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Florida citrus industry won't see quick aid from Congress

Gov. Scott’s lobbying effort fails, for now<br>
Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, joined by Gov. Rick Scott, pressed on Wednesday for $2.5 billion in federal assistance for Florida's citrus and agriculture industry following Hurricane Irma. (Alex Leary | Times)
Published Oct. 12, 2017
Updated Oct. 12, 2017

WASHINGTON - Despite 11th hour lobbying from Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Florida House members were unable to secure $2.5 billion for the state’s hard-hit agriculture industry in a broader hurricane relief package.

But Rep. Tom Rooney, who spearheaded the effort, has gotten assurance for aid in a subsequent package.

“As of now, we have been assured that there will be another aid bill soon and that our amendment/ag aid package will be attached to that one,” Rooney spokesman Max Moody tells the Tampa Bay Times. “Leadership has expressed their support for helping Florida’s agriculture industry and the exclusion of funding in this supplemental was simply an issue of timing.”

Scott and Putnam met with the Florida delegation on Wednesday. “I know that’s a heavy lift,” Putnam said. “But time is of the essence for supporting growers who have between 50 and 100 percent of their crop on the ground.”