Truth Check: PB&J ad attacks Gardner’s voting record

Truth Check

DENVER (KDVR) — The Truth Check team continues to look at the candidates and their commercials in the 2020 election. Every advertisement that claims something — we will research and determine if the ads are actually telling the truth.

You can watch our previous â€śTruth Check” segments here and you can read our criteria and standards here.

The latest Truth Check is on an ad that’s paid for by the Senate Majority PAC, which supports Democratic Senate candidates.

The ad targets Sen. Cory Gardner, who is running for reelection against former Gov. John Hickenlooper.

CLAIM #1 

Sen. Cory Gardner and President Donald Trump gave corporations and wealthy Americans trillions of dollars in tax breaks

Exact quote in ad: â€śPeanut butter and jelly: two things that go together. You know, like Cory Gardner and Donald Trump. Gardner and Trump gave trillions in tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.”

Verdict: Not exactly

Reason: Gardner did vote for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, commonly called Trump’s tax cut. It’s worth about $1.5 trillion – not trillions, plural. The bill permanently cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21%. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation reported it would save companies about $1.35 trillion over 10 years. The rest of the money went to individual tax cuts that last until 2025. This saved the average family in Colorado about $1,400 per year, according to the Tax Foundation. However, the wealthy did benefit more from the bill, as “higher income households receive larger average tax cuts,” according to the Tax Policy Center.

CLAIM #2

Gardner has voted nine times to eliminate insurance protections for people with preexisting conditions

Exact quote in ad: â€śAnd just as cream goes with coffee, Gardner’s stood with Trump and voted nine times to eliminate health care protections for people with preexisting conditions”

Verdict: True

Reason: Gardner made those votes between 2015 and 2019. Not all were final votes on bills. Some were for procedural votes, motions and amendments. Sometimes Gardner voted to eliminate the protections for preexisting conditions, while he also voted against supporting the protections. Vote Smart has tracked all of Gardner’s health care votes. That said, on Aug. 6, 2020, Gardner introduced his own health care bill that reads, in part, “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage may not impose any pre-existing condition exclusion…” The bill has quite a few critics, including the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt, who tweeted this about the bill:

Gardner’s campaign disagrees with that assessment. It told FOX31, “If passed…insurers would be required to take on and cover individuals with pre-existing conditions no matter what happens to Obamacare.”

The bill has been read twice and referred to committee.

CLAIM #3

Gardner has stuck with/voted with Trump 98% of the time

Exact quote in ad: â€śLike macaroni and cheese, Gardner’s stuck with Trump 98% of the time”

Verdict: True

Reason: The claim is true, according to one vote analysis from Congressional Quarterly, a site that tracks congressional voting records. It’s important to note – the president does not vote, but is often quite vocal about about his feelings for a particular bill. Another analysis, from FiveThirtyEight, shows Gardner has voted in line with Trump at least 89% of the time. However, Gardner is ranked as the third most bipartisan senator by the Georgetown University, The Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index. It looks at how often senators cosponsor bills across the aisle and vise-versa. Gardner has gotten a number of bills passed under both Presidents Obama and Trump. Then there’s Trump, who said Gardner has been with him 100% of the time, at a rally in Colorado Springs in February.

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