S.C. Gov. Sanford Backs Down: Will Accept Stimulus Funds

April 3, 2009

(ChattahBox)-Aides to Republican Governor Sanford are saying today, he will put in a formal request for the millions of dollars of Federal Stimulus Funds, for South Carolina, a state reeling from a double digit unemployment rate, crumbling school buildings and infrastructure. The deadline for governors to request the funds is Friday by midnight. Sanford will be the last of all state governors to request the funds. Gov. Sanford will however, stand firm on his refusal to accept $700 million in stabilization funds, which would go retaining teachers and modernize ancient school buildings.

Gov. Sanford sent in two formal requests to the White House, this past month, seeking a “waiver” to use the $700 million stabilization funds to pay down state debt instead, raising the ire of many in his state, including many Republicans. The White House refused both requests for waivers. Sanford’s General Assembly threatened to overrule Sanford and accept the funds for their suffering state, with the second highest unemployment rate in the country.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is working with Rep. Jim Clyburn, to write new Congressional legislation that would release the $700 million in funds to South Carolina, if Gov. Sanford stubbornly stands firm and refuses to accept the money for his state as it is intended.

Republican Gov. Sanford is expected to throw his hat in the presidential ring come 2012. His very public refusal to accept the $700 million in funds (he appeared multiple times on CNN, Fox News and other news outlets, making his case) is viewed by many as political grandstanding to appease the ultra-conservative Republicans in his party.



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