The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched a new website knocking House Republicans for promoting programs funded by bills that they voted against.
The site, GOPVotedNoTookTheDough.com, lists 26 House Republicans who touted projects funded by the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, the American Rescue Plan stimulus, or the Fiscal Year 2022 funding omnibus, despite voting against the bills. Scrolling over a bullet point for any of the Republicans listed replaces the member’s photo with a clown emoji.
The list includes a number of House Republicans running in districts targeted by the DCCC, such as Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), but also includes members in solidly Republican districts like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and members running for higher office.
“If Republicans want to tout these critical victories coming to their districts, they should have voted for them,” DCCC spokesperson Tommy Garcia said in a statement. “House Democrats delivered these historic investments – if House Republicans had their way, none would have been made possible.”
Republicans have generally defended their promotion of the programs by saying that while they support certain measures, they objected to legislation as a whole, and had long advocated for funding certain projects.
A spokesperson for Hinson, who the DCCC listed for promoting a dam modernization project on the Upper Mississippi River despite voting against the infrastructure bill, told HuffPost earlier this year that she opposed the package because it was tied to trillions of other spending.
“Since the bill was signed into law, this money was going to be spent regardless. If there’s federal money on the table she is, of course, going to do everything she can to make sure it is reinvested in Iowa,” Hinson’s spokesperson said.
Gonzales, who the DCCC listed for promoting $75 million in creek revitalization funding after the infrastructure legislation, had a similar response.
“While Congressman Gonzales did not vote for the initial package due to the $1 trillion price tag associated with it, if the money is going to be spent, he is going to advocate that it goes to the district,” Gonzales’s office told the San Antonio Express-News earlier this year. The office said the funding was not specifically allocated for the creek project in the bill and that Gonzales advocated for the funds for the project after it passed.
Scalise celebrated $1 billion in funding for Louisiana flood mitigation projects that were authorized by the infrastructure bill that he voted against. A Scalise spokesman in January told NOLA.com that he voted against the bill due to effects on the budget and pointed to “years of work” on flood protection projects and securing ability for one project to get federal funding.
The DCCC has been putting out statements slamming House Republicans for the promotion of certain programs after “no” votes on the bills for months, and Democrats have long signaled that they will use the no votes in negative campaign ads. The website comes as midterm campaign season kicks into high gear, with House members ticking up campaign events in their districts over August recess.
Democrats have made enactment of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act a cornerstone of their midterm campaign argument. The legislation passed last year with the support of 17 Republican senators and 13 House Republicans, despite House GOP leaders whipping its members to vote against the legislation.
Democrats have found a challenge, however, in communicating their accomplishment to voters. A June poll from the center-left think tank Third Way found that only 24 percent of voters thought that the legislation was law, while 37 percent said that they did not know and 30 percent saying that it is still being worked on in Congress.
At the time the infrastructure bill passed, much attention was focused on congressional Democrats also pursuing a roughly $2 trillion “Build Back Better” bill with health care, education, and climate programs through a special reconciliation process that bypassed the need for Republican support in the evenly-divided Senate.
That deal later fizzled due to objections from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who last week announced support for a slimmed-down $739 billion reconciliation deal on tax, climate, and health care provisions.