(CNS News) – During their only debate this election season, Florida Senate Candidates Senator Marco Rubio (R) and Congresswoman Val Demings (D) engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the common practice of introducing legislation to rename post offices.
Towards the beginning of the Oct. 18 debate, Rubio attacked Demings for her inability to sponsor legislation that was eventually enacted into law, although she did act to rename two post offices.
“There is not a single federal law on the books that she [Demings] sponsored and got passed, not one. I think she named two post offices, I’ve done that too, but she has not passed a single federal law,” said Rubio.
Demings responded, “Look, the senator has obviously resorted to lying, cheating, and trying to steal. But it’s embarrassing that you think that honoring a person who is a hero by naming a federal building after them is nothing. I think honoring a police officer who was killed in the line of duty is everything, senator. It matters to his family, it matters to his community, it matters to his department, it matters to me. I think it’s sad that it doesn’t really matter to you.”
“I did not say it didn’t matter, I said that that’s all she’s done,” responded Rubio.
“That’s not true,” Demings protested. “How gullible do you think Florida voters are?”
According to govtrack.us, Demings has been the primary sponsor of two pieces of legislation that have been enacted since she took office in 2017: H.R. 6591 and H.R. 5062.
In the 115Congress, Demings introduced H.R. 6591: “To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 501 South Kirkman Road in Orlando, Florida, as the ‘Napolean ‘Nap’ Ford Post Office Building.’”
In the 116Congress, Demings introduced H.R. 5062: “To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 9930 Conroy Windermere Road in Windermere, Florida, as the ‘Officer Robert German Post Office Building.’”
According to Demings’ website, Officer Robert German was killed in the line of duty on March 22, 2014 at 31 years-old, making him “the first Windermere Police Officer to die in the line of duty since the founding of the town.”
Given that sponsoring legislation that gets enacted is a rare feat in modern Congress, it is typical for members to introduce legislation to rename Post Offices or other federal buildings in their district since such bills usually pass with little opposition.
Members from both parties have consistently used this strategy as a means of increasing the number of bills they passed in Congress, to avoid telling their constituents that they have sponsored zero bills into law.
According to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report, “20% of all statutes enacted” during the 108th through 112th Congresses “were post office naming acts.”
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