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August 08, 2011 9:46 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - August 7, 2011

The highlight of yesterday's Sunday political talk shows was Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) deceptive performance on Fox. Ryan misled on a range of topics, from the causes of the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, to the drivers of that debt, to President Obama's policy positions, to the reasons businesses aren't expanding today, with plenty of stops in between. By comparison, Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) dishonesty about Afghanistan and Social Security, Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) bogus economic statistics, and Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-AL) deceit on deficits under President Bush and Democrats' willingness to cut spending were barely even blips on the radar.

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August 05, 2011 10:59 am ET

"Where Are The Jobs?" Republicans Cut Them

After pushing through a debt-ceiling increase deal comprised entirely of spending cuts, Republicans have returned to their "Where are the jobs?" messaging campaign. It is an ironic message given that Republicans have spent the 112th Congress insisting on spending cuts that will further undermine job creation. Following in the tradition of putting ideology ahead of the economy, Republicans threatened to let the United States default until they got a debt deal that included only spending cuts. The cuts in the bill could cost Americans another 1.8 million jobs next year and continue to hurt economic growth. Ultimately, when Republicans ask, "Where are the jobs?" they should ask themselves first.

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August 02, 2011 10:30 am ET

Op-Eds From Reps. Ryan And Pitts Filled With Health Care Lies

As a deal on the debt crisis was being reached, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) refocused their energy on lying about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and distorting its impact on job creators, seniors and economy. In Politico op-eds, the congressmen attacked the health care waivers granted, cited the debunked McKinsey study as proof of the ACA's supposed negative impact on hiring, and condemned the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) for harming seniors by denying care. Rep. Ryan also rehashed the tired claim that the ACA cut $500 billion from Medicare and falsely asserted the ACA has "weakened our economy and accelerated out-of-control government spending" while touting his "Path to Prosperity" budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it.

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August 01, 2011 9:45 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 31, 2011

Sunday's political talk shows focused exclusively on a possible debt ceiling increase deal being negotiated between the White House and congressional Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who appeared on two separate shows, repeated the false claim that the federal government does not have a revenue problem. In fact, revenues are at an all-time low. McConnell also made the misleading charge that corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world. On both State of the Union and Face the Nation, McConnell proposed adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, a provision that was included in a package passed by House Republicans last week. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the third-highest ranking Republican in the House, also defended the balanced budget amendment on Fox News Sunday, arguing that if a similar effort during the 1990s had been successful, the country would not be having a debt problem. McCarthy pointed to the fact that almost all states have an amendment or statute that requires them to balance their budgets. He failed to mention, however, that many states have been able to balance their budgets or deal with other shortfalls due to assistance from the federal government. Most importantly, a balanced budget amendment such as the one proposed by Republicans will make the task of balancing the budget more difficult by limiting the ability of legislators to increase revenue in the event of shortfalls.

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July 29, 2011 10:22 am ET

Rep. Camp Blames Obama For Debt From GOP Policies Camp Supported

During a July 28 speech on the House floor, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) produced a chart comparing the debt accumulated under the Obama and Bush administrations. According to Camp, "President Obama's actions" have led to "twice the debt in half the time" as his predecessor. However, Camp's wildly misleading assertion blames President Obama for a projected FY 2009 deficit that was already over $1 trillion when he took office, while ignoring the fiscal impact that Bush's policies are still having. Not surprisingly, Camp voted for the Bush policies that caused the deficit to explode.

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July 25, 2011 4:49 pm ET

Rep. Smith Responds To President Obama's La Raza Speech With Immigration Falsehoods

Before President Obama gave his speech to the National Council of La Raza's annual conference, House Judiciary Conference Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) had already penned his response. Going off of "media reports" that the president would discuss comprehensive immigration reform, Smith sent out a press release equating comprehensive immigration reform with "amnesty" and repeating false talking points about the costs of immigration. Despite Smith's claims, undocumented immigrants both pay taxes and take relatively less from the system than they pay into it. In addition, Smith's assertions that legalization would increase the debt and take away American jobs are patently false.

