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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

Email: leary@tampabay.com

Blog: The Buzz

Twitter: @LearyReports

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  1. Rubio defends Jeff Sessions as Trump attacks

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday joined conservatives coming to the defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is under attack by President Trump.

    "Served with Jeff Sessions for 6 yrs. Always honest & transparent. When he's with you no better ally, when against you, tough adversary," Rubio wrote on Twitter.

    He said the Sessions "caricature" is created by those who don't know him. "Even when we disagreed on immigration I saw his fairness & kindness,' Rubio said....

    Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump
  2. Rubio helps GOP secure votes to proceed on health care debate

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans secured enough votes to proceed to debate on health care proposals, with Marco Rubio of Floirda joining in.

    Rubio's vote was never in doubt. The vote hung in the balance as Sens. Ron Johnson and John McCain were not around. They eventually showed and both voted to proceed.

    Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were the only Republican "no" votes.

    Despite the partisanship, both parties erupted in applause as the sight of McCain, who returned after brain surgery. Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson both clapped along, smiling....

  3. Bob Graham says Trump appears to be pushing Jeff Sessions aside to get at Robert Mueller

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - President Trump's attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions is "unseemly" and without precedent, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham said this morning. 

    “I think that if the reason for attacking Sessions, asking him almost bluntly to resign, is in order to appoint someone who would then fire Bob Mueller as the independent prosecutor, that's going to put tremendous pressure on the congressional committees who are conducting parallel policy investigations,” said Graham, former Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee....

    Former Sen. Bob Graham on CNN
  4. Charlie Crist a top freshman fundraiser

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Florida Rep. Charlie Crist leads all freshmen in fundraising this year, according to an analysis.

    UPDATE: Roll Call updated its story with a correction to show that Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., is the freshmen leader, edging Crist.

    The correct number for Crist is $1.3 million while Gottheimer raised $1.6 million.

  5. Rubio to headline Seminole County GOP dinner

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio will headline the Seminole County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner on Aug. 22, according to a release.

    Tickets start at $150.

    Sen. Marco Rubio to headline dinner
  6. Jeb Bush: Anthony Scaramucci will help Trump

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Before he discovered unyielding love for Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, was a Jeb Bush man.

    "Jeb has the forward-looking vision and executive experience to lead our country and ensure our economy grows at its full potential,” Scaramucci said in September 2015 after joining Bush’s national finance commiteee. He had initially been with Scott Walker....

    Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director
  7. Rubio confident GOP will pass health care bill

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he's confident the GOP will eventually pass a health care bill.

    "I still believe we're going to get something done. I want to get this done right but I also want to get it done in a timely fashion," he said Friday on Fox News.

  8. As Rubio avoids public settings on health care, disabled Tampa man's story gets attention

    Blog

    Michael Phillips was hunting demons Monday night when the news broke: The Senate health care bill was dying.

    He ditched World of Warcraft for MSNBC and texted his mom in the next room — "Yay!"

    Phillips is severely disabled from a rare genetic disease that doctors thought would end his life before his first birthday. But the 36-year-old Tampa resident is one of the forces that upended the GOP's seven-year mission of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, his story carried on TV, social media and in the Capitol itself....

    Michael Phillips at home in Tampa with his mother, Karen Clay
  9. Disabled Tampa man takes his story to center of health care debate

    National

    Michael Phillips was hunting demons Monday night when the news broke: The Senate health care bill was dying.

    He ditched World of Warcraft for MSNBC and texted his mom in the next room — "Yay!"

    Phillips is severely disabled from a rare genetic disease that doctors thought would end his life before his first birthday. But the 36-year-old Tampa resident is one of the forces that upended the GOP's seven-year mission of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, his story carried on TV, social media and in the Capitol itself....

    Michael Phillips, 36, has spinal muscular atrophy and is confined to his bed. Here, he is photographed at his Tampa house on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Michael can breath only with the help of a medical ventilator.  He and his family have been closely watching the upcoming health care vote and how it would affect them.
  10. Trump again seeking foreign workers for Mar-a-Lago

    Blog

    President Donald Trump’s Florida businesses are again in search of inexpensive foreign workers, raising questions during a week the White House has themed “Made in America.”

    U.S. Department of Labor records posted Thursday show Mar-a-Lago is seeking 35 waiters and waitresses, 20 cooks and 15 housekeepers, with work to begin in October and run through the middle of 2018....

    Mar-a-Lago
  11. A new 'Dream Act' lacks a prominent backer: Marco Rubio

    Blog

    WASHINGTON – A bipartisan plan to protect Dreamers from deportation was released Thursday but lacks an influential supporter: Sen. Marco Rubio.

    “I’m not prepared to sign on to that legislation right now because I think there might be a better approach,” Rubio told the Tampa Bay Times.

    The revised Dream Act released today by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would protect some 800,000 immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents. It would provide a path to citizenship....

  12. Florida prayers for 'American hero' John McCain

    Blog

    Tributes and prayers for John McCain:

    ...

    John McCain, right, in Pensacola
  13. Rubio gets security detail

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio was seen today with a security detail, though the reason is unknown.

    Rubio's office referred questions to the Capitol Police. A police spokeswoman said, "We do not comment on how we carry out our protective responsibilities for Congress."

    The detail was noticed by an Associated Press reporter.

  14. Trump pressures Republican senators on health bill

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump scolded Republicans today for failing to pass health care and implored them to try again.

    The president, who yesterday said Obamacare should be left to "fail," said the Senate should remain in session during the planned August break to repeal and replace the law.

    "We can repeal it. But the best is repeal and replace, and let’s get going," Trump said....

    President Trump greets Sen. Marco Rubio at the White House on Wednesday
  15. Rubio: Health care failure not Trump's fault

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio acknowledged defeat but said the war over Obamacare is not over.

    "We are going to repeal and replace Obamacare," he told reporters this morning. "Maybe not happen this week or next week but it's going to happen."

    Rubio also defended President Trump against criticism he did not do enough.

    “I just want to be fair to the president. He was told by numerous people: Let the Senate work it out and then you can come in at the end and help us close it, and he followed that advice and it didn’t work out. So I wouldn’t put that on him. I would put that on the fact that we have four, five, six people for different reasons are not prepared to support the proposals that are before us, and it’s disappointing. Republicans achieved a majority on this promise. …...

    Sen. Marco Rubio addresses the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute