Clyburn Smacks S.C. Gov. Sanford Over Stimulus

Posted March 20, 2009 at 4:00pm

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) ramped up his attacks on South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) on Friday after the governor announced he would reject $700 million in federal stimulus funding.

Sanford has argued that spending the money on operating expenses would leave the state in a hole two years from now, when stimulus funding runs out, and sought to use the funding to pay down the state’s debt instead. But Sanford’s plan was rejected by Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, prompting Sanford to reject the money outright.

“South Carolina is suffering 10.4 percent unemployment, the second-highest rate in the country, and 58,000 mortgages are in delinquency statewide,— Clyburn said. “Now is not the time to place ideological purity or political aspirations ahead of the economic well-being of South Carolinians.—

Sanford is considered a likely candidate for president in 2012.

“Focusing on debt reduction during an economic crisis is like focusing on water conservation when your neighborhood is on fire,— Clyburn said, adding that he hopes the state legislature will decide to use the funding despite the governor’s wishes.