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 reported throughout 2009, 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 repeatedly voted against the stimulus.
2. Eric Cantor held a job fair with organizations that received stimulus funds, supported using stimulus funds.
As the Washington Post reported, “nearly half of the 30 organizations participating in a job fair Cantor is holding Monday in Culpeper were recipients of the stimulus.” That summer, Cantor also “came under fire after he talked about his support of using stimulus money to build a rail project from Washington to Richmond.” Cantor repeatedly voted against the stimulus.
3. Mitch McConnell bragged about stimulus projects, requested more money.
CREDIT: AP PHOTOS/SUSAN WALSH
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 repeatedly voted against the stimulus.
4. John Boehner admitted stimulus funds would create “much needed jobs.”
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
Despite repeatedly voting 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.”
9. Phil Gingrey handed out giant stimulus checks in Georgia.
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) appeared in the city of Cedartown, Georgia, to present a giant check of $625,000 in stimulus funds to the city commission to help fund the the city’s Streetscape project, which will install new sidewalks and infrastructure. Gingrey repeatedly voted against the stimulus.
11. Louie Gohmert signed a letter requesting stimulus funds for NASA.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) penned a letter arguing that stimulus funds for NASA would “secure good jobs and stabilize our economy.” Gohmert repeatedly voted against the stimulus.
12. John Cornyn wrote two letters asking for stimulus funds.
The Wall Street Journal report: “The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of [stimulus] grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston.” Cornyn repeatedly voted against the stimulus.
13. Lindsey Graham claimed it would be “crazy” not to accept recovery dollars.
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was asked whether South Carolina should “take the [stimulus] money,” to which he replied, “I think that, yes, from my point of view, I — you don’t want to be crazy here. I mean, if there’s going to be money on the table that will help my state, but I’ve got a job to do up here, and that is to try to help people and not damn the next generation.” Graham repeatedly voted against the stimulus.