In the most ridiculous attack yet by a Washington D.C. interest group, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is trying to save Congressman Ose's failing campaign by distorting Dr. Ami Bera's clear record of refusing Congressional perks. These attacks are yet another unsuccessful attempt to distract from former Congressman Doug Ose's record of taking lavish trips around the world on the taxpayers' dime, accepting five Congressional pay raises, and refusing to turn down his taxypayer-funded pension while at the same time voting to gamble seniors' retirement security on Wall Street.
"Former Congressman Doug Ose and his millionaire friends in Washington are getting increasingly desperate with their most deceitful ad yet," said Allison Teixeira, Bera campaign spokesperson. "It's unsurprising that Doug Ose wants to divert Sacramento County voters' attention from the five pay raises and the trips around the world he took when he was in Congress, all on the taxpayers dime."
CLAIM: Bera backed a plan that would raise the gas tax by 15 cents a gallon, making it harder to fill up your tank.
TRUTH: Bera is against the gas tax
Ami Bera does not, and has never, supported raising the gas tax, and has been consistent that it would be an unfair tax on the middle class. [Bera Press release 10/15/12, Bera Press Release 2/22/14, Sacramento Bee 9/26/14]
Bee: Gas Tax Ad on Bera on “Misrepresents” his Position. In October 2012, the Sacramento Bee issued a scathing fact check of a Lungren campaign ad, which attacked Bera for supposedly supporting a number of tax increases, including the gas tax. Saying that “the ad misstates” the nature of these taxes as well as Bera’s stance on them, the Bee explained that it “uses old remarks for tax-increase claim” and completely “misrepresents Bera’s current positions on tax issues.” [Sacramento Bee, 10/31/2012]
Bera Called Simpson-Bowles “a Starting Point,” Noted Concerns about Social Security
Bera Did Not Vote for Simpson-Bowles. Ami Bera was not in Congress when the House of Representatives voted on adopting the Simpson-Bowles budget recommendations. [HCR 112, Vote #145, 03/28/2012]
Bera Called Simpson-Bowles “a Guide” but “Far from Perfect.” In 2013, Bera explained his vote for an amendment to HR 444, the Require a PLAN Act, which would require the President use the Simpson-Bowles report as “a guide” for developing a balanced budget. [Bera press release, 2/6/2013; House Report 113–008 Link]
Bera on Simpson-Bowles: “I would Probably Approach Different.” In a March 2013 appearance on CNBC’s Power Lunch,
There’s things in there [Simpson-Bowles] that I don’t like, and that I would probably approach different but at least it’s big enough to start addressing the debt and the deficit.
[CNBC, Power Lunch, 3/1/13]
Republicans Widely Backed, Attacked Obama for Inaction on Simpson-Bowles
RNC Backed Simpson-Bowles. In December 2011, the Republican National Convention twice attacked President Obama for setting up the Simpson-Bowels Commission but failing to follow its recommendations. [BuzzFeed, 2/24/2014]
John Boehner Supported Simpson-Bowles. In an April 2011 interview with ABC, House Speaker John Boehner criticized President Obama’s failure to follow through on the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowels Commission. Boehner said that :
[Obama] set up a deficit reduction commission a year ago. They did a lot of really good work. And while I didn’t agree with everything they did, there was a lot in their — in their proposal that was worthy of consideration. And what did the president do? He took exactly none of his own deficit reduction commission’s ideas. Not one. Come on? It’s time to grow up and get serious about the problems that face our country.
[ABC News, 4/25/2011]
Mitt Romney Supported Simpson-Bowles. At a 2012 presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney critiqued President Obama for failing to enact the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission, saying of its final report: “the president should have grabbed that.” [Chicago Tribune, 10/3/2012]
Doug Ose Contributed Thousands to John Boehner and Mitt Romney in 2012. Doug Ose gave $16,000 to Republicans during the 2012 election cycle, including $2,500 to John Boehner and $5,000 to Mitt Romney. [Influence Explorer, accessed 09/25/2014]
CLAIM: And while Bera would have you pay more for travel, he'd make it easier for himself. Voting for first-class airfare and special perks for Congress.
