Scott Brown and his Republican Party are running a full-scale attack campaign on Elizabeth to distract voters from learning about Brown's voting record for Wall Street and big oil companies, tax breaks for millionaires, weaker environmental and health protections and more on issues important to Massachusetts families - like fixing our economy and putting people back to work.
Learn the truth here.
- Fact Check: Elizabeth Warren's Native American Heritage
- Fact Check: The truth about Scott Brown's record on Wall Street reform
- Fact Check: Scott Brown is wrong about health care reform, wrong about re-fighting health care battles
- Fact Check: Elizabeth Warren's "Rebuild Now" is a fully paid-for investment in our future
- Fact Check: In Travelers Case, Warren Fights for Victims’ Compensation
- Fact Check: Scott Brown Asbestos Ads Distort the Truth
- Fact Check: Scott Brown's Medicare Attack is "Simply Not True"
- When Elizabeth was growing up, her mother and grandparents often talked about her family's Native American heritage. She never thought to ask her Mom or her grandparents for documentation - what kid would?
But Elizabeth knew, even as a child, that her parents had eloped because her father's family didn't approve of her mother's background - part Cherokee, part Delaware.
This was an important part of Elizabeth's family story.
- Elizabeth's heritage had no role in her hiring - the people who recruited and hired Elizabeth for her teaching jobs have all said they were not even aware of her Native American heritage when she was recruited.
This includes Charles Fried at Harvard, a Republican who served as Solicitor General for President Reagan and who voted for Scott Brown in 2010.
At some point after Elizabeth was hired at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard, she made officials aware of her Native American heritage because it's true and because she's proud of her background.
- The important issues in this race are the ones important to the middle class families getting hammered because Washington is rigged for the big corporations.
As our United State Senator, Elizabeth will fight for our families and the issues important to our future.
While Republican Scott Brown repeatedly highlights his "tie-breaking vote" on Wall Street Reform, he neglects to mention how he worked to weaken the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, delay its implementation, and deliver for Wall Street.
- Brown worked to weaken the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, and leveraged his vote for campaign contributions from Wall Street and the financial industry.
"Campaign contributions to Senator Scott Brown from the financial industry spiked sharply during a critical three-week period last summer as the fate of the Wall Street regulatory overhaul hung in the balance and Brown used the leverage of his swing vote to win key concessions sought by [Wall Street] firms." [The Boston Globe, 12/12/10]
- Brown saved Wall Street from paying $19 billion needed to enforce the Dodd-Frank law.
"As the money [campaign contributions] poured in, Brown and his Senate staff were working both publicly and behind the scenes to scuttle $19 billion in fees on the financial industry that would have paid for part of the regulatory overhaul, and to weaken a provision intended to curb certain types of investment activities by banks and insurance companies. Both efforts were successful..." [The Boston Globe, 12/12/10]
- Brown has collected more than $2 million from a grateful financial industry, with some of the money going to a joint committee aimed at gaining a Republican Senate Majority.
"Brown delivered for Wall Street in the battle over Dodd-Frank when he extracted a pro-industry concession from the Democratic majority: the elimination from the bill of a proposed $19 billion tax on banks, money which would have been used for part of the regulatory overhaul." [The Boston Globe, 5/2/12; Center for Responsive Politics]
- In 3 months, Brown collected more itemized donations from New York City than from any other city in the country, including Boston. Additionally, Brown has collected more than $50,000 from JPMorgan. [The Boston Globe 5/7/12; CQMoneyLine, Accessed 5/15/12]
- Records show Brown among the top Senators in contributions from the financial industry, including #1 in Hedge Funds and Venture Capital firms, and #1 in Private Equity and Investment Firms and Securities and Investment firms. [Center for Responsive Politics, Accessed 5/15/12]
Fact Check: Scott Brown is wrong about health care reform, wrong about re-fighting health care battles
Republican Senator Scott Brown wants to re-fight the health care battle. He would repeal President Obama’s new health care law and start over, even after years of debate, court fights and a Supreme Court ruling decided the issue, and expanded benefits and coverage for millions of people in the Commonwealth.
