Make us your home page

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. Florida reaction to Trump's budget proposal: Blah


    President Trump's budget proposal brought negative reviews from Florida Democrats and little reaction from Republicans, a telling sign of overall lack of enthusiasm.

    "This plan cuts some of our most critical programs including Medicaid and food stamps," said Sen. Bill Nelson. "It also cuts funding to agencies such as NIH, which is working to find cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s, and the EPA, which protects our environment. Slashing these vital programs will hurt millions of hardworking families. We should be focused on helping people, not hurting those who need our help the most.”...

  2. Brian Ballard's lobbying shop in Washington get a big contract


    Ballard Partners, the Florida lobbying firm led by Brian Ballard, is quickly ramping up in Washington and just landed a high-profile contract: the government of Turkey.

    Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, who joined the firm in April, will lead the work and has years of experience dealing with American-Turkish issues. In 2000, he was a founding member of the Turkey Caucus....

  3. Rubio on latest Trump news: 'We have to confirm that that's what actually happened. And I'm not disputing that it did'


    Sen. Marco Rubio this morning suggested reports about President Donald Trump asking top intelligence officials to squelch the Russia investigation could hurt information sharing.

    "We have to confirm that that's what actually happened. And I'm not disputing that it did," Rubio said on CNN's New Day....

  4. Column: Trump beat Bush, Rubio but has become an 'establishment sellout'


    NYT’s Ross Douthat's Sunday column: Donald Trump, Establishment Sellout

    Yes, many of these elites have made terrible mistakes over the last 15 years without seeming to learn anything. Yes, Trump won in part because, unlike Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, he promised a new synthesis, a populist alternative, on domestic issues and foreign affairs alike....

  5. Haitians get a reprieve from Trump administration


    Haitians living in Florida, and the rest of the country, will be allowed to stay an additional six months, federal officials have decided.

    “This morning DHS called my office to inform us that Haiti’s TPS designation has received a six-month extension,” Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, said in a statement.

    TPS is short for temporary protected status and about 50,000 Haitians received it following the 2010 earthquake. The Trump administration was facing a deadline this week on whether to extend the status, which was set to expire in July....

  6. Nelson, Rubio want Trump to back off cuts to drug office


    Citing an opioid crisis “devastating Florida,” Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are asking the Trump administration to back off plans to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    “The opioid crisis is devastating Florida and the rest of the United States,” the lawmakers wrote to Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “In 2015, more than 52,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and 33,000 of those deaths involved opioids.”...

    A letter to the Office of Management and Budget
  7. Rubio on Trump: 'People got what they voted for'


    Marco Rubio says people shouldn't be surprised about the drama flowing from the White House.

    "I don't understand why people are that shocked," Rubio said Sunday on Face the Nation, after being asked if he agreed with Mitch McConnell there could be less drama. "This president ran a very unconventional campaign. I was there for a big part of it at the beginning alongside being one of his competitors. And that's what the American people voted for. And in essence, you know, this White House is not much different from the campaign....

  8. Rubio on taking a more 'forceful' stand than Trump on human rights


    Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday differed with President Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia, saying a more forceful stance on human rights is needed.

    "We are not here to lecture," Trump said. "We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership based on shared interests and values to pursue a better future for us all."...

    Sen. Marco Rubio is surrounded by reporters as he leaves a briefing of the full Senate by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, amid controversy over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, at the Capitol, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Washington.
  9. Jeb Bush: I told you Trump would be a 'chaos president'


    Jeb Bush today in Las Vegas:

    "When I ran for office, I said he is a chaos candidate and would be a chaos president. Unfortunately, so far chaos organizes the presidency right now."

    The former Trump rival said it appears the Trump administration is "living in the tyranny of the moment" instead of "executing on a clear agenda."

    More here from CNN....

  10. Trump backers in Florida: Protect Haitians


    Donald Trump supporters in Florida are urging him to extend a program allowing Haitians to stay in the U.S.

    "Our friends in the Haitian community need your help. We strongly urge you to instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to extend Temporary Protected Status to Haitian nationals living in the United States," reads a letter sent to the president. "The most recent extention is scheduled to expire July 22 2017, if not renewed by May 23, 2017. This would be a terrible mistake with dire consequences for the Haitian people."...

    A message to Donald Trump
  11. Trump not rushing to change Cuba policy


    From the Nuevo Herald:

    After much anticipation that an announcement on Cuba policy changes would be made no later than Saturday, President Donald Trump — in the midst of various political crises — has not decided what to do, officials said.

    The White House had considered holding an event May 20 to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban Republic, but Trump will begin an international trip on Friday and the review of the policy toward the island has not concluded, a spokeswoman told el Nuevo Herald....

  12. Rubio, Nelson praise pick of Robert Mueller to oversee Russia investigation


    Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson react to the news that Robert Mueller will be special counsel for the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

    Rubio: "Mr. Mueller is widely respected for his independence and professionalism. I have confidence that he will conduct a fair and thorough investigation. For the sake of the country, all parties must fully cooperate with his efforts that are focused on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This effort should in no way be allowed to impede the ability of the Senate Intelligence Committee to conduct and conclude its investigation into the same subject. It is my hope that these investigations will now move expeditiously.”...

  13. Marco Rubio leads Florida Republicans in cautious response to Trump controversy


    WASHINGTON — New controversy rocked the White House, but Sen. Marco Rubio focused on a different storm. "Sorry to be a nag but the 2017 Hurricane Season is almost here," he told Twitter followers. "Time to freshen up your hurricane kit."

    Replied Ana Navarro, a Miami Republican like Rubio and a CNN commentator: "Dear @marcorubio, 2 wks until hurricane season. This FL voter would appreciate u laser focus on Cat 5 storm in DC."...

    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami: Reserve judgment.
  14. Miami Congressman Carlos Curbelo raises impeachment - sort of


    From our interview with Rep. Carlos Curbelo this afternoon:

    “For anyone to attempt to influence or impede a federal investigation, that certainly could be construed as obstruction of justice. Again, this is an allegation. It doesn’t mean it happened. But obstruction of justice traditionally has been considered an impeachable offense by the congress.”

    Is it rising to that level? ...

  15. Gov. Scott: 'There's always going to be chaos and things in Washington like this'


    Gov. Rick Scott on Fox News today said Congress needs to focus on repealing and replacing Obamacare and the economy, not the issues coming from the White House

    "There’s always going to be chaos and things in Washington like this," Scott said.

    Scott agreed with Trump's decision to get rid of FBI Director James Comey. "We need an FBI that is nonpartisan."