Ron DeSantis touts state initiatives made possible by the American Rescue Plan he opposed


DeSantis previously claimed the Biden-backed bill, which allocated billions to Florida, was ‘Washington at its worst.’

In a press release issued on Oct. 28, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his administration's allocation of infrastructure grant funding in the state — while omitting the fact that it was made possible by Democratic members of Congress and President Joe Biden's administration.

The grants are the latest spending commitments in Florida that are a result of federal spending DeSantis opposed.

This time around, DeSantis announced an award of $1.3 million for the city of Marathon to make improvements to road and highway infrastructure. "This investment in Marathon will improve infrastructure, create jobs, and drive the state's economy forward," he stated.

The release did not mention the American Rescue Plan, federal legislation that Biden signed into law in March 2021 that has provided much-needed economic assistance to the states. In total, it has allocated $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments across the country.

The funds allocated to Marathon came directly from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's Job Growth Grant Fund, described as an "economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state." Grants are awarded at the governor's discretion.

The fund received $50 million under the American Rescue Plan, which no Republican members of the House or Senate supported. The state received $8.8 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds which the Treasury Department says are intended "to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency."

DeSantis previously blasted the American Rescue Act, calling it "Washington at its worst" in March 2021.

The Job Growth Grant Fund has fed several other projects that have contributed to economic development in Florida over the last year. In August, DeSantis announced a $2.7 million grant to the city of Fort Pierce for the reconstruction of outdated utility infrastructure.

At the time, the website Florida Politics reported that Travis Reuther, a spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party, had said in a statement: "It's disappointing but not surprising to see Governor DeSantis hold a press conference taking credit for infrastructure funding passed by President Biden and Democrats. After all, this isn't the first time DeSantis has tried to take credit for Democrats' accomplishments."

In July, the fund awarded $4.2 million to the Lee County Port Authority for improvements to the access to an airport near Fort Myers. In May, $3.2 million in funding originating from the American Rescue Plan was allocated to Okaloosa County for infrastructure improvements to a commercial project that is expected to generate 11,000 new jobs.

Recovery fund resources were also distributed widely in the state in September, when the governor used $100 million to give $1,000 directly to 100,000 of the state's first responders. During a press conference with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, DeSantis took full credit for the size of the state's budget, suggesting its economy was strong because of his decision not to impose stay-at-home orders or other preventive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic

DeSantis falsely blamed Democrats for economic hardships, saying people were in need of the money "especially, you know, when you've had a bout of Bidenflation like we've seen over the last year and a half."

At a Democratic National Committee reception in Maryland in September, Biden criticized Republicans who opposed his spending bills while taking credit for their benefits. Discussing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that did pass with bipartisan support, Biden said: "We got a little help from Republicans – but not a lot – but enough to get it passed. But the truth is there are a lot more Republicans taking credit for that bill than who actually voted for it."

He added: "I love them, man. They ain't got no shame."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.