When you hear discussion of the federal debt, the trendlines usually go only one way: up. That’s why our ears perked up when we heard the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, say on the Feb. 23, 2014, edition of Fox News Sunday that the debt is headed downward over the next 10 years. Durbin told host Chris Wallace, "I can just tell you this, Chris. Since President Obama has been in office, we've reached the point we're cutting the annual deficits in half, and we're going to reduce the overall debt of the United States by $3 ...>> More
Richard Durbin: Under current policies, "we're going to reduce the overall debt of the United States by $3 trillion over the next 10 years."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have the backing of the National Rifle Association in his quest for a sixth term as Kentucky’s U.S. Senator, but his Republican primary opponent insists McConnell is weak on Second Amendment issues. Businessman Matt Bevin released a 15-second TV ad on Feb. 19, 2014, that not only attacked McConnell’s record on guns, but claimed McConnell’s positions were closely aligned with his Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. "Mitch McConnell voted with Harry Reid to infringe on our gun rights," the ad said. "Matt Bevin always support the Second Amendment. ...>> More
Dan Sullivan: Says Alaska Sen. Mark Begich supported President Barack Obama’s economic policies "97 percent of the time."
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, brands himself as being "as independent as Alaska." Unsurprisingly, Republicans in the primary field for the 2014 midterm election versus Begich beg to differ. One such candidate, former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan, argued in a campaign email that Begich’s votes are in line with President Barack Obama’s positions on economic issues. "Instead of standing up to President Obama’s reckless economic policies, Mark Begich has supported them 97 percent of the time," the email read. "By rubber-stamping overspending and over-regulation, Begich and Obama are stifling our nation’s economic growth and standing in the way ...>> More
Since the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans and their allies have claimed the Affordable Care Act slashes funding for Medicare, the federal healthcare program for seniors. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made almost identical claims in the 2012 presidential election as well. It appears the GOP playbook for the 2014 midterms will be similar. An early indication is in Florida’s special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., where the National Republican Congressional Committee is airing an ad hammering Democrat Alex Sink’s support of Obamacare. The ad says the law includes a "$700 billion ...>> More
Here’s a claim we expect to hear often from Republicans in the 2014 midterm races: Obamacare is a jobs killer. The National Republican Congressional Committee gave us a sneak peek at how the attack will be framed with a new ad critical of Alex Sink, the Democrat vying for the former seat of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., in a special election. "Nonpartisan government analysts say Obamacare will cost our economy up to 2.5 million jobs," the ad says. "Yet Alex Sink still supports it." It’s amazing how quickly an economic report can turn into an attack ad. ...>> More
Critics of the health care law like to throw around talking points that give the idea that the law will increase the ranks of the uninsured. The evidence, though, tends to contradict that. That hasn’t stopped political ads from continuing to push the point. The latest case: The race to replace the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla. Democrats are hoping to pick up the seat with Alex Sink, a former banking executive who’s previously held statewide office as Florida’s chief financial officer. Her opponents are David Jolly, a Republican and one of Young’s longtime aides, and Libertarian Lucas ...>> More
A race in North Carolina has become one of the top battles in the war to control the U.S. Senate. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., is trying to win a second term and help keep the Democrats in control of the chamber. But she is expected to face a tough race against one of several Republicans competing in the primary. One of the leading candidates is Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House. Patriot Majority USA, a pro-Democratic group operating independently of the Hagan campaign, has begun to run ads against Tillis, who has already benefited from a blizzard ...>> More
Patriot Majority USA: North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis would let insurance companies "deny coverage for pre-existing conditions."
A race in North Carolina has become one of the top battles in the war to control the U.S. Senate. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., is trying to win a second term and help keep the Democrats in control. But she is expected to face a tough race against one of several Republicans competing in the primary. One of the leading candidates is Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House. Patriot Majority USA, a pro-Democratic group operating independently of the Hagan campaign, has begun to run ads against Tillis, who has already benefited from a blizzard of ads against ...>> More
Even though Clay Aiken has never run for public office before, he’s no stranger to getting a lot of votes. Now, after announcing his run for a U.S. House seat in North Carolina, the Democrat will have to hope supporters are as eager to flock to the polls as they were to text in their American Idol votes a decade ago. It won’t be an easy road to Washington for Aiken, who will face a Democratic primary. In his YouTube campaign kickoff, which Simon Cowell would probably call "pitchy," Aiken criticized his would-be general election opponent, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C. ...>> More
Keith Ellison: "Americans work way more than an average of industrialized countries around the world."
A recent Congressional Budget Office report is the latest spark in the Affordable Care Act debate. Conservatives on ABC’s This Week roundtable criticized President Barack Obama’s signature health care law for its predicted effect on the economy. As we’ve previously noted, the nonpartisan report shows that health care reform may reduce the total number of hours worked by 1.5 to 2 percent from 2017 to 2024 -- the equivalent of about 2 million jobs. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., pushed back against the Obamacare critics, arguing that a little less time in the office might not be such a ...>> More
Thomas Perez: "If you have a union job, you're making on average $950 a week. If you have a non-union job, you're making $750 a week."
Do union members really make $200 a week more than people who aren’t in unions? Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said so during the Feb. 4, 2014, edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Perez said, "just came out with their data on union membership. … If you have a union job, you're making on average $950 a week. If you have a non-union job, you're making $750 a week. So collective bargaining is a big part of how this middle class grew in America and it continues to be an important part of who we ...>> More
Chain email: Says President Barack Obama has issued upwards of 1,000 executive orders, more than any modern president.
