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May 02, 2011 10:03 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 1, 2011

Hours before President Obama announced U.S. Special Forces had killed Osama bin Laden, more pedestrian and partisan news ruled the Sunday morning airwaves. On Fox, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) falsely blamed $4 trillion of debt on President Obama and then incorrectly claimed that failing to raise the debt ceiling wouldn't be a big deal. On ABC, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tried to defend his budget by claiming people don't like it because there is "misinformation" swirling around and not because it dismantles the social safety net. Elsewhere on Sunday, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) each claimed that the U.S. needs a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, an idea rejected by experts on both sides of the aisle. And on NBC, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dishonestly claimed that the Ryan Budget would increase funding to Medicare, while criticizing the Affordable Care Act for cutting Medicare, a claim which is also untrue.

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April 27, 2011 12:05 pm ET

Pawlenty Absolves Himself Of Blame For Minnesota's Deficit

During an April 25 interview on Fox News, GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty stumbled when host Greta Van Susteren pointed to the massive deficit he left behind in Minnesota. The former governor was quick to blame Democratic state legislators for the state's budget woes, while claiming, "Every budget during my time as governor was balanced." In fact, Pawlenty's temporary budgetary fixes relied heavily on federal stimulus money that didn't prevent him from leaving behind "one of the worst" deficits in the nation.

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April 25, 2011 5:41 pm ET

NRCC Now Just Wishing Progressive Debt-Reduction Plans Out Of Existence

The headline of the National Republican Congressional Committee's latest blog post reads, "Democrats Borrow The Future With No Plan For Debt Reduction." The post pretends that President Obama's speech proposing major debt reduction over the next decade never happened, and makes the strange argument that a White House effort to protect the U.S.'s credit rating from Standard & Poor's proves "Democrats have been in full out denial" about the debt. The NRCC apparently wasn't paying attention two weeks ago when the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a budget resolution titled "The People's Budget," a mirror image of the Republican scheme to undo the social safety net in order to finance a huge tax cut for the rich. That's just one of four debt-reduction plans offered by Democrats this month. Ironically, by showing more interest in name-calling than in engaging with the ideas Democrats actually put forward, the NRCC's researchers only further the fears that drove S&P to downgrade its expectations for U.S. debt in the first place.

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April 25, 2011 9:32 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 24, 2011

On Easter Sunday, two Republicans expressed the same dangerous, sweet-sounding idea about the debt limit. According to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), we needn't worry about raising the limit because the Treasury can still make interest payments without borrowing further. That may be music to voters' ears, but economists say that such a move would undermine the recovery and wipe out investor confidence in the U.S., causing the economy to spiral downward. Coburn went on to falsely claim that the president has not included entitlement reform in his debt-reduction plans. Elsewhere on Sunday, would-be 2012 candidate Rick Santorum (R-PA) told Fox that the GOP's Medicare plan is "identical" to the Affordable Care Act and wouldn't cost seniors anything extra, while Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AL) told CBS that the plan does not replace traditional Medicare with a voucher system. None of these claims is true.

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April 18, 2011 9:45 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 17, 2011

On Sunday morning, first-year Tea Party Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) almost managed to upstage her party's budget chairman by wrongly insisting on ABC that the GOP's "Path to Prosperity" budget is not a voucher program, works just like the insurance benefits for members of Congress, and would be sufficient to cover the cost of medical care for seniors. But Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) still offered the biggest whopper of the morning, claiming on CBS that the GOP budget doesn't cut taxes for the rich. None of these claims is true. The Republican plan slashes income taxes for the wealthy to Herbert Hoover levels while eliminating the capital gains tax. For the non-rich, the plan would end Medicare as we know it, leaving the typical 65-year-old with over $20,000 in annual medical costs by the year 2030. Meanwhile, freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) claimed President Obama hasn't helped grow the economy, which is demonstrably false, and Walsh joined Rep. Allen West (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) in calling for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would in fact cripple Congress' ability to control spending and address recessions.

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April 14, 2011 4:37 pm ET

The Republican Budget Hits Poor, Elderly, and Children Hardest

Last week Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the GOP's first 2012 budget plan, entitled "The Path to Prosperity," which proposes to cut over $4 trillion from the deficit by slashing discretionary spending and reforming entitlements. To do so, the plan would block grant Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps), turn Medicare into a voucher system, and eliminate the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions uninsured. The proposal would also disrupt American's ability to get housing assistance. The only budget document the new GOP House majority has produced thus far puts the onus of paying down the debt on those most in need: America's poor, children, and the elderly.

