February 22, 12:27 PM
by Rob Shirk, South St. Paul Examiner
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, ARRA, has been devised by the most brilliant economic minds in America. They also are playing the game of Gotcha!
Hidden in President Barack Obama's massive economic stimulus plan is a little noticed provision aimed at keeping Republican governors like Minnesota's Gov. Tim Pawlenty from standing in the way of the $787 billion spending package.
Occupying only three paragraphs, the new law clears the way for an end-run around recalcitrant governors by requiring governors to accept the federal stimulus funds within 45 days. If the money is not accepted within that time frame, it is passed to the state legislature for certification and release to the state.
It is very striking that the package looks to be targeted in very specific ways to handcuff people like Governor Pawlenty -- Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota
Our own Gov.Tim Pawlenty, native of South St. Paul, along with South Carolina's Mark Sanford, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Alaska's Sarah Palin are all wringing their hands with the spending in the stimulus. Some have even threatened inaction. They want to play Gotcha! on their own terms. Minnesota state legislators, however, know what's coming.
There was some concern that he [Pawlenty] might drag his heels.We are just trying to ensure that our state maximizes our opportunities in case the governor wouldn't act or chose to act in a limited way -- Minnesota state Sen. Tarryl L. Clark, DFL-St. Cloud
If a governor does not accept the funding then it goes to the legislature, which can pass it by concurrent resolution. It's a game that has far reaching implications. The stimulus can only work if everyone works it together and Barack Obama's team knew that some Republican governors might provide an impasse to a law they already knew would be watered down with compromise. Gotcha!
To get more analysis of what's happening with the governors, please go to Karen Harper, Birmingham's Progressive Politics Examiner.
Erin Haust is our Minneapolis Conservative Examiner and here is her analysis of the issue, as well.