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Obama, GOP Pick Stimulus Fight in Arizona


Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), pictured this week on Capitol Hill. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

By Dan Eggen
A Republican proposal to halt spending on federal stimulus projects has prompted a partisan dustup this week in Arizona, where defeated GOP presidential candidate John McCain has waded into the fight with his old Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

The conflict began after Arizona's junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, who has called President Obama's economic recovery plan ineffective, wrote on his Senate website last week that the government should "cancel the rest of the stimulus spending." Kyl repeated the suggestion during a talk show appearance Sunday.

The Obama administration responded Monday with letters from four Cabinet secretaries to the state's GOP governor, Jan Brewer, outlining the transportation, housing, education and other projects that would be canceled in Arizona if stimulus spending came to a halt.

"If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, please let us know," wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a fellow Republican and former House member.

The letters prompted howls from Kyl and other Republicans in Arizona, who accused the Obama administration of threatening and bullying the state. "I strongly support the comments of Senator Kyl and call on the administration to retract its threat against the citizens of Arizona," McCain said in a statement.

The flap underscores the dangers for both sides in the debate over the $787 billion stimulus package, which has come under increasing attack from Republicans as the unemployment rate continues to climb. But many Republicans who voted against the package have also sought to take credit for projects in their own states, and the White House has become increasingly aggressive in pressing its case.

Last week, for example, Vice President Biden traveled to Ohio to urge patience and attack Republicans for seeking to "do nothing" to improve the economy. House Republican leader John Boehner (Ohio) argued that the stimulus "clearly isn't working" and pointed to his state's continued high unemployment.

Letters to Arizona's governor were sent by LaHood, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. The letters detailed more than $1 billion in Arizona projects that they said would be put at risk if stimulus funding was stopped. Nationwide, the administration says, only about 7 percent of the stimulus money has been allocated so far and most of the impact of the spending will be felt in late 2009 and throughout 2010.

After the letters were released, Kyl accused the administration of "coordinated political attacks with the Democratic National Committee and politicization of departments of government by using cabinet secretaries to issue thinly veiled threats." But he also reiterated his view that Obama should "consider whether the unallocated stimulus money could be put to better use."

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 15, 2009; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Economy  
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Comments

to greencorntamalesd - I was worried you might have a stroke. Get a grip and stop hating your fellow Americans so much, the Bush/Cheney era of hate and division is over. Stop perpetuating it (everyone). God Bless America, we made the right choice in '08.

Posted by: irenehanlon | July 17, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Everyone who doesn't live in Arizona has no say in what ACTUALLY HAPPENS in the state, so shut the F up. You have no idea what happens in my state, therefore you're opinion means zero, zip, zilch, nada. GET IT? Tend to your own piece of shiite communist/socialist state and leave mine the F alone.

FYI - John Kyl is one of the most rational & articulate senators in all of DC, baby, so go F yourselves and cry to B.O. for your obvious mental misgivings.

Better yet, do the world a favor & remove yourself from the gene pool you liberal hack/loser.

Posted by: greencorntamalesd | July 17, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

It is very simple just tell the bull headed republicans to send it back and come the next election they will get voted out and the whole problem will be solved.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | July 16, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"The "strings" are a promise to ALL of us in ALL the states that OUR money won't be spent to build Kyl a swimming pool, or a sweetheart business deal for his political supporters and a payoff to his party. The strings are designed to prevent the kind of patronage and corruption that these guys suggest is a part of their political reality. Posted by: JohnQuimby"

More to the point, the strings are there to nudge states into also balancing their books in a more rational system. Hailie barbour complaining that Federal Stimulous Money had strings attached toat effectively gave the schools in Mississippi a bigger funding increase than Mississippi should give them, and didn't give enough funding increase to law enforcement, (heard on NPR) is saying, in effect, that he wasn't willing to put HIS political capitol on the line to get EITHER funding increase, he just felt that the Feds weren't playing fair.

Mississippi should have found the money for BOTH increases if they were really called for. But that would make the state a "High Tax State" in republican eyes, and would dissuade the next Mercedes plant from locating there, since if the taxes are equal, Ohio has a much better labor pool, more than adequate water, sewer, power grid, and road grid than Mississippi, who's only advantages are cheap (and untrained) labor and low taxes.

But the real hypocrisy, that so many Republicans want the stimulus to end before it can even have any effect, BUT, they don't actually want to lose the money, is all fodder for Democratic warhorses come 2010 and 2012.

