Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim has a story up today that everyone in Washington, D.C. needs to read–especially Republicans throwing up objections to aid for state and local governments to offset shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the economic relief legislation making its way through Congress:
Since the passage of the CARES Act last year, anytime Congress has considered additional state and local aid, Republicans have described it as a “blue state bailout” — a reward for supposedly Democratic-run places that have not budged wisely.
But even in many red areas of the country, local leaders are calling for additional funds to help weather the drawn out impacts of the pandemic. And that includes Colorado…
The House version of the American Rescue Plan includes $350 billion for states, local governments, tribes, and territories. Those supporting the call for additional local funds hope the final package will include more flexibility in spending. They also appreciate that the plan doesn’t require local governments to be a minimum size to receive funds directly from the federal government.
The argument that aid to state and local governments in federal COVID-19 relief legislation is a “bailout” of supposedly wasteful practices, as we’ve said in this space many, many times, is extremely misguided given that local governments have seen their revenue crash over the last year. There’s no “rainy day fund” or other contingency that can cover the massive drop in revenue created by the economic contraction in the spring and summer of 2020, and in Colorado we can’t just borrow money to cover the shortfall. Because of Colorado’s interlocking restrictions on spending and raising revenue, we’re at the mercy of all economic downturns, not just historic economic crashes–and only the federal government has the power to save us.
Scott Tipton joined AOC’s Squad to co-sponsor a $250 billion federal bailout of cities like Boulder, Colorado, without constraint on their liberal-spending ways.
We should not use federal taxpayer money to bailout irresponsible blue cities.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) June 9, 2020
The COVID-19 Relief Bill, also known as the “Biden Blue State Bailout” frees up $414 billion in funding for elective abortions.
A COVID-19 relief bill should not include ONE DIME for abortion, or frankly for any other issue other than COVID RELIEF!
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) February 23, 2021
This story doesn’t mention Rep. Lauren Boebert by name, but Boebert made mythical “blue state bailouts” a major talking point in her primary campaign against Rep. Scott Tipton, and has continued to sound the theme more recently (albeit ridiculously) in opposition to the current relief bill. As this story about local governments in rural Colorado desperate for the assistance forthcoming in the relief bill makes clear, Boebert is telling the folks back home in very direct terms that when it comes time to choose between her talking points and their needs, the talking points will always win.
For Fremont County’s Bell, the debate also underscores that politicians in Washington, D.C., don’t always comprehend life in rural Colorado.
“I don’t think they understand ins and outs of our daily problems and the issues that we have, no matter how hard we have tried over the many years to help them see our side of things, and to understand what it really is like here,” Bell said. “People are suffering.”
For all his faults, Scott Tipton knew when to give up the grandstand and take care of his constituents. Lauren Boebert does not, writing off the prospect of winning appropriations for her district as “serving up pork”–and at this point is much more beholden to her Twitter following than the needs of her district. That’s bad for Boebert’s political career in the long run, but in the short term it’s the people of CD-3 who will suffer.