Governors stepped to forefront as Washington stumbled

Source: Houston Chronicle - View Original Article
Published: May 03, 2020
Bias Rating:

78% Liberal

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99% "President Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to the Great Depression resulted in the creation of the modern and more powerful national government.""
98% "As often, however, the tensions and disagreements between state leaders and the federal government - especially with President Donald Trump - have come to ..."
96% "The scope keeps growing.""
95% "Well, actually, he's the shipping clerk in chief, Johnson said.""
94% "It was a life-and-death issue.""
92% " How this crisis will reshape relations between the states and the federal government already is on the minds of governors and others, who see ..."

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Contributing sentiments towards policy:

99% : President Franklin D. Roosevelt's response to the Great Depression resulted in the creation of the modern and more powerful national government.
98% : As often, however, the tensions and disagreements between state leaders and the federal government - especially with President Donald Trump - have come to define the crisis.
96% : The scope keeps growing."
95% : Well, actually, he's the shipping clerk in chief," Johnson said.
94% : This was to result in a "limited, but supreme, national government" with the states and the federal government there to protect their own powers and prevent either entity from becoming too powerful.
94% : It was a life-and-death issue.
92% : Because of hesitation by the president, they had to act on their own, and those unilateral decisions put them in the spotlight as well as the hot seat. Ohio's Mike DeWine, a Republican, was the first governor in the nation to close schools.
92% : In pointed language, he begged for help from the federal government.
92% : Later that day, the president called back "and it got moving," he said.
92% : " How this crisis will reshape relations between the states and the federal government already is on the minds of governors and others, who see it as a moment that could revive states in the public's mind.
91% : His idea of federalism is when it's all going well, it's us.
91% : Governors have been making hard decisions for weeks, but equally difficult ones lie ahead.
90% : "Federalism is the great constitutional compromise," said Abbe Gluck, a professor at Yale University's law school.
90% : "The police power endows the states with an extraordinary authority to act on almost any issue having to do with the people's welfare for the good of the commonwealth," Gerstle said.
90% : "Let's say the net amount of need is 100 masks.
89% : He can say the government will buy 100 masks and here's what we're going to pay for them and we'll take possession on such and such a date."
88% : Responding to Cuomo, Trump argued that New York did not need all it was asking for and that the federal government supplied New York with everything it did need and more.
87% : That has focused more attention on, and prompted considerable criticism of, the failure of the administration to exercise the federal government's full powers.
86% : - - - States became more dependent on the federal government and more under Washington's thumb as the price for greater financial support.
86% : Only the federal government can use its convening authority and the Defense Production Act to set priorities and make a market for needed resources - and at a scale and a speed that a crisis demands.
85% : Times of crisis often enhanced federal power.
85% : The 20th century is the story of the New Deal and the 1930s reshaping everything about federalism," LaCroix said in a recent interview.
85% : He blamed others, including the Obama administration, for some of the shortages of tests and equipment.
85% : "This [virus] thing does not manifest itself in the same way everywhere, and that's an argument for a strong federal system and federal assistance that doesn't try to proscribe every detail and constrain local responsiveness," he said.
84% : The first-term governor recently reviewed the history of presidential leadership in times of crisis.
84% : Tensions and frustrations continue.
84% : In March, as complaints about the federal government's response mounted, Trump said, "I don't take any responsibility at all."
84% : It was always envisioned that [during a pandemic], the federal government would step in and activate the supply chain and manufacturing," she said.
83% : - - The word "federalism" does not appear in the Constitution, but it was always meant to be an essential component of the new American government established in the late 18th century.
83% : But it's part of the job.
83% : "Every day we waited, people lost their lives."
83% : When governors were pleading for medical equipment and supplies weeks ago, Trump encouraged them to act on their own.
83% : Leavitt said that in a pandemic, the federal government should focus as well on other things that states cannot do, such as stabilizing the economy, marshaling the development and distribution of a vaccine, becoming the clearing house for information and managing relations with other countries.
82% : Which is why Justice Louis Brandeis coined the description of the states as "laboratories of democracy.
82% : His daily news conferences became must-watch television, with a governor never known for his likability projecting empathy and realism while repeatedly challenging Washington to do more.
81% : The civil rights movement of the 1960s proved to be another watershed moment in giving the federal government greater power over the states.
81% : But Lisa Monaco, White House homeland security adviser under Obama, said those stockpiles were meant only to be a bridge.
80% : Just as they created checks and balances at the national level among the legislative, executive and judicial branches, they also wanted checks and balances between the central government and the states.
