You’ve probably seen Mark Pryor’s new ad accusing Tom Cotton of being pro-ebola.
However, the response to this ad has been about as favorable as the response to this ALS Ice Bucket challenge. Even MSNBC called the ad “terrible,” saying that it looked like something from “Saturday Night Live.”
Now, Politifact has weighed in, calling the ad “mostly false.”
Did Cotton try to stop this legislation? At first, it seems that way.
The House passed the legislation Jan. 22, 2013, with strong bipartisan support and very little opposition — 395 to 29. Cotton voted against it, along with 28 other Republicans.
The bill moved on to the Senate, where lawmakers made a few changes, passed it by a voice vote, and sent it back to the House to approve the changes. The House once againpassed the Senate’s version of the bill with an overwhelming majority from both parties.
This time around, Cotton changed his position and voted for the bill. (Seven other Republicans who previously voted “nay” also changed their vote.)
It’s not clear why Cotton didn’t vote for it the first time. The law passed with such little debate that it went over without much media attention.
We reached out to Cotton’s campaign but haven’t heard back — though they postedan article on their website refuting the claim.
According to CQ Weekly, the major difference between the House and Senate version of the act is that the House version approves funding and programs through 2017, while the Senate version goes through 2018.
We also used a tool to compare differences between the two texts and found that the final version includes a clause clarifying that state and local workers asked to temporarily take on a different assignment in case of an emergency would not be required to accept that reassignment.
Regardless, the country’s ability to address a pandemic does not hinge on either of those changes.
There is no readily available evidence showing that Cotton actively campaigned against the bill. And the final version, which got Cotton’s vote, also got positive votes from nearly every Senate and House Democrat — including Pryor.
A Pryor for Senate ad said, “Tom Cotton voted against preparing America for pandemics like Ebola.”
Cotton voted against one version of a 2013 pandemic and emergency preparedness bill. However, Cotton voted for the final version, which Pryor also supported. The bill easily became law.
The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rate it Mostly False.
The ad also earned a spot on Politico’s list of “most bizarre campaign ads” for 2014. So if you were planning on wearing a protective suit this Labor Day weekend after seeing Pryor’s ad, I think it’s safe to say you can skip it.