The stimulus will work despite Kyl, Barbour, and McCain. Then they will have to explain their intransigence to the voters.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 16, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Respectfully speaking,

Several GOP Leaders have objected to taking Fed stimulus money because of the strings attached.

OK, that may be a fair point along state lines. But it raises a question in my mind.

The "strings" are a promise to ALL of us in ALL the states that OUR money won't be spent to build Kyl a swimming pool, or a sweetheart business deal for his political supporters and a payoff to his party. The strings are designed to prevent the kind of patronage and corruption that these guys suggest is a part of their political reality.

Is Arizona too corrupt to take the money and use it for it's Intended purposes?

Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 15, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Senator Kyl says, "Cancel the stinulus package." Obama says, ok, when we do here is what it costs your state.

Kyl calls that a threat. Ok, but then the threat is BY Senator Kyl AGAINST his own constituency.

And he just doesn't know when to shut up, so he does it all over again.

But other than Hayden, Goldwater, McCain, and Kyl who has been in the Senate from Arizona? Has there EVER been an Arizonan in the Senate with the sense god gave geese?

Posted by: ceflynline | July 15, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Kyl is a mental midget and getting into a fight is a little overwhelming for him. Kyl believes he is the mayor of Gilbert, Arizona. Please don't tell him otherwise because if he finds out he is responsible for an entire state, he may freak out.

Posted by: merrylees | July 15, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I wonder who's pocket the rest of the stimulus went into ?

Posted by: Imarkex | July 15, 2009 7:10 PM

and dottydo. We all know that you 2 are on the top of the list of "the dumbest posters"; why don't you just shove it.......up yours, where there is never sunlight?

Posted by: mackiejw | July 15, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Anything it takes to make President Obama fail

Outright lies, blatant and obvious sabotaging the stimulus plan, either by not using the money, or misusing it.

Here in the Northwest, WA State to be specific, several companies have been awarded contracts and are in the process of hiring thousands of people. Those are new jobs, lasting at least 5 - 7 years......and beyond that when those companies adopt to new energy production.

Last time I checked, not even 10% of the over 700 billion available from the stimulus plan has been actually disbursed.

Blame the.... guess who....., idiotic GOP politicians for it. They are too stupid to realize that they are responsible for the loss of over 4.5 million manufacturing jobs during their awful tenure of 8 years.

As far as I am concerned, all these racist mo*rons can go to hell

Posted by: mackiejw | July 15, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I wonder who's pocket the rest of the stimulus went into ?

Posted by: Imarkex | July 15, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

We,in southern Arizona, have been trying to get rid of this very poor legislator for many years now. This type of thinking is the reason Arizona is considered a "hick" state. The state that brought us Governor Ev Mecham and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Senator McCain has never brought anything of value in terms of federal funds to this region of the state. He has been influential in terms of protecting Arizona's share of Colorado River water, but I wonder if that is enough of a reason to keep him in office. These two belong to an era that is no longer relevant to our future.

Posted by: manolo1 | July 15, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Arizona and California went bust on their budgets by having sanctuary cities with terrible mayors.
Their stimulous will only covder their bad debts....get real.

Posted by: dottydo | July 15, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

The short term few months of employment in Arizona, will hardly be worth the empowerment of a fruad of wallet grabbing.
The long term employers are falling like flies, and working for a short term government dole is just not a stimulous.

Removing Obama for NPD Sociopathic dual profiles and placing a Constitutional POTUS would be a better stimulous than robbing the grand children of their right to elect some idi-iots du jour as bad as we have.

Arizona people not wanting to take the stimulous have a smart wallet, and are saving you too.

Where did you think the money is coming from?

The tooth fairy?

No It is from your wallet and your children's wallets.

Posted by: dottydo | July 15, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

CA has huge mass transit projects (HS Rail, subways, etc.) that are passed the planning stages and are "shovel ready", having AZ's portion of the stimulus would be great to get more going here in this state.

James

Posted by: bs2004 | July 15, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Do not forget to vote for GOLDWATER.

Posted by: arizonadineh101 | July 15, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The more I read and listen, the more I have come to the conclusion the those Republicans in Congress are dumber than a box or rocks. I am not joking, if they could only listen to what ignorant,ridiculous statements they make perhaps they would think before they open their mouths. They sound uneducated, uninformed and downright dumb! As for John McCain, he will say anything to keep his name in the media. He's on TV every other weak spewing garbage, why is he ever relevant? The party of old white men is dead in the water. They have turned into a party with no ideas and sound more like a bunch of people suffering for ignorance! Like Mike Tyson, they need to just shut up and go away.

