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Alex Leary, Times Washington Bureau Chief

Alex Leary

Alex Leary is the Washington bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He previously worked in the Times' state capital bureau, and before that covered local politics, environmental issues and law enforcement. His career in journalism began at the Valley News in New Hampshire.

Phone: (202) 306-4807


Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

  1. Meet the Freedom Caucus, the group that dared to say no to President Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Still livid over the collapse of the Obamacare replacement, President Donald Trump jumped on Twitter and shook Washington out of bed Tuesday.

    "The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Trump wrote in one of his signature late-night attacks. "After so many bad years they were ready for a win!"

    Before Friday, when the bill was pulled from a vote, the Freedom Caucus was little known outside Washington — a small, raucous coalition of far-right conservatives who, unhappy that parts of the Affordable Care Act were maintained, insisted on more changes until Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan quit negotiating....

    Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, said of the Freedom Caucus, "It's just an opportunity for like-minded guys to get together." He said he opposed the health care plan because "it didn't repeal Obamacare and it didn't lower rates." [U.S. House of Representatives]
  2. Rubio blasts Democratic moves to filibuster Gorsuch


    WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio today blasted the growing possibility of a Democratic filibuster against Neil Gorsuch, a preview of the next round of fighting to reach Capitol Hill.

    "Not even divisive Thomas nomination filibustered," Rubio wrote on Twitter. "Truth is D's will filibuster anyone @POTUS nominate."

    On Monday, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said he'd join a filibuster, which would force Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change the rules for a simple majority. Nelson in 2006 opposed a filibuster of Sameul Alito, though voted against him....

  3. Tallahassee group hurting Breitbart News' bid for congressional press credentials


    WASHINGTON — A Tallahassee-based research group started by Steve Bannon is causing problems for Breitbart News’ attempts to get permanent congressional credentials.

    The Standing Committee of Correspondents on Monday cited the Government Accountability Institute as a reason for delaying a decision because two Tallahassee-based officials with the group also work for Breitbart.

    “Even if Bannon is no longer involved in GAI, top editors are involved in this other group, an advocacy group,” chairman Billy House of Bloomberg News said, according to a Politico report....

  4. West Palm Beach officials worry Trump visits make city a target


    The following is from the Sun-Sentinel:

    Hackers have attempted to breach West Palm Beach's computers, and President Donald Trump's visits to the Weekend White House could continue to make the city a target, Mayor Jeri Muoio said Monday.

    The FBI is investigating, and more than $150,000 has been spent on the city’s information technology system so far in response to the attempted breaches, she said....

  5. Sen. Bill Nelson comes out against Trump's Supreme Court pick Gorsuch


    WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson today said he will vote against Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and supports a filibuster.

    “Deciding whether to confirm a president’s nominee for the highest court in the land is a responsibility I take very seriously,” Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, I have met with Judge Gorsuch, listened to the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and reviewed his record with an open mind. I have real concerns with his thinking on protecting the right to vote and allowing unlimited money in political campaigns. In addition, the judge has consistently sided with corporations over employees, as in the case of a freezing truck driver who, contrary to common sense, Judge Gorsuch would have allowed to be fired for abandoning his disabled rig during extreme weather conditions....

    Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson today said he will vote against Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and supports a filibuster.
  6. With 'Mar-a-Lago Act,' Democrats push Trump for transparency


    WASHINGTON — With President Trump scheduled to return to Florida next week, his sixth visit since taking office, Democrats are keeping up pressure on him to disclose any conflicts.

    A newly-introduced bill called the Mar-a-Lago Act would force the White House to provide visitor logs for Trump’s Palm Beach estate....

  7. Curbelo, Rutherford played it safe on Obamacare replacement


    WASHINGTON — Some of their responses came slowly, others right away. But each Republican member of Congress from Florida indicated their stance on the Obamacare replacement that imploded Friday.

    Except two.

    Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Miami and Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville refused to give a position....

    Rep. John Rutherford with Vice President Mike Pence
  8. House pulls health care bill


    WASHINGTON - The U.S. House will not vote on the health care bill today, a stunning development as the bill careened toward failure.

