Republicans Who Bashed Stimulus Lobbied for Funds, Argued Money Would Create Jobs

October 18, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Republicans have spent the better part of the last year and a half railing against a government stimulus package they often blame for crowding out more jobs than it saved. But the Center for Public Integrity has published an extensive report pointing out that some of the bill’s loudest detractors made the jobs case themselves for stimulus projects in their state or district. The list is as unlikely as it is long.

According to the Center, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) “wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in February, urging his cabinet agency to give ‘full and fair consideration’ to the city’s request for $81 million in stimulus money, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Ironically, his letter suggested the project would create jobs, undercutting the very public argument he has made against the stimulus. ‘Carrollton’s project will create jobs, stimulate the economy, improve regional mobility and reduce pollution,’ the lawmaker wrote.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), too, wrote a letter asking for Department of Transportation funds for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: “These funds are for a specific purpose that will usher into our community a much more tightly knit transit system alternative to the private automobile. … The TIGER discretionary grant deserves your consideration within existing rules, regulations, and ethical guidelines,” he wrote.

Even Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn.), founder of the Tea Party Caucus, wrote “more than a half dozen letters to federal agencies on behalf of proposed stimulus grants, including one to the Transportation Department for the St. Croix River Crossing Project that she argued ‘would directly produce 1,407 new jobs per year while indirectly producing 1,563 a year – a total of 2,970 jobs each year after the project’s completion.’”

The list goes on and on.

Correction: This post initially identified the lawmaker who wrote to Secretary LaHood as Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). In fact, it was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). We apologize for the error and urge the Republican caucus to diversify its nomenclature.