NRCC's New Ad Is "Reckless" With Its Falsehoods

October 28, 2010 1:44 pm ET

In an ad attacking conservative Democrat Rep. Chris Carney (PA), the National Republican Congressional Committee bashes Carney for voting with Speaker Pelosi "over 90 percent of the time" but never mentions that Carney actually broke with Democrats on major legislation like cap-and-trade. The NRCC is also misguided in criticizing Carney for his vote in favor of the Recovery Act, which boosted the economy and created millions of jobs in America — not in China, as the ad asserts.

National Republican Congressional Committee: "Chris Carney's Reckless Record"

Reckless spending. Trillions in new debt. Staggering unemployment. What are they doing in Washington? Chris Carney's voting with Nancy Pelosi over 90 percent of the time. For the failed stimulus that created renewable energy jobs in China but mountains of debt back here. And our unemployment hit a 26-year high. Chris Carney. We will never change Washington if we keep sending the same people. The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Carney Broke With Democrats On Major Legislation

Rep. Carney Voted Against Major Democratic Initiatives Like Cap-And-Trade. According to "The congressman has positioned himself firmly in the conservative wing of the House Democratic caucus. Carney is a member of the Blue Dog coalition and he broke with his party in opposing the $700 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008 and the cap-and-trade climate change bill in June 2009." [, accessed 10/28/10]

High Voting Percentages Are Relatively Meaningless Because They Reflect Mundane Votes. From The Hill:

The explanation for the elevated voting percentages is simple: While hotly-disputed legislation on healthcare, climate change and government spending command the public's attention, the vast majority of congressional votes occur on more mundane and non-controversial items, like the naming of post offices or designating weeks or months to cancer awareness and other causes.

In the database of votes that campaigns rely on for attack ads, however, a vote to designate June 30th as National ESIGN Day or to congratulate the South Carolina Gamecocks for winning the College World Series counts the same as votes to overhaul the nation's healthcare and energy industries.

[The Hill, 10/13/10]

Even Reps. Boehner, Pence, Cantor, Sessions and Bachmann Usually Vote With Speaker Pelosi. From The Hill:

Boehner has voted with the Democratic leadership 52 percent of the time in 2010. So has Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), chairman of the Republican conference and former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House Republican whip, and Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), head of the GOP's House campaign committee, are even cozier with Pelosi. They've voted with her 57 percent of the time.

And Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), the conservative firebrand who has compared the Democratic agenda to socialism? She's with Pelosi on 58 percent of House votes.

The data come from a Democratic leadership review of the 565 roll call votes in the House from January through the end of September, when Congress left Washington for the campaign trail. Since the Speaker herself rarely votes, the comparison is made using the recommended vote of the party leadership.

[The Hill, 10/13/10]

The Recovery Act Didn't Fail — It Created Millions Of American Jobs And Boosted The Economy

The Economy Shed Almost 8 Million Jobs Under Republican Policies Before The Recovery Act Could Affect The Economy. According to economist Robert J. Shapiro:

From December 2007 to July 2009 - the last year of the Bush second term and the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy - private sector employment crashed from 115,574,000 jobs to 107,778,000 jobs. Employment continued to fall, however, for the next six months, reaching a low of 107,107,000 jobs in December of 2009. So, out of 8,467,000 private sector jobs lost in this dismal cycle, 7,796,000 of those jobs or 92 percent were lost on the Republicans' watch or under the sway of their policies. Some 671,000 additional jobs were lost as the stimulus and other moves by the administration kicked in, but 630,000 jobs then came back in the following six months. The tally, to date: Mr. Obama can be held accountable for the net loss of 41,000 jobs (671,000 - 630,000), while the Republicans should be held responsible for the net losses of 7,796,000 jobs. [, 8/10/10, emphasis added]

Based on Shapiro's research, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein created the following chart showing net job losses before and after the Recovery Act was enacted:


[Washington Post8/12/10]

CBO: The Recovery Act Created Jobs, Lowered Unemployment, And Boosted GDP. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, through the second quarter of 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

  • Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise.

[CBO, 8/24/10]

Reuters: The Recovery Act May Have "Prevented The Sluggish Economy From Contracting" Between April And June. According to Reuters

The massive U.S. stimulus package put millions of people to work and boosted national output by hundreds of billions of dollars in the second quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

CBO's latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June.

CBO said President Barack Obama's stimulus boosted real GDP in the quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity. [Reuters via ABC News, 8/24/10]

Job Statistics Trend Shows Recovery Act Is Working. Below is a graph prepared by the Speaker's office showing net private sector job gains or losses per month since December 2007.

