Alabama governor pushes back on criticism for using COVID-19 funds to build prisons
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is pushing back on Democratic criticism of her decision to use federal coronavirus relief funds to build new prisons in the state.
Ivey released a statement on Tuesday, targeting Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) over a letter he sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday asking her to prevent states from using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to construct prisons.
“Directing funding meant to protect our citizens from a pandemic to fuel mass incarceration is, in direct contravention of the intended purposes of the ARP legislation and will particularly harm communities of color who are already disproportionately impacted by over-incarceration and this public health crisis,” Nadler wrote.
Ivey blasted the New York congressman, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and criticized Democratic spending plans.
“I would suggest to the New York Congressman, and for that matter the federal government, that they worry more about avoiding the pending government shutdown and running the country,” Ivey said in Tuesday’s statement.
“The Democrat-controlled federal government has never had an issue with throwing trillions of dollars toward their ideological pet projects,” she added. “These prisons need to be built, and we have crafted a fiscally conservative plan.”
New York Congressman Jerry Nadler is overstepping and trying to tell Alabama how to govern. Read my full statement below. ⬇️ #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/BZWIhXawtV
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) September 28, 2021
On Monday, Ivey called a special session of the Alabama legislature to discuss the state’s prison infrastructure and announce her plan to use federal funding. At the time, she referred to the prison infrastructure as “broken,” according to The Washington Post.
Several GOP state lawmakers have voiced their support for Ivey’s proposed use of federal funds for prisons.
“I really couldn’t care less about the opinion of Washington liberals,” Alabama state Sen. Greg Reed (R) tweeted.
We are in a special session right now to protect the people of Alabama from a costly federal intervention, and I really couldn’t care less about the opinion of Washington liberals.
— Senator Greg Reed (@SenatorGregReed) September 28, 2021
“We aren’t going to let a New York City politician tell Alabama what we can and cannot do,” he added. “These funds are intended to replace revenue lost as a result of the pandemic, and are clearly eligible for prison construction.”
State Sen. Greg Albritton (R) said Ivey’s plan is “the right thing to do,” the Post reported.
“We can’t expect to house people, inmates, in conditions that are deteriorating and unhealthy,” he said. “We’ve got to fix the problems. The prisons are falling in.”
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