Posted by: kburnett1 | July 15, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

SteelWheel25-

"hero"- my ass!

Posted by: kase | July 15, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

As a resident of Arizona, I can say that the only use of our government is to serve as a horrible example to the rest of the country. It is completely controlled by Republican kooks who want to go back the the sixteenth century.

We have one of the worst educational records in the whole country. About a year or so ago, there was a big story in Tucson about people with good insurance who could not get emergency medical care because everything in this state is underfunded. Although our former governor said that we should be the "Saudi Arabia" of solar power, we trail far behind our neighbors California, Nevada, and New Mexico. However, our legislature which still hasn't managed to bring forth a budget, did make it legal to bring guns into bars.

Posted by: Desertstraw | July 15, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

OK. That's pretty funny.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 15, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Kyle also "...reiterated his view that Obama should "consider whether the unallocated stimulus money could be put to better use."

Wait a minute! Don't we elect these guys to have some ideas of their own? If Senator Kyl thinks that the unallocated stimulus money should be put to better use, maybe he should give us some idea of what HE thinks should be done with it.

Oh, that's right - we should cancel the stimulus, becuase if a problem years in the making can't be resolved in 6 months, then, apparently, President Obama is doing the wrong thing.

Geez - Once again, these are the ideas that we get from people who think it is more important to be a Republican then to be an American.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | July 15, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I love John McCain as an American hero but his judgment stinks!

Posted by: SteelWheel25 | July 15, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The really sad thing is, most Arizonans wouldn't see that the Obama administration was calling Kyl's bluff. They'd see it as Washington bullying. The idea that these projects will not be paid for if stimulus money goes away simply would not compute.

Unless the projects really are needless pork, in which case by all means cut off funding and send the bucks to California.

Posted by: northgs | July 15, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Will we EVER see the last of the Old Babyburner?

Posted by: kase | July 15, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"But he (Kyl) also reiterated his view that Obama should "consider whether the unallocated stimulus money could be put to better use.""

OK! Senator Kyl what is a better use for unallocated stimulus money or are just making sound bites for others.
If Arizona doesn't see the value of improving its infrastructure then send the funds to NM and Calif.

Posted by: The-Historian | July 15, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Republicans!! Please tell us which is it you want!!! If you are against the stimulus just say no to the money. If you want the money just say yes to the stimulus. It isn't that difficult!!! You republicans want to complain about spending all the while you are spending. This behavior is much like the casino gambler complaining about his bills while pulling the arm, yet again, on the slot machine!!!

President Obama did the right thing calling these idiots bluff!!

Posted by: SteelWheel25 | July 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This makes me very happy. It is about time we call the bluff of the politicians who want to have it both ways. If their states don't want the money then let them stop taking it and the government can give it to states that want it. There is nothing bullying about the letters. It is time to hold the politicians accountable for their actions and words. Even South Carolina decided they wanted stimulus money even though the governor didn't. He was probably hiking?

Posted by: cdierd1944 | July 15, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

So, if I read ths right, the republicans:

A) want the money.
B) want to attack Obama for giving them the money.
C) want to take credit for the good that spending the money will do for the state.
D) consider taking them at their word to be an threat.

Is it just me or do republicans want to have their cake and eat it too and at the same time complain they should not get the cake but want the praise for getting the cake and consider it a threat to believe they never wanted the cake?

What babies they are. Who votes these people into positions where they can't even figure out whether they want money or not? If anyone made a threat here, it was Sen. Kyl to the people of Arizona.

And McCain's statement makes no sense:

"I strongly support the comments of Senator Kyl and call on the administration to retract its threat against the citizens of Arizona," McCain said in a statement.

If McCain supports Kyl's statements then it was Kyl threatening the citizens of Arizona by proposing to "cancel the rest of the stimulus spending."

I wonder if republicans work hard to put themselves in hypocritical positions or whether its just their nature. Either way they are very talented at doing so.

Posted by: bevjims1 | July 15, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Good. The Arizona Republican powers-that-be should submit their itemized list of stimulus projects to be canceled, and the Obama administration should take them at their word--and transfer these resources to another state. I'm sure that California would be happy to pick up the slack.

Seriously: these idiots' bluff needs to be called. That includes Senator McCain: How would he like to defend the loss of that stimulus revenue when he up for reelection next year?

Posted by: jasm917 | July 15, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Grandpa, what was a republican?"

Posted by: Tomcat3 | July 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Did I read that right?

