A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Abortion and the Health Care Bills

If you don’t keep your eye on the health care overhaul bills making their way through Congress, it’s easy to find your knowledge quickly outdated. We posted an article Friday dealing with accusations by some conservative groups that the bills would mandate government-funded abortions (they wouldn’t). That very evening, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a new bill. Government-funded abortions still wouldn’t be possible under this version – in fact, it’s the only bill that explicitly prohibits the use of taxpayer money to pay for the procedure,

500 Percent Ammo Tax?

Q: Is Obama planning to increase the federal tax on gun ammunition by 500 percent?
A: No such proposal has been made by the Obama administration. And nobody in Congress has introduced any bill to increase the 11 percent federal excise tax on ammo.

Privately Owned Gun Tax?

Q: Would Senate bill 2099 put a yearly $50 tax on each privately owned firearm?
A: There is no such bill. A chain e-mail containing bogus claims refers to a bill that died more than eight years ago.

‘Godless Dollars’

Q: Did the government issue new dollar coins without the words "In God We Trust"?
A: Congress ordered the words to be stamped on the edges of the coins, but an unknown number of "Godless dollars" were produced by mistake.

Crime to Denounce Homosexuality?

Q: Would the "hate crimes" bill make it a crime to denounce homosexuality from the pulpit and give legal protection to pedophiles?
A: No on both counts. The First Amendment is still operative, and pedophiles would get no breaks under this bill.

An Unlawful Congress?

Q: Have 84 members of Congress been arrested for drunk driving in the last year? Have seven been arrested for fraud?
A: We judge these statistics to be not credible. They originated nearly a decade ago with a Web site that still refuses to provide any proof or documentation, or even to name those accused.

Slavery Reparations?

Q: Would a bill in Congress require looking into possible reparations for slavery?
A: Such a bill exists but President Obama has nothing to do with it, contrary to what a chain e-mail implies.

Mandatory Public Service

Q: Is Congress creating a mandatory public service system? Are participants not allowed to go to church?
A: The national service bill does not mandate that youth must participate nor does it forbid anyone who does participate from going to church.

Illegal Backyard Garden?

Q: Would a new bill in Congress make my backyard organic garden illegal?
A: A House bill proposes to split the Food & Drug Administration, creating a separate entity to oversee food safety. It’s aimed at food sold in supermarkets and doesn’t say anything about organic gardening, pesticides, farmers’ markets or that tomato plant in your backyard.

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.