Tags: bill nelson | fact check | medicare | social security | cuts

NewsmaxFacts: Claim Bill Nelson Cut Medicare, Social Security 'Gross Distortion'

NewsmaxFacts: Claim Bill Nelson Cut Medicare, Social Security 'Gross Distortion'
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. (CQ Roll Call via AP)

Thursday, 28 June 2018 12:08 AM

CLAIM: A new series of TV ads accuse incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, a longtime defender of Medicare and Social Security, of trying to cut those programs.

The commercials, backed by a $3.5 million ad buy, is being distributed by the New Republican PAC, a Super PAC that supports Nelson’s Republican opponent, Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

It charges that Nelson, who it repeatedly characterizes as “career politician Bill Nelson,” supports “cuts to Medicare providers [and] weakens Social Security protections.”

To support its claim that Nelson has become a fiscal hawk over entitlements, the PAC cited two sequester-related bills that Nelson supported, one in 2011 and one in 2013.

The ads also hit Nelson for “weakening Social Security protections” in 2006 and 2007. In those years, Nelson voted against the establishment of a reserve fund for Social Security -- which Democrats viewed as a step toward privatization. Not a single Democrat voted for that legislation.

FACTS: In 2011, Nelson was one of 74 senators, including 28 Republicans, who helped avert a government shutdown over the debt ceiling by voting for the Budget Control Act. That bill established a “supercommittee” charged with identifying $1.2 trillion in additional cuts.

The sequester was actually intended as an incentive for both sides to strike a bargain. It would only take effect if the bipartisan committee was unable to agree on what spending to curtail. But when the debt-reduction committee failed to reach an agreement, it automatically activated the sequester.

In 2013 a second bill, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, was enacted to soften the sequester’s impact. Payments to Medicare providers were trimmed by 2 percent -- which is not to say actual services were cut.

Sen. Nelson’s defenders, moreover, say that a much larger cut, perhaps as high as 20 percent, would have taken effect without the compromise arrangement.

The criticism that Nelson sought to weaken “Social Security protections” is not exactly accurate either. In 2006 and 2007, Nelson voted against the establishment of a reserve fund for Social Security -- which Democrats viewed as a step toward privatization. Not a single Democrat voted for that legislation.

Also, TampaBay.com reports that Nelson co-sponsored a bill in 2015 to boost Social Security benefits, and has received the endorsement of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

The Committee noted that Nelson holds a 100 percent rating, citing his voting record, and that he fought to “privatize Social Security in 2005, pushed for the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole,” and opposed converting Medicare into a voucher system and raising the program’s eligibility age.”

JUDGMENT: Based on these facts, the claim that Nelson has tried to slash Medicare and Social Security funding earns a NewsmaxFacts rating of 4 out of 5 whoppers – and lands as a gross distortion of Nelson’s record.

It should be noted that Rick Scott and his campaign have no legal control over the New Republican PAC that ran the ad. And Nelson has taken a few shots of his own at Scott over the issue of which candidate is more senior friendly.

In May, Nelson told a gathering of public health officials that Gov. Scott is responsible for what he characterized as a “health care crisis” in Florida, without acknowledging the role of lawmakers in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

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A new series of TV ads accuse incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, a longtime defender of Medicare and Social Security, of trying to cut those programs.
bill nelson, fact check, medicare, social security, cuts
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2018-08-28
Thursday, 28 June 2018 12:08 AM
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