mario diaz-balart

Diaz-Balart Gumming Up Obama's Cuba Thaw Plans

Diaz-Balart prefers a low-key style of legislating through the appropriations process (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is not a quiet man. The gregarious Florida Republican, known for sudden eruptions of laughter and dramatic gesticulations, is hard to miss in a crowd. But when it comes to legislating, the seven-term lawmaker blends in, working methodically, usually behind the scenes, to put his stamp on policy.  

That's how the son of Cuban exiles has become one of the Obama administration's biggest obstacles to normalizing relations with the communist nation 90 miles south of Florida. President Barack Obama's Cuba initiative hits close to home for the Miami lawmaker — his storied political family was forced to abandon the island after Fidel Castro's 1959 takeover.  

Diaz-Balart: 'Boehner's Never Told Me' Immigration Overhaul Is 'Dead'

Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., will still seek a vote on immigration this year (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Did Speaker John A. Boehner really tell President Barack Obama that the House wouldn't vote on an immigration overhaul bill this year? Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart intimated on Monday afternoon that he doubts Boehner would have, with such finality, closed the door to moving forward on such legislation, as Obama suggested in a national address.  

"Boehner's never told me that it's dead," Diaz-Balart said in a phone interview with CQ Roll Call. "What Boehner's been telling me is what he's always been telling me, that clearly the American people don't trust Obama to enforce the law." In a statement following the president's announcement, Boehner stopped well short of calling the president a liar, but did not explicitly confirm that he has killed the issue this year.