All of a Sudden Republican Governors Are Worried About the Feds Cutting Off Money

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 26 2013 5:05 PM

All of a Sudden Republican Governors Are Worried About the Feds Cutting Off Money

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to members of the press after a State Dining Room meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House February 25, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Byron York listens to Republican governors talk about the irresponsible Kenyan-born Marxist in the White House who's making their states suffer under mandatory sequestration cuts.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"I think the president is trying to force us into a false choice," Jindal said. "The reality is, there is no reason for these cuts to be made this way." Obama could instruct his Cabinet to emphasize cuts to spending on things like consultants, Jindal said, and not on things like Head Start. "It is the president's job as the chief executive to prioritize."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said the governors asked Obama to come up with better cuts, or even to delay future spending, like the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, if the budget situation is as dire as the administration says. "The answer to everything we got was no," Haley said.
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Jindal said that, huh? Well, it's almost the fourth anniversary of this.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he will decline stimulus money specifically targeted at expanding state unemployment insurance coverage, becoming the first state executive to officially refuse any part of the federal government’s payout to states.

Let's be fair: The stimulus fight of 2009 was the first semi-schism between congressional Republicans and Republicans in the states. The vast majority of Republican governors dropped the pretense that their states are laboratories of Horatio Alger-ism that don't need federal money to pay for services. They took the stimulus money. But opposition to the stimulus has become a badge of honor, as we can see in this ad for Nikki Haley's mentor.

There's some consistency between 2009 Jindal and 2013 Jindal. He wants federal money, which comes from taxpayers in 49 other states, to be given back to Louisiana in a form the state has more control over.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.