Jones News Service | 07/16/1998
On Federalism Stirs State-Local Ire
By Alex Keto and John Connor
(Copyright (c) 1998, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
Jones)--Stung by state and local complaints of insensitivity
to federalism concerns and lack of consultation, the White
House is poised to delay the implementation of an executive
order on federalism.
order in question was issued without any fanfare in May,
with an Aug. 14 effective date. The order sets forth
conditions when federal preemption and intervention is
justified. The order requires federal agencies to
have a process for getting state and local input in
developing regulatory policies, but itself was issued
without any such consultation.
State and local
government groups became aware of the order only
belatedly. But they went ballistic after they digested its
contents, viewing it as a significant step backward in terms
of the ever-evolving relationship between the federal, state
and local levels of government.
For instance, the
National League of Cities told its members that the order
'would rewrite the distribution and balance of power
away from the direction established under the last three
presidents' and revoke earlier commitments to oppose
unfunded federal mandates and federal preemption and replace
them with 'expanded guidelines and justifications for
preempting historic and traditional municipal authority.'
the so-called Big Seven state and local organizations -
groups representing governors, state legislators, mayors and
other municipal officials, and county officials - personally
registered their complaints at a White House meeting earlier
this week, and urged that implementation of the order be
delayed to allow for consultation.
A draft letter
prepared by the groups said in part that 'we believe the new
executive order calls into question fundamental
principles of federalism. We are concerned that all
references to the 10th Amendment, identification of new
costs or burdens, and reductions of mandates are revoked.'
The uproar is seen
as ironic by some state and local representatives since
President Clinton, a former long-term governor of Arkansas,
came to Washington promising to be especially sensitive to
the concerns of states and localities.
In any event, White
House Spokesman Barry Toiv told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday
that 'because of the concerns raised by state and local
officials about the process that was used...and over some
language in the executive order , the president's
advisors are going to recommend to him that he delay the
implementation of the executive order to provide time
for a review to determine whether revisions are
Toiv said Clinton
would, in fact, accept the recommendation to delay
implementation of the order , but would make no
promises on the order being revised.
Toiv said there
will be 'thorough consultations as this process moves
-By Alex Keto and
John Connor; 202-862-9200.
(END) DOW JONES