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Another stellar example of unity, Joe.
After President Joe Biden pulled out a list and publically mocked several congressional Republicans, accusing them of having no shame, one of them countered by unveiling receipts that suggest that the president may be the one lacking in shame — or just competence.
While delivering a speech at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland on Thursday, the president claimed to be in possession of a list of several congressional Republicans who’d voted against his coronavirus relief bill earlier this year but have allegedly been bragging about its supposed benefits in their respective states nonetheless.
“Even my Republican friends in Congress, not a single one of them voted for the rescue plan. I’m not going to embarrass any one of them, but I have here a list of how back in their districts, they’re bragging about the rescue plan,” he said.
“They touted the restaurant revitalization fund. They touted the fact that we’re in a situation where they’re dealing with touted grants to community healthcare centers. I mean, some people have no shame,” he added.
While he didn’t list the Republicans verbally, their names could easily be seen in a close-up photo shared by so-called “journalist” Doug Mills of The New York Times.
Seen in the photo were the names of Sen. Roger Wicker and Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Elise Stefanik, Beth Van Duyne, Greg Pence, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Troy Balderson, Anthony Gonzalez, Madison Cawthorn, Alex Mooney, Lee Zeldin and Andrew Garbarino. Biden’s fingers covered up the last name.
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) May 27, 2021
At least one of the Republicans has disputed the president’s claim.
“President Biden is entirely, 100% dishonest with this 4 Pinocchio, hyper-partisan unpresidential BS. He clearly didn’t do his homework here, vet his reference to me beforehand, or care to do any self-reflection or integrity check. Weak, divisive, and feckless play call,” Zeldin claimed in a tweet posted Thursday evening.
President Biden is entirely, 100% dishonest with this 4 Pinocchio, hyper-partisan unpresidential BS. He clearly didn’t do his homework here, vet his reference to me beforehand, or care to do any self-reflection or integrity check. Weak, divisive, and feckless play call. https://t.co/q0CI8T8WaB
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) May 27, 2021
It appears the idea that Zeldin has been bragging about the benefits of Biden’s bill originated with the New York Post, which ran a piece last month accusing him of celebrating after service cuts were reversed because of the bill.
“Long Island GOP Reps. Lee Zeldin and Andrew Garbarino took a victory lap after the MTA and Long Island Railroad announced they would reverse service cuts, despite the lawmakers voting against the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that made the service restoration possible,” the Post claimed.
“Garbarino and Zeldin ‘urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to reverse course on their recent service cuts, which have led to reports of infrequent, overcrowded trains. Following their urging, the MTA announced it would restore previously cut service,’ the pair crowed in a March 9 joint press release,” according to the Post.
Zeldin responded in a tweet at the time by sharing a screenshot of a telling email he’d received from the MTA two months earlier thanking him for voting for the coronavirus relief bill signed last year by Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
In the email, MTA officials said “thank you” to Zeldin and his peers specifically for the “$8 billion in emergency funding last year” and wrote that because of the funding, “the MTA will avoid the ‘worst case’ service reductions that had been eliminated in 2021, but had been discussed as a possibility for 2022.”
Wow. Sad to see @LevineJonathan obediently be Pelosi’s stooge using a great paper like @NYPost to lie to readers. He knew the MTA announced in Feb service cuts would be avoided as a result of $8B in CARES ACT $$$ Congress passed LAST YEAR (I voted YES). https://t.co/2mz1zk1pKG pic.twitter.com/T91KDBfl1x
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) April 3, 2021
In a follow-up tweet Thursday, Zeldin re-upped the screenshot.
The MTA had previously announced in February that service cuts would be avoided as a result of $8 billion in CARES ACT funding Congress passed LAST YEAR (I voted YES). pic.twitter.com/5IwpMBaIWx
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) May 27, 2021
That being said, the MTA’s rhetoric has been all over the place. After Biden signed his coronavirus relief bill in March, MTA chairman Pat Foye said in a radio interview that, thanks to the bill, the agency would be able to avoid “drastic cuts.”
“We will avoid drastic service cuts on subways, buses, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road as a result of this federal funding in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and we also will avoid layoffs and furloughs of thousands of our colleagues. It’s great news for MTA customers and employees,” he said, according to an MTA transcript.
It seems therefore that the agency has been saying different things to different people. On one hand, it told Zeldin that the $8 billion in funding from Trump was responsible for staving off cuts. But on the other hand, it told the media that the funding from Biden was responsible for staving off cuts. So which is it?
Garbarino has claimed it’s the former.
“The service cuts were restored after I spoke with LIRR President Phil Eng and MTA Chairman Patrick Foye and before the House passed the final version of the American Rescue Plan,” he said to the Post last month.
But, at least he’s keeping his unity promise, right?
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