The Locker Room

A win for federalism?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:05 PM

Gary Andres notes in a new Weekly Standard article that newly empowered congressional Republicans are looking to back away from a top-down, Washington-centered approach toward state governments:

With Republicans capturing the majority in the House, growing their numbers in the Senate, and expanding control to 29 state houses, the time is right to reprise experiments in federalism.

“For the last four years the attitude in Congress was, ‘we’re going to tell you what to do,’” a senior GOP leadership aide told me. “Boehner’s view is just the opposite. He’s asking the governors, ‘what kind of flexibility do you need to succeed?’”

This also means the era of big mandates is over. “We understand you can’t ask the states to do more with less and then tie their hands,” he explained.

But there’s another reason why the time is ripe for new approaches to federalism – Washington needs a budgetary diet. But fiscal restraint produces its own set of political challenges.

As a result, Republicans in Washington need allies to navigate these shoals. Governors can help by validating the wisdom of breathing new life into creative federalism.

Revisit the debate about federalism in previous Locker Room posts here, here, and here.

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