September 3, 2020

"Anarchy has recently beset some of our states and cities. My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones."

Wrote President Trump in a memo quoted in "Trump Moves to Cut Federal Funding From Democratic Cities/The president directed officials to identify 'anarchist jurisdictions' and move to withhold funds as he tries to build his campaign around the unrest that has accompanied racial justice protests" (NYT).
[The mem0] gives Mr. Barr 14 days to identify “anarchist jurisdictions” where officials have “permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures,” although it does not specify particular cities.

[Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget,] has 30 days to direct “heads of agencies on restricting eligibility of or otherwise disfavoring, to the maximum extent permitted by law, anarchist jurisdictions in the receipt of federal grants,” according to the memo.

Among the factors that Mr. Barr is to consider in determining such jurisdictions are “whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction,” whether a jurisdiction has pulled back law enforcement after being prevented access to a certain area and “whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments.”...
Many onlookers are expressing shock, but conditional federal funding is a mainstay of federal legislation. When the conditions are not met, you don't get the money. I don't think it's good federalism, but there's so much of it and it's been going on for a long, long time!

I was just watching this new Biden ad — discussed in the previous post — and it flaunts the very same idea — withholding federal funds from cities that don't meet conditions that have been imposed. Here, I'll go right to the relevant spot:



I'll transcribe it for you: "Reforming policing in this country means creating a national standard on use of force and conditioning federal funds for police departments on adoption of that standard."

That is, Biden is relying on the same idea that Trump is using. Money isn't simply given to the cities for their police departments. Standards are imposed and they are enforced by a threat to withhold the money.

66 comments:

Sebastian said...

"I don't think it's good federalism, but there's so much of it and it's been going on for a long, long time!"

In fact, it's the essential prog tool. Turnabout is fair play, even if brief and inconsequential.

gilbar said...

That is, Biden is relying on the same idea that Trump is using. Money isn't simply given to the cities for their police departments. Standards are imposed and they are enforced by a threat to withhold the money.

yes, But!
there is NO similarity between the two!
President Trump is President Trump.... Which Means he is BAD!!!!!
Jo Biden is a DEMOCRAT.... Which Means he is NOT BAD!!!!!

see?

tim maguire said...

Why should federal taxpayers underwrite local damage where local authorities so readily contributed to the damage? That’s called a moral hazard and it’s unfair to responsible jurisdictions. Their choice, their repair bill.

Kevin said...

The people not protesting also have civil rights.

These governments are actively violating the civil rights of their non-protesting populations.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Of COURSE Biden-Harris threaten to withhold funds but for the TIGHT reasons not just to be mean like badorangeman.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Leftist outrage engines cranking up to 11 in 3, 2, 1...

Despite the fact that Federal dollars have been conditional FOREVER, and that, as AA pointed out, Uncle Joe (who's moving kinda slow) is promising to do exactly the same thing, just with different aims. "It's different when we do it because SHUT UP!" they explained.

Fredrick said...

"National standard" Which are the failed states that need to have federal power supercede local power and just where in the constitution is the federal power granted over that of the states?

Kevin said...

How the candidates deal with the rioters:

Trump: I’ll cut off your funding.

Biden: I’ll invite you to the White House.

Jamie said...

[The mem0] gives Mr. Barr 14 days to identify “anarchist jurisdictions” ... although it does not specify particular cities.

I don't understand - the memo lays the responsibility for identifying anarchist jurisdictions on Barr, but the reporter is surprised that the administration didn't direct Barr to target particular places? This is bad because... Trump wasn't autocratic enough? Because he laid out criteria and turned Barr loose to make his own judgments on which jurisdictions meet those criteria?

As for the rest - I'm not opposed to certain broad-but-limited national standards for policing - we have those already, like Miranda rights, and maybe there are some new or different standards that would be appropriate to include. But I feel certain that, just as with the mask-wearing, the Biden side thinks we ought to have one giant rule book for every jurisdiction in the country, big or small, local and regional issues notwithstanding. My Texas suburb should absolutely be policed in the same way as Chicago's south side ganglands or an opioid-riddled collection of hamlets in West Virginia or a working-class neighborhood in the North Liberties in Philly or the estates of Marin County. Makes total sense...