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July 25, 2011 10:12 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 24, 2011

This week's Sunday shows were largely about the struggle to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. On Fox News Sunday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blamed Obama's policies for "out of control" spending without noting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recession, and the Bush tax cuts are the primary drivers of debt and deficits. He also touted the deeply problematic balanced budget amendment. On CNN, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) claimed that the House-passed GOP budget eliminated all corporate loopholes when it really secures tax breaks for big oil, all while necessitating a middle-class tax hike. Price also minimized the very serious effects of the checks that won't get paid out if the debt limit isn't raised by August 2nd. Later, Tim Pawlenty falsely claimed that President Obama is responsible for tripling deficits within his term. On Face the Nation, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) wrongly said that spending alone is the problem driving deficits. Finally, on Meet the Press, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) justified the GOP's efforts to obstruct debt ceiling negotiations by distorting credit rating agencies' warnings, and then blamed Democrats for the GOP-driven politicization of a Federal Aviation Administration funding bill.

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July 21, 2011 3:43 pm ET

Rep. Jordan: Washington Is "The Only Entity" Without A "Balanced Budget Requirement"

In a YouTube interview with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) argued for a constitutional balanced budget amendment by claiming that "everyone else has to abide by a balanced budget requirement," a statement that disregards the utility of government borrowing to buoy the economy in hard times. But Jordan's analogy is not just wrongheaded, it's factually incorrect. The families, small businesses, localities and states that he referred to each undertake massive amounts of debt in order to invest and grow, or to make it through tough economic times. The scale of household, business and municipal borrowing makes Jordan's statement look downright silly.

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July 18, 2011 10:21 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - July 17, 2011

The looming default crisis dominated the Sunday talk shows, which meant Republicans were busy misrepresenting their own proposals, the polling about their proposals, and the policies that put us in this mess to begin with. On NBC, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) claimed the GOP's balanced budget amendment scheme is the only way to satisfy credit raters about U.S. creditworthiness, which is simply not true. On ABC, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) pretended that polling supports the GOP's anti-tax zealotry despite at least 21 polls this year that show broad opposition to their ideological stance. On Fox, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) falsely claimed the GOP's scheme doesn't require even steeper cuts to the safety net than the House 2012 budget and unfairly laid the blame for our debt entirely at President Obama's feet, and Herman Cain lied about who pays top-end income tax rates. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani misrepresented recent economic history and exaggerated his own budget accomplishments in New York City, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) misled viewers about Social Security.

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July 14, 2011 10:42 am ET

The "Cozy Ties" Rep. Issa Covered Up Between The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission And Big Banks

This week, a House Oversight subcommittee indefinitely suspended a scheduled hearing entitled "What Went Wrong At The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission?" The commission's final report, which blamed the "captains of finance" for causing the financial crisis, was roundly criticized by Republicans. Prior reporting had indicated that Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) Oversight Committee investigation centered on the "cozy ties ... between key Democratic commission members and trial lawyers suing banks on behalf of state employee and union pension funds." In choosing to target the GOP's political enemies, the Issa investigation appeared to be covering up parallel relationships between the financial industry and Republican commission members and commission staff. Indeed, a report from the committee's Democratic staff, the preparation of which may have triggered the hearing's cancelation, found that Republican FCIC Vice Chair Bill Thomas' FCIC staff was providing confidential information to Thomas' law firm, which represents major banks.

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July 12, 2011 9:03 am ET

Rep. Price Continues To Mislead The Public On Spending And Taxation

Yesterday, Fox Business hosted Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to discuss the current situation over the debt ceiling. Rep. Price blamed the nation's ails on the growth in government spending, claiming that taxing "too little" has not been a major driver of our current deficit projections and that the only way to balance the budget is by decreasing spending — without any revenue increases. As a solution for the future, Rep. Price advocated for a problematic balanced budget amendment, which would actually make it harder to balance the budget and could be unenforceable. Finally, Rep. Price regurgitated a popular Republican talking point — that the Obama administration promised unemployment would not go over 8 percent — even though that's a serious misrepresentation of the truth.

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July 01, 2011 1:21 pm ET

45 Years After Medicare's Implementation, Republicans Are Trying To End It

45 years ago today, Medicare was implemented. As a cornerstone of the American health care system, Medicare has provided access to health care to millions of elderly and disabled Americans over the last several decades. However, despite its indisputable place in American society, House Republicans have voted to dismantle the program with their latest budget. Both House and Senate Republicans have also spent years trying to gut the program of over a trillion dollars. Medicare continues to be necessary to help the elderly and disabled, and unfortunately, the Republicans have decided not to keep their interests in mind.

