Most Republican governors have broken with their GOP colleagues in Congress and are pushing for passage of President Barack Obama’s economic aid plan that would send billions to states for education, public works and health care.
Their state treasuries drained by the financial crisis, governors would welcome the money from Capitol Hill, where GOP lawmakers are more skeptical of Obama’s spending priorities.
The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, planned to meet in Washington this weekend with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other senators to press for her state’s share of the package.
In fairness, there’s a difference between supporting a bill on the merits and agreeing to accept funds from a bill you oppose that’s destined to pass anyway. Jindal, for one, freely admits that he’d have voted against the bill in Congress but will take the money to help Louisiana. No sense standing on principle when it won’t do any good, right?
The most outspoken critic has been South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has warned for months of a steep spike in inflation and a severely weakened dollar if Obama’s plan passed. His state is on track to receive $2.1 billion of the stimulus money; Sanford has not yet said whether he would accept it.
“It’s incumbent on me as one of the nation’s governors to speak out against what I believe is ultimately incredibly harmful to the economy, to taxpayers and to the worth of the U.S. dollar,” Sanford said in an interview. “This plan is a huge mistake and is going to prolong and deepen this recession.”…
Associates say Sanford, who recently was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been disappointed in how few of his GOP colleagues have joined him in speaking out against the size and scope of Obama’s plan.
See Flip’s latest graphic for a handle on that size and scope. Exit question one: She was instantly forgiven for supporting amnesty and TARP. No biggie on this either, right? Exit question two: I’m getting yet another demerit on my conservative permanent record for even pointing this out, aren’t I?
Update: Commenters are yelling at me for (1) knocking Palin for supporting TARP when I supported it myself and (2) supposedly misrepresenting her position on the bill. First: I’m not knocking her for supporting TARP. See, e.g., NRO’s David Gitlitz on how TARP might well have saved the financial system. I brought it up here to illustrate how she gets a pass for heresies that lesser conservatives get hung for. Second: Quoting from above, “In fairness, there’s a difference between supporting a bill on the merits and agreeing to accept funds from a bill you oppose that’s destined to pass anyway.” I.e. I wasn’t suggesting she loves the bill on the merits, or that she’s suddenly a fan of trillion-dollar spending outlays. My point was that, like Jindal and unlike Sanford (maybe), she’s willing to accept federal spending as a way of kickstarting the economy provided it’s directed to “good” projects. I thought the grassroots conservative position on economic recovery was for the feds to either do nothing or do it all through tax cuts. Am I mistaken?
For the record, here’s a statement from her office dated January 12 emphasizing her opposition to earmarks in the stimulus. And here’s the conclusion of her letter of January 7 to Alaska’s congressional delegation urging fiscal responsibility in the final bill:
Although it is beyond my purview as Governor, I also urge you to consider how the economic stimulus package will affect the national debt and the future economic health of the country. The need for economic stimulus should not become an excuse for the continuation of the unsound policies of the past. The nation’s economy will never achieve long-term stability if we continue borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars from foreign countries, all the while Simultaneously sending huge amounts of money overseas to OPEC countries for oil that could be produced domestically. In this regard, I am astounded by amounts of a trillion dollars and more that are currently being discussed in some quarters.
I believe our nation is truly at an economic crossroads. Properly constructed, the economic stimulus package will greatly assist in sending our country down the right road. Without question, you will be called upon to make very difficult decisions on behalf of Alaska and the nation, and I want to assure you of the cooperation of my administration in achieving the best possible result.
Thanks to commenter INC for those links.