Lucien said...

Has it not been clear for at least the last 50 years that localities should not accept federal funding, because it means surrender to federal control?

Freder Frederson said...

The fourteen days is a tell. Any time Trump claims something is going to happen in two weeks, nothing ever comes of it. Remember how he put out a secret Executive Order at the beginning of August that gave the drug companies until August 25 to lower prices or he would impose price reductions? Or the numerous times he was going to release his plan to replace the ACA in two weeks.

Mike Sylwester said...

Threats to withhold federal money was how the Obama Administration commandeered colleges to establish kangaroo courts to expel male students who were accused by female students of committing sexual harassment.

All the colleges in the USA were effectively commandeered.

Owen said...

All across this great land of ours, I can see Prog heads exploding in shock and rage at the absolute tyranny of Trump's policy, and demanding that Biden's idea be implemented without delay.

Larry J said...

It sounds like those mayors want lots of that sweet, sweet federal money to practice accelerated urban renewal. It’s one thing to help rebuild after a natural disaster, it’s another thing completely to expect bailouts for willful incompetence. Stupidity should be painful.

Wilbur said...

Millions for defense but not one cent for Leftist nonsense!

Roughcoat said...

This is for Michael K:

See https://www.foxnews.com/us/chicago-police-suspects-pancake-house-shooting

ga6 said...

But Mommy I didn't mean what I said yesterday!!!

Temujin said...

Obama used this as well. Presidents will use this to 'incentivize' states or municipalities within states to meet the standards they, their party, and the people who elected them, want met. It works both ways.

narciso said...


Really


https://thepostmillennial.com/revealed-antifa-stored-weapons-in-seattle-occupied-park/

DrSquid said...

I hope their investigation into these cities extends beyond police to the prosecutors, who refuse to indict the arrested Antifados and to the judges who release them with no bail.

Rick.T. said...

Drive 55 to Stay Alive!

MayBee said...

Excellent point Althouse

Michael K said...

im maguire said...
Why should federal taxpayers underwrite local damage where local authorities so readily contributed to the damage? That’s called a moral hazard and it’s unfair to responsible jurisdictions. Their choice, their repair bill.


Exactly and the insurance companies are getting out, too.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Biden is a crook. So - who cares about anything he says? Same with Hillary. Why can't the D-party move on and field non-corrupt people for high office?

Isn't that the question we should all be asking?

Trump is weird.

stevew said...

Federal highway funds distribution to the states have followed this model for as long as I can remember. Gilbar reduces the issue to its essence.

Colin said...

Short of declaring an insurrection or invoking martial law, I don't think the Federal Level has many cards to play aside from pulling funding. Pulling funding from burning cities is not terribly great optically, and I imagine many people will use it as further ammo against Trump in their ignorance.

The irony to me is that our distributed system is a check on power to some extent...but it's also a check on any kind of real coordination if the various levels are opposed to each other.

Jersey Fled said...

Didn't Alinsky say something about making them play by their own rules?

Dave Begley said...

Translation: You can break the law and the police won't arrest you.

Here in Omaha, the ACLU is up in arms because a 14 year old got tazed. He was stealing a car and resisting arrest. And the cops, of course, didn't know his age.

ga6 said...

The withholding of Fed funds is the enforcement hammer in the Obama administration move to force public housing on individual cities, towns and counties.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

https://www.foxnews.com/media/stanley-kurtz-obama-era-affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing-rule-attack-on-suburbs

https://nationalfairhousing.org/affh/

The Bergall said...

Remember when Clinton boasted putting 100,000 cops on the street?

Wince said...

Police need to be held accountable for their actions.

Big city Democrat mayors and district attorneys, not so much.

frenchy said...

Portland is about to get it good and hard. This is the Defund Ted Wheeler Act.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

His big failure was not mentioning DAs offices that refuse to prosecute the criminal rioters

Oso Negro said...

