January 3, 2014

I had to shake my head when reading the Dec. 29 Fact Checker column, “Schumer claims only Democrats are working to ‘fix’ health-care law.” The Fact Checker gave Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) two Pinocchios for saying that Democrats are trying to fix the new health-care law while Republicans are “focused on” repealing it. The article proceeded to list several ways that Democrats are, indeed, working toward fixes of the law, objecting only to the fact that they are not legislative fixes. But what chance would such legislation to truly improve the law have in the Republican-controlled House, which, as the column also pointed out, has voted many times to repeal the law? The Fact Checker then, amazingly, listed three instances of Republican support for repeal of parts of the law — efforts to “repeal” a tax that would help fund the law, “repeal” the “CLASS Act” provision of the law and “repeal” the 1099 reporting requirement. 

In the end, Schumer gets his Pinocchios for supposedly misleading listeners by carefully wording his statement to suggest that “Democrats are . . . open to Republican ideas.” That’s awfully far from Schumer’s main point. This Fact Checker column, intended to make readers more doubtful of Schumer’s and the Democrats’ veracity, instead made this reader doubt the Fact Checker’s objectivity.    

Rick Smith, Triangle