We already know that both parties will continue bankrupting us and trillions will turn into quadrillions. But with Republicans in charge of the veto pen and the Senate, when they inevitably throw endless cash at the states, they must enforce the Constitution through that funding and prohibit the infringement of our constitutional rights.
Trump should pre-emptively draw a line in the sand by threatening to veto any state funding bill that does not contain the following provisions:
- Ban on coronavirus fascism: While states have the latitude to engage in dumb policies of closing public beaches and parks, they do not have the power to infringe upon individual rights, such as freedom of movement and freedom to open a business. Any bailout funding must condition the funding on the permanent suspension of any ill-gotten powers of governors and county officials to categorically shut down businesses and churches without due process and restrict movement of individuals driving or walking. These are core liberties protected by the Bill of Rights and enforced against the states by Congress under Section 5 of the 14th
- Ban on contact tracing outside nursing homes: We don’t need a police state to contact-trace every American after this virus has already spread to millions of people. Condition any funding to the prohibition of contact tracing outside of nursing home settings.
- Ban the use of drones to spy on people: No funding shall be used by state or local law enforcement to use spy drones to enforce coronavirus fascism. If there is a “right to privacy” to kill one’s baby, as the Supreme Court ruled, then there is a right to privacy to live in your home or walk the street without being spied on by government.
- No bailouts, only reparations: Under the first round of bailout funding, the federal government threw so much money at the states that they don’t even know what to do with it. They are not limiting the expenditures to those who were forcibly shut down. In my county of Baltimore, even middle- and upper-income families are getting three meals a day free for their children. This is ridiculous and is inducing a worse form of dependency than what Republicans decried under the Obama stimulus. Remember, Larry Hogan, as chairman of the National Governors’ Association, is the one demanding $500 billion for the states and spending it on free food and failing to secure nursing homes. Funding should be narrowly tailored just to those businesses and individuals who lost their livelihood thanks to government decisions. This should be a reparations bill under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, not a welfare bill. The remainder of the funding should go toward testing and resources for nursing homes where the crisis has hit hardest.
- No release of criminals: No state receiving funding can release criminals from prison under the guise of coronavirus. It has now been proven that to the extent there are outbreaks in prisons, they have already spread far and wide. The good news is that nearly all of them have been asymptomatic and the death rate is remarkably low in this predominantly young population. As such, there is no excuse for endangering public safety by prisoner release. In fact, it is a greater epidemiological concern to release people who are younger and already largely immune into the broader population where they could infect a more vulnerable population. Yes, states have full power over state criminal justice decisions, but they are not entitled to federal funding.
- Ban judges from releasing illegal aliens: This does not pertain to state governments but must be addressed in the next coronavirus legislation. Federal judges have used similarly faulty science that states are using with domestic criminals to release foreign criminals in ICE’s custody. So far, 192 illegal aliens have been released, most of whom have been convicted of other crimes, including murder, rape, and child molestation. Trump must demand a provision reiterating current law, which removed the jurisdiction of courts to hear these cases and ordering the removal of all those in ICE’s custody back to their home countries. Again, just one individual of 30,000 in custody has possibly died of the virus, and he was very sick.
- No funding for illegal aliens: States like California are now handing out checks to illegal aliens as part of the coronavirus “stimulus.” Trump must make it clear that no federal funds can be used for illegal aliens and that sanctuary cities cannot get funding.
Nancy Pelosi is already drafting a $750 billion bailout for the states. Until now, Trump and Senate Republicans have gone along with nearly every radical piece of legislation proposed by Nancy Pelosi. On the most consequential and overarching issue of our time, there is barely a difference between the parties. It’s time for Trump to finally stand up for our liberty, and the clamor of states for more federal funding is the perfect opportunity.