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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. Senate confirms Florida's Alexander Acosta as Labor secretary


    WASHINGTON - The Senate moments ago confirmed Alexander Acosta of Florida to head the Labor Department.

    Both Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio joined the majority.

  2. Nelson, Democrats file bill to block Trump on drilling


    WASHINGTON - In a pre-emptive strike, Sen. Bill Nelson and other Democrats today filed legislation to block the Trump administration from opening up additional areas to offshore drilling.

    “Drilling near Florida’s coast poses a direct threat to Florida’s environment and multi-billion-dollar, tourism-driven economy,” Nelson said in a statement....

  3. Trump battles Nelson (and Rubio) over health care funding for Puerto Rico


    WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump has a new target: Sen. Bill Nelson and others trying to address a health care funding crisis in Puerto Rico.

    “The Democrats want to shut government if we don't bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!” Trump tweeted this morning. Last night he said, “Democrats are trying to bail out insurance companies from disastrous #ObamaCare, and Puerto Rico with your tax dollars. Sad!”...

  4. Rubio meets with St. Pete development group


    Sen. Marco Rubio continues to meet with Florida groups at a steady clip, and today he sat down with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

    To his left in the photo is former Tampa Bay Times journalist Joni James, now CEO of the group, a nonprofit "focused on promoting urban (sustainable) growth and redevelopment."

  5. Bill Nelson says Trump will face 'flood of opposition' to oil drilling move


    WASHINGTON - Sen. Bill Nelson on Wednesday vowed bipartisan opposition to a coming move by President Donald Trump to open up oil drilling off the Florida coast.

    "I hope he refrains from issuing this executive order, but if he does, this senator and a bipartisan delegation from Florida will fight," Nelson said on the Senate floor.

    Trump's order is expected Friday and details are still unclear, though White House officials signaled it will target a late Obama-era restriction on offshore drilling and gas exploration in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic....

    Sen. Bill Nelson
  6. Trump maintains favorability edge in Florida, poll shows


    More Floridians have a favorable view of President Donald Trump than an unfavorable view, according to a new poll.

    Firehouse Strategies, a Washington firm started by top former aides to Marco Rubio, found that 45 percent of Floridians have a favorable view vs. 41 percent who have an unfavorable view.

    Of four swing states (Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania), “Floridians are most bullish on Trump,” with 37 percent saying his presidency has been successful and 35 percent saying it’s unsuccessful....

  7. Rick Scott to appear at NRA forum with Donald Trump


    Gov. Rick Scott will appear at a NRA forum with President Donald Trump on Friday in Atlanta, according to organizers.

    Trump will deliver the keynote address at the National Rile Association Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum. Guest speakers include Scott, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Sens. Ted Cruz, David Perdue and Luther Strange and former Florida Rep. Allen West....

  8. Jeb Bush, Derek Jeter land the Marlins deal, according to reports


    The following is from the Washington Post:

    In consolidating their efforts earlier this month to purchase the Miami Marlins, Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter made for the ultimate political pairing - one titan of actual politics and one of baseball politics, the former governor of Florida and the most recognizable face in the game. The fact Bush was now a failed Republican presidential candidate and Jeter a retired player hardly mattered. If they could come up with the money, they were the frontrunners to land the Marlins....

  9. Group wants investigation into government promotion of Mar-a-Lago


    WASHINGTON - The interest group Common Cause wants an investigation into the promotion of Mar-a-Lago on State Department websites.

    "The ethics complaint concerns an article the State Department’s ShareAmerica website published profiling the history of the Trump property and describing the Palm Beach club—which doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 after his election—in glowing terms," the group said. "The article was subsequently circulated by multiple U.S. embassies, including on the website of the U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom and on the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Albania. Federal ethics rules prohibit government employees from endorsing 'any product, service or enterprise.'...

  10. In Florida, Trump set 100-day bar he now calls 'ridiculous'


    WASHINGTON - The White House this morning sent reporters an email titled “President Trump’s 100 Days of Historic Accomplishments,” the latest in an effort to proclaim victory in a benchmark Trump a few days earlier called “ridiculous.”

    Trump has also implied he didn’t establish a 100 day plan. “Somebody put out the concept of a hundred-day plan,” he told The Associated Press on Friday....

  11. State Department removes promotion of Trump's Mar-a-Lago


    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. State Department has removed its promotional posting about President Donald Trump's Florida resort, after a storm of ethics criticism Monday.

    In an April 4 blog post that was republished by several U.S. embassies abroad, Mar-a-Lago was described as "Trump's Florida estate," where he has hosted foreign leaders. "By visiting this 'winter White House,' Trump is belatedly fulfilling the dream of Mar-a-Lago's original owner and designer," the post said....

  12. Lack of enthusiasm for Jeb Bush prompted John Kasich to run, according to new book


    John Kasich's new book contains "little digs" toward Jeb Bush, per the Cincinnati Enquirer:

    They respected his money, all right, and the fact that he was theoretically competing with Kasich for people who were drawn to an establishment governor. But the book has little digs toward Bush.

    On Kasich's first trip to New Hampshire, early in 2015, former New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu told him: "Bush can't win here in New Hampshire."...

  13. Trump's oil drilling talk concerns Florida politicians


    As President Trump moves on an executive order reviewing oil regulations, bipartisan concern is flowing from Florida.

    "For years, politicians in Washington have tried to force drilling off Florida's beaches — and now President Trump is joining their club. I wonder how he'd like an oil rig off the coast of Mar-a-Lago?" Democrat Gwen Graham said in a Facebook post Monday, touting her role as a U.S. representative on legislation to ban drilling. "Democrats must stand up to Trump and fight to permanently ban drilling off our beaches."...

  14. Jeff Miller joins lobbying shop in Washington


    WASHINGTON - Former Rep. Jeff Miller has joined the Washington lobbying firm McDermott Will & Emery.

    A news release noted he was "an early supporter of President Trump" and has gotten to know Washington well over eight House terms.

    “Jeff’s knowledge of the Administration will be of great value to clients,” said Steve Ryan, partner and head of McDermott’s Government Strategies practice. “His congressional experience will enhance our ability to serve clients in the health care, defense and intelligence industries, and he will provide our government contracting clients with valuable insights and comprehensive solutions to a wide range of complex issues.”...

  15. SBA leader Linda McMahon to travel to Orlando for Hispanic business event


    WASHINGTON - Small Business Administration head Linda McMahon will travel to Orlando on Tuesday for a roundtable with Hispanic business owners.

    McMahon, of WWE fame, was confirmed by the Senate in February.

    From a news release:

    "The day will start with a tour of the National Entrepreneur Center (NEC) at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall and she will host a round table with Hispanic small business owners from across Central Florida. The round table is co-hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and Prospera (both entities lease space at the NEC). Adm. McMahon will dine at Cork and Fork, a local Orlando restaurant after the round table."...