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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist: Show me the money



Charlie_and_mel Florida Gov. Charlie Crist made landfall Tuesday in wintry Washington, buttering up the guys who hold the federal purse strings to make sure money designated for the Everglades  actually arrives.

"It's already been put into the process, we just need to get it appropriated now," Crist said at the U.S. Capitol with Sen. Mel Martinez, his host for the Senate's weekly Republican Policy Luncheon. Other special guests included Vice President Dick Cheney and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The senators also heard from Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, whom Crist is backing.

Crist was in town to collect a national service award from the Friends of National Service, which honors politicians and private citizens who help expand opportunities for civic service. The group is allied with the agency that oversees AmeriCorps, which in Florida focuses on education, the environment and disaster relief.

He was also planning to attend McCain's victory celebration in Alexandria, Va., following Tuesday's presidential primary elections in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

But during the day Crist focused on the Everglades. In Congress, certain committees authorize projects, but only the Appropriations Committee can actually award the money. Even though the Water Resources Development Act calls for spending $2-billion on Everglades restoration, the money still must be provided through a separate bill crafted by the Appropriations Committee.

With Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, as his guide, Crist met Tuesday with Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., as well as top Republican and Democratic members of the two subcommittees with control over Everglades funding, Interior and Energy/Water.

Crist also spent an hour with most of Florida's 25 U.S. House members from Florida.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:10pm]


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