Republican Senator Scott Brown is trying to distract Massachusetts voters from the real impact of repeal by making false and misleading claims about the Affordable Care Act:
Scott Brown: "This massive new entitlement means trillions in new spending and higher taxes, not to mention half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts for our seniors." ["Scott Brown Radio Report," 7/2/12]
FACT: The Affordable Care Act does not cut Medicare benefits, and "actually puts Medicare on a more solid financial footing," and means billions in tax credits.
The Washington Post: The Health Care Bill "Actually Puts Medicare On a More Solid Financial Footing," “Improved Some Benefits for Seniors." "The health care bill, as mentioned, actually puts Medicare on a more solid financial footing. Also, the health care law improved some benefits for seniors, such as making preventive care free and closing a gap in prescription drug coverage known as the 'doughnut hole' — improvements that the House Republican bill actually would repeal." [The Washington Post, 6/15/11]
The Washington Post: “Medicare Savings In the Health Care Law Are Aimed at Providers, Not Seniors; Seniors Stand to Benefit from Aspects of the Health Care Law That Republicans Want to Repeal." According to The Washington Post: "Medicare savings in the health care law are aimed at providers, not seniors; meanwhile seniors stand to benefit from aspects of the health care law that Republicans want to repeal." [The Washington Post, 6/15/11]
National Journal: Frequency With Which Medicare Cut Claim is Made Led Columbia Journalism Review to Dub It “$500 Billion Bogeyman.” According to National Journal: "The frequency with which the claim has been made prompted Columbia Journalism Review to dub it the "$500 billion bogeyman." That didn’t stop Romney from repeating it again in his response to the Supreme Court ruling. In fact, the law curbs future growth in Medicare over 10 years, but does not cut any benefits for participating seniors or affect the current Medicare budget at all, as Politifact New Jersey reported when Congressman Jon Runyan, R-N.J., said it again in a press release." [National Journal, 6/29/12]
The Affordable Care Act Lowers Cost For Beneficiaries In Traditional Medicare By $59.4 Billion Through 2016 And $208 Billion Through 2021, Through Lower Premiums And Out-Of-Pocket Costs. "The Affordable Care Act: Lowers costs for beneficiaries in traditional Medicare by $59.4 billion through 2016, and $208 billion through 2021, through lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs, according to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation." [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 04/23/12]
Scott Brown: "…the ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the Federal Health Care Law is bad medicine for the economy, the budget, and jobs." [“Scott Brown Radio Report," 7/2/12]
FACT: The Affordable Care Act is fully funded and lowers the deficit, while Scott Brown’s repeal would increase the deficit.
CBO Said Affordable Care Act Lowers Deficit by $124 Billion, Said Republican Plan to Repeal Health Care Law Would Increase Deficit by About $210 Billion. "The Congressional Budget Office said this about the health care law back in 2010: It lowers the deficit, by about $124 billion over 10 years. And in 2011, when Republicans offered a bill to repeal the health care law, the CBO said that increased the deficit, by about $210 billion over 10 years." [Politifact, 6/28/12]
Fact Check: Elizabeth Warren’s Rebuild Now Plan is a fully paid-for investment in our future, and is part of her overall economic proposals, which according to independent, nonpartisan analysts, reduce the debt 67 percent more than those of Republican Senator Scott Brown
Elizabeth Warren’s Rebuild Now plan would cost approximately $100 billion total, and is a fully paid-for investment in our future. It will add nothing to the deficit.
Elizabeth Warren has put forward concrete proposals to invest in rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports, schools, and communications networks. These investments will pay dividends for families and small businesses by laying the foundations for future growth and opportunity. Scott Brown has criticized Warren for wanting to make investments to repair crumbling infrastructure and create jobs now.
Republican Scott Brown’s claims are wrong and we’ve broken the numbers down for each step of the “Rebuild Now” plan to prove it:
1. Invest in Air and Surface Transportation
Investing in our highway, transit, rail and aviation infrastructure is critical. Elizabeth’s plan will lead to Massachusetts receiving at least $850 million and would support about 11,000 jobs here in the Commonwealth.
