The American Rescue Plan Act was signed on March 11th 2021 by President Joe Biden. It provided $19.5 billion of federal assistance to cities with a population less than 50,000.
Brady, Texas (5500 people) received $1.3 million. It turned down the offer.
“Clearly we could have used that money but at what price?” Sheila Hemphill, a lobbyist and activist based in Brady, told Reason.
Brady was among at least 243 towns that rejected or returned federal stimulus money. Residents were afraid that, in return for the federal stimulus aid, the government would be able to inspect how it was used. The residents were also concerned about the possibility that the Biden administration could force the municipality to follow its executive order mandating the vaccination of all workers at businesses with over 100 employees. Although the Supreme Court later struck it down, Brady wouldn’t be affected by the order because its school district is not large enough for the vaccine to have any effect.
Brady residents believed that it was the principle which mattered.
“It’s the COVID-19 mandate. Hemphill said that the problem with this executive order is that it could contain who knows what.
Sixty-seven more Texas towns did the same. Mason is one of them, with a 2,400-person population and a turn down of $570,000.
Sue Pledger is a Mason City Commissioner who learned of the possible drawbacks to accepting Hemphill stimulus money.She stated that the federal government does not have any right to audit us or to access our financial records. Reason. “We haven’t entered a contract…We’re separate, and that’s the way we want to keep it here in Mason.”
We had strong support within a short time, which meant that our decision was supported by the community. That meant to give back the funds and stay sovereign. It also meant keeping our independence. We didn’t allow the federal government any control over our finances or our contracting.
Mike Maharrey was the national director for communications at The Tenth Amendment Center.Maharrey stated that federal money has been used by the government to increase its state control for years. The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine gives Brady the right to refuse to enforce executive orders, but the stimulus funding gives the federal government the power to say if you don’t “‘enforce these various mandates and regulations…we can take the money back,'” Maharrey told Reason.
Nationally, nearly half the total revenue of every state is contributed by the federal governments. These funds are generally contingent.
“Maharrey says that bribery can be used to describe the actions of federal government officials. Maharrey says, “It is impossible to avoid being bribed.”
He continues:In many cases, you won’t be able to know exactly what the strings will be. This is because federal government creates these agreements or contracts in such a manner that it gives the federal government great latitude to retroactively implement the policies they desire.
Maharrey states that giving local government power is better than both the good and bad.I am not a proponent of decentralization. However, state and local governments seem to be more effective. These are just as harmful as the federal government. But as with any system, a decentralized system is going to be better for the individual than a monopoly system…I’d rather deal with 50 different states than have everything, one-size-fits-all, emanating from the federal government.”
John Osterhoudt produced and edited the video. Zach Weissmueller and Osterhoudt took the camera. Additional graphics were created by Isaac Reese.
Photos: Abaca Press/Gripas Yuri/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom; Earl S. Cryer/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; MEGA/Newscom; Coolcaesar/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons
Videos by Brady Chamber of Commerce and City of Brady. Kelly L, Pexels.