GOP STIMULUS HYPOCRISY GETS EVEN MORE EMBARRASSING…. There’s a reason Democrats have latched on to the story of Republican hypocrisy on the Recovery Act so enthusiastically — the GOP is giving Dems a lot to work with.
Two weeks ago, the Washington Times found that “more than a dozen” Republican lawmakers, all of whom insisted that the stimulus package was an awful idea that couldn’t possibly help the economy, privately urged the Department of Agriculture to send stimulus money to their states and districts, touting the investments’ economic benefits. Last week, the Wall Street Journal moved the ball forward, pointing to “more than a dozen” GOP lawmakers who privately sought stimulus money from the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Forest Service.
Today, Bloomberg News takes this a step further.
Alabama Republicans Jo Bonner and Robert Aderholt took to the U.S. House floor in July, denouncing the Obama administration’s stimulus plan for failing to boost employment. “Where are the jobs?” each of them asked.
Over the next three months, Bonner and Aderholt tried at least five times to steer stimulus-funded transportation grants to Alabama on grounds that the projects would help create thousands of jobs.
They joined more than 100 congressional Republicans and several Democrats who, after voting against the stimulus bill, wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seeking money from $1.5 billion the plan set aside for local road, bridge, rail and transit grants. The $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last year with no Republican votes in the House and three in the Senate.
Asked for an explanation, Republicans relied on the usual spin, insisting that the money was going to be spent anyway, so they wanted to help their constituents.
But, again, that doesn’t change the hypocrisy. These same GOP officials said the stimulus is simply incapable of creating jobs and generating economic growth. But their letters to the administration prove that they actually believe recovery funds are capable of creating jobs and generating economic growth — in their states and districts. It even leads Republicans to take credit for projects that wouldn’t have existed if they’d had their way.
The Hill reported over the weekend that the hypocrisy story has given Democrats their “first real traction in weeks” in going on the offensive against Republicans. “For the first time in weeks, Republicans were clearly on the defensive,” the article noted.
With that in mind, expect to hear even more about this as the year progresses.