Seventy-eight members of Congress have gone to court to say that President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is “blatantly unconstitutional” because it purports to control the decisions states make regarding their own taxes.
The friend-of-the-court brief was filed by the American Center for Law and Justice on behalf of the members of Congress in a case already pending that was brought by 13 attorneys general.
They sued Biden because of the demand, authored by the Schumer-Pelosi regime in Congress, that “prohibits states from lowering state taxes anytime between now and 2024.”
“In other words, throughout President Biden’s first term,” the ACLJ explained.
The delegation is being led by Sens. Mike Crapo and Tim Scott and Reps. Jim Banks and Kevin Brady.
The provision “limits how states and localities can use their $360 billion windfall. States can use the loot to provide government services, cover revenue losses during the pandemic and ‘respond to the public health emergency’ or ‘its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.’”
But the Wall Street Journal noted that, “Much of the relief will invariably flow to government union pension funds, which are underfunded in states like Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut.”
But it “explicitly bars states from cutting taxes.”
The ACLJ explained, “This is a gross overreach of the empowered radical Left. Perhaps most insulting and infuriating is that while the Left essentially tells states they are not allowed to lower their residents’ taxes, both the federal government and states retain the right to raise taxes all they want.”
The organization’s legal argument note Congress may impose certain conditions on funds, but “it may not impose conditions so intrusive that it amounts to coercing the states to do its will.”
The ACLJ already had filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 74 members of Congress in another case, brought by Ohio, which sued because of the ban.
The new filing is supporting 13 other states that have filed their own lawsuit in federal district court in Alabama, including: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.
The ban simply “either an invalidly ambiguous condition or an unambiguous, compulsory encroachment upon the states’ sovereign rights,” the ACLJ said.
The filings argue, “The ‘Tax Mandate’ in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 . . . exceeds Congress’s power under the Spending Clause, U.S. Const. art. I, §8, cl. 1. The conditions, i.e., the ‘Tax Mandate,’ purportedly set by Congress controlling State recipients of the ARPA funds and prohibiting such States from lowering their taxes, exceed the conditioning power recognized by the Supreme Court. If the Tax Mandate is unambiguous, it amounts to an impermissible assault on the States’ sovereignty. If it is ambiguous, it fails to pass one of the Supreme Court’s clear limitations on Congress’s conditioning authority. As a result, the ultra vires Tax Mandate is unconstitutional.”
Explained the ACLJ’s Jordan Sekulow in his report, “The bottom line is that the Left is grabbing for as much power as it can, and this despotic overreach cannot be allowed to stand. Right now they are dangling relief funds in front of states that desperately need them to keep police officers, firefighters, and other necessary services running and saying, ‘You can only have this if you do what we say.’ That is not how things are done in a constitutional republic.”
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