Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fact Check: Republicans Lying About Ford's Record On Tax Relief and Fiscal Responsibility

The Corker henchmen just can't tell the truth.

Yesterday, over at Blogging for Corker, their bloggers tried to deceive readers by insinuating that Congressman Ford is against reforming the estate (death) tax, against cutting taxes and is for big spending. All could not be further from the truth.

Blogger Sean Braisted quickly put to bed the myth that Ford was against reforming the death tax in a brilliant post over at his blog.

Sean pointed out, "Now, the funny thing is, Truman tries to use Corker's opposition to the tax on inherited wealth as a contrast to Harold Ford Jr...the only problem is, HFJ hates the "death" tax as much as Corker. In 2001 he voted to eliminate it, and in 2006 he voted to raise the minimum income level from 2 to 5 million dollars (the package deal with a minimum wage increase)." (Read Ford's estate tax plan here)

Now, let me if I could, tackle the issue of tax relief.

Despite what the Corker camp and the Republicans may say, Harold Ford Jr. is the real supporter of tax cuts in this race. During his tenure in Congress, Ford has supported over $1.2 trillion in tax cuts.

Below is just a sampling of his record on tax relief:
  • Voted to cut the estate or inheritance tax (07/28/06)

  • Ford backed reduced capital gains and dividend tax rates, which would result in tax cuts worth $70 billion over five years Commercial Appeal, 05/11/06)

  • U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., is the author of legislation that would make a $4,000 tuition tax deduction a permanent part of the federal tax code

  • Ford voted in favor of the Americans Jobs Creation Act, which allowed Tennesseans and others from states with no state income tax to deduct state sales tax from federal income tax and provided for $137 billion in new tax cuts for corporations over 10 years

  • Ford voted in favor of extending the research and development tax credit, the work opportunity and welfare to work credit, school construction tax credit, child tax credit, marriage penalty relief (H.R. 1308, 09/23/04, Passed 339-65)

  • Voted for a budget proposal in which the first $910 billion to be used for tax cuts (H.C.R. 83, 03/28/2001, Failed 183-243)

  • During his first year in Congress, Harold Ford Jr supported the largest tax cut since 1981 (Knoxville News-Sentinel, 08/03/97)

  • Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund says Harold Ford is a moderate Democrat “who votes for Republican tax cuts”: “The Democrats have done something very smart. In key states they are running much more moderate candidates than they used to. Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, who is pro-life, against Rick Santorum; Tennessee--Harold Ford, a Democrat who votes for Republican tax cuts.” (Wall Street Journal, 05/29/06)

Corker on the other hand, has never cut a tax in his life. Not as Don Sundquist's Financial Officer or as Mayor of Chattanooga.

Don't let these goons fool you. Ford supports smart tax relief, his record shows that. Corker may say he supporst tax relief, but his record shows he doesn't.

Finally, Nathan Moore and his fellow henchmen insinuated that Congressman Ford is a big spender. I found this most flabbergasting of any of their assertions. The truth is, Congressman Ford is a leader in Congress on fiscal responsiblity. Even conservative Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen agrees:

“Well I congratulate Harold, because he really is one of the more conservative and I would say level headed members of his party. He is a fiscal watchdog, he wants to make sure we don’t raid the coffers for when we really need it like in emergencies like this one (hurricane relief).” CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” 09/23/05

His record shows his fiscal strength:

  • Congressman Harold Ford is a co-sponsor of H.J. Res. 22, a resolution proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (introduced 2/17/2005).

  • Voted YES to restore “PAYGO” spending discipline. This proposal would restore the original Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules as they were originally established under the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act and extended in 1997. The pay-as-you-go provisions would require that both increases in mandatory spending and tax cuts be offset, either by cuts in mandatory spending or increases in taxes (H.R. 4663, 06/25/04, Failed 196-218).

  • Voted YES on a resolution to revise the conference report on the fiscal 2005 budget resolution that would provide $14.2 billion in additional funds for education, homeland security, veterans, health and other programs (H.R.S. 685, 06/24/04, Failed 184-230). The increased spending would be offset by reducing or eliminating $18.9 billion in tax cuts for couples with incomes of more than $1 million and the remaining $4.7 billion would be used for deficit reduction (Washington Times 06/25/04).

  • Voted YES on a measure to limit budget deficits. This particular legislation was on a motion to instruct House conferees to accept provisions in the Senate version of the budget resolution that would force any tax cut or mandatory spending expansion to be offset by revenue increases or spending cuts. The motion would also erect a procedural hurdle in the Senate, 60 votes, to lift these restrictions (SCR 95, 05/05/04, Failed 208-215).

