Two bumper stickers I need:
If you condemn all federal spending until it’s convenient for your district, you might be a Republican.
If you say the government doesn’t create jobs as it funds projects that create jobs in your district, you might be a Republican.
HuffPo’s Sam Stein and contributor Alex Becker have a thorough article out today on freshman House Republicans who publicly condemn federal spending while simultaneously lobbying for federal money:
A Freedom of Information Act request of the communications between freshmen House members and federal agencies reveals that, in private, GOP lawmakers have pressed for tens of millions of dollars in federal help for their districts, even while decrying federal spending in front of the national press corps.
One example comes from Tennessee’s Rep. Stephen Fincher (seen above), who contacted Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood directly when $13 million in government funding for his district’s Cates Landing port project went on the chopping block:
On March 8, 2011, Gannett news service reported that the funding for Cates Landing was being targeted by lawmakers looking to slash the federal budget. The same day that report came out, Fincher spoke directly with Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about the funds. The next day, he wrote a follow-up letter seeking assistance in “obligating” the $13 million grant for the port.
[…] The lobbying had its intended results. The grant was signed on March 18, according to a Department of Transportation spokesperson, with the goal of finishing construction by the fall.
“We just wanted to make sure that we could do everything possible to create jobs, and this was a part we could play and I did everything I could and we were successful,” the congressman declared a few days later to reporters, onlookers and fellow lawmakers, at an event praising the incoming funds.
Emphasis mine, to illustrate my initial point: Hypocrisy is comically rampant within the Republican Party. And let’s not place all our blame on Rep. Fincher and the freshman class; the higher-ups have proven to contradict themselves as well.
One example, on jobs: in February, while John Boehner said, “Our number-one issue is getting the economy going again and getting people back to work,” House Republicans released their first spending cut proposal, which included $2 billion in job training program cuts.
An ever-present GOP talking point is to highlight the notion that the government does not create jobs. Whether Rep. Fincher realized it or not, he eluded to the fact that government funding absolutely can create jobs. His district’s project will soon provide the proof.
[Photo: Kris Connor]