MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement one day before the “Liberty and Life” award is to be given to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Alamgro, and posthumously to former Chilean President Patricio Aylwin.
“I commend the Secretary General of the OAS, the Honorable Luis Almagro, for agreeing to accept personally the first ‘Liberty and Life’ award in Havana on February 22, 2017. The creation of this award by youth groups testifies to the vitality, determination, and ingenuity of Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. Oswaldo Paya left the Cuban people a remarkable legacy through his courageous daughter Rosa Maria Paya and the growing movement that continues in his name. The regime’s violent attempt to silence him and end his mission have only amplified his message and strengthened the determination of Cuba’s freedom advocates.
“Reports indicate that the Castro regime will take drastic measures to prevent this pro-democracy event from taking place. According to reports, former Chilean parliamentarian and former minister of foreign affairs Mariana Aylwin was prevented from entering Cuba to accept the award on behalf of her late father; former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon was also prevented from traveling to the island; and Cuban activists Julio Alvarez and Felix Fara were arrested. The Castro regime’s malevolent totalitarianism, prohibiting all forms of dissent, has not changed.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement on the third anniversary of the politically-motivated imprisonment of Leopoldo Lopez by the Maduro regime in Venezuela.
“Despite international condemnation of his unjustifiable imprisonment, Leopoldo Lopez remains a political prisoner of the Maduro regime. Lopez is one of many pro-democracy members of the opposition, including many elected officials, that have been imprisoned for running afoul of the corrupt Maduro regime. As the human rights conditions continue to deteriorate, the integrity of government institutions are further corrupted, and the economy is failing, the Maduro regime lashes out against those who seek to address these mounting failures. I commend the Trump administration for placing tough sanctions on Maduro’s right-hand thug this week, and encourage further pressure on corrupt Venezuelan operatives and human rights abusers. "I was honored to meet with Lopez’s wife, and Mitzy Ledezma, wife of political prisoner Antonio Ledezma, in Washington earlier this week as they travel the world to raise awareness of their husbands' unjust imprisonments. We must continue to work toward restoration of democratic institutions and civil society in Venezuela, which begins with the immediate release of all political prisoners.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after President Trump nominated R. Alexander Acosta, Dean of Florida International University Law School, as Secretary of the Department of Labor.
“I am excited to learn of Alex Acosta’s nomination for Labor Secretary. He has an impressive record of achievement, having served on the National Labor Relations Board, as well as receiving presidential appointments to both U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Florida and Assistant Attorney General during his career. Alex has also been an exemplary Dean of one of the best law schools in the state, leading FIU to earn the highest bar passage rates in Florida for three years in a row. He is a man of great principle, integrity, and courage, and I am confident he will do an excellent job serving our nation.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after President Trump and Vice President Pence met with Lilian Tintori, wife of Venezuelan political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez.
"I commend President Trump and Vice President Pence for meeting with the wife of political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez, and for the administration's swift sanction of Tareck El Aissami, Maduro’s right-hand thug and narcotrafficker. The tyrannical and despotic Maduro regime continues to hold Venezuela hostage, forcing deteriorating conditions, perpetrating human rights abuses, and a sinking economy. We must continue to demand the release of Lopez and other activists across the country. Congress continues to stand firmly in solidarity with the heroic Venezuelan people, who can now also count on the steadfast support of the White House."
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the Trump administration announced sanctions against Tareck El Aissami, the recently named Vice President of Nicolas Maduro’s regime. Last week, Diaz-Balart was one of 34 Members of Congress who sent a letter to President Trump calling for the sanctions against El Aissami.
“I thank President Trump and his administration for taking swift action on our letter to sanction a corrupt and dangerous Maduro regime operative. I greatly appreciate the ability to work closely with the White House on such an important issue to our national security within our hemisphere. Human rights abuses and corruption in Venezuela continue to escalate, and El Aissami’s recent appointment as Maduro’s right-hand thug will only worsen conditions for the Venezuelan people. El Aissami is an infamous narcotrafficker under investigation by the U.S. government for drug crimes.
“I commend the Trump Administration for taking a strong stand against the oppressive, anti-American Maduro regime, and I look forward to working with the White House in pressing for human rights, rule of law and a restoration of democratic institutions for the Venezuelan people.”
Washington, D.C. — In an effort to better protect families in HUD-assisted housing from lead-based paint hazards, U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL25) and David Price (D-NC4) today called upon the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to produce a report on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) programs that address lead-based paint hazards.
Recent reports of lead-based paint hazards in HUD-assisted housing have raised concerns about whether HUD has sufficient oversight to ensure that both property owners and public housing agencies are complying with existing regulations pertaining to lead-based paint hazards and whether those regulations are effective. Seventy percent of lead poisonings are a result of dust exposure from lead-based paint in the home, and children, especially those living at or below the poverty line that reside in older homes, are at risk of long-term neurological harm, including reduced IQ, behavioral changes, and reduced educational attainment.
