A portion of the multi-billion dollar Economic Recovery Plan budget will be doled out to state governors this week, but some say they won’t take it.
Moving quickly has been an essential tenet of President Barack Obama’s political career. Now, less than one week after he signed the $787 billion stimulus bill (called the Economic Recovery Plan by Barack’s administration), Barack told state governors that $15 billion will be released on Wednesday, February 25 to help states cover Medicare costs. The Wall Street Journal reports from a meeting of the National Governors Association that Barack, who has no doubt been privy to many of the GOP’s grumblings over the stimulus package, addressed his detractors with "When I hear people say, ‘well, there’s a lot of waste in this program,’ from my perspective at least, keeping teachers in the classroom is not wasteful," Barack told the governors. "From my perspective, tax cuts to 95% of working families is not wasteful. From my perspective, providing all of you additional resources to rebuild roads and bridges and levees and damns that will enhance the quality of life in your state but also make it more economically competitive, that’s not wasteful."
Many governors are not convinced. Bloomberg.com reports that South Carolina Governor, Republican Mark Sanford said he "may not" accept all of the $8 million his state has coming to him out of the deal. Other GOP governors, like Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal have also mouthed off against the plan, though never suggested that they wouldn’t accept the federal aid money. Michigan’s Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm said that she’d be “first in line” to “take their dollars” should Republicans actually refuse the stimulus cash.
Many critics of the plan (which was approved by both the House and the Senate with only three Republican votes) are weary of its contribution to the nation’s deficit, currently nearing $2 trillion. Barack also said that he aims to cut the country’s debt in half by 2013, mainly through "tax increases and spending restraint," wrote the Journal. He will convene a "fiscal responsibility" meeting today to discuss hot-button financial issues with national leaders.
– Whitney Teal
Sound off: What do you think about Barack’s stimulus plan? What would you like to see your state do with the extra cash?
Photo courtesy The White House