– Now Paul Ryan admits he DID ask for millions in Obama stimulus money – after TWICE denying it (Daily Mail, Aug 17, 2012):
- Ryan says his office asked the federal government for stimulus grant money after twice saying he did not ask for the funds
- Ryan wasn’t alone, as Republican lawmakers Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson also asked for stimulus funds after rejecting the plan
- Ryan and Romney both believe that the stimulus plan did little to create jobs in the private sector
Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, has admitted that he sought millions of dollars in federal government economic stimulus cash after twice denying he had done so.
The embarrassing reversal was the first major campaign trail mistake made by the Wisconsin congressman and came as a new poll showed that he had put his home state into play for Mitt Romney, who is now leading President Barack Obama there.
Ryan said that he had forgotten that his office had sent letters, which were signed by him, to the US Energy and Labour departments asking for money from the stimulus programme on behalf of two Wisconsin companies.
‘They should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that,’ Ryan said in a written statement released after an Ohio TV interview on Thursday in which he had once again denied requesting stimulus funds.
The denial in an interview with Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV contradicted letters he wrote in 2009 to Steven Chu , Energy Secretary, and Hilda Solis, Labour Secretary.
Federal records show that one of the two companies, the non-profit Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation, later raked in $20.3million from the Energy Department to help homes and businesses improve energy efficiency.
‘After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled,’ Ryan said in a statement late Thursday. ‘This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier.’According to the Boston Globe, Ryan also told Boston’s WBZ Radio two years ago that he ‘did not ask for stimulus money’ in response to a question about the recovery program.
New audio has surfaced of Ryan telling the station that he ‘did not ask for stimulus money’ in response to a caller’s question about the recovery program.
Ryan said: ‘I’m not one who votes for something and then writes to the government to ask them to send us money.’
The exchange was first reported Thursday by The Boston Globe.
But a year earlier in his request to Chu for funds for the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., Ryan said the stimulus cash would help his state create thousands of new jobs, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The apparent contradiction underscores Ryan’s conflicts with his larger federal budget proposal as the House Budget Committee chairman.
That plan would slash Energy Department programs aimed at creating green jobs and 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 have been drawing fresh scrutiny since he was named last weekend as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate.
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 then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates to steer $50million in stimulus money to a constituent’s bio-energy project.
Ryan’s views are also consistent with Romney’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, federal records show.Despite the letter, Ryan echoed Romney’s position on Thursday.
‘Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the president is asking to do it all over again,’ he said.