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Nancy Smith

Trump's Everglades Largesse? Congressional Delegation, No; Election 2020 Strategy, Yes

May 15, 2019 - 8:15am

Fortunately for the Everglades, President Trump needs Florida.

"My Administration will be fighting for $200 million for the Army Corps Everglades restoration work this year," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "Congress needs to help us complete the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration project ASAP! Good for Florida and good for the environment."

Sure enough, the president was as good as his tweeted word. Later in the day an administration official confirmed it. "Tonight, the administration sent Congress a budget amendment to account for spending request adjustments ..." 

But to hear Florida senators and congressmen call it now, you'd think every one of them had $200 million worth of influence on Donald J. Trump:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio: "... In February, Senator Rubio, Governor DeSantis, and Senator Scott urged President Trump to include a sustained annual commitment of $200 million in construction funding for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) in his administration’s future budget requests to Congress."

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott: “I was the first Governor to put state funding towards fixing the dike at Lake Okeechobee. I’ve consistently fought for the federal government to match the state’s investment. I applaud President Trump for working with the Florida delegation to commit to fight for $200 million in federal funding for Everglades restoration projects this year ..."

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast: "When I talked with the president at Lake Okeechobee, we discussed how critical this money is for the Everglades, as well as to stop discharges and harmful algal blooms. Delay is not an option. ..."

All of this is true, these officials and more bent the president's ear. But most of them did so before he low-balled the 'glades, putting $63 million in the current budget.

The $200 million in a formal budget amendment request came after he and his campaign had strategized.

As Roll Call reported Tuesday, most of the projects the 45th president is requesting additional funds for have "political agenda" written all over them.

Note the Sunshine State wasn't the only key swing state this week to get tweeted good news. The Rust Belt states did, too. Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are just as worried about the underfunded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative as Florida is the Everglades.

“We must protect our Great Lakes, keeping them clean and beautiful for future generations. That’s why I am fighting for $300 million in my updated budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” Trump wrote in a post on his preferred social media account.

Joe Biden, presidential primary frontrunner in a crowded Democratic field, is a big favorite in the Rust Belt.

And President Trump blew Florida -- particularly the Space Coast -- another kiss minutes after the Everglades smackeroo. 

In a tweet Monday evening, he wrote: “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars. I am updating my budget to include an additional $1.6 billion so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”

Smart move. NASA has a big presence in Florida and Texas. Said Roll Call, POTUS has already visited the Lone Star State several times "amid GOP worries that urban Democratic strongholds like Austin might tilt Texas toward a Democratic nominee like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke or even the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has appeal to blue-collar voters."

My point here is, while we can thank our congressional delegation for the push, its the veracity and color of the state that made the cash register ring. Big year for the color purple. Huge.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

Politics is politics. Trump is doing what many others have done before him. Nice of you to point this out.

Dumpty Trumpty definitely has to win Florida in order to be re-elected in 2020. Florida's congressional delegation should be united in pushing the Blowhard-In-Chief to the limit in order to get as many benefits for the state as possible!

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nancy smith
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