Attention Jan Brewer

by David Safier

Sen. Charles Schumer wrote a letter that says to governors, either accept the entire fed stimulus money package or none of it. And he justifies his stance by saying picking and choosing items in the entire package is the equivalent of a line item veto, something even Obama doesn't have.

To protect the integrity of the recovery program, I urge the administration to issue implementation guidance clarifying that while any Governor may exercise his or her discretion to accept or reject the federal funds provided in the stimulus, no Governor should have the authority to arbitrarily adopt a select subset of the overall package.


No language in this provision, however, permits the governor to selectively adopt some components of the bill while rejecting others. To allow such picking and choosing would, in effect, empower the governors with a line-item veto authority that President Obama himself did not possess at the time he signed the legislation. It would also undermine the overall success of the bill, as the components most singled out for criticism by these governors are among the most productive measures in terms of stimulating the economy.

For instance, at least two governors have proposed rejecting a program to expand unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Economists consistently rank unemployment insurance among the most efficient and cost-effective fiscal stimulus measures; by one frequently cited estimate, it provides an economic return of as high as $1.73 for every dollar invested. Thus, by denying this provision for their residents, these governors are not just depriving some of the neediest Americans of relief in a dire economy; they are undermining the overall stimulative impact of the package.

Don't know what will happen, but I hope it makes a few governors sweat a bit, and forces them to justify refusing unemployment insurance money. Like Bobby Jindal, to name names. And forces Brewer to confront the issue of which parts of the package to accept and reject openly, making her battle her conservative legislative cohorts on one side and the Dems on the other.

5 responses to “Attention Jan Brewer

  1. Jindal knows that the state legislature doesn’t need his sign off to accept the funds. He just saw this as another photo-op.

  2. Thane, your first statement was the correct one: The person giving out the money calls the shots.

  3. It all comes down to the fact that the person giving out money calls the shots. Jindal is indicating that he doesn’t think the federal government should be ordering the state government of Louisiana around. I imagine Mr. Schumer’s letter will do much to encourage state secession. When the states realize the federal government need them much less than the states need the federal government the federal government will start dissolving. What day the officials of the several states realize this is unknown.

  4. Jindal was one of the biggest unemployment benefit pimps when he was representing a district hit by Katrina. Now that he is fending off Joe the Plumber for the Republican presidential nominee he’s gotta pull a “McCain into a double Romney” (i.e. flip-flop).