Friday, November 28th, 2014

Chris Christie, Republicans face Truth-O-Meter for attacking Jon Corzine, House Democrats

Gov. Chris Christie, left, has criticized his predecessor, Jon Corzine, for giving away 14 percent raises and vowing to "fight" for public employees at a union rally.
Gov. Chris Christie, left, has criticized his predecessor, Jon Corzine, for giving away 14 percent raises and vowing to "fight" for public employees at a union rally.

Gov. Chris Christie and the National Republican Congressional Committee both had Democratic targets, but their recent attacks landed at opposite ends of the Truth-O-Meter.

On Sunday, the committee received a Pants on Fire for claiming three House Democrats from New Jersey support "gutting" Medicare by $741 billion to pay for a "big-government healthcare takeover."

Christie, a Republican, received a Mostly True on Monday for claiming his Democratic predecessor, Jon Corzine, "gave away" 14 percent raises to state workers and vowed to "fight" for them at a union rally.

‘Gutting’ Medicare

In a series of news releases on Aug. 14, the committee claimed 37 House Democrats are "willing to jeopardize seniors’ access to coverage by gutting $741 billion from Medicare" to pay for a "big-government healthcare takeover."

Those Democrats included New Jersey Reps. Rush Holt, Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell. The three congressmen did vote for the national health care reform in March 2010, but the committee’s charges are misleading and ridiculously wrong.

The reform does not cut more than $700 billion from the current Medicare budget. Instead, the reform contains provisions to slow the program’s future spending growth. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said last month the reform would reduce future Medicare spending by $716 billion between 2013 and 2022.

The "healthcare takeover" claim has been debunked numerous times before and was ultimately named PolitiFact’s 2010 Lie of the Year. Although the reform imposes more government regulations, it doesn’t eliminate the private health insurance industry, which stands to gain more enrollees under the law.

The committee received a Pants on Fire!

Giving away raises

At an Aug. 9 campaign event in Bellevue, Wash., Christie offered this anecdote of Corzine’s record in dealing with the state worker unions:

"My predecessor's first negotiation with the public-sector unions, he gave away 14 percent raises over 4 years and he stood on the front steps of the Capitol at a public-sector union rally and said, 'I will fight to get you a great contract,’" said Christie, according to a video posted on YouTube.

Corzine did authorize contracts providing 13 percent in raises over a four-year period, starting in July 2007. He also spoke at a union rally in June 2006 and promised to "fight" for the public employees, according to several news reports.

But Christie failed to mention that those contracts included a number of union concessions. For instance, state workers agreed for the first time to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries each year toward the cost of health benefits.

We gave Christie a Mostly True.

Is that right?

Heard or read a claim that sounds too good to be true or too odd to be believed? Share the claim in an e-mail to us at politifactnj@starledger.com and we may put it to the Truth-O-Meter.

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