President Joe Biden on Thursday went to Cleveland to promote his jobs plan — and took a moment to make fun of Republicans who voted against his Covid-19 relief bill and have since promoted it to their constituents.
"My Republican friends in Congress — not a single one of them voted for the rescue plan. I'm not going to embarrass any one of them, but I have here a list about how back in their districts, they're bragging about the rescue plan," Biden said during his remarks at Cuyahoga Community College. "I mean, some people have no shame," he said with a laugh.
"But I'm happy they know that it benefited their constituents," he added.
Biden held up a copy of the list as he spoke, but did not read it aloud. It had 13 names on it that were visible, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R.-N.C., and Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., brother of former Vice President Mike Pence.
The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan became law in March after passing with no Republican votes. Some Republican lawmakers have since promoted specific programs of the law to their constituents, including its restaurant relief program and grants for community recreation centers, leading to accusations of hypocrisy from Democrats.
The top name on Biden's list, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., pushed back on those charges at the time. "One good provision in a $1.9 trillion bill doesn't mean I have to vote for the whole thing," he said.
The site of Biden's speech had special significance for the president: He was supposed to hold a campaign rally there in March of 2020 that wound up being canceled because of the pandemic.
"There would be no rally that night. A long, dark year was about to descend on all of us," he said. "Fourteen months later, we made it to campus," he added.
"Covid cases are down. Covid deaths are down. Unemployment filings are down. Hunger is down. Vaccinations are up. Jobs are up. Real growth is up. People getting health coverage is up. Small business confidence is up," Biden said. "America is coming back," and "we have a chance to seize the economic momentum."
The president urged Republican lawmakers not to "get in the way of what we need to do."
Biden's remarks came hours after Senate Republicans suggested they'd be willing to support $1 trillion in infrastructure spending in their latest counteroffer to his sweeping proposal to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems.
The GOP counterproposal came after the White House sent an updated plan to Republicans last Friday that lowered Biden’s original cost from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion.