FactCheck: VoteVets Ad False and Disgraceful - Toomey Calls on Sestak to Denounce Dishonest Ads
For Immediate Release—October 13, 2010
Contact: Nachama Soloveichik • Communications Director • 484.809.7994 • 646.528.1029
Contact: Kristin Anderson • Deputy Communications Director • 484.809.7994 • 612.280.5196
Contact: Tim Kelly • Press Secretary • 484.809.7994
Allentown, PA – Congressman Joe Sestak and his liberal allies are so desperate, they have taken the dishonest attacks to a new level.
False Claim: In a new ad, a liberal activist group called VoteVets, that has also compared Pat Toomey to the evil Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims that Pat Toomey called bonuses for veterans “wasteful.”
This is completely untrue.
The Truth: Pat Toomey has said no such thing. Pat Toomey never called bonuses for veterans wasteful and you will not find any such quote.Pat called massive spending bills, containing hundreds of pork projects wasteful. In fact, in the quote in question, Pat Toomey was arguing that veterans’ needs should be voted on separately and should not be held hostage to wasteful spending.
Here is Pat Toomey’s full quote cited in an interview with PA2010.com on June 29, 2010:
“This June, when asked, Toomey said at a press conference of that vote, “Now there are times when some of these measures are [used] as an excuse to undermine the fiscal stability of our country. That's very bad policy. And, we shouldn't hold military and veteran needs hostage to wasteful spending.”
Furthermore, the ad fail to mention that the amendment would have given the troops the bonus by cutting funding from Iraq reconstruction, which was necessary to help our men and woman succeed (Congressional Quarterly Daily Monitor, 10/17/03).
Only four weeks later, Pat Toomey voted for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 which included a 4.15% increase in pay for military personnel, according to Congressional Quarterly’s analysis of the bill (RC #617, 11/07/03) (CQ Bill Analysis, 12/01/03)
Pat also supported many other increased spending measures for veterans throughout his time in Congress:
- Voted for a bill that would raise the GI Bill’s educational benefits for military veterans pursuing full-time study (RC #166, 2001).
- Voted for bill to expand and increase funds for several Veterans Affairs Department programs, including those relating to veterans educational, retirement, life insurance and death benefits. It would also expand counseling services for those leaving the military; increase automobile and housing allowances for the disabled; raise funeral-related benefits, and promote educational initiatives on veterans’ overall benefits (RC #63, 2001).
- Voted for a bill to implement a cost-of-living increase for disability compensation and survivors of certain disabled veterans. The bill would also authorize $100 million for the Labor Department’s Homeless Veterans Reintegrating Program and begin a comprehensive assessment of national cemeteries (RC #257, 1999).
- Voted to increase disability compensation for veterans and to increase dependency and indemnity payments for their survivors (RC #408, 2004).
- Voted for a bill that implemented a number of tax cuts for military families (RC #451, 2002). For example:
It would make the cash payment given to survivors of military members killed in the line of duty fully exempt from taxable income.
It would exclude from taxable gross income amounts received under the Homeowners Assistance Program and allow military personnel to temporarily suspend filing and paying taxes and meeting other IRS requirements while participating in “contingency operations.”
It would permit descendants of military members to belong to tax-exempt veterans organizations.
Voted for a bill that would implement a cost-of-living raise for various veterans benefits and expand disability compensation for veterans of the Persian Gulf War with undiagnosed illnesses (RC #301, 2001).
Further proof of how disingenuous the VoteVets ad is the fact that Congressman John Murtha, a former marine, also voted against the bill in question and stood up on the house floor to explain his voted against it. And VoteVets endorsed Congressman Murtha in 2008!
CONG. MURTHA: Mr. Chairman, I know that there is no one in this Chamber who has more concern about the Reserve and Guard than the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Stupak). He has units that have been deployed, as all of us have. I am getting questions and concerns from the families in my district, and all over the country they are writing to me. I had a 67-year-old say that he was retired for 10 years and they were trying to call him back. But I do not think, as hard as we work for pay, I do not think an amendment like this helps us. I think we really have a problem. I know we all want to help the troops, but we struggle all the time trying to make sure we balance out the money they make. I just do not think this is the right way to do it. I think what we have to do is certainly take a look at it, working with the services themselves. Mr. Chairman, 65 percent of our money right now goes to personnel. We put a big health care package in. Our subcommittee works helping the troops; that is what we concentrate on. I think it is just something we cannot accept. I would ask the Members to vote against this amendment, no matter how all of us would like to see the troops get more money.
Question: Does VoteVets and Congressman Sestak think that Rep. Murtha did not care about our veterans?
“It is time for Congressman Sestak to call on his special interest groups to stop with the dishonest and distasteful ads,” Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik said. “This is the same group that is distributing mail pieces comparing Pat Toomey to the Iranian President and murderous dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This is simply beyond the pale, even for Congressman Sestak who has taken many liberties with the truth himself. It is time for Congressman Sestak to call on his special interest friends to cease and desist.”