  • Voted NO on Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution Conference Report. This legislation adopts a budget resolution that adds $2.4 trillion in deficits and national debt between 2003 and 2013 (H.C.R. 95, 04/11/03, Passed 216-211). The amount reflects the impact of the tax cuts, as well as of spending increases for defense, the $400 billion prescription drug benefit and the increase in interest payments resulting from the higher debt. The budget agreement cut domestic funding by $7.2 billion from 2003 levels and by $168 billion over the next decade (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Overview Of Final Budget Resolution Agreement: Large Tax Cuts In Budget Would Worsen Long-Term Fiscal Outlook,” 4/17/03).

  • Voted NO on Final Passage of the FY 2006 House Budget Resolution, which did nothing to bring the deficit under control, while failing to protect Social Security, cutting education by $2.5 billion in 2006 and $38 billion over the next five years and slashing veterans health care programs by $14 billion over five years. The resolution also required general veterans’ cuts of $798 million by either increasing fees on health care or reducing benefits for those receiving disability pay or pension benefits. Additionally, the budget cut $20 billion from Medicaid, a move that could jeopardize health care for the 52 million children, seniors, parents and disabled individuals who rely on the program for their health care. (HCR 95, 03/17/05, Passed 218-214)

  • Voted NO on an $800 billion increase to the federal debt limit. This bill would raise the federal debt limit by $800 billion to $8.18 trillion (S. 2986, 11/18/04, Passed 208-204). According to Stephen S. Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley “By passing such a huge increase in the debt limit, with no strings attached, Congress has effectively given the Bush administration a blank check to continue running large deficits,. ‘An open-ended license for this kind of fiscal irresponsibility is a recipe for disaster,’ he said” (Washington Post, 11/19/04)

  • Voted YES on amendment to the Budget Resolution that would provide for a balanced budget by fiscal 2012 and reduce the deficit by half over the following two years. Action on additional tax cuts or other proposals that would create additional budgetary obligations would be deferred until Congress and the president has taken action to reduce the deficit. It would allow for a one-year extension of the $1,000 child tax credit and the so-called marriage penalty relief (Amendment to H Con Res. 393, 3/25/04, Failed 183-243).

  • Voted YES on amendment to Budget Resolution that would provide a balanced budget by fiscal 2009. It would maintain the President’s spending levels including a $400 billion prescription drug benefit but provide congressional flexibility in allocating funds. It also would postpone future tax cuts for high income individuals if the budget remains in a deficit because of costs associated with a war on Iraq (Amendment to H. Con. Res. 95, 03/20/03, Failed 174-254).

  • Voted YES on the Americans Jobs Creation Act, which allowed Tennesseans and others from states with no state income tax to deduct state sales tax from federal income tax and provided for $137 billion in new tax cuts for corporations over 10 years. It also included a $10 billion buyout of tobacco farmers (H.R. 4520, 10/07/04, Passed 280-141).

  • Voted YES on legislation to amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the research and development tax credit, the work opportunity and welfare to work credit, school construction tax credit, child tax credit, marriage penalty relief and the 10 percent rate bracket (H.R. 1308, 09/23/04, Passed 339-65).

  • Voted NO on legislation that would freeze or reduce spending on most discretionary programs while leaving the way clear to make President Bush’s tax cuts permanent (H.R. 4663, 06/25/04, Failed 146-268). At the time of this vote, the shortfall in the federal budget was projected to reach a record of more than $400 billion in 2004, and permanently extending the previous year’s tax cuts would have added $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years (Reuters, 6/25/04).

  • Voted NO on passage of the bill that would increase the public debt limit by approximately $450 billion to $6.4 trillion (S. 2578, 06/27/02, Passed 215-214).

  • Voted NO on adoption of the Fiscal 2003 Budget Resolution. It was this budget that anticipated the first deficits since 1998 — $66 billion in fiscal year 2002 and $46 billion in fiscal year 2003 (H.C.R. 353, 03/20/02, Passed 221-209). The budget cut $82 billion over five years from non-defense appropriated programs other than homeland security programs. The budget bill also froze funding for the next five years for both childcare services and state welfare reform efforts. The plan was projected to increase deficits or decrease surpluses over the next five years by $379 billion (CQ Monitor News, 3/20/02; Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. “Comparison of the Senate and House Budget Plans.” 2/28/02).

  • Knoxville News-Sentinel praised Congressman Ford for voting against tax cuts that decimated the previous budget surplus: “Now that the budget surplus unconnected to Social Security has nearly disappeared, only two Tennessee members of Congress look very prophetic. Among the state’s nine House members and two senators, only U.S. Reps. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis and John Tanner of Union City, both Democrats, voted May 26 against the $ 1.3 trillion, 10-year tax cut which included rebates this year.

