Claim: Congress has approved a program to provide welfare recipients with free cars and a monthly stipend for gas.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, September 2014]
Did congress recently pass a bill that will allow welfare
recipients to receive a new vehicle free, including a monthly gas card of
$100. Starting January 2015?
Origins: On 29 August 2014, Empire News published an article positing Congress, despite being in summer recess, had passed a White House-sponsored bill to provide free new cars to people on public assistance:
White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced the launching of the program in a late press briefing yesterday evening. The free automobile program gives low-income Americans the opportunity to take ownership of a vehicle at no cost, and will also include a monthly gas card for $100. Any United States Citizen receiving welfare benefits qualifies for the program, which will be starting on January 5, 2015, said Earnest.
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that this will be the downfall of President Obama. "This absurd plan that the democrats have conjured up is beyond belief. I have no idea how or why congress passed this."
Soon afterwards links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news item. However, the article was just a spoof from Empire News, one of many fake news sites that publishes outrageous fictional stories such as "Cure for Cancer Discovered; 'Amazingly Simple' Says Researcher," "College Student Excused from Classes After Dog Eats Grandmother," and "Woman Gives Birth, Confuses Doctors by Asking for Maternity Test." The site's disclaimer page notes that Empire News "is a satirical and entertainment website."
In November 2014, this rumor recirculated after it was republished by the disreputable, click-baiting American News web site.