On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) argued that the $787 billion stimulus package “hasn’t helped yet. … What I proposed is, after you complete the contracts that are already committed, the things that are in the pipeline, stop it.” Watch it:
The next day Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer received letters from four Obama administration officials — 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 — pointing out the billions headed for Arizonans. LaHood wrote:
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.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) quickly fired back on Tuesday, saying that he “strongly support the comments of Senator Kyl and call[s] on the administration to retract its threat against the citizens of Arizona.” But Brewer, who faces a massive budget deficit, a combative GOP-controlled state legislature and the prospect of arguing in favor of raising the state sales tax, has already tapped into billions of dollars made available by the stimulus package — and rejected efforts by the Arizona GOP to slash funding for education and health care. In March, Brewer announced she would accept the stimulus money, citing among many financially strapped programs the need to fund public education:
“To forgo these funds at this time would be a disservice to Arizona taxpayers who have remitted their federal taxes in good faith and have seen many of those hard-earned dollars expended for the benefit of residents of other states,” the governor wrote. “Our citizens need their fair share of those funds returned home to provide for their families during these hours of our greatest need.“
On July 8, Brewer signed legislation that secured more than $1 billion in federal education funding for Arizona. Only a few weeks earlier, Brewer announced Arizona was among the first to receive federal energy funding, which Brewer said in a press release is expected to create 1,500 jobs — and she noted more money was on the way: “After demonstrating successful implementation of its plan, the state will receive an additional $27 million, for a total of $55.4 million.”