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GOP congresswoman touts $650,000 in federal funding — even though she voted against the bill that provided it

Bryan Metzger   

GOP congresswoman touts $650,000 in federal funding — even though she voted against the bill that provided it
  • Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar is celebrating $650,000 in federal funding for a program in her district.
  • She even posed with a giant check — even though she voted against the bill providing that funding.

On Monday, Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar held an event in her Miami-era district touting a new program to help small businesses get off the ground.

Posing beside an oversized $650,000 check, the Florida congresswoman said in a post on X that the new program, in conjunction with Florida International University, would create "hundreds of jobs" and "help dozens of businesses grow" in the district.

Yet Elvira Salazar voted against the bill that provided that funding.

That bill was the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, an "omnibus" spending bill that passed at the end of last year, when Democrats still controlled both the House and the Senate.

Conservatives howled in anger at the scope of the spending of the omnibus, with then-incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy vowing to block any bills sponsored by Republican senators who voted for the bill. Just 9 House Republicans ultimately voted for the omnibus.

Most lawmakers didn't even show up in person for the vote — which took place just days before Christmas — choosing to vote by proxy. Elvira Salazar was among the 226 lawmakers who did so, having fellow Florida Republican Rep. Neal Dunn cast a "no" vote on her behalf.

In a statement to Business Insider, Salazar explained that she supported that particular aspect of the bill, which she was able to secure as part of a relatively bipartisan government funding process, even as she opposed the overall bill.

"I can celebrate this victory because I fought for it and put my name on this Community Funding project," Salazar said in a statement to Business Insider. "I voted against the Omnibus because Congressional Democrats, who had full control of Congress at the time, decided to advance reckless spending for an already bloated federal government."

Salazar, who represents a fairly competitive district, has done similar things in the past.

That includes touting funding for a local airport that came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and funding for climate resiliency efforts from the CHIPS and Science Act — even though she voted against both bills.

But it's also part of a broader trend of Republicans promoting or celebrating aspects of legislation that they voted against — sometimes described by critics as "vote no, take the dough."

In June, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama celebrated $1.4 billion in broadband funding for his state that came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — which he voted against.

"Coach voted against the infrastructure bill because it wasted Alabamians' tax dollars. It spent too much to get too little in return for Alabama," a Tuberville spokesman told Business Insider at the time. "But now that it is [the] law of the land, the people of Alabama deserve their fair share. Coach is proud to advocate for this funding to go to Alabama."

And in August, Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona encouraged his constituents to sign up to receive benefits from a veterans' health bill that he voted against not once, but twice.