Congressional Leadership Fund: “Busy Betty”

An ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund attacks Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) over virtually every Democratic priority, citing the Recovery Act, a cap-and-trade bill, and the health care law. But the stimulus bill didn’t ‘fail’ – it helped avoid an even more severe economic downturn, and the ad’s charge that stimulus money went to China is unsupported. The cap-and-trade bill in question would have boosted the economy with little cost to consumers. And the allegation that the health care law – which cuts taxes for most Americans – would kill jobs has been dismantled repeatedly.

Recovery Act Created American Jobs, Boosted GDP, And Cut Taxes

The ad cites Vote #46 on January 29, 2009, in which the House passed its version of the Recovery Act, when it talks about Sutton “supporting big-spending Nancy Pelosi.”

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]

China Got None Of The Money CLF Refers To

Congressional Leadership Fund cites an ABC News article from March 4, 2010 to back up the claim that the stimulus created jobs in China.

ABC/Investigative Reporting Workshop Claimed 79 Percent Of Stimulus Wind Energy Program Money Went To Foreign Companies. From the ABC News article cited by the Congressional Leadership Fund: “The program has already spent $2 billion, funding enough projects to power 2.4 million homes. Any wind farm created in the U.S. is eligible for stimulus money to put up wind turbines, regardless of where those massive structures are made. Each turbine costs about $3 million, and reaches 40 stories into the sky. An investigation by ABC News and the Investigative Reporting Workshop found that 79 percent of the program’s money has gone to foreign companies, money that Schumer said was ‘federal tax dollars, the stimulus, which was sold as jobs in America.’” [, 3/4/10]

  • Private Wind Project Financier: Jobs Created By Turbine Project Intended For Americans. From the ABC News article cited by the Congressional Leadership Fund: “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.” [, 3/4/10]

PolitiFact: Because Project Was Never Completed, China Got No Stimulus Money For It. From PolitiFact: “ABC News and American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop reported in early 2010 that of $2 billion in stimulus money for building renewable energy projects such as a giant wind-energy farm, 80 percent went to foreign companies, including Chinese. […] The story would have been accurate but for one thing: The wind project with the Chinese connection never got completed. Since companies could only collect money after completion and the program expired last year, it is safe to say that the amount that went to China was ‘zero,’ Russ Choma, the reporter who performed the digging at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, told us.” [, 3/1/12]

American Wind Energy Jobs Created By Stimulus Funds. From PolitiFact: “Energy Secretary Steven Chu and the American Wind Energy Association also weighed in on Choma’s story. Their point: Wind energy projects supported with stimulus dollars create and save American jobs. On Facebook, Chu wrote that, ‘Every dollar awarded through this program helps put Americans to work. … All of the wind turbine installation jobs are created here in America.’ 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. Clearly, jobs are being created and saved in the United States as a result of these projects.” [, 2/23/10]

Clean Energy Legislation Would Have Boosted The Economy At Minimal Cost To Consumers

The ad’s claim that Sutton voted for cap-and-trade cites Roll Call Vote #477 on June 26, 2009, in which the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The claim that it “could kill 100,000 Ohio jobs” comes from a study of the bill by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation.

Reuters: Experts Say House-Passed Clean Energy Bill Would Have “Only A Modest Impact On Consumers.” According to Reuters: “A new U.S. government study on Tuesday adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding around $100 to household costs in 2020. Under the climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June, electricity, heating oil and other bills for average families will rise $134 in 2020 and $339 in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country’s top energy forecaster. The EIA estimate was in line with earlier projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which said average families would pay about $175 extra annually by 2020, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which said families would pay at most an extra $1 per day.” [Reuters8/5/09]

  • CBO: Energy Costs Would Actually Decrease For Low-Income Households. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, if the bill were implemented, “households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020, while households in the highest income quintile would see a net cost of $245.” [,6/19/09]

Study: Clean Energy Legislation Would Create Jobs, Boost GDP. According to an analysis by the University of California, Berkley: “Comprehensive clean energy and climate protection legislation, like the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) that was passed by the House of Representatives in June, would strengthen the U.S. economy by establishing pollution limits and incentives that together will drive large-scale investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. These investments will result in stronger job growth, higher real household income, and increased economic output than the U.S. would experience without the bill. New analysis by the University of California shows conclusively that climate policy will strengthen the U.S. economy as a whole. Full adoption of the ACES package of pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create between 918,000 and 1.9 million new jobs, increase annual household income by $487-$1,175 per year, and boost GDP by $39 billion-$111 billion. These economic gains are over and above the growth the U.S. would see in the absence of such a bill.” [University of California, Berkeley, accessed 5/14/12]

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]

GOP Argument That Obamacare Will ‘Kill Jobs’ Has Been Debunked

The ad cites a Politico article from February 10, 2011, to support its claim that the Affordable Care Act will “increase unemployment by 800,000 jobs.” “Job-Killing” Claim Is “Health-Care Hooey.” From “The exaggerated Republican claim that the new health care law ‘kills jobs’ was high on our list of the ‘Whoppers of 2011.’ But the facts haven’t stopped Republicans and their allies from making the ‘job-killing’ claim a major theme of their campaign 2012 TV ads. […] All of this is health-care hooey, aimed at exploiting public concern over continuing high unemployment, with little basis in fact. As we’ve said before (a few times), experts project that the law will cause a small loss of low-wage jobs — and also some gains in better-paid jobs in the health care and insurance industries. It’s also expected that more workers will decide to retire earlier, or work fewer hours, when they no longer need employer-sponsored insurance and can obtain it on their own with help from federal subsidies. But that just means fewer people willing to work — and it will free up jobs for those who want them. If anything, that could reduce the jobless rate.” [, 2/21/12]

  • AP: Republicans Misuse CBO Statistics To Support “Job-Killing” Claim About Health Care Overhaul. From the Associated Press:  “A recent report by House GOP leaders says ‘independent analyses have determined that the health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy.’ It cites 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced that number. What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of the lost jobs would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job. ‘The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount — roughly half a percent— primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,’ budget office number crunchers said in a report last year.” [Associated Press via USA Today, 1/24/10]

Article Cited By CLF Makes It Clear Workforce Reduction Would Be Voluntary And Thus Not Increase Unemployment. From the Politico article cited by the Congressional Leadership Fund: “CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee on Thursday that the health care law will reduce employment by 0.5 percent by 2021 because some people will no longer have to work just to afford health insurance. ‘That means that if the reduction in the labor used was workers working the average number of hours in the economy and earning the average wage, that there would be a reduction of 800,000 workers,’ Elmendorf said in an exchange with Rep. John Campbell (R-CA). The report, published in August, said, ‘The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount—roughly half a percent—primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply … That net effect reflects changes in incentives in the labor market that operate in both directions: Some provisions of the legislation will discourage people from working more hours or entering the workforce, and other provisions will encourage them to work more.’” [Politico, 2/10/11]

[NARRATOR:] Betty Sutton’s been busy. Busy supporting big-spending Nancy Pelosi. Sutton voted for cap-and-trade, a tax hike that could kill 100,000 Ohio jobs. Sutton voted for the failed stimulus spending that spent $800 billion and created jobs in China. And Sutton voted for Obamacare, a massive tax increase that could increase unemployment by 800,000 jobs. Busy Betty Sutton. A swarm of spending. A real killer for Ohio. Congressional Leadership Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Congressional Leadership Fund via, 10/19/12]