Fiscal Organization Fact Checks 2016 Candidates’ Remarks With Some ‘Truth In Accounting’

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 11, 2015 3:10 PM
Fiscal Organization Fact Checks 2016 Candidates’ Remarks With Some ‘Truth In Accounting’

Next Monday, members of Congress are set to reveal details of a new spending bill (via Roll Call):

Members of Congress will likely get their first look at a year-end omnibus spending bill on Monday, as negotiators work over the weekend after buying themselves more time through a series of legislative moves Thursday.

“I think it’ll take us at least until Monday,” House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said of posting the omnibus text. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn shared that sentiment. The Texas Republican said late Thursday afternoon there is still no deal, but it’s his “hope and expectation” the House will post the text Monday, which would set it up for a final passage vote Wednesday.

He said he hopes there will be enough cooperation in the Senate to also pass the catchall Wednesday without the need for another short term CR. He also said at this point that a deal on extending expired tax provisions is still linked to the omnibus.

The comments came after the Senate passed by voice vote Thursday a five-day continuing resolution that extends government funding past Friday’s deadline to Dec. 16.

The chamber used an amended bill the House had passed earlier this spring, the fiscal 2016 Legislative Branch Appropriations measure. The maneuver enables the Senate to lob the funding fight over the House and gives rank-and-file senators the ability to head home for the weekend, as negotiators hammer out a final deal on the omnibus.

So, while we’re on the matter of fiscal policy, let’s see how accurate the 2016 field is with their stump speeches within this area. Of course, everyone has said something inaccurate, according to the group Truth in Accounting. Their mission is “to educate and empower citizens with understandable, reliable, and transparent government financial information.” They’ve compiled a graphic of what Democratic and Republican candidates for president have said, and their take on the statements.

Hillary Clinton touted what many Democrats love to cite in articles, blog posts, and on the Sunday morning talk shows, which is “under President [Bill] Clinton, America saw the longest peace-time expansion in our history. Nearly 23 million jobs, a balanced budget, and a surplus for the future.” The organization found that “the late 1990s surpluses were an illusion, as debt was increasing anyway. Those ‘surpluses’ disappeared quickly.”

What about Sanders? He said, “Social Security has a $2.8 trillion surplus. It can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 19 years (and more than three-quarters after that). Yeah, “the $2.8 trillion Social Security trust fund ‘surplus’ has already been sent on other government services and benefits,” TIA noted. “Congress and the president have no plan to fund $28 trillion of promised Social Security benefits.”

Yet, the Republicans were not safe either. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was low-balling the real debt numbers; Gov. Chris Christie “is one of the most egregious examples of states with governors claiming fictitious balanced budgets; and Bush’s beloved line that his state’s AAA bond rating is somewhat undercut, given that the Sunshine State has a $6.4 billion of unfunded debt. You can read it all below: