Tom Cotton: Reckless and Irresponsible

2013-10-09 Reckless Tom Graphic v2Tom Cotton’s personal ambition and narrow political agenda is out-of-step with Arkansans.

He is the only Arkansas Congressman that wants to bomb Syria, costing billions of dollars and risking American lives. He is the only Arkansas Congressman to vote against student loans, disaster relief, and both the Democratic and Republican versions of the Violence Against Women Act.

2013-10-08 HeadlinesTom Cotton is the only Arkansas Congressman who voted to kill the Farm Program, which is essential to Arkansas’ economy and our way-of-life. And Tom Cotton wants to raise the retirement age to 70, and increase Medicare costs for Arkansas’ seniors.

It’s a reckless and irresponsible agenda, fueled by personal ambition and blind allegiance to special interests that fund his campaigns.

So, it’s no wonder Congressman Cotton is willing to shut down the government, risk default on our loans, and jeopardize our entire economy. Tom Cotton is reckless and irresponsible.


In :30 seconds or less

Tom Cotton is the only Arkansas Congressman who wants to bomb Syria.

The only Arkansas Congressman who voted to kill the Farm Program.

Cotton even supports raising the retirement age to 70 and raising Medicare costs for Seniors.

No wonder Congressman Cotton is willing to shut down the government and risk default.

He’ll jeopardize our entire economy just to advance his narrow political agenda and personal ambition.

Tom Cotton. Reckless and Irresponsible.


The Facts

TOM COTTON IS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE ARKANSAS DELEGATION TO SUPPORT RECENT PLANS FOR MILITARY ACTION IN SYRIA

KARK: Cotton Was The Only Member Of The Arkansas Delegation To Support Military Intervention In Syria.  In September 2013, KARK reported: “Cong. Tom Cotton (R) is going it alone, again. As the only member of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation to currently support limited intervention in Syria, Cotton says the U.S. must respond to the chemical weapons attack to maintain regional credibility and to protect against larger threats to U.S. national interests.” [KARK, 9/8/13]

Cotton Said “I Am In Support Of The President’s Call For Action In Syria.” In a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cotton said, “So that is why — miracle of miracles — I am in support of the president’s call for action in Syria. I’m urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this action, as well.” [House Committee on Foreign Affairs, 9/4/13]

Associated Press: Tom Cotton “Is One Of The Most Vocal Supporters Of Obama’s Call For Military Action.” In September 2013, the AP reported: “Tom Cotton won his south Arkansas congressional seat and is challenging Pryor next year primarily on a vow to fight President Barack Obama and his policies. But when it comes to Syria, the freshman GOP lawmaker is one of the most vocal supporters of Obama’s call for military action.” [Southwest Times, AP, 9/8/13]

Cotton Supported The Use-Of-Force Resolution Against Syria And Urged The President To Take “Decisive, Effective Military Action.” In an op-ed written with Rep. Mike Pompeo, Cotton wrote: “President Obama has asked Congress to support his use of military force against another nation. This is the most consequential vote any Congress can take. We support a well-crafted use-of-force resolution against Syria and urge the president to take decisive, effective military action.” [Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo, Washington Post, 9/3/13]

Cotton Supported Intervention In Syria, Saying He Hoped To Encourage His Colleagues To Support Military Action By President Obama. “Cotton acknowledged the reservations many within the Republican and Democratic parties have about intervening but said he believes there’s a clear national security interest. ‘What I hope to do is encourage not just my colleagues to support action but also encourage the president to take effective and decisive action,’ Cotton said.” [Associated Press, 9/3/10]

HEADLINE—Cotton Urges President To Take Military Action In Syria [KARK, 9/4/13]

HEADLINE—Cotton: The GOP Should Support Obama On Syria [Washington Post, op-ed, 9/3/13]

TOM COTTON HAS BEEN ADVOCATING A NO-FLY ZONE IN SYRIA FOR MONTHS, COSTING $1 BILLION PER MONTH

May 3013: Cotton Said We Should Impose A No-Fly Zone Over Syria. On Meet the Press, Cotton said: “Right now, you have the Al-Nusra front, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, which is on the ground, providing the best fighters, providing the most weapons, providing the most humanitarian assistance, radicalizing some elements of the opposition. So we have to arm the opposition. I think we also need to move towards imposing a no-fly zone so Bashar al-Assad cannot continue to use helicopter gun ships against civilians, and so his refugee– so the refugees he’s creating aren’t destabilizing our allies like Jordan.” [Meet the Press, NBC, 5/5/13]

