IS IT MULTIPLE CHOICE AFTER ALL?…. Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted governors don’t really have a choice when it comes to the stimulus package. As far as the law is concerned, this is an all-or-nothing proposition.
This sounded great. The problem is, his argument may have been incorrect.
In a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag. Schumer said, “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.”
[H]ere’s Section 1607 of the stimulus bill:
SEC. 1607. (a) Certification by Governor – Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify that: (1) the State will request and use funds provided by this Act; and (2) the funds will be used to create jobs and promote economic growth.
(b) Acceptance by State Legislature – If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.
That language about funds to a state “in any division” suggests the law does allow for governors to take (and, presumably, reject) portions of the funding, in which case Schumer’s mistaken.
To be sure, states should take federal stimulus aid. The point here, though, is whether Schumer’s argument is right or wrong.
Anyone have a different read on this?
Update: Jack Balkin tackled this last week, and has a very helpful post on the subject.