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. Trump's executive order on offshore oil drilling sets up clash with Florida


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump acted Friday to expand offshore oil drilling, a move that could affect Florida, which seven years ago this month reeled from the BP oil catastrophe. Bipartisan opposition from state leaders was already building.

    The "America First Offshore Energy Strategy" could turn back bans in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as parts of the Gulf of Mexico....

    President Donald Trump signs an executive order in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Friday directing the Interior Department to begin review of restrictive drilling policies for the outer-continental shelf. [Associated Press]
  2. Rick Scott goes after Bill Nelson in NRA speech


    Gov. Rick Scott used a speech before the NRA today to attack probable 2018 rival Bill Nelson, saying the Democratic senator "has beared far to the left."

    "Look at the votes on this Supreme Court nominee and you can see that there are a number of senators who did not represent their states. These senators need to be retired," Scott said at the NRA conference in Atlanta, speaking after President Donald Trump....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks Friday at the National Rifle Association-ILA Leadership Forum in Atlanta.
  3. Trump signs order to open up more oil drilling, setting up clash with Florida


    WASHINGTON - President Trump this morning signed an executive order that could open up more oil drilling, setting up a confrontation with Florida politicians.

    The “America First Offshore Energy Strategy” calls for a review of drilling in the outer continental shelf. President Obama before leaving office put into place restrictions that closed off areas in the Arctic and Atlantic as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico....

    President Trump signed an executive order Friday that aims to expand offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, as well as assess whether energy exploration can take place in marine sanctuaries in the Pacific and Atlantic. The "America-First Offshore Energy Strategy" will make millions of acres of federal waters eligible for oil and gas leasing, just four months after former president Barack Obama withdrew these areas from possible development.
  4. The art of no deal: Trump lacking major ones in first 100 days

    State Roundup

    WASHINGTON — As he entered the race for president, Donald Trump pitched himself as the ultimate dealmaker.

    "Our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now," he said. "We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal."

    During the campaign, Trump promised to use business prowess to cut through the Washington morass and quickly deliver on trade, taxes and health care. There would be a "great, great wall," paid for by Mexico....

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
  5. Florida Republicans helped nix second attempt to overhaul Obamacare


    UPDATE: Late Thursday House leaders announced they would not attempt a vote on Friday, conceding insufficient votes.

    The tepid response from Florida, clear early in the day, portended that decision.

    WASHINGTON - Florida House Republicans aren't rushing to embrace a new Obamacare overhaul that would give states the option to back out of certain parts of the law....

    A patient is examined at a practice in Taylorsville, Ky., Jan. 15, 2014.
  6. 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.

  7. 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....

  8. 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!”...

  9. 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."

  10. 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
  11. 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....

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  14. 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.'...

  15. 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....