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Republicans Who Opposed The Stimulus Line Up To Criticize It Publicly, Request More Money Privately (Correction)

By Lee Fang  

"Republicans Who Opposed The Stimulus Line Up To Criticize It Publicly, Request More Money Privately (Correction)"

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The AP reports that Republicans who opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the stimulus, are nonetheless vigorously pursuing money from the program. Many GOP members, like Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), are still slamming the stimulus as waste and a failure, yet at the same time are making internal appeals for more funds. Guthrie, attacked the Recovery Act for its “staggering” costs just days before he urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to consider using stimulus money to renovate a military hospital in his congressional district.

Other opponents of the stimulus now pleading for stimulus money include:

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) opposed the stimulus and attacked it as a bloated government giveaway. However, both senators recently asked Gates to steer $50 million in stimulus money for a bio-energy project. Visiting a food bank aided by money from the stimulus, Chambliss exclaimed last week, “I’m very pleased that the government continues to play a key role, here, from the standpoint of providing food.”

Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) — who called the stimulus a “Big Brother spending program” — asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to use $8.4 million in stimulus money for repairs to buildings at two Oklahoma National Guard sites.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) told CNS News last month, “I don’t think it [failed] – I know it. I said at the time, there’s no stimulus in the stimulus bill.” He also called the Recovery Act simply “welfare.” However, a recent press release from Inhofe hails $1.9 million in funding for a Claremore regional railroad-based trans-modal facility, noting the investment will “help spur additional economic growth” and that the senator is “happy” about the way the money is being used. Inhofe, of course, makes no mention that the money is authorized by the Recovery Act. CORRECTION: The aforementioned funds were authorized by other “recovery” appropriations, not the stimulus. However, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported, Inhofe still has a history of stimulus hypocrisy. For instance, despite attacking the stimulus as a complete waste, Inhofe hailed $25 million dollars in stimulus money for a Tar Creek Superfund site as “great news” and “necessary funds.”

Rep. John Carter (R-TX) opposed the Recovery Act, and recently called the entire program a failure that should be “repealed.” Regardless, Carter’s public pronouncements did not stop him from requesting $621 million in hospital projects from the stimulus — then calling the funds a victory for the economy in central Texas.

Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), another stimulus opponent, now lists various links on his website to help his constituents “take advantage of the federal stimulus money.”

Congressional Republican leadership, who helped corral every single GOP House member and a nearly every Republican senator to oppose the Recovery Act, are also shamelessly attacking the stimulus while requesting stimulus money. As ThinkProgress has reported, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) recently hosted a job fair filled with jobs fueled by the stimulus and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been taking credit for stimulus projects in his home state. Indeed, even Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), considered a leading figure for his party, toured his state handing out jumbo-sized checks containing millions of dollars of stimulus money. Rather than credit the Recovery Act, which he refers to as a failure, Jindal printed his own name on the checks.

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