Earlier this year, ThinkProgress released a report detailing how more than 114 lawmakers who voted to kill the Recovery Act — over half the GOP caucus in Congress — later either took credit for stimulus projects or hailed stimulus-related programs as a success. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), who is mentioned in the report for celebrating a stimulus-funded laboratory after voting against the stimulus, has continued to vigorously attack the stimulus as a failure, while hailing Tennessee stimulus projects as a success.
On Friday, Wamp’s office released a statement praising the construction of a new Alstom steam and gas turbine factory in Chattanooga. Wamp said the $300 million dollar factory, “means good high-end manufacturing jobs for our region’s workers.” Wamp did not mention anywhere in the release that Alstom’s new plant was boosted by $63 million in stimulus funds, and that the Recovery Act Wamp opposed contains various clean energy loan guarantees and tax credits for Alstom’s business.
While there are many stimulus hypocrites abound in the Republican Party, Wamp seems to flip-flop on his stimulus position on a near-monthly basis:
February 2009: Wamp votes against the stimulus, explaining that it will only hurt the economy. “The larger picture is: This is not good for our country,” Wamp said, “It would make our recession longer and deeper.” He added, “it’s a flawed notion that we can borrow our way out of this mess.”
March 2009: Wamp urges Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-TN) to reject stimulus funds for unemployment insurance.
March 2009: Wamp hails $71 million in stimulus funds to Oak Ridge laboratory. “This modernization effort will help keep ORNL as one of our nation’s premier laboratories,” said Wamp at the news of the new 170 construction jobs.
April 2009: Wamp demands more stimulus spending on high speed rail projects. “We need to throw the ball deep,” Wamp said.
July 2009: Wamp signs onto a bill to repeal the stimulus, stop future stimulus projects.
August 2009: Wamp complains to the Chattanooga Times Free Press that “unfortunately” the stimulus did not contain enough loan guarantees for nuclear power plants.
August 2009: Wamp praises the Chickamauga Lock replacement project, funded by a $58.9 million stimulus grant to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
October 2009: Wamp boasts that stimulus money is being spent quickly in his district. “We have done a better-than-average job in our state of actually taking the stimulus money and getting it out in the field, and we’re ranked high there. Sure there is going to be some silver lining in this, but the dark cloud is still there,” said Wamp.
January 2010: Wamp attacks the stimulus program as a failure, claims “our country can no longer accept these spending policies,” and says the stimulus was “reckless.”
January 2010: Wamp’s press office praises the construction of a $200 million stimulus-funded solar panel manufacturing plant.
March 2010: Wamp celebrates opening of stimulus-funded uranium stage facility. “Big projects just don’t happen. Somebody has got to get in the middle of it, and make it happen, and the people in this room made it happen. Congratulations to all of you,” said Wamp.
June 2010: Wamp hails stimulus-funded turbine factory in Chattanooga.
Wamp, who is running for Governor of Tennessee, has postured as a states’ rights candidate, going as far as threatening that if President Obama tries to confiscate firearms, he will “meet him at the state line.” Despite the bluster and fiery rhetoric against the federal government, Wamp clearly has embraced federal stimulus funds with open arms.