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Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, a Republican, bashes GOP on earmarks

City of Miami commissioners and Mayor Tomás Regalado recently visited Washington to make their case to lawmakers that the financially strapped city should be able to use more of its federal dollars for social services.

An omnibus bill coming up for a vote in Congress has language in it that would allow Miami to use 25 percent -- instead of 10 percent -- of federal money to provide services like meals to senior centers.

But Regalado told The Miami Herald's editorial board Monday that an anti-earmark mood in Washington would probably sink the city's efforts.

"The Republicans want to kill it because they say it's an earmark," said Regalado, himself a Republican, albeit in a non-partisan seat. "This is not an earmark."

The way Congress will get around allocating money to projects, he predicted: "They're going to assign money to agencies, and they will have agencies approve projects. "It's a joke."

Expect Miami officials to blame national politics for not giving more money to the all-important senior centers, chock full of elderly, Hispanic voters who candidates mine for support every election.

Said Regalado: "This battle between Republicans and Democrats is killing the senior centers here."

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