The long-established tradition of Republican lawmakers touting provisions they voted against is back in full force.
A handful of Republicans this week publicly praised the billions of dollars in federal funds their respective states are receiving to boost broadband expansion efforts — a part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill Congress passed in November 2021 which only received support from a small group of Republicans.
The catch: all of these latest praisers voted against the more than $1 trillion bill, which was a Biden administration priority designed to provide funds for rebuilding the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges, expanding high-speed internet access, increasing access to clean drinking water and tackling climate change.
“Broadband is vital for the success of our rural communities and for our entire economy. Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) tweeted on Tuesday alongside a link to a news article on the state receiving $1.4B for broadband access.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) also tweeted about the more than three billion dollars in federal funds Texas will be receiving.
“Texas to receive $3.3 billion in federal funds to boost broadband expansion efforts,” he tweeted, also with a news article on the issue.
Twitter users were quick to push back on the shameless touting, bombarding the comment section of the tweets with reminders that the senators voted against the funding almost two years ago that will now help their states and constituents.
Cornyn responded to one of those tweets, saying “You bet I did.”
“1) because it was not paid for and thus grew the debt and 2) fueled inflation that is robbing Texans and other Americans of their standard of living. Broadband is important, but you don’t solve one problem by creating two more. There is a better way,” he added.
A handful of House Republicans did the same. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) was eager to take credit for the bill he opposed.
“FL has been given $1.2 billion in BEAD funding. Given the significant need throughout Pasco, Hernando & Citrus counties to improve connectivity, my team & I worked closely with state & local leaders to ensure they know how to access their fair share of these federal funds,” Bilirakis tweeted on Tuesday.
Similarly, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) released a joint statement on Monday, praising the funds as “an important step in our work to close the digital divide.”
Latta was one of the vocal opponents of the infrastructure bill, claiming that the legislation was “incredibly disappointing” because it “[left] rural America behind” and “didn’t prioritize safety.”
The White House shared a memo with TPM and other members of the media on Wednesday highlighting the ironic endorsements from GOP lawmakers.
“If anyone was wondering about the effectiveness of the case for Bidenomics, just look at these conversions happening in real-time,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates wrote, referring to congressional lawmakers who voted “no” on the infrastructure bill. “We knew Bidenomics was popular – we just didn’t know it was THIS popular.”
We’ve seen this movie before. Most recently, back in April 2021, a handful of Republicans shamelessly bragged about the critical funding on its way to their home states that was included in the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration’s COVID relief package. Back then, every Republican in Congress voted against the bill.
Republican lawmakers did the same thing back in 2009 when they unabashedly took credit for funding that came from Obama’s stimulus package, which the party not only didn’t support but also campaigned against.