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House of Representatives

Rangel falsely claims no Republicans voted for Social Security, sidetracks ObamaCare hearing


Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) attends a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington June 27, 2012. ((Reuters))

Lawmakers had to pause for a fact check about a 78-year-old law during a hearing that was supposed to be about ObamaCare, after Rep. Charles Rangel made the -- inaccurate -- claim that no Republicans supported the Social Security Act. 

The New York Democrat made the assertion Tuesday while railing against Republicans for opposing the health care law. It was during a House hearing where Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, was testifying. 

"It should give you some small comfort to know that, historically, the Republican Party always fought vigorously against these types of programs," Rangel said. "I don't think that one Republican voted for the Social Security Act." 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., shot back: "That's not accurate." 

It wasn't. In fact, the 1935 law establishing Social Security passed out of the House with the support of 81 Republicans. Just 15 opposed it. On the Senate side, 16 Republicans voted for it, and five voted against. 

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, tried to correct the record on the "blast from the past," but then Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., stepped in to help Rangel clarify. 

McDermott noted that "no Republicans" voted for the bill when it left the Ways and Means Committee. 

As for those who supported the bill on the floor, McDermott claimed they were "mostly progressives -- but there's none left in the Congress." 

"I'm glad we're debating current events here," Camp said.