Senate Dems to hit Burr on stimulus check

National Democrats will take aim at Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) for what they say is hypocrisy over the federal stimulus measure passed in February.

Burr was on hand on Friday to present the Bethlehem, N.C., fire department with a grant for $2 million to build a new fire station. Burr called the grant a "great thing" for the area.

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"We're not accustomed to federal dollars in that magnitude finding their way to North Carolina," Burr said, according to a local newspaper.

The grant, according to the local fire chief, came through the Department of Homeland Security by way of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That money was allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion stimulus measure passed with just three Republican votes in the Senate in February.

Burr was not one of those three votes. In a statement on Burr's Senate website, published before the vote, Burr criticized the bill for spending "almost a trillion dollars of borrowed money on projects and programs that are unlikely to produce any real broad-based stimulus or create jobs that will still be here two years from now."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee and the North Carolina Democratic Party will all slam Burr for what they call his hypocrisy in associating himself with grant money he voted against.

Burr's office said the senator was happy to attend the event in order to applaud the department's receipt of the federal money, which had been requested by the county commission.

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"Sen. Burr was invited to the grant presentation by the Alexander County Commissioners and was happy to be there to recognize the community and the fire department for their work in securing this highly competitive grant," said David Ward, Burr's spokesman.

But charging Republicans with hypocrisy has become a tactic Democrats began using earlier this year, targeting Republicans who voted against the stimulus if they later claim credit — or in Burr's case just appear at an event — for projects that come from the bill.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has documented more than 60 cases in which Republican members of Congress have lauded grants from legislation they opposed. Targets have included House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), deputy whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and dozens of others.