Republicans Slam Stimulus On Fifth Anniversary - But Most Took Credit For It Back Home
Monday marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery Act, President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus stimulus package that invested in everything from infrastructure projects to electronic medical health care records and alternative energy sources. Every single Republican in the House and almost every Republican in the Senate — with the exception of Former Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — voted against the measure and today the GOP continues to deride the law as wasteful an ineffective.
But as ThinkProgress reportedthroughout2009, over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington D.C. Below is a list of the top 13 stimulus hypocrites:
1. Paul Ryan requested stimulus funds for jobs in his district.
The Wall Street Journal reported “Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a ‘wasteful spending spree’ that ‘misses the mark on all counts,’ wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, ‘intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs.’” Ryan also wrote letters to the Secretary of Energy requesting stimulus funds for a local energy company in 2009. Ryan repeatedlyvoted against the stimulus.
2. Eric Cantor held a job fair with organizations that received stimulus funds, supported using stimulus funds.
McConnell and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) toured a construction site at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky. McConnell quickly took credit for the new construction, noting that he and Chandler had inserted an additional $5 million into the 2010 budget. McConnell bragged: “This is going to be a source of significant employment. At the peak, we could have up to 600 people working on this, and we believe the substantial majority of those workers will be Kentuckians.” However, McConnell conveniently forgot to mention that even more additional funds for facility construction were awarded through the stimulus. A Defense Department report states that $5,876,000 has been allocated from the Recovery Act to the Blue Grass facility for repairs. (Chandler voted for the stimulus.) McConnell repeatedlyvoted against the stimulus.
4. John Boehner admitted stimulus funds would create “much needed jobs.”
Despite repeatedlyvoting against the American Recovery Act, Boehner thanked federal officials for stepping in and ordering the state “to use all of its construction dollars for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.”
5. Lamar Alexander asked for a stimulus job grant.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released a statement taking credit for $35 million dollars in stimulus highway money. The House GOP website featured the McMorris Rodgers release on the one year anniversary of the stimulus. “I am pleased The U.S. Department of Transportation has chosen to award $35 million for the North Spokane Corridor,” she wrote in a press release. “This is precisely the type of project the government should be funding.” McMorris Rodgers repeatedlyvoted against the stimulus.
7. Jack Kingston issued a press releases bragging about bringing stimulus jobs to his district.
TIME’s Michael Grunwald reports that the Obama administration will release a report this week showing that the Recovery Act “increased U.S. GDP by roughly 2 to 2.5 percentage points from late 2009 through mid-2011, keeping us out of a double-dip recession… added about 6 million ‘job years’ (a full-time job for a full year) through the end of 2012…[and] directly prevented 5.3 million people from slipping below the poverty line.” The Congressional Budget Office — and most economists — agree that the law “created higher output and employment than would have occurred without it.”
In a video released Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) argued the stimulus “clearly failed,” noting that “unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn’t growing fast enough – proof that massive government spending, particularly debt spending, is not the solution to our economic growth problems.” But in December of 2009, Rubio told NBC’s Tampa affiliate WFLA, “Ultimately I would have accepted those portions of the money that would not have put Florida in a worse position off in the future than it is right now.’” Rubio later clarified his position to the Weekly Standard: “It’s one thing to say you’ll accept the funds from the federal government. It’s another to actively advocate those policies, which I think are disastrous for America.”