Rep. Stearns (R-FL)
Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns served as representative for Florida’s 6th District from 1989 until 2013. While in Congress, Stearns was a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. And he was on the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, and Communications and Technology subcommittees, and chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee.
Along with 151 other Republicans, Stearns voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that made many of the Bush administration’s tax cuts permanent. The bill passed the House 257-167 in 2013.
During his 24 years in Congress Stearns voted along party lines 91 times. This ranked him 163rd among the 242 House Republicans as of Nov. 2011. Examples of him working with Democrats include an investigation carried out with Democrat Henry Waxman to question Google’s privacy practices.
In 2012, Stearns led the investigation into Planned Parenthood. His focus was to determine whether or not federal funds were used to pay for abortions. The Atlantic notes that using federal funds to pay for abortion is technically illegal, but that by giving any money to Planned Parenthood it is impossible to tell, and therefore arguably irrelevant, whether federal funds directly pay for abortions.
While serving on the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, Stearns investigated whether the White House improperly intervened by providing funds for Solyndra, given that the company was close to filing for bankruptcy.
Stearns served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War as an aerospace engineer in satellite reconnaissance. By the end of his military service he was a Captain. In Congress, Stearns was an advocate for military veteran policies. He supported an increase in Veteran Affairs funding, and the VA’s CARES plan. CARES aimed to develop regional healthcare facilities and expand the VA hospital in Gainesville.
A D.C. native, Stearns was born on 16 April 1941. Following High School, he went to George Washington University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He received a degree in electrical engineering.
After serving in the Air Force, Stearns worked for CBS Inc and Kotula advertising company before he was elected to Congress. He then started his own company, Stearns House, Inc. which managed, operated and owned motels and restaurants in Florida.
Following his congressional tenure, Stearns is now the executive director of APCO Worldwide’s Washington, D.C. office, and he is a member of APCO’s International Advisory Council.