Idaho's Labrador will miss consideration of 27 bills Wednesday campaigning for Romney in Florida

UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.

Raul Labrador will miss consideration of 27 bills on the House calendar Wednesday to campaign for Mitt Romney in Miami, said Jake Ball, his district director. But Labrador will take a late flight back to Washington, D.C., late Wednesday and be back for votes on Thursday and Friday.

Labrador leaves Idaho before dawn Wednesday to fly to Florida to help Romney appeal to Hispanic voters. "He'll be in Miami less than 24 hours," Ball said.

Original post:

Republican Rep. Raul Labrador told me Monday that he wants to help Mitt Romney as he appears on the most important Spanish-language media in the country Wednesday night, but won't do so if he can't get back to Capitol Hill in time for Thursday's votes.

"I don't want to miss two vote series in a row," Labrador said. The House convenes Thursday at 10 a.m. for morning business and noon for legislative business.

Romney is scheduled to appear in Miami at a Univision "Meet the Candidates" forum followed by a "Juntos con Romney" rally. Labrador is a leader in "Juntos con Romney." Labrador also said he's been asked to be nearby during Romney's interview with Univision's Jorge Ramos, and work the "spin room" afterward.

This morning, I took a look at the House floor schedule published by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Cantor lists 27 bills on Wednesday's calendar, including the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act, the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act, and the Border Security Information Improvement Act. Another measure would ban using public funds for party conventions and use the money for deficit reduction.

Labrador said he would be OK with missing Wednesday's votes, as long as he could be back early Thursday.

Thursday is important because the House could vote on the STEM Jobs Act of 2012, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The measure, which is scheduled for 40 minutes of debate, is Smith's version of Labrador's H.R. 3146, the American Innovation and Education Act. Labrador's bill would amend immigration law to eliminate the foreign residency requirement for foreign students with a master's or higher degree in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM degree) from a U.S. institution of higher education and a job offer from a U.S. employer.

Cantor's schedule doesn't specify whether the vote on STEM will be Thursday or Friday, instead listing it as one of three bills up for votes Thursday or Friday.

Asked if he could miss a vote on a bill he's cosponsoring, Labrador said, "No, I can't. I'm pretty excited about that one."

Labrador conceded on Monday that his Democratic opponent, Jimmy Farris, has a point in his criticism that Labrador's absence from House votes -- 4.7 percent -- is twice the rate of the typical congressman and three times that of Labrador's three predecessors.

The congressman said he'd have his staff let me know whether he'd be in Florida or not today. I'll update this post when I hear back.

UPDATE, with news release from Labrador's office on STEM Jobs Act, sent my way at 11 a.m.:


Bill eliminates random diversity visa lottery, addresses high-tech employment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador has introduced the STEM Jobs Act in conjunction with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06). The legislation eliminates layers of bureaucracy in the visa process so that legal foreign students with advanced degrees from American universities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields can accelerate their transition into the American workforce when offered jobs from U.S. employers in high-tech fields.

The STEM Jobs Act eliminates the current diversity visa lottery program, which grants 55,000 visas at random, and makes those visas available to STEM graduates. The overall number of visas allocated will not be increased.

“The future of our economy is in the STEM fields,” Labrador said. “New printers from Hewlett Packard, new semiconductors from Micron and new phones from Apple all rely on retaining the world’s best and brightest students and harnessing their ingenuity to create jobs here in America. Even in an economic downturn, there aren’t enough U.S.-born graduates to meet the needs of high-tech employers. Right now foreign-born students are benefitting from our education system and then going home to compete with us. This legislation allows us to retain their skills and innovation. According to the American Enterprise Institute, every immigrant with an advanced STEM degree creates two to three new American jobs. We are replacing a broken, inefficient visa program with one that works, rewards innovation, and means jobs for our economy.”

House Majority Floor Leader Eric Cantor (VA-07) praised Labrador’s work on the STEM Jobs Act.

