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Ryan asked for federal help as he championed cuts

By Jack Gillum

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:37 a.m. HST, Oct 12, 2012


WASHINGTON »  Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is a fiscal conservative, champion of small government and critic of federal handouts. But as a congressman in Wisconsin, Ryan lobbied for tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his constituents for the kinds of largess he's now campaigning against, according to an Associated Press review of 8,900 pages of correspondence between Ryan's office and more than 70 executive branch agencies.

For 12 years in the House, Ryan wrote to federal agencies supporting expansion of food stamps in his Wisconsin district. He supported city officials and everyday constituents who sought stimulus grants, federally guaranteed business loans, grants to invest in green technology and money under the health care law he opposes.

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» Paul Ryan's letters to executive agencies

On the campaign trail, Ryan has called those kinds of handouts big-government overreaching. He tells crowds he supports smaller government and rails against what he calls President Barack Obama's wasteful spending, including the president's $800 billion stimulus program. Ryan renewed his criticism about stimulus spending in Thursday night's vice presidential debate.

"Was it a good idea to spend taxpayer dollars on electric cars in Finland or on windmills in China?" Ryan said. "Was it a good idea to borrow all this money from countries like China and spend it on all these various different interest groups?"

Yet the AP's review of Ryan's congressional correspondence showed that he sought stimulus funding on behalf of residents and at one point told federal regulators that cutting a stimulus grant in his district at the 11th hour would be "economically devastating."

Vice President Joe Biden cited during the debate Ryan's letters seeking stimulus money: "I love that. This was such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying, writes the Department of Energy a letter saying, 'The reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs.' His words. And now he's sitting here looking at me," Biden said.

Much of Ryan's correspondence is similar to other lawmakers performing constituent duties, describing problems that residents have reported. They include requests such as assisting a family missing airline baggage and helping a man who didn't receive a pancake maker he had ordered.

But in other correspondence, Ryan explicitly supports programs and encourages federal agencies to take actions. He supported in his congressional letters some Wisconsin farms' share of an $11.8 million loan guarantee but later criticized other loan guarantees, such as the $535 million loan that went to now-defunct solar panel maker Solyndra. He asked transportation officials for a grant for green technology and alternative fuels, although his proposed budget as House budget chairman called loans for electric car development "corporate welfare."

He's also supported federal money to help a Kenosha, Wis., community center cover health care costs of low-income families under Obama's health care reform law —  the very program he and Romney say they will repeal if they win the White House.

Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said AP's findings represented a member of Congress helping people in his district. "Part of being a congressman is vouching for constituents and helping them navigate the federal bureaucracy when asked," he said.

Among the ways Ryan went to bat for his constituents, as detailed in his correspondence:

— A Kenosha community center's grant proposal under the Food Stamps Access Research program, to educate families about the nutritional benefits of food stamps. Ryan said in a 2002 letter the program would increase the enrollment of eligible individuals in the program by providing laptop computers to pre-screen applicants. Ryan's budget proposed cutting food stamps by $134 billion over 10 years, although his spokesman said he "has always made clear we need a strong safety net."

— Letters offering support or forwarding requests for projects funded by stimulus money. Ryan's May 2009 letter to a regional Environmental Protection Agency office asked for its "full consideration" in awarding grant money to an organization under the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program, which reduces diesel emissions.

Ryan also wrote to the EPA in 2009 on behalf of a small town trying to secure $550,000 in stimulus money for utility repairs. Ryan, whose staff requested meetings with the EPA about the matter, said the rescinding of the grant "would be economically devastating" to Sharon, Wis., since it already began spending the money. The EPA said project costs were incurred before October 2008, making the project ineligible for stimulus cash. Ryan has also voiced support for millions in EPA grant money to clean up abandoned building sites in Wisconsin towns.

— A 2002 Agriculture Department loan guarantee to develop a pork-packing and processing plant for farms in the region, including some in his district. The new factory appeared to be "state of the art" and worthy of funding, he said, adding: "It is my hope that the USDA will reach a favorable decision" on the application for a 60 percent federal loan guarantee toward a $19.7 million loan.

— A Kenosha health center's request to use money under Obama's new health care law to help meet health care needs of "thousands of new patients" who lack coverage. Ryan's December 2010 letter to the Health and Human Services Department, first reported by the Nation magazine and also obtained by the AP, appears at odds with his pledge to repeal "Obamacare."

— Support for a grant for the Historical Society in Milton, Wis., from the National Park Service for $271,000 in order to preserve a Civil War-era home. Ryan supported the plan in 2002, saying historical artifacts inside the former transfer point for slaves "have aged to a point where aggressive preservation and restoration is needed to save them." Meanwhile, he's supported recent cuts to the federal budget that would invariably affect national parks.

The AP obtained requested documents from nearly every executive branch agency, although many have been slow to provide any relevant files. Some Obama administration agencies declined AP's request to quickly turn over materials even though they involve an election that's just weeks away.