Joint Chiefs Chairman: No-Fly Zone In Syria Would Cost $1 Billion Per Month To Maintain. “Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told lawmakers Monday that a no-fly zone in Syria would cost $500 million initially and as much as $1 billion per month to maintain.” [The Hill, 7/22/13]

  • HEADLINE—Gen. Dempsey: Syria No-Fly Zone Could Cost US $1B Per Month [The Hill, 7/22/13]

COTTON WAS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE ARKANSAS DELEGATION TO VOTE AGAINST THE FARM BILL

Cotton Was The Only Member Of The Arkansas Delegation To Vote Against The Farm Bill.  In June 2013, Tom Cotton was the only member of the Arkansas Delegation to vote against the five-year farm bill. The Associated Press reported the bill was “a five-year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill Thursday that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them.” According to the Washington Post, “The agriculture sector stands to suffer the most from the bill’s failure. Without action later this year, American farmers will fall back to a 1949 law governing the industry, which could lead to steep price increases on items such as milk. The Senate passed its version of a longer term farm bill earlier this month on a bipartisan vote of 66 to 27. The measure calls for spending $24 billion less than current law by ending programs such as a $5 billion direct cash subsidy program for absentee farmers. The House plan would have resulted in nearly $40 billion in savings, in large part by slashing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, widely known as food stamps.” Senators Pryor and Boozman, and Representatives Crawford, Womack, and Griffin voted for the bill. [AP, 6/21/13; Washington Post, 6/21/13; House Vote 286, 6/20/13; Senate Vote 145, 6/10/13]

HEADLINE—Farm Bill Meets Surprise House Defeat [Washington Post, 6/21/13]

HEADLINE–Arkansas Ag Council Asks Cotton to Reconsider Vote Against Farm Bill [Agricultural Council Of Arkansas, 6/26/13]

HEADLINE–U.S. House Votes Down Farm Bill [Star Tribune, 6/21/13]

HEADLINE—Farm Bill Fails In House Vote As Sides Bicker; State’s Delegation: 3-1 Yes [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6/21/13]

HEADLINE—House Rejects Farm Bill, 62 Republicans Vote No [AP, 6/20/13]

HEADLINE—House’s Rejection Of Farm Bill Leaves Few Options [Associated Press, 6/21/13]

TOM COTTON VOTED TO RAISE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE RETIREMENT/ELIGIBILITY AGE TO 70

Cotton Voted To Raise The Social Security Eligibility Age From 65 To 70 For Those 51 And Younger. In 2013, Cotton voted for the Republican Study Committee budget. According to the RSC’s FY 2014 budget blueprint, “This budget would slowly phase in an increase in the Social Security full-retirement age for individuals born in 1962 (currently 51) and after to an eventual full-retirement age of 70.” In March 2013, Cotton voted in favor of the republican Study Budget. [RSC Budget, March 2013; H Con Res 25, Vote #86, 3/20/13]

Cotton Voted To Raise The Medicare Eligibility Age To 70 For Those 55 And Younger. In 2013, Cotton voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that “would assume the transformation of Medicare into a premium support program that would compete against private plans.” The budget blueprint stated: “In order to shore up Medicare’s solvency and to keep pace with increases in longevity, the RSC proposal slowly phases in an increase in the Medicare eligibility age for those born in 1959 and after.” The blueprint went on to say: “To address the increased demands on Medicare, this budget proposes raising the age of Medicare eligibility, beginning in 2024, by two months every year beginning with those born in 1959 until the eligibility age reaches 70, bringing Medicare eligibility in parity with Social Security.” [CQ Floor Votes; H Con Res 25, Vote #86, 3/20/13; RSC Budget, March 2013]

COTTON VOTED TO RAISE MEDICARE COSTS FOR SENIORS

Cotton Voted for FY 2014 Ryan Budget. In 2013, Cotton voted for passage of the controversial Ryan Budget that “would assume repeal of the 2010 health care overhaul and a restructuring of Medicare into a ‘premium support’ system beginning in 2024.” The budget was adopted by a vote of 221-207. [CQ; H Con Res 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13]

