Last month, every single Republican House member and all but three Republican senators voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Yet, as Thinkprogress noted at the time, as many as 22 Republicans who railed against the stimulus then touted the projects the stimulus would fund in their home districts. (A few Democrats who voted against the bill have done the same thing.)
Now, many of those same Republican lawmakers are pulling the same bait-and-switch with the FY2009 omnibus spending bill. The Wall Street Journal notes today that Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) slammed the omnibus as wasteful spending, before putting out a press release touting a local harbor project the bill would fund. Similarly, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) voted against the omnibus but then declared he was “proud to have secured these federal funds” for his district. Both insisted to the Journal there was no hypocrisy in their actions:
“Not to be rude, but it’s one of the dumbest things,” Mr. Hoekstra said of the notion that there is a contradiction. “The only people who are supposed to get money in an omnibus bill are the ones that vote for it?…I don’t see any inconsistency at all.” [...]
In an interview, Mr. Diaz-Balart said, “The omnibus was too much money, too much spending, too much borrowing, too much debt, and no accountability. Now, I have stuff in that bill, but I still voted against it. But what I have in there, I am very proud of.”
Of course, spending hypocrisy is nothing new for Hoekstra and Diaz-Balart. During the stimulus fight, both railed against the plan before taking credit for the local projects it would bring to their districts:
– Diaz-Balart declared those who supported the stimulus would be “embarrassed” because “it’s not going to help the economy.” Two days later, he signed a letter asking for immediate access to the stimulus cash for Florida, calling the stimulus funding “critical” and “vital”. “Now more than ever, we must invest in our state’s future,” the letter concluded.
Days after Congress passed the final stimulus bill, the New York Times noted that the temptation for Republicans to take credit for the funds they voted against proved “irresistible.” Apparently, so is the temptation to insist upon one’s own integrity in the face of blatant hypocrisy.