Arizona wishes to withhold some funds from schools that force students to wear a mask. The Joe Biden administration is threatening to take back more than $160 million in federal money unless this policy is changed.
“The governor’s office will not stop the programs to conform to the Treasury’s unlawful mandates,” the lawsuit says, according to the Arizona GOP.
“The Biden White House is trying to hold congressionally-appropriated money hostage and is attempting to bully Arizona into going along with this power-grabbing move,” Ducey stated.
The funding was contained inside the American Rescue Plan and was connected to an Arizona law that blocked COVID-19 mask mandates within schools. Only schools that didn’t pass mandates were eligible for the funds.
The law was later said to be unconstitutional by a state court but Gov. Ducey is pushing the funding anyway.
A.G. Mark Brnovich dismissed the threat with a reminder that states have rights still.
From Fox News:
“Brnovich published a message on January 20 to Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen after she threatened, on behalf of the Joe Biden White House, to withhold money from the state because of a difference in COVID-19 policy.”
“Madam Secretary, the states formed the federal government,” Brnovich said. “Unfortunately, members of the Biden White House have continuously ignored this fundamental fact of our great nation when enacting bureaucratic mandates and harmful regulations on the individual states.”
The two administrative money pools that the Treasury Dept. objects to were made by Gov. Ducey in Aug.
“In August, Ducey created two funding pools, the education plus-up grant program that gave districts money if they didn’t impose mask mandates, and an recovery benefit for education, which gave families $7,000 for each student if they moved their kid from a district that had a mandate.”
This effort by the Biden White House to impose a national mask rule is silly given its own CDC says that cloth masks are essentially useless. The Treasury Dept. should pull back this threat to claw back coronavirus relief funds simply because they do not like the way Arizona is spending it.