  • GOP Budget Repeals Provision That Closed Donut Hole in Medicare Prescription Drug Program. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, “Among other elements, the House GOP budget would repeal: The provisions that closed the “doughnut hole” in Medicare Part D.” [Bipartisan Policy Center, 3/12/13]
  • Ryan Budget Would Increase Prescription Drug Costs For Seniors By Re-opening Prescription Drug Doughnut Hole. “The Ryan budget would repeal health reform’s provisions that improve Medicare benefits, including closure of the Medicare prescription drug donut hole and coverage of preventive services without cost sharing. These repeals would adversely affect current Medicare beneficiaries as well as those not yet eligible. Health reform has begun to close the donut hole — the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage that many seniors experienced once their annual drug costs exceeded $2,840.  Before health reform, seniors had no additional coverage until their costs hit $6,448.  Starting in 2011, seniors in the coverage gap began receiving a discount on brand-name and generic prescription drugs.  These discounts and Medicare coverage will gradually increase until 2020, when the entire donut hole is closed.  The Ryan budget would reopen the drug donut hole. Health reform also requires both private insurance companies and Medicare to cover preventive care services without any cost sharing.  Preventive care includes screenings for chronic illnesses like diabetes and cancer and routine vaccines.  The Ryan budget would reinstate cost sharing in Medicare for these preventive benefits. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/15/13]

HEADLINE—House G.O.P. Plans A Budget That Retains Tax Increases And Medicare Cuts [New York Times, 3/7/13]

COTTON SUPPORTED SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT

Cotton Told Radio Host Andrea Tantaros That He Was Prepared To Shut Down The Government. “So, if Republicans don’t get what they want, and we have a president digging in his heels, are you prepared to shut down the government?” host Andrea Tantaros asked. “I think we have to be,” Rep. Cotton replied. “We have to be willing to draw the line and say that we have a debt crisis in this country that’s caused by two simple facts: We spend too much, and we have too little growth. We have to adopt pro-growth policies and we have to reduce the explosive deficit spending under the Obama administration to get the economy growing again to confront this debt crisis.” [Andrea Tantaros Show with Jason Mattera, 1/8/13]

COTTON IS WILLING TO DEFAULT ON NATION’S LOANS

Cotton Supported Default; Likened It To Taking Medicine. In January 2013, Politico reported: “He vowed to vote against raising the debt limit in two months, absent the sort of massive cuts the president opposes. He said he is more concerned about the ‘cataclysmic’ consequences of inaction than the ‘short-term market corrections’ of default. ‘I’d like to take the medicine now,’ he said.” [Politico, 1/8/13]

Cotton Would Only Support Debt Limit Increase If It Stopped The Affordable Care Act. In July 2013, City Wire reported: “‘A debt-ceiling increase must come with real, concrete reforms to stop President Obama’s reckless deficit spending and Obamacare,’ said Cotton, who is expected to announce next week that he’ll challenge U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in 2014.” [City Wire, 7/31/13]

COTTON WAS THE ONLY ARKANSAN TO VOTE AGAINST COMPROMISE BILL TO REDUCE STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES

Cotton Was One Of Only 31 House Members—The Only Arkansan—To Vote Against Reducing Student Loan Interest Rates. In July 2013, Cotton was the only member of the Arkansas congressional delegation to vote against Kline, R-Minn., motion to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill that would set federal student loan interest rates issued after July 1, 2013 to the Treasury Department’s 10-year borrowing rate, plus 2.05 percent for subsidized and unsubsidized undergraduate loans, 3.6 percent for graduate loans and 4.6 percent for PLUS loans. The loan rates would be capped at 8.25 percent, 9.5 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively. It would require the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress within four months detailing the federal government’s cost of administering the student loan program and recommendations to avoid generating additional revenue from the program. The motion was agreed to 392-31: R 221-6; D 171-25; I 0-0. [HR 1911, Vote 426, 7/31/13]

COTTON EVEN OPPOSED REPUBLICAN PLAN TO RETURN STUDENT LOANS TO MARKET-BASED SYSTEM—AGAIN, HE WAS THE ONLY ARKANSAS CONGRESSMAN TO VOTE “NO”

