Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) is a vocal opponent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act who not only voted against the stimulus, but goes out of his way to mock it as “going nowhere” and doing “nothing to encourage growth.” Using the “failed” stimulus as his evidence, Shuster has been claiming that the government is incapable of reforming healthcare. But while Shuster tries to gain political points by bashing the stimulus, he has been quietly claiming credit for its benefits in his district, as well as advocating for an expanded role for Recovery Act money in his community:
– Last week, Shuster attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a sewage treatment plant for the Blairsville Municipal Authority. Republican State Senator Don White noted that the project was only possible because of the stimulus, which allowed the state Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) to provide a $10.4 million grant and a $3 million low interest loan for construction.
– On November 4, Shuster asked Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) to use some of the state’s stimulus money to reopen the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children. Shuster noted that using the Recovery Act money for the school would save 134 full-time jobs.
– In July, Shuster joined 14 Pennsylvania lawmakers — including fellow stimulus-opponents Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Todd Platts (R-PA) — in writing a letter asking that stimulus money be used towards public universities.
– In June, Shuster hailed the stimulus-funded initiative to build a high-speed rail line between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The Post-Gazette quoted Shuster praising the project: “I believe we are about to experience a new era in passenger rail in this country. I want Western Pennsylvania to participate in this new era and to enjoy the benefits of increased and expanded passenger rail service.”
Today, Roll Call reports that Republican lawmakers are planning this week to announce the GOP’s new “December Attack Plan,” which will focus on denigrating President Obama’s stimulus. Presumably, rank-in-file members like Shuster will participate in the attack, even though they have taken credit for the stimulus’ success. And to add to the irony, the attack is being led by Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who has now hosted multiple job fairs in his district filled with employers hiring directly because of the stimulus.