Private Sector Employment

[Bureau of Labor Statistics via The Gavel, 10/8/10]

Princeton, Moody's Economists Say "Highly Effective" Government Response To Crisis Saved 8.5 Million Jobs. According to the New York Times: "Like a mantra, officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations have trumpeted how the government's sweeping interventions to prop up the economy since 2008 helped avert a second Depression. Now, two leading economists wielding complex quantitative models say that assertion can be empirically proved. In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration's fiscal stimulus program, the nation's gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year. In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation. The paper, by Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton professor and former vice chairman of the Fed, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, represents a first stab at comprehensively estimating the effects of the economic policy responses of the last few years. 'While the effectiveness of any individual element certainly can be debated, there is little doubt that in total, the policy response was highly effective,' they write." [New York Times7/27/10, emphasis added]

Stimulus Funds Go To U.S.-Based Projects

To back up its claim that the stimulus created jobs overseas, the NRCC cites a Washington Times article which in turn cites a study conducted by American University that has been widely distorted to contend that the stimulus' clean energy grants went to create jobs in China and other countries. However, the study's author himself states that the Recovery Act provides funding to U.S.-based projects, some of which are American subsidiaries of foreign companies.

Controversy Over Renewable Energy Jobs Originates From Distortion Of American University Study. From a PolitiFact article fact-checking Sarah Palin's claim that "80 percent of $2 billion they spent on alternative energy went to purchase wind turbines in China," which it found to be false: "To support her statement, Palin's Facebook missive links to a Feb. 11, 2010, op-ed in Investor's Business Daily, a conservative news source. The editorial states that, according to the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, nearly $2 billion from the stimulus bill has been spent on wind power, and that 80 percent of that has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines. ... The Investigative Reporting Workshop's story on stimulus dollars and the wind industry came in two parts. In October 2009, it published its first analysis. The group found that of the $1.05 billion in clean-energy grants already handed out by the Department of Energy, about 84 percent -- or $849 million -- ended up in the hands of foreign wind companies. ... On Feb. 8, 2010, [the author of the study Russ] Choma updated his original findings, reporting that an additional $1 billion had been handed out in renewable energy grants, bringing the grand total to $2.1 billion. Of that, about 79 percent has gone to overseas firms." [, 2/23/10]

Study's Author: Renewable Energy Stimulus Grants Go To U.S.-Based Projects, Some Built By American Subsidiaries Of Foreign-Owned Companies. From PolitiFact:

We spoke with Russ Choma, the story's author, who explained that these grants are given to U.S.-based wind projects, but that many of these projects are being built by the American subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies. For instance, on Sept. 22, 2009, the DOE awarded $464.2 million to wind projects, and all of it went to local subsidiaries of foreign companies, according to the report. Those companies include Iberdrola, a Spanish company that received $250.9 million; the American subsidiary of Japan's Eurus Energy, which got $91.3 million; and the American subsidiary of Germany's E.ON Group, which received $121.9 million. 

Choma also points out that the wind turbine manufacturing industry in the United States is relatively weak compared to those abroad; of the 1,807 turbines erected in the United States as a result of the stimulus grants, foreign-owned manufacturers made 1,219, according to the report. 

[, 2/23/10, emphasis added]

PolitiFact: No Stimulus Money Has Gone To Chinese Turbine Manufacturers. From a PolitiFact article fact-checking Sarah Palin's claim that "80 percent of $2 billion they spent on alternative energy went to purchase wind turbines in China":

Aside from that, Palin -- and the IBD editorial -- misrepresented Choma's story in a number of ways. First, while Choma found that many of the grants given so far have been for wind projects -- and that many of those projects are being developed by the American subsidiaries of foreign companies -- the 79 percent of the $2.1 billion he cites in his story (Palin's rounded that number up to 80 percent) is the amount that has gone overseas for all renewable energy projects, not just wind projects. Choma shared his data with us, and it shows that, as of February 2010, only 73 percent has gone to foreign companies involved in wind projects. The rest of that 79 percent has gone to geothermal projects. And, more importantly, says Choma, none of these American subsidiaries is owned by Chinese companies. While the Texas deal may eventually shuttle some stimulus dollars to China through the purchase of turbines, the deal is still in the works. So, it's incorrect to say that any stimulus money has gone to Chinese turbine manufacturers, let alone 80 percent of the $2 billion spent on renewable energy projects.

[, 2/23/10, emphasis added]

Further Confusion Over Study Came From Letter From Senators. From the New York Times:

Four Democratic senators are calling on the Obama administration to halt spending on a renewable energy program in the economic stimulus package until rules are in place to assure that the projects use predominantly American labor and materials.

