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A truth test for Jim Matheson and Mia Love: Digging into the political claims

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 11:12 a.m. MDT

Candidates Mia Love and Jim Matheson are looking to woo voters in a tight 4th Congressional District race and advertisements from both camps and their party supporters are filling the airwaves.

Today we offer the following Truth Test, taking a look at the claims of both the Matheson and Love camps, and the political action committees that are funding advertisements.

Read more about the ad war raging between Rep. Jim Matheson and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love

What the Love campaign or Republican political action committees say about Jim Matheson:

The claim: Matheson voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act

Multiple claims about Matheson's support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul fill advertisements and debate sound bites. During the KUTV/Salt Lake Tribune and KSL debates, Love accused Matheson of voting against the repeal of Obamacare in 2011. This claim was echoed in a super PAC ad from It's Now or Never Inc. A National Republican Congressional Committee ad accused Matheson of voting in support of the president's health care overhaul, saying he "voted thirteen times to fund Obamacare." In response to criticisms, Matheson said he has always opposed the health care overhaul.

Are both claims true? Since the Affordable Care Act's passage, the House has voted at least 33 times to remove parts of the law, limit funding or to repeal the law entirely. Matheson has supported some of those votes and rejected others.

In the three main votes being debated between the candidates, Thomas.gov shows that Matheson voted against the health care overhaul, against repealing the health care overhaul and later for its repeal. Matheson's vote against repeal came in Jan. 2011. In debates with Love, Matheson said he voted against repeal because he thought it prudent to let the judiciary have its say on the bill. After the Supreme Court's ruling in July, Matheson voted in favor of repeal. A Love ad accused Matheson of not telling the truth, citing a PoliticIt interview where Matheson said he didn't vote for outright repeal because the law gave rights to people that he "wasn't going to take away." He has, however, said he voted to repeal several components of the law.

The claim: Matheson voted for the stimulus bill

Ads from the NRCC and the Center for Individual Freedom dinged Matheson for his support of the 2009 stimulus. Another NRCC ad quoted Matheson saying, "We've got to stop spending and live within our means," before criticizing Matheson for voting for the $800 billion stimulus.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed into law on Feb. 13, 2009, as a way to stimulate the U.S. economy. The 2011 stimulus expenditure estimate was $787 billion, which was later increased to $840 billion. The main three components of the stimulus were tax cuts and benefits for families and businesses, funding for entitlement programs such as unemployment benefits and funding for federal contracts, grants and loans.

Matheson did vote for the stimulus, and he defended that vote during a KSL debate, saying the main component of the bill was a tax cut for every working American. The stimulus bill contained a number of tax provisions, including cuts that were mostly authorized for one or two years, the ProPublica website states.

The claim: Matheson funded Solyndra

During another debate between the candidates, Love said, "My opponent took $535 million of taxpayer dollars and funded Solyndra with it." Matheson accused her of being dishonest with voters, saying "there's never been a vote in legislation that said Solyndra. To suggest somehow I picked the Solyndra project and voted for it, that's just not being honest with the voters."

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