GOP lawmakers keep trying to take credit for economic stimulus bills they opposed

Republican members of Congress opposed economic stimulus spending but they also are gleefully announcing it to their constituents
House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is pictured with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) Photo: Office of Rep. Elise Stefanik

Zero Republicans voted for the American Rescue Plan. They acted as a united party, voting against $1,400 relief checks, unemployment benefits, relief for small businesses, and so much more. And once the law passed on the strength of Democratic votes, Republicans rushed to condemn it.

Rep. Claudia Tenney’s response came in the form of a “Statement on Passage of Partisan, Progressive Spending Bill.” Rep. Beth Van Duyne called it a “partisan wish list.” Rep. Andrew Garbarino also called it “partisan.” Rep. Madison Cawthorn tweeted about the “legislative monstrosity known as the Pelosi Payoff.” Rep. Doug LaMalfa also went for “Pelosi Payoff.”

They really, really didn’t like this law.

Until its money started flowing to their districts, as The American Independent’s Josh Israel does valuable work cataloging. Then it was a different story.

Sen. Roger Wicker was an early entrant, taking credit just days after the passage of the law for its inclusion of aid to restaurants. Wicker had sponsored legislation helping restaurants, and he had voted for the amendment including help for restaurants in the American Rescue Plan. But then he voted against the plan as a whole. Sorry, try harder next time.

That restaurant provision is a favorite of Republicans looking to associate themselves with the help their constituents are getting from the law they opposed. 

”The SBA’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides emergency assistance for eligible restaurants, bars, and other qualifying businesses impacted by COVID-19,” LaMalfa recently wrote on Facebook. “I encourage interested applicants to click this link to find out more about eligibility and how to apply.”

I’m sorry, what? You want your constituents becoming part of the “Pelosi Payoff?” Shocking, congressman!

Tenney, too, suddenly set aside her opposition to the “partisan, progressive spending bill” and tweeted: “If you think you qualify for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, you are encouraged to create an account through the SBA’s application portal.” To be clear, Tenney’s stated objection to the bill was that it included too many things that weren’t purely health-focused. Like, you know, money for restaurants.

Van Duyne likewise is suggesting that restaurants in her district jump right on that partisan wish list she formerly decried.

Garbarino and fellow New York Rep. Lee Zeldin celebrated that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority “listened to our calls” and reversed service cuts—service cuts that were reversed because of American Rescue Plan funding.

Cawthorn was “Happy to announce” Department of Health and Human Services money going to clinics in his district.

Rep. Elise Stefanik’s opposition to the law will sound very familiar, and since its passage she has been a regular source of press releases touting Head Start funding going to her district (the American Rescue Plan included $1 billion for Head Start) and on Thursday, she joined so many of her fellow Republicans in touting the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

This article first appeared at Daily Kos and is reprinted under license.