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Tom Feran
By Tom Feran March 1, 2012

Marcy Kaptur claims Dennis Kucinich voted 'no' on veterans aid that she supported

A 30-second TV ad for Marcy Kaptur aimed a three-point attack at Dennis Kucinich, the fellow incumbent she faces in the Democratic primary for Ohio's new 9th congressional district.

Kucinich opened their recent City Club debate objecting that the ad misrepresented his voting record on job creation, veterans' care and prescription drug benefits for seniors.

PolitiFact Ohio previously looked at the ad’s claim that "when Marcy Kaptur brought home $42 million for new manufacturing jobs, Dennis Kucinich voted no." We rated that Half True.

For this analysis, we'll look at the claim: "When Kaptur helped get $15 billion more for veterans care, Kucinich voted no."

The ad cites as its source the roll call vote of Dec. 10, 2009, on HR 3288, the omnibus appropriations package called the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

The $447 billion measure, one of eight for fiscal 2010, included spending bills for numerous departments and agencies including the departments of State, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education. It also included funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Congress faced a deadline of Dec. 18 to get the package signed into law to avoid a government shutdown. The House passed it 221 to 202. It had no support from House Republicans. Kaptur voted yes; Kucinich voted no.

Kucinich's campaign told us the congressman explained his opposition to the measure at the time of the vote. He acknowledged support for many of its provisions -- including increased veterans' benefits -- but took exception to other major provisions: "billions of dollars in military aid, sanctions and funds for policies in the Middle East that undermine the administration's call for a commitment to diplomacy; $239 million in foreign military financing for Pakistan; destabilizing investment and trade sanctions; and restrictions on aid to Gaza and the West Bank."

Objecting that the Kaptur ad tried to portray Kucinich as "anti-veteran," his campaign cited efforts to fund research to help find causes and treatments for veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.

Kaptur campaign spokesman Steve Fought acknowledged that the omnibus spending bill had "money in there for the military. But you can't really pick and choose. It was to keep the government funded, and he decided to vote no.

"He wants to have it both ways. He's letting others carry the ball and do the heavy lifting. He keeps talking about Gulf War Syndrome, but he voted against his own provision. He was for the research before he was against it," Fought said.

Fought was referring to a provision in HR 2055 that was approved in the House last year.

Kucinich co-sponsored an effort to obtain money specifically for Gulf War illness research. A news release his office issued Dec. 16, 2011, said he and Rep. Michael Michaud, a Maine Democrat, had won $10 million for the Gulf War Veterans' Illness Research Program.

The statement says: "The funding was included in HR 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Kucinich won the adoption of an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act in July to increase the amount of money for GWVIRP by over 25 percent over last year's level."

But Kucinich voted against HR 2055 when the full measure came up for a vote of the House -- much as he had done with the omnibus measure for 2010. Kaptur voted yes.

The campaign ad claimed that "when Kaptur helped get $15 billion more for veterans care, Kucinich voted no."

Kucinich did vote against a bill that contained money for veterans.

We have noted before that legislators frequently face the dilemma of having to vote against programs they would normally support because they are so opposed to other provisions in the same piece of legislation.

And Kucinich's votes on military spending, reflecting his opposition, have been consistent.

Kucinich takes credit for championing a program that he ultimately voted against. His work for the program gives a different impression than his vote. His positions help explain his votes, both on HR 2055 last December and on HR 3288, the prior spending measure cited in the ad.

Those are important pieces of information needed to evaluate the claim.

On the Truth-O-Meter, it rates Half True.

Featured Fact-check

Our Sources

The Plain Dealer, "Tension between congressional candidates Kucinich, Kaptur on full display at City Club debate," Feb. 20, 2012

Marcy Kaptur campaign, "No," Feb. 20, 2012

PolitiFact Ohio, "Marcy Kaptur claims Dennis Kucinich voted 'no' on new manufacturing jobs," Feb. 24, 2012

111th Congress, HR 3288 Summary & Status

The Hill, "House Democrats pass $447B omnibus," Dec. 10, 2009

USA Today, "Congress approves $10 million for Gulf War illness research," Dec. 18, 2011

Kucinich Press Office, "Kucinich, Michaud Win $10 Million for Gulf War Illness Research Funding," Dec. 16, 2011

House of Representatives, Roll call 941, HR 2055, Dec. 16, 2011

112th Congress, HR 2055

GovTrack, HR 2055: Consolidated Appropriations Act, Dec. 29, 2011

Email from Kucinich campaign spokesman Andy Juniewicz, Feb. 19, 2012

Email from Kaptur campaign spokesman Steve Fought, Feb. 21 and 22, 2012

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Marcy Kaptur claims Dennis Kucinich voted 'no' on veterans aid that she supported

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