Kyl proposes that we stop spending stimulus money, and then cries foul when the Obama Administration outlines all of the projects that would lose funding if Kyls proposal was successful?

On what planet does this make sense?

Posted by: VTDuffman | July 15, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

So my understanding of this story is:

"If you don't want to use this money for the purpose it was intended (infrastructure, agriculture, schools, whatever) then we will gladly pass that money on to a state who will." And John McCain calls this this a threat?

Are McCain and Kyl think that the money that was given for these specified projects and social issues should be given to what? Other projects that the State should have responsibility for, but don't have the money for? For big business? How about they let us know where they want the stimulus money spent.

Posted by: alysheba_3 | July 15, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

If the stimulus money is considered by Arizona Senator Kyl to be ineffective, then why would it be a threat to offer to give it to some other state that values it more? This situation just goes to prove how empty the GOP argument is. It's hard to argue that our country isn't in better shape now than is was 6 months ago (when we gave the GOP the boot).

Posted by: JimZ1 | July 15, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

McCain and Kyl are acting like bulldogs trying to force S409, Land Exchange for mythical copper ore over 1 mile down near the Lost Dutchman Mine. The ore is unproven reserve located 7,000 feet underground. Its being sold as El Dorado for the State of Arizona. Obama opposes the project, but McCain and Kyl see salted gold in the pan and want to trade good recreational land for unproven copper ore. McCain and Kyl would oppose Obama especially economic stimulus to get there grubstake.

Posted by: arizonadineh101 | July 15, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If the stimulus money is considered by Arizona Senator Kyl to be ineffective, then why would it be a threat to offer to give it to some other state that values it more? This situation just goes to prove how empty the GOP argument is. It's hard to argue that our country isn't in better shape now than is was 6 months ago (when we gave the GOP the boot).

Posted by: JimZ1 | July 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

If the stimulus money is considered by Arizona Senator Kyl to be ineffective, then why would it be a threat to offer to give it to some other state that values it more? This situation just goes to prove how empty the GOP argument is. It's hard to argue that our country isn't in better shape now than is was 6 months ago (when we gave the GOP to boot).

Posted by: JimZ1 | July 15, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

What kind of a senator doesn't want money spent in his state? A dumb senator, that kind. How do these guys get elected to the senate? The reason former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was always reelected was because he brought home the bacon. Sen. Jon Kyl wants to get reelected by not bringing home the bacon. This is why the Republican Party is dying, their new motto is we do nothing for our state.

Posted by: info4 | July 15, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

House Republican leader John Boehner (Ohio) argued that the stimulus "clearly isn't working" and pointed to his state's continued high unemployment.

And so, Mr. Boner, what are you going to do about it? Cry? Will you need a tissue to go along with your wetting? Another big repubican baby. Can't run his own State. Idiot.

Posted by: swatkins1 | July 15, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"The conflict began after Arizona's junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, who has called President Obama's economic recovery plan ineffective, wrote on his Senate website last week that the government should "cancel the rest of the stimulus spending." Kyl repeated the suggestion during a talk show appearance Sunday.

The Obama administration responded Monday with letters from four Cabinet secretaries to the state's GOP governor, Jan Brewer, outlining the transportation, housing, education and other projects that would be canceled in Arizona if stimulus spending came to a halt.

"If you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, please let us know," wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a fellow Republican and former House member."

Where is the threat? Arizona can't afford to do anything by itself, it needs stimulus money to get it done. Sounds like a statement of fact.
And if Kyl really doesn't want the cash, fine. He can pay for all of his little pet projects himself, then. And if he has all that, then he SHOULD be paying for them himself.
As for Boehner, perhaps if he actually used those funds as they should be, his unemployment rate wouldn't be so high.
I am well and truly sick to death of these Republicans! Whine, whine, whine, whine, whine, whine, whine all the time they have their hand out for more, while the other hand is beating the middle-class and poor to death.

Posted by: taroya | July 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Jon Kyle publicly tosses a condescending bomb at Obama's feet, then whimpers and cries when Obama's administration throws it right back to him? What a big crybaby! What a victim! Unbelievable little boy. He can dish it out, but he sure can't take it. Loser. BIG loser.

Posted by: swatkins1 | July 15, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"[Sen Kyl] also reiterated his view that Obama should "consider whether the unallocated stimulus money could be put to better use.""


You'd think he'd realize that as a member of the Senate, he is entitled to propose a law that would do exactly what he suggests.

Surely the good Senator isn't merely grandstanding.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 15, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

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