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

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

Solyndra was the first company to be awarded a federal loan guarantee under the stimulus, which Matheson voted for. However, Matheson is correct that he did not specifically vote funding for Solyndra. The stimulus bill created Section 1705 under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, authorizing a new program for rapid deployment of renewable energy systems and making funds available for renewable energy systems, electric power transmission and leading edge biofuels projects.

Mercatus.org reports that since 2009, the Department of Energy has guaranteed $34.7 billion through the 1705 loan program, the 1703 loan program and the ATVM. Solyndra received $535 million under 1705, and filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2011. In September of this year, Matheson voted in favor of the No More Solyndras Act, which would prevent DOE from approving any loan guarantee applications filed after 2011.

The claim: Matheson supported the bailouts

The Matheson campaign took issue Thursday with a NRCC ad that placed Matheson's image on the screen with the words "Obamacare" and "bailouts." Matheson countered that claim by saying he voted against TARP — the Troubled Asset Relief Program signed by President George W. Bush in 2008 — and the auto bailouts. The Bush administration provided General Motors and Chrysler with $13.4 billion in TARP funds in order to prevent bankruptcy, and the Obama administration provided more funds to keep the companies afloat as they filed for bankruptcy protection.

Matheson has released ads saying he "voted against all the bailouts" and supports his claims with articles from the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune. While the stories show Matheson voted against a $700 billion Wall Street bailout in 2008 (TARP) and therefore the auto bailout , another NRCC ad hit Matheson over a different 2008 vote, suggesting his vote in support of the American Housing Resource and Foreclosure Prevention Act, was a vote to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Opinions are divided over whether the foreclosure prevention bill was a bailout. TheMiddleClass.org wrote that it offers "a less generous bailout to mortgage lenders than it otherwise might" and that "the promise of a bailout is regrettably necessary to prevent further market destabilization."

Matheson voted against TARP and for the housing act.

The claim: Matheson wants to put Social Security money in the stock market

An NRCC ad accused Matheson of distorting Love's views on Social Security, saying Matheson, not Love, supports putting Social Security money in the stock market, letting Wall Street investors "gamble with those dollars." The ad cites a Deseret News article from 2000 where Matheson said he would like a pool of Social Security money placed into a broad range of "financially secure" investments, including stocks, that would return a much higher rate. Details could be worked out later, he said at the time.

On Matheson's House website, he states "as a country, we have all learned in the recent financial crisis that investing in the market can have unexpected highs and lows, and we simply cannot afford to gamble on the secure future of America's seniors." Matheson calls Social Security a "non-negotiable contract between the U.S. government and American workers."

In the KSL debate between Matheson and Love, Matheson said the U.S. should reform the program, but neither Social Security nor Medicare should be privatized.

The claim: Matheson voted to increase the national debt limit without spending cuts

An NRCC ad titled "Disappointing" says Matheson "sided with Obama and increased the national debt limit without spending cuts." The ad cites a 2009 vote for H.R. 4314, an act "to permit continued financing of government operations." The bill increased the public debt limit from $12.104 trillion to $12.394 trillion. Matheson voted in favor of the bill.

Federal law requires Congress to authorize the government to borrow money needed to pay for programs Congress has already passed. In order to do this, votes to raise the debt limit are occasionally required. According to the Congressional Research Service, the debt ceiling has been raised by both parties 74 times since March 1962.

What the Matheson campaign or Democratic political action committees say about Mia Love:

The claim: Love hiked property taxes three times in Saratoga Springs

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