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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 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.

  2. 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
  3. 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....

    Karen Clay, 64, operates a ventilator to help her son Michael Phillips, 36, in their Tampa home.
  4. 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
  5. 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....

  6. Florida prayers for 'American hero' John McCain

    Blog

    Tributes and prayers for John McCain:

    ...

    John McCain, right, in Pensacola
  7. 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.

  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Bill Nelson: time to work on bipartisan fixes to Obamacare

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - With the Senate health care bill in tatters, Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday it's time to work on bipartisan fixes to the Affordable Care Act, and floated an idea he contends could reduce premiums in Florida by13 percent.

    "I'm working with Susan Collins right now," the Democrat told reporters. "In the case of the insurance company that has a catastrophic loss, you create a reinsurance find. You insure the insurance company against the catastrophe. Same thing we did in Florida on hurricanes."...

    Sen. Bill Nelson talks with reporters on Tuesday
  11. Endangered dept: Carlos Curbelo raising $54,000 per week

    Blog

    Issue One, a nonprofit political reform group, breaks down second quarter fundraising with some vivid results: A typical House member in a competitive race raised roughly $27,000 per week.

    At the top of the list is Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami: $54,000 per week, or nearly $7,800 per day. 

    Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Winter Park, raised more than $31,000 per week, or $4,500 daily....

    2nd quarter fundraising
  12. Declaring 'Obamacare is broken,' Rubio says he supports simple repeal

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday he’ll support a simple repeal of Obamacare, if such a vote comes to pass now that the Senate bill has imploded.

    “I believe Obamacare is broken. I believe it’s bad for our country,” the Florida Republican said in his daily Facebook Live talk from his office.

    But it’s doubtful a simple repeal without a replacement could gain enough support to pass....

  13. FEC sues David Rivera, wants $486K in fines over secret 2012 campaign cash

    Blog

    The following is from the Miami Herald:

    Former U.S. Rep. David Rivera funneled at least $69,000 in secret campaign cash to a ringer candidate in the 2012 congressional election, says the Federal Election Commission — which wants the Republican ex-congressman to pay $486,000 in civil penalties.

    The FEC sued Rivera in Miami federal court Friday, seeking the penalties over the unreported money Rivera and Ana Alliegro, a GOP political consultant, used five years ago to prop up straw candidate Justin Lamar Sternad against Joe Garcia in the Democratic primary. Garcia ultimately defeated Rivera in the 2012 general election....

  14. Watchdog group wins access to Mar-a-Lago visitor records

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - A watchdog group says it has secured access to visitor logs for Mar-a-Lago and will release them by early September.

    Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington brought legal action along with the National Security Archive and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University against the Department of Homeland Security.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Trump retreats to Mar-a-Lago over and over, but at what cost?...

    President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach.
  15. Bill Nelson goes after Gov. Scott on climate change

    Blog

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Bill Nelson on Monday criticized his likely 2018 rival Rick Scott during a Senate floor speech on climate change.

    "Just last month in the state of Florida, the Florida Legislature passed and the governor signed into law a bill that allows any resident of the state, regardless of whether or not they have a student in school, can challenge what is being taught in the public schools," Nelson said. "So, if a single resident objects to a certain subject that students are being taught having to do with science -- a subject such as what's happening in the climate and the changes and the fact that the sun's rays come in and reflect off the earth and go back, reflect out and radiate the heat back into space. But when you start putting in what are known as the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane up there, they suddenly act as a ceiling, a greenhouse gas ceiling having a greenhouse effect -- trapping the heat, causing the earth to heat up."...