State senators may debate legislation today from Republican Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman that democrats and republicans alike have been waiting for. The would override Governor Mark Sanford’s decision to divert 700 million dollars of stimulus money headed to South Carolina. Sanford wants the federal money to pay down the state’s debt. Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina included a provision in the stimulus bill that would allow the General Assembly to have that power.
Senate Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, a Republican like Sanford, says the governor’s actions smack of presidential politics. “On one hand, in the world of presidential politics, you’re gonna have all of this. But in the real world, we’re down to looking at the facts–what should we take. And we need to move on.”
McConnell says the governor knows that the General Assembly will override him. “Ultimately, the buck stops here, the way the federal law has been drafted. It’s just not good business judgement, and it’s not good common sense, to get mad enough about it to cost yourself money, when you’re already stuck with the bill.”
Senator Leatherman says his resolution is necessary. “This is an action the General Assembly has to take to comply with the amendment that Congressman Clyburn put in, in HR1, the stimulus bill. And we’re in a position where the governor has refused the money and the General Assembly is in a position to do that.”
52 mayors from across the state have signed a letter requesting that the governor use the recovery jobs to create jobs. Governor Sanford sent a second letter to the Obama Administration, asking for permission for the funds to be diverted to pay off debt, but he was told a second time that that was not allowed. Both democratic and republican lawmakers have said Sanford knows that the White House is not allowed by law to grant that request.