Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is suing the Biden administration in the latest escalation over school funding and public health measures.
Last summer, Ducey created a school grant program with $163 million in federal COVID-19 relief money, but only promised the money to schools that didn’t require masks or who stayed open during COVID-19 outbreaks.
Ducey’s promise came despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that schools implement universal indoor mask requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, the US Treasury Department ordered Ducey to reverse course on his program or repay the federal COVID money.
“By discouraging families and school districts from following this guidance, the conditions referenced above undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the Treasury Department wrote in a letter to Ducey’s office.
But in a lawsuit filed Friday in US District Court, Ducey said the restrictions the Treasury Department was attempting to impose on the money were arbitrary and unconstitutional.
“The Biden administration is attempting to hold Congressionally-appropriated funds hostage and is trying to bully Arizona into complying with this power-grabbing move,” Ducey said in a statement Friday. “Make no mistake, we will always support families and kids, while protecting their right to choose an education that best fits their needs.”