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The fact that Rep. Glenn Nye voted against President Obama’s health care overhaul isn’t enough for Virginia Beach businessman Scott Rigell, Nye’s Republican challenger for Virginia’s 2nd District seat.
In a release on Rigell’s website critiquing Nye’s performance following a debate, Rigell calls into question one of the Democratic Congressman’s votes related to health care.
The release says that "on June 24, 2010, Congressman Nye voted against a bill which would have defunded the $5-10 billion required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to implement and enforce the health care legislation, including thousands of new IRS agents and employees."
The legislation requires all Americans to carry health insurance. IRS agents will enforce that mandate.
We were intrigued by Rigell’s claim and took a a closer look.
Asked to support the statement, Rigell’s camp pointed to a procedural vote on a rule held during consideration of HR 5175, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.
What does the Disclose Act have to do with Health Care? Not much.
But among the political maneuvers that day was a last-ditch effort by Republicans to create legislation that would have blocked funding for the IRS to expand its staff to oversee the health care legislation.
The vote Rigell cites arose from a request by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, that House members defeat a motion to consider The Disclose Act. That would have given Republicans a chance to introduce H.R. 5570, a bill that would have blocked IRS funding to enforce the health care law.
What Nye and all but eight fellow Democrats actually voted forwas to proceed with the scheduled agenda rather than allowing Republicans to hijack the floor during a rules vote.
"By voting against it, the Democrats would essentially lose control of the floor to the Republicans to vote on what they want. It’s a gotcha sort of vote," explained Steve Ellis, vice president of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Even if the Democrats had lost the floor, Ellis noted, the was no guarantee the minority Republicans could muster enough votes to introduce and pass legislation that would have eliminated money for the IRS.
"That’s a real stretch," said Ellis. "This is incredibly convoluted and who knows what the vote would’ve been if the Republicans had taken control. They totally would have been like the dog who caught the car."
The $5 billion-$10 billion figure came from a Dec. 19, 2009 Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate version of the health care bill, which became the basis for the bill that was passed by both chambers and signed into law. The analysis said the IRS "would probably" incur those total costs over 10 years.
So, let’s take a look back at the specifics.
Rigell says that Nye voted against a bill that would blocked funding for the expansion of the IRS to implement and enforce health care legislation.
First, is it correct to say that Nye voted "against a bill"? No. To start with, the issue in question was a procedural vote on a motion to proceed on legislation unrelated to health care, not a vote against a bill. That said, there’s a tiny fraction of truth in the suggestion that Nye’s vote closed the the door on a bill that might have eliminated funding for a portion of health care reform.
But, Nye didn’t vote "against" anything. He voted for House consideration to proceed on the Disclose Act.
It is far-fetched to make such a sweeping conclusion based on a procedural vote. For that reason, we find the claim to be False.
Scott Rigell for Congress, Scott Rigell "gives command performance at second Congressional Debate", Sept. 8, 2010.
Congressional Budget Office, analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Senate Amendment 2786 in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 3590 (as printed in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2009), accessed Nov. 1, 2010
Office of the Clerk U.S. House of Representatives, votes on roll call 385, accessed Nov. 1, 2010.
The Library of Congress, Congressional Record for House Resolution 1468, accessed Nov. 1, 2010.
Interview with Steve Ellis, vice president of the Tax Payers for Common Sense, Nov. 1, 2010.
PolitiFact story, "Kirk says health care bill will lead IRS to hire more than 16,000 new employees", March 29, 2010.
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