The new commercials note that Hatch “voted 16 times” to raise the debt limit, allowing for $7.5 trillion of the national debt. Both ads say that it’s “time to retire” the man who “wracked up half of our nation’s debt.” Watch the spots:
The group helpfully documents these 16 votes in a report available on its website. The list includes 16 votes from between February 1981 and September 2007.
Prior to joining FreedomWorks in 2003, chairman Dick Armey served nine terms in Congress. Six of those debt-limit votes took place between the time Armey was elected to the House in 1984 and his retirement at the beginning of 2003. Armey voted for at least five of those six:
$179.9 billion in December 1985 (House roll call #454, 99th Congress) $448 billion in September 1987 (House roll call #330, 100th Congress) $600 billion in March 1996 (House roll call #102, 104th Congress) $450 billion in July 1997 (House roll call #241, 105th Congress) $450 billion in June 2002 (House roll call #279, 107th Congress)
Before the 2002 debt limit increase (which passed by a 215 to 214 margin — making Armey the deciding vote, arguably), Armey gave an impassioned floor speech urging colleagues to “do what is good for America” and back the bill.
And like Hatch, Armey helped run up the debt that necessitated those increases. In 2001, Armey helped push through a $1.35-trillion tax cut and in 2010, he urged Congress to renew this and other Bush-era tax cuts. He even argued that the 2001 tax cut wasn’t big enough. Hatch also voted for both the original tax cuts and the 2010 extension.
Put another way, FreedomWorks for America has invested about $500,000 into attacking Hatch for having a record that is not very different from Armey’s own.