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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. 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."...

  2. 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...

  3. 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
  4. 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....

  5. 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....

  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Miami
  9. Marco Rubio for governor? Nope, he says


    Sen. Marco Rubio says he won’t run for governor in 2018.

    “Me running for governor? No, I’m going to be in the Senate. Six years from now, I’ll either be running for re-election for the Senate or doing something different,” Rubio told the Shark Tank.

    The possibility has recently crossed our mind, too, and recall that Rubio promised as a presidential candidate not to run for re-election to the Senate....

  10. Rubio noncommittal on health care bill


    Sen. Marco Rubio refused Wednesday to take a position on the GOP's Obamacare replacement bill, saying it is a "work in progress."

    "By the time I give you a statement now, that bill could change in the next 12 hours and then I'm on record of supporting something that changed," Rubio said on Jacksonville radio station WOKV.

    He's right that the bill could change before the end of the day as Speaker Paul Ryan, President Trump and others are trying to rally enough votes. "They've got their own drama going on over there," Rubio said of the House....

  11. Florida House Republicans proceeding carefully on Obamacare replacement


    To understand the struggle GOP leaders face in getting votes for the American Health Care Act, consider this careful batch of Florida representatives:

    Rep. Brian Mast of Palm City: “No decision yet.”

    Rep. Neal Dunn of Panama City: “He hasn’t announced his decision.”

    Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach: No response from a spokeswoman....

  12. Mailers, Facebook ad press Sen. Nelson to support Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court


    A conservative group is dropping new mailers in Florida today to keep up pressure on Sen. Bill Nelson to support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

    This is the second direct mail piece from Concerned Veterans for America, and it makes a patriotic appeal, asking if Nelson will "protect the freedoms you fought to defend."

    "Each piece of mail directs citizens to call a CVA switchboard where they are informed about Neil Gorsuch’s record and then patched through to Senator Nelson’s office," the group said. It is also targeting Democratic senators in Indiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri, Colorado, Maine and Montana....

  13. On NASA, Bill Nelson on same page with Trump


    WASHINGTON - Some issues transcend partisan politics, so it was not surprising to see Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next to President Donald Trump this morning for the signing of the NASA Authorization Act.

    Sen. Marco Rubio also attended.

    The Oval Office this morning
  14. TV ad pushes Ros-Lehtinen to reject 'Ryancare'


    The conservative Club for Growth is using TV and digital ads to pressure key Republicans, including Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, to vote against "Ryancare." The ads were announced on the same day President Trump went to Capitol Hill to sell the legislation.

    “The RyanCare bill fails to keep President Trump’s promises of interstate competition and health insurance deregulation,” said Club for Growth president David McIntosh. “Republicans promised a bill that would stop Obamacare’s taxes and mandates, and replace them with free-market reforms that will increase health insurance competition and drive down costs. RyanCare fails on those counts and that’s why the Club is letting millions of constituents know that their Representative should reject RyanCare.”...

  15. Rubio once asked: 'Can this country afford to have a president under investigation by the FBI?'


    Days before the presidential election, Marco Rubio asked a crowd in Punta Gorda, "Can this country afford to have a president under investigation by the FBI?"

    "No," the audience shouted.

    That comment, captured by the liberal opposition research group American Bridge, was directed at Hillary Clinton. But it has a new meaning today as the FBI confirmed it has an ongoing investigation into Russian involvement in the election and possible ties to the Trump associates, which would include Roger Stone....