Shortly after Democrats in Congress passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislation, a Republican senator was already trying to take some credit for the popular bill ― even though he and every single other Republican voted against it.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) tweeted on Wednesday that independent restaurant operators were going to get billions of dollars coming their rescue, thanks to the COVID-19 relief bill about to become law.
The House passed the relief legislation Wednesday, in a 220-211 vote. One Democrat (Maine’s Rep. Jared Golden) voted with every single Republican in voting no. It also passed along party lines in the Senate. It now heads to Biden’s desk for his signature.
Polling has found that a majority of the public ― including Republicans ― supports the legislation, despite the staunch opposition of GOP lawmakers. So perhaps it was only a matter of time until those same lawmakers started trying to reap the benefits of the bill.
When reporters on the Hill asked Wicker about his tweet and the fact that he also voted against the bill on Wednesday, he said it was a “stupid question.”
“One good provision in a $1.9 trillion bill doesn’t mean I have to vote for the whole thing,” Wicker replied.
“I was for that bill, introduced that bill, long, long before this legislation,” Wicker added when pressed on whether he was taking credit for the Democrats’ work.
An aide to Wicker noted that he is the author of the Restaurants Act, which would provide a $120 billion relief fund to help independent restaurants and small franchises.
“He was not able to support $2 trillion in poorly targeted spending as was proposed by Congressional Democrats,” the aide said. “He will continue working to advance targeted relief for restaurants and other groups that have been hit hard by the pandemic.”
A similar pattern happened after the 2009 stimulus, when GOP lawmakers who voted against President Barack Obama’s legislation then went back into their home districts and took credit for the money that flowed to their constituents. At the time, ThinkProgress counted 114 Republican lawmakers who blocked the bill while touting its benefits. They sent out press releases taking credit for money that funded projects in their district, even though they voted against it.
“I have to point out, though, that some of the very same folks in Congress who opposed the Recovery Act ― and claim that it hasn’t worked ― have been all too happy to claim credit for Recovery Act projects and the jobs those projects have produced,” Obama said in 2010. “They come to the ribbon-cuttings and ― they found a way to have their cake and vote against it, too.”
This piece was updated with comment from Wicker’s office.
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