Friday, October 22, 2010

BCCC Sponsored Debate in 8th Congressional District

PCN has broadcast today's 8th congressional district debate. These are my rough notes. As always, they are not intended as a full transcript and I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions. Voters in the 8th are encouraged to watch the debate themselves and make their own decisions.

8th congressional debate
Thursday, Oct. 20th
incumbent Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy
former Republican Congressman Mike Fizpatrick

Sponsored by the Bucks County Community College and Calkins Media
Bill Pezzza, social and behavioral sciences professor
David Gilmartin co-moderator
asks for quiet in the audience
2 minute opening statements, questions, 2 min response, 1 min rebuttal, questions sent in by newspaper readers and college students, closing statements

Opening statements

PM: thanks, been an honor to serve our country in the army, 2 deployments, and as your congressman done everything I can do improve lives in district, in 3.5 years brought back 3,000 jobs, we must make things here again, cannot be just a service economy, opponent gave vote to Bush admin and Wall St, outsourced our jobs. proud and honored to earn your support and vote.

MF: as alumnus of bccc and long a supporter, proud to be back here for important congressional debate. running for congress because I disagree with the direction of our country. so many issues that face us. choices are what make democracy work. Murphy supports a bigger government that spends more and taxes more, inhibits job creation, debt increased, he voted for stimulus and obamacare, I would have voted against it. he's voted for big banks and bailouts, i would have voted against, cash for clunkers, i would have voted against. I want to get people back to work. when he took office it was 4.?% now it is 9.6% unemployment. wonder if children growing up here will have same econ opportunities i had.

Q1: tax cuts, bush tax cuts set to expire in Jan. PM favors extend for all but household income over 250K, MF support for all income groups.

MF: first, especially in a recession no time to be raising taxes, need business and econ certainty. if they increase they will amt to largest tax increase in us history. extend for everyone sending a specific message to job creators that these are the tax rates and you are now free to create jobs. proved that this will work. revenue will go up. JFK and Ronald Reagan did and revenue went up. when taxes cut in 1982 had 90 consecutive months of econ growth.

PM: it has been documented 97 % of top 2% won't affect small businesses. We have 60k small businesses in Bucks. the money they reinvest in small business not taxed. giving tax cuts to wealthiest 2% will add $700B to national debt. With those tax cuts in the past all we have was budget deficits not surpluses. only time we had surpluses was 8 years of Clinton presidency and we want to take tax rates back to that level. we're a country at war, we're a country at debt, cannot continue policies that got us into debt. don't extend tax breaks to wealthiest Americans while at war.

MF: not extending tax breaks, just keeping current rates until economy improves. you've grown national debt under your watch. small businesses that incorporate under subchapter S are taxed regardless of whether they reinvest.

PM: my opponent, the tax cut fairy, wants to borrow another $700B from China for the Paris Hiltons of the world.

Q2: education as a great equalizer. current two tier system -- some good schools, some failing

PM: need to make sure we are competitive in a global economy. community colleges esp important. i was a student here in 1991-92, partnered with BCCC, Drexel and Delaware Valley College to form green jobs academy. training and educating workers of tomorrow. one of only green jobs academies in nation. major contrast with MF. i supported community colleges, MF signed “pledge to America,” will cut education funding 20%. this is not the time to decrease educational funding. need to make sure we are as competitive as we can be.

MF: number of ways to address issue. education funded by people who work and people who employ workers. most important thing we can do is grow the economy. we're heading in the wrong direction. can't believe opponent accused me of taking a position adverse to community colleges. as county commissioner I drove decision to get Bucks County Community College expansion. PM has been criticizing my support of this in ads, the increase was funded by voter referendum to expand BCCC. proud of my record and my support of BCCC.

PM: I am not criticizing support in past as county commissioner for community colleges, criticizing “pledge for America,” will cut funding 20% for education, you raised property taxes 7 times in 10 years, you raised prop taxes 4 times prohibited by law from doing it again, went to Harrisburg and lobbied to raise taxes.

MF: record of county commissioner supported community colleges. with Obama care government took over all student loans from private sector to fund Obamacare. we need to support students as they take those difficult steps and make those difficult decisions to fund their education.

Q3: health care reform, PM voted for, MF said would repeal.

MF: I would do it differently, 2500 page bill. i would pass series of 20 page bills, all just on one issue. My first day in office would introduce 20 page bill on liability reform, another 20 page bill, encourage competition let us buy across state lines, another 20 page bill will let small businesses go together in association health plans as large businesses do. they passed 2500 page bill that no one read and bad for American people. I would pass series of 20 page bills.

PM: ask then what they will did to address rising health care costs when they had the presidency, house, senate. they didn't do anything. I read the bill, voted for a bill that would help people who were discriminated against for pre-existing conditions, women charge 40% more than men, my opponent wants to repeal that. wants to let companies discriminate on pre-existing conditions, on parents coverage up to age 26, wants to repeal donut hole closing. would cost seniors $4000 for prescription drugs. I think that is wrong and dangerous. we need to move forward, improve health care bill.

MF: I'm for covering pre-existing conditions. in my replacement bill that would be covered, for adults on parents coverage. I’m sure his bill was well-intentioned. we were promised deficit neutral, rates won't go up, can keep coverage.

PM: he says he for this and for that. yet when he had a chance to lead he did nothing. it isn’t perfect. tried to fix, but GOP wouldn't support, that would ease 1099 form burdens in small business. we paid for it by changing loophole for tax cuts for outsourcing, didn't pass?? Its' a good bill and i was proud to support it.

Q4: jobs and outsourcing. why should students be optimistic about finding a job after graduation

PM: we need to have a “make it in America” agenda. can't continue to outsource. in my 3.5 years in office i brought back 3,000 jobs. unemployment in Bucks. 8.4? %. need to make sure you have jobs when graduate. when MF was in congress he was the tie breaking vote on cafta. he told constituents even on the day of the vote that he wouldn't vote for it. Dick Cheney called him and he changed his vote. we need someone in office who won't outsource our jobs. in Bucks we have lost 5900(?) jobs due to cafta and free trade agreement.

MF: i believe the American worker can compete with anyone in the world given a level playing field. he does not. last time we tried that we turned a depression into a great depression. just 4 years ago, when congressman took office unemployment was 4.6% now has doubled. we have second highest corporate tax rate in the world, too much litigation.

PM: hard to believe MF is complaining about unemployment when he was responsible for outsourcing good manufacturing jobs. Jones NY said was moving jobs to Tenn but many went to El Salvador and Nicaragua year after he passed cafta. can't return to failed policies. we need those jobs here in America. need to incentivize small businesses and manufacturers.

MF: just a little rich to hear you complain about cafta when all the facts show trade deficit became trade surplus. bank bailout went for corporations. bail out for automakers when jobs when overseas. cash for clunkers, 80% of cars bought were made overseas. PM outsourced more jobs with those three votes than several previous congressman combined.

Q5: immigration reform. 12m undocumented aliens in US, what should happen to them

MF: how did they get there? not all snuck across the border, some overstayed visas, now they are part of our economy, had children here. how can this happen in a nation with the technology we have. we have to be able to track them down before they are here for years and start families, tell them they have to go home. we have people on line who are doing things the right way,

PM: there are things we have done this year. now every federal worker and federal contractor has to follow e-verify. people working at jobs sites are US citizens or allowed to be here. deported more people in last 18 months that shouldn't be here. if you are here illegally and you commit a felony you need to be on first plane out. contrast with opponent. he supported a bill and voted with Nancy Pelosi, he was liberal on immigration, for sanctuary cities, won't give info on illegal immigrants, won't get federal dollars if won't provide info. he voted with Pelosi. 2300 jobs lost to American citizens bec illegal immigrants paid under table.

MF: against amnesty. they are here illegally. if they commit crimes, need to end catch and release. need to get tough. Nancy Pelosi is PM's speaker not mine. Obama has punted on this issue. this is a tough issue. he has decided to avoid immigration debate. the administration has begun to defund southern border

PM: also against amnesty, he voted against the border fence. i was only Democrat to vote to defund Justice Dept lawsuit in Arizona. Reagan tried amnesty. wrong. cant' go back to same solution.

Q: follow up: what will happen to 12 million illegals here.

MF: after those send home for violating our laws. those who continue to reside here given them an opportunity is to come out and go home and get in back of line and apply to come back in like everyone else.

PM: that's a fair solution to make.

Q6: social security, what needs to be done to fix in long term and short term

PM: it is solvent for 22 more years. hard truth is what we cannot do is privatize it. MF said he favored private accounts, would take money and put it on Wall St. we have to grow our economy to get more tax dollars in the system.

MF: I didn’t hear a real solution. short term, no cola for two years, that's wrong, members of congress get pay raises. seniors need to understand their soc sec is secured and will be make stronger in the future. against raising retirement age, cutting benefit, increasing payroll tax. growing economy will help.

PM: if we want to talk about a payraise. I never took a payraise. he got a payraise as county commissioner even while he had a side job at a law firm. would look at increase in payroll tax. would grow economy and not privatize. looking forward to fiscal commissions report.

MF: as a county commissioner I gave my pay raises away to charity. I challenged you to release your tax returns if you release yours to show where those payraises went. He took 100K book deals, don't lecture us for things that happened 10 years ago. against increasing payroll tax. I would find the individuals that are on social security that shouldn't be. we have people on security who say they can't work, have 7 children, etc. Social Security should be another retirement for seniors going forward.

PM: i actually passed a cola last year. tied to inflation that’s why no cola. I acted to give $250 last year and this year.

MF: I don't think that's accurate, some seniors not all, bonus not cost of living. the base social security number that doesn't go up. seniors earned and deserve it.

PM: means testing -- no

MF: means testing -- no

PM: extending age -- no

MF: extending age -- no

Q7: Iraq War, were your 2006 positions justified?

