Last year, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) — the same Joe Barton who felt the need to apologize to BP after the oil giant caused an environmental catastrophe — requested stimulus funds for NASA despite having voted against the stimulus. Last week, Barton was at it again, attending a groundbreaking “for an expansion of an Ellis County clinic made possible under the law.”
As the Dallas Morning News reported, the clinic received $250,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services for the construction work. Barton tried to thread the needle by saying that the clinic is a “worthy project”:
“As I told the crowd at the groundbreaking, I was opposed to the stimulus bill and voted against it. It has been largely wasteful and failed to produce the jobs that were promised,” Barton, R-Arlington, said in a written statement. “However, expansion of the Hope Clinic is a worthy project that deserves our support.”
The construction grant “comes in addition to more than $1.4 million the clinic has received in stimulus funds, which clinic staff said was secured with the help of Barton’s office.” In fact, Lisa Caton, director of development for the clinic, said that Barton “really did play a critical role in a lot of the things that we accomplished.”
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus will have created or saved 3.7 million jobs by September, presumably some of them for work at this very clinic. But prior to appearing at the groundbreaking, Barton called the stimulus a “boondoggle,” “a lesson in how to waste a lot of money in a hurry,” and the “most anti-competitive, anti-consumer, anti-free market piece of legislation I’ve ever seen on the House floor.”
But Barton is actually doubling down on the hypocrisy here, as the clinic will also receive money from the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill that Barton voted against. “There were two pieces of legislation that helped bring this about,” said Joseph Gallegos, senior vice president of the National Association of Community Health Centers. “Part of this was economic stimulus funding, and the other was in the Affordable Care Act.”
At an event in Texas last week, President Obama riffed on this blatant hypocrisy on the part of the GOP. “I have to say, though, they do show up at the ribbon-cuttings for the infrastructure projects,” he noted. “They will fulminate and say it’s going to be Armageddon if we pass all this stuff, but then they’re cheesin’ and grinnin’ right there — got the shovel all ready — sending out the press releases.”
As ThinkProgress has exhaustively documented, at least 114 Republicans — more than half of the GOP caucus in Congress — is guilty of trying to take credit for projects funded by the stimulus bill that they voted against.