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April 11, 2011 10:13 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 10, 2011

With a government shutdown narrowly averted this weekend, the Sunday shows focused naturally on spending issues. On CBS, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made the absurd assertion that government spending caused the recession (and not rampant fraud on Wall Street), and falsely claimed that a balanced budget amendment would help our fiscal situation. On Fox, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) repeated a favorite GOP lie about entitlement programs — that they "are not gonna be there for me when I retire" unless voters allow conservatives to rip holes in the safety net. And on NBC, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) misled viewers about his budget proposal that would undo safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps while cutting taxes for the richest Americans and protecting special interest tax loopholes for Big Oil. Meanwhile on ABC, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) seemed to have forgotten that he voted in February to eliminate all Title X funding for family planning services.

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April 07, 2011 10:08 am ET

Rep. Ryan Misleads Fox News Viewers On His Budget Proposal

Fox & Friends interview is the political equivalent of home field advantage for Republicans, and Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) appearance yesterday morning demonstrated just how nurturing the Fox News environment is for right-wing misinformation. Ryan insisted his plan doesn't give tax breaks to the rich at the expense of middle-class working families (even though it does) and asserted — falsely — that his budget proposal will "repair the social safety net," protect Medicare and Medicaid, and pay down the debt. While the GOP's cable network of choice didn't challenge any of these assertions, Political Correction is happy to round up the evidence that Ryan is lying. It's presented below.

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April 05, 2011 2:15 pm ET

Paul Ryan's Budget Proposal Misleads On Private-Sector Employment

Today Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his 2012 budget proposal entitled "The Path To Prosperity: Restoring America's Promise." Inside the 73-page document Ryan states that private-sector job growth is "sluggish" compared to the "breakneck speeds" of public-sector growth. This is not true: the private sector has added jobs for 13 straight months while public sector-employment has shrunk steadily. Overall, the private sector has added 923,000 jobs since Obama policies began to reach the economy, while the public sector has shed 350,000 jobs.

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April 04, 2011 10:47 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - April 3, 2011

The Sunday political talk shows dedicated most of their time to Libya, but the ongoing budget struggle in D.C. grabbed some attention as well. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) appeared on Fox News Sunday to disseminate a standard GOP talking point blaming President Obama and exonerating President Bush for the nation's debt trouble. Ryan also did some laughable cheerleading for his health care plan, which he says is not a voucher system even though the CBO uses the word "voucher" a half-dozen times in describing how the plan would work. Meanwhile, on ABC, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) dissembled about the effects of a balanced budget amendment, and absurdly criticized Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for 'refusing to take up' a partisan House bill that the Senate already voted on.

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February 28, 2011 10:12 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - February 27, 2011

This week's Sunday political chatter was focused on two very, very different places: Wisconsin and Libya. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) defended his union-busting efforts on Meet the Press by arguing that union contract agreements in recent weeks prove public workers aren't being honest when they say they'll accept his pension and health insurance demands, but that's disingenuous; the agreements he referenced had been in the works long before his power grab. Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) joined Walker in suggesting that collective bargaining is to blame for state budget troubles, but the facts don't bear that out. Meanwhile on Fox News Sunday, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) asserted that public employees are overpaid (before absurdly claiming that the Bush tax cuts worked) and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) told ABC viewers that Walker is simply fulfilling a campaign promise.  None of these claims is true. On other topics, Mike Huckabee (R-AR) lied about the national debt on Fox News and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) falsely asserted that President Obama never showed support for Iranian protesters in the summer of 2009.

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February 14, 2011 9:54 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - February 13, 2011

With Valentine's Day looming, the Sunday shows provided a timely reminder of the GOP's love for false talking points. While Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrongly claimed that President Obama "refused to support" pro-democracy protestors in Iran in 2009, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) confined themselves to stale misinformation about the economy. On Fox, Ryan implied that government workers have benefited most from Democrats' economic policies, alleged that President Obama tried to raise taxes by $2 trillion last year, and claimed that the president has increased spending by 84 percent. Meanwhile on NBC, Speaker Boehner told viewers that Obama's policies "destroy jobs." No matter how many times Republican leaders say these things, the facts continue to demonstrate that they're just not true.

