PoliGraph: Klobuchar claim on bipartisanship rings true

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.

The Evidence

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.

The Verdict

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

  • Jamie

    You can’t say that Amy Klobuchar’s voting record is about LOYALTY!! That’s what Republicans say. That’s what Republicans expect from other Republicans. Senator Klobuchar votes the way she votes because she believes in the stand she’s taking with those votes, not just because she wants to be LOYAL to her party.

    And since when is it a negative thing anyway to vote in the way that the rest of your party happens to vote? Oh, I know. Since Republicans and a few so-called “independents” started saying that it’s bad. If your world view and your votes are consistent with each other, that’s a GOOD thing. Conversely, it would be a BAD thing if a senator were to vote all over the map; it would indicate ignorance and a lack of understanding of the issues. Just as it is a bad thing that some voters are undecided or “independent” when the choices are so stark. It’s really unfortunate that political candidates have to play to (i.e., spend most of their time and money on) those undecideds and independents in campaigns. The uninformed and ignorant are apparently deciding at least some of our elections for us.

    More typical, shallow, conservative-kissing mainstream media coverage.

  • Jamie

    (It’s worth repeating this, since you referenced the topic:)

    Now I think I know what people mean when they say “intellectual dishonesty.” How can you compare the cumulative contributions received by long-term Congresspeople with a one-term representative’s contributions? Why do you use that illogical [measure] as one of your reasons for your rating? It makes absolutely no sense!!

    Also, your giving Cravaak the benefit of the doubt about his votes in the light of those contributions is either naiveté or a desire to paint him in a more favorable light than he deserves. He votes like the rest of his party because his party doesn’t want any regulation of moneyed interests. You also didn’t say what those two votes were about that you claim were unrelated to the charge made in the ad.

    I think you do what a lot of other fact-checkers do: you bend over backwards and twist yourself into illogical and unbelievable knots in order to make it look like you’re being as tough on Democrats as you are on Republicans. Except that doesn’t fit exactly either, because you’re not very tough on Republicans. They lie through their teeth all the time with impunity. Even when their lies are pointed out to them, they continue to tell the same lies. They’re PROUD that their lies work to influence the electorate; I’ve heard more than one Republican operative say that. And you pick out things they say to do fact-checks about that are of no consequence. And then you do this illogical and false fact-check on something Democrats say in an ad – something that has a lot of truth in it.

    The verdict

    Your fact-checking is misleading at BEST, cowardly and false-equivalency-loving and favoring Republicans, at worst.

    Posted by Jamie |August 10, 2012 7:07 PM

  • Layne

    Blah, blah blah. Most of Amy’s “accomplishments” have been non-controversial concerns that left/right would agree with. Most of her bills have been temporary tariff reduction bills. Big deal!

    Where is the leadership to solve the real big issues facing this country??? Klobuchar votes with Obama’s policies 98% of the time. Look where that’s gotten us the past 4 years.

    There are only 100 Senators ….and each one needs to be a LEADER, not a pleasant but ineffective person dealing with small stuff.