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PolitiFact Fl On Clinton's Middle-Class Tax Plan; Rubio's Vote On Violence Against Women Act

Republican Party of Florida

Now that the results are in from Florida's primaries, let's take a look at some of the claims from politicians who are continuing to vie for your vote in November. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with PolitiFact Florida's Josh Gillin about recent comments from U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy and the Republican Party of Florida.

It's a battle for the middle class in this year's presidential election, so both campaigns are lobbing broadsides against each other.

Here's Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton saying it's time for wealthy Americans and corporations to pay their 'fair share' of taxes at an Aug. 17, 2016 Cleveland rally:


The Republican Party of Florida posted an image on its Facebook page that says Clinton "voted to raise taxes on workers earning as little as $41,500."

PolitiFact Florida found the truth was far more nuanced than what the image claims:


The GOP cites a March 14, 2008, vote, when Clinton joined Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine, in voting for Senate Continuing Resolution 70. The measure passed 51-44. Continuing Resolution 70 set the framework for the 2008-09 federal budget. It crafted a $3 trillion roadmap for lawmakers to follow in building the next year’s federal budget. It also created revenue markers for future years, so lawmakers could begin to contemplate how the budget picture may look down the road. If this reads like a mushy description, it is. As the New York Times put it at the time, the resolution -- and the companion passed in the House "are nonbinding and represent no formal action on either spending or taxes." Literally speaking, Clinton’s vote did nothing. Clinton’s vote was nonbinding. As we already mentioned, the vote didn’t affect people’s pocketbooks. CR 70 had no binding impact on the tax policy in the United States in 2008, 2009 or any year after that. The Bush tax cuts weren’t set to expire until the end of 2010. Clinton and everyone else knew that the Bush-era tax cuts wouldn’t expire until the end of 2010, when a new Congress and president would be in office. That means a different set of lawmakers would ultimately decide the fate of the tax cuts. In fact, it was a key point during the 2008 presidential election. Clinton the candidate wanted to extend the Bush-era cuts for people making less than $250,000 a year. Clinton, who was still seeking the Democratic nomination at the time of the vote, had promised to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans. "I am absolutely committed to not raising a single tax on middle- class Americans, people making less than $250,000 a year," Clinton said at an ABC News debate in April 2008, a month after her vote on CR 70. Clinton’s vote didn’t carry the force of law and she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. The Republican Party of Florida’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.

Next up, even though Patrick Murphy had a primary to deal with, he chose to take the long view and attack Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio as he runs for re-election.

Murphy lambasted Rubio for having a "terrible record on women’s health" in an Aug. 19 post on his website. Murphy’s post said Rubio opposed the right to choose an abortion, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood.

It says, "He even voted against the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act."

Here's PolitiFact Florida's ruling:


The original 1994 Violence Against Women Act was championed by then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. It provided grants to authorities on the state and local levels for domestic violence hotlines, police training, legal and housing assistance, and more. It has been credited for a decrease in domestic violence and an upswing in reporting incidents to police. The act was reauthorized in 2005, then due to expire in 2011. That brings us to Rubio’s first term. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., sponsored a Senate bill in 2011 to continue the provisions of the act. It didn’t come to a vote until the following year. Rubio said he supported reauthorizing the law. But he voted against it. On April 26, 2012, Rubio and 30 other Republicans voted against Leahy’s bill, which still passed with at least some support from both sides of the aisle. Rubio released a statement after the vote saying he was in favor of the act, but opposed portions of the bill. Rubio pointed out he had voted for a proposed amendment he thought better addressed rape kit backlogs, sentencing guidelines and law enforcement databases. He added that he was against Leahy’s bill because it didn’t deal with spending controls the way he liked and gave the Justice Department control over state programs. "I support reauthorizing the current Violence Against Women Act as written and hope we can vote for it once it comes out of the House-Senate conference committee," Rubio said. Leahy’s bill passed the Senate, but died in the House that year. The reauthorization came back in 2013, with Rubio again voting against it in the Senate, where it passed Feb. 13 with bipartisan support, 78-22. All 22 nays were Republicans. Rubio released another statement saying he liked provisions of the bill and was proud it included human trafficking protections, but he again said he wished the original law had been reauthorized. "Unfortunately, I could not support the final, entire legislation that contains new provisions that could have potentially adverse consequences," he said. He echoed some concerns from the year prior, saying he disagreed with how the bill shifted funding from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs and took power out of state hands. He also opposed a provision allowing Native American tribal governments greater jurisdiction in abuse cases, giving tribal courts the power to prosecute non-Native American men. Even though he had clearly stated his reasons why, Rubio still voted nay. We rate Murphy’s statement True.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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