TRUTH: Ose Repeats Tired Lie on First Class Flights
WaPo Fact Check on First Class Flights: a “Four-Pinocchio Falsehood… with Little Basis in Reality.” In October 2014, the Washington Post Fact Checker awarded four Pinocchios to the claim that Congressional Democrats voted for their own first-class travel perks by voting against a nonbinding Republican budget resolution. It noted that the same claim came up in 2012 and was given four Pinocchios then, as well.
The Post wrote that the claim “goes especially off the deep end” by asserting that a vote “against a nonbinding budget resolution with nonbinding language on first-class travel” is the same as a vote “to allow first-class travel.” It called the claim “phony” and “with little basis in reality,” as well as a “Four-Pinocchio falsehood.” [Washington Post, 10/21/2014]
Auburn Citizen: Voting Against the Republican Budget was Not Voting for First-Class Flights. The Auburn Citizen reported in 2014 that a vote against the House Republican budget proposal for 2015 which also prohibited lawmakers from taking first-class flights with taxpayer funds was not a vote of support for their first-class travel. It concluded that a vote against the budget resolution, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), was not an indication of support for “first class travel for members of Congress.” [Auburn Citizen, 9/13/2014]
Bera Flies Coach
Bera Flew Coach when Other Congresspeople Flew First Class. On Rep. Ami Bera’s official House website, he described how he believes in “holding Congress accountable” in a section entitled “Refusing Congressional Perks.” It stated:
Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for lavish perks for Members of Congress. That’s why I fly coach when it’s on the taxpayer’s dime - not first class. Many American families fly coach everyday, and there’s no reason why Members of Congress shouldn’t do the same. During an official Congressional trip to Afghanistan to meet with our troops and discuss our national security strategy there, I was the only Member of Congress in the delegation to fly coach – saving taxpayers nearly $11,000.
[Congressman Bera, accessed 9/14/2014]
Folsom Telegraph Letter: Bera Flies Coach. In a 2014 letter to the editor of the Folsom Telegraph, Mac McCauley wrote that he saw Rep. Ami Bera with Rep. Tom McClintock flying to Washington, DC in coach seating. McCauley wrote:
I want to thank both representatives for watching the taxpayers’ dollars and not flying in the more expensive area of the plane. This taxpayer appreciates it from both of you.
[Folsom Telegraph, 2/16/2014]
Voted to Prohibit Taxpayer-Funded Car Rental Perk for Congresspeople. In 2014, Rep. Ami Bera voted for an amendment that would end the program of taxpayer-funded car leases for Congresspeople.
Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL), the amendment’s sponsor, said of the practice:
Members of Congress driving around the Capitol in luxury vehicles financed by the taxpayers that they represent isn’t exactly the image we want to portray to the American people, especially when many Americans are struggling just to get by.
Ose Traveled to Nine Countries on the Taxpayer Dime
Traveled to Nine Countries on Taxpayer Dime, Totaling Nearly $6,000. From 1999 to 2004, Ose traveled to nine countries on the taxpayer dime, costing $5,964.57. These included trips to Peru and Italy. [clerk.house.gov, Foreign Travel Reports, accessed 10/15/2013]
During His Last Two Months In Office, Ose Traveled to Hawaii for a Western Growers Convention. According to an article in the Western Farm Press, Ose attended a Western Growers convention in Hawaii in November 2004, while serving in his last two months in Congress. [GovTrack.us, Doug Ose; Western Farm Press, 12/4/2004, 11/6/2004]
Ose Gave Himself a Raise in Congress While Bera Froze His Own Salary
Doug Ose “Accepted” Five Pay Raises During Six Years in Congress; Bera “Denied” Both of His. According to the Congressional Research Service, members of Congress “accepted” the statutory annual increases of their pay in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004, or five of the six years that Ose served in Congress. These annual adjustments were “denied” in 2013 and 2014, the two years during which Bera served. [Congressional Research Service, page 15, 6/17/2014]
2014: Bera Voted to Block Congressional Pay Hike. The Associated Press reported in May 2014 that the House ”voted for the sixth year in a row on Thursday to deny themselves the cost-of-living pay hike that they would otherwise automatically receive."
