In it, but not of it. TPM DC
McCaskill also asks the legislators--State Sen. Rob Mayer, who chairs the Appropriations Committee, and State Rep. Allen Icet, who chairs the Budget Committee--what they did with the $1.5 billion in stimulus funds they will have spent by July.
"How was that money allocated?" McCaskill asks. "Did it go to education, economic development, corrections or other needs of the state?"
"If you want us to rescind the remaining money which you will spend this year and next, please let me know how Missourians will be hurt, so I can make an informed decision," she notes.
Icet has been particularly vocal. In the wake of the stimulus, he's sponsored a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to balance the federal budget. Today, he tells TPMDC he will respond to McCaskill's letter shortly, but says that the federal government should spare him the lectures since Missouri has a balanced budget mandate.
"I find it interesting Sen. McCaskill is criticizing the state for trying to have it both ways," Icet said. "The federal government has not solved the states' problems, the states have to solve their own problems." Icet, ironically, is running for McCaskill's last job, state auditor.
He said President Obama is busting the budget and is to blame for the swelling deficit. "You just can't spend like that and nothing bad happens," he said. Icet was recently called out on the floor for the suspicious timing of his resolution. Silent during the years when President Bush created record deficits, Icet says now's the time for Washington to clamp down on spending--even though, as Democrats in his own state have pointed out to him, the stimulus bill was needed to pull the country out of a Bush-triggered recession.
Additional reporting by Christina Bellantoni