Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mark Kirk: Blagojevich Barred from Stimulus Funds

I'm in the middle of processing video from tonight's YR event on the impeachment/trial of the guv, so I'm just pasting in the press release direct from Congressman Mark Kirk's office, as follows:

Kirk: Blagojevich Barred from Stimulus Funds

Kirk-Foster Amendment included in House economic stimulus package; Illinois General Assembly to appropriate billions until Blagojevich removed from office

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.) successfully attached their bipartisan amendment to President Obama's economic stimulus package yesterday blocking all federal funds to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Kirk-Foster Amendment directs Illinois' share of the stimulus to the Illinois General Assembly until Governor Blagojevich is removed from office. The Kirk-Foster Amendment was attached to the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" during a full meeting of the House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday.

"Rod Blagojevich has consistently refused to do what is in the best interest of the people of Illinois and resign," Congressman Kirk said. "As the Congress prepares to approve billions of dollars for Illinois, we must ensure the governor is not allowed to use these funds to give himself or others a parting gift. The Illinois General Assembly will be the steward of the stimulus funds until Governor Blagojevich is removed from office."
"The allegations that have been made against Gov. Rod Blagojevich call into question his fitness to distribute federal funds in an effective, fair and ethical manner," Congressman Foster said. "I am proud to work with Rep. Mark Kirk to ensure that the Governor does not have the opportunity to misuse stimulus funding at the expense of our constituents in Illinois."

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are broad powers for the Congress to attach conditions to federal spending to states. In the 104th Congress (1995-96), Congress enacted the Brown amendment allocating TANF funding to the respective legislatures – not the governors. Additionally, state supreme courts upheld state legislative control for federal block grant funds. In Shapp v. Sloan (1977) the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the legislature has ultimate authority to appropriate federal block grants.

The amendment text is below.


Page 11, after line 10, insert the following:

None of the funds provided by this Act may be made available to the State of Illinois, or any agency of the State, unless (1) the use of such funds by the State is approved in legislation enacted by the State after the date of the enactment of this Act, or (2) Rod R. Blagojevich no longer holds the office of Governor of the State of Illinois. The preceding sentence shall not apply to any funds provided directly to a unit of local government (1) by a Federal department or agency or (2) by an established formula from the state.