House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Republican leadership’s tether to the Tea Party, flutters the hearts of the government-bashing, budget-slicing faithful with his relentless attacks on runaway federal spending. To Cantor, an $8 billion high-speed rail connecting Las Vegas to Disneyland is wasteful “pork-barrel spending.” The Virginia Republican set up the “You Cut” Web site to demonstrate how easy it is to slash government programs. And he made the Department of Housing and Urban Development the poster child for waste when he disclosed that the agency was paying for housing for Ph.D.s.
But away from the cameras, Cantor sometimes pulls right up to the spending trough, including the very stimulus law he panned in public. Letters obtained by Newsweek show him pressing the Transportation Department to spend nearly $3 billion in stimulus money on a high-speed-rail project-not the one he derided in Nevada, but another in his home state. “Virginia … will demonstrate that this historic investment in rail will create jobs, reduce congestion, spur economic growth and improve our environment,” says a letter he signed with other Virginia members in October 2009, cribbing President Obama’s own argument for the stimulus.
Cantor signed several such letters, including an earlier one seeking rail funds a month after he went on national television attacking the Vegas project.
Boy, when he thinks no one’s listening, Cantor sounds … well, downright progressive on government investment in high-speed rail, doesn’t he?
But if that’s how he feels about jobs bills like President Obama’s American Jobs Act in private, why does he bash them in public? Why is he throwing up political roadblocks instead of trying to create more Virginia jobs? If you live in the 7th district, call Cantor’s DC office at (202) 225-2815 or his Culpeper office at (540) 825-8960 and let us know what they say in comments.