Democratic Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen recently announced that he might reject portions of the stimulus budget. If he actually follows through with this action, he would join several Republican governors who have indicated that they will reject stimulus money allocated to their states.
Bredesen complains that in order for states to receive federal money that Congress has allocated to increase the level of unemployment benefits, states must apply a new formula, which, if utilized, would increase the number of beneficiaries in Tennessee. Bredesen says that the overall expansion of unemployment benefits would put additional pressure on the state's already constrained budget.
Tennessee is a solid "red state," and both of the state's Republican Senators voted against the stimulus. Bredesen is essentially looking for political cover. His argument about the budgetary constraints of the unemployment provision could actually support a claim that the federal government should allocate more money to states that cannot finance the expansion on their own. Whether or not that happens, Bredesen can at least say he thought about the situation very carefully before accepting or rejecting the funds.
Bredesen made headlines during the Democratic primaries when he suggested that the "superdelegates" should host a "superdelegate primary" in order to expedite the conclusion of the divisive race between Senators Clinton and Obama. The DC rumor mill also places him on the short list of candidates to head the Department of Health and Human Services.