Yet another Republican outside group is attempting to prop up former Congressman Doug Ose by running misleading attack ads against Dr. Ami Bera. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) new ad tries to distort Bera’s clear record of finding bipartisan solutions and protecting and strengthening Medicare and defending against efforts to privatize Social Security.
"Congressman Ose’s DC Republican backers are just repeating the same tired old lies,” said Bera spokesperson Allison Teixeira. “They are resorting to more misleading attacks to try to distract voters from Ose's partisan record of voting with his political party nearly 95 percent of the time while helping enrich himself and his Wall Street friends, and voting to privatize Social Security."
Bera has a clear record of finding bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges as a leader of the Problem Solvers' No Labels coalition, and is one of the most moderate members of Congress. He is also an ardent defender of Social Security and Medicare, recently announcing the support of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) and the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) because he has been “a leader in the fight to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare,” and has “a proven record of fighting plans that would end the Medicare guarantee for our seniors.”
CLAIM: Ami Bera. He puts Obama and Pelosi first. In Washington, Bera voted with Pelosi nearly 80% of the time.
TRUTH: Bera One of the Most Moderate Members of Congress
National Journal Rankings: Bera 177th most Liberal, 254th Most Conservative. According to the National Journal, Rep. Ami Bera was the 177th most liberal and 254th most conservative member of the House of Representatives in 2013. He received a 59.8 liberal and a 40.2 conservative composite score. The single most moderate member of the House, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), ranked 205th liberal and 227th conservative, with scores of 49.5 and 50.5, respectively - putting Bera less than ten percentage points from Smith and indicating that he was one of the most moderate members of the House. [National Journal, accessed 9/23/2014]
AP: Bera Made a “Habit… of Bucking his own President and Voting with the Republican Majority.” According to the Associated Press in 2014, “Democratic Rep. Ami Bera has been making a habit lately of bucking his own president and voting with the Republican majority in the House.” [Associated Press, 4/12/2014]
Leader in the No Labels Problem Solvers. According to documents provided by the campaign, Bera served as a co-chair of the bipartisan group No Labels Problem Solvers. In a September 2013 press release, Bera touted his membership in the group. He said:
Most of all, we need to remember that the first word in our nation’s name is “United.” Only together can we move this country forward. A bipartisan group that I’m a part of called the No Labels Problem Solvers, brings 40 Republicans and 40 Democrats together regularly to find ways we can work together. We’ve already introduced a bipartisan package of nine “Make Government Work” bills. But we can’t move our country forward alone.
[Bera press release, 9/30/13]
Hyper-Partisan Ose Voted with Bush GOP 94 Percent of Votes in 2004
CLAIM: Bera voted to increase the debt ceiling, just like Pelosi.
TRUTH: Bera Voted on a Bipartisan Bill to Stabilize the American Economy after Ose Raised the Debt Ceiling Multiple Times and Took us from a Record Surplus to a Record Deficit
WaPo: Failure to Raise Debt Ceiling Could Lead to Financial Crisis. According to a 2013 piece in the Washington Post, a failure to raise the debt ceiling “could potentially trigger a debt default, which would lead to ‘a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.’” The Post called the debt ceiling crisis “the most serious one yet.” [Washington Post, 10/4/2013]
PolitiFact: Raising Debt Ceiling “Does Not Increase Our Debt.” In its 2013 analysis of a speech by President Obama, Politifact reported that: “Experts we spoke to agreed that Obama is on safe ground when he says that raising the debt ceiling ‘does not increase our debt. It does not grow our deficits.’” [PolitiFact, 10/14/2013]
Ose Voted to Raise the Debt Ceiling Three Times
While Ose was in office, the national debt grew nearly $2 trillion from $5.6 trillion to $7.59 trillion, or about 35.5 percent. [Treasury Direct, accessed 11/13/2013]
Bera Voted to Require the President to Submit Balanced Budget to Congress In February 2013. Bera was one of only 26 Democrats to vote for a bill that required the President to submit a supplemental budget to Congress if his FY 2014 budget resulted in a deficit. The bill also laid out several requirements for information to be included with the supplemental budget, including an estimate of the earliest fiscal year in which his budget was not projected to result in a deficit, as well as estimate of the cost per taxpayer for each year of the deficit. [CRS Summary Link ; HR 444, Vote #38, 02/06/2013 ; HR 444, Vote #36, 02/06/2013]
Said Obama’s Budget “Does Not Do Enough” to Address National Debt In December 2012. Bera issued a press release that praised President Obama’s budget for taking “important first steps of closing tax loopholes for companies that would rather hire workers abroad than right here at home and for advancing a tax code that is fair to middle class families.” However, according to Bera, Obama’s budget “does not do enough to address curbing the national debt.” He said:
We owe it to our kids to change this pattern of wasteful spending. It’s critical for the health and security of our nation that we live without our means. In Congress, I will support pay as you go rules, and demand milestones to lower the deficit and our national debt. I will also refuse a pay raise until the budget is balanced; it’s the right thing to do.”
