Rep. Shalala says Republicans consistently let Venezuelans down

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Last week, after much contention, the House passed a bipartisan TPS bill, granting Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans.

The bill, sponsored by Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) and Florida Rep. Darren Soto (D) is considered the most significant legislative action that has been taken to respond to Venezuela’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The bill, now in the U.S. Senate, has been blocked by Senate Republicans.

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In an interview with the Miami Herald, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R), who co-sponsored a Senate version of the bill with Senator Bob Menendez (D) explained that the Senate would not be voting on the bill as they depart for a six-week break.

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Elaborating on the issue, Rubio informed that he doesn’t “anticipate movement on it.”

Moreover, “I anticipate hopefully getting the administration to do something. That’s what we’ve been working on behind the scenes here, we’ve made a little progress on it.”

He added that they “have 17 votes already scheduled this week, a bunch of nominees, the spending bill, the veto override,” saying that “the votes this week have already been scheduled.”

To this, Florida Democrats are voicing their disapproval.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala (D) released a statement today, arguing that she is “extremely disappointed in the actions of Sen. Lee and his Republican colleagues who blocked this life-saving legislation.”

However, she noted that she “can’t say that I’m surprised.”

Furthermore, she expressed that “for years now, Republicans have been wrapping themselves in the Venezuelan flag and claiming to be champions for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy, yet at virtually every opportunity to help the Venezuelan people, the Republican leadership in the Senate, House and Administration consistently let them down.”

Democratic Senators Menendez and Dick Durbin moved to pass the bill by unanimous consent on the Senate floor, but Senator Mike Lee (R) opposed the request, so the effort to expedite the process failed.

It would’ve been a voice vote to bypass Senate protocol with the intention of passing legislation quickly, but it fails if one Senator opposes the move.



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Daniel Molina was the Opinion Editor of his high school’s newspaper, and he was also Editor-in-Chief of Miami Dade College’s Urbana literary and arts magazine wherein he also won the 2013 FCSAA Best Fiction Story in the State of Florida Award. He’s currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in English Literature. Hobbies in his free time include reading, writing and watching films and basketball.