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February 07, 2011 1:08 pm ET

Rep. Hensarling's Reagan-Obama Op-Ed Relies On Sweeping Economic Misinformation

In a column in today's Politico, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) assails President Obama's economic record with a variety of stale Republican talking points. While Hensarling wraps his misinformation in the legacy of President Reagan, he'd do well to remember Reagan's admonition that we are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts. Whether Hensarling likes it or not, the fact is that President Bush's policies left the 2009 budget $1.2 trillion in the hole before Obama was sworn into office. Similarly, Hensarling said we are 'slipping further' into "record unemployment," but the data prove the jobs situation has been improving steadily for months. Neither do the facts support Hensarling's claims that the Affordable Care Act is bad for the budget picture and that Democrats increased federal spending by 84 percent since 2008.

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February 03, 2011 2:44 pm ET

Despite Criticism From Both Sides Of The Aisle, Republicans Propose Balanced Budget Amendment Again

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently announced that he is re-proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Hatch has previously tried unsuccessfully to enact this amendment, with his most successful attempt gaining 66 of the 67 necessary votes for the act to become law. However, despite its popularity with Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, a Balanced Budget Amendment has also been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike. A Balanced Budget Amendment would require a two-thirds majority to enact any new tax increases or raise the debt limit, transfer budgetary power from Congress to the judiciary, and be almost unenforceable, creating an unnecessary burden at its best and a potentially devastating hurdle to necessary spending at its worst.

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January 24, 2011 10:02 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - January 23, 2011

On the Sunday shows, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) showed why they hold leadership roles in the modern GOP: they are maestros of misinformation. Appearing on Fox News, McConnell dissembled about everything from corporate taxes to the Recovery Act. He even suggested that the private sector isn't growing right now (although 1.3 million new jobs in the past year make the claim laughable) and claimed that "nobody's talking about" voting against the debt ceiling, despite well over a dozen prominent Republicans who are on record opposing the debt vote. For his part, Cantor told NBC viewers that the entitlement program cuts in Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" are not "draconian," but the reality is that Ryan's plan would effectively dismantle the social safety net provided by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Later on Meet the Press, former Bush adviser Karen Hughes told a whopper about job losses during President Obama's tenure.

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January 19, 2011 12:25 pm ET

Debunking The Republican Claim That Health Care Reform Adds "$701 Billion" To The Debt

At the outset of the floor debate on the GOP's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) laid out the Republican case that Democrats bamboozled the CBO with "smoke and mirrors," and the reform package actually "has a $701 billion deficit." Ryan claimed the CBO score relies on 'double-counting' of savings to Medicare and some tax revenue, but that is provably false — and Ryan himself admitted last year that the CBO doesn't double-count. Ryan also revived the claim that "$115 billion in new appropriations" for the bill "wasn't counted." But that $115 billion is not "new" spending, it's not mandatory under the bill, and $86 billion of it was counted by the CBO. Finally, Ryan argued that "the doctor fix" adds another $208 billion to the debt, but the "doc fix" is only necessary because the GOP screwed up the formulas for Medicare reimbursement back in 1997. The "doc fix" is a separate legislative issue — and a separate budget item — from the Affordable Care Act.

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September 23, 2010 9:52 am ET

Myths & Falsehoods: The Tax Debate

With the tax cuts for the wealthy set to expire at the end of the year, the issue is once again a topic of debate among members of Congress, Washington think tanks, and the media.  Unfortunately, as with most issues in DC, the debate over taxes has been clouded and obscured by myths, falsehoods, half-truths, and downright lies.  Below, has compiled and refuted the most common falsehoods surrounding the tax debate.

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September 14, 2010 12:06 pm ET

Sen. McConnell Lies About Taxes on MSNBC

On September 14, 2010, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on MSNBC's Daily Rundown to mislead viewers about the current debate over extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  Despite polls that show nearly two thirds of Americans favor ending the tax cuts for the rich, McConnell claimed, "Americans think it's a bad idea to be raising taxes on anybody in the middle of a recession." Further, McConnell deceitfully downplayed the tax cuts' effect on the federal budget deficit.

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March 15, 2010 1:38 pm ET

Rep. Ryan Fills Health Care Op-Ed With Distortions

On March 15, 2010, Rep. Paul Ryan published a wildly misleading op-ed in the Washington Post.  In it, he uses false attacks to smear the Democratic plan to reform health care and lies about the would-be effects of two of his own proposals, the Patients' Choice Act and Roadmap for America's Future.

