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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

C.W. Bill Young again on top, but ground has shifted



cwyoung.jpgWASHINGTON — Power here is conveyed in many ways: the lawmaker surrounded by a cloud of reporters; the size or location of one's office; campaign accounts bursting with money.

The other day in a stuffy room on the Capitol's first floor, it showed in a more delicate form. As he listened to top military officers, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young rolled a gavel in his right hand, an impassive but knowing caress.

The Republican takeover of the House has put the 80-year-old Pinellas County lawmaker back on top. Young once again commands the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the nation's defense spending.

But from his perch, the landscape is dramatically different.

The November election brought a wave of conservatives whose zeal for cuts extend to the defense budget, now more than half a trillion dollars. And for the man whose career is defined by earmarks — hundreds of millions worth spread across Florida as bridges, buildings and roads — the upstarts have forced the once-unthinkable: a ban on political pork.

Time, it seems, stands ready to pass Young by or force him to adapt to a new order.

(story here)

[Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:12pm]


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