February 16th, 2010
12:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Democrats knock McDonnell for taking stimulus cash

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/16/art.mcdonnell.file.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Bob McDonnell is the latest target of the DNC."]Washington (CNN) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is the latest target of national Democrats in their ongoing crusade against Republicans they accuse of stimulus hypocrisy.

McDonnell's office announced Monday that Virginia will receive a combined $24 million in federal funds over the next four years to develop health care information technology and implement electronic medical records. The funds come straight from a nearly $1 billion pot of health care money made available to states by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

McDonnell, a up-and-coming Republican who was sworn into office last month, thanked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for approving the money and said the cash is "critical" in helping Virginia upgrade its health care infrastructure.

"The federal funding awarded to Virginia will allow us to develop an information technology system that will safeguard our ability to track health records and provide our physicians with the technological tools they need to provide the highest quality service possible," McDonnell said in a statement.

But that high praise reeks of hypocrisy, according to the Democratic National Committee. During his campaign for the governorship last year, McDonnell said the stimulus bill would create crushing long-term debt. He also made an issue early in the race of opposing $125 million in unemployment benefits made available to Virginia by the Recovery Act.

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan, who has also blasted Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a possible 2012 GOP presidential contender, for lumping stimulus money into his new budget, said McDonnell's acceptance of the federal money is "part of a pattern of gross hypocrisy which has irrevocably tainted Republican credibility on the stimulus and spending. "

"The truth is, as independent observers have confirmed, the stimulus has provided millions of jobs for Americans and as Gov. McDonnell concedes made 'critical' investments in our communities. Unfortunately, Republicans would rather play dishonest political games than admit they opposed something that is helping our economy because Democrats supported it," Sevugan said in an e-mail.

McDonnell's office countered by pointing out that while the governor criticized elements of the stimulus package during his campaign, he also told the Washington Post last February that he would accept stimulus money because the money comes from Virginia taxpayers.

Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor, said the health IT grants accepted Monday were applied for by the previous governor, Democrat Tim Kaine.

"At least we know the DNC won't let little things like facts get in their way," Martin told CNN in an e-mail.

Over the past week, Democrats have criticized a raft of GOP officeholders after news reports revealed that several congressional Republicans who voted against the Recovery Act ultimately took credit for stimulus-funded projects in their districts. Among the more prominent Republicans who voted against the bill but sought stimulus cash: Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson.

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • DNC
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. josiah

    society, America and the world has progressed far enough that we don't even need this entirely outdated system of electing "representatives" to do the people's business – with technology today every citizen could vote via internet or even over cable TV for any proposition up for discussion in the government – that's the way to get people heard – come on America aren't you tired of this total joke of electing representatives – a handful – to represent hundreds of thousands or millions – what a slight of hand – right in front of our face and held together with hegemony (the perceived idea that all that is should be simply because it is and was and is presented as the only way) – Think Martin Luther and the Catholic Church – we don't need someone between us and our leader – we can speak for ourselves – directly to the one is charge – let's get some real change and think outside the box – sure I can hear all the cries that this would break the outdated and irrelevant Constitution – perhaps it's time for a new one

    February 16, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. win

    Headline should be "Democrats demand those that vote against our bills, constituents must pay for them but not get benefits."

    I can see why states would seceed from the United States.

    February 16, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Dave

    So McDonnell is a hypocritical Republican? How is this news? They’re all hypocrites…

    February 16, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "The federal funding awarded to Virginia will allow us to develop an information technology system that will safeguard our ability to track health records and provide our physicians with the technological tools they need to provide the highest quality service possible,"

    Is this the same sort of digitized information technology system that the health care reform bill was intended to help create and which the GOPers all claimed was an attempt to have "Big Brother" snooping about in your medical history? The hypocrisy isn't just what was noted in the healdine.

    February 16, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    All of your taxes are gonna be raised, real raised.

    So when 5+ years have passed, your state, and federal is gonna take in more than expected. I will feel sorry for left wing states, such as mine in Illinois and other well populated ones.

    Paying for a bill out of our pockets, that is sad on this Administration and the future ones as well. Is kind of like what Andrew jackson did when broke the Bank and future Administrations suffered dearly on the economics of it...and at least Andrew Jackson made us debt free.

    That is exactly what's gonna happen, I would bet you.

    February 16, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Russ in Benton AR

    But don't you know that it's different when the money is coming to his state.

    February 16, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. meatigerman

    The Republicans are a bunch of good for nothing morons whose main purpose is to destroy the common man. They think that doing nothing is a means to regain control in Washington and there are people out there who will vote for them based on their doing absolutely nothing to help this country.

    The Democrats have no balls and stand for nothing. Even controlling both houses of congress and the white house can't get anything done. Our system of government is broken people. There has to be a change and voting for the Republicans is not the answer unless you've forgotten the 8 years of George W Bush who was the worst President in history.

    February 16, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Wisconsonite - Vote for Consumer Protection Regulation of the Financial Industry

    "so basically, now that the stimulus is passed, thsoe that were against it shouldnt get any for their state or constituents? is that what the democrats are trying to say?"

    NO! What we, the democrats, are trying to say is if you're going to use the money to help your state . . . GREAT! That's what it's supposed to be used for . . . you remember??? Jobs . . . stimulate the economy???? But if you're using it, then stop with the HYPOCRACY and stop trying to score cheap political points with people who don't have the brains to realize that they

    February 16, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Publius13

    McDonnell has to balance his state's two-year budget. He pledged not to raise taxes. He has a $4+ billion deficit to deal with. He has already reneged on a large number of his spending promises, including his promise to solve Northern Virginia's chronic transportation problems. It does not surprise me that he would do an about-face on stimulus money. This is only going to get better!

    February 16, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    We are better...no we are better. I am the best...no he is the best. We are right...they are wrong.

    February 16, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    So does this mean McDonnell is "one and done" GOPers? You've already crucified Crist for supporting the Stimulus Plan (semi-pun intended, couldn't resist). I suppose since you're all so viagra'd up over McDonnell, you'll latch onto any lame-brained talking-point excuse vomitted up by your tribal leaders? Let the nincompoopery from the right continue....

    February 16, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. rob

    @ Mike in MN

    Amen, that's exactly right on the money.

    Lets hope there is some $ left from the Stimulus when the repubs take controll of Congress, maybe we can re-direct it to where it will actually do some good.

    Nov. van't come fast enough.

    February 16, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Anne

    I take offense to people comparing republicans with people who suffer from ADHD, my kid has ADHD and he's not a complete lying mental case

    February 16, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Didn't he give the rebuttal to Pres. Obama's State of the Union, and claim the stimulus was a waste of money?

    Tell him to cut taxes in Virginia and see how that works. they claim that will solve all of our problems.

    And Romney is just like him. No answer but tax cuts.

    February 16, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. T'SAH from Virginia

    McDonnell also CUT school funds by $3.4 Million for our county – that is already in a deficit of over $40 million and must lay off many teachers and workers – just so he can give MORE MONEY to the northern part of Virginia – I guess it's a campaign promise!!

    NOW, he's taken stimulus money for HEALTH REFORM – the same reform President Obama is trying to get pass in Washington but McDonnell's 'partners in crime' are preventing it???

    McDonnell SUCKS and it will all come out and SLAP the people who voted him in!!!

    February 16, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. joeblind

    Ha Ha whats done in the Dark shall come to Light!!! ROTFLMAO Hypocrite.....Hypocrite......HYPOCRITE...

    February 16, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Edwin


    If it is simply "...more Democratic chronic waste" then why would a staunch republican grab it up?

    You can disagree about the stimulus if you want. I can respect that. But don't say it is a disaster, then quietly wait in line for your check. That is true hypocrisy, and it is disgusting.

    I would say it is unamerican, but sadly it is very much the way American politics is run. Both sides, and the middle, too.

    February 16, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. mike indiana

    Eric Cantor has some explaining to do as well

    February 16, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Carl

    Just great...another round of finger-pointing. As if that ever helps anything. What a bunch of hypocrites on both sides of the aisle. Vote all of these corrupt idiots out this November!

    February 16, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Elle in WA

    AGAIN with the pointing of fingers from both sides. Doesn't anyone realize the finger pointing needs to stop and we just need to start working together??? Republican's (Bush Administration) wrote the stimulus bill; Democrats (Obama Administration) continued and passed the bill. End of story – a bipartisan effort to stimulate the economy and it seems to be working in the best way possible.

    Here's a new concept – how about the congress (BOTH parties) listens to its constituents instead of making snide remarks on how their own party is better than the other?? How about you guys and gals work TOGETHER, disregard your own political agenda, and do something for the people??

    Wishful thinking. Oh, by the way, I'm a democrat. But should it matter? No.

    February 16, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Jordan Quinn

    There is hypocrisy on both sides. This post just happens to be about the Republicans. We need a new type of leaderin our Congress... one that will research the policies under consideration, think critically and objectively, revise the policy and/or their view based on new information, and then vote independently. A representative may have a Republican or Democratic “perspective”, but they need to fully acknowledge and account for the views of the other side. That other side is their blind spot, and it can cause them to ignore or reject important information. IF politicians want to do what is best for the American people as a whole, and not just the people who agree with them, then we need politicians that understand balance.

    February 16, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Tom in Va

    He's already starting to show his true colors.

    I live in Va. He promised to make the re-districting of voting districts more objective. At his FIRST chance to do this EXACT thing he killed it. A bill in the Va Leg. was introduced. When he didn't support it as promised during his run for governor, the bill died.

    Typical GOPer...say whatever you need to to get elected. I'm so proud of out new Gov. (not)

    February 16, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Geez, never saw that coming. What's the over-under number on how many Republicans voted to start two wars, massively cut taxes, pass an unfunded, unneeded $700 billion prescription drug bill IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, hand out countless no-bid war contracts to countless cronies, run up more debt between 2000 and 2006 than 42 previous administrations had run up COMBINED, then were around long enough to cry FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY! after Obama took over with the economy in absolute tatters.

    February 16, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Mike in MN

    McDonnell is correct to have stated that the stumulus bill created mountains of curshing long-term debt. He is also not a hypocrite for supporting stimulus infrastructure spending. The infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill was something Republicans supported and wrote their own bill that spent even more on infrastructure. But the Democrats will never tell you that.
    What the Democrats will also never tell you is that Republicans opposed the Obama stimulus becasue it is full of hundrededs of billions of wasted debt crushing pork for special interest groups that helped get Democrats elected in 2008. This pork does not create jobs or stimulate the economy, just stimulates the Democrat voter base.
    And the Democrats will never tell you that the Republicans wrote a stimulus bill that spent more on infrastructure and economy stumulating tax cuts and according to the CBO scoring, cost half as much and would have created more jobs faster than Obama's pork filled stimulus. The Democrats will never tell you why the Republicans are opposed to the Obama stimulus or about the Republican stimulus bill that they killed.

    February 16, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Concerned

    I'm against the stimulus too... HOWEVER, if I have to flip the bill I might as well reap the benefits, right?

    February 16, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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