Quick! Someone wake up the Hawaiian judge.

Anonymous said...

>Why should federal taxpayers underwrite local damage where local authorities so readily contributed to the damage?

Particularly when the riot damage will be just a hook to push a broader bailout. Much/most of the funds will go to bailing out local pension shortfalls.

Clyde said...

The Feds conditioned full highway funding to the states on raising the legal drinking age to 21; failure to do so would cost recalcitrant states 10% of their funding. That was in 1984. So yes, the Feds have been doing it for a long time.

rcocean said...

What the President wants is irrelevant. what the Judges want is all that matters. This will be struck by one of the 1,000 district judges, and then we will go an Appeals Court and it MAY be upheld and if Trump wants to go to the SCOTUS - all four liberal justices will vote against it, and King Roberts will decide.

I think that's insane, but the American public are OK with it.

wendybar said...

gilbar gets it...Why is it so hard for everyone else??

Martin said...

This reminds me of his 2017 attempt to cut funding to sanctuary cities... in the end it was barely a peep, because the legislation and regs covering the grant programs did not allow grants to be withheld on that basis. I expect similar will come of this--tho Trump can say he tried and if re-elected will pursue it further.

These are circumstances nobody dreamed of when the grant programs were enacted, so there is no proviison addressing them.

mikee said...

Barr should be looking at what happens to rioters after they are arrested. Do the charges stick, and are the perpetrators prosecuted? If not, why the hell not?!

Yancey Ward said...

What needs to happen are federal lawsuits against the cities and states and their elected officials that aren't protecting the civil rights of everyone else.

rehajm said...

It sounds like those mayors want lots of that sweet, sweet federal money to practice accelerated urban renewal.

They're all in on it. They EXPECT it...

rehajm said...

It's a savvy political move by Trump, once again. It's a 'nudge' Cass Sunstein would be mighty proud of if he wasn't so pissed...

paminwi said...

I don’t think it will happen but I sure hope Barr finds a way.

Louie the Looper said...

1. Cities: “Defund the police!”
2. Trump: “Hey, I can help with that!”
3. Cities: “Thank you, President Trump!”

Owen said...

Michael K @ 8:48: “... and the insurance companies are getting out, too.”

If insurance companies refuse to write policies for businesses and residences in primarily black neighborhoods in Democrat cities, is that not going to be attacked as “redlining”? Clearly a racist plan to perpetuate the blight instead of blindly funding the next bonfire.

hombre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hombre said...

Democrats and their media pimps are incapable of seeing a distinction between, “You vill follow the rules ve decree or lose federal funds” and “you have failed to enforce existing laws designed to safeguard people and property and taxpayer in other jurisdictions will not be footing the bill.”

One looks like extortion the other looks like refusing to reward dereliction of duty. Joe the extortionist is nothing if not consistent.

I’m afraid the vast majority of Americans have no idea what is at stake in this election.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Just stop providing money to the cities. The cities should self-fund themselves and stop relying on Uncle Sugar. Seattle doesn't help the feds corral illegal aliens, in fact the City and King County actually obstruct enforcement of immigration law.

Why does Sound Transit get federal dollars for a local light rail system. Taxpayers from Madison, Wisconsin are never going to ride the Link Light rail from Seattle to Redmond, why are they paying for it? Local tax revenue is way down because of the virus, along with ridership and fare box revenue.

gerry said...

If we want to prevent the federal government from spending OUR money in ways that we consider bad, we can't let the federal government get its hands on it in the first place. We have to repeal the sixteenth amendment!

I've wondered if marijuana activists would re-activate the tenth amendment. Is it possible that Progressives will help repeal the sixteenth amendment?

Michael K said...

If insurance companies refuse to write policies for businesses and residences in primarily black neighborhoods in Democrat cities,

They are smarter than that. They will simply exclude "Civil unrest" as a cause. Most insurance excludes "Acts of War" already."

The Godfather said...

