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Republicans want credit for infrastructure bill they voted against

As Republicans seek credit for the infrastructure package they voted against, it's hard not to feel a sense of deja vu.


Around this time 12 years ago, as investments from Barack Obama's Recovery Act started reaching communities nationwide, Republicans who opposed the economic package started showing up at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. If it were up to these GOP lawmakers, the funding for these projects wouldn't have existed, but they hoped voters would overlook such pesky details.

Last year, it happened again. After President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, many of the Republicans who railed against the Democrats' Covid-relief sought credit for the benefits they tried to kill.

This year, the GOP is taking steps to complete the trifecta, claiming credit for the infrastructure package that Biden signed after the majority of congressional Republicans rejected the legislation.

The first example of this came to light shortly before Thanksgiving, when Republican Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama touted funding in the infrastructure package that will benefit his constituents, without noting that he voted against the bill. This week, as HuffPost noted, we're starting to see some new examples.

With money starting to flow in for new projects around the country thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law Congress approved last year, more Republicans are attempting to take credit despite the fact that they opposed the legislation. In a press release issued by her office on Wednesday, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R) touted "game-changing" funding of $829 million announced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that is aimed toward modernizing locks and dams on the Mississippi River, which borders her Eastern Iowa district.

In a tweet yesterday, the Iowa Republican boasted that "we" had secured dam funding in her district. It led to an obvious follow-up question for Hinson: "What do you mean, 'we'?"

When it came time to vote up or down on the infrastructure package, Hinson voted with her party against the bill. The congresswoman soon after issued a written statement, condemning the bipartisan legislation as "a partisan, socialist spending spree." In fact, the Iowan referred to "socialist" or "socialism" in her statement four times.

For good measure, Hinson said the infrastructure package "takes the Marxist ideology that once only existed in textbooks and makes it law in the United States of America."

Yesterday, however, as this "socialist spending spree" started benefiting her constituents, Hinson issued a new statement, claiming she "helped lead" on this issue.

Similarly yesterday, Republican Rep. Kay Granger of Texas touted new funding for the Trinity River Vision/Central City flood control project — funding made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

What her press release didn't mention is that Granger voted to kill the bill, and condemned the package at the time as a "socialist plan full of crushing taxes and radical spending."

Circling back to our earlier coverage, it's not uncommon for lawmakers, especially when dealing with a massive, multifaceted piece of legislation, to like some elements of a bill while opposing the larger whole (or conversely, oppose some provisions while endorsing the larger whole). That's just part of the process.

But Hinson, Granger, and their colleagues should also be mindful of the context: Republicans condemned the infrastructure bill in no uncertain terms, before launching an offensive against the modest number of GOP lawmakers who dared to make it bipartisan by voting for it.

Either the new law is reckless socialism, or it's poised to make worthwhile investments that will help a lot of people. Either Republicans are going to make the case against the package, or they're going to celebrate the parts of it that benefit their constituents.

When the GOP tries to do both at the same time — just as the party did with the Recovery Act and the American Rescue Plan — Republicans shouldn't be surprised when they get called out for their brazenness.