Chuck Schumer is calling for a crack-down on Republican governors who want to turn down part, but not all, of their state’s stimulus funds — for example, Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour refusing increased unemployment benefits — releasing a new letter to the White House arguing that the law doesn’t allow this, and asking the Obama Administration to tell governors that it’s all-or-nothing:
As you know, Section 1607(a) of the economic recovery legislation provides that the Governor of each state must certify a request for stimulus funds before any money can flow. 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.
Schumer also takes a shot at the governors who are turning down parts of the package, accusing them of having political motives:
No one would dispute that these governors should be given the choice as to whether to accept the funds or not. But it should not be multiple choice. The composition of the package was rightly dictated by economic considerations; we should not let the implementation of the package be dictated by political considerations.
It should be noted that it would be politically untenable for a governor to turn down all of their state’s haul. So if the White House were to adopt Schumer’s interpretation, they would really be making these governors an offer they can’t refuse.