Cotton Was One Of 8 Republicans And 190 Democrats To Vote Against A Republican Plan To Allow Stafford Student Loan Interest Rates To Float—He Was the Only Member of the Arkansas Delegation To Vote No. “The House approved a Republican proposal Thursday to allow interest rates on federal student loans to rise or fall from year to year with the government’s cost of borrowing, ending a system in which rates are fixed by law. The proposal cleared the GOP-led House on a largely party-line vote of 221 to 198, but it faces opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate and a veto threat from the Obama administration. The legislation responds to a looming deadline: On July 1, unless the law is changed, rates for a certain type of new loan for undergraduate students in financial need will double to 6.8 percent, from 3.4 percent.” [CQ; H.R. 1911, Vote #183, 5/23/13; Washington Post, 5/23/13]

EVEN THOUGH COTTON USED STAFFORD LOANS TO PAY FOR COLLEGE

HEADLINE—Tom Cotton, Arkansas Rep., Took Student Loans, Voted Against Them [Huffington Post, 8/1/13]

Cotton Used Stafford Loans To Finance College. In a statement, Tom Cotton said, “My family saved for years and I worked throughout school to pay my way; like many students, it also took a combination of private and Stafford loans. Following law school, I postponed joining the Army for two years so I could repay all my loans.” [Press Release, Office of Rep. Cotton, 8/1/13]

COTTON WAS THE ONLY ARKANSAS CONGRESSMAN TO VOTE AGAINST FUNDING FEMA TO COVER HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF

HEADLINE—Cotton Opposes Sandy Aid [Arkansas News Bureau, 1/4/13; Southwest Times Record, 1/5/13]

Cotton Was One Of 67 Republicans – The Only One From His Delegation – To Oppose Funding For FEMA To Cover Damage Claims From Hurricane Sandy. The Pine Bluff Commercial reported: “Rep. Tom Cotton , R-Dardanelle, voted Friday against legislation that would ensure the federal government has the money to pay flood insurance claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Cotton was one of 67 House Republicans to oppose the measure allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to borrow $9.7 billion to cover damage claims from the storm that ravaged New York, New Jersey and Connecticut two months ago. Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, and Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, voted in favor of the bill. The Senate swiftly approved it by voice vote – with no objections.” [Pine Bluff Commercial, 1/4/13; Vote 7, 1/4/13]

Cotton Was Also The Only Arkansas Congressman To Vote Against $17 Billion Basic Aid Package For Communities Affected By Hurricane Sandy. In 2013, Cotton voted against the substitute amendment that would provide $17 billion to address immediate needs relating to damage sustained from Superstorm Sandy, including $5.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, $5.4 billion to aid public transportation systems in New York and New Jersey, $3.9 billion for Department of Housing and Urban Development community development programs, $1.4 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, $287 million for repairs to national parks, lands and facilities, $236 million for Veterans Affairs medical activities and construction projects, $144 million for Coast Guard acquisition and construction, $100 million for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund and $100 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 327-91. According to Pine Bluff Commercial, “The House voted 327-91 for the basic $17 billion aid package. Crawford, Griffin and Womack voted for the bill. Cotton voted against it.” [Pine Bluff Commercial, 1/18/13; HR 152, Vote #15, 1/15/13]

COTTON VOTED AGAINST BOTH VERSIONS OF THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

Cotton Opposed Final Violence Against Women Act That “Strengthens Protections of Particular Groups of Women at Particular Risk.” In 2013, Cotton voted against passage of the bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for five years. The law, which expired in 2011, provides protections and assistance programs to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The bill would authorize funds for law enforcement training programs, prosecution and victim services. It would give American Indian tribal courts additional authority over non-tribal domestic violence offenders. It would make it illegal for victim services organizations that receive grant funding through the law to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. It also would extend through 2017 a law that provides protections and assistance programs to trafficking victims. It would allow underage sex-trafficking victims to receive assistance under grants provided to help children exposed to violence. The bill passed (thus cleared for the president) by a vote of 286-138. As reported by CNN, “According to advocacy groups, the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act approved Tuesday strengthens protections of particular groups of women at particular risk.” [CQ; S 47, Vote #55, 2/28/13; CNN, 2/28/13]

Cotton Even Voted Against Republican Substitute Violence Against Women Act–The Only Arkansan To Do So. In 2013, Cotton voted against the Republican substitute Violence Against Women Act that would reauthorize for five years federal grant programs that provide funds to states, law enforcement and nonprofit organizations for services provided to victims of violence and for the prosecution of offenders. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 166-257. [CQ; HR 47, Vote #54, 2/28/13]

SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP CLUB FOR GROWTH WAS “FAR AND AWAY” COTTON’S LARGEST CONTRIBUTOR IN 2012 ELECTION

