U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement in response to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan planning to reprogram education funding from the stimulus legislation even if the Governor and state legislature do not request the funds.
"I was shocked by the statements made by the Secretary of Education that he would find a way to spend the $700 million in South Carolina regardless of the requirements of the statute or whether the state requested the funding.
"I appreciate and share his concern for the children of South Carolina. However, federal officials cannot obligate money based on a perceived moral obligation. We are a nation of laws, not individual whims. I cannot think of a more dangerous precedent to be set than allowing an unelected Cabinet Secretary, a federal bureaucrat, to hand out government funds based upon their feelings and not the law.
"The Secretary's pushing forward with this radical line of thinking would destroy the concept of the Rule of Law, the role of elected officials, and the principles of federalism which have served our nation well for over 200 years. I encourage the Obama Administration to immediately reject this approach. I hope these comments will be written off as just mindless chatter and not a radical new approach to the role and power of the federal government.
"I voted against the stimulus package because it was too large and created too much government. However, I do believe it is in South Carolina's best interests for the Governor to accept the funding as it will do some good. If South Carolina does not accept the funding, it will go to another state and future generations of South Carolinian will still be obligated to pay it back.
"Additionally, in light of today's unemployment figures and recent budget projections it will be very difficult for the General Assembly to meet all our state's obligations. This is clearly a rainy day for South Carolina and these funds can be helpful in our current budget situation.
"Finally, the legal process through which these funds are administered is very important. The process and procedures used will be around long after these funds are spent."