Friday, September 19th, 2014

Rand Paul vs. Rand Paul, Harry Reid's 'do-nothing' Congress: PolitiFact Oregon Roundup

Is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the reason House bills are dying in the Senate?
Is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the reason House bills are dying in the Senate?

Today’s PolitiFact Oregon Roundup has, if we may say so, a little bit of everything. Or, at the very least, a lot of some very interesting things.

Either way, with Rand Paul swinging wildly from one end of the Truth-O-Meter to the other, it’s not a roundup to be missed.

1.  Even Congress is getting sick of Congress

Even Congress, it seems, is getting sick of Congress. Take Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., who recently laid some of the blame for D.C. gridlock on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. There are 352 House bills "sitting on Harry Reid’s desk awaiting action," she said, including 55 introduced by Democrats.

PolitiFact National’s check found that Jenkins placed all of the blame on Senate Democrats, even while experts agree "it takes two to tango. Both parties and chambers have played a role in creating the current legislative dysfunction. On balance, we rate the claim Half True."

2. A Democratic claim that ships truth overseas

A Democratic claim that’s been debunked in the past is back. The latest iteration is an ad by NextGen Climate Action Committee, which asserted that Joni Ernst, a Republican Iowa Senate candidate, signed a pledge that "protects tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas."

The check found that Ernst did sign one pledge, but that it did not contain any language protecting tax loopholes for companies that have employees overseas. A couple of other caveats made the group’s claim False.

3. The economics of yesterday

A series of Facebook posts making the Internet rounds claimed that in 1978, a student who worked a minimum wage summer job could afford to pay a year’s full tuition at the four-year public university of their choice.

National statistics generally supported the statement, the check found, except when it came to the "university of their choice" aspect. So, in-state tuition, yes, but out-of-state rates – probably not. Still, the claim was close enough to warrant a rating of Mostly True.

4. Rand the world in 80 days

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is gearing up for what looks like a 2016 presidential run. During a series of recent campaign spots, he talked about the prospects of a government shutdown, then added, "It cost us more to shut the government down than to keep it open."

PolitiFact’s analysis concluded: "Numerous independent economic research groups found that the shutdown resulted in overall costs, in terms of lost revenue, hindered GDP growth, stalled private-sector activity and actual expenditures associated with the logistics of closing the government for two weeks." A long and detailed way, in other words, of handing the senator a True.

5. The senator from Kentucky, apparently, has a flaming change of heart

Still on Sen. Paul, he jumped to another subject, Israel, in a recent talk, saying, "I haven’t really proposed (phasing out aid to Israel) in the past."

The check found that Paul, while free to say whatever he wishes, is not at all on the mark with this one. Not only did he say he would eliminate all foreign aid during multiple media interviews, it concluded, "but as late as March (2011), his office released a budget proposal that included a zeroing-out of foreign assistance…" Paul walked away with his pantaloons aflame.

So, a little of everything – or lots of a few? We’ll let readers judge that. Meantime, toss your comments this way and let’s get the conversation starte.