It all depends on what the statutes say about the requirements to qualify for federal funds. I’m pretty sure “anarchism” isn’t in there. The nets are already reporting that Trump is threatening to take funding away from “Democratic cities”, which I suspect is not what Barr is being asked to look at.

Steven said...

Which are the failed states that need to have federal power supercede local power and just where in the constitution is the federal power granted over that of the states?

The Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the laws, empowers Congress to enforce it with "appropriate legislation".

In accordance, Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The third section of that act was later codified as 10 U.S. Code § 253, which reads:

"The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it—

"(1) so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or

"(2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

"In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution."

Jupiter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

I’m so old I remember when Highway funds were conditional on DUI going to 0.08%. Fun times!

Richard Dolan said...

"but conditional federal funding is a mainstay of federal legislation."

Yes, it all turns on whether the legislation gives the executive discretion to withhold federal funds on whatever basis the executive claims as justification for doing so.

Interesting how this move plays into the meta-themes of the campaign. Biden is all about empathy, being the nice if slightly demented grandpa who just wants the best for the kids and will leave it to his trusted underlings to figure out how to manage that. Trump is all about being the strict daddy figure -- the 'strong horse' when you need one, the take-charge guy who gets things done, versus the weak horse who can't pull the load or get anything done. Empathy as a campaign theme is all mush; overbearing patriarchal authority is what anyone who experienced it wants nothing to do with. Both present problems.

What it comes down to, I think, is that Biden's pitch is 'you may not like what I'm going to do (which is why I downplay it), but you'll like me much better than wacko Orange Man', while Trump's is 'you may not like me (I know you think I'm crude and narcissistic), but you'll definitely like what I'm going to do better than what Slow Joe and his team of lefty loons has planned for you.'

No idea how the voters will process that.

Jupiter said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree. If the Congress has established programs to accomplish certain stated goals, and allocated funding, the President should not be withholding those funds from certain disfavored cities as a punishment for unrelated activities.

However, it is reasonable to withhold funds to replace infrastructure destroyed by rioters and looters. It is not necessary to withhold it from "certain cities". If you need it, you don't deserve it.

Rick said...

Many onlookers are expressing shock, but conditional federal funding is a mainstay of federal legislation. When the conditions are not met, you don't get the money.

They can't do that!

Right. Only we can do that.

Rick said...

Don't worry, Ginsberg will have someone drag her over in a wheelbarrow to ensure the left's antics can't be used by anyone else.

Better get the case there in the hurry though. Or is she from Chicago?

mockturtle said...

Rick T suggests: Drive 55 to Stay Alive!

On a 75-80mph freeway, that could get you killed.

Tina Trent said...

They're called consent decrees. The DOJ helicopters in and makes the police brass sign a 200-page document taking mass numbers of cops off the streets to do social justice paperwork, or else: lawsuits that will cost even more. It's not just the carrot of federal dollars: it's often the stick of federal lawfare.

Or the DOE, etc. They are the moving hand of left-wing politics. Great illustration from the Biden ad. Take a look at the policing consent decrees Chicago signed in recent years: I'm sure there's a graph-minded person here who could track the increasing page count to the rising murder rate from, say, 2010 onward.

Tina Trent said...

Reham@10:28. Funny.

mikemtgy said...

I believe most of this started with FDR between 1932 and 1936 when he began to funnel federal money to states and localities The Fed govt percent of GDP went from 5% tom10%. FDR realized that fed money was a way to garner votes.
We should go back to 1932 and let states fund themselves with federal “help”.

tim in vermont said...

We riot when voting is illegitimate, the agreement to abstain from violence is not being honored with meaningful influence.

tl;dr: We lose election, we riot.

MadTownGuy said...

"Standards are imposed and they are enforced by a threat to withhold the money."

Benefits, like regulations, are a means for the State to exert control. Obama's OMB used its power to close National Parks and Monuments. Trump's used its power to furlough non-essential functionaries. Compare & contrast.

Tim said...

We need a few old guys like "Harry Brown" around now.