Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today's Patrick Murphy / Mike Fitzpatrick Debate

Today’s debate between Congressman Patrick Murphy (D) and Mike Fitzpatrick ® who represented the district from 2004 – 2006 was broadcast live over PCN. I took advantage of this to watch and take notes. This is not intended as a full transcript, voