President Obama appeared before the House GOP retreat in Baltimore today to offer a defense of his agenda while making good on his State of the Union promise to welcome ideas from the opposition party. In his introduction, Obama gave a strong defense of the stimulus package — which most economists agree has worked — saying, “there’s not a single person in here” would who would not be “going home to more laid off teachers,” firefighters, and police officers. Obama also chided Republicans for taking credit for the benefits while also bashing it:
And then the last portion of it was infrastructure, which as I’ve said, a lot of you have gone to appear at ribbon cuttings for the same projects that you voted against. Now I say all this not to re-litigate past, but it’s simply to state that the component parts of the stimulus are consistent with what many of you say are important things to do — rebuilding our infrastructure, tax cuts for families and businesses, and making sure that we were providing states and individuals some support when the roof was caving in.
Every single House Republican voted against the stimulus package, but as ThinkProgress has documented, many have gone on to tout the benefits it is having in their respective districts. For instance, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) sent multiple press releases publicizing “imperative” stimulus funds awarded to his state, without mentioning where the money had come from. In December, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) called the stimulus a “large-scale failure,” only to praise a stimulus-funded program as “critical” a few weeks later. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) sent two press releases out on December 16th — one saying the stimulus had “failed” and the other hailing $1,044,140 in stimulus money for the Carroll County school system.