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Graham wrote:
Didn't Obama do the same when he lobbied for and obtained several millions to be given to the hospital his wife worked at???
on October 12,2012 | 10:00AM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
No, the hospital got no such funds from Congress. From FactCheck: "Second, the column implies that her "networking" was what caused her then-senator husband to request a "$1 million earmark for the UC Medical Center" back in 2006. But that’s unsubstantiated also. He did request the funds for the "construction of a new hospital pavilion" at the University of Chicago, but both Obama and hospital officials denied that the request was influenced by his wife’s position. And during the campaign, Obama’s aides were quick to point out that the request was one of many projects that the former senator made in 2005 and 2006 that were killed by Congress."
on October 12,2012 | 10:31AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Hey, you help your friends and crush your enemies?
on October 12,2012 | 10:05AM
busterb wrote:
Why is this news? It's been out there since he was nominated for VP. He also wants to cut SS out for future generations even though it provided for him to go to college. Funny though, as recently as a couple months ago, he totally denied asking for any stimulus funds... He's pulling a Romney! http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/08/16/paul-ryans-stimulus-problem/
on October 12,2012 | 10:27AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
SS provided for him to go to college? That doesn't make sense-- you get SS when you are in retirement years, not in your 20's.
on October 12,2012 | 10:38AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
There are many other situations where Social Security benefits kick in. Mr. Ryan didn't send the ones he received back: http://www.alternet.org/hot-news-views/paul-ryan-social-security-teenager

Nor am I saying he should have.