79% : Some of the most over-the-top claims we've seen about the relationship between federal power and state power are happening at the same time that the federal government is shockingly inactive in areas it could and should be," he said.
78% : Governors learned that showing gratitude and praising the president were the price for federal cooperation and aid.
78% : Up to now, governors who ordered the most stringent restrictions on their populations won praise and earned higher approval ratings.
78% : - - - State leaders have exercised their powers often to the fullest, but those powers still are limited.
78% : Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona and former secretary of homeland security, said the relationship between Washington and the states in times of crisis should be like a smoothly running automobile.
77% : He attributed that to mixed messaging from the White House and to the extraordinary nature of the pandemic. "There is tension between what the role of the federal government should be and what are the roles of the states," he added.
77% : The trade-off problem is front and center.
77% : Daniels said the pandemic has shown the vibrancy of federalism but nonetheless could end as another crisis that enlarges the federal government.
76% : "It's the way that 13 different small republics came together to form a nation.
76% : But those changes still left the federal government with significantly more power.
76% : Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, found himself as the first governor on the front lines when the virus began to savage a nursing home in the Seattle area.
76% : He says he's not a shipping clerk.
75% : As Trump dallied, governors moved on their own to order their residents to stay home.
75% : Trump was particularly nasty toward Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, when she expressed frustration with Washington.
75% : Governors have contradicted the White House repeatedly on the availability of tests, which will be needed in huge numbers as businesses begin to reopen and people leave their homes.
74% : States have pleaded with Washington for help, and sometimes have gotten it.
74% : "What I can say is we've had very little leadership with regard to the coronavirus crisis from the federal government," said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat.
74% : "It's the luck of the draw.
74% : In his public comments about the relationship, Hogan has chosen his words diplomatically but has not hesitated to chart his own course.
73% : "In its purest form, federalism is a power-sharing arrangement," Michael Leavitt, a former Republican governor of Utah and secretary of health and human services in the administration of President George W. Bush, said in an email.
73% : States exercised their authority through what is known as police power - though not to be confused with a definition that focuses only on law and order.
72% : Trump has lacked consistency in describing the federal government's responsibilities.
72% : The next day he backed down, acknowledging to governors in a conference call that the authority to make the decisions was theirs.
72% : They have sought to project a united front when dealing with the administration.
72% : "[The president] can say the United States is purchaser number one," Chesney said.
71% : "If that means overriding individual choice and individual rights, so be it."
71% : "I told the governor very simply that I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right," Trump said.
69% : "Every time I've been outspoken about something we needed, I've begun to receive calls from the White House and administration officials to try to help us out," he said, adding that he still hasn't received everything he's requested.
68% : As chairman of the National Governors Association, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, has had to delicately navigate the relationship between the White House and his state, and the relationship between Washington and the governors collectively.
68% : He shut down his state early - closing schools almost at the same time as Ohio did - and has made clear his differences with the president when he judged that events required doing so.
68% : Why was the relationship so bumpy?
68% : - - - Governors have been in regular contact with the administration.
68% : They are freewheeling and helpful, he said.
68% : "It's an unprecedented crisis that no one has ever faced before. . . .
67% : One Sunday morning, a frustrated DeWine called the White House and left a message on the switchboard, appealing for help.
67% : "There's the old saying that war's too important to be left to the generals," said Mitch Daniels, a former governor of Indiana and now president of Purdue University.
66% : All other powers were reserved to the states through the 10th Amendment.
66% : "The states have drifted into different camps where the nature of their role in the federal system has increasingly differed and the nature of the government we get depends on where we live," said Donald Kettl, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of "The Divided States of America: Why Federalism Doesn't Work.
66% : The federal government was not prepared.
66% : Illinois' Pritzker was asked whether his public criticism of the White House had put his state at a disadvantage in getting supplies.
66% : But the debate over the reopening of the economy has created divisions among them.
65% : As Washington has stumbled, governors of both major parties have acted to fill the void.
65% : In contrast to past presidents, Trump has rhetorically claimed vast powers while making clear through his actions that he prefers a system that puts on governors the responsibility for some of the more difficult decisions.
65% : "Governors cannot be left with no hard choices.
64% : Over time, the federal government has regularly usurped the broad authority given to the states, often to wipe away problems or correct historical injustices.
64% : The 1980s and 1990s saw some shift back, as the Rehnquist court sought to prevent continuing erosion.
64% : Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama, said Trump had it backward. "
64% : The Ohio company Battelle developed a process to sanitize N95 masks that allowed the masks to be used many times over, but company officials were having difficulty getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
64% : Trump has complained that the federal stockpiles he inherited were inadequate to meet the pandemic's demands.
