After Opposing The Stimulus, Rep. Cao Now Working To ‘Channel’ Recovery Act Funds To New Orleans

(Note: This post is cross-posted from ThinkProgress.org)

Despite voting against the Economic Recovery Act, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) is now working to bring Recovery Act money into his district. Last week, the Times-Picayune reported that Cao has been meeting with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to apply to “use stimulus money for additional streetcar expansions and road repairs.” Cao boasted that he is now working to “channel” the money that he opposed to his district:

“Whenever I meet with the mayor it goes extremely well,” Cao said. “Our focus has always been and is today about the recovery issues of the 2nd District. We are trying to look at federal monies that the state has and channeling more of that money to the district.”

Earlier this year, Cao indicated that he would vote for the Economic Recovery Act. “I will vote for it because the 2nd Congressional District needs a stimulus package,” Cao told local reporters at the time. Of course, Cao ultimately joined every single other House Republican in opposing the Recovery Act.

A review of FEC records reveals that the Republican leadership has rewarded Cao for his willingness to tow the party line:

— After voting against the Recovery Act on January 28, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner’s (R-OH) PAC gave Cao a check for $5,000 two days later. [FEC, accessed 8/3/09]

— Cao indicated that he was considering voting in favor of clean energy economy legislation Waxman-Markey. However when it came to the House floor for a vote on June 26, Cao voted against it. Four days later, Boehner handed Cao $2,000. [FEC, accessed 8/3/09]

The GOP’s arm-twisting of Cao has also included regular phone calls from Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). On the day of the stimulus vote, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the Republican deputy whip, “stood near Cao during the entire vote.”

The political game for Cao has become predictable: pretend to support progressive legislation, then vote with the right-wing against the bill. For the stimulus, the budget, and climate change legislation, Cao postured like a moderate, then bowed to pressure and voted as a conservative. At least with the stimulus, Cao’s work “channeling” the money for his district is an acknowledgment that he was wrong to vote against it.

Lee Fang
(Note: This post is cross-posted from ThinkProgress.org)

Note: The AAA-Fund welcomes a diversity of views and voices. In that spirit, the views expressed in this article are the author's own. Unless an article states that it was written by the AAA-Fund or its Board of Directors, it does not necessarily reflect the views of the AAA-Fund.


  1. Caroline says:

    He has been quite disappointing, although he is a Republican. I had hopes he would be more of a maverick given his district but you’re right in how he games the party line.

  2. Quan says:

    What would we expect from a politician, albeit a Republican? The bottom line is if his flipflopping actually benefits his constituency and the people who voted for him. The fact that he’s paid off by Boehner just shows us how shallow the support for Boehner is. Money can never buy you love, John. One more fact you pointed out, Lee, bears our attention. Cantor and McCarthy stood close to Cao just for a photo op so they can tell their own Asian constituency how much they are with them, for them, all about them. The commitment runs shallow both ways. The love even less. I bet we all look aliketo you gentlemen now, don’t we?

Tweets from https://twitter.com/AAAFund/lists/candidates
Tweets from https://twitter.com/AAAFund/lists/orgs


Our Facebook Page @AAAFund

Official statements.