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June 30, 2011 8:03 am ET

Chairman Issa's First Six Months: A Litany Of Ethics Problems

Since taking over as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been accused of a wide variety of ethics scandals. These include the revelation that his firm underpaid tariffs for years; his use of committee resources to promote major campaign contributors; his purchase of a building that benefited from earmarks he sought; and his hiring of staffers with "close connections" to industries that could benefit from his investigations.

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June 30, 2011 8:03 am ET

Chairman Issa's First Six Months: Support For Corporate Donors, Not The Middle Class

In his first six months as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has done the work of his corporate donors while ignoring the needs of middle-class Americans. Issa has repeatedly used committee resources to promote his major donors, often calling them to testify in hearings. Following the 2010 election, he asked trade associations, companies, and right-wing think tanks to "tell him which Obama administration regulations to target," then used the letters he received in response as the centerpiece of a hearing he said was intended to "validate" the concerns of Big Business so that other committees could push for deregulation. He has attacked the National Labor Relations Board for trying to protect workers, refused to subpoena documents for banks related to illegal foreclosures, and submitted a bill to kill government jobs.

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June 30, 2011 8:03 am ET

Chairman Issa's First Six Months: Relentlessly Partisan "Oversight"

Before he became chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) promised that if he attained that position, he would not use it as a "political weapon." But the first six months of his tenure have seen him using his power as just that. Rather than performing common-sense oversight in a bipartisan fashion to help government better do its job, Issa has repeatedly accused the Obama administration of "Nixonian" actions and compared administration policies to Iran-Contra. Issa has also pushed conspiratorial theories about the administration's response to the BP oil spill, smeared administration officials, and even refused to allow the committee's Democrats to choose their own witnesses.

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June 27, 2011 1:56 pm ET

House Republicans Have Tried To Eliminate Up To 6.7 Million Jobs In 2011

Since the Republicans took control of the House in January, they have made deficit reduction their top priority. However, while Republicans dutifully argue that slashing spending will create a positive "environment for job creation," their proposed budget cuts will cause significant job losses in the near-term. In just three bills this session, House Republicans have voted to eliminate between 4 and 5 million jobs, with some economists calling their estimates "conservative." Including proposed legislation that has not yet passed, House Republicans have attempted to eliminate up to 6.7 million jobs.

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June 27, 2011 11:28 am ET

Seriously Extreme: Rep. Bachmann's Journey To GOP Presidential Candidate

Today, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) formally announced that she is seeking the Republican presidential nomination at an event in Iowa. In a field of lackluster candidates, Bachmann is an unabashedly polarizing figure whose statements, agenda, and policy positions are not only often factually inaccurate but are also frequently imbued with extreme, hateful, homophobic and even violent rhetoric. The fact that she is considered a viable representation of the Republican party sends a stark message about the toxicity of the GOP in 2012. Often the Affordable Care Act's most apoplectic opponent, Bachmann has suggested that health care reform will result in "death panels" as well as "school-based sex clinics," and that it could allow a 13-year-old girl can be taken to an abortion clinic during a school day to "have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that and dad are never the wiser." She has rallied those against the Affordable Care Act to stand together, saying, "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing." She has used such extreme rhetoric to oppose other policies as well, calling the federal tax code a "weapon of mass destruction" and referring to Wall Street reform as "thuggish." Additionally, Bachmann has proposed eliminating the minimum wage and cutting billions from veterans' benefits. She also voted against a bill providing for 9/11 first responders' health care and then bragged about it, calling it "new spending." Michele Bachmann's increasing legitimacy as a presidential contender speaks volumes about the atmosphere within the Republican party today.

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June 27, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 26, 2011

The last Sunday of June saw GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dominate the airwaves, making the rounds on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation. On both, Bachmann repeated lies about health care reform's effect on jobs and Medicare, sentiments echoed by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on This Week. Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) falsely stated that even if the debt ceiling weren't raised, the country would not go into default, something most economists disagree with. On Face The Nation Bachmann falsely called the stimulus a failure and continued to baselessly blame President Obama for high gas prices. Lastly, Sen.  Jon Kyl (R-AZ), fresh off his departure from the debt ceiling talks, was on Fox News Sunday to falsely claim that tax increases would hurt the economy, a claim that the previous decade proves false.