2. Fix America’s Schools
Elizabeth’s plan calls for modernizing 35,000 public schools, and community colleges across the nation. Under her plan, Massachusetts would receive $378 million for school modernization that could support 4,900 jobs. In addition, Massachusetts would receive an additional $68 million to support community colleges.
3. Make Wireless Broadband Available
We can invest in a plan that will deploy high-speed wireless to 98% of Americans, building on the MassBroadband 123 initiative to help ensure affordable quality access to high speed Internet across the Commonwealth.
This plan will actually reduce the deficit by $21 billion over ten years by supporting auctions of wireless spectrum rights to help ensure the spectrum is used more efficiently.
Total investment: $10 billion
Reduces deficit by $21 billion [2013 Federal Budget]
4. Create a National Infrastructure Bank
To leverage public and private sector dollars to finance important infrastructure investments, a National Infrastructure Bank should be developed. This bank would be able to invest in a range of infrastructure projects, without fear of political favor.
Total investment: $10 billion [White House Fact Sheet]
5. Support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities
The Partnership is a joint effort of the Department of Transportation, EPA, and Department of Housing and Urban Development that is designed to help communities improve transportation choices and affordable housing, in a way that is environmentally sustainable. The Partnership could be paid for by repealing the oil and gas R&D program, which would save $150 million over a decade.
Total investment: $100 million [2013 Budget, Department of Housing and Urban Development]
6. Give States more Flexibility to use Highway Funds for Transit Projects
We should work to revise transportation programs so states like Massachusetts have the flexibility to best allocate funding for our transportation needs – not cripple states’ ability to invest in transit.
Total investment: $0 – Revising existing legislation would have no cost.
7. Reinstate Tax Breaks for Commuters
The tax code shouldn’t favor drivers over transit commuters. Rather, transit and parking benefits should be the same. Making this change permanent is estimated to cost between $1.4 and $1.8 billion, and will be fully paid for by ending the special tax break for corporate jets, which will raise $2 billion over 10 years.
Not only is Elizabeth’s Rebuild Now plan fully paid-for, independent analysis reported in the Boston Globe concludes that deficit-cutting proposals from consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren “would trim 67 percent more from the debt over 10 years than those offered by (Republican Senator Scott) Brown,” exposing the holes in Brown’s votes and proposals, including support for billions in subsidies to big oil companies and big Wall Street banks, tax breaks for billionaires, his call for repeal of the President’s health care reform, and support for the extreme right wing proposals of Grover Norquist.
The Globe report shows that Warren’s deficit plan would cut $1.029 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years, while Brown’s would trim only $614.4 billion. Warren’s plan includes the Buffett rule, requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes, and responsible closures of corporate loopholes.
“Warren helped preserve an element of bankruptcy law that ensured that victims of large-scale corporate malfeasance would have a better chance of getting compensated, even when the responsible companies go bankrupt.”
- Boston Globe, 5/1/2012
“Elizabeth Warren's pro-consumer bona-fides are second to none, and trying to twist her involvement in a Supreme Court appeal of a critical bankruptcy procedural matter into evidence that she is anti-consumer is just ridiculous."
– Adam Levitin, Georgetown Law Professor
As one of the nation’s leading experts on bankruptcy law, Elizabeth Warren was asked to assist on one of the major bankruptcy cases of the last two decades. In the Travelers Insurance case, Elizabeth Warren worked to ensure that current and future victims of asbestos and other mass injuries could get compensated.
- Starting in the 1980s, there was an explosion in asbestos lawsuits, and companies like Johns-Manville found themselves in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court was worried there were so many lawsuits that the money to compensate victims might run out, both from the asbestos producing companies and from their insurance coverage, and some victims would not be compensated. This is a particularly acute problem with asbestos victims, many of whom do not see any symptoms until years in the future. If the responsible companies go bankrupt and insurance is exhausted, then it is possible there would be no compensation for future victims.
