On multiple occasions during the vice presidential debate on Thursday evening, Rep. Paul Ryan hit the Obama administration for excessive spending by the federal government, saying at one point that “we can’t keep spending money we don’t have.”
But during his time in Congress, Ryan seemed to be far less concerned about spending federal dollars, so long as they were being spent in his Wisconsin district.
A new report from the Associated Press highlights almost 9,000 pages of correspondence between Ryan’s congressional office and dozens of federal agencies and departments in which Ryan repeatedly sought millions of dollars for his own constituents, often culled from programs that Ryan is now campaigning to reduce or eliminate entirely:
For 12 years as a member of Congress, Ryan has sought from the federal government money and benefits that in some cases represent the kinds of largess and specific programs he is now campaigning against.
As Mitt Romney’s running mate, Ryan calls those kinds of handouts big-government overreaching. He tells crowds he supports smaller government and rails against what he calls Obama’s wasteful spending, including the president’s $800 billion stimulus program.
A 2002 letter from Ryan sought funding under the Food Stamps Access Research program for a community center in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In his letter to then-Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, Ryan says that the grant would “increase the enrollment of eligibility individuals in the Food Stamps Program by providing laptop computers with touch screens to community organizations for pre-screening of applicants for food stamp eligibility.” Now, years later, Ryan is campaigning on a budget that would cut federal spending on food stamps by $133 billion and kick an estimated 10 million people out of the program.
Some other requests submitted by Ryan:
—A $550,000 request for stimulus money from the EPA for a town to make utility repairs.
— A request for a $19.7 million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture to develop a processing plant for rural Wisconsin farms, including several in his district.
— A request to the EPA for approval of the National School Transportation Association’s grant application for funding to help cut down on diesel emissions from school buses.
Several other news outlets have previously reported on more instances of Ryan’s requests for federal aid. The Nation’s Lee Fang reported last month that Ryan had sent a letter to an administrator in the Department of Health and Human Services to request money made available through the Affordable Care Act, a bill that his own ticket has vowed to repeal on their first day in office. And in August, new reports surfaced that Ryan had submitted several requests for stimulus money to help fund multiple green energy companies in Wisconsin.