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March 02, 2010 11:10 am ET

Sen. Hatch Gets It Wrong On Reconciliation

On March 2, 2010, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) penned a misleading op-ed in the Washington Post repeating false Republican claims about the budget reconciliation process.  Contrary to his assertions, health care reform has already passed the Senate through a 60 vote majority.  Democrats are considering using reconciliation to fix budgetary and taxation issues contained in the underlying bill, which is the exact purpose for which the reconciliation process was created.

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February 15, 2010 10:06 am ET

Fact Checking the Sunday Shows - February 14, 2010

On yesterday's political talk shows, Sen. Lindsey Graham and fmr. Vice President Dick Cheney continued the barrage of rightwing falsehoods assaulting the Obama administration's national security policies.  Liz Cheney and Rep. Aaron Schock, respectively, relied on debunked conservative talking points to slander clean energy legislation and the Recovery Act.

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February 12, 2010 1:30 pm ET

Rep. Roy Blunt Smears Robin Carnahan With False Attacks On Recovery Act

In Missouri, 7th district Congressman Roy Blunt is in a heated race with Secretary of State Robin Carnahan for the state's open U.S. Senate seat.  On February 11, 2010, the 7th District Congressional Republican Committee released an ad smearing Carnahan for supporting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that "failed to create jobs." In reality, the Recovery Act has created up to 2.4 million American jobs, saved 105,000 Missourians from poverty, and provided $638 million for Missouri's dilapidated roads and highways.

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February 12, 2010 11:36 am ET

Rep. Ryan's "Roadmap" Mixes & Matches The Worst Policies Of Bush And McCain

On January 27, 2010, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, released a "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal.  Despite Ryan's efforts to frame the plan as fresh and new, a quick glance shows his ideas are simply mixed and matched from the worst policies of President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain.

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February 04, 2010 3:34 pm ET

Sen. Gregg Forgets His Past With Reconciliation

In a February 4, 2010 "ideas piece" in Politico, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-UT) once again feigned disdain at the possibility of using the budget reconciliation process to help Americans gain access to quality health care.  Yet, as Media Matters Action Network has previously noted, Sen. Gregg was the Senate's leading proponent of the maneuver just a few short years ago.

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February 01, 2010 3:06 pm ET

Republican Study Committee Distorts The Deficit

On January 29, 2010, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) issued a press release attacking President Obama for saying that he inherited large deficits from Republicans.  The release asserts that the average monthly deficit under Democrats is greater than the average yearly deficit when Republicans were in power.  However, the nonpartisan analyzed this exact claim and determined it was FALSE.

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February 01, 2010 10:07 am ET

Fact Checking the Sunday Shows - January 31, 2010

On Sunday, January 31, 2010, it was abundantly clear what the Republicans' talking points were.  On Sunday show after Sunday show, the Republican guests repeated falsehoods about Democrats' actions to tackle the recession.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD), were the worst offenders, repeatedly spreading falsehoods about the economy, jobs, the deficit, and health care.

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January 30, 2010 12:10 pm ET

In Q&A Session, Rep. Hensarling Falsely Asserts Democrats Are At Fault For The Deficit

During a January 29, 2010 question and answer session between House Republicans and President Obama, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) falsely claimed Democrats are to blame for the growing deficit.

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January 14, 2010 1:43 pm ET

Tea Party Express Attacks Coakley Over Bush's Deficit

On January 14, 2010, the Tea Party Express released an ad endorsing Massachusetts state senator Scott Brown. The ad uses the fiscal year 2009 budget deficit to attack Massachusetts state attorney general Martha Coakley and Washington Democrats. However, even the New York Times article shown in the ad explains Obama's deficit was largely inherited from the Bush administration.

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December 02, 2009 2:47 pm ET

Rep. Blackburn Blasts Earmarks, Forgetting Her Own

In a December 2, 2009 op-ed in the Washington Times, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) urged Republicans to campaign on earmark reform, noting she had "sworn off" earmarks herself.  During the preceding year, Congresswoman Blackburn requested nearly $12 million in earmarks.  As Blackburn has no doubt realized, it's easy to fast immediately after a $12 million meal.

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November 10, 2009 11:55 am ET

Rob Portman's Rhetoric On The Budget Rings Hollow

On his website, former Republican congressman and Bush White House budget director Rob Portman states, "I understand that reducing deficits through pro-growth policies and keeping federal spending under control are the cornerstones of fiscal responsibility." However, a quick glance at Portman's record reveals that his rhetoric is not to be believed.

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