A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Congress Did Not Raise Its Pay, Deny Seniors Increase

Chris Cates, a Republican congressional candidate in Georgia’s May 11 special election, says in a new TV ad that Congress voted to give itself a pay raise, while denying senior citizens on Social Security a cost-of-living increase. He’s wrong on both counts.

In “Fed Up,” an ad that started running May 3, Cates gives a litany of complaints about Congress, including that it has "gold-plated health insurance" (a matter of opinion, but members of Congress receive the same health care plans as federal workers ),

Mis-Tweets on Twitter

v. To use Twitter to mislead your followers.
For providing false and misleading information, a 30-second TV spot crafted by a seasoned media consultant is still king. But there’s another medium this campaign year that makes …

Retribution Fabrication

Q: Did Congress raise its own pay for 2010 while voting to deny an increase for Social Security recipients?
A: No. A chain e-mail calling for "retribution" in the fall elections makes false claims and uses fabricated figures.

Extras: Allentown, Palin, E-mails

This round-up of political tidbits includes an ad pegged to the president’s visit to Allentown, Sarah Palin on Obama’s birth certificate and more chain e-mails.
Working Where in Allentown?
When President Barack Obama traveled to Allentown, Pa., Friday morning to discuss job creation, the Republican National Committee welcomed him with a radio spot questioning the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Unfortunately, by Friday the ad was a day late and a few hundred thousand jobs short.

Electronic Medical Records for Congress?

Q: Is the Social Security Administration paying $24 million to set up new electronic medical records for members of Congress?
A: False. The money is going to speed processing of applications for disability benefits. Furthermore, the money is coming from the stimulus bill and not from “withholding cost of living increases."

Federal Pay Raise

Q: Did Obama grant federal workers a pay raise for next year when Social Security recipients are getting no increase?

A: The president acted to hold down the federal pay raise to 2 percent next year.

A Zero Pay Raise for Congress, Too

The current Congress is being falsely blamed for the fact that Social Security recipients are not due to get a cost-of-living increase in January. As we noted in an Ask FactCheck item posted Sept. 23, the real reason for the freeze is volatile oil prices and the formula that Congress adopted, and President Richard Nixon signed and claimed credit for, in 1972.
That hasn’t stopped some from claiming that the current Congress is not only to blame,

Social Security for Immigrants and Refugees

Q: Do immigrants and refugees get more in benefits than a retired U.S. citizen gets in Social Security?
A: This is nonsense. The claims propagated by a viral e-mail are not even close to the truth.

FDR’s “Voluntary” Social Security

Q: Did FDR promise that Social Security would be voluntary? Did Democrats end tax deductions for Social Security withholding?
A: Social Security has never been voluntary and taxes paid to support it have never been deductible from federal income taxes. A widely e-mailed "history lesson" gets nearly all its facts wrong.

Social Security for Illegal Immigrants?

Q: Is Congress about to give Social Security to illegal immigrants?
A: Congress hasn’t voted on any measure to pay benefits to illegal immigrants, and has no plans for any such vote.