63% : Gary Gerstle, a professor of history at Cambridge University in England and author of "Liberty and Coercion:
63% : "It turned out to be a lopsided game," Leavitt said of the long struggle between Washington and the states.
63% : "On the other side," he added, "as people have been observing, wars have tended to centralize power and lead to bigger central government that never quite goes back to the size it was."
62% : The story of America's confrontation with the coronavirus pandemic is one in which states and their governors have been dominant.
62% : They were skeptical of federal power, so they formed a union with layers, with a lot of authority reserved to the states.
62% : "The expansion of the federal commerce power keeps continuing.
62% : He had hoped the courts would order the primary delayed, but his strategy of employing a friendly lawsuit to bring about the desired judicial ruling backfired.
62% : Leadership is stepping out front and showing people the direction they need to go that they don't necessarily understand or agree with.
62% : States have seen their own budgets hemorrhaging money because of the crisis, and governors are looking to Washington for financial relief.
61% : The disparate responses to the coronavirus have focused attention on this reality.
61% : So at that point, I instructed my health director to issue a health order and that's what she did. . . .
61% : Cuomo saw his state become the center of the pandemic, with more than 300,000 cases and more than 23,000 deaths.
60% : The Paradox of American Government," noted that states started out with broad powers to regulate virtually all activity within their borders.
60% : Well, to be gracious, part of it is the fog of war," Inslee said.
60% : "I've told the White House this. '
59% : The 1964 Civil Rights Act was the cornerstone of the shift, and when the high court ruled unanimously that the act was constitutional, the justices used the commerce clause, rather than the 14th Amendment, to uphold it.
59% : We have appreciated his efforts on this."
57% : Instead, this concept of police power derives from English doctrine and practice.
57% : As a governor, what you're always hoping for from this kind of disaster is that you make all the decisions and have the feds pay for it," said former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Republican.
56% : "Is it hard to do?
56% : States were not prepared.
56% : When [it] hits the fan, it's you," said Michael Nutter, a former Democratic mayor of Philadelphia.
56% : In the meantime, he said, one thing seems clear: "In the biggest crisis of our lifetimes, governors were on the front lines and taking charge.
55% : Federalism allows states the freedom to devise solutions that fit their economic, demographic, cultural and geographical realities - as well as offering the country styles of leadership beyond the presidency.
55% : But the debate over reopening economies has put the trade-offs involved in those decisions at the forefront of a growing debate.
55% : As Texas law professor Chesney explained, the federal government can compel industries to act in ways no state can do.
55% : "There is plenty of blame to go around."
55% : States have formed regional groups, and some governors say they are more likely to take steps to prepare and protect their states against a future pandemic, rather than just counting on Washington to be ready.
54% : The vehicle used most frequently by the high court to give Washington ever-greater power was the Constitution's commerce clause - which grants the federal government power to regulate commerce among the states.
54% : "States have often been politically anemic in defense of their role.
54% : Hospitals were not prepared.
52% : He has tried to ameliorate some of these problems.
52% : Manufacturers were not prepared."
52% : Hogan, with the help of his Korean American wife Yumi Hogan, recently acquired 500,000 coronavirus test kits from South Korea.
51% : When Trump supported protesters demanding that their states be opened up, many governors - though not all - said they would follow federal guidelines to the letter or even go beyond.
51% : This gave states responsibilities over health, safety, welfare and morals within their boundaries, issues such as the regulation of businesses to Sunday blue laws to dealing with disasters and epidemics.
50% : Trump berated governors who criticized him.
50% : He talks to us regularly.
50% : "You know, we're not a shipping clerk."
50% : Then it's too important to be left entirely to the epidemiologists. . . .
50% : States had to make decisions and use their powers in a way I don't ever remember in my lifetime."
49% : Trump called him "a snake" and suggested that Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor of Indiana who chairs the White House coronavirus task force, stop dealing with Inslee. "I hope this makes it into the story," Inslee said.
49% : "It still had to go through the process, but it compressed the time."
49% : Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, is turning his state into a laboratory with his decision to start opening businesses, including barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlors, movie theaters and restaurants, more rapidly than other states, despite warnings that he is putting people at risk of the virus spreading.
49% : Trump, in another whiplash moment, said last week that he took issue with the governor's plan.
49% : He said Washington also should coordinate among the states and supplement supplies as much as possible, but added that on this issue, no level of government comes off clean.
48% : Those federal deficiencies reflect an absence of readiness and sometimes a lack of interest and competence on the part of the Trump administration.
48% : "Each of them understood the importance and power that the federal government has to move the country in a single direction toward victory," he said.
