MIAMI – Today, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, welcomed U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to South Florida. After her arrival at Miami International Airport, Secretary Chao and Congressman Diaz-Balart participated in a transportation and infrastructure stakeholder meeting with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Esteban “Steve” Bovo, MIA Director Emilio Gonzalez, PortMiami Director Juan Kuryla, FDOT Director of Development Harold Desdunes, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Executive Director Javier Rodriguez, Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works Director Alice Bravo, and Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Aileen Boucle.
All photos should be attributed to the Office of Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.
In the afternoon, Secretary Chao and Congressman Diaz-Balart visited Florida International University's Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center (ABC-UTC) and the Wall of Wind. The university's ABC-UTC focuses on the improvement of accelerated bridge construction, maintenance, and replacement. The Wall of Wind is a state-of-the-art facility that simulates hurricane-strength wind gusts for engineering and resilience testing. Both of these federally-designated research centers allow for the study of best practices and research and development in infrastructure construction.
MIAMI - Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the Trump administration made a policy announcement on Iran.
"I commend President Trump's tough policy on Iran and the administration's critical strategic objectives of neutralizing Iran's support of terrorism and its various proxy wars, cutting off financial institutions that support terrorism, countering Iran's cyber, ballistic missiles, and proliferation threats, and denying all paths to nuclear weapons.
"President Trump's announced policy demonstrates once again that the previous administration's failed policy of appeasement is over. Brutal dictatorships that oppose U.S. national security interests and suppress their own people will not be coddled. Those who assist them will be held accountable. I appreciate the moral clarity that President Trump has demonstrated in emphasizing that the mullahs of Iran are not the Iranian people. To the contrary, they oppress and terrorize the Iranian people. His policy is one that rightly isolates the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard while maintaining solidarity with the Iranian people. With this principled policy, the United States prioritizes America's national security interests by preventing a terrorist state from creating nuclear weapons, expresses solidarity with the oppressed people of Iran, and seeks to further restrict the Iranian regime from obtaining resources to fund its extremist activities."
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the passage of additional supplemental appropriations for disaster relief. In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, this funding would help those in the hurricane-impacted areas.
“In the weeks following Hurricane Irma, we are able to see the lasting effects this storm will have on our community, and it is evident that additional funding is necessary. This legislation delivers over $18 billion directly to FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, ensures the National Flood Insurance Program has the funding it needs to pay its claims, and grants food aid and loan eligibility to the storm-ravaged island of Puerto Rico. Additionally, the impact of the storm has devastated our states farmers and growers, and it will be a long road to recovery for them. Specifically, the citrus industry, critical to Florida’s economy, was hit catastrophically and federal resources will be needed. I will fight to ensure Florida’s agricultural industry has the resources it needs to get back on their feet.
“As we continue to recover, I look forward to working with Speaker Ryan, Chairman Frelinghuysen, and our colleagues. I’m proud to support Florida and other impacted areas to rebuild our strong, beautiful communities.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after Dr. Yleem Poblete, former chief of staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee under Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was nominated to be the Assistant Secretary of State, Verification and Compliance by President Trump.
“Dr. Poblete's commitment to public service is admirable. During her time on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Yleem was a beacon of knowledge and insight for Congress on a number of important foreign policy and national security issues. As the United States faces global threats, her expertise will be extremely valuable as she leads the Bureau of Arms Control. North Korea, Iran, and Russia pose serious risks to our national security, and we need dedicated public servants like Yleem to help advise President Trump and Secretary Tillerson on how to best contain our adversaries' threats. I congratulate Dr. Poblete and commend President Trump for nominating my well-respected friend to this position.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), a senior member of the House Budget Committee, issued the following statement after the House passed the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution.
“The FY18 budget provides a path to fiscal stability and prosperity for our country. This budget serves as a vehicle for meaningful tax reform, which will create a simplified tax code that empowers American families, encourages job growth, and revitalizes our economy. Within the last 10 months, we have seen economic growth and consumer confidence steadily climb, and House Republicans are committed to passing tax reform that will lead to continued growth. The budget also supports our troops and protects U.S. national security interests by providing our military with the robust resources it requires to defend our country.
“I thank Speaker Ryan and Chairman Black for their leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with them and our colleagues to create a fair and simple tax code that strengthens our country.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the State Department announced they would expel 15 Cuban regime officials from the embassy in Washington, D.C.
“I commend the Trump administration for taking a tough stand against the Castro regime by expelling diplomats following reports of sonic attacks against U.S. diplomats in Havana. Shamefully, the regime in Cuba has a long history of harassing U.S. diplomatic personnel. This was an appropriate step to protect staff and U.S. national security interests. The policy of the past administration is once again proving to be a failure, and this time, it is at the expense of the health of American citizens. This shows that the Trump Administration does not tolerate attacks on our diplomats serving overseas.”
MIAMI - Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement in response to the State Department announcement.
"The Cuban regime has a long history of attacking and harassing U.S. diplomatic personnel. We must take the appropriate steps to protect these staff members and U.S. national security interests. The policy of the past administration is once again proving to be a failure, and this time, it is at the expense of the health of American citizens. I encourage the Trump administration to assess whether additional consequences, such as declaring additional Cuban regime operatives persona non grata, would be appropriate. The United States will not allow Castro or his thugs to attack our diplomats.
"I also commend the Trump administration for issuing the travel warning, alerting our citizens to the dangers they face when traveling to Cuba."
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy today announced that Collier County would be designated as part of South Florida's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
“Designation as part of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area will provide the Collier County Sheriff's Office with the resources it needs to combat this problem. It will also offer CCSO the opportunity to partner with federal, state, and local agencies to address the drug-related issues that our community faces. Drug trafficking cases can be complex and costly, and no single agency has sufficient resources to adequately address drug crimes. Collaboration with other agencies is vital, and I was proud to support the Sheriff’s Office in this initiative,” stated Congressman Diaz-Balart.
“Collier County has some of the finest law enforcement officers in the country, and I am grateful for their service. I thank Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Captain Tom Storrar for their commitment to acquiring this designation. I also want to thank Mr. Ed Morton for his leadership and assistance on this issue. I look forward to continue working with them and local elected officials to ensure Collier County has the federal resources it needs to combat drug trafficking.”
“Drug trafficking is a national problem that has to be addressed on the local level, and adding these counties to the HIDTA program is a critical part of this effort,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “These new designations and the funding they will bring will help our Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers work together to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking networks that are bringing drugs into our communities.”
In November, Diaz-Balart sent a letter to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in support of Collier County’s HIDTA application.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) issued the following statement after the passage H.R. 3823, Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017. The bill contains tax benefits to individuals living in areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are also eligible for these tax benefits.
“This year, we have experienced an extremely active hurricane season that has left destruction and devastation in its path. After days without running water or electricity, parts of Florida are just beginning the rebuilding process. A large number of homes in our community have been deemed structurally unsafe, and hundreds more require critical repair. This legislation provides significant tax relief that will assist Floridians and others who have been impacted by recent storms. Many are now left to find the financial means to make needed repairs to their homes. Among others, by eliminating the tax penalty on early retirement plan withdrawals, we can help folks access the capital required to make these repairs and get back on their feet. These tax benefits also extend to citizens of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, assisting Caribbean citizens who need our support in this difficult time.”
MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Hendry County has been added to the list of counties in Florida eligible for Individual Assistance (IA) as part of the Major Disaster Declaration issued by President Trump on Sunday. Miami-Dade and Collier Counties were included in the initial disaster declaration.
“During today’s aerial tour of the 25th District with the U.S. Coast Guard, I was able to survey the devastation Hurricane Irma caused in our community. After speaking to local officials in the wake of the storm, I worked to ensure FEMA included all three counties in our district as part of the individual assistance designation. Many in Hendry County still do not have power, are receiving poor cell phone service, and are struggling to find gasoline, ice, and non-perishables. I’m grateful to FEMA Administrator Long for recognizing the impact the storm had on my constituents, and will continue to work with him to ensure our local governments have the resources they need to help the community.”
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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