Thursday, February 18, 2010

Republicans Slam Stimulus In DC, Lobby For Funds At Home

President Obama's Stimulus Package had no Republican support in the House and just three Republican supporters in the Senate. An article in the conservative Wall Street Journal points out, however, that quite a few Republicans who criticized the bill in Washington lobbied to get money back home–and even praised its state-wide benefits:

More than a dozen Republican lawmakers supported stimulus-funding requests submitted to the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Forest Service, in letters obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act.

...Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a "wasteful spending spree" that "misses the mark on all counts," wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, "intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs."

...Republican Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina and Jean Schmidt of Ohio sent letters in October asking for consideration of funding requests from local organizations training workers for energy-efficiency projects.

...The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston.

...One of the letters was signed jointly with Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, also of Texas. The letter said that the Port of Houston Authority "has informed me of the positive impact this grant will have in the region by serving as a foundation for PHA's Clean Air Strategy Plan, creating jobs, and significantly reducing diesel emissions." Houston received millions of dollars in diesel funding.

The agency also appeared to have received eight identical letters from Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah recommending infrastructure projects in his state, seven of which were sent before stimulus legislation was passed by Congress.

...The entire congressional delegation of Alabama, including its two Republican senators, wrote to then-Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell asking for $15 million for cogongrass eradication and control programs in the state. The state ended up getting a $6.3 million grant.

Republican Richard Shelby, the state's senior senator, called the stimulus package "the socialist way" while it was being debated. A spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.

So what's "socialist" to Shelby (shown above) in Washington is an acceptable $6.3 million grant in Alabama. No wonder his spokesman won't comment. Could he explain how this money lost its socialist taint once it left the capital?

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