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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Newly created House committee on federal affairs lashes out at Obama



At the first-ever meeting of the newly created House subcommittee on federal affairs today GOP members complained that the federal government is crushing state's rights, while Democratic members fought to hear both sides of the debate.

"The folks I represent are extremely concerened about the encroachment of the federal government on state's rights," said Rep. Elizabeth Porter, a Republican from Lake City. Jimmie Smith, a Republican from Inverness, said his constituents, like Porter's, are very conservative and are also concerned about the issue.

"We are looking forward to having these conversations," Smith said. "It's going to be very heated and energetic."

"If we as a state do not try to stop the federal government from overstepping their authority, which I think they are, where will it end?"  said Peter Nehr, a Republican from Tarpon Springs. "We want to make our own decisions about how to help the citizens in our own state."

But Luis Garcia, a Democrat from Miami, said the committee had been created "for political reasons." 

"I am a believer the that the federal government's supremacy clause does hold sway," said Elaine Schwartz, a Democrat from Hollywood.

Two presentations by lawyers from the attorney general's office focused on Florida's lawsuits challenging the consitutionality of the federal health care legislation and water quality standards created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration.

Both Garcia and Schwartz said they hoped that future meetings would include speakers who see the issue from a different perspective.

Schwartz also questioned why the EPA lawsuit was being heard by a conservative judge in Pensacola, hours away from Tallahassee, implying the state was "judge shopping" for a sympathetic ear.

The answer from the attorney general's office? It's just coincidence, and the suit was filed there because the state is working with local utilities near Pensacola on the issue.


[Last modified: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:01pm]


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