MF: to correct PM, i was not in congress when decision made to go into Iraq. i was in congress in 2005-2006, made difficult decisions. I would have voted not to go in. my decision was continue to fund effort or start immediate withdraw. I voted to win to bring soldiers home the moment victory was achieved. I supported surge but he voted against it. I had called for it throughout 2006, took on administration, new strategy -- surge.

PM: revisionist history, him advocated for surge in 2006. Iraq has made us lose our focus where it should be -- Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden. every cent sent to Iraq [missed this]. i voted against surge to refocus on Afghanistan. he said if we bring our troops back all hell will break lose. we brought them home in an orderly fashion. now can focus on Afghanistan. number one threat is still al Quada, who want to hurt us but also get hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

MF: Iraq and our positions in 2006. you had 2 different withdraw plans in 2006 both essentially said begin withdraw in Dec 2006 leave 50k troops in 2007. it took surge in 2007 to win the war. i thought in 2006 it was important to win first and them come home.

PM: i had the honor of serving in Iraq. He's trying to have it both ways. our troops are doing an incredible job. I was the one who tried to make sure they had the right body armor, passed new GI bill, passed largest increase in veterans benefit in history of the country.

Q8: social issues taken a back seat to economy. select one or two issues and share position

PM: i believe one of the best promises in medical research is stem cell research including embryonic stem cells, which would be discarded otherwise. could find cure to Alzheimers parkinsons, etc. my opponent voted against it, to not fund it. when congress tried to override he stood with Pres Bush. woman's right to choose - i believe has a right to privacy. my opponent co-sponsored a bill which would not allow a womens right to privacy even in case of rape or incest. we are a moderate community. they are not moderate views.

MF: I voted to increase funding for stem cells research, not against. provided there was some success, some guarantee if we invest there will be an outcome. i voted for it when there was evidence of success. last week that pluropotent (?) stem cells, generated form a persons own skin cells can be used to grow other tissue. if use own don't have to take anti-rejection drugs. all of the success has been in the areas of adult stem cells.

PM: I'm also excited about those results too but other efforts retarded by loss of funding. There will be times when you disagree with me but you can take what I say to the bank. he says one thing and does another. I would be proud to have your vote once again.

MF: you were president of pro-life group of your law school group. you were the congressman when I was in favor of online predators bill you said were against and then introduced same bill. i say abortion in case of rape incest and life of mother.

Q9: energy independence, offshore drilling and PA natural gas

PM: have to wean ourselves off foreign oil, make serious investments in wind solar, geothermal, hydrogen, natural gas, and nuclear. can't continue to send money overseas to countries that don't like us and fund terror. start green jobs academy, why I've worked to help make Fairless Hills one of the biggest green energy hubs in the country, ae polysilicon, gamesa, 4th largest solar field in the country, 16.5 acres. natural gas, need to know what chemicals we are putting into the ground and affects our water, i've co-sponsored FRAC act. look at nuclear enegery. GOP talked for 30 years but did nothing. we are now geared up to build 2 new reactors and to fund 5 more nuclear reactors with government bonds

MF: if new nuclear reactors being built, that is great, but process began before Obama administration. we need a balanced energy policy. under Bush admin lots of talk about tax breaks for oil industry. i voted against it. i said at the time we needed to balance it with renewables. that's all you hear about today. green jobs academy -- training them for jobs that may not exist today. gamesa is a Spanish company currently laying off American workers but got lots of tax credits. supports tax policy for renewables if shows benefits and employs American workers. marcellus shale can power country for next couple of decades with pa jobs but need to do so safely. would like to see state DEP ramp up review and regulation in that regard.

PM: long range off short drilling now appropriate, have it safe now, checking up on them. opponent talks about energy bill. co-sponsored bill that passed in house but now opposes when talking to tea party groups. this is a jobs issue. cites Wayne Gretsky who said passed puck not to where person was but where person was going to be. if we don't do this China and India and other countries will do it.

MF: cap and trade not an energy bill. that bill did not exist when I was in congress. i would have voted against that bill.

Closing Statements

PM: thanks for being part of this democracy. doing all i can to focus on jobs jobs jobs. green jobs academy. brought 3,000 jobs back in worst recession since great depression. making new gps 3 and flight simulators, solar field in Bucks County. now is not the time to go back to failed policies. need to get back to making things in America gain, stop outsourcing jobs. provide incentives to small businesses and manufacturers. honored to have your support.

MF: thanks. PM identified issue, jobs, but has wrong solution. issue is jobs, people are hurting. unemployment 10% underemployment 18 or 19%. economy not recovered despite government pending. elections are about choices and choice is clear. PM things we ought to have a bigger fed government, spends more taxes more, increases national debt. he believes in big fed government to create jobs. I believe in you. free enterprise system will lift us out of this recession. hope is not a trillion dollar stimulus that did not create a single job in private sector. hope is not health care plan that .... hope is not cash for clunkers. i will restore dignity and honor in free enterprise system. i ask for your support.

No comments: