U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., who has garnered buzz as a potential challenger to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in 2018, started his fifth term in the U.S. House this week taking aim at outgoing President Barack Obama.
Rooney was sworn in on Tuesday as the 115th Congress convened and he promised to serve his constituents.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be elected to serve the people of Florida’s 17th District for the next two years,” Rooney said. “I am humbled by this opportunity and am reminded of the sacred trust the people have placed in me every time I put my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office. I am resolved to serve my constituents to the best of my ability, support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and make our country safer, freer and more prosperous.”
Then Rooney turned his focus towards Obama, criticizing his two terms in the White House.
“During his eight years as president of the United States, Barack Obama overstepped the constitutional limits placed on the executive branch," Rooney said. “He relied almost exclusively on executive action to implement his most contentious policies, enacted a disastrous health care law and created countless unnecessary regulations that have stifled American economic growth. On November 8th, the voters clearly demonstrated their dissatisfaction with these abuses of power by decisively electing a Republican majority to serve them in the House and the Senate and by electing a Republican president.”
Rooney was an early supporter of Marco Rubio but ended up as a vocal supporter Donald Trump’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination. In the last month of the election the Florida congressman withdrew his support, after recordings of Trump engaging in lewd conversation emerged. Despite that, on Tuesday, Rooney sounded an optimistic note about how Republicans will govern in Washington.
“Our nation faces many challenges but I look forward to working hard in this newly-unified government to promote and successfully enact a positive conservative agenda that protects individual liberties and responds to the will of the people,” Rooney said. “I am confident that Congress and the new administration will put our country back on the right track and rebuild Americans’ confidence in their elected officials.”
Rooney is not the only Republican looking at taking on Nelson in 2018. Gov. Rick Scott is also expected to challenge Nelson.
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