FACT CHECK: SHEA-PORTER’S FIRST TV AD IS A FALSE DISTORTION
(Manchester – September 19, 2012) Yesterday, former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter began airing her first TV ad of the of the 2012 Election. Despite the contrast that her first ad goes negative in comparison to Frank Guinta’s two TV ads that have both been positive messages, her attacks against Frank are false distortions utilizing procedural motions to distort the facts. You can view her ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVofAqH_BMw
False claim #1 from Shea-Porter: “Gunita voted to “cut billions from veterans’ programs.”
- The Fact: Shea-Porter’s claim is untrue. The vote her ad cites, Roll Call #418, for H.R. 2055 - the FY2012 Military Construction and VA Appropriations actually had $7.9 billion more than current funding (at that time.) It passed the House with nearly unanimous bipartisan support 411 - 5.
False claim #2 from Shea-Porter: “Guinta opposed funding for veterans health care and housing.”
- The Fact: Shea-Porter’s claim is untrue. The votes she cites are procedural stunts (motions to recommit) on the underlying bill which already increased funding for veterans programs by $8 billion. It also provided $75 million for 10,000 housing vouchers, the previous year’s level and that which was requested by the President.
More background information can be found below.
Derek Dufresne, Spokesman for Guinta for Congress, released the following statement:
“While Frank Guinta has been in Congress, his dedication to those who served has been a top priority. He has introduced legislation for a full service VA hospital, hosted a job fair to help put our returning troops find a good paying middle-class jobs, and worked bipartisanly to end veterans’ homelessness.
“It’s typical of former Congresswoman Shea-Porter to attack Frank Guinta personally rather than focus on her own record or vision for America. However, the blatantly false assertions made in her first television advertisement are wrong. It is shameful that the former Congresswoman would use such an important issue as another Washington political ploy for votes.”
Congressional Quarterly analysis of H.R. 2055: Continuing Consideration of Military Construction-VA Appropriations — HR 2055, Military Construction-VA Appropriations for FY 2012 . The bill provides $143.9 billion in FY 2012 for the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department and military construction activities of the Defense Department, including $77.3 billion in discretionary funds, as requested. The bulk of the measure's funding, $129.7 billion, would be for veterans programs, $7.9 billion more than current funding, but $476 million less than requested. The VA money includes $60.2 billion in discretionary funds, as well as $69.5 billion in mandatory funding. The measure also provides $52.5 billion in advance FY 2013 appropriations for VA medical accounts, roughly equal to the request. The bill appropriates $14 billion for military construction, $2.6 billion (16%) less than current funding.
Congressional Quarterly analysis of the Motion to Recommit vote cited (Roll Call #417 & #449): “Owens, D-N.Y., motion to recommit the bill to the Appropriations Committee with instructions that it be reported back immediately with an amendment that would increase funding for veterans medical services for post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention by $20 million. It would direct the funds to advertise suicide-prevention assistance and services for veterans. It would offset the costs of the increase by reducing funding for the Department of Veteran Affairs' information technology programs by $25 million.”
“Barber, D-Ariz., motion to recommit the bill to the House Appropriations Committee and report it back immediately with provisions that would increase the amount for tenant-based rental assistance and veteran rental voucher assistance each by $75 million. It also would reduce the funding level for Housing and Urban Development salaries and expenses accounts by $86 million.”
More background on the procedural stunts (motions to recommit):
According to the House Democrats’ Rules Committee website from the previous 111th Congress (when the Democrats were in the majority in the House and in control of the House Floor agenda as well as the rules of the House) the motion to recommit “…is traditionally the right of the Minority and gives them one last chance to amend or kill the bill.”
Even further, back during House consideration of Obamacare, the then-Republican minority offered a motion to recommit on the underlying bill and during its consideration, then House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) spoke on the Floor regarding the motion to recommit:
“They [Republicans] know that this motion is not in order and they know this motion would not have support in the Senate, so they are indirectly trying to kill this bill.”
Hoyer goes on to say:
“My colleagues, we have come this far not to be thwarted by a procedural motion that will never have effect. They know that. We know that.”
Norman Ornstein, a well-known political scientist, wrote a column in Roll Call in 2010 about the use of MTRs saying,
“These MTRs have been in the news not because they represented the minority party’s alternative vision for dealing with energy policy or science and tech and jobs policy – but because they were designed to kill bills by offering red herring ‘gotcha’ amendments, including one in the energy bill to require contractors to ensure that no employee had been convicted of child molestation and one in the jobs/tech bill to require that any federal employee who had viewed or downloaded pornography be fired. Both were attempts to force Democrats to withdraw their bills – and more importantly, to set up 30-second attack ads against vulnerable Members for supporting child molesters and pornography.”