WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Across the country, the political season is heating up, with election day one month away on Nov. 8.
One of the most competitive House races is for Virginia's 7th Congressional District, pitting incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger against Republican challenger Yesli Vega.
As both candidates make their pitch to voters, the campaign ads have started to flood the airwaves. One commercial, funded by the Congressional Leadership Fund makes the following claim:
"Abigail Spanberger votes 100% with Pelosi," the ad claims. "It's like having our very own Pelosi mini-me."
Has incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time?
- Bipartisan Budget Act (2019), Roll Call 511 - July 25, 2019
- Heroes Act, Roll Call 109 - May 15, 2020
- Congressional Leadership Fun, SUPERPAC - Oct. 5 Ad
- ProPublica Comparison, 117th Congress
- ProPublica Comparison, 116th Congress
- The Lugar Center - McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University's Bipartisan Index
Rep. Abigail Spanberger has not voted with Pelosi 100% of the time, voting against the House Speaker numerous times in the last term (2019-2020). So far in this term (2021-2022), she has voted consistently with Pelosi, according to a ProPublica dataset.
WHAT WE KNOW:
A quick search of Congress.gov will demonstrate that Rep. Spanberger has voted in a different way from Pelosi on numerous occasions. Two big examples include the Bipartisan Budget Act of July 2019 and the Heroes Act of May 2020.
- Bipartisan Budget Act (2019) - H.R. 3877 became law in August 2019 and received a House vote on July 25, 2019. The roll call vote shows that the bill passed 284-149 in the House. Spanberger was one of 16 Democrats to vote against the bill. A spokesperson told us that she opposed the bill because "she wanted to make clear the need to address the national debt, build a path towards a balanced budget, and increase transparency within the federal budget process."
- The Heroes Act (2020) - H.R. 6800 did not end up becoming law, and never received a vote in the Senate. The roll call vote shows that it did pass the House by a vote of 208-199. Spanberger was one of 14 Democrats who voted against the bill. A spokesperson told us that she opposed both this bill and a later version of the bill (Heroes Act 2.0) because "she was focused on delivering actual relief to Virginia families and small businesses, and the packages floated by Speaker Pelosi were partisan and had no path forward to ever being signed into law."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voted in favor of both the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 and The Heroes Act of 2020, showing that Spanberger and Pelosi have not voted with each other 100 percent of the time.
The Congressional leadership Fund sourced their claim to ProPublica, an investigative news source. ProPublica has a tool that allows users to compare voting records between two lawmakers.
- During the 117th Congress (2021-2022), the duo has so far voted together 100 percent of the time.
- During the 116th Congress (2019-2020), the duo voted together 92% of the time. ProPublica noted seven votes in that term, in which Spanberger and Pelosi were at odds.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, which supports Republican candidates for the House of Representatives, paid for the ad. A spokesperson told us that the ad was referring to Spanberger's voting record so far in the 117th Congress.
"Spanberger's new-found loyalty to Nancy Pelosi is just proof of how much she's changed in Washington," said CLF Press Secretary Cally Perkins. "Voters deserve to know why she is no longer the moderate she once pretended to be and now votes with Pelosi 100% of the time.
Rep. Spanberger has continued to pitch herself as a moderate, referring our team to the bipartisanship rankings, released by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University. This "Bipartisanship Index" ranked Spanberger as the fifth most bipartisan lawmaker in the House.
"The Congressional Leadership Fund is being misleading in their ad tying Congresswoman Spanberger to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi," a Spanberger campaign spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Spanberger's campaign said that she has also voted against Nancy Pelosi as Speaker two times since she has been in office.
Spanberger's opponent, Republican Yesli Vega, did not pay for the ad, but released the following statement when we asked about the CLF ad:
"We cannot coordinate with outside entities, but it is clear on the campaign trail that the people of the 7th District are fully aware that Spanberger has been a rubber stamp for the Biden/Pelosi agenda and they are fed up. Voters are done with politicians like Abigail Spanberger voting against the needs of their district to stand with radical party bosses like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.”