Some Republicans Support Stimulus Bill After They Voted Against It

Yesterday I noted that Arlen Specter let the fact slip out that many Republicans were actually in favor of the stimulus package but voted against it out of party unity. Some members of the House are also being careless in drifting away from the party line as they are now expressing support for the spending. McClatchy reports:

Rep. John Mica was gushing after the House of Representatives voted Friday to pass the big stimulus plan.

“I applaud President Obama’s recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America’s future,” the Florida Republican beamed in a press release.

Yet Mica had just joined every other GOP House member in voting against the $787.2 billion economic recovery plan.

Republicans echoed their party line over and over during the debate: “This bill is loaded with wasteful deficit spending on the majority’s favorite government programs,” as Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., put it.

But Mica wasn’t alone in touting what he saw as the bill’s virtues. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, also had nice things to say in a press release…

Yet later in the day Young — who recently told McClatchy that he would’ve included earmarks, or local projects, in the bill if it had been permitted — issued another statement blasting the overall measure.

So does Young support the bill, oppose it, or just wish he could have included some earmarks? While Young’s views are not clear, Rush Limbaugh, despite his many other faults, at least does make himself perfectly clear. Limbaugh wants Obama to fail and wants America to suffer. David Vitter also joins many conservatives in believing that the best chance for the Republicans to return to office is to hope for more misery for Americans:

According to Vitter, the GOP is basically betting the farm that the stimulus package is going to fail, and the party wants Democrats to go down with it. “Our next goal is to make President Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress own it completely,” he said. Instead of coming up with serious measures to save the economy, the party intends to devote its time to an “we told you so” agenda that will include GOP-only hearings on the bill’s impact in the coming months to highlight the bill’s purportedly wasteful elements and shortcomings.

While Vitter seemed to think this was a brilliant new political tactic, voters might be less enthusiastic than Federalist Society members about politicians who spend the next 18 months rooting for the economy to get worse, just to prove a point. But, in Vitter’s world, that’s the price you apparently have to pay for sticking to your principles, call girls be damned.

As I’ve noted previously, it is hard to take any claims by the Republicans that they voted against this out of opposition to deficits after the deficit they ran up when in power. Apparently to Republicans deficits to fight an unnecessary war, or to give tax breaks to the ultra-wealthy, is not as bad as deficits to improve the infrastructure or stimulate the economy.

Beyond the Republican spending record, First Read placed both the partisanship and the previous GOP lack of concerns for increasing the deficit into perspective:

With zero House Republicans voting for the stimulus — and with just three Senate Republicans expected to vote for it later this afternoon — it’s worth noting that 28 House Democrats and 12 Senate Democrats voted for the final passage of Bush’s big tax cut in 2001. (And remember, too, that Bush had barely won the presidential election the year before.) The size of that 2001 tax-cut package? $1.35 trillion.

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