With U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., expected to be a top target in November, both parties are already getting busy in South Florida.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) took aim at Curbelo on Thursday, accusing him of “saying one thing and doing the complete opposite” during his time in Congress. The DCCC noted that, on an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Curbelo showcased his role as a cosponsor of various gun control bills.
“I've already co-sponsored the Thompson-King legislation, which expands background checks and also expands rights, by the way, for those who are law-abiding citizens and responsible gun owners. After the Pulse night club shooting, I introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent those on the no fly no buy list from having instant access to dangerous weapons,” Curbelo told ABC. “After the Las Vegas shooting, I filed bipartisan legislation to ban bump stocks. What we need is congressional leaders, specifically in my party, to allow some of these bills to come to the floor for debate. There are a lot of Republicans who are prepared to support reasonable, common-sense gun safety laws, new laws, stronger laws that protect rights for responsible citizens, people who are responsible gun owners, but will prevent those who want to do harm to innocent people from obtaining these weapons.
“What members of Congress have to do is what I did on Friday, which is to co-sponsor legislation -- co-sponsorship is the most important currency,” Curbelo added.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., appeared on ABC with Curbelo. The two South Florida congressmen have often worked as allies, including leading the Climate Solutions Caucus together, but, on “This Week,” Deutch called on Curbelo not to vote for U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.,
“I can tell you what these kids have told me,” Deutch said. “They don’t want to hear about co-sponsoring. They want action. Carlos is a friend. Carlos also voted for Paul Ryan for speaker. It's not members of Congress, it's the Speaker of the House who refuses to bring these bills up. And the few times when we have a chance to actually introduce amendments to try to bring them to the floor, Carlos has voted against those. We need the opportunity to vote. We should -- he should talk to the speaker.
“He should come to the speaker with those kids and he should encourage Marco Rubio to come to Parkland and face these kids directly and he should encourage the president to come to Parkland,” Deutch added. “Stop using this for politics and come to Parkland and talk to these kids and their families and everyone who has suffered. That's what should happen. That's how change will come.”
“I agree with Ted that something has to happen,” Curbelo replied. “I'm one of those members of Congress who is trying to get us closer to that point where we can have bipartisan legislation that will help mitigate or prevent some of these types of situations in the future.”
The DCCC slammed Curbelo on Thursday for saying “cosponsorship is the most important currency in the Capitol,” noting that he said in 2017 that cosponsoring the DREAM Act would “have little, if any, effect.”
“If Congressman Curbelo thinks that co-sponsorship is the most important currency in Congress, then why did has he repeatedly refused to co-sponsor the bipartisan Dream Act ?” asked Javier Gamboa, a spokesman for the DCCC. “Instead of talking out of both sides of his mouth to avoid that day’s tough question, Carlos Curbelo owes an answer to all the DREAMers who thought he was working on their behalf. As his reelection becomes increasingly imperiled, Curbelo’s lies have become all too common, but it makes it no more acceptable.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) returned fire, taking aim at Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Curbelo. Pointing to a December Tweet from Mucarsel-Powell saying tax reform would “raise taxes on hardworking Americans” and Curbelo “led the charge,” Madison Anderson, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, weighed in on Thursday.
“I would just like to take a moment to personally thank Debbie Mucarsel-Powell for letting everyone know that Carlos Curbelo “led the charge” in passing tax reform,” Anderson noted. “Unfortunately for her, South Floridians are starting to get vocal about how they are benefiting from that crumby Armageddon tax reform bill that Curbelo led the charge on. Bet she didn’t see that one coming! I just hate when Biblically foretold end-times actually help the middle class keep more of their hard earned money.”
Anderson pointed to a Bloomberg article which noted that tax reform was popular in Homestead.