Examining Ron DeSantis’s Tenure in the House
And a new report about Havana syndrome frustrates Congress
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Today we’re examining Ron DeSantis’s tenure in the House of Representatives, where he served three terms from 2013 to 2018. We’ll also take a look at the latest developments on “Havana syndrome,” including some conversations with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee about what to make of the mysterious condition.
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Ron DeSantis has done quite a lot during his time as governor of Florida, and he intends to do a lot more. He is aggressively changing the state’s education system to root out perceived “wokeness” in academia, has taken an ostentatious stand against pandemic precautions while calling for investigations into vaccine makers, pushed for a variety of law-and-order measures, and more.
Before all that, though, he served in the U.S. House, where his career was typical of a rank and file Republican in the 2010s.
DeSantis’s career in the House, from 2013 to 2018, was relatively uneventful. He gave occasional floor speeches, cosponsored legislation, and even wrote some of his own bills, most of which were simple vehicles for partisan messaging. He joined a handful of far right members to launch the Freedom Caucus, the ultra-conservative working group that spearheaded much of the major disputes and dysfunction over the past decade in the House. He also mounted a brief run for Senate in 2016 but withdrew and ran for re-election to his House seat after Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign flopped, leaving Rubio in Congress.
More than half of the 41 pieces of legislation DeSantis cosponsored that became law were bills to rename post offices and federal buildings, establish commemorative coins, and bestow awards and honors of various kinds.
One bill DeSantis authored that did not make it to the president’s desk was the “Drain the Swamp Act.” An obvious nod to Trump’s 2016 slogan about fighting corruption, the bill included various provisions intended to obstruct the revolving door between American government and the influence-peddling industry, including a “lifetime post-employment ban on lobbying on behalf of foreign governments by former senior executive branch officials.”
But despite the bill’s strong stance on keeping American politics free of foreign influence, DeSantis has employed at least one foreign agent of his own since taking over the governor’s office: his spokeswoman Christina Pushaw, who retroactively registered with the Justice Department as having worked for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Some of DeSantis’s other legislative activities included tacking his name onto a variety of Republican messaging bills, such as: