A Schwarzenegger retort to California's congressional delegation
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a tiff with the state’s congressional delegation over his request for more federal aid, threw the lawmakers' own words back at them in a letter today – though some of the words were uttered seven years ago.
Federal lawmakers from California have criticized Schwarzenegger for directing blame at Washington for the state’s $20-billion budget gap. In his latest proposed budget, the governor said he would need $6.9 billion more in federal aid and complained that California is shorted compared with other states.
In his letter, Schwarzenegger requested a meeting with the lawmakers in Washington next week. He also said that their “recent comments in the press that California’s budget deficit is not Washington’s problem turn on its head the very arguments that many in our delegation have made that our taxpayers are being shortchanged by Washington year after year.”
He cited comments from 2005 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who criticized Schwarzenegger last week for “finger-pointing.” In the earlier comments, she said the federal government is responsible for border control and should pay the state's costs for incarcerating illegal immigrants. He quoted Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) on the same issue.
The governor's letter refers to Feinstein’s efforts to fix what she said, as early as 2003, were unfair funding formulas for Medicare and Medicaid costs.
In an interview, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) criticized the governor’s tone and called the spat “unfortunate.” She said she too would like to change federal formulas and obtain more aid but would do it in “a collaborative relationship with the California delegation.”
“I don’t think he’s doing it in a way that strengthens the relationship,” she said.
-- Michael Rothfeld and Anthony York in Sacramento