March 2nd, 2010
06:22 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Is Senator Bunning filibustering?


(CNN)
– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls Sen. Jim Bunning's one-man opposition to a jobless benefits extension a filibuster. But Bunning, R-Kentucky, says that's not the case since he's merely blocking a bill before it's introduced. A filibuster is when "you talk and talk and talk," Bunning insists. So who's right?

Fact Check: Is Sen. Jim Bunning's effort to block an unemployment benefit extension a filibuster?

Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump:
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Filed under: Jim Bunning
March 2nd, 2010
02:36 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Is Sen. Jim Bunning's stand against unemployment extensions in line with his past votes?

(CNN) - Sen. Jim Bunning set off a firestorm in Washington - and across the country - by single-handedly blocking a short-term extension of jobless benefits, demanding that it be paid for instead of adding to the deficit.

The $10 billion package also includes road projects and COBRA health insurance subsidies.

Without it, millions of out-of-work Americans can't continue to apply for federal unemployment benefits, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said up to 2,000 employees at his agency would be sent home without pay.

Bunning, R-Kentucky, says he's not opposed to extending the benefits - he just wants to make sure they're paid for without adding to the deficit.

"If we can't find $10 billion to pay for something that we all support, we will never pay for anything on the floor of the U.S. Senate," he said. In response, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, asked, "Where
was my friend from Kentucky when we had two wars that were unpaid for during the Bush administration?"

And that got the CNN Fact Check desk wondering: Has Bunning always been so deficit-conscious, or is his hardball stance something new?

Fact Check: Has Bunning voted for other unemployment benefit extensions or programs that increased the deficit?

(Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump)

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Filed under: Jim Bunning • Popular Posts
February 11th, 2010
09:33 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Obama's stance on Wall Street bonuses

(CNN) – Soon after taking office last January in the midst of the recession, President Barack Obama began railing against "shameful" bonuses paid to Wall Street "fat cats." As recently as last month he called bonuses "obscene." But this week, in an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the President says he doesn't "begrudge" two CEOs he knows who are getting bonuses of $17 million and $9 million. He calls it "part of the the free-market system."

Fact Check: Has President Obama changed his tone on bonuses?

– In January 2009 President Obama declared Wall Street bonuses the "height of irresponsibility." He said it was "shameful" that banks paid out $18.4 billion in bonuses at the same time they were being bailed out by U.S. taxpayers.

– In January 2010 the president referred to "obscene" Wall Street bonuses when he proposed a new tax on big banks to recoup taxpayer bailout money.

– In an oval office interview Tuesday, the president was asked what he thought about a $17 million bonus for JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon and a $9 million bonus for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Although he was "shocked" by the bonus amounts, the president told Bloomberg BusinessWeek, "I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen." He went on to say, "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system."

– White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said, "The president has said countless times, as he did in the interview, that he doesn't 'begrudge' the success of Americans" and he "made clear that there are a number of steps that need to be taken to change the culture of Wall Street. A sentiment he has consistently expressed since long before he took office."

Bottom Line: Yes, the president has changed his tone.

Though the president says he's "shocked" over big bonuses, he's toning down the rhetoric toward those who accept them. His characterization of these two CEOs as "savvy businessmen" is a far cry from the "fat cat" references he made at the height of the financial crisis. It bears pointing out, however, that JPMorganChase and Goldman Sachs are among the banks that have paid back their federal bailout money, and President Obama has made clear distinctions in the past between companies that received bailout money and continued to pay big bonuses, and those that did not.


Filed under: President Obama • Wall Street
February 2nd, 2010
01:55 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: 'Don't ask, don't tell' discharges

(CNN) – More than 13,000 gay and lesbian service members have been discharged under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. President Bill Clinton tried to lift the military's ban on gays altogether in 1993, but settled for the "don't ask, don't tell" compromise amid opposition from Congress and the military. Now, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is launching a yearlong study on how to phase out the policy.

Amid the ongoing debate over its effectiveness, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Virginia, said that the number of troops discharged under "don't ask, don't tell" in 2009 was roughly one-third the number dismissed in 2001. "This shows that during wartime, DADT is not being pursued aggressively because one's orientation has nothing to do with their ability to fight," he said in a written statement.

Fact Check: Have discharges related to "don't ask, don't tell" declined significantly since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
- Just before the war in Afghanistan began, the annual number of discharges peaked at 1,227 in 2001, according to Defense Department statistics. The number had topped 1,000 every year prior to that, dating back to 1998.
- After the war in Afghanistan began, those same statistics show the number fell to 885 in 2002.
- Pentagon figures show the discharges dropped to 770 in 2003, the year the Iraq war began. The numbers remained in the 600-700 range every year until 2008, and dropped to 428 in 2009.

Get the bottom line after the jump:
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Filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell