Eye on the Right: Opposing the Recovery While Taking Credit for the Results

How do we know the Recovery Act is working?

Over 70 members of the House of Representatives vociferously opposed ARRA, but returned to their home districts to take credit for job creation, investments in infrastructure and the green economy, and spending on critical community needs.  Many of these same lawmakers requested further federal funds for projects in their states. 

  • Although Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster was against federal recovery efforts, he attended a groundbreaking cermony for a sewage treatment plant funded by ARRA.  He additionally requested that Gov. Ed Rendell utilize recovery money to reopen a school for veterans' children, claiming it would "save about 134 full-time jobs." 
  • Texas Rep. Michael McCaul stated, "I didn't support final passage but at the same time I wanted to make sure if we are spending that kind of money that much of that gets directed to Texas."  Along with the Texas Congressional delegation, he also requested that Obama's administration direct $3 billion in unused recovery dollars to fund NASA's manned space program.
  • South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, of "You lie" fame, voted against ARRA, but sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack requesting recovery funds for a foundation in his state.
  • An outspoken opponent of federal recovery efforts, House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor met with transportation officials to explore how Virginia could apply for high-speed rail funds though ARRA.  On top of that, in November 2009, Rep. Cantor held a job fair that featured almost 15 organizations that received aid from the Recovery Act.

At the state level, there are conservative Governors who also opposed ARRA, but have included recovery funds in their budget proposals this fiscal year.  Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty previously bashed the Obama Administration and criticized the idea of utilizing federal recovery funds for state fiscal relief, but includes ARRA as a critical portion of his budget proposal.  In fact, "[n]early one-third of the governor's budget fix would rely on $387 million in federal stimulus money."  Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a persistent critic of the recovery act during his campaign, has touted $24 million in federal funds for health care information technology made available for the state through ARRA funding.

The blatant hypocrisy of these right-wing officials is quite telling.  At the basic level, this indicates an inherent acknowledgment that pumping federal funds into the economy creates jobs and fosters growth.  The right's deceptive rhetoric is a stark reminder of the hollowness of their failed economic, tax, and budget policies.

The Washington Times - Stimulus foes see value in seeking cash