely achieved. “I will continue to work to ensure that the United States remains committed to deepening its ties with Hungary, and that our countries continue working together toward our shared cause of freedom and democracy throughout the world. Now, more than ever, our ties with our eastern European allies are essential. I look forward to further deepening my friendship with the Hungarian people, and to bolstering the ever-strengthening bond between the United States and Hungary.” [[{"fid":"303","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"height: 267px; width: 400px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] From left: Chairman Zsolt Németh, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, Mrs. Tia Diaz-Balart, Ambassador György Szapáry, Former Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart ###   Read More

Diaz-Balart Urges International Community to Join in Solidarity with Peaceful Protesters in Hong Kong

2014/09/29

WASHINGTON —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement in response to recent aggression by China against peaceful protesters in Hong Kong. "I stand in complete solidarity with the courageous students, lawyers, teachers, and many others in Hong Kong who are demanding democracy and respect from communist China.  Their demand is simple and universal: to have a genuine voice in the powers that govern them.  “I am appalled by the aggression perpetrated against these peaceful protesters.  They have endured brutality, pepper spray, and tear gas.  It is also outrageous that the Politburo has increased its censorship and oppression throughout the PRC in response to these freedom protests.  Regrettably, the oppression within Communist China, exemplified by the Tiananmen Square massacre and repression of the Falun Gong, Uyghurs, Christians, political prisoners, and numerous human rights activists, has not yet given way to democratic change.  “I urge others in the international community to roundly condemn any further use of force or persecution against the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong, and to join them in their brave pleas for democracy.”   ### Read More

Diaz-Balart: Florida Will Continue To Protect Its Waters

2014/09/22

WASHINGTON —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew federal water quality standards applicable to Florida. These standards were stringent and overlooked the already meticulous care the state of Florida has for its bodies of water.  “After years of legal battles and the EPA overstepping their regulatory authority, they have finally dropped their ludicrous numeric nutrient criteria standards for Florida. Nobody does a better job of regulating our waters and environment than Florida itself, and I am happy to see that the EPA has finally backed off after deciding that the State’s regulations are more than efficient. This is something I have been working on with the state, EPA, and all affected parties for years. I am glad to see it finally concluded with a positive outcome. “Florida is a national leader in enforcing aggressive water quality standards to protect its ecosystem. The Everglades, lakes, rivers, and our beautiful ocean beaches are all vital to our state and Florida will continue to protect them.” ### Read More

Diaz-Balart: The U.S. Must Stand With Ukrainian People

2014/09/18

WASHINGTON —Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, addressed a joint meeting of the United States Congress. "It was an honor to have President Poroshenko before the United States Congress. President Poroshenko said during his address this morning 'We are together, we are united,' and that statement rings true. He is a staunch ally of the United States and a symbol of democracy for not only the people of Ukraine, but for those around the world. The United States must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people as they face constant threats to their security and territorial integrity from Russia in their Cold War mentality. Our country must do more to assist our ally as they face aggression. In the words of President Poroshenko, 'The U.S. must lead.' This is a historic moment that I am privileged to have experienced, and I am grateful for that opportunity. "I also want to thank Joe Whitehead for making the trip from Southwest Florida to be my guest at today's address. Joe is a well known and respected member of our community and it was a pleasure having him here." [[{"fid":"302","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"height: 267px; width: 400px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Congressman Diaz-Balart invited Southwest Florida resident Joe Whitehead to be his guest for the address by President Poroshenko. ### Read More

Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

2014/09/15

WASHINGTON— Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, released the following statement commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month. Beginning in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week, it was later expanded to cover a 30-day period in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. This month honors the diverse influences brought by Hispanics to the United States, and their vital role in American culture and society. This week also celebrates the independence of seven Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile. "I'm proud to join the millions of Hispanics around the U.S. who are celebrating the rich culture, history, and accomplishments of our community. The Hispanic community has made extraordinary contributions to the U.S., and by recognizing those efforts, we are able to bring awareness to younger generations to the countless opportunities afforded to all Americans. From achievements in the arts, courageous service in our armed forces, to the successes of their small businesses, Hispanics have made a significant impact on our country. I also want to honor the seven countries who are celebrating their independence this week, and I look forward to continue working with them to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Latin America,” said Diaz-Balart. “During Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to recognize our distinct cultures and celebrate the diversity, which are a part of our great country. The Hispanic community continues to grow and thrive in the United States. They contribute to our economy, to our communities, and to our government. So as we celebrate the Hispanic unity, let’s also make a commitment to re-dedicate ourselves to education and job promotion. Only though economic and educational empowerment can our greater Hispanic community reach its full potential. I’d also like to congratulate the many Latin American countries that during this special time are celebrating their independence, a reminder of the Hispanic and American mosaic that we all live in,” said Ros-Lehtinen.     ###   Read More

Castros’ Trafficking of Doctors is Gross Violation of International Labor Standards

2014/09/09

WASHINGTON— Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement after reports that the Castro regime has been paid over a billion dollars from the Brazilian government in exchange for trafficking medical doctors. "It is disgraceful and a gross violation of international labor standards that the Castro regime continues to lease human beings to foreign investors and governments. Incredibly, the Castro regime touts its sale of cheap medical labor as a noble enterprise, but it is hardly charity.  Despite denouncements of the Cuban regime's use of physicians as slave labor, Brazil has provided over a billion dollars to the Castro dictatorship in exchange for Cuban physicians who have no say in their salaries or working conditions.”   "There are thousands of Cuban doctors working against their will in Brazil, and thousands more in places such as Venezuela and Africa.  As Dr. Ramona Matos Rodriguez's case revealed earlier this year, the contract between the Castro regime and the government of Brazil provides a lucrative source of revenue to the dictatorship which confiscates as much as almost ninety percent of physicians' wages.  As usual, it is the Cuban worker who suffers the consequences of abhorrent working conditions, lack of independent contracts, and abysmal salaries.  I commend physicians such as Dr. Matos for the courage of bringing attention to the egregious lack of worker freedoms in Cuba, and urge others to condemn the Castro regime's sale of forced labor."     ### Read More

Diaz-Balart and Ros-Lehtinen Urge Mexico Not to Forcibly Return Fleeing Cubans

2014/09/03

WASHINGTON— Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) sent a letter to Mexican Ambassador to the United States Eduardo Medina Mora Icaza, urging the government of Mexico not to repatriate 13 Cuban nationals who were intercepted at sea while fleeing the Castros’ repression. “Cubans forcibly repatriated to the island often face harsh punitive measures. It is imperative that Cubans who are found fleeing from their island prison are not made to return to the oppression that they risk their lives to escape. I urge the Mexican government to work with us to ensure that these individuals seeking freedom are not forced to face the inevitable repression they will endure if returned to the Castro regime,” said Diaz-Balart. See the letter here. ### Read More

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Contact Information

436 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4211
Fax 202-225-8576
mariodiazbalart.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Appropriations

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.


Serving With

Jeff Miller

FLORIDA's 1st DISTRICT

Steve Southerland

FLORIDA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT

Ander Crenshaw

FLORIDA's 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

John Mica

FLORIDA's 7th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Daniel Webster

FLORIDA's 10th DISTRICT

Rich Nugent

FLORIDA's 11th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

David Jolly

FLORIDA's 13th DISTRICT

Dennis Ross

FLORIDA's 15th DISTRICT

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Tom Rooney

FLORIDA's 17th DISTRICT

Curt Clawson

FLORIDA's 19th DISTRICT

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

FLORIDA's 27th DISTRICT

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