Fox News' Varney, on-air graphics misrepresented the projected cost of housing bill

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

Fox News' Stuart Varney misrepresented the cost of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, falsely asserting that the "House, right now, [is] voting on that $300 billion housing bailout bill." During the segment, on-air captions read "$300B Bailout Bill," and "House Voting On $300B Housing Bailout Bill." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill "would increase budget deficits (or reduce future surpluses) by about $24.9 billion over the 2008-2018 period."

During the July 23 edition of Fox News' Your World, guest host Stuart Varney misrepresented the cost of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, falsely asserting that the "House, right now, [is] voting on that $300 billion housing bailout bill." During the segment, on-air captions read "$300B Bailout Bill," and "House Voting On $300B Housing Bailout Bill." In fact, while the legislation authorizes the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure up to $300 billion in homeownership retention loans for qualified homeowners, among several other provisions in the bill, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that, in total, the bill "would increase budget deficits (or reduce future surpluses) by about $24.9 billion over the 2008-2018 period."

As Media Matters for America documented, Your World has previously falsely asserted that a separate housing bill, the FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act, which also authorized the FHA to insure up to $300 billion in loans, would cost $300 billion. On the May 7 edition of Your World, host Neil Cavuto said of that bill: "[Congress is] about to spend a lot of capital -- try 300 billion bucks of capital, the price tag of a housing rescue package virtually assured a thumbs up in Congress, and equally assured a thumbs down by President Bush." During the segment, an on-air graphic read, "House lawmakers set to pass $300B housing bill; bailout?" In fact, while the legislation would also have authorized the FHA to insure up to $300 billion in homeownership retention loans for qualified homeowners, the CBO estimated that loans that would be insured under the new program would total about $85 billion, at an estimated cost to the government of $1.7 billion over the 2008-2013 period.

From the July 23 broadcast of Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto:

VARNEY: And a live look at Capitol Hill. The House, right now, voting on that $300 billion housing bailout bill. The president just saying he is gonna sign it. [Rep.] Ron Paul [R-TX] is furious and he's here.

[...]

VARNEY: A live look at Capitol Hill, House members inside right now voting on that $300 billion bailout bill. The president saying today will sign it even though Democrats tacked billions on to it. My next guest voting against it. Ron Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas. Congressman, good to have you with us, thanks for being here.

Posted In
Economy, Budget, Housing
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Stuart Varney
Show/Publication
Your World w/ Neil Cavuto
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