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Dan’s Distortions: Deciding Affordable Care Act Vote

“Deciding Vote” Claim Has Been Repeatedly Debunked


ANCHORAGE — Dan Sullivan is continuing his barrage of dishonest attacks about Mark Begich’s record to avoid discussing his own failed record as Alaska’s attorney general. Recent campaign literature paid for and endorsed by Dan Sullivan includes the regularly debunked claim: Mark Begich was the “deciding vote” on the Affordable Care Act. This attack is not unique to Alaska; it’s simply a national Republican talking point from a candidate who receives millions in support from Outside groups like the Koch brothers.

“Dan Sullivan’s attacks are the same as his candidacy, built and powered by Outside interests, not Alaskans. The billionaire Koch brothers continue to give Dan Sullivan his talking points and Alaskans aren’t buying it,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

See what the independent fact checks had to say about this claim being made across the country: Said Ads That Said Various Senators Were Deciding Vote For ACA “Push[ed] The Bounds Of Accuracy.” In June 2012, wrote: “The 60 Plus ad against Nelson also claims that he ‘was a deciding vote for the health care law.’ That’s a stretch. We suppose any vote for the law could technically be called a ‘deciding’ one, but Bill Nelson wasn’t a pivotal vote any more than any other senator. It was another Nelson — Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska — who was one of the last senators to sign on to the bill and give Democrats enough votes to pass it, a fact that Bill Nelson highlighted on his Facebook page. Other ads, including several from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have claimed that other lawmakers — Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana — ‘cast a deciding vote’ for the law. We think it pushes the bounds of accuracy to say anyone who voted for it was ‘a deciding vote.’” [, 6/10/12]

PolitIfact Florida Ruled Claim That Bill Nelson Was Deciding Vote For ACA “Mostly False.” [PolitiFact Florida, 6/14/12]

PolitiFact Ohio Said It Was “False” To Claim Brown Was ACA’s Deciding Vote. [PolitiFact Ohio, 5/30/12]

FACTCHECK.ORG: A “Stretch” To Say McCaskill Was Deciding Vote For ACA. [, 2/21/12]

PolitiFact: Ken Cuccinelli Claim That Mark Warner Provided The Tie-Breaking ACA Vote Is “Misleading” And “Mostly False” Since It Since Warner Announced His Intentions Three Months Before The Vote. “Cuccinelli said Warner provided ‘the tiebreaking vote’ that allowed Obamacare to become reality. There’s a sliver of truth here in that Warner did indeed provide a crucial vote that helped Democrats get to the 60 votes needed to advance the Affordable Care Act. But it’s misleading to say he cast ‘the vote’ when Warner was joined by 59 other senators who, by Cuccinelli’s rationale, also would have cast the tie-breaking vote. Warner was not among the last holdouts that boosted the Senate to a super majority; he made his intentions known three months before the vote. We rate the claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 11/18/13]

PolitiFact: Jim Rubens Claim That Jeanne Shaheen Was The Deciding ACA Vote Is “Mostly False” Since She Gave Early Indications That She Supported Health Care Reform. “Rubens said Shaheen was ‘the deciding vote to pass Obamacare.’ It’s true that all 60 Democratic votes – including Shaheen’s – were needed to pass the measure through the Senate. However, Shaheen, unlike Ben Nelson, was hardly a holdout until the last minute; she gave indications early on that she supported the president’s reform plan. We rate Rubens’ claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 11/4/13]

Politifact Ruled Claim That Mark Udall Was Deciding Vote For ACA “Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 4/15/14]

Last Senator To Commit To ACA Was Actually Sen. Nelson Of Nebraska – A Fact National Republicans Have Acknowledged

NRSC Spokesman Admitted That Sen. Nelson Was the 60th Vote for Healthcare Reform. “NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said it ‘may be true in a technical sense’ that Tester wasn’t the 60th senator to cast a ‘yes’ vote.” [Politico, 3/23/11]

PolitiFact: “If Any Democratic Senator Deserves The Distinction Of Clearing The Way For The Health Reform Law, It Is Sen. Ben Nelson Of Nebraska.” “The charge that this or that Democrat cast the deciding vote for the Affordable Care Act has shown up before. In June, a conservative group leveled it at Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, (PolitiFact Florida rated that Mostly False), and in 2012, a Republican challenger made the same claim about Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio (PolitiFact Ohio rated that False). The reality is that if any Democratic senator deserves the distinction of clearing the way for the health reform law, it is Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. As was widely reported at the time, Nelson delivered the 60th vote needed to send the bill to the floor for a vote.” [PolitiFact, 10/7/13]