48% : Pritzker was the second governor to order residents to stay home, acting shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and a little ahead of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.
46% : "The downside [of federalism]," Gluck said, "is that it can breed enormous inequality across the country.
46% : "The crisis demanded leadership and demanded action," he said.
45% : "Today, federalism means, at a minimum, viewing both the states and the federal government as legitimate sources of legal and political authority, but little consensus exists as to what that general principle of multiplicity should mean in practice," Alison LaCroix, a professor at the University of Chicago's law school, wrote in an essay published in the Yale Law Journal in 2014.
44% : He has tried to remove some of the organizational underbrush.
43% : This display of state power is very much as the Founders intended when they established the nation.
43% : "It wasn't a time to debate federalism and philosophy, arguing about what powers should rest with the federal government or the state or Congress.
43% : "Governors have to be held to account for also making some sacrifices and cutting spending in other areas that are not directly related to support for the covid-19 crisis," he added.
42% : When the president threatened to force states to lift those restrictions, governors resisted.
42% : As the nation matured, state powers were steadily chipped away by Congress and the Supreme Court.
42% : Testing remains a point of contention.
41% : That's what leadership is.
41% : "Everyone is using the war analogy for this.
40% : "It's now better.
39% : You can print money and they can't.'
38% : Disregarding a court decision that went against him, DeWine controversially postponed the state's presidential primary on the eve of voting.
37% : Gluck said those inequities have continued down to the present, being most notable in the decision by a group of more than a dozen mostly Republican-led states not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, denying access to health-care coverage to many low-income families.
35% : He tweeted that Whitmer was "in way over her head, she doesn't have a clue.
34% : The history of the United States has generally been written with the states in a subordinate role or cast in a negative light - but no longer.
34% : This spring, the balance of power has been flipped, with states forced to compensate for failings at the national level.
34% : The briefings provided a contrast with Trump's often-contentious daily sessions in the White House.
33% : The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "was issuing guidance, but there was no leadership from Washington," Pritzker said.
33% : Governors have begun to work together through their joint conference calls and by forming regional alliances to coordinate when to lift restrictions.
33% : It took a while, but that's what they're grappling with."
32% : The four wheels of a car need to spin in the same direction at the same time," she said, something no one thinks has been the case in this battle.
29% : Within a 24-hour period, the actions of those three governors put about 70 million Americans under orders to stay home, with a few exceptions.
28% : Robert Chesney, a professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, argued that rarely has the president claimed more power while doing less with it.
28% : "We pulled a judge who didn't agree," DeWine said.
27% : Even earlier, before there were any confirmed Ohio cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, he prohibited spectator attendance at a popular annual bodybuilding festival.
27% : But it is no secret that the president did not have the intense focus he needed in the first month of this.
27% : Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, frustrated by obstacles thrown up by the federal government, was able to acquire 1.2 million N95 masks from China and had them flown to Boston on the airplane of the National Football League's New England Patriots.
26% : More recently, the president claimed, with no basis in fact, that his "authority is total" to deal with the crisis, particularly on the timing for lifting state-ordered restrictions.
21% : In ratifying the Constitution, Leavitt said, states agreed to a division of labor in which the national government would have responsibility for roughly two dozen enumerated duties.
21% : But governors learned this spring that the existing relationship was inadequate to meet the moment.
21% : "Emergency planners at every level have been aware for decades that we didn't have a sufficient supply of ventilators," he said.
19% : The South's history of racism is the most obvious example.
19% : The lack of preparedness and organization in Washington prompted governors to fend for themselves.
19% : But it's not even close to where it needs to be."
18% : "It's people having to do 50 things in five minutes. . . .
17% : Hogan said this was no time for second-guessing the decisions that have been and are being made.
16% : "The vice president has been continually helpful to us.
14% : But he acknowledged that there have been "rough patches" where things "went off the rails."
12% : "I have seen nearly none of that out of this president."
12% : Hogan said there have been nearly a dozen conference calls between the governors and Pence's task force, calls that sometimes include the president.
11% : But Christie said this shouldn't mean a blank check for the states.
10% : "The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping," he said.
7% : The deficiencies have been compounded by a president given to issuing conflicting advice, attacking individual governors, and making wildly misleading and outright false statements, as when he suggested that scientists should explore injecting bleach into people to combat the virus.
7% : To Trump's critics, that reversal was seen as another effort on his part to avoid responsibility, should things go wrong.
7% : If Kemp thought he would earn plaudits from a president who has been eager to restart the economy, he was wrong.
3% : "It was a terrible crisis," Hogan said of the shortage of tests.

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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