  • “They both favored the idea of tax cuts at some point but emphasized that the federal budget should be worked out before approving a tax cut advocated by President Bush. That way it would be clearer how much money was available for a tax cut after national spending priorities were met. Many people already have received tax rebates of $ 300 to $ 600 per household, even though Congress still has not worked out final spending bills for several parts of the government, including defense, education, health and labor” (Knoxville News-Sentinel Editorial, 08/26/01).

  • Voted NO on a $1.95 trillion federal budget plan that authorized a Bush tax cut of $1.35 trillion over 11 years (H.C.R. 83, 05/09/01, Passed 221-207). The budget would increase overall spending for the coming year by 4 percent – half the spending-growth rate in 2001. It did not account for expected increases in defense spending or for emergencies and natural disasters. The final budget also contains less spending for education than the House had approved earlier and significantly less than the Senate approved (Charlotte Observer, 5/10/01).

  • Voted YES on alternative budget proposal that would have trimmed the excessive tax cuts in the GOP plan and provided more funds to protect Social Security and Medicare (H.C.R. 83, 03/28/2001, Failed 183-243). This plan divided the projected $2.73 trillion surplus – outside Social Security and Medicare Hospital Insurance –into three equal shares of $910 billion. The first $910 billion to be used for tax cuts — $713 billion to be used for tax cuts over ten years, with the remainder to be used for interest costs associated with those cuts. The second $910 billion went to program increases, again with $713 billion for the programs themselves and the rest for interest payments. Thus, of the projected ten-year surplus, the alternative plan consumed $1.82 trillion for tax cuts, program increases, and interest payments. By comparison, the GOP budget consumed $2.37 trillion. As a result, the alternative devoted $550 billion more to debt reduction than the GOP plan (Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, “The Budget Plan Reported by the House Budget Committee: Some Key Aspects,” 3/30/01).

  • Voted YES on substitute amendment to the 2001 budget resolution that called for a smaller tax cut and more discretionary spending than the resolution. It called for $606 billion in discretionary spending in 2001, $9.3 billion more than the resolution, and $40 billion in tax cuts. It provided for $15 billion more in defense discretionary budget authority than the resolution. (H.C.R. 290, 03/23/00, Failed 171-243).

  • Voted YES on substitute amendment on that called for a smaller ($100.8 billion less than the resolution) tax-cut over five years. The substitute amendment also used debt reduction dividends to shore up Social Security and Medicare and allocates 25 percent of the on-budget surplus to fund defense, agriculture and veterans programs. Compared with the resolution, the amendment called for $12.2 billion more in defense spending, $3.4 billion more in discretionary agricultural spending and $1.1 billion for veterans’ health care (H.C.R. 68, 03/25/99, Failed 134-295).

  • Voted NO on concurrent budget resolution that would adopt a five-year budget plan that would create a surplus of $63.4 billion by 2003, by cutting spending by $101 billion over five years and using the funds to finance tax reduction which would include the elimination of the so-called marriage penalty. The plan called for an increase, by $5 billion, in defense spending, over the caps agreed to under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (H.C.R. 284, 06/05/98).

  • Voted YES on substitute amendment to adopt a five-year budget plan that would provide budget authority for discretionary spending at the levels agreed to in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act and provide for $30 billion in tax reductions over five years by closing so-called tax loopholes. The amendment would provide for $10 billion in new mandatory spending initiatives, including funds to reduce classroom sizes and child care (Amendment to H.C.R. 284, 06/05/98, Failed 164-257).

  • Voted YES on the 1997 Balanced Budget Act (H.R. 2015, 07/30/97, Passed 346-85).

  • Voted YES on amendment to establish a “lockbox” mechanism that would take half the net savings made by floor amendments when any appropriations bill passes the House or Senate, and lock the money away for deficit reduction by reducing overall spending caps and by prohibiting reallocation of those savings to other spending programs (Amendment to H.R. 2107, 07/15/97, Passed 314-109).

  • Voted YES on Fiscal 1998 Budget Resolution Conference Report, which adopted a five-year budget plan that would balance the budget by fiscal 2002 by cutting projected spending by approximately $322 billion and cutting taxes by $85 billion, for a net deficit reduction of $204.3 billion. (H.C.R. 84, 06/05/97, Passed 327-97).

Further, Ford has a real plan in this campaign to balance our budget.

Those are the facts and they don't lie like the Corker henchmen.