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Pence: Candidates must run ‘as Republicans’ to win in 2024



NEW YORK (AP) — Former Vice President Mike Pence ramped up his criticism of fellow Republicans at a GOP donor summit Friday night, trying to paint his would-be rivals as straying from party principles as he inches closer to an expected presidential run.

Speaking at a Republican National Committee donor summit in Nashville, Pence planned to criticize former President Donald Trump and others who have questioned the war in Ukraine and oppose entitlement reform and further curbs on abortion rights. He argued the party will be better served by candidates who espouse more traditional GOP views, according to excerpts shared by aides ahead of his remarks.

“It’s becoming clearer every day that the upcoming Republican primaries will not just be a contest of candidates but a conflict of visions,” Pence was expected to tell donors. “One vision grounded in traditional Republican principles, and another vision driven by the promise of winning at the expense of our highest ideals.”

He said the party’s route to victory rests on a “well-worn path” it has “traveled for the better part of half a century,” including support for strong national defense, limited government and “traditional” social values.

“We will win if we run boldly as Republicans,” he was expected to add. “We will lose if we run away from that proven American agenda.”

Pence is widely expected to launch a campaign for the White House in the coming weeks that will put him in direct competition with his former boss, who is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

Pence, who was a loyal lieutenant to Trump in the White House, has spent the years since he left office distancing himself from the former president. That has included criticizing Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol building as Pence was presiding over the certification of President Joe Biden’s win. Trump was furious with Pence for refusing to go along with his unconstitutional scheme to overturn the results, and the two have been at odds ever since.

In his speech at the retreat, Pence continued to tacitly criticize Trump as well as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, another likely candidate, saying the party must “resist the politics of personality and the lure of populism unmoored to timeless conservative values.”

“If 2022 taught us anything, it’s that candidates that were focused on the challenges facing American families did well. But candidates focused on the past, on litigating the last election, did not do well,” he was expected to add. “Elections are always about the future. To win in 2024, the Republican Party must be the party of the future.”

The comments came hours after both men spoke at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Pence’s home state of Indiana, where Pence was greeted with a smattering of boos from the crowd. It was a reflection of lingering animosity from Trump’s loyal base, which continues to harbor resentments over Pence’s handling of the 2020 election.

Trump, who will address the donor summit in Nashville Saturday, took a dig at Pence from the NRA stage, telling the crowd he hoped they’d given the former vice president a warm introduction. Still, he called Pence a “nice” and “good man.”

Pence, in his remarks, was expected to continued to criticize those in his party who have questioned U.S. support for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. “Joe Biden wants to cut defense spending. But for some reason, so do some prominent Republicans,” he was expected to say.

DeSantis last month walked back his characterization of the war as a “territorial dispute” following criticism from a number of fellow Republicans who expressed concern about the potential 2024 presidential candidate’s dismissive description of the conflict.

Pence was also expected to call out Trump for opposing reforms to Social Security and Medicare, such as increasing the age of qualification — once a standard GOP talking point.

“Sadly, our former president has echoed Biden’s pledge ‘not to touch’ Social Security. I think we owe my three granddaughters better,” he was planning to say.

He was also expected to criticize those in his party who are shying away from further restrictions on abortion rights following a series of GOP losses.

“On the heels of the biggest pro-life victory in history, too many Republicans want to run away from the cause that has animated our party for half a century,” he was going to say, according to the excerpts.

Trump has warned that the party risks fallout from tight abortion restrictions, while DeSantis late Thursday signed a 6-week ban into law.

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Congressman Maxwell Frost to join President Joe Biden on Office of Gun Violence Prevention Announcement



WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10) released a statement following President Biden’s announcement that the Administration will heed Frost’s and the gun violence prevention movement’s calls for the creation of a federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention to advance common sense policy and coordinate prevention efforts across federal agencies.

The move by President Biden comes months after Frost, the former Organizing Director at March for Our Lives, joined forces with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and gun violence prevention organizations to introduce a bill that would create the first ever federal office to establish a coordinated response to the gun violence epidemic that is claiming over 100 lives a day. Rep. Frost will join President Biden for the official announcement Friday afternoon at the White House.

“As a life-long organizer and survivor of gun violence, I introduced legislation to create the first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention back in March because I refuse to ever accept that the senseless gun violence destroying our communities is normal,” said Rep. Maxwell Frost. “Today I am thrilled that President Biden has answered our call. This office is the first critical step to tackling gun violence head on and ensuring that the federal government can lead in the fight to live in a world where we never lose another life because of a gun. This is a win for the gun violence prevention movement and a win for the American public.”

