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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Down to the wire: Florida lawmakers fight for and against Cuba travel restrictions



Florida's Congressional delegation prides itself on cooperation when it comes to state matters. But the congeniality is being throw out in a heated, behind-the-scenes battle playing out this evening over an attempt to restrict flights to Cuba.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, got a rider tacked onto the budget bill that would roll back the Obama administration's broad opening of travel to Cuba. (story here)

That's angered Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who has worked to get flights from Tampa. This evening, Castor has been in talks with White House and House budget negotiators to kill the amendment. She took to YouTube to denounce the effort. But Diaz-Balart and South Florida allies, such as Rep. David Rivera, are fighting to keep it in.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Sen. Marco Rubio gave a floor speech this evening in support of the tighter restrictions, and bashed Obama's reasoning for the flights. Video below.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 8:47pm]


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