House GOP urge Trump against supporting additional funding for state and local governments
Top conservatives in the House are urging President Trump not to support additional funding for state and local governments in the next coronavirus relief bill, arguing that many of the states seeking financial support were economically mismanaged prior to the pandemic.
In a letter — led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and signed by Reps. Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Van Taylor (Texas), Russ Fulcher (Idaho), Ken Buck (Colo.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Chip Roy (Texas), Ben Cline (Va.) and Scott Perry (Pa.) — sent to the president on Thursday, the lawmakers praised the administration’s response efforts, but voiced concerns that policies that allow spending on this scale could threaten the federalist system.
“These great successes have not relieved the concerns we have for the future of our government. Traumatic national events such as this outbreak often lead to policies that grow the size and scope of government,” they wrote.
“Government leaders and all those affected naturally look for any sort of relief. But too often, our responses jeopardize the principles of federalism our nation was founded upon and we hold so dear,” they added.
The group argued that additional funding for state and local governments — a top priority for House Democrats in the next COVID-19 stimulus package — would be a misuse of funds that would have negative long-term effects on the nation’s economy.
“The CARES Act, which was signed into law just over a month ago, appropriated $150 billion for state, local, and tribal governments. These funds are not loans that will be paid back. They are funds taken out of the pockets of struggling Americans to help cover the economic losses state and local governments are enduring from shutting down their economies,” they continued.
“Our views may vary on the appropriateness of that initial allocation, but we stand united in opposing the appropriation of additional funds,” they said.
The lawmakers went on to say state governments should “be taking responsibility” for the fiscal decisions they’ve made in the past and for shutting down their economies amid the pandemic.
“States like New York, Illinois, and California have been vocal in their demands for funding to bail out their pension systems, which were failing long before the COVID-19 outbreak, and other programs that aren’t related to this crisis. While these states in particular prove the negative impacts of poor budgeting, bloated spending, and high taxes, the federal government should not be further backfilling the budget of any state or local government,” they continued.
“Our Founding Fathers never intended for the federal government to be the behemoth it has become. They didn’t intend for the government to redistribute the wealth of Americans so that citizens of one state are forced to pay for the poor decisions made in another state,” they said. “We must begin reversing this devastating trend.”
The group noted that the structural deficit is expected to exceed $4 trillion this year, arguing the stimulus spending is unsustainable and called for states to begin to reopen.
“As conversations related to further relief take place, please do not entrench the bad precedent for the federal government to pay the tab for state and local actions,” they said. “Before this outbreak, our economy was thriving due in large part to your efforts. We look forward to working with you to rebuild our economy to its former brilliance.”
While conservatives have been vocal in their calls against providing state and local funding, proponents argued states like New York and New Jersey have been disproportionately affected by the deadly virus, therefore should receive funding to mitigate the fallout caused by the outbreaks seen in the states most heavily hit.