“Congressman Labrador has been instrumental in crafting this vital piece of legislation that will keep the best and brightest from around the world in the United States, and create jobs,” Cantor said. “America has always been a country where anyone from anywhere has a fair shot at earning success, and the STEM bill is part of that commitment to remove barriers, build a first-class workforce and make sure that the U.S. continues to compete in the global marketplace. This has long been a priority of ours, and I’m thrilled we’re taking action on it this week.”

The STEM Act solves a problem both parties have addressed. President Obama and Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney have both spoken of the need to reform high-tech immigration. A letter signed by more than 150 university leaders from all 50 states and sent to congressional leaders and the White House details support for visa reform and the need to retain high-tech graduates with advanced degrees. Boise State University President Robert Kustra is one of the signatories.

“The STEM Jobs Act makes our immigration system smarter by allowing the United States to retain the most talented foreign graduates of American universities in STEM fields,” Chairman Smith said. “These graduates have the ability to boost our economic growth and spur job creation for American workers and I thank Congressman Labrador for his work and invaluable support of this bill.”

The STEM Jobs Act builds on Labrador’s American Innovation and Education Act, introduced in October 2011.

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Sounds like a blessing

The way Labrador votes, we'd all be much better off if he never showed up in Congress again.

good job

Way to go Popkey.

I knew you could find something TODAY to target against the GOP and think that this 'nothing' is really something of an issue.


Any American's highest duty is to defeat Obama.

as if

as if there's any difference who sits in the white house.

So you aren't voting then?


You fry wants with that?


One party starts two unwinnable wars, causes the longest recession in our history, and continues to argue for more tax breaks for the rich, while the other pa$$es health care reform. Doesn't seem the same to me.


I'm confused which party you are referring to?

Is it the Clinton party that left the AQ unchecked after several embassy bombings and the first WTC along with the repeal of Glass-Steagal Act?
Or is it just the CONSUMER DEBT of the 1990s (Clinton sytle) that caused this all?

Clinton's Treasury Secretary- Robert Rubin spent a career at Goldman Sachs. Who was he looking out for?

Check your foreign policy updates HC.

Saddam is no longer a dictactor- he had a trial. Remember that?
Do you remember the news about Kuwait? No more Iraqi missiles locking on US planes.

Afghanistan has elections and girls go to school there now.

Looks a lot like 2 big wins to me. Too bad so many are stupid and don't value such efforts.


Health care reform?
Where's the reform?
It still costs $5,000 to fix a broken bone. Heart surgery? forget about it!
2014? If you're sill alive then.

AQ? BCS terrorist?


You fry wants with that?


While it is true Clinton did sign the bill in Nov 1999 doing away with Glass Stegall the bill was the Gramm-Bliley-Leach Bill all three of them Republican Senators in a Republican controlled Senate passed it. Both Idaho senators Craig and Crapo voted in favor of it.

Must be a slow day

Yea...Good job Popkey. Congressman Labrador has missed apx. 1% of the house votes during his term, and your are trying to drum up a non-issue. I think it is outstanding that he is getting recognition and is in-demand on the national level.

Rate of absence is 4.7 percent; Labrador says that's a problem

I don't know where you got 1 percent, but the story has the correct figures. The congressman says he wants to do better and considers the criticism legit.

Here's the link, which also also is above, in the first sentence:

Thanks for reading,

Dan Popkey

Phone patch...

The telephone was invented in 1877 as has been improved apon so much that you do not need wires and can use it in a desert outhouse while watching TV.


You fry wants with that?

Waste of Time

It is over Raul, Romney has put his Johnson and Murphy Foot in his mouth one too many times...stay in DC and do some good for your folks in Idaho...
Obama! Obama!

Labrador respect for his

Labrador respect for his elected office responsibility to Idaho is disgraceful.

Labrador is obviously has chosen the jet set traveling and campaigning for man whose polices as president will severely hurt all Idahoans and crush the freedoms of Idaho women.

The other question Idahoans must know is who is paying for Labrador GOP jet set campaigning.

Why, his Capitol One miles, OF COURSE.


You fry wants with that?