Next week when President Obama marks the one-year anniversary of signing the stimulus bill into law, Democrats will showcase the Republicans who were against the Recovery Act funds, before they were for them being funneled to their home states.
TPMDC has learned the party will mount an orchestrated effort from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to go after Republicans who voted against the$787 billion economic stimulus plan but take credit for its spending back home.
Obama signed the measure Feb. 17, 2009 with votes from just three Republicans (one of those GOPers, Sen. Arlen Specter, became a Democrat) but members of the opposing party have campaigned on stimulus projects.
A Democratic source told me the party will force both incumbents up for reelection in the fall and Republican challengers to say on the record if they support the stimulus plan, which the White House in tandem will showcase as having created jobs.
“Look for us to be all over this story,” the source said.The Democrats collected new ammunition thanks to a damning report in Tuesday’s editions of The Washington Times.
The Times’ Jim McElhatton found that Sen. Kit Bond and more than a dozen other Republicans lambasted the stimulus but “privately sent letters to just one of the federal government’s many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.”
The letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, expose the gulf between lawmakers’ public criticism of the overall stimulus package and their private lobbying for projects close to home.
The DCCC is using the Times report as a jumping off point for inducting a total of 71 GOPers into a “Republican Hypocrisy Hall of Fame,” just one effort among several expected in the coming week from Democrats eager to expose their rivals.
The “Hall of Fame” push will be sent to local media in the 71 districts of Republicans who “have been caught trying to celebrate the benefits of projects they opposed in President Obama’s recovery bill, the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, and the Omnibus Public Land Management Act,” according to a template of the release obtained by TPMDC.
“It’s bad enough House Republicans want to turn back the clock to the same failed Bush policies that created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but now these same House Republicans including _____ are taking credit for the economic benefits of the Recovery policies they voted against,” DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer will say in the releases.
“As we approach the one year anniversary of the Recovery package, House Republicans including _____ need to tell their constituents the truth: either the Recovery package is working or admit their shameless ‘do as I say not as I do’ hypocrisy,” Rudominer says.
The DNC has collected mountains of examples obtained by TPMDC showing, for example, Rep. Phil Gingery (R-GA) presenting a giant $625,000 check to the city of Cedartown for new sidewalks and landscaping funded by the stimulus.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) was one of the chief critics of the plan but said the high-speed rail created by the stimulus plan could create as many as 185,000 jobs, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Cantor also hosted a jobs fair last fall that included firms hiring thanks to the stimulus.
There are copious other examples from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) lauding $1.5 million in neighborhood funds to Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) boasting on Twitter of the “very generous” stimulus incentive for first-time homebuyers.
(MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow tackled this topic last night. Watch that clip here.)
While most senators up for reelection have not been as bold, the DSCC will go after Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senate candidate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE). They each have touted projects that were funded with stimulus cash.
WKYT in Kentucky reported that over the summer Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell boasted about a “source of significant employment” at a construction site at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Kentucky. The funds, of course, came from the stimulus.
Governors also won’t be spared, since Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) declined the money and then either asked for it later or showcased its positive effects.