Sen. Chuck Schumer on taxes:
“When Mitt Romney says he wants to reform the tax code, hold on to your wallets," warned Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. "We know Mitt Romney never met a tax haven he didn't like. But his new favorite tax haven is actually not the Cayman Islands—its Paul Ryan's budget. Under this plan, Mitt Romney's own taxes would drop to almost zero.”
Schumer was echoing a line of attack that the Obama campaign has repeatedly pressed—that Romney would pay less than 1 percent in federal taxes each year under the Ryan budget plan. The assertion is based on a 2010 budget proposal from now-running mate Paul Ryan that called for the elimination of taxes on capital gains and dividends. Since most of Romney's earnings are in the form of investments, the elimination of those taxes would sharply reduce his tax bill. But the attack is misleading for several reasons. Romney's own plan would eliminate the dividend and capital-gains taxes only for people making $200,000 or less—well below the Republican White House contender's income-tax bracket. Also, Ryan's call for an across-the-board elimination of taxes for dividends and capital gains was dropped from his more recent fiscal proposals, including his latest budget.
“But for the middle class,” Schumer continued, “it's a rip-off. Families with children whose household income is less than $200,000 would see their taxes go up $2,000, on average. That's not trickle-down. That's a dirty trick.”
The $2,000 figure comes from a Tax Policy Center paper analyzing Romney's promise to both deliver tax cuts and offset any lost revenue through a streamlining of the tax code. But he has not specified which loopholes and breaks in the tax code he would eliminate in order to achieve revenue neutrality. The Tax Policy Center study said that in order to cut taxes and achieve revenue neutrality, some popular middle-class tax breaks would have to be scrapped. It said that doing so would result in average tax increase of $2,000 per year for middle-class families. Romney has insisted he would not raise taxes on the middle class, but he has left himself vulnerable to criticisms by not releasing details on how he would overhaul the tax code. Still, the Schumer attack is misleading because Romney has not offered any plan that specifically calls for an increase in middle class taxes.
Cecile Richards on women’s health care and the definition of rape:
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said that Republicans voted to “end cancer screenings and well-woman visits for 5 million women, end funding for birth control at Planned Parenthood.”
That statement is mostly accurate, as House Republicans voted several times to strip the women’s-health organization of federal funding. The organization does not rely entirely on federal funding, so some services may have continued. According to Planned Parenthood’s own numbers, the organization serves “nearly 5 million women, men, and adolescents worldwide each year.”
Richards said that Republicans “even tried to redefine rape.”
Soon after taking control of the House in 2011, Republicans were getting ready to consider an antiabortion bill from Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., that specified that only victims of “forcible rape” could be eligible for Medicaid funding for abortions. The language was an effort to draw a distinction with “statutory rape,” among other cases.
Traditionally, the federal government has provided funding for abortion procedures for women in government programs like Medicaid only in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother could die as a result of the pregnancy. The thinking of some antiabortion groups was that those exceptions made it too easy for some women to get abortions on the government’s dime.
For example, the concern was that a poor 16-year-old who is on Medicaid, under the age of consent, and pregnant could use Medicaid funding for an abortion since this involved a case of statutory rape.
But government funding for abortions in these circumstances are rare. In 2006, 191 abortions were covered with federal funds for women with pregnancies that could prove fatal or were the result of rape and/or incest.
After a skewering in the media (including The Daily Show With Jon Stewart), Republican leaders quietly removed that provision from the bill in February. Three months later, the House passed the legislation—without the redefinition of rape—251-175.
Cristina Saralegui on Romney's immigration stance:
Cristina Saralegui, former Univision and Telemundo talk-show host, said that Mitt Romney’s immigration policies could not be more extreme. “He said Arizona’s immigration law should be a model for our country,” she said.
But Romney did not say that Arizona's controversial immigration law should form a template for federal laws. In a February debate, Romney did refer to "a model" in Arizona: The state's requirement that businesses use the E-Verify system, which can check whether a person is authorized to work in the United States. While investigating a similar claim to Saralegui by Democratic Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas, Politifact Texas noted the E-Verify requirement is not actually part of the Arizona law in question, S.B. 1070. It is contained within an earlier state law. Politifact rated Gonzalez's assertion as false.
Nonetheless, Romney has not exactly distanced himself from the Arizona law, having promised to drop the immigration lawsuits against Arizona and other states on “Day One” of his term—presumably referring to the Obama administration’s legal challenge to S.B. 1070. Romney also criticized Obama's failure to lead on immigration after the Supreme Court in June struck down three parts of Arizona’s law (warrantless arrests, ID requirements, and criminalizing work of undocumented workers). "Each state has the duty—and the right—to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities," Romney said. "Of course, saying he wouldn’t sue states that adopt S.B. 1070-style laws isn’t the same as saying that Arizona’s law should be the model for federal immigration laws," Politifact noted.
Saralegui’s point that Romney “even made the architect of that horrible law an immigration adviser for his campaign” is true. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, author of S.B. 1070, is an informal adviser to the Romney campaign and an influential member of the Republican platform committee.