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June 14, 2011 10:53 am ET

Rep. Ryan's Misinformation Tour De Force

In an op-ed on titled "Obama's Economic Experiment Has Failed - Time to Get Back to What Works," Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) put forward a slew of mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods to attack President Obama's economic record. Ignoring that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression — and that his Recovery Act helped prevent an even greater economic downturn — Ryan asserted that the Recovery Act has "failed to create jobs." To this end, Ryan also deceptively cited lackluster May jobs numbers and a report that preceded Obama's inauguration. Ryan also attacked the president's signature policies, including financial and health care reform, baselessly asserting that they didn't fix "the problems they were intended to address." He touted his own plan to 'save Medicare' (even though the GOP budget plan would dismantle the Medicare system) and falsely claimed that President Obama doesn't have any plan to address the program. He threw around meaningless catch words like "uncertainty" to attack Obama's tax policy, and misleadingly stated that the U.S.'s corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world, when in fact the effective tax rate is lower than many other developed countries. And despite the numerous tax cuts Obama and Democrats passed over Republican objections, Ryan attacked the president for tax hikes on job creators.

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June 13, 2011 12:47 pm ET

Weak Gun Laws: The ATF Scandal Rep. Issa Won't Talk About

This week, Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) will hold hearings into Operation Fast and Furious, a controversial effort by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate the flow of guns from southwest across the border into Mexico by allowing certain shipments of firearms to pass. Issa's hearing will likely focus solely on attacking members of the Obama administration for their possible involvement in approving the program, rather than also investigating the weak statutory authority that law enforcement have to stop gun trafficking to Mexican drug cartels. Law enforcement officials have noted that without a federal firearms trafficking statute, they are forced to rely on lesser statutes that carry low penalties. While gun dealers are required to report the sale of multiple handguns, there is no such requirement for the sale of assault weapons, making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify possible trafficking activity. Furthermore, traffickers can purchase such weapons without needing to pass a background check.

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June 13, 2011 9:43 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - June 12, 2011

Sunday saw multiple GOPers blaming President Obama for job losses that are rightly blamed on President Bush's recession and pretending that Obama policies haven't started to turn the job market around. Republicans have never stopped misleading people about the impact of the Recovery Act, but ignoring two million new private-sector jobs since February 2010 is shameless. Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) each offered one jobs lie or another. Pawlenty claimed that tax cuts pay for themselves (they don't), that President Obama is "out of ideas" on economic and entitlement issues (false), that we "have to" cut Social Security (nope), that the Affordable Care Act cut $500 billion from Medicare (wrong again), and that he didn't really leave a $6 billion deficit behind at the end of his term as Governor of Minnesota (nice try). Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) falsely claimed on CBS that the GOP Medicare plan doesn't affect current seniors, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) told CNN that ending oil subsidies will increase gas prices, and Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) told CNN that the debt ceiling deadline isn't real because "the global economy will understand" if we default.

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June 10, 2011 12:52 pm ET

Rep. Ribble's Top Medicare "Facts" Are All Falsehoods

In an op-ed published yesterday in the Green Bay Press Gazette, Tea Party freshman Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) claims that "there has been a vigorous and organized attempt to distort the Republican's fact-based plan to save Medicare." He then proceeds to vigorously distort facts by enumerating three lies regarding Medicare, including scare tactics related to rationing and the overall solvency of the program.

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June 03, 2011 3:52 pm ET

Republicans Suddenly Embrace Fact-Checkers Who Routinely Call Them Liars

In order to attack Democrats' credibility on the House-passed Republican budget proposal, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) have recently cited independent fact-checkers' analyses Democratic statements about the GOP plan to dismantle the Medicare system. But those same fact-checking organizations routinely point out Republicans' false claims — including their distortions about how their plan would affect Medicare. And while those organizations have taken issue with specific phrasing or excessive rhetoric from Democrats, it's well-established that the Republican plan would, in fact, turn Medicare into a voucher system that would shift rising health care costs onto future seniors rather than preserving the Medicare program as-is.

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June 03, 2011 3:28 pm ET

Debunking The Top Lies About The Republican Medicare Scheme

Contrary to polling, special elections, and town hall uproar, Republicans have decided their Medicare scheme is a political winner — it's just that Democrats are lying to people. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the plan's architect, expressed the GOP mentality in a Fox News interview on June 2, 2011, saying that Democrats are "distorting and demagoging" the plan and once people "realize they've been lied to," Democrats "are gonna be one the wrong end of that exchange with the American people." He then proceeded to misrepresent the GOP's "Path to Prosperity" budget in a half-dozen ways, capping the falsehoods with another whopper: "When people know the facts about what we proposed, they're extremely supportive," Ryan claimed. The facts, unfortunately for Republicans, say otherwise.

