Billions of dollars from President Joe Biden’s COVID relief bill will begin going out to states soon, but Republicans aren’t done challenging the administration on how it can be spent.
Republican attorneys general who are suing Biden say that new “guidelines” provided by the Treasury are still too ambiguous, and could be used to penalize states down the line with unforeseen tax liabilities, the Washington Examiner reported.
Republicans sue Biden
The American Rescue Plan includes a $350 billion pot of money that states are prohibited from using to offset tax cuts.
The bill says, vaguely, that the COVID money cannot be used “directly or indirectly” to offset tax cuts, language that alarmed the plaintiffs when they filed their lawsuit in March.
The Treasury Department was, at least in theory, supposed to allay those concerns with its newly released guidelines on Monday, but Republicans say they do nothing to stop Biden from leaving states on the hook.
As Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich put it, the Biden administration is using the relief money to “commandeer” tax policy in the states.
“Americans cannot put their faith in whatever the latest interpretation is from the Biden Administration,” Brnovich said in a statement. “Arizona should not be put in a position of losing billions of dollars because the federal government wants to commandeer states’ tax policies.”
Republicans push back on Biden’s tyranny
While Republicans accuse Biden of trying to steer tax policy, they have long attacked the funding in a more fundamental way as a bailout splurging largesse on blue states that bankrupted themselves with draconian lockdowns. Indeed, states with higher unemployment are getting a bigger slice of the pie.
The funding will be delivered in two phases to most states, with a second installment next year, while states with higher unemployment get it all at once.
With Biden, federal overreach has been a constant concern since he began his tenure with a blitz of executive orders pushing radical policies on everything from climate change to transgenderism. Mirroring Democrats during the Trump presidency, Republicans have been pushing back in the courts.
On another front, former Trump adviser Stephen Miller is suing Biden over part of his COVID relief plan that disadvantages white farmers.
While taking Biden to task in court, Republicans have also hammered Biden over signs of inflation that they blame on out-of-control spending and generous COVID benefits that have kept unemployment stubbornly high.