Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats would Never Threaten Cut-Off of Funding to Force State and Local Compliance, Would They?

In pretty much a party line vote last week, the House of Representative approved H.R. 3009, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-Calif.) bill that would withhold certain federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions around the country.

61056391_31343afdc6_oAll but six House Democrats voted against the measure and President Obama has issued a veto threat if the bill reaches his desk. (The bill was also opposed by five Republicans.) Like many of his Democratic colleagues, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), voiced objection to the threat of a cut-off of federal funds as a means to force state and local governments to comply with federal prohibitions against sanctuary policies. “I do not think we should punish and strip grants and federal funding from local law enforcement, cities and towns who are promoting community policing, public safety and the U.S. Constitution ahead of racial profiling and prejudice,” Mc Govern said.

Punishing state and local governments by stripping grants and federal funding is something the administration and congressional Democrats would never resort to, right? Well, that depends:

  • Last year, the U.S. Department of Education placed restrictions on nearly $30 million in annual federal funding for local school districts in Oklahoma beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, when the state repealed federal Common Core standards.
  • In April, when school districts in Colorado where large numbers of students refused to take standardized tests, the Department of Education threatened to cut-off federal funds if fewer than 95 percent of students in those districts did not participate in testing.
  • A federal website devoted to Limited English Proficient education informs school districts that English-only policies could result in loss of federal funds.  “Entities in states and localities with ‘English-only’ or official English laws are certainly not required to accept federal funding – but if they do, they have to comply with Title VI, including its prohibition against national origin discrimination by recipients of federal assistance.”
  • Last month, after the tragic murders in a South Carolina church, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio), announced that he would offer an amendment denying federal highway funding to states that include images of the Confederate flag on their license plates.

Opposition to H.R. 3009 is obviously not based on a principled objection to cutting off federal funds in order to force state and local governments to do, or not do, certain things. It’s about protecting sanctuary policies, plain and simple.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    The Baltimore Sunpapers reported a poll of how Marylanders viewed this legislation and the results were overwhelmingly in favor by 4 to 1. But guess what – all seven of Maryland’s democrat representatives voted against HR 3009. This can only mean they do not represent the views of their constituency and is further an apparent admission that Maryland is a sanctuary state with a fear of losing federal funding for Maryland and Baltimore City. As a registered democrat and Cummings is “suppose” to represent me, I am in favor of HR 3009.

  2. avatar

    The truth is sanctuary city laws that have spread over the year to about 150 local municipalities are embraced and defended by President Obama. These sanctuaries for future voters are central to his revolutionary goal to neuter the power of the middle class and to fundamentally transform America into a socialist banana republic. Mr. Obama has strongly declared he will veto any bill passed by Congress that cuts off federal funding to these sanctuary cities no matter that they are thumbing their noses at our federal immigration laws. There is no doubt in my mind that this imperial pro ‘open borders/amnesty’ autocratic President will also fight like hell against any bill passing Congress that gives mandatory prison time (Kate’s Law /Five years) to alien felons who re-enter the United States after being deported. The most important lesson for wishy washy uniformed, unprincipled and corrupt politicians to absorb regarding the current intense and heated national debate over immigration policy is this: Enforcement TRUMPS amnesty.