March 6th, 2009
05:20 PM ET
6 years ago

Stimulus raises state sovereignty issues

Some state lawmakers are pushing for sovereignty from the federal government.
Some state lawmakers are pushing for sovereignty from the federal government.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican lawmakers from more than 20 states across the country are willing to take federal funding, but only on their terms.

From Montana to South Carolina, lawmakers in mostly red states have pushed ahead with measures calling for state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment, saying the federal government has overstepped its bounds with the stimulus package. The states are calling for the right to ignore laws they deem unconstitutional.

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Filed under: economic stimulus
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. David

    I say to those living in those states, vote them out. You know a friend when in need and these people don't care because of their political idiology!

    March 6, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  2. Oregon calling

    How's this for a plan, before to try these tactics, try WORKING with our President!

    When I first became a registered voter, 25 years ago, it was as a Republican. Years later I changed my affiliation to that of a Democrat, then I became an Independent. Now I am a registered Democrat only because I wanted to support and vote in the primaries for now President Obama. I am NOT a party person, I am an American FIRST! Do what is right for our country! Oregon has a closed primary but I will be changing my registration to be that of Unaffiliated. Don’t get me wrong, I will still vote for President Obama at this point but we really do need a VIABLE 3rd party. Give our President a chance to prove himself. Oh, and here’s an idea........ Don’t even start campaigning until 1 year before the election, this last one was wayyyyyy too long!

    Peace :-)

    March 6, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. fearful for my country

    Thank god at least 20 states are looking out for their people.

    March 6, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  4. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    Well I say, If they don't want the money, then don't send the money. I'm sure other states will be glad to take it off the governments hands. Let the citizens of those red states deal with their leaders who turned down the money come next election. If they see fit to hang on next election to those elected officals who turned down the money then they deserve the outcome.

    March 6, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  5. kelly g arizona

    There were plenty of laws I would deem " unconstitutional". Does that mean I can set up sovereignty at my home. Let's see in the principality of kellyworld, I hereby decree that I will not follow these laws I deem unconstitutional. 1. I will not pay payroll taxes. 2. I will not concede to wiretapping by the govt. 3. Gays are allowed to get married in my back yard. 4. Rush Limbaugh is hereby outlawed in my home. 5. No religious organization is allowed to solicit me in my home as I have a separation of church and state. (Stay away Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses.)

    The list can go on forever but let's get real.

    March 6, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. Know the facts

    This is nothing more than a political ploy. The federal government defines how federal money should be used all the time; it's been doing this for many, many years. There is nothing unconstitutional about the federal government saying that federal dollars should be used for, say, unemployment benefits. If the government did not define use, the states would be more inclined to abuse the funds and throw them at wasteful projects.

    Furthermore, it's not mandatory that a state accept any of the funds. Governors can reject the funds. If they do, then the state legislature can decide whether or not to take the funds. So, the state has to AGREE to take the funds, before it's given any money.

    This would only be an issue of state sovereignty if the federal government forced the state to take the money. But, NO STATE IS FORCED TO TAKE THE MONEY. If these Republicans have such an issue with the stimulus package, just reject the funds, and stop crying irrationally about the big, bad federal government making them do something they don't want to do, because it's not.

    March 6, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. Jesse Callahan

    This is reminiscent of my childhood days when President Roosevelt brough out his New Deal policies. The supreme court stepped in and ruled that his programs were unconstitutional and brought everything to a screeching halt. The NYA, the NRA and a few others fell by the wayside. State sovereingty must always be held out of reach of an over-zealous federal government.

    March 6, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. Linda in MS

    Are these people saying this totally insane? The next thing we know, they'll be calling for secession. This foolishness has got to stop, for the sake of our country's unity. Anyone who honestly thinks this kind of talk is just righteous indignation is a fool. This is a fight to regain power after losing the White House and most of both houses of Congress, pure and simple. If the Rebuplicans were still in power, they would spend just as much, but it would be spent on the military complex, instead of social programs. I would rather pay taxes to build better schools, have better healthcare, infrastructure, and a cleaner environment than fighting a war based on lies. And, I do pay taxes, gladly. It is my patriotic duty.

