Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has effectively rejected nearly $350 million dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) designated for use in Florida, according to Politico.
The IRA, President Joe Biden’s signature climate spending bill, sets aside money for rebates for consumers to buy more efficient appliances that the Biden administration is pushing and to help low-income individuals buy solar panels for their homes, according to Politico.
DeSantis and the Florida legislature have effectively refused $3 million set aside for cleaning up pollution, $5 million in federal funds to set up the appliance rebates program and $341 million to actually fund that program.
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DeSantis also rejected $24 million worth of grants designated for his state by the bipartisan infrastructure law, Politico reported. He is the first governor in the country so far to indicate that he will rebuff the rebate funds.
Biden administration officials are privately hoping that DeSantis will change his mind and that rejecting IRA funds does not become a sort of litmus test for fiscal conservatism as Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion did about 10 years ago, according to Politico.
Though he is the first to reject the rebate funds, three other governors joined him in turning down the IRA’s smaller amounts of funding for pollution cleanup, Politico reported. The others that have done so are Republicans Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, as well as Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
DeSantis is running for president in the 2024 race to potentially replace Biden. DeSantis trails former President Donald Trump by a significant margin for the Republican nomination, and he is running about even with Trump in prospective general election matchups against Biden, according to polls by Fox News and Yahoo News.
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DeSantis has not totally rejected all of the funds the IRA has designated for Florida, accepting about $82 million from funds established by the IRA and bipartisan infrastructure law, Politico reported.
Some Florida Democrats, like Democratic Rep. Daren Soto, are determined to access the funds for municipalities and localities where possible, according to Politico.
“My main goal is to get the money to Florida so my advice to the White House has been work with the local government and go around the state in every way possible,” Soto said, according to Politico.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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