Ryan Called Stimulus Wasteful, Then Sought Funds

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has been one of the harshest critics of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan. But months after Congress approved the nearly $800 billion package, the Wisconsin lawmaker was trying to steer money under the program to companies in his home state.

    Rep. Ryan wrote letters in 2009 to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis seeking stimulus grant money for two Wisconsin energy conservation companies. One of them, the nonprofit Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., later received $20.3 million from the Energy Department to help homes and businesses improve energy efficiency, according to federal records.

    In a letter to Chu in December 2009, Ryan said the stimulus money would help his state create thousands of new jobs, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That contrasted with his public statements denigrating the stimulus program as a "wasteful spending spree." It also conflicts with his larger federal budget proposal, which would slash Energy Department programs aimed at creating green jobs.

    Ryan's office says his budget plan "calls for getting Washington out of the business of picking winners and losers in the economy — and that includes our energy sector."

    Ryan's actions in Congress and as chairman of the House Budget Committee have been drawing fresh scrutiny since he was named last weekend as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate.

    A Ryan spokesman, Brendan Buck, noted the congressman's office's previous explanations that he was "providing a legitimate constituent service." The Wall Street Journal reported Ryan's efforts to secure stimulus money two years ago.

    "If Congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin entity applying for existing federal grant funds, he does not believe flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job," Ryan's office said then.

    Ryan also sent three letters to Chu in October 2009 seeking stimulus money for the Energy Center of Wisconsin, another nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency. The company later received $190,000 in stimulus money to conduct research on geothermal heating and $50,000 more to develop a training curriculum for students at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

    Ryan's letters to the Energy Department were first reported by the Boston Globe.

    "It's another example of how he talks out of both sides of his mouth," said Heather Taylor-Miesle, director of the NRDC Action Fund, the political arm of the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. "It goes to show that their energy policy always has been, and probably always will be, disingenuous."

    The vice presidential contender is not alone among Republicans who criticized the stimulus plan only to seek money later. Georgia's Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, for example, blasted the bill as a bloated government giveaway yet asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to steer $50 million in stimulus money to a constituent's bio-energy project.

    Ryan's views are also consistent with his running mate's long-held position that the stimulus was a flawed idea that did not create private sector jobs.

    "That stimulus didn't work," Romney said at an Ohio speech in June. "That stimulus didn't put more private-sector people to work."

    Yet, in Ryan's letter to the Labor Department in October 2009, he backed the Energy Center of Wisconsin's grant application for stimulus money "to develop an industry-driven training and placement agenda that intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs."

    The company did not win the Labor Department grant.

    Frank Greb, president of the Energy Center of Wisconsin, said the company sought help from the entire Wisconsin congressional delegation, a practice he described as routine. He said other lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — also sent letters in support of the grants.

    "I'm not surprised that any congressman would be supportive of entities within his district if he saw merits in the work and it was going to be beneficial to constituents," Greb said.

    Ryan's budget proposal would cut billions in Energy Department funding for the development of clean energy and eliminate loan programs that have helped support 60,000 jobs, according to Rep. Henry Waxman, top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Jack Gillum contributed to this report.
     

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    4 thoughts on “Ryan Called Stimulus Wasteful, Then Sought Funds

    1. President Obama not only represents Black people, he represents ALL PEOPLE. But Dukody1 WHY DON’T YOU do your homework first before you go running your mouth and listening to your co-workers who bring you misinformation and their opinions about our president that they get from Fox News. And because you don’t have enough sense to think for yourself you take their word as the gospel and then use Black America Web to wag your tongue and recite negative, ignorant foolishness about President Obama that you deem as an opinion.

    2. DUKODY1 1st of all its President Obama its clear you are from the left we black folk standup for each other as people like your group let to hold us down,with all the bad presidents we have had since Reagans crap its been all down hill ,,President Obama is working to bring a fair balance to all even haters like you..Take you S*** to CNN of Fox news Mr joyner didnt set this up for you to come spill your hate,,,,,A** H***GO TEAM Obama i

    3. So what if Paul Ryan voted against the Obama’s stimulus failure. He is a politician, just like Obama. He did his job to vote against it, then once it finaly passed by Congress, He looked out for his constituents back in Wisconsin like all the rest of the CROOKED politicians in Washington. The Washington that Corrupt Chicago smooth talking Obama was supposed to change. Black folks you have a lot more important topics to be talking about than who got what in DC. How about asking this question Black folks, Who in DC is representing Black Americans interest? What part of the stimulus money from Obama did you receive in your communities? When will Blacks be taken seriously when it comes to politics? WHO SPEAKS FOR BLACKS? I know who don’t… Obama. Make Your Vote Count… It’s About You This Time… No Hope. NoChange. No Kumbaya. It’s About Taking Care Of All Americans. Nothing is set in place for anything in the next 4 years for any kind of change with Obama. Obama has no plan. That is why Obama and old Joe is out desperately fighting for survival. But is back firing, the money is not there. Supporters from before don’t believe in Obama, so they are not giving the campaign any money. Black folks don’t get caught in the media frenzy, Ask yourselves, What has Obama done for me? What has he done for everyone else? What will I get in return for my VOTE? That’s the way politics in America works Black folks. One hand washes the other. What will you get out of it?

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