In his State of the Union address last month, President Barack Obama said he doesn’t intend to wait if Congress doesn’t move forward on his priorities in 2014. "I'm eager to work with all of you," Obama said Jan. 28. "But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do." That means using his executive office — "I've got a pen and I've got a phone," he has taken to saying lately — to accomplish his agenda, ...>> More
Mr. Conservative: "According to (Barack) Obama’s newest unconstitutionally enacted law, health care professionals are now required to violate HIPAA privacy laws and submit medical data to the government," which is "then used as justification for gun confiscation."
Three of the biggest hot buttons in politics these days are health care, privacy and guns. Put all three of them together and you get an explosive claim. A reader recently asked us to look into a blog post at the website Mr. Conservative, with the provocative headline, "Obama Quietly Uses Executive Orders For Two New Gun Control Laws." "Just a few weeks ago," the post said, President Barack Obama "quietly used executive action — one of his new favorite pastimes — that has got gun owners’ feathers in a ruffle. According to Obama’s newest unconstitutionally enacted law, ...>> More
John Boehner: Says President Barack Obama’s health care law is "expected to destroy 2.3 million jobs."
Ever since President Barack Obama shepherded the Affordable Care Act to enactment, critics have called the health care law a job killer. Now, many of the critics are saying that a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office proves their point. The CBO estimated that by 2017, there would be the equivalent of about 2 million fewer workers than there would be in the absence of the law. CBO said that number would grow to about 2.5 million by 2024. Shortly after the report was released on Feb. 4, 2014, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined many Republicans ...>> More
The buck may stop at the president, but does the blunt stop at Congress? For the second time in recent weeks, President Barack Obama was asked to publicly weigh in on the debate over decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. During an interview aired Jan. 31, 2014, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Obama whether he would consider changing marijuana’s status as a Schedule I narcotic, a distinction that bans the substance from sale or use for medicinal or recreational purposes. "Well, first of all," Obama contended, "what is and isn't a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress." "I think ...>> More
Tom Harkin: Cuba has "a lower child mortality rate than ours. Their life expectancy is now greater than ours."
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, recently spent three days in Cuba -- the longtime socialist adversary of the United States -- to learn more about the island nation’s health care system. For years, some health policy specialists in the United States have been intrigued by Cuba’s health care system. Cuba produces a disproportionate number of doctors, and it has posted relatively strong health statistics in international comparisons, especially considering the country’s shortage of material goods and economic wealth. For some liberals, Cuba’s health care system has offered an alternative to the one in the United States, where millions of Americans have ...>> More
Rand Paul: Says President Barack Obama "spent nearly a trillion dollars on make-work government jobs."
Even though the stimulus enacted by President Barack Obama in 2009 has been phased out for a few years now, it remains a talking point for some Republican critics. During his response to Obama’s State of the Union address, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took a shot at the stimulus when he said this: "Mr. President," Paul said, "where are the jobs? You spent nearly a trillion dollars on make-work government jobs and still joblessness confronts the next generation." We wondered whether Paul -- a potential 2016 presidential candidate -- was correct to say that Obama "spent nearly a trillion dollars ...>> More
During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made a claim about pay for women in today’s economy. "You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns," Obama said. "That is wrong, and in 2014, it's an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work." It was not the first time Obama (or other Democrats) have offered the 77-cent data point -- not by a long shot. A search on the White House website calls up literally dozens of examples of policy papers, blog posts ...>> More
President Barack Obama made multiple claims about the improving U.S. economy during his 2014 State of the Union address, touting the nation’s resilience. After making claims about jobs, energy and the deficit, Obama had this to say about international business: "And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s No. 1 place to invest; America is." It was one of only two times during the speech the president mentioned China, long considered the ascendant rival of the U.S., and the second-largest economy in the world. (The other ...>> More
President Barack Obama touted his energy strategy during his State of the Union speech. He called for safe extraction of natural gas, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and setting new standards for trucks -- and he shined a spotlight on solar power. "It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too," Obama said. "Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced." That timetable sounded like a rapid expansion of solar: Does a home or ...>> More
During his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made a pitch for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10. "Easy to remember," Obama said of the proposal. (Not quite as catchy as Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan, but close.) In trying to gain support from Republicans, Obama invoked their conservative idol. "Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here," Obama said of the former president. It’s a point Obama has tried to make before. We saw him use the comparison last year in a speech ...>> More
After President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, which focused largely on his plans to boost the economic well-being of struggling Americans, Republicans responded with their own approach. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said her party’s mission was to close the gap "between where you are and where you want to be." McMorris Rodgers blamed the president and his policies for that gap and noted that "last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one." In this fact-check, we examine that claim. The congresswoman’s staff pointed us to numbers from the Bureau of Labor ...>> More
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama boasted about progress on climate change, citing reductions in carbon emissions. "Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet," he said. "Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods." We wondered whether Obama was correct that "over the past eight years, the United ...>> More
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama noted the country’s progress toward energy independence. There is "more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly 20 years," he said. Later in the speech, he added, "The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades." Earlier in January, we fact-checked Obama’s same claim about domestic oil production after he spoke at North Carolina State University. We rated it >> More