Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is getting backlash online after celebrating his state receiving $1.4 billion in federal funding for expanded internet access. Why? It turns out the senator voted against the bill that is now providing that money.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Tuberville applauded the “crucial funds” and the effort to bring broadband internet to the state’s rural areas.
“Broadband is vital for the success of our rural communities and for our entire economy,” he said. “Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts.”
But the funds were only made possible due to the 2021 passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which established an initiative known as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
Notably, Tuberville argued at the time that he opposed the bill over “giveaways to big cities and pet projects that have little to do with real infrastructure.”
The Biden administration announced this week that $42 billion in funding for broadband would be allocated to states across the country.
Tuberville’s tweet, however, was seen as hypocritical by many, including Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), who highlighted the senator’s opposition to the bill on Tuesday.
Others weighed in as well, criticizing Tuberville for his apparent reversal on the bill’s importance.
Yet as noted by Business Insider, Tuberville spokesman Steven Stafford claims that the senator, who he refers to as “Coach,” has in no way been hypocritical.
“Coach voted against the infrastructure bill because it wasted Alabamians’ tax dollars. It spent too much to get too little in return for Alabama,” Stafford said. “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.”
A handful of users on Twitter likewise sided with the senator by noting that legislation is often loaded with countless unrelated items.
“Ok, I’ll go against the grain and defend lawmakers (of both parties) in these circumstances,” user Brian Riedl wrote. “Congress doesn’t vote on line items anymore. It votes on massive Christmas tree bills with 1000s of diverse provisions. So lawmakers have to weigh countless items they love vs. hate.”
Despite the attempts to smooth things over, Tuberville’s tweet continues to be bombarded with complaints.