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Americans for Prosperity has sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to reject proposals for Congress to provide hundreds of billions in funds to states and localities to backstop their spending during the time of coronavirus.
“We should be helping the people who are hurting, not bailing out politicians for irresponsible decisions they made prior to this crisis,” the letter states. “But as we’ve seen before, lawmakers are using this crisis to jockey for handouts to pay for their past mistakes in the name of helping those who have been hit hardest.”
The letter goes on to detail how the funds would be used for purposes unrelated to the COVID-19 crisis and instead would only prop up states’ chronic fiscal problems. Illinois, for example, has requested more than $41 billion, nearly all of which would go toward bailing out irresponsible spending decisions made by Illinois politicians for decades.
The bailout money wouldn’t go to those in need:
Congress has already provided hundreds of billions in relief funding and loans to individuals and businesses experiencing economic hardship as a result of pandemic response policy, and again when it boosted funding for first responders and health care providers—including true heroes on the frontlines.
But massive federal bailouts too often go to line the pockets of special interests, rather than to those in need. Indeed, we are already learning of instances of waste, fraud, and abuse with the most recent federal spending bills. This has to stop.
Policymaking by crisis is the wrong way to approach addressing the challenges in the states. Another massive federal spending bill will almost certainly guarantee that federal funds will be used for non COVID-related state expenses at a time when we can least afford it.
Proponents argue that these funds would be used to shore up states’ obligations to public workers such as firefighters and teachers. But such heroes should not be used as pawns in these negotiations; instead of exploiting these workers, the letter argues, states should honor their promises to them by making them priorities of the funds they have and have received. Another sweeping – and rushed – bailout bill isn’t the answer for these workers, or this crisis.
Americans for Prosperity’s partner organizations, Concerned Veterans for America and the LIBRE Initiative, also signed the letter, which closes with an affirmation of the coalition’s commitment to work with congressional leaders to develop sound policies to help America through the current pandemic.