- As a solution, in 1986 the parties to the Johns-Manville bankruptcy, with the approval of the bankruptcy court, created a “trust.” Under the trust, insurance companies provide funding to compensate victims, and in return get immunity from lawsuits. Any person who can demonstrate health damages from asbestos gets compensated directly from these funds, without a lawsuit. The benefit of this approach is that it helps ensure compensation will be there for future victims and not just the first to sue. In addition, it can help prevent victims and insurance companies from spending years bogged down in lawsuits.
- In 2004, in response to a new set of lawsuits, Travelers Insurance, victims' representatives, and others, with the assistance of mediator Mario Cuomo, the former Governor of New York, and with approval of the bankruptcy court, came to an agreement that Travelers would pay almost $500 million more into the trust to make perfectly clear that all claims had to go through the trust. In response, some challenged the bankruptcy court’s power to create a trust, calling the trust unconstitutional and beyond the court's statutory powers.
- In 2009, the Supreme Court heard the Travelers case, and decided 7-2 that it was too late to challenge the bankruptcy court's creation of the trust to address victims’ claims and provide insurers with immunity from further lawsuits. If the Supreme Court had ruled the other way, it may have become impossible to establish trusts as a way to ensure that the maximum numbers of victims are compensated in situations of mass catastrophe or injury.
Elizabeth Warren’s role in the Travelers Insurance v. Bailey’s case
- Elizabeth is one of the nation’s leading experts in bankruptcy, particularly bankruptcy issues affecting families, consumers, and individuals facing catastrophic losses beyond their control. Starting in the 1980s she has been discussing the asbestos and other mass injury bankruptcy cases and trusts in academic presentations, in the bankruptcy textbook she co-authored, and in her work advising the National Bankruptcy Review Commission.
- When the Travelers case came up, Elizabeth was asked to bring her expertise to the case to protect the use of a trust and to ensure that the maximum number of victims would get compensated. Elizabeth had written and worked on these issues and was committed to ensuring that victims – even future victims – get compensated. In addition to working on the legal briefs presented before the Supreme Court, she also sat second chair in the Supreme Court when the case was argued.
The importance of bankruptcy trusts
- The benefit of a trust is that it ensures that future victims can get compensated, not just the first to sue. In addition, it can help prevent victims and insurance companies from spending years bogged down in lawsuits.
- In the case of asbestos victims, arbitration through the trust has shortened the amount of time it takes for victims to be compensated. According to at least one study, the mean survival time after a diagnosis of mesothelioma is 8.8 months. [Malignant Mesothelioma: A Clinical Study of 238 Cases, 4/14/11] If a mesothelioma case goes to trial, payment can take two years or more. In contrast, cases that avoid trial and involve an asbestos victims’ trust fund can be resolved in less than a year. [NOLO.com, Accessed 7/26/12]
What would have happened if the Supreme Court case undermined the future use of trusts
- This would have had far reaching implications not just in the case of asbestos victims’ trusts but for all trusts. If defendants did not believe they would be protected from future lawsuits, they would have no incentive to establish or contribute to victims’ trusts. In such cases, victims would be compensated on a first to sue basis until the defendants went bankrupt. Any victims that came forward after that time would simply be out of luck.
- This view was articulated by the representatives of future victims in the Travelers case who filed an amicus brief stating, “The ability of such claimants to achieve timely, fair, and meaningful compensation for the asbestos-related injuries they will suffer over the next decades depends largely on the viability of asbestos compensation trusts of the type at issue in this appeal. " [Brief Amici Curiae Of Future Claimants Representatives, Travelers v. Bailey, Filed 2009]
- In July 2011, Adam Levitin, a Georgetown law professor, wrote on the Travelers case on the blog "Credit Slips," "Supporting the finality of bankruptcy court rulings is hardly an anti-asbestos victim stance. If insurers like Travelers don't think that the deal they strike as part of a bankruptcy case will be honored, they won't cut deals. And the result will be that asbestos victims will face years of litigation and maybe no better outcome." [Credit Slips Blog, 7/5/11]
Boston Globe: "Brown ad misleadingly cites Globe story"
Michael Levenson, Globe Staff - October 15, 2012
Senator Scott Brown is running a television ad that misleadingly cites a Boston Globe story to argue that his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, fought asbestos victims in a major lawsuit.
