Republicans Voting Against Stimulus Then Asked Obama for Money By Alison Fitzgerald and Justin Blum Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Alabama Republicans Jo Bonner and Robert Aderholt took to the U.S. House floor in July, denouncing the Obama administrationâs stimulus plan for failing to boost employment. âWhere are the jobs?â each of them asked. Over the next three months, Bonner and Aderholt tried at least five times to steer stimulus-funded transportation grants to Alabama on grounds that the projects would help create thousands of jobs. They joined more than 100 congressional Republicans and several Democrats who, after voting against the stimulus bill, wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seeking money from $1.5 billion the plan set aside for local road, bridge, rail and transit grants. The $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last year with no Republican votes in the House and three in the Senate. Bonner said opposing the stimulus doesnât mean he shouldnât help Alabama projects compete for grants. âIt is my role to ensure that their request is considered by the federal agency,â he said in an e-mail. Alan Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming named by President Barack Obama as co-chairman of a new deficit- reduction commission, said about-faces on government funding arenât surprising. âItâs the original sin of Washington -- itâs hypocrisy,â Simpson said. âYou canât do that then say you go out and cut the other stuff.â Aderholt âbelieved that the Alabama taxpayers should be able to benefit from the programs that their tax dollars paid for,â spokesman Darrell Jordan said. Ribbon-Cuttings Obama, during a Feb. 19 speech to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, said congressional critics are calling the stimulus a âboondoggleâ while âmaking appearances at ribbon-cuttingsâ for local projects financed by the bill. âTheyâre trying to vote against their cake and eat it, too,â he said. The Transportation Department, at the request of Bloomberg News, released almost 300 pages of letters supporting applications for grants from the Recovery Actâs Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, known as Tiger. On Feb. 17, a year after Obama signed the stimulus law, the Transportation Department announced 51 projects that would get Tiger funding. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said the Recovery Actâs anniversary âmarks one year of broken promises, bloated government and wasteful spending.â Where Are Jobs? The National Republican Congressional Committee, led by Texas Representative Pete Sessions, released a video montage of clips edited to show a series of news anchors and commentators asking âWhere are the jobs?â Sessions, who called the stimulus âa massive spending binge by the Democrat-controlled Congress,â wrote LaHood three times last September and October. Sessions promoted four projects, including a Dallas streetcar line he said âwill create jobs in the region and improve the quality of life for North Texans.â The project got $23 million. Sessions, in an e-mail, called the stimulus an âabject failureâ and said heâd vote against it again if he could. The lawmaker said his objections donât keep him âfrom asking federal agencies for their full consideration of critical infrastructure and competitive grant projects for North Texas when asked to do so by my constituents.â Sessions has written agencies supporting six other grants, spokeswoman Emily Davis said. âVitalâ to Economy Indiana Republican Steve Buyer, who last year called the stimulus bill a âsham,â wrote LaHood -- a former Republican congressman from Illinois -- to seek $80 million for a highway construction project that âis vital to the economic health of North Central Indiana.â At the end of the letter Buyer wrote: âRay, appreciate your personal attention. Steve.â Calls to Buyerâs office seeking comment werenât returned. Obama sold the stimulus plan on a promise to create or save about 3.5 million jobs over two years. In the past year, the U.S. has lost more than 3 million jobs. The administration says the Recovery Act prevented even greater joblessness. Some of the seven House Democrats who voted against the stimulus bill have joined the line for transportation grants. North Carolina Representative Heath Shuler and colleagues in that stateâs delegation sought money for an interstate- highway bridge they said would âcreate or sustain 900 direct or indirect jobs.â Idaho Representative Walt Minnick backed requests for federal help for a Boise streetcar system and other highway or bridge projects. Stimulus Bashing Alabama Representative Parker Griffith, who has since switched to the Republican Party, wrote to support railway construction near Muscle Shoals. Nine months before this yearâs congressional elections, Republicans may be benefiting from stimulus bashing, polls show. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, in a Feb. 17 statement, said itâs the Democrats who are playing politics. âNo amount of political spin will change the fact the bill created more government than jobs and dramatically increased our national debt,â he said. Graham, on Sept. 11, wrote LaHood asking for $360 million to improve Interstate 73 near Myrtle Beach. The construction funding âis expected to create 5,789 new jobs in the I-73 corridor region,â said the letter, one of a dozen grant pitches signed by Graham. Spokesman Kevin Bishop said Graham supported a smaller stimulus program including highway infrastructure funding and tax cuts, and never opposed the spending he advocated. âWe have to pay it back, so we might as well ensure that we get our share of the money,â Bishop said. Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole opposed the stimulus a year ago, calling it a ârecipe for disasterâ instead of a road to recovery. âCatalystâ for Jobs In September, Cole sought funding for a grant to help develop an international trade center on a 2,700-acre industrial park, a project he called âa catalyst for the potential creationâ of almost 30,000 jobs. âIt is with pleasure that I write this letter in support of the Ardmore Development Authority,â Cole wrote. Cole didnât comment on the request after a series of e-mails to his office. Texas Republican Representative Kay Granger wrote in support of six proposals, including a toll-road project in the suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth that she said âwould create approximately 3,500 jobs in the local community.â On the stimulus anniversary, Granger put out a statement condemning âgovernment waste at its worstâ and âunmanageableâ federal debt. âStimulus-style spending has not created jobs, but it has certainly grown our national debt over the last year,â she said. Federal Aid On the same day, the government announced $20 million of stimulus funding and a $400 million federal loan for the toll- road project. Matt Leffingwell, a spokesman for Granger, said in an e- mail that the lawmaker didnât see infrastructure funding as a focus of the stimulus bill. And, because the federal funding didnât arrive until the past week, Leffingwell said âit is still premature for the administration to claim that this project has, in fact, created jobs.â Only 6 percent of Americans said they think the stimulus has created jobs, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll earlier this month. About 40 percent said the federal program will create jobs at some point, and almost half donât expect any new jobs. In a fundraising letter, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said Republicans know the Recovery Act is creating jobs âbut they think attacking it will bring them victoryâ in November.