Cotton Received Over $335,000 From Club For Growth. As of August 19, 2013, Cotton had received $335,000 from Club for Growth. [Sunlight Foundation, 8/19/13]

Cotton Described Receiving A FedEx Envelope Stuffed With $300,000 In Checks From The Club For Growth.” In January 2013, Politico wrote: “Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, a veteran of two wars and with a pair of Harvard degrees, got a pleasant surprise last year that helped him win a very competitive Republican primary — and then a very easy general election. It was a FedEx envelope full of checks that he didn’t ask for, from a group he hardly knew — the Club for Growth. Tucked inside that envelope and several to come were $300,000 in checks from Club members, enough to help lift the 35-year-old former Army captain from obscurity — and 47 percentage points down in his first internal poll — to the fourth floor of the Cannon House Office Building.” [Politico, 1/8/13]

The Center for Responsive Politics Noted That The Club For Growth Money Was “Far And Away The Most Substantial Chunk Of Money That Cotton Received.” “According to OpenSecrets.org data, Cotton picked up more than $245,000 in donations earmarked through the Club for Growth PAC. The Politico piece suggests the amount was even higher, describing Cotton’s campaign receiving a FedEx envelope with more than $300,000 in checks from Club for Growth members. Either way, it’s far and away the most substantial chunk of money that Cotton received.” [Center for Responsive Politics, 1/8/13]

The Club For Growth Propelled Tom Cotton To A Primary Victory Over Beth Anne Rankin, Who Was Previously The Republican Frontrunner. The Southwest Times Record wrote about the Club for Growth’s impact on the AR-4 primary: “On the other hand, last year, Beth Anne Rankin, who is pretty conservative, was the clear Republican frontrunner in south Arkansas’ Fourth District, but outside groups decided they preferred an unknown Tom Cotton. The Club for Growth alone funneled a quarter of a million dollars his direction. The vote wasn’t even that close.” [Southwest Times Record, 3/7/13]

As Of August 2013, Club For Growth Had Already Spent $326,303 Attacking Pryor In The 2014 Cycle. According to the Sunlight Foundation, Club for Growth spent at least $326,303.50 on ads attacking Senator Pryor by August 2013. [Club for Growth, Sunlight Foundation, 2013-2014]

COTTON’S SPECIAL INTEREST HANDLERS OPPOSED LOWERING STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES

Club For Growth Opposed Lowering Interest Rates On Federal Student Loans. According to the Hill, “The well-funded, fiscally conservative Club for Growth has urged House Republicans to vote against legislation that would extend lower interest rates on federal student loans, a move that could complicate Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plan to pass the legislation on Friday. ‘The federal government should not be in the business of distorting the market for student loans,’ said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. ‘Decades of government intervention have driven tuition costs to record highs, and continuing these subsidies is simply bad policy. We urge members of Congress to oppose them.’ The group said it would include the vote in its legislative scorecard, which it uses to decide which Republicans it should challenge in primaries.” [The Hill, 4/27/12]

Heritage Action Urged House Members To Vote Against Republican Student Loan Reform, H.R. 1911. Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action wrote: “The Smarter Solutions for Students Act (H.R. 1911) would replace the 6.8% rate with one pegged to high-yield 10-year Treasury notes plus 2.5%.  Conservatives should oppose this bill and instead focus on insisting that CBO score the student loan program using “fair-value” accounting and then find ways to get government out of the student loan program all together.” [Heritage Action, 5/21/13]

COTTON’S SPECIAL INTEREST HANDLERS OPPOSED THE FARM BILL

Club For Growth Opposed Farm Bill. The Club for Growth listed the House Farm Bill as a key vote for 2013. They urged members to vote against the measure. They wrote, “Even with passage of the above amendments, the House farm bill is so wasteful and so irresponsible that we are obliged to oppose it. It spends too much, reforms too little, and it maintains the “business as usual” mindset in Washington.” [Key Vote Alert, Club for Growth, 6/19/13]

Heritage Urged Members To Vote Against Farm Bill. Heritage Action urged members to vote against the June House Farm Bill. They wrote, “Commonly referred to as the Farm Bill but more accurately described as the Food Stamp and Farm Bill. Despite claims of reform, the bill continues to spend nearly $1 trillion on a variety of programs, including crop subsidies, conservation programs and food stamps.” [Key Vote Position, Heritage Action, 6/20/13]