In fact, the story reported that the attorneys who represented most of the victims were on Warren’s side in the case, which went to the Supreme Court...
But despite Brown’s contention that Warren fought victims, the Globe reported that the attorneys who represented most of the victims supported Warren’s efforts to grant Travelers immunity from asbestos- related lawsuits in exchange for the company setting up a $500 million trust, to be divided among current and future claimants...
Click here to read the full story.
Robert Farley, FactCheck.org - October 15, 2012
"He's flat out misrepresenting the facts," Francis C. Boudrow, business manager for the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Union, Local No. 6 told the Boston Globe. "It's offensive to all these people who've lost lives" to asbestos-related illness, he said...
Bruce Carter, an Ohio attorney whose firm has worked on behalf of over 19,000 claimants in the case, told us Brown has simply mischaracterized Warren's role. The idea that Warren was working against the interests of the victims, he said, is "not true."
Health Reform Protects and Expands Medicare
AARP: Scott Brown; Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan’s Mindless Claim That Health Reform Cuts $700 billion In Medicare Benefits is “Simply Not True” and is a “Myth.” “It's simply not true. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congress' independent and nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, recently estimated that the changes to Medicare in the ACA will reduce spending by a total of $716 billion between 2013 and 2022. ‘That's where the number comes from,’ says Guterman. The largest portion of these savings would come from changes to provider payments and correcting overpayments to insurance companies that offer private Medicare plans. ‘And that projected savings will be used to close the prescription drug 'doughnut hole'; to pay for free, preventive care for consumers; and to increase coverage for the uninsured,’ Lavarreda says. All guaranteed benefits in Medicare were protected.” [AARP, 9/2012]"
FactCheck.Org: “[C]ampaign claims that imply that Obama has taken money out of Medicare, and Medicare won’t ever get it back, are simply not true.” “Republicans claim the president’s $716 billion “cuts” to Medicare hurt the program’s finances. But the opposite is true. These cuts in the future growth of spending prolong the life of the Medicare trust fund, stretching the program’s finances out longer than they would last otherwise. … To some voters, it may sound counter-intuitive at first to think that cutting money from Medicare would improve, not weaken, its finances. But, again, this is a reduction in the future growth of Medicare spending over 10 years. And spending less is a good thing for Medicare’s finances — as it is for most people’s. … [C]ampaign claims that imply that Obama has taken money out of Medicare, and Medicare won’t ever get it back, are simply not true.” [FactCheck.Org, 8/2012].
Health Reform Extends The Life of Medicare By 8 Years, According to the Medicare Trustees. [Medicare Trustee Report, 4/23/12] Repeal, as Scott Brown advocates, would cause the program to go bankrupt in 2016. Health Reform is Already Saving Massachusetts Seniors An Average Of Almost $650 A Year On Their Prescription Drugs. [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 9/19/12]
Health Reform Helps Thousands in Massachusetts Access Quality, Affordable Health Care
Scott Brown’s Claim that Health Reform Doesn’t Help Massachusetts Families Is Completely Untrue.[The Bottom Line: How The Affordable Care Act Helps Massachusetts Families, FamiliesUSA 10/11]
The Law Ensures That Vital Preventive Services Like Mammograms, Cancer Screenings, And Birth Control Are Now Free to Everyone in the Commonwealth. [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 9/19/12]
The Law Helps Massachusetts Families WITH Insurance – By Reducing Their Health Insurance Costs By An Average of $908 Per Year. The law further helps insured families by eliminating lifetime and annual limits on care, and capping out-of-pocket expenses. [FamiliesUSA 10/11]
Previously Uninsured Families Will Receive “Substantial Help With The Cost Of Coverage” – Thousands of Dollars Annually. The law further helps Massachusetts families without insurance by expanding on the Massachusetts plan by providing new tax credits for middle class families making up to $90,000 to afford insurance. [FamiliesUSA 10/11]
And taxes? Repealing health reform means eliminating a trillion dollars in middle class tax credits and related costs to help families pay their bills.