Kathy Castor slams Mike Johnson, Vern Buchanan for cheering airport expansion after voting against funding
Kathy Castor, Mike Johnson.

Castor Johnson
'Bless their hearts, they have no shame.'

One Florida congresswoman balked at U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson touting the heavy infrastructure investments at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor called it “awkward” and “shameful” to cheer a project funded by a $1-trillion infrastructure package Johnson voted against. Castor, a Tampa Democrat, supported that bill.

The infrastructure package passed on a 228-206 vote in the House, with just 13 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the bill. Florida’s House delegation broke along party lines.

The massive spending package included some $15 billion dedicated to airports. Much of that has landed in Castor’s district, at Tampa International Airport, and some went to a neighboring district represented by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican.

But neither Johnson nor Buchanan supported the package when it passed in Congress in 2021.

“The infrastructure dollars have been a godsend,” Castor said. “It did take some Republican votes to pass. But no Florida Republicans supported the infrastructure law. There are too many Republicans who voted against the infrastructure law who are taking credit now for improvements to airports, ports, toxic cleanups.”

“Bless their hearts, they have no shame,” Castor added, punctuating her disdain.

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport specifically received $16 million in federal funding over three installments since becoming law. That’s a significant chunk of the $100 million expansion currently underway at the airport.

But at this point, Castor isn’t surprised.

“This is now a very awkward Republican tradition,” she said. “Sen. Rick Scott did it when he touted Everglades funding after he voted against it. These infrastructure investments are very popular with Floridians, who know they create jobs and are improving our lives.

“Speaker Johnson just joined the club of ‘vote no and take the dough.’”

She said Buchanan holds membership as well. “It’s awkward, it’s shameful and it’s par for the course,” she said.

She did stress a desire and need to work with Buchanan and Republican colleagues to resolve issues and advocate for Florida. But she said it’s a growing frustration to see Republicans vote down on any of President Joe Biden’s priorities and then advocate for the attached spending to come to their districts. She might feel different, she said, if colleagues voted for bills and then boasted to voters about the opportunities that come from working across the aisle.

But she said Republicans, since taking a majority in the House, have paralyzed budget negotiations.

“We need to be funding these infrastructure projects, medical research, Pell grants, but instead we have gone off on an extreme tangent, and as long as (House Republicans) are on an island by themselves, not in sync with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, there is a risk of another MAGA shutdown,” Castor said.

“The new Speaker needs to show some leadership to avoid that at all costs.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Richard Russell

    November 27, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Better to spend our tax dollars in the USA, rather than spread it around the world to enrich the Military Industrial complex.

    • rick whitaker

      November 29, 2023 at 8:17 am

      this is 2023, not 1923. protectionism and isolationism was real popular in 1923, look how that worked out.

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  • J. mc

    November 28, 2023 at 7:55 am

    Where does family of Castor’s come from . They should just go away. She wasn’t concerned about the damage from the riots a few years ago . She’s a Democratic stool pigeon like all the rest of them .

    • Penelope

      November 28, 2023 at 8:01 am

      Absolutely on the mark. She’s had a DEMONrat record for years.

  • Michael K

    November 29, 2023 at 8:09 am

    These hypocrites will vote against progress but take credit. Similarly, Florida stupidly refused to accept federal assistance for solar panels for economically disadvantaged people – or expand Medicaid for people who need health insurance (like 40 other states). But these same Republicans will bend over backward to give tax breaks and tax dollars to their uber-wealthy donors. No wonder they dislike people who are awake and aware of the grifting.

  • Kristi Lade

    November 29, 2023 at 8:26 am

    I get Castor is spreading this & it sounds good to those who parrot half-truths. However, pretending funding came solely from that bill is disingenuous. It also came from state & airport authority funds. It’s okay that they applaud the expansion without backing fed funds for it.

    • rick whitaker

      November 29, 2023 at 8:31 am

      are you saying it’s o.k. to be a two-faced hypocrite like the gop aholes that take credit for biden’s infrastructure projects they voted against?

    • Michael K

      November 29, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Not quite. Remember Trump kept promising “infrastructure week,” which of course, like his “Obamacare replacement” never actually happened. Federal dollars help leverage local dollars, not the other way around. The Biden infrastructure bill was in fact a bipartisan bill, and ironically, the poorest red states that need the help the most and are benefitting the most are led by Republicans who voted against it. (And BTW: Coal is not coming back as Trump also promised).

      When will people realize that the Republican party is against the best interest of everyone except uber-rich donors?

    • Tamika

      November 30, 2023 at 8:36 pm

      Huh? Without the federal funds their little tour could never have happened! So back expansion in theory (knowing state/local funds will never be sufficient to actually start or complete a project), while voting against the funds that are needed to bring the project to completion?? Is this that GOP-MAGA-Cult logic again?

Comments are closed.


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