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Government & Politics

Lawyers For Tennessee Lawmakers, Feds Clash In Refugee Case

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Attorneys for Tennessee lawmakers and the U.S. government have clashed in a hearing over the federal government's refugee resettlement program.

A 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel in Cincinnati heard oral arguments Tuesday.

John Bursch, an outside attorney for Tennessee lawmakers, argued it's commandeering for federal officials to be able to cut $7 billion in Medicaid funding, should the state not provide refugees health care.

U.S. Department of Justice attorney Samantha Lee Chaifetz responded that there's no "gun to the head of Tennessee" because submitting a state proposal triggers administrative procedures and judicial review during which no money is withheld.

The lawsuit was filed in March 2017. A district judge ruled against the Tennessee lawmakers in March 2018.

Neither Attorney General Herbert Slatery nor then-Gov. Bill Haslam backed the lawsuit.

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