Back at Home, Congressional Republicans Praise Projects in Stimulus Bill They Opposed

Feb 19, 2009 10:10am

Back in their home districts for the President’s Day weekend recess, congressional Republicans who voted against the stimulus bill are singing the praises of projects in it.

McClatchy Newspapers’ David Lightman points out that Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, for instance, issued a press release last week heralding how he "won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners" by working with Democrats to pull a provision from the Senate bill that he feared would hurt American Indian and Alaska Native owned businesses.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., issued a press release saying, “I applaud President Obama’s recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America’s future.”

As Lightman points out, "nowhere in the Mica statement, or in Young’s initial statement, was any mention that they opposed the bill."

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., recently tweeted: "If you know of someone thinking of buying first home, now may be the time. Stimulus incentive is very generous! Up to 8k! Check it out."

In New Jersey, Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., toured a Army Corps of Engineers construction site that will likely get stimulus dollars.

"This is a classic example of a "shovel-ready’ project," Lance said. As the liberal website BlueJersey notes, Lance had penned an op-ed against the bill, writing "Only a fraction of the dollars are targeted toward ‘shovel ready’ projects that will keep and create immediate jobs."

In Kirksville, Mo., Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., visited Truman State University, where he said, “Within the stimulus package there is some Pell Grant money, which is a good thing. It helps students be able to pay for their education and that’s kind of a long term stimulus effect there. I mean obviously that’s not gonna provide a job in the next 120, 180 days, but the ability of someone to get an education is an economic development tool."

In Hannibal, Mo., Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., heralded $2 billion in funds in the stimulus bill to jump start low income housing projects.

"Bond says the $2 billion amendment is small potatoes in the nearly $800 billion package, but it will save jobs, employing more than 3,000 people in Missouri alone," the local paper reports.

This video put together by the liberal Think Progress gets at the odd dynamic:

This has become a meme on liberal websites as of late, that Republicans are hypocrites for opposing the bill, then singing the praises of — and even taking the credit for — for some of its provisions. Tuesday on MSNBC, liberal host Rachel Maddow asked Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty about this.

MADDOW: I know that you think the stimulus bill is a bad idea. So, that means you are turning down the money, right, Governor?

PAWLENTY: Well, I have concerns about the bill. I think it could have been done better. I was in favor of a stimulus bill, I was disappointed in this one for a variety of reasons. But in Minnesota’s case, we are going to accept the money for this reason, Rachel — we pay in for every dollar to the federal government. We get about 72 cents back. We’re the 46th least receiving state of any state of the nation in terms of federal money. So, our view is, if you buy the pizza, it’s OK if you have a slice. It doesn’t mean you can’t express concerns about the bill or offer suggestions on how it could have been better.

MADDOW: … My analogy is this. I pay my taxes to support my local police. But it doesn’t mean that I would buy stuff from a crooked cop that was heisting stuff out of an evidence locker or something. If you are getting offered something that you think you shouldn’t be offered, you shouldn’t take it, should you?

PAWLENTY:  Well, I think the bill has some positive features in it. My view of it is this. The federal government is spending money they don’t have, they’re borrowing it in part from the Chinese — that’s number one. Number two: it could have been a better targeted bill, a more impactful bill, probably for less money — that’s number two. And number three — it was a missed opportunity because, I think, with some modest modifications, it could have been truly bipartisan and lived up to that promise of President Obama. And so, for those reasons, I expressed concern about the bill. I think it could have been done better so the answer isn’t no, it’s better. And, again, when you are paying the tab like Minnesota is, one of the major contributors, subsidizers of the federal government, I don’t think it’s untoward for us to accept our share of the money.

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What do y’all think?

– jpt

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