“Since the beginning of my Senate service, I have worked to raise awareness and secure funding to address lead-based hazards, which remain one of the most prevalent health issues facing children today,” said Senator Collins. “Once completed, this GAO report will improve our understanding of the gaps in HUD’s enforcement of lead-based paint regulations and enhance our efforts to eradicate this largely preventable health problem.”
“Protecting children from lead poisoning must be a national priority. HUD must ensure that children living in assisted housing are protected and that their programs are effective in addressing this problem,” said Senator Reed. “This study by GAO will help us better understand how well HUD’s current programs are working and provide invaluable insight into how to achieve better health outcomes from current programs, close gaps in regulations, increase coordination among federal, state, and local partners, and improve the use of resources to ensure that more children are helped with every dollar spent.”
“I am pleased to join my appropriations colleagues in requesting this report from the GAO. Lead-based paint continues to pose a hazard to children across the country, and the recent accounts of toxic paint in HUD-assisted housing are alarming. Lead-based paint poisoning is preventable, and it is vital that we as policymakers gain critical information about the best and most effective uses of federal funding to combat this issue,” said Congressman Diaz-Balart.
“Lead-based paint hazards in HUD-assisted housing pose a grave threat to the health of vulnerable individuals, especially children. I hope that the GAO will conduct a thorough and comprehensive audit that will help inform our continued efforts to address lead hazards,” said Congressman Price.
The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) oversees funding for federal housing programs. A version of this study was included in fiscal year 2017 report language by both the Senate and House THUD Appropriations subcommittees.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead and that approximately 24 million homes in the United States have deteriorated lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust.
The full text of the letter can be read here.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after introducing legislation that would require the United States Postal Service to create a unique ZIP Code for the Town of Miami Lakes, Florida. Last year, Diaz-Balart supported similar legislation which passed the House, but did not become law.
“I am pleased to introduce legislation similar to what the House passed last year that will create a unique ZIP Code for Miami Lakes. For far too long, Miami Lakes residents have dealt with the negative impact of lacking a unique ZIP Code for their town. From higher insurance rates to election confusion, there are a number of reasons why a dedicated ZIP Code is necessary. It has been a privilege to partner with Mayor Manny Cid as we continue to work towards a resolution. Even after encountering several roadblocks and denials from the United States Postal Service, he continued to find other options. I am grateful for his dedication to serving the Town of Miami Lakes, and look forward to seeing this bill through the committees of jurisdiction for a floor vote.”
The text of the bill can be found here.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order pertaining to the Department of Homeland Security.
“I am struck by the double standard and hypocrisy of those who are offended by this executive order, but who failed to challenge President Obama when he took similar action against Cuban refugees; especially since President Obama’s action was meant to appease the Castro regime and not for national security reasons.
“While it is always legitimate to express concerns with presidential executive orders, I understand the President’s primary responsibility is to keep the American people safe. The ban is only temporary until the Administration can review and enact the necessary procedures to vet immigrants from these countries. The ban is based on countries the Obama administration identified as ‘countries of concern’ and not based on a religious test.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) today released the following statement after President Trump signed two executive orders.
“President Trump is fulfilling his promise to the American people to secure the borders of the United States. I stand ready to work with my congressional colleagues and the administration on legislation that will allow millions of hardworking people who have not committed crimes to come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the House passed a budget resolution which would begin the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare.
"Today, House Republicans passed what is just the first step in replacing our flawed and broken healthcare system. It has negatively affected families across the country, and I refuse to accept this status quo. Premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed, coverage options have significantly decreased, and many insurance providers have left the exchanges. 70% of the original state exchanges have collapsed completely. Rest assured that I and my Republican colleagues will not allow the healthcare market to continue to crumble.
"Americans deserve to see the doctors they choose at a price they can afford. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the incoming administration to make coverage affordable, flexible, and patient-centered."
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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We continue to mourn their loss+remember their names. Armando Alejandre Jr,Carlos Costa, Mario de la Peña,Pablo Morales #BrotherstotheRescue
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Spoke to this year's Greater Naples Leadership class - impressive group of community leaders!
21 years ago today, the Castro regime ordered two civilian planes over international waters to be shot down, murdering three Americans and one
Today, ITECH Immokalee Technical College hosted a workshop on the Free File Program. The Free File Program is an effective and easy to use resource
Great meeting with Javier Rodriguez, Executive Director The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority. We discussed different ways to improve #transportation
This morning, I visited with Santiago and Kathy Alvarez at Alfa Gamma Seafood Group, a family owned business since 1968 that employs over 60