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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher November 2, 2012

GOP group says Tammy Baldwin proposed $3.9 trillion tax hike that Nancy Pelosi opposed

In their efforts to lift Tommy Thompson to victory over U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Republicans have tied Baldwin to a Democratic lightning rod, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

"You already know how extreme Tammy Baldwin is," begins a TV ad by the National Republican Senatorial Committee released Oct. 15, 2012.

The ad goes on to make a number of claims, including this one:

"Baldwin even proposed a $3.9 trillion tax increase -- a tax increase so extreme, so destructive, even Nancy Pelosi voted against it."

The group, which helps elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate, made the same claim in another TV ad released two weeks later.

Let’s check the record.

Thompson, the Republican former governor, portrayed Baldwin as on the political fringe even before he entered the Senate race.

In September 2011, we rated as Mostly True his claim that the Madison Democrat ranks as the most liberal member of the House. Based on votes she cast, three major rankings put Baldwin among a group of House members considered the most liberal.

We’ve already examined the proposed tax increase cited in the Republican committee’s ad. It was part of a 2012 federal budget proposal made by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which consists of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, and 75 Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Baldwin is a vice-chair of the group; Pelosi is not a member.

Thompson said the caucus’ budget proposal -- an alternative to plans submitted by President Barack Obama and House Republicans -- would have spent trillions of dollars more than Obama’s budget. We rated the claim False because the caucus budget would have spent less over 10 years than Obama’s budget.

But we pointed out that, according to experts, total tax collections under the caucus plan would have been some $5 trillion higher than under the Obama budget.

In an April 2011 vote, the caucus budget failed in the House, 347-77. Baldwin voted for it; Pelosi, the House minority leader at the time, was among 108 Democrats and 239 Republicans who voted against it.

The TV ad doesn’t cite any reasons and the GOP committee didn’t reply to our requests for more information.

We checked a transcript of the debate on the House floor about the Progressive Caucus budget proposal and it indicates Pelosi didn’t speak. We also checked the collection of news releases on Pelosi’s House website. We found she spoke on the House floor about the Republican budget proposal, but not about the Progressive Caucus budget.

Our rating

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Baldwin "proposed a $3.9 trillion tax increase -- a tax increase so extreme" that "even Nancy Pelosi voted against it."

Baldwin backed a budget that included a $3.9 trillion tax increase. Pelosi voted against the budget and its tax increase, although her reasons aren’t clear.

We rate the claim Mostly True.

Note: On Oct. 31, 2017, we edited this item to make it clear that experts had told us that tax collections would be $5 trillion higher in the caucus budget than in the Obama budget, not that the caucus budget would have raised taxes by $5 trillion more.

Featured Fact-check


Our Sources

National Republican Senatorial Committee, "We just can’t afford her" TV ad, Oct. 31, 2012

National Republican Senatorial Committee, "Even" TV ad, Oct. 15, 2012

Congressional Record, transcript of House debate on Progressive Caucus budget, April 15, 2011

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, 2011 press releases

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More by Tom Kertscher

GOP group says Tammy Baldwin proposed $3.9 trillion tax hike that Nancy Pelosi opposed

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