Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: Grayson says Bush tax cuts were passed with reconciliation's 50 votes

The statement

Reconciliation was used "for tax cuts for the rich twice under Bush."

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson on Wednesday in an interview on CNN's Larry King Live

The ruling

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., has a reputation for using political rhetoric that pushes the envelope. On Wednesday, he appeared on CNN's Larry King Live along with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who's also known for her outspokenness from the opposite ideological perspective.

Bachmann started the exchange by saying the Senate should not finalize health care reform by using reconciliation, a parliamentary maneuver that requires only 50 votes, instead of the 60 needed to stop filibusters. Bachmann said the Senate would have to "break their own rules in order to pass the bill."

Grayson disagreed, naturally.

"My esteemed colleague from Minnesota is entirely wrong," Grayson replied. "There's nothing in Senate rules that prevents reconciliation. It's been used 22 times overall and 14 times by Republicans. If it's good enough for tax cuts for the rich twice under Bush, it's good enough to provide health care for all Americans."

Here, we wanted to check Grayson's statement that reconciliation was used "for tax cuts for the rich twice under Bush."

Grayson's staff said he was referring to the large tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003. Both were passed by reconciliation.

The 2001 tax cuts passed 58-33. All of the Republican senators (with the exception of John McCain, R-Ariz.) were joined by 12 Democrats to pass the measure.

But the tax cuts were across-the-board rate reductions for all tax filers, a detail that Grayson omitted when describing them as being "for the rich."

The 2003 tax cuts passed in the Senate by 51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney breaking the tie. (The vice president is technically the president of the Senate and can break ties.) Only two Democrats joined the Republicans.

The 2003 tax cuts included a number of measures, but the most significant reductions were taxes on dividends and capital gains taxes. Typically, these taxes are on investment income, and those cuts tend to give a bigger break to taxpayers with higher incomes.

Grayson takes a bit of a liberty by describing the measures as "tax cuts for the rich," especially the 2001 cuts, when tax rates were rolled back across income categories. But Grayson is correct that the tax cuts were both passed by reconciliation. So we rate his statement Mostly True.

This ruling has been edited for print. For the full ruling — and others — go to

PolitiFact: Grayson says Bush tax cuts were passed with reconciliation's 50 votes 03/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 4, 2010 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Spring Hill couple arrested on drug charges after months-long investigation


    SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill couple was arrested Wednesday on several drug charges after a months-long investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

    Hernando County Sheriff's Office detectives stand behind 24 pounds of marijuana seized by the agency during a drug bust this week. [Photo by Megan Reeves]
  2. New Pinellas Trail stretch draws raves at opening

    Human Interest

    EAST LAKE — Mike Siebel bikes the Pinellas Trail four days a week and loops up and down the Suncoast Trail at least a couple times every year. A 68-year-old cycling diehard, he was so eager for the opening of the 5-mile segment extending the Pinellas Trail to the Pasco border that he would often drive across …

    Cyclists wait for the official opening of the Pinellas Trail's newest segment. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  3. Authorities recover body of missing boater in Lake Thonotosassa


    THONOTOSASSA — Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of a 44-year-old Plantation man who went missing while boating on Lake Thonotosassa.

  4. Chester Bennington, Linkin Park singer, dies by suicide at 41: Report


    Chester Bennington, the flame-throated singer of enormosly popular metal band Linkin Park, has reportedly committed suicide at age 41.

    Chester Bennington and Linkin Park last performed in Tampa at Steinbrenner Field in 2014.
  5. Fifth worker from TECO molten slag accident dies

    Public Safety

    The June 29 accident at the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach claimed a fifth life on Thursday.

    A fifth worker died following a June 29 accident at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. Anthony Perez, 56, an employee of BRACE Industrial Group, died Thursday. [LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES]