Clyburn Blasts Sanford for Rejecting Stimulus Money

Posted March 11, 2009 at 4:06pm

Updated: 5:32 p.m.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday lambasted the governor of his home state for rejecting economic stimulus funds and vowed to work with state lawmakers to try to secure the money.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) this week announced that he wouldn’t accept $700 million in stimulus funds unless he could use it to pay down the state’s debt, a move that Clyburn said is purely political and devastating to his state’s residents.

Sanford has a political agenda that “runs contrary to the needs of his constituents— because “he thinks it will help him with his credentials as a fiscal conservative,— Clyburn charged. “This is just political posturing aimed toward the next national election that’s got absolutely nothing to do with people trying to get to the next month on their jobs.—

The fact that Sanford is seeking a waiver to use the funds for debt defeats the purpose of stimulating the economy, Clyburn argued, since the economy won’t grow. He noted that unemployment is at 10.4 percent in South Carolina, second only to Michigan’s rate.

“I am hopeful, in fact, I have discussed with authorities, that no wavier is granted,— Clyburn said. “I’m also hopeful that the state legislature will use the authority given to it in this legislation to work around the governor’s position so that these funds can be brought into the state.—

Clyburn said the state legislature has the ability to pass a concurrent resolution outlining how the state will use the money. He added that the money would be overseen by the same federal authorities that would oversee the governor’s handling of the funds.

The Majority Whip said the president has the right to grant the waiver to Sanford, but he doubts he would do so since it would “violate the intent of his legislation to create jobs … by putting money into debt retirement that you incurred some 25 years ago.—