- Oh my God! Costco lists Bible as fiction, Ron Burgundy memoir as gospel
- Sarah Palin responds to Martin Bashir’s resignation, praises media
- Obama to send 2 Gitmo terror suspects back to Algeria
- Paul Walker secretly bought $9K wedding ring for Iraq vet
- Mystery sign poster hits Washington state town: ‘It’s OK to say Merry Christmas’
- Pope Francis forms commission to advise on sex abuse
- Anthony Weiner on radio? Cumulus says, ‘Never, ever’
- Executive order: Obama ups green-energy mandate on feds to 20 percent
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- N.Y.’s Rockefeller Center lights up, as Bloomberg flicks on 76-foot Christmas tree
Some governors won’t take stimulus money
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A handful of Republican governors are considering turning down some money from the federal stimulus package, a move opponents say puts conservative ideology ahead of the needs of constituents struggling with record foreclosures and soaring unemployment.
Though none has outright rejected the money available for education, health care and infrastructure, the governors of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska, South Carolina and Idaho have all questioned whether the $787 billion bill signed into law this week will even help the economy.
“My concern is there’s going to be commitments attached to it that are a mile long,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who considered rejecting some of the money but decided Wednesday to accept it. “We need the freedom to pick and choose. And we need the freedom to say ‘No thanks.’”
U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, said the governors — some of whom are said to be eyeing White House bids in 2012 — are putting their own interests first.
“No community or constituent should be denied recovery assistance due to their governor’s political ideology or political aspirations,” Clyburn, from South Carolina, said Wednesday.
In fact, governors who reject some of the stimulus aid may find themselves overridden by their own legislatures because of language Clyburn included in the bill that allows state lawmakers to accept the federal money even if their governors object.
He inserted the provision based on the early and vocal opposition to the stimulus plan by South Carolina’s Republican governor, Mark Sanford. But it also means governors like Sanford and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal — a Republican up-and-comer often mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate — can burnish their conservative credentials, knowing all the while that their legislatures can accept the money anyway.
Jindal said he, like Perry and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, is concerned about strings attached to the money even though his state faces a $1.7 billion budget shortfall next year.
Barbour spokesman Dan Turner, for example, cited concerns that accepting unemployment money from the stimulus package would force states to pay benefits to people who wouldn’t meet state requirements to receive them.
In Idaho, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said he wasn’t interested in stimulus money that would expand programs and boost the state’s costs in future years when the federal dollars disappear — a worry also cited by Jindal and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, last year’s Republican vice presidential nominee.
A spokesman said Sanford, the new head of the Republican Governors Association, is looking at the stimulus bill to figure out how much of it he can control.
“We’re going through a 1,200-page bill to determine what our options are,” Spokesman Joel Sawyer said. “From there, we’ll make decisions.”
But state Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Fowler says Sanford’s hesitation is driven by his political ambition rather than the best interests of a state that had the nation’s third-highest unemployment rate in December.
“He’s so ideological,” Fowler said. “He would rather South Carolina do without jobs than take that money, and I think he’s looking for a way not to take it.”
Not all Republican governors are reticent about using the federal cash.
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- American teacher shot and killed at Benghazi international school
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- HARPER: 'Knockout game' not a myth to liberal Sharpton
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
White House pets gone wild!