The senators said that more than three-fourths of $2 billion spent on wind-energy projects supported by the stimulus package had gone to foreign companies. They said that effectively undercut the purpose of the stimulus program - formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - which is to jump-start the American economy and create jobs here.


The senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would require that stimulus funds go only to clean-energy projects that rely on materials manufactured in the United States and create a majority of jobs here. The current law requires a "Buy American" provision only for government projects, not private enterprises.

[New York Times3/3/10]

Department Of Energy: Funding Only Goes To Projects Built In US. From Politico: "But the Department of Energy responded Wednesday afternoon, saying that the senators' message was misleading and that funding goes only to projects built in the United States and that those projects, in turn, spur economic growth. They say wind turbines built domestically - regardless of where some of the parts are manufactured - will create more demand for clean-energy manufacturing." [Politico3/3/10]

Department of Energy: Wind Energy Program Creates Thousands Of American Jobs And Attracts Billions In Foreign Investment. From the New York Times:

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the senators' letter, but the Energy Department, which administers the clean energy part of the stimulus package, said that the program was creating thousands of jobs in the United States.

"The Recovery Act has doubled the pace of investment in America's wind industry - including helping attract more than $10 billion of foreign investment to create U.S. jobs," Stephanie Mueller, news media secretary at the Energy Department, said. "The best way to stimulate our manufacturing base is to stimulate demand for wind turbines in America, since manufacturers tend to locate where the demand is."

She added that the administration would work with Congress to strengthen the clean-energy grants program, but said that suspending it now would mean immediate layoffs at American manufacturing plants.

[New York Times3/3/10]

The Recovery Act's Renewable Energy Grants Created Tens Of Thousands Of American Jobs

American Wind Energy Association: Recovery Act Created Or Saved 40,000 Wind Industry Jobs. From PolitiFact: "Christine Real de Azua, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association, credits the stimulus bill with saving and creating 40,000 jobs; at the start of 2009, her organization expected that wind power development might drop as much as 50 percent from 2008 levels. Midyear, the trend turned around, she said. Most of those 40,000 jobs are in the construction sector; jobs in the manufacturing sector fell last year. That said, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that more than 50 percent of turbine parts, such as towers, blades, nacelle assembly, and some internal components are made in the United States, a number that is growing." [, 2/23/10]

Wind Project Financers: Majority Of Jobs Created By Texas Wind Energy Project Will Go To Americans. From ABC News:

The company that is helping to finance the wind project, US-REG, issued a statement Wednesday saying that the majority of jobs created by the project will be for Americans.

"A minimum of 70 percent of each wind turbine [...] will be wholly manufactured in the United States and made entirely of American steel. It is incorrect to assume that the hundreds of additional jobs created aside from the direct construction and operation of the Texas plant would be outside the U.S.," said Cappy McGarr, managing partner for the U.S. Renewable Energy Group.

In a statement Wednesday, the Energy Department insisted that the wind program does create jobs in the U.S. and said that "suspending it now would cause immediate layoffs of American workers at American manufacturing plants." [ABC News, 3/4/10]

Department Of Energy: Suspending Wind Energy Program Would Have Caused Immediate American Layoffs. From Politico: "'We will work with Congress on any proposal to further improve this program, but suspending it now would cause immediate layoffs of American workers at American manufacturing plants,' said Department of Energy spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller. 'Other countries are not pressing the pause button on clean energy industries and they will move quickly to capture America's share of the global market while we sit on the sidelines.'" [Politico, 3/3/10]

The Exploding Debt And Deficit Are The Result Of Bush-Era Policies And The Recession

Before Obama Took Office, The FY 2009 Deficit Was Projected At $1.2 Trillion. As reported by the Washington Times: "The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn't enact any new programs. [...] About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record." [Washington Times1/8/09, emphasis added]

CBPP: Deficit Grew By $3 TRILLION Because Of Policies Passed From 2001 To 2007. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "Congressional Budget Office data show that the tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the reemergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years. Legislation enacted since 2001 added about $3.0 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2007, with nearly half of this deterioration in the budget due to the tax cuts (about a third was due to increases in security spending, and about a sixth to increases in domestic spending)." [, accessed 1/31/10, parentheses original]

The Bush Tax Cuts Are The Primary Driver Of Federal Budget Deficits Over The Next Decade. Below is a chart from CBPP showing the deficit impacts of war spending, financial recovery spending, the recession itself, and the Bush tax cuts:


[, 6/28/10]

Public And Foreign-Held Debt Skyrocketed While Bush Was In Office. Below are two graphs prepared by the Speaker's office showing the increase of publicly and foreign-held debt during the years Bush was in office:



[U.S. Treasury via The Gavel, 6/11/10]