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U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, was recently on the Fox News Channel to talk about his approach to make "Obamacare" work better for Americans.
Fellow Georgia congressman Paul Broun, apparently, wasn’t impressed.
"Jack Kingston wants to keep Obamacare," Broun said in a YouTube video. "He voted to fund it and now he wants to fix it."
Broun, an Athens Republican, ended the two-minute video by explaining his approach to improving health care -- and it starts with repealing the controversial health care law.
The two Republicans are in a crowded field of candidates vying to win the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination in 2014 for the Georgia seat being left open by Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ retirement.
Kingston disputed Broun’s claim, which prompted Broun’s campaign to dispatch a press release titled: "Broun to Kingston: How Is This a Lie?"
PolitiFact Georgia thought we’d get in the middle of this dispute.
Broun spokeswoman Christine Hardman offered two examples of what he said were Kingston’s votes for the law. The first was Kingston’s vote in September 2012 for an appropriations bill. The second was Kingston’s support for a budget written earlier this year by former GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, a House member from Wisconsin.
The 2012 legislation, House Joint Resolution 117, was a bill that helped fund the federal government for six months, through March 2013. The legislation provided $1 trillion for federal agencies, services and disaster recovery. The federal agencies include the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which oversees the health care law.
"The bill makes minimal changes to fiscal year 2012 spending levels, except in cases that would cause catastrophic, irreversible, or detrimental changes to government programs, and to ensure good government and program oversight," the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee said in a statement at the time.
The resolution passed by a 329-91 margin, with nine House members who didn’t vote. Broun was one of the 91 no votes, along with Rep. Phil Gingrey, a House Republican who is also running for the U.S. Senate. Kingston voted in favor of the bill, as did all 10 of his remaining colleagues from Georgia.
Now, to the other half of Broun’s case against Kingston.
On March 12, Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, presented his latest plan to balance the federal budget in 10 years. Much of it calls for spending cuts and projected revenue increases through tax cuts to businesses that Ryan believes will help the economy grow. Six days later, Broun wrote an op-ed that appeared in The New York Times decrying Ryan’s plan, saying the cuts don’t go far enough.
"We must repeal Obamacare — including the associated taxes, which the Ryan budget leaves intact by assuming the enactment of tax reform later on. We’ll replace it with a market-based health care system devoid of government involvement and managed by patients and their doctors, a plan I have described in my Patient Option Act," Broun, who practiced general medicine, wrote.
Congress, as you know, has not been able to agree on a long-term budget plan. A resolution sponsored by Ryan to fund the government on a short-term basis passed the House on March 21. Kingston voted in favor of the resolution, but Broun cast his vote against it.
Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said the rationale behind Broun’s claim is illogical.
"The whole premise that Mr. Kingston supports Obamacare or has wavered in his dedication to its repeal is absurd," Crawford told us via email. "He has voted more than 40 times to repeal and replace. That effort has seen seven parts of the law dismantled or defunded."
Kingston’s congressional website is full of news releases critical of the law or highlighting his votes against it. He voted against the bill when it passed the House by a slim majority in March 2010.
Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said Broun was "nibbling around the edges" with his claim because Kingston voted against the original legislation. She noted the September 2012 appropriations bill helped fund spending to operate the federal government, and it was not an entitlement bill.
"That accusation doesn’t reflect anything close to someone supporting Obamacare," said MacGuineas.
So where does this leave us?
Again, Broun said Kingston has voted to fund the health care law. Kingston has voted for federal legislation to keep the government running. Broun is using that to base his argument since the legislation includes spending for the health care law. However, it was a piece of a much larger spending package that includes defense spending and disaster recovery. Using that logic, Kingston could argue that Broun voted against defense spending.
Broun’s claim contains an element of accuracy, but it gives people a misleading perception of Kingston’s position on Obamacare. We rate it Mostly False.
YouTube video by U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, Dec. 5, 2013.
Email from Broun spokeswoman Christine Hardman, Dec. 5, 2013.
Email from Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford, Dec. 6, 2013.
House Appropriations Committee press release, Sept. 13, 2012.
House Joint Resolution 117.
House Con. Resolution 25.
New York Times op-ed, "Paul Ryan’s Ax Isn’t Sharp Enough," March 18, 2013.
Telephone interview with Maya MacGuineas, Dec. 9, 2013.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, "The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible Balanced Budget" page.
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