Americans For Prosperity: “Bill Nelson: Stop Wasteful Spending”

Americans for Prosperity warps Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) voting record, misrepresenting the impact of legislation he supported (health care reform and the Recovery Act) and offering dishonest descriptions of legislation he opposed. The ad claims Nelson voted “against stopping more taxpayer-funded bailouts,” citing a vote to allow the auto rescue to proceed – a successful move that has saved jobs in the auto industry and throughout the economy. AFP also accuses Nelson of voting “against American-made energy” on the basis of his opposition to faster offshore drilling permits one year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill hurt tourism on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“Wasteful” 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.” [, 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). [, 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.” [, 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,”, 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.” [, July 2012]

Affordable Care Act Does Not Raise Taxes On Most Americans – And Includes Tax Credits For Millions

Affordable Care Act “Will Provide More Tax Relief Than Tax Burden” For Middle Class. According to the Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler: “The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans.” [, 7/6/12] “A Large Majority Of Americans Would Not See Any Direct Tax Increase From The Health Care Law.” According to “It’s certainly true that the health care law would raise taxes on some Americans, particularly those with higher incomes. The law includes a Medicare payroll tax of 0.9 percent on income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples, and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for those earning that much. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the biggest chunk of revenue — $210.2 billion — comes from those taxes. There are other taxes in the health care law — including an excise tax on the manufacturers of certain medical devices and on indoor tanning services. The health care law included $437.8 billion in tax revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation‘s calculations. Republicans tend to add in fees on individuals who don’t obtain health insurance (which the Supreme Court now agrees can be considered taxes) and businesses that don’t provide it to bump that up to about $500 billion. Some taxes, such as those on medical devices, may or may not be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, but a large majority of Americans would not see any direct tax increase from the health care law.” [, 6/28/12]

  • Individual Penalty Payments “Tiny” Compared To President Obama’s Previous Tax Cuts. According to, the increased revenue from penalty payments by individuals who do not obtain health insurance represents “a tiny future increase compared with the tax cuts Obama has already delivered, including an estimated $120 billion in 2012 alone from the 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes.” [, 5/17/12]

Affordable Care Act Includes Tax Credits For Millions Of Americans. According to Families USA: “We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines).” [, September 2010]

AFP Attacks Sen. Nelson Over The Successful Auto Rescue

AFP Cites Vote Concerning Auto Bailout. AFP’s ad cites Roll Call Vote #00148, on April 2, 2009, to support the claim that Sen. Nelson voted “against stopping more taxpayer-funded bailouts.” That vote was on an amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who described it on the floor as “the Auto Bailout Prevention Amendment.” Nelson voted nay, and the amendment was defeated 66-31. [S. Amdt. 965 to S.Con.Res. 13, Vote #148, 4/2/09; DeMint Floor Speech, 4/2/09]

The Auto Bailout Worked

Under Obama, The Automotive Industry Has Gained “More Than 100,000” Jobs. According to the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler: “The BLS data show that much of the decline in auto industry employment took place in 2008, before Obama became president. Just in 2008, some 254,000 jobs disappeared in vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturing and 211,000 at vehicle dealerships. The numbers are equally grim if you just look at auto manufacturing and dealerships. But since January 2009, when Obama took office, overall there has been an increase in jobs. The number of jobs hit a low point in November 2009, but then it has slowly inched upward so that Obama can point to the auto industry and says there has been a net gain. In vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturing, the total number of jobs has increased by 73,000. For dealers, the gain has been nearly 30,000. So, all told, that’s more than 100,000.” [, 5/18/12]

  • Michigan Gained Jobs In 2011 For The First Time In A Decade. From Bloomberg: “Last year, Michigan gained 66,000 net jobs, the first increase since the turn of the century, according to a Jan. 13 state report. The University of Michigan’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics predicts a net rise of 101,300 by 2015.” [Bloomberg, 2/17/12]

Auto Bailout Saved 1.4 Million American Jobs In 2009-2010. From the Wall Street Journal: “The Center for Automotive Research said today the government’s bailouts of the U.S. auto industry spared more than 1.14 million jobs last year alone, and prevented ‘additional personal income losses’ of nearly $97 billion combined for this year and last. Another 314,400 jobs were saved this year thanks to the $80 billion in taxpayer lifelines extended to GM, Chrysler, and the GMAC and Chrysler Financial financing businesses, CAR said. The research organization based its conclusions on the potential impact of auto-industry collapse for jobs at U.S. auto makers and suppliers, and cascading effects on the economy at large.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/17/10]

GM Has Returned To Being The Global Leader In Car Sales. From CNNMoney: “General Motors is once again No. 1 in global auto sales, after three years out of the top spot. It’s a comeback that became official Thursday when it reported final 2011 sales figures of 9 million vehicles, its best sales total since 2007.” [CNNMoney, 1/19/12]

AFP Attacks Sen. Nelson For Opposing Faster Offshore Drilling Permits

AFP Cites Vote On Offshore Drilling Amendment. AFP’s ad cites Roll Call Vote #00073 on May 18, 2011, to support the claim that Sen. Nelson voted “against American-made energy.” That vote was on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) “Offshore Production and Safety Act,” a bill “to allow more coastal oil and gas exploration and to speed the issuance of drilling permits to oil companies.” [S. 953, Vote #73, 5/18/11; New York Times, 5/18/11]

Senate Rejected Bill To Expand Offshore Drilling And Speed Permit Process, With Opponents Citing Deepwater Horizon Spill As “Cautionary Tale.” From the New York Times: “With Democrats citing last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as a cautionary tale, the Senate on Wednesday decisively rejected a Republican plan to allow more coastal oil and gas exploration and to speed the issuance of drilling permits to oil companies. […] Fifty Democrats, five Republicans and two independents opposed the measure; 42 Republicans backed it. Sixty votes were required to advance the bill, so it fell 18 short. [New York Times, 5/18/11]

Oil Spill Hurt Florida Gulf Coast Tourism. According to Newsweek: “It’s been a tough summer for tourism along Florida’s Gulf Coast, which has been suffering since the start of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in late April. Although surface oil did little damage to beaches in the Panhandle, pictures of oil-bathed birds and blackened sand fueled misconceptions and kept many visitors away.” The Associated Press reported: “Laura Lee, spokeswoman for the visitors bureau for Pensacola-area beaches, said hotel and condo revenue was down 5% for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. […] Oil started washing ashore in June and killed business in July, the biggest month of the year for the area’s beaches. Revenue numbers for the month were off 25%, with visitors paying about 11% less than the previous July.” [Newsweek via The Daily Beast, 8/22/10; Associated Press via USA Today, 1/2/11]

[NARRATOR:] It’s time to send a message to Washington: Stop the spending. And time to send a message to Bill Nelson, who voted for the wasteful $800 billion stimulus he said would jump-start the economy. Did it? Nelson was also the deciding vote for Barack Obama’s trillion-dollar health care law and $500 billion in higher taxes. What’s Nelson voted against? Against stopping more taxpayer-funded bailouts and against American-made energy and the thousands of jobs it creates. Tell Bill Nelson: Stop the wasteful spending. [Americans for Prosperity via YouTube, 6/22/12]