DELAYED FANS OF THE STIMULUS…. It seems to be a nearly daily occurrence. Republican officials — some in Congress, some governors — who blasted the stimulus package in February suddenly love the public investment in their state and/or district now.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has probably been the most shameless about it, but he’s hardly alone. It looks like we can add Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to the list.
Burr was on hand on Friday to present the Bethlehem, N.C., fire department with a grant for $2 million to build a new fire station. Burr called the grant a “great thing” for the area.
“We’re not accustomed to federal dollars in that magnitude finding their way to North Carolina,” Burr said, according to a local newspaper.
The grant, according to the local fire chief, came through the Department of Homeland Security by way of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That money was allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion stimulus measure passed with just three Republican votes in the Senate in February.
Burr was not one of those three votes.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Burr neglected to mention that the fire-department grant wouldn’t exist if it were up to him.
It’s a familiar pattern. Republicans aggressively opposed the stimulus proposal earlier this year, insisting that it was a wasteful effort that couldn’t possibly improve the economy (as opposed to, say, a five-year spending freeze, which would have worked wonders). Ever since, the same conservative lawmakers who trashed the recovery bill now believe their area could really use some of those recovery funds, and they love to smile for the cameras when the checks are being distributed.
This started within a couple of weeks of the stimulus package passing, and it’s only become more common since. (In Burr’s case, it’s especially embarrassing — he delivered a weekly Republican Party address in February, denouncing the recovery efforts.)
The DCCC even came up with a “Hypocrisy Hall of Fame” for recovery critics who are “celebrating the benefits of President Obama’s economic recovery bill in their districts.” Last I heard, there 67 GOP lawmakers in the “Hall.”
The DSCC should probably follow suit — and save plenty of room for inductees.