ICYMI: Washington Post Opinion: Republicans Who Fought Biden’s Agenda Now Claim Credit for It
August 4, 2023
If it’s a day that ends in Y, it means congressional Republicans are probably trying to take credit for funding despite voting AGAINST the legislation tahat provided it.
Key Point: Cornyn and all other Senate Republicans opposed last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, which contained massive tax incentives for electric vehicles. Cornyn mocked the credits as “pet projects” and “handouts for rich folks who want to buy electric vehicles.” He claimed that the credits would “be subsidizing the purchase of Chinese-made, and commercial and used electric vehicles.”
Washington Post: Opinion | Republicans Who Fought Biden’s Agenda Now Claim Credit for It
By Dana Milbank
- It’s the first week of summer recess for Congress, time for lawmakers to meet constituents at a picnic, fly off on a junket with colleagues or, for some, to take credit for things they voted against.
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) visited the massive Tesla plant in his home state, met with the company’s raving CEO, Elon Musk, sat in a Tesla Cybertruck prototype and tweeted out the photos below.
- “Everything is bigger in the Lone Star State including @Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas — the 2nd largest manufacturing facility in the U.S.!” he trumpeted. “Tesla’s impressive facility employs 10k Texans & is one of the many reasons why TX is leading in job creation.”
- Omitted from Cornyn’s tweet: That he fought bitterly against the clean-energy tax credits that directly prompted Tesla to boost its U.S. manufacturing. Tesla’s current expansion in U.S. output includes a massive new investment at the very plant Cornyn toured and touted.
- Cornyn and all other Senate Republicans opposed last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, which contained massive tax incentives for electric vehicles. Cornyn mocked the credits as “pet projects” and “handouts for rich folks who want to buy electric vehicles.” He claimed that the credits would “be subsidizing the purchase of Chinese-made, and commercial and used electric vehicles.”
- But Tesla saw things differently. It expanded domestic production precisely because of the bill Cornyn opposed. “The focus of Tesla’s cell production is currently in the United States due to the framework created by the United States Inflation Reduction Act,” the company said in February. The month before, Tesla announced a $770 million expansion at the Austin-area plant Cornyn toured. It also has said it expects as much as $1 billion in credits from the Inflation Reduction Act this year alone.
- It’s not the first time Cornyn appeared to be enjoying the fruits of a law he opposed. On June 27, he tweeted an article with the headline “Texas to receive $3.3 billion in federal funds to boost broadband expansion efforts.” Those funds came from the 2021 infrastructure bill — which Cornyn also voted against.
- In this, he had lots of company. GOP Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), John Boozman (Ark.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) also boasted about money coming to their states from the infrastructure law to fund transportation and broadband projects. All voted against the bill. “Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts,” the nay-voting Tuberville tweeted in late June.
- Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer welcomed the GOP’s late adoption of the Biden agenda. “The benefits of Democratic accomplishments are too good for even Republicans to ignore,” he needled. “Now that Republicans see they can support what Democrats are trying to get done, hopefully next time they’ll work with us in a bipartisan way.”
- When a liberal activist on Twitter pointed out that Cornyn voted against the infrastructure bill whose broadband benefits he now celebrates, Cornyn claimed not to see any inconsistency: “You bet I did,” he wrote, “because it was not paid for and … fueled inflation.” He continued: “Broadband is important, but you don’t solve one problem by creating two more. There is a better way.”
- That better way, apparently, is to have it both ways. Cornyn is right that “everything is bigger in the Lone Star State.” Even the chutzpah.