Why Does President Bush Hate the States?

It's not just the veto of SCHIP funding for state children's health care funding.

Bush is threatening to veto a range of programs to which the federal government contributes funding. 

Bush wants to cut federal aid programs by about $3.8 billion, according to Federal Funds Information for States, a Washington-based organization. The House has called for an increase of $13.8 billion, and the Senate is headed toward a $10-billion increase.

Bush is threatening to cut funds for programs ranging from community policing to Community Development Block Grants to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Republican Opposition to Bush's Veto Threats: In attacking these state grants, Bush is defying bipartisan support for many of the programs. As the Los Angeles Times details, members of his own party have denounced his proposed cuts:

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) took to the Senate floor complaining about the president's proposed $1.6-billion cut in aid to state and local law enforcement at a time when violent crime is on the rise...

Rep. Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee that writes the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget, called proposed cuts to the Community Development Block Grant "unacceptable to any mayor, city council or governor, and unlikely to be agreed to, at least by my conference..."

Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) helped engineer a successful bipartisan effort in the House to boost to $460 million the federal funding to reimburse states for jailing illegal immigrants. Bush has proposed no money for the program.

Why Federal Funding is Needed:  The last item highlights exactly the kind of program where federal support for local programs is so obviously appropriate. While studies show that undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than their costs to government, many local governments have legitimate complaints that the federal government collects many of these taxes, including social security taxes for which the federal government has to pay no benefits. Programs like the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) were designed to channel some of those increased tax revenues to states that are particularly impacted by new immigrants to help them deal with increased costs that local tax revenues might not fully cover.

Even as Bush is demanding hundreds of billions of dollars for his Iraq War, state leaders have been left with the responsibility to deal with the domestic needs the White House has largely ignored. Threatening to shut down the federal government because Congressional leaders are trying to help states fund those needs is the height of fiscal recklessness.

More Resources