on October 12,2012 | 10:49AM
ahi1pfb wrote:
his father contributed to social security through working a job unlike those who did not and have not contributed to the system yet are now eligible for benefits because the dems felt people who didn't contribute shouldn't be excluded. By the way social security was set up to be self sufficient and would be today if the dems didn't raid it every now and then to pay for other bull $#! handouts.
on October 12,2012 | 11:00AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
I think record shows Repubs have done the same thing---like from 2001 to 2007 when the Republican Congress and President paid for two wars "off budget" by borrowing money from the Social Security Trust Fund and China.
on October 12,2012 | 11:37AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Sorry, you're wrong. Up until the 1980's, when Social Security was reformed with bi-partisan support, the child of someone who was deceased reveived Social Security benefits until they were age 22, if a full time student at college. Now, the child receives benefoits until age 18, or until he/she finishes HS if a full-time HS student. My wife is a HS counselor and has to provide this certification for the Social Security Administration.
on October 12,2012 | 11:34AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
I stand corrected then.
on October 12,2012 | 11:52AM
Hanalei13 wrote:
I like your civility Hapa_Haole_Boy. You had a point, someone refuted it, and you acknowledged it. We need more discussion like that! Where we can get down to the facts and admit when we're wrong. Because no one is right 100% of the time! Aloha spirit on Aloha Friday!
on October 12,2012 | 02:22PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Absolutely agree!
on October 12,2012 | 03:39PM
Hanalei13 wrote:
Oops. Just read your other posts. I stand corrected to my original post.
on October 12,2012 | 02:24PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Hanalei! I acknowledge when I'm wrong-- but I do not believe I am below! Look at my point and supporting analogies, they make sense, do they not? I even went so far as to point out that my point is irregardless of party. It's truth I'm after too, no doubt, because in the end that's what matters.
on October 12,2012 | 02:58PM
ufried wrote:
GOOD OLD AP/SA... IT MUST BE HARD TO KEEP TRYING TO RUN COVER FOR THIS ADMIN!!! IF THATS ALL YOU TOOK OF THE DEBATE, I MUST OF BEEN WATCHING SOMETHING ELSE. IM SURE RYAN ASKING FOR FED MONEY IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY LIBYAN COVER UP. WHAT A DISGRACE SA!!
on October 12,2012 | 10:37AM
Radley wrote:
Apparently you missed "Romney, White House spar over Libya attacks" that was posted five minutes after this article was. Have a great weekend!
on October 12,2012 | 01:47PM
Hanalei13 wrote:
Is your CAPS LOCK button jammed? Or were you just really, really trying to make your point?
on October 12,2012 | 02:23PM
ellinaskyrt wrote:
"Must have," not "must of." "Must've" (contraction of "must have") is technically correct but so awkward it's barely ever used...except in situations where one is correcting another for saying "must of." =D Oh, and "I'm" not "IM," which is what you do when you're in MSN Messenger or Google Talk.
on October 12,2012 | 03:50PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
This is a plain attempt by the left-leaning, liberal media to tarnish a republican/conservative. So what that he did this. Any politician on average will have SOME PORTION OF HIS CONSTITUENCY that is at odds with his own position, yet as a professional, that politician would (should) nonetheless ADVOCATE FOR and represent such adverse constituents. I break my arm playing baseball, and my doctor thinks baseball should never be considered a sport, so he's supposed to NOT perform medical care on me? Get real.
on October 12,2012 | 10:42AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
It's sad that you can't see the hypocrisy in Mr. Ryan's position. Change up a couple of words in your scenario and see how it resonates in a different way for "conservatives": I get pregnant from a rape and my doctor thinks abortion should never be considered a viable option (just as Mr. Ryan does), so she's supposed to NOT perform medical care on me? Get real.
on October 12,2012 | 10:53AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Presumably someone needing an abortion would go to a doctor she knows is willing to perform one, negating your argument. Granted, an abortion may be needed in an emergency to save the woman's life, but that doesn't seem to be your point. The underlying point I make is that all politicians, regardless of party affiliation, are in a position to have to represent constituents that have adverse positions to their own, but that doesn't make the politician's stance on issues any less meaningful. I'm sure there are similar positions that Biden/Obama have taken, should the (liberal) media look to point them out too.
on October 12,2012 | 11:28AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Another way of putting it is: a parent tells his child, don't run carrying scissors, or you may fall and hurt yourself. The kid doesn't listen and ends up falling and cutting his knee with the scissors. Is the parent not supposed to care for the child? Of course not. The parent will care for the child's cut. But it DOESN'T MEAN THE PARENT'S MESSAGE-- DO NOT RUN CARRYING SCISSORS-- MEANS ANY LESS.
on October 12,2012 | 11:41AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
I guess hypocrisy is ok with you if you happen to agree with the candidate. It would be amusing if it wasn't so sad.
on October 12,2012 | 12:11PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Don't put words in my mouth. This has nothing to do with hypocrisy. And if you want to talk about hypocrisy, how's that Audacity of Hope working for you? How's that Change that Obama promised everyone working for you? If Ryan was hypocritical here, then Obama was far more than hypocritical. Just go off to your Obama rally, go continue to believe that he's the answer to our nation's troubles, when four years after he took office and we are barely recovering from the recession, when all other recessions save the Great Depression have resulted in significant bounce-backs. Keep telling yourself that..... http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444812704577609863412900388.html
on October 12,2012 | 12:41PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Your false equivalencies still don't address Mr. Ryan's hypocrisy. And yes, it IS hypocritical to rail against the program and concept in public and then do exactly what you are complaining about and dip your beak quietly in the public trough
on October 12,2012 | 01:41PM
Hanalei13 wrote:
We are coming out of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. It took FDR 4 (FOUR) terms and a WORLD WAR to get us out. It's been 3 and 1/2 years since the President took office. Given that the Republicans have done nothing but oppose him, he's done a pretty remarkable job!
on October 12,2012 | 02:27PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Don't put words in my mouth. This has nothing to do with hypocrisy. And if you want to talk about hypocrisy, how's that Audacity of Hope working for you? How's that Change that Obama promised everyone working for you? If Ryan was hypocritical here, then Obama was far more than hypocritical. Just go off to your Obama rally, go continue to believe that he's the answer to our nation's troubles, when four years after he took office and we are barely recovering from the recession, when all other recessions save the Great Depression have resulted in significant bounce-backs. Keep telling yourself that..... http:// online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444812704577609863412900388.html
on October 12,2012 | 12:42PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Another way of putting it is: a parent tells his child, don't run carrying scissors, or you may fall and hurt yourself. The kid doesn't listen and ends up falling and cutting his knee with the scissors. Is the parent not supposed to care for the child? Of course not. The parent will care for the child's cut. But it DOESN'T MEAN THE PARENT'S MESSAGE-- DO NOT RUN CARRYING SCISSORS-- MEANS ANY LESS.
on October 12,2012 | 11:41AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
So any politican who's a "man of principles", as Ryan says he is, should put those principles aside just to please his constituents so he'll be re-elected. Sounds just like Romney, too. Is the Romney running for President in 2012 the same Romney who ran for Governoe of Massachusetts on a totally different platform than what he's advocating now?
on October 12,2012 | 11:41AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Ridiculous
on October 12,2012 | 06:07PM
ROBT wrote:
The problem here is credibility and integrity. It's like telling your children that smoking and drinking and chastising someone elses parents for doing it. Then going home and doing the same thing in front of your children! If you love the republican party this will not change your vote!!! They know the rich cook the books... but they do not want to think that they are better than everyone else! Sort of a class above those democrats, what they forget is that these democrats are fighting for the programs that they need and use!!! Tax Dividends at the same rate as all other incomes, as well as taxing investments in foreign countries as well! That is the real way you can start to fix the economic stratification of wealth. WOW you take away a loop hole and the rich guy will still pay less than 20% until you make all income taxed the same you will always loose this fight.
on October 12,2012 | 12:42PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Read my comment below. Your analogy has no credibility.
on October 12,2012 | 04:42PM
hawaiikone wrote:
So the libs seem to think once they start throwing stimulus around a republican representative who believes in fiscal responsibility should reject any of the funds on principle, even though his constituents payed the taxes used for the giveaway. Uncle Dan would love that. More pork for him on the other guy's dime. Stretching a little aren't we?
on October 12,2012 | 03:27PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Didn't have to stretch at all to see the obvious hypocrisy of a man who says the stimulus did nothing for jobs while advocating for the funds to create jobs. Rep. Ryan got caught and it's quite funny to watch you "cons"(sounds just as dumb as "libs" doesn't it?) defend him.
on October 12,2012 | 10:42PM
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