GOP lawmaker takes credit for infrastructure funding after voting against it

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Republicans have begun to take credit for things in the infrastructure bill they didn't vote for.

Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) on Monday night touted "critical funding" that President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill provided for a highway in his district — even though he voted against the funding.

Palmer bragged about $369 million his district will receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the $1.2 billion infrastructure bill Biden signed into law on Monday.

Palmer wants credit for funding the bill provides for the Birmingham Northern Beltline, described on its official website as "a 52-mile, six lane corridor," which is under construction in his district.

"Funding the Northern Beltline has consistently been one of my top priorities," Palmer said in a statement Monday night, after Biden signed the bill. "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."

But Palmer did not vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which, aside from providing funding for highway projects such as the Birmingham Northern Beltline, also includes funding to improve aging bridges and roads, expand public transportation, and replace water pipes contaminated by lead.

When the bill passed on Nov. 6, Palmer tweeted, "The Democrats' recklessly expensive infrastructure bill finally passed tonight after weeks of disarray among their caucus."

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has caused an uproar within the House GOP.

While nearly every House Republican voted against the bill, 13 GOP lawmakers voted for it, and that's angered a group of right-wing House Republicans who want to punish the 13 by stripping them of their committee assignments.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) had been saying since long before the vote on the bill that she would help fund primary challenges against any Republicans who voted in favor of it. Afterward, she made public the phone numbers of Republicans who had voted in favor and defended the move as they started to receive threats: "The calls will continue and primaries will ensue. Republicans in the House and the Senate need to learn a lesson."

Those among the 13 who say they have received threats include Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who shared on CNN a voicemail he'd received that said, "I hope you f—king die, I hope your family f—king dies, I hope everyone in your f—king staff dies."

Politico reported that one of the 13 lawmakers who voted for the bill was getting so many angry calls that they redirected them to Greene's office.

Former President Donald Trump has also vowed to endorse primary challengers against them. On Nov. 15, he endorsed John Gibbs, a challenger to Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) with a history of making offensive comments against Muslims, LGBTQ people, and others and promoting QAnon and other conspiracy theories.

Palmer's bragging about obtaining funding provided in a bill he voted against is not unprecedented.

Republicans have also bragged about funding included in the COVID-19 relief package enacted in March that they tried to block.

And on Nov. 8, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he couldn't guarantee that GOP lawmakers who voted against the infrastructure bill wouldn't tout the good provisions within it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.