We have Rep. Clyburn to thank for this provision, which was inserted into the final stimulus bill text late last night, as a run-around Sen. Collins. Here's more on the provision behind the jump and its potential political implications for 2010.
Glenn Thrush at Politico reports that:
A devilishly clever last-minute insert to the House version of the stimulus bill has made it through the conference report -- a requirement that governors spend their stimulus allocations within 45 days.
The provision isn't likely to have a real-world impact, but it forces Republican governors who opposed the stimulus (e.g. South Carolina's Mark Sanford) and many other GOP governors who sat on the fence for fear of bucking their party -- to publicly accept or decline the aid. And when they do accept it -- and it's hard to see a scenario where they wouldn't given their deficits -- Democrats get to call them craven or hypocritical or both.
In the unlikely event they do reject the money, authority for spending the cash would revert to State legislatures, who would likely be under even more political pressure to spend it than chief executives.
"Our governor has repeatedly expressed political and philosophical aversion to using federal assistance as we work our way out of the economic conditions that are visiting significant difficulties upon businesses and families throughout our beloved state," Clyburn said after the House vote.
And as I used to say during the general election, this is excellent news!!! For John McCain!!! (It's snark for the snark-impaired.) Now, what this means is that if the GOP governors want to hold onto all that federal money for longer than 45 days, they're forced to hand over control of that money to the state legislature, which increases even more pressure on the Republican members of the state legislature to dispense with the funds as allocated under the stimulus bill for state-based aid.
And if the GOP governors spend that money with 45 days, it's more than a given that the impact will be felt, which means any local economic upturn ends up looking good for President Obama and the congressional Democrats in 2010.