Opinion: 21 GOP States Claim The COVID Stimulus Is Unconstitutional

It was no surprise that Republicans voted against President Biden’s American Rescue Act, and not just because it carried a $1.9 trillion price tag or because it helped Americans. After all, they had no problem passing a $1.9 trillion tax cut that primarily benefitted the rich and their corporate donors, so the cost of the stimulus is not their primary objection.

They don’t like it mainly because it is wildly popular and it was passed by Democrats under President Biden’s Administration. Still it did not take long to find a phony reason to object.

In this instance, the Republicans object because they are prohibited from stealing the money meant for cities and counties and using it to burnish their tax cutting bona fides in their respect states. They claim that being prohibited from misappropriating the federal funds meant for cities’ and counties’ recovery is unconstitutional.

In a typically Republican move, 21 Republican state attorneys general are screaming foul and claiming the taxpayer-funded stimulus to benefit taxpayers is unconstitutional, and a federal government intrusion into state’s rights. And even more typical, the Republicans claim the Biden Administration is barring them from cutting taxes – a flagrant lie.

The 21 Republican attorneys general object to the American Rescue Act because they are barred from using the $350 billion allotted to help cities and counties recover; they want that money to offset their past and future tax cuts.

Democrats were savvy enough to comprehend that GOP-controlled states would attempt to use the $350 billion for anything other than its stated purpose; to aid cites and counties struggling to “front the close of the pandemic”

The Republicans claim they are entitled to use those funds to cover tax cuts because allowing localities to cover their pandemic expenses is just not right. Especially when Republicans can steal the money from cities and states to fund their tax cuts. This is particularly devious because the expenses cities and counties incurred was due to another Republican’s (Trump) failure to act early and aggressively to mitigate the COVID19 virus’ spread across the nation.

Democrats knew state level Republicans would take the money appropriated for cities and counties and use it for something other than what it was meant. Being disallowed from misappropriating (stealing) the funds is, according to Republicans, much more than simply unconstitutional – it is a federal intrusion into states’ business

The Republican attorneys general claim the American Rescue Act is unconstitutional even though the money was specifically appropriated by Congress to help localities in their states recover from the pandemic’s financial devastation; not to help Republicans cover the cost of their never-ending crusade to enact tax cuts.

What Republicans will not say is that there is nothing in the American Rescue Act prohibiting them from cutting taxes. They are prohibited, however, from using those funds meant to help struggling cities and counties to offset their state-level tax cuts. They can cut taxes to their black hearts’ content, but the cities, counties, and localities do not have to cover the revenue shortfall from typical Republican state tax cuts.

If they do use the funds to cover tax revenue shortfalls, they have to return the stimulus money specifically allotted for cities and counties to the federal government. In that case, the people again end up paying the price for Republican tax cuts.

One such instance is in Oklahoma where the state attorney general “expressed dismay” his state can’t rob stimulus money from struggling cities and counties to cover a previously enacted tax cut.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said he was worried that his state is forbidden to cut sales tax:

We were planning on…reducing the sales tax on used cars, that is low-income and middle-income. And now we’re worried about whether that’s going to be prohibited under this bill. The language seems to indicate it is.”

No it is not prohibited and Hutchinson, like every Republican attorney general, knows it. Reduce sales tax for used cars or big screen televisions or guns all you want. But you are prohibited from offsetting the lost tax revenue on those used car, television and gun sales with federal stimulus aid appropriated for beleaguered cities and counties attempting to recover from loser Trump’s malfeasance in the face of a global pandemic.

It is likely no-one is shocked that Republicans would eventually find some means of creating an issue over a popular aid package to ameliorate the horrible damage a Republican with broad support of other Republicans inflicted on the nation. But to claim not being allowed to steal taxpayer money intended to help struggling American taxpayers is unconstitutional is beyond comprehension – but so typically Republican.