    All but two Florida Republicans signaled how they would have voted. Those who did not are Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville and Carlos Curbelo of Miami, who had voted to advance the legislation in committee, though it later changed.

    A Curbelo spokeswoman said: "He had not made a final decision because he was working with Senate offices to get assurances on increased tax credits for lower income Americans and with Administration officials on restoration of Florida’s Low Income Pool funding. It was clear to him the bill needed improvement and he was fairly certain that we would not be voting today."...

  9. With major vote coming, Florida Republicans divided on Obamacare replacement


    WASHINGTON - Hours before a dramatic vote on the GOP Obamacare replacement plan, Florida Republicans are a window into the divided party.

    Here is where thing stand.

    Matt Gaetz: Yes

    Neal Dunn: Yes

    Ted Yoho: No

    John Rutherford: (will not say)

    Ron DeSantis: No

    Bill Posey: No

    Daniel Webster: No...

  10. Will Bill Nelson filibuster Trump's Supreme Court pick?


    WASHINGTON - Democrats are lining up to oppose Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, but Florida Sen. Bill Nelson isn't saying where he stands.

    "Still undecided on both," Nelson's spokesman tells The Buzz on whether how he will vote or whether he supports growing Democratic calls for a filibuster.

    A filibuster, which New York Sen. Charles Schumer called for yesterday, would force Republicans to upend Senate rules to allow for a simple majority....

    President Trump and Neil Gorsuch
  11. Nelson, Rubio split votes as Senate moves to kill Internet privacy rules


    The Senate voted today to kill regulations that would prevent Internet providers from tracking and sharing personal data without consent, and Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio were on opposite sides.

    Nelson voted against the measure; Rubio voted for it.

    The Associated Press explains:

    The regulations would have required a company like Verizon to get approval before telling an advertiser what websites customers visited, what apps they used, their health and financial information, or their physical location. Under the regulations, many more people likely would have chosen not to allow their data to be shared than if they had to take an extra step of asking a company to stop sharing or selling their information....

  12. U.S. House won't vote on health care today


    WASHINGTON - Moments before GOP leaders announced a vote would not happen today, Florida Rep. Ted Yoho was calling for a breather.

    Emotions are too high, the Gainesville Republican said on MSNBC. "Back up, do a pause, let people calm down ..."

    Yoho is a Freedom Caucus member and met with President Trump today at the White House. He wants to strip the bill of the essential health benefits mandated under Obamacare....

  13. Yoho, DeSantis at Freedom Caucus meeting with Trump


    WASHINGTON - At least two Florida Republicans, Reps. Ted Yoho and Ron DeSantis, are at the White House at this hour meeting with President Trump on plans to change the American Health Care Act.

    A photo of the Freedom Caucus meeting shows Yoho and DeSantis joining a standing ovation for Trump. But will the deeply conservative caucus extract more changes to the bill? And will those changes turn off more mainstream Republicans?...

    Freedom Caucus members meeting with President Trump
  14. A Florida Republican frets party squandering opportunity on health care


    "If we don't pass this out of the House, this is the beginning of the end for us as a Republican Party," U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross said, predicting voters will exact revenge on lawmakers who have campaigned against the Affordable Care Act — and taken dozens of symbolic votes against it — but falter now that they have the power to do something real.

    "I would love to do more," Ross told the Tampa Bay Times. "But I can't go home with nothing. This process never gives you the perfect product. It's like a marriage, there's a give and take. So to my ultra conservative friends, I get frustrated because I think they may have some sense of ignorance to the process."...

    Rep. Dennis Ross in Washington
  15. With GOP health care bill teetering, Florida Rep. Dennis Ross worries failure will splinter party

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — Amid the bustle of afternoon votes, Rep. Dennis Ross came bounding around the corner with news. "We're getting closer. Neal Dunn is now on board," he said, referring to a fellow Florida Republican House member.

    Ross and other vote wranglers have been furiously tracking support for the Obamacare replacement bill. More accurately, they've been sizing up the opposition, which is coming from factions within the Republican Party. Concerns focus on policy disputes and fears that the bill is being rushed; it passed through key committees even before the traditional cost analysis....

    Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, is senior deputy whip.