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LeMieux differs with Rubio on RESTORE Act, Mack pounces

by George Bennett | May 2nd, 2012

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack‘s campaign is pouncing on GOP Senate primary rival George LeMieux for saying he would have voted for the RESTORE Act, which requires that 80 percent of fines collected from BP for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill go to Florida and other Gulf states.

Florida Sen. and tea party icon Marco Rubio was the only Gulf State Senator to oppose the measure in March. Rubio said he “proudly supported” the legislation originally, but the final Senate product had become “a raw deal that increases taxes, creates a new environmental bureaucracy, and could steer money to places like the Great Lakes and West Coast that had nothing to with the oil spill.”

LeMieux, in a Tuesday interview with a Panhandle radio station, said: “I would have voted for it…in all due respect to Marco, I know he’s a lot closer to it than I was.”

LeMieux, who was in the Senate as an appointee when the 2010 spill occurred, said “Those dollars need to come to the Gulf Coast. You remember I was in Pensacola and all throughout Northwest Florida half a dozen or so times in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill….In general it’s a good bill and I would have supported it.”

Mack’s campaign released a statement from U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola, criticizing LeMieux.

“I am extremely disappointed that George Lemieux indicated he would have voted for the Senate Democrats’ version of the Transportation Bill,” said Miller. “Although the RESTORE Act is a critical provision for those areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Senate version of this bill contains a massive tax increase and redirects $1.4 billion to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, creating a huge federal power grab. The House version of the transportation bill that Representative Mack and I supported did not contain the tax hikes or land grabs of the Senate bill, yet still supports the affected areas of the Florida coast. Floridians need to be careful that we don’t replace a Big Government Democrat in the Senate with a Big Government Republican. Connie Mack is the conservative we need in the Senate.”

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