So Much For Federalism: Republican Senator Asks Congress to Strip Berkeley of Federal Funds in Retaliation for Slight to Marines

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has called for Congress to strip the City of Berkeley, Calif., of federal funds because he does not agree with a slight to the Marine Corp. The Berkeley City Council voted this week to tell the U.S. Marine Corps to move its recruiting station outside the city’s downtown. What is astonishing is that DeMint has long defended federalism (as I do). There is no greater nightmare for states rights than the federal government taking in more taxes than it needs — only to give the money back to the states with strings attached. Thus, under this approach, states and cities will be denied money unless they conform their political judgments to the will of the Senate. It is a good thing that George Mason is safely six-feet under ground.

This dust up occurred this week after the council vote. DeMint responded by saying “This is a slap in the face to all brave service men and women and their families.” That part seem entirely correct. He then added “The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money.” He blew it on the second half of the second statement. It is in fact their money and the rest of the states. Congress routinely takes in more money than it needed to force states and cities to conform to its wishes. Now, Congress is manipulating even symbolic measures.
Here is what he would like to cut:

— $975,000 for the University of California at Berkeley, for the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, which may include establishing an endowment, and for cataloguing the papers of Congressman Robert Matsui.

— $750,000 for the Berkeley/Albana ferry service.

— $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation, for a school lunch initiative to integrate lessons about wellness, sustainability and nutrition into the academic curriculum.

— $94,000 for a Berkeley public safety interoperability program.

— $87,000 for the Berkeley Unified School District, nutrition education program.

Ironically, the council cannot force the Marines to move and there is no plans for the Marines to do so. What remains is a symbolic fight over a city council resolution in California that a South Carolina Senator does not like. And then of course there is the increasingly small concern over federalism. For a prior column on the lack of support for federalism, click here and here and here and here

Click here for the latest story on the DeMint/Berkeley controversy.

4 thoughts on “So Much For Federalism: Republican Senator Asks Congress to Strip Berkeley of Federal Funds in Retaliation for Slight to Marines”

  1. As a former marine and Iraq Vet in living San Francisco, I can tell you that the bay area does more to support the troops when they come home from war then most any other community. Just the other week a symposium for mental health clinicians, veterans support organizations like the one i now have the honor of working for, and community members at large was held to educate the community about the toll this war is taking on service men and women and the fact that many veterans can’t or won’t be going to the VA so service providers need to be aware or the growing veteran population. I’m sick of this sly rhetoric that requires people to support asinine policies or be labeled a troop hating surrender monkey’s. and I don’t even agree with moving the recruiting station out of Berkey because the the areas they can move it to are in much poorer communities. Still, what the heck is a South Carolina senator doing getting involved in a California city council vote. Unsat.

  2. Just another example of our federal government slowly trying to strengthen its grip around the throats of the states in order to maintain governmental policy, and money is the most powerful resource they have to force the states to all follow ONE government. No individuality is wanted or allowed, from states to citizens. It seems the goal our federal government is working towards is one BIG government ordering each and every state and indivisual to adhere to its policies so we all must conform and put our own individual needs and desires aside for the good of the federal government. Hmmm…I think this was tried several times before and each time the government was either overtrown or it collapsed from internal strife. GET IT!!! States right is our only resource in fighting what George Washington said was our greatest future problem, and that is to much government! Legalize cannabis NOW for it is more than stupid for a government to prohibit its citizens to recreational drugs that are feircely addictive, fatal and spawn a myriad of other fatal diseases while prohibiting the use of a non addictive non fatal drug that actually is extremely theraputic in controlling pain, nausea, etc., etc., etc?

  3. Federalism is currently a notion more honored in abstract than in practice it would seem.

    Remember the Oregon Death with Dignity law?

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