“The newly announced Office of Gun Violence Prevention is a serious and bold step in the right direction for public safety. Local governments know all-too-well the incredible toll of gun violence in our communities. This federal initiative will provide invaluable data, analysis, insight, and support to local law enforcement and community leaders seeking real solutions to the national epidemic of gun violence. This breakthrough is the direct result of Congressman Maxwell Frost’s tireless advocacy. I want to thank him and President Biden for their commitment to keeping our communities safe,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

“This office is going to have a real, tangible impact on marshaling the resources of the federal government,” said David Hogg, co-founder of March For Our Lives. “But there’s also tremendous symbolic power here. March For Our Lives has been calling for this office since 2019, and it was one of our key campaigns that we worked on in 2021 back when Rep. Maxwell Frost was our Organizing Director. From standing in the cold outside the White House to demand this office, to Rep. Frost’s first bill calling for its creation, and now to the President acknowledging our demands and formally establishing an office of gun violence prevention, this victory shows the power of young people flexing our organizing and political muscle. With our power, we are going to end gun violence.”

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Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Implementation of Florida’s Prescription Drug Reform Act



File - Governor Ron DeSantis. Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and members of the Florida Cabinet approved rules to implement several provisions of the Prescription Drug Reform Act (SB 1550). The rules approved today increase accountability among pharmaceutical middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). As signed by the Governor earlier this year, SB 1550 institutes the most comprehensive reforms to Florida’s prescription drug market in state history. Additional information on the bill can be found here.
“We are committed to making Florida’s prescription drug market the most transparent and accountable in the nation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “For too long, PBMs and Big Pharma have made extraordinary windfalls by operating behind closed doors deciding which prescriptions are covered, where they can be purchased, and how much they cost. These rules will continue our efforts to lower prescription costs and make corporations responsible to the patients they serve.”
Rules approved by the Governor and Cabinet today include all application forms for PBMs seeking to operate in Florida after December 31, 2023. Any PBM that attempts to continue operating in Florida on or after January 1, 2024, that has not been approved as an insurance administrator will be subject to fines totaling $10,000 per violation per day.
Following today’s Cabinet meeting, the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) formally sent correspondence to all PBMs currently operating in Florida reinforcing the updated requirements of Florida Law. OIR also issued additional information to all stakeholders outlining the method by which PBMs must report appeals from network pharmacies and pharmacists and the forms for health plans and payors to annually attest compliance with Florida law. More information on these announcements can be found here.
This summer, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation initiated rulemaking to implement additional provisions of SB 1550 to require Big Pharma to provide notice when increasing the cost of prescription drugs. Prescription drug manufacturers must disclose all price hikes that result in a 15% increase within a calendar year or 30% increase within a three-year period both on the effective date of the increase and through an annual cumulative report citing the contributing factor for the reported increases.

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Florida Judge Finally Rejects Governor DeSantis’ Congressional Map as Unconstitutional After House Floor Sit-In



State Reps. Travaris McCurdy (D-Orlando), and Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) sit on the Florida Seal in protest as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. State Rep. Daisy Morales (D-Orlando), joins the protest, holding a sign. The session was halted on the protest. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)
State Reps. Travaris McCurdy (D-Orlando), and Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) sit on the Florida Seal in protest as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. State Rep. Daisy Morales (D-Orlando), joins the protest, holding a sign. The session was halted on the protest. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) — On Saturday, a Florida judge ruled that a congressional map put forward by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) was unconstitutional and ordered the state legislature to redraw the boundaries.

Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh found that the redrawn districts authorized by DeSantis in northern Florida violated the state constitution’s Fair Districts Amendments by “dismantling a congressional district that enabled Black voters to elect their candidates of choice under the previous plan.” See florida-ruling.

The district, which stretches across much of Florida’s northern border with Georgia, was previously held by Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat who lost in the 2022 midterm election after the redistricting process.

In the previous district, 46.5 percent of the voting age population was Black. Under the new map, the four districts in the area are 23.1 percent, 15.9 percent, 31.7 percent and 12.8 percent Black.

The map approved in the 2020 redistricting cycle was submitted to the Florida legislature by DeSantis’s office, after the governor rejected two earlier maps passed by state lawmakers.

Lawyers for both the Florida House and Senate conceded in court that the map did not satisfy the non-diminishment requirement in the state constitution. Only the Florida secretary of state argued otherwise, according to Saturday’s ruling.

In 2022, NBC News also covered the sit-in, reporting that Florida Democratic state lawmakers shut down the state’s special legislative session for more than an hour with a pray-in and a sit-in at the center of the House floor chamber.

The surprising act of defiance began a little before noon, when Rep. Yvonne Hinson went over her allotted speaking time and had her microphone cut off, prompting other Black legislators to stand without being recognized and gather in the center of the chamber, showing off shirts that read “Stop the Black Attack” and sitting on the state seal on the blue carpet.

In all, four Black legislators and a Hispanic representative — Hinson, Angie Nixon, Travaris McCurdy, Felicia Robinson and Daisy Morales — occupied the center of the chamber as bewildered Republicans looked on.

Rep. Daisy Morales, an Orlando Democrat, held a sign that read: “Legislators serve the people. Not your party.”

The decision marks the latest blow to new congressional maps in Southern states.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Republican-drawn map in Alabama, ruling that it violated the Voting Rights Act. In a 5-4 decision, the court affirmed a lower ruling that ordered the GOP-led state to create a new map with an additional majority-Black district.

This is an ongoing story. Bookmark and follow Florida National News for more updates.

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