[Bera press release, 12/30/12]
CLAIM: Bera even supported Obamacare, which cuts Medicare by $700 billion, and cuts Medicare Advantage by $900 dollars for local seniors.
TRUTH: Bera Led Efforts to Protect Medicare
Bera endorsed by seniors’ groups as a leader in the fight to preserve Medicare. Bera has been endorsed by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) and the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) because he has been “a leader in the fight to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare,” and has “a proven record of fighting plans that would end the Medicare guarantee for our seniors.” [Bera Press Release, 9/16/14; 9/10/14]
Bera Pushed Against Liberal Democrats to Protect Medicare Advantage. In 2014, Roll Call identified Rep. Ami Bera as the face of the nearly 60 Democrats who were pitted “against the party’s more liberal members” to stop cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. Bera said: “We’ve strongly encouraged the administration that this is the wrong time to do this, particularly with what’s already happened with the Medicare cuts and the [Affordable Care Act].” [Roll Call, 4/1/2014]
ACA Does Not Cut $700 Billion From Medicare; Rather it Saves $700 Billion. In February 2014, Politifact deemed the Republican claim that the ACA cuts $700 billion from Medicare to be only half true. The Affordable Care Act cuts costs by choosing to cut pay-outs to private insurers and hospitals under Medicare Advantage. The Medicare Advantage plans were originally created to spur competition and bring down costs. Politifact notes that the plans were in reality more costly, and by reducing payouts, the ACA tried to refocus emphasis on patient care. [Politifact, 02/14/2014]
Bera Worked for Common-Sense Healthcare Solutions, Independent of Party
Co-Sponsored Bill to Repeal Tax on Medical Devices. In June 2013, Bera signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 523, which would repeal the excise tax on medical device manufacturers and importers. As of January 2014, Bera was one of 42 Democratic co-sponsors of the bill. [CRS Summary Link ; H.R. 523 Co-Sponsors Link ; Medical Device Daily, 7/1/13]
Introduced Bill to Delay Health Insurance Tax. In October 2013, Bera issued a press release announcing that he and Republican Rep. Charles Boustany had introduced H.R. 3367, the Small Business and Family Relief Act, which would delay for two years a tax on health insurers slated to begin in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act. Bera said:
We must do everything we can to lower the skyrocketing cost of health care for middle class families. The Affordable Care Act is giving millions of people health care who didn’t have it previously, but we need to work together to fix the areas of it that are problematic and make it work better for the American people. This bill would delay the collection of the health insurance tax until 2016, to allow health insurance markets time to stabilize while providing immediate relief to working families, small businesses and seniors, [Bera press release, 10/29/13; Business Insurance, 11/4/13; El Dorado Hills Telegraph, 11/7/13]
Voted for Republican “Keep Your Health Plan” Bill Despite Obama Veto Threat. In November 2013, Bera was one of 39 Democrats to vote for Rep. Fred Upton’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” which would allow insurers to continue to offer plans that had previously been canceled under Obamacare. [HR 3350, Vote #587, 11/15/2013]
Business Insider: Bera Among 39 Democrats “Who Defied Obama and Voted Against Obamacare.” In November 2013, Business Insider reported that by voting for the bill, Bera was one of 39 Democrats “who defied Obama and voted against Obamacare today. [Business Insider, 11/15/13]
Bera Defended Support for Bill as Matter of “Individual Choice.” The blog Political Blotter reported that Bera defended his vote for the Upton Bill to provide individual choice to Sacramento County families. Bera said:
I voted for the Keep Your Plan Act today so that all Sacramento County families have the individual choice to keep their insurance if it is working for them. That being said, I encourage Californians to explore their options on California’s new health insurance marketplace, Covered California, where families are likely to find plans that offer better coverage, for less money. California’s website is working, and health plans in the marketplace offer more patient protections and assistance to help pay for insurance, which isn’t available under existing plans. The bipartisan passage of today’s bill, and the President’s new proposal to let Americans keep their current coverage through 2014, are important steps in the right direction. [Political Blotter, 11/16/13]
Bera also said:
The reason why I voted yes is we want to get people individual choices, right? So, yes. I’m inclined to think that individuals are probably the best at deciding what policy is best for them. [Fox News Network Special Report with Bret Baier, 11/18/13]
Bera Admitted Pushback from Leadership. In November 2013, McClatchy reported that Bera had admitted he had received pushback from the leadership for his efforts to modify the Affordable Care Act. He said: “I get yelled at sometimes,” but said that his vote for the Upton Bill wasn’t a vote against the president. “It’s about being pragmatic and solving problems as they arise.” [McClatchy Washington Bureau, 11/15/13]