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May 31, 2011 10:39 am ET

Fact Checking The Sunday Shows - May 29, 2011

The Sunday political talk shows cranked out their usual smorgasbord of misinformation and talking points this weekend. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) misled NBC viewers about the relationship between President Bush's tax cuts and our current national debt, and implied that President Obama has raised taxes when the opposite is true. On CBS, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed the House GOP's "Path to Prosperity" budget will "save" Medicare (though it would in fact replace the entire program with undervalued health care vouchers) and deflected all criticism of the GOP's plan by claiming that "Democrats have not put forward any plan whatsoever," even though that's not true. Cantor capped his appearance by exaggerating the debt reduction in the GOP plan by about $6 trillion. 2012 hopeful Tim Pawlenty told ABC viewers the president is "doing nothing" on Medicare, even though that program's trustees say President Obama's signature health care law extended the life of the program by eight years. And on Fox, freshman Rep. Allen West (R-FL) falsely claimed that 'only Democrats' have voted to cut Medicare.

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May 26, 2011 4:50 pm ET

FLASHBACK: Since 1991, Speaker Boehner Has Voted To Cut More Than $800 Billion From Medicare

After losing a special House election in a solid red district in New York, Republicans are trying to go back on the offensive, with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) insisting that "The only people in Washington, DC who have voted to cut Medicare have been the Democrats." However, leaving aside the recently passed House Republican plan to privatize Medicare, Boehner's statement is far from true. As Political Correction previously documented, House Republicans have voted to cut over $1 trillion from Medicare since 1991. Boehner has personally voted to cut Medicare by a total of at least $814.3 billion.

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May 26, 2011 1:43 pm ET

GOP's So-Called "JOBS Act" Breaks Deal With White House, Furthers Ideological Crusade Against Jobless Benefits

When the White House struck a deal with the GOP in December to temporarily extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, progressives were frustrated, but at least the deal included a commitment from Republicans to extend emergency unemployment insurance (UI) through 2011. But now, House Republicans are moving a bill to the floor that would allow states to use federal unemployment insurance funds for other purposes. They claim their deceptively named "JOBS Act" is meant to avoid tax increases necessitated by recession-driven borrowing as states try to finance jobless aid, but in fact the bill undermines the very foundations of the UI system — a system conservatives oppose on ideological grounds, despite the economic fact that it is the biggest bang-for-the-buck form of stimulus spending. Democrats, on the other hand, recognize there is a way to avoid higher UI taxes on employers without gutting the entire system.

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May 26, 2011 9:37 am ET

Slew Of House Republicans Falsely Claim President Obama Called For Israel To Return To "1967 Borders"

Since his speech on the Middle East last Thursday, President Obama's opponents have falsely attacked him for calling on Israel to return to its "1967 borders." In reality, Obama repeated the ordinary belief that an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace deal should result in two states with secure borders "based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps," which will allow Israel to retain large settlements in the West Bank. Addressing the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the president explained very clearly that his original statement meant that the final border negotiated between the parties "will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967." However, that hasn't stopped many House Republicans from perpetuating a smear against Obama for something he never actually said.

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May 25, 2011 2:23 pm ET

Rep. Paul Ryan Repeatedly Claims IPAB Will Ration Care

Desperate to defend his unpopular Medicare-destroying budget plan, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) took to television, Twitter and a Budget Committee video to turn back the attack on the Affordable Care Act. At least four times in one day, Ryan has publicly claimed that President Obama's health care reform law sets up a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats who will implement price controls that will lead to rationing, waiting lists and denied care. In reality, the Independent Payment Advisory Board provided for in the Affordable Care Act is appointed by the president, but must be confirmed by the Senate. It does not have the authority to ration care; instead, it is authorized to make recommendations on how to reduce the growth of Medicare spending if and only if spending exceeds targets.

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May 25, 2011 1:06 pm ET

Glenn Beck's Favorite Congressman Takes On Cass Sunstein, Glenn Beck's Most Hated Foe

During a May 25 oversight hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) challenged Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, with a series of attacks that mirrored Fox News host Glenn Beck's past smears of Sunstein. Beck has previously identified Sunstein as "the most dangerous man in America" and as someone who is "evil." As Political Correction has previously noted, Chaffetz has often used his position on the House Oversight Committee to serve as Glenn Beck's man in Congress

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