Ultraviolet attacks Chris Christie on women's issues
A Facebook meme from a political group argues that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is bad on women’s issues -- but it gets some of the details wrong.
Ultraviolet, which describes itself as a community "mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights," posted an image labeled "4 things you should know about Chris Christie" to its Facebook page on June 30, 2015. In June, we checked a similar meme the group posted about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
PolitiFact found that most of the points were largely factual, but a few had some inaccuracies.
Let’s take Ultraviolet’s talking points one by one:
1. "Vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times": This isn’t the first time this claim has caught our attention. In November 2013, PunditFact did a check on a similar claim made by a Democratic pundit, and ruled it Mostly True. The claim is largely accurate.
Christie took office in January 2010, and soon called for $7.5 million to be cut from "family planning services." Democratic state legislators pushed back by passing a bill that restored funding for women’s health and family planning services, including Planned Parenthood. But in June 2010, Christie vetoed the bill.
In 2011, 2012, and 2013 Christie vetoed the legislature’s repeated attempt to restore the $7.5 million in funding for family planning services. This amounts to 4 vetoes, plus the initial cut in funding.
Depending on how you count the vetoes, Ultraviolet’s claim may even be a veto short. On June 29, 2015, the day before the meme was posted to the group’s Facebook page, Christie vetoed family planning services funding restoration for the fifth time. But, if you consider Christie’s initial cut in funding, then he has vetoed Planned Parenthood funding six times.
Christie himself includes the initial cut in the veto count. In an interview on Fox News June 30, 2015, he boasted, "(I) vetoed Planned Parenthood funding just this past week for the sixth time out of the budget in New Jersey."
2. "Vetoed equal pay for women 3 times. He only let the bill pass once it became a damaging campaign issue": This claim isn’t entirely accurate, and a bit misleading, so we decided to put it to the Truth-O-Meter in its own check, and ruled it Mostly False.
Ultraviolet attributed the claim to a ThinkProgress article that references four bills relating to equal pay sent to Christie in 2012. The article, which actually cites a PolitiFact check from October 2013, says that Christie signed one of the bills, gave one an absolute veto, and the other two a conditional veto.
Christie signed A-2647 mandating a statewide requirement for employers to notify employees of the right to be free from benefits and pay discrimination.
He vetoed A-2649, a bill calling for government contractors to report employee gender and compensation information to the NJ Department of Labor. "These new reporting requirements fail to advance sound policy over senseless bureaucracy," Christie said of the bill in his veto message.
Conditional vetoes were given to A-2648, which was designed to extend protections for employees who reveal discriminatory actions in their workplaces, and A-2650, which would grant back pay to victims of pay back discrimination.
While it is true that Christie vetoed three of the bills, only one was absolute; the other two were conditional. And, following implementation of his recommended changes described in the his veto message to "incorporate (A-2648) into LAD (the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination)," he actually signed it into a law in August 2013.
As for the second part of the claim, the bill was conditionally vetoed, so Christie had already agreed to pass the bill so long as his changes were made. It does not appear that the campaign pressured him to do so.
3. "Vetoed raising the minimum wage for New Jersey women, who make up 56% of NJ low wage workers": PolitiFact has looked into similar claim on this one, too. We found it to be, for the most part, accurate and rated it Mostly True.
In 2012, the New Jersey state legislature proposed A-2162, a bill calling for an immediate minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour.
Christie conditionally vetoed the bill in 2013, and recommended that instead of $8.50, the minimum wage only be increased to $8.25, and that it be implemented gradually over a three-year period. Additionally, he proposed a 5 percent increase to the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a tax credit for those who work and have an income.
As for the effects of Christie’s veto on women specifically, women do make up a large percentage of low-wage workers in the state. According to a 2013 Economic Policy Institute estimate following Christie’s veto, "more than half of the workers who would get a raise (from the proposed legislation) are women (55 percent)."
4. "When women called him out for job-killing policies, he responded with a crude, sexist joke ‘something may be going down tonight, but it ain’t jobs, sweetheart’ ": This claim is well-documented, and the video has been posted to both sites that are both left-leaning (The Other 98%) and right-leaning (NJ GOP Youtube Channel). In the video, Christie is speaking at a Romney for President rally in New Hampshire on Jan. 8, 2012, and is heckled by a group of women chanting "Christie kills jobs!" Christie responds to the women with the words attributed to him in the meme, but whether or not the statement is "a crude, sexist joke"" is in the eye of the beholder.
However, the hecklers aren’t exactly accurate in calling Christie a job-killer. Following his joke, Christie added that if the women heckling him were in New Jersey, they would know that "we’ve created 60,000 new private-sector jobs." Data gathered by the U.S. Department of Labor backs up his claim: Between February 2010, when Christie first took office, and November 2011, roughly 60,000 jobs were added in the private-sector in the state. Though women could have been referring to the state’s above national average unemployment rate in the wake of the recession, or possible the elimination of roughly 25,000 public sector jobs, data qualifying Christie as a job-killer wasn’t entirely on their side.