2012 Election

Fact Checking Koster and DelBene

By Josh Feit August 28, 2012

John Koster mischaracterizes the specifics of his time in the state legislature; DelBene doesn't have any specifics.

The Monroe Monitor interviewed both Democratic 1st Congressional District candidate Suzan DelBene and  Republican 1st Congressional District candidate John Koster yesterday.

Koster, who has a reputation as a hard-core partisan, was asked if he was up to the challenge of working across the political aisle.

Here's his answer:
I was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1994 and served three terms. We had a large Republican majority in the house, and the senate and governor were Democrats. Mike Lowry was a liberal Democrat and a great guy, and the senate was dominated by Democrats, and we worked together. We did work on health care, rolled back $1.2 billion in taxes and balanced the budget. I think that's pretty amazing, especially in light of what Congress isn't doing today.

And here's a fact check: Koster voted against five of the six budgets passed by the legislature during that time, including the budget that enacted the big-deal health care legislation from that era.

When Koster was running for US Congress in 2000 against Democratic candidate (now US Representative) Rick Larsen, the Bellingham Herald reported:
Larsen has made a big deal of Koster's votes against budgets, particularly this year's bill.

Koster voted for a patient bill of rights and sponsored pipeline safety legislation in the House this year, but then opposed a budget that funded both measures, Larsen said.

"Just voting for legislation isn't enough," he said. "If you have to fund it to make it happen, then you have to be voting for that funding."

Koster said he promised not to support more government or taxes and voted accordingly.

Meanwhile, I'd fact check DelBene, but she doesn't talk in specifics. Here's my favorite line (re: the Affordable Health Care Act): "I'm a big fan of moving forward, seeing what's working and not. I think every Congress should tackle health care and keep this policy up to date."
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