Quick Fact: Rove claims proposed $250 checks intended to pacify seniors "angry about Medicare cuts that the administration's proposing"


Fox News contributor Karl Rove claimed that an Obama administration proposal to send $250 checks to senior citizens was spurred because seniors are "angry about Medicare cuts that the administration's proposing." In fact, the Obama administration has stated that the checks are a response to the lack of a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security in 2010.

From the December 8 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

ROVE: Well, look, the economy is going to recover. The question is, is it gonna -- are the things that we do going to retard its recovery or speed up its recovery? Saying we're gonna give people money to retrofit their homes for energy efficiency, or we're gonna give them money if they buy an energy-efficient appliance, or we're gonna give $250 to every senior because they're angry about Medicare cuts that the administration's proposing -- those things will not hasten the day when Americans go back to work.

Fact: Proposed checks to Social Security beneficiaries intended to offset lack of COLA increase

As President Obama explained during a town hall meeting in New Orleans, the one-time payment of $250 to seniors and others on a "fixed income" would roughly offset the absence of a COLA increase to their benefits under Social Security. From his remarks:

OBAMA: Well, first of all, let me point out that under the formula Social Security would not see a COLA this year, an automatic COLA increase because we've actually had deflation. Right? Costs have gone six percent. But because of the hardships that folks on fixed income have still experienced, I've been supportive of the idea that a one-time $250 payment to seniors would be an appropriate approach which would approximate -- would come out to about 1.8 percent increase. Okay. So that just deals with the issue of what's going on with Social Security. [Town hall, 10/15/2009]

Indeed, CNNMoney.com reported on October 15 that "There will be no cost-of-living increase for 57 million Social Security beneficiaries next year because consumer prices have fallen," adding, "It marks the first time that Social Security benefits have not been increased year over year since the cost-of-living adjustment was put into effect in 1975." The article further reported:

To help counterbalance the hit, President Obama is calling on Congress to send another $250 relief payment to seniors and other Americans to stem the economic strain.

"Even as we seek to bring about recovery, we must act on behalf of those hardest hit by this recession," Obama said in a statement Wednesday. "That is why I am announcing my support for an additional $250 in emergency recovery assistance to seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities to help them make it through these difficult times."

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Karl Rove
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