Reality Check: Clarifying claims from the U.S. Senate debate

Saturday night’s Wisconsin Broadcasters Association debate covered a range of topics from health care to immigration.

News 3 wanted to zero in on some claims that may have left people wondering during the hourlong exchange.

In one, Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir said she did not support changing the drug scheduling of marijuana.

“The department of drug enforcement and education has said marijuana is highly addictive, even more addictive than vicodin, meth and other drugs,” Vukmir said during the debate.

News 3 finds this is misleading.

We could find no published data by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) saying specifically that marijuana is more addictive than meth.

Marijuana is scheduled higher than meth, which the DEA explains is based on both potential for abuse and the drug’s medical value. Cannabis is a schedule 1 drug, which is defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Methamphetamines and vicodin are both schedule 2 drugs, which are drugs with “high potential for abuse with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

During the debate, Baldwin raised questions about where Vukmir stands on climate change and the EPA.

“My opponent not only disputes climate science, and I’m learning today she is also disputing some of the science behind cleaner energy sources etc., but she also would see fitting to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency,” Baldwin said in the debate.

News 3 finds this needs clarification.

Baldwin’s team points to statements that Vukmir made agreeing with a conservative radio host that the EPA wasn’t needed, saying that the EPA “duplicates what happens at the federal and state level.”

Vukmir’s campaign reaffirmed in a statement to News 3 Monday that she believes “we do not need duplicative regulations” and said it was dishonest for Baldwin to say the EPA should not exist. But she her campaign did not say directly what Vukmir believes should happen to the EPA.

The candidates have also been trading barbs about newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Sen. Baldwin decided after 48 hours, 48 hours after it was announced, that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be the pick, Senator Baldwin said she wasn’t going to support him,” Vukmir said in the debate. “You didn’t have the decency, Senator Baldwin to even meet with Judge Kavanaugh. You had your mind made up.”

News 3 finds this needs clarification.

Vukmir points to the fact that Baldwin put out a release 48 hours after Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Baldwin’s statement from July 12 said she did not think Kavanaugh would be a “fair, impartial and independent justice” and she would not support his confirmation.

Baldwin then said later she would try to meet with Kavanaugh.

“The way you make an appointment with a nominee is to go through the nominator, which is the White House,” Baldwin said in the debate. “I am among dozens of senators who were denied the chance to meet with him.”

Baldwin says says she tried to meet with Kavanaugh, sharing emails showing her office asking the White House 7 times for a meeting starting on Aug. 22 and ending Oct. 1.

Published reports from the Washington Post show Kavanaugh met with 56 of 100 U.S. senators including at least eight Democrats.

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