Last week, on the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ThinkProgress released a report detailing 110 Republican lawmakers who hypocritically opposed the stimulus, but later asked for more money or claimed credit for successful stimulus programs. Republicans, who voted largely in lockstep against the legislation, have been spinning to justify their opposition. Last Wednesday, as House GOP members fired off press releases reaffirming their sentiment that the stimulus had been a “failure,” ThinkProgress caught a House GOP leader releasing a statement taking credit for millions in stimulus funds.
Adding clarity to the depth of GOP hypocrisy, Bloomberg News has obtained 300 pages of letters from anti-stimulus lawmakers requesting highway stimulus funds. Many of the lawmakers in the Bloomberg article have been exposed previously by ThinkProgress for requesting funds while calling the stimulus a complete mistake. However, the personal letters reveal that the most staunch conservatives believed — behind closed doors — that the stimulus was “vital”:
— Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), the NRCC leader who called the stimulus a “massive spending binge” and an “abject failure,” wrote three times to administration officials asking for four projects in Dallas. Sessions wrote that the stimulus projects will “create jobs in the region and improve the quality of life for North Texans.”
— Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), who called the stimulus a “sham,” wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting $80 million in stimulus funds that he believed were “vital to the economic health of North Central Indiana.” At the end of the letter, Buyer wrote, “Ray, I appreciate your personal attention. Steve.”
— ThinkProgress’ report found that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), along with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), fought for stimulus highway funds for I-73 in South Carolina. According to letters obtained by Bloomberg, Graham proclaimed that the stimulus project would “create 5,789 jobs.” Graham apparently sent “a dozen” similar pitches for stimulus funds. Even though the stimulus contained one of the largest middle class tax cuts in modern history, Graham had called the stimulus a “failure” for focusing on spending instead of tax cuts.
Many of the stimulus opponents called the entire stimulus a failure that didn’t to create “a single job.” But stimulus opponents have loudly, and privately, demanded tens of thousands of stimulus jobs and billions in stimulus projects.