During their second debate of the election season, the gloves came off between DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her Republican opponent state Rep. Kurt Bills.
The two argued over taxes, Medicare, the debt, the war and veterans issues.
The hour-long debate hosted by Minnesota Public Radio News also gave Klobuchar another opportunity to highlight her history of bipartisanship in the Senate, a broad theme of her re-election campaign.
“The way we do this to get [a budget] through Congress is to have Senators that are known to be able to work in the middle,” Klobuchar said. “Two-thirds of my bills are with Republicans.”
Klobuchar has her numbers right.
To do this analysis, PoliGraph weeded out resolutions from Klobuchar’s record, which don’t have the force of law (think a non-controversial, Senate-approved statement to congratulate Brooklyn Center on its 100th anniversary).
We also dismissed miscellaneous tariff bills, which are temporary duty reductions on specific products. Lawmakers regularly ask to have duties lowered for a period of time, and those requests are dumped into one big bill. And we didn’t include amendments to legislation, which are sometimes technical or procedural in nature.
According to Klobuchar’s voting record, roughly 60 percent of the actual bills she has sponsored over the course of her career have secured Republican support.
For instance, in 2009, Republican Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Richard Lugar of Indiana joined Klobuchar to pass a bill that would make adoption simpler.
However, it’s important to point out few of the bipartisan bills Klobuchar has sponsored have actually been put on the books. And Klobuchar’s voting record looks much different than her legislative record.
According to the Washington Post, Klobuchar has voted with her party 94 percent of the time this congressional session, making her one of the more loyal members of the Democratic Party.
What Klobuchar said is true: about two-thirds of the bills she has sponsored have Republican co-authors.
This claim is accurate.
MPR News, Senate candidates Klobuchar, Bills tangle in State Fair debate, by Catharine Richert, Aug. 30, 2012
THOMAS, Search Bill Summary & Status 112th Congress, accessed Aug. 30, 2012
The Washington Post, The U.S. Congress Votes Database: The U.S. Senate, accessed Aug. 31, 2012
E-mail exchange, Ben Garmisa, spokesman, Klobuchar for Senate