    March 6, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  9. Kathy in Minnesota

    When these Governors come up for re-election, the voters will remember this. Voters who are unemployed, homeless, and broke.

    March 6, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. catmom

    If they feel this way then they should man up and not take any of the stimulus money. If they feel this is so wrong, don't take it and then tell your constituents how hard you are working for them. That they want to pick and choose what they want to accept shows to me that they are simply playing politics.

    March 6, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. Justin from New Haven, CT

    Alright in that case, forbid red states from getting any federal $$$$, blue states pay far more in taxes and get back less then they put in.

    March 6, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. just dallas

    as usual the GOP is overrreaching.

    March 6, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  13. Dorothy M. Oliver, Greensboro, NC

    President Obama is correct. Education should be at the top of our agenda for recovery. I suggest that it start with state legislators. It seems their education is lacking in constitutional history, general principles of law and similar topics related to our history and our government.

    March 6, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. C.J.

    They have got to be kidding right.
    Dont they know that Confederacy lost the Civil War! I think all of those GOP Governors should be forced to resign from their offices with an idiotic idea like this.

    March 6, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  15. Rick

    Sounds like a civil war to me. Treason anyone?

    March 6, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  16. disgusted

    Just keep stirring the pot guys. America first.

    March 6, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  17. wam

    isn't it ironic..........the Republican party was founded by northern "liberals" to counter the so-called "states rights" claim of the south, only to windup 150 yrs later to be the champion of the southern's claim of states rights...........Lincoln would be doing cartwheels in his grave..........

    March 6, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  18. Ken

    There are a lot or red & blue governors who will be more than happy to take any funds by those that don't want it. Give it to those that want the money and let the others see their voters in 2010.

    March 6, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  19. Jerzjen

    These guys are a joke. They not only want the money.....they NEED the money. But they've made such a stink about the plan that they need to come up with someway to accept the money without looking like idiots. Well actually, they look even more like idiots with this nonsense. South Carolina governor claims he doesn't want the extended unemployment funds. What he's hoping to do is take money meant for other things and divert it to unemployment. Then declare he was able to do it without the feds, etc. They have nothing else to do but focus on this crap, rather than trying to prepare ways to put people back to work. PATHETIC!!

    March 6, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  20. Susan

    Gosh, Hannity and Rush are ruling the kingdom, calling for uprisings...aren't these states acting in a traitorous manner?
    And their beef is what? That the government plans to help them in this time of need. If they don't want the money, don't take it. Why the drama? Oh, right, Obama is a socialist and a demon...meanwhile, Bush's true perversion of the Constitution was OK with them.

    March 6, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  21. Jeff

    In a Republic (which this country was founded as, not a democracy which our founding fathers loathed), the states under the 10th amendment have the right to all powers not expressly given to the federal government. The states gave birth to the federal government, not the federal government to the states. The founders wanted to create this clause since the federal government was suppose to have the least amount of impact on our daily lives. And if the federal government grew past its means, as it has proven through history, the states could claim it’s sovereignty to ensure the protection of the people.

    The Constitution (law determining the fundamental political principles of a government) was written to restrain the federal government from the rights of the people. To ensure that the natural born rights of the people are not infringed, and as you can see this is already happening on so many fronts, the states are telling the federal government no.

    Also if just 34 states decide to dissolve the federal government they may do so, and reinstitute a new one in its place.

    March 6, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  22. Libs are Goofy....

    @ John, Brooklyn, NY March 6th, 2009 7:48 pm ET

    These governors need to get over this. Nullification of federal laws by states was squashed thanks to the Civil War. This is NOT a confederacy, it is a republic....

    It may become one.

    March 6, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. Jake

    Way to go governors. Federal law alows them to do this, thanks in part to the civil war. This is NOT a conderderacy, it's a republic.

    March 6, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  24. Ben in Dallas

    It is very interesting to me that the same old strawman appears every time the republicans want to obstruct constuctive programs. The would rather punish their constituents rather than face reality. When are we the voting public going to wake up and think?

    March 6, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. bruce,texas

    The federal goverment is out of control.Voting on legislation without looking @ it in a hurry. States are just wanting to do what is good for it's poeple.HASTE MAKES WASTE!!!!

    March 6, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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