An ad from the conservative group American Commitment accuses Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) of voting to put thousands of Wisconsin paper industry jobs at risk. The ad cites Baldwin’s vote against a Republican proposal to overturn an EPA rule that will save thousands of lives and ignores her support for giving Wisconsin paper companies additional time to comply. American Commitment also suggests that Baldwin’s votes in favor of the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act are inconsistent with her criticism of China because, the ad alleges, “We’ll have to borrow money from China to pay for those.” In fact, the Recovery Act helped prevent an even worse economic collapse – which would have driven the country deeper into debt – and the health care reform law reduces the deficit.
American Commitment Distorts EPA Rule That Will Save Thousands Of Lives
The ad’s claim that Rep. Tammy Baldwin “voted to put thousands of those [paper industry] jobs in danger” cites Vote #791 on October 13, 2011.
Rep. Baldwin Opposed Bill To Overturn EPA Regulations. The House passed H.R. 2250, the “EPA Regulatory Relief Act,” on October 13, 2011. Rep. Baldwin voted “no.” [H.R. 2250, Vote #791, 10/13/11]
EPA Estimated Rule Would Save 20,000 Lives. According to the Huffington Post: “House Republicans argued that the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 was a ‘timeout’ from long-delayed regulations aimed at mercury that threatened to raise costs on boiler operators and incinerators. But the measure also exempts smaller burning facilities from any regulation at all. The EPA estimated that the bill, H.R. 2250, would allow 20,000 people to die prematurely from pollution. […] It’s just the latest in an ongoing assault on the EPA that as of last week had prompted 159 anti-environmental regulation votes on the House floor this year. The House passed a measure last week to relax proposed regulations on cement kilns, which the EPA says will lead to 12,500 premature deaths. Environmental groups and Democrats were livid over the 272 to 142 vote, which they said will allow smaller incinerators — often in urban settings — to burn tires, solvents, plastics, oil sludge and other toxic-laden substances for profit without any oversight or reporting requirements.” [HuffingtonPost.com, 10/13/11]
Rep. Baldwin Supports Giving Wisconsin Companies Extra Time To Comply With Rule. In a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed, Rep. Baldwin wrote: “Heeding the concerns of Wisconsin’s paper manufacturers, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and I met with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in April. We made a strong case for Wisconsin manufacturers and urged the administrator to allow more time to implement the new standards. We pressed for an additional year for those companies working diligently toward compliance who need the extra time – five years rather than four. This reasonable compromise would maintain strong public health standards, reduce toxic pollution and give Wisconsin businesses the time they need to do what’s best for their employees and our communities. Additionally, Sen. Kohl and I continue to look for ways to reduce the costs associated with these rules while maintaining the public health benefits that we all wish to see.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/18/12]
Recovery Act Created Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes
Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [CBPP.org, 5/29/12]
At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:
CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:
- They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
- Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
- Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
- Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO.gov, 11/24/10]
Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [PolitiFact.com, 2/17/10]
Affordable Care Act Reduces The Deficit
CBO: The Affordable Care Act Will Reduce Deficits By Over $200 Billion From 2012-2021. According to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf’s testimony before the House on March 30, 2011: “CBO and JCT’s most recent comprehensive estimate of the budgetary impact of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act was in relation to an estimate prepared for H.R. 2, the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act, as passed by the House of Representatives on January 19, 2011. H.R. 2 would repeal the health care provisions of those laws. CBO and JCT estimated that repealing PPACA and the health-related provisions of the Reconciliation Act would produce a net increase in federal deficits of $210 billion over the 2012–2021 period as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues. Reversing the sign of the estimate released in February provides an approximate estimate of the impact over that period of enacting those provisions. Therefore, CBO and JCT effectively estimated in February that PPACA and the health-related provisions of the Reconciliation Act will produce a net decrease in federal deficits of $210 billion over the 2012–2021 period as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues.” [“CBO’s Analysis of the Major Health Care Legislation Enacted in March 2010,” CBO.gov, 3/30/11]
- July 2012 Report Affirmed Projection That ACA Will Reduce Deficits. According to a Congressional Budget Office Report titled “Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision”: “CBO and JCT have not updated their estimate of the overall budgetary impact of the ACA; previously, they estimated that the law would, on net, reduce budget deficits.” [CBO.gov, July 2012]
[WOMAN 1:] Tammy Baldwin says Wisconsin leads the nation in paper industry jobs, but she voted to put thousands of those jobs in danger.
[MAN 1:] Giving more control to Washington bureaucrats and special interests.
[WOMAN 1:] She also said China leads the world in cheating.
[MAN 2:] So why did she vote for the $831 billion stimulus and the trillion-dollar health care law?
[MAN 3:] We’ll have to borrow money from China to pay for those.
[WOMAN 1:] Would you borrow money from a cheater?
[MAN 3:] Tell Tammy Baldwin to stop putting special interests ahead of Wisconsin.
[American Commitment via YouTube, 7/5/12]