Yesterday, Senator Jon Kyl suggested that not only should Congress refuse to consider a second stimulus package, they should bring the current Porkulus to a halt before it wastes even more money. Rather than make a reasoned argument for their stimulus package, however, the White House threatened to choke Arizona's federal funds in retaliation:But the story deepens with the dawn of a new day, with this:
On This Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said of the $787 billion stimulus package, "the reality is it hasn't helped yet. Only about 6.8 percent of the money has actually been spent. What I proposed is, after you complete the contracts that are already committed, the things that are in the pipeline, stop it."
A day later, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer received letters from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar all pointing out the billions headed to Arizona.
Kyl "publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren't presently underway," LaHood wrote to Brewer, a Republican. "I believe the stimulus has been very effective in creating job opportunities throughout the country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know."
Talk about an empty threat! The Obama administration encouraged South Carolina's legislature to take Governor Mark Sanford to court to force him to accept Porkulus funds. Now they want to posture with Arizonans that criticism of their fiscal policies will result in punitive action against Arizona alone. I guess the Democrats don't plan to compete for Arizona's electoral votes in 2012.
This is something that we talked about long before the election (also here, here, here, here). Obama's history and track record are textbook Chicago thug politics, and that means dissent must be silenced.
The tag-team effort to intimidate Senator Jon Kyl and the state of Arizona by threatening to withhold federal funds got a quick, pointed, and direct response from Kyl and his fellow Senator, John McCain. The two sent letters to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that castigates them for their "patently offensive" threats — and a reminder where the money originates:
We were very disappointed to learn of the letters that you and other members of the Cabinet sent to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer about stimulus spending and that you would allow your good offices to be used so obviously for political purposes.
Secretary LaHood's suggestion that the Administration will "make available" to Arizonans tax dollars that they pay is patently offensive.
We hope this does not characterize your dealings with the Congress in the future.
Kyl had already offered this response yesterday:
It's unfortunate that President Obama and his administration seem unwilling to debate the merits of the stimulus bill and acknowledge its shortcomings. Instead, they have resorted to coordinated political attacks with the Democratic National Committee and the politicization of departments of government by using cabinet secretaries to issue thinly veiled threats to the Governor and the people of Arizona. Since even the President acknowledges the stimulus isn't working as well as he hoped, the administration should instead be willing to consider whether the unallocated stimulus money could be put to better use.
If they can't win by argument, the Obama administration will resort to threats. It's apparently their money now, and they're loathe to give it back to the ungrateful wretches that gave it to them in the first place. What's not to understand?
This is one thing that most definitely did not change on January 20th...the real question is how long the American people are going to put up with it.
There's my two cents.