After Democrats passed their COVID-19 relief legislation earlier this year, Republicans took credit for provisions in the popular bill even though they voted against it.
Now, Republican lawmakers are starting to do so again with the infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law this week.
In a press release issued by his office on Monday, Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer touted funding in the bill aimed at connecting communities in the Appalachian region of the country to national interstate highways, something that will benefit his district, which encompasses the city of Birmingham.
“Birmingham is currently one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country without a complete beltline around it. Completing the Northern Beltline will benefit the entire region and enhance economic development and employment opportunities,” Palmer said in a statement.
An accompanying tweet issued by the congressman also touted funding for the project, though it left out the fact that he voted against it.
Only 13 House Republicans voted for the bill, which includes funding for roads, bridges, highways, railways and ports.
The Alabama congressman said that while he supported some elements of the bill, he opposed others, such as its provisions to boost renewable energy and climate resilience. For example, the legislation includes $47 billion to help communities prepare for extreme fires, floods, storms and droughts ― natural disasters that have only accelerated with the onset of climate change.
“I fully support funding for infrastructure that is focused on national priorities rather than wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on a Green New Deal wish list and programs under the guise of human infrastructure that simply expand government control of our lives,” Palmer said after the House passed the bill last week.
“At least the bill includes legislation which I introduced with Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) that includes funding for the Birmingham Northern Beltline,” he added.
Palmer is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. According to CNN, some members of the group are seeking to punish their 13 Republican colleagues who joined Democrats in voting for the infrastructure bill. One option under consideration is potentially moving to strip them of their committee assignments, the latest purity test in the GOP in the age of Donald Trump.
Trump has criticized the House and Senate Republicans who voted for the bill, complaining they helped give Biden a political win. Nineteen Senate Republicans voted for the bill earlier this year; some of them even joined Biden at the White House on Monday for a bill signing ceremony.
Biden hailed the bill at the event as “proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.”
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