The pay freeze was a provision of the 2015 legislative appropriations bill, HR 4487. Bera voted for the bill, which passed the House, 402–14. [Associated Press, 5/1/2014; HR 4487 Summary, 6/19/2014; HR 4487, Vote #193, 5/1/2014]
2013: Bera Voted to Freeze Federal Pay. In 2013, Bera voted for a bill that would extend the current statutory pay freeze for federal civilian employees, including Members of Congress, through the end of 2013. The bill would not affect an authorized increase in military pay.
The bill passed 261–154. [HR 273, Vote #44, 2/15/13]
Bera Pledged to Oppose Future Congressional Pay Raises until Sacramento Unemployment Goes Below 5 Percent. During his 2012 campaign for Congress, Rep. Ami Bera pledged to “oppose Congressional pay raises until unemployment is below 5% in Sacramento County." [Bera Issues Page, Link]
Bera Donated Pay During Shutdown to Charity
Elk Grove Patch: “Bera Gives Up Pay Earned During Shutdown.” In an article titled “Congressman Bera Gives Up Pay Earned During Shutdown,” the Elk Grove Patch reported that Dr. Ami Bera pledged to “give up his federal pay for the duration of the government shutdown” in 2013. Saying that “Congress should lead by example and put people before politics,” Bera was identified as “a major proponent of the No Budget No Pay Act, which says if members of Congress don’t do their job and pass a responsible budget, they don’t get paid.” The Elk Grove Patch added that “Bera has led the fight to keep Congress accountable.”
The Sacramento Bee also noted that Bera, among other California congresspeople, had “asked the House to withhold their pay until the shutdown is over” and reported that his “shutdown pay status” was “no pay.” [Elk Grove Patch, 8/2/2013; Congressman Bera Press Release, 10/2/2013; Sacramento Bee, 10/1/2013; Sacramento Bee, 10/2/2013]
Bera Donated Shutdown Pay to Charity. Dr. Ami Bera donated to charity all of his federal pay earned during the government shutdown in 2013. He gave half to the Reading Partners literacy program and half to the University of California, Davis’ Children’s Miracle Network. [Twitter, 12/20/2013; Reading Partners, 12/20/2013; Congressman Bera Press Release, 4/4/2014]
Bera Refused Pension, Ose Plans to Take $1,200 per Month
Bee: Bera Refused Congressional Pension, Underscoring “His Support for Reinforcing Medicare and Social Security.” The Sacramento Bee reported in 2014 that Dr. Bera kept his promise “not to take a congressional pension until key entitlement programs were secured for years into the future.” Bera issued “a check for $4,915 to the U.S. Treasury Bureau of the Public Debt” which reflected “the amount he accrued in pension benefits last year.” The Bee added that this pledge underscored “his support for reinforcing Medicare and Social Security.” [Sacramento Bee, 3/27/2014]
Ose Plans to Take $1,200 Monthly Congressional Pension. The Sacramento Bee’s CapitolAlert blog reported that, while Rep. Ami Bera “made good” on his oath to return the amount he accrued in congressional pension benefits to the U.S. Treasury, Doug Ose has refused to do the same. The Bee reported that “Ose, 58, estimates he will be eligible to receive about a $1,200 monthly pension when he turns 62. He has declined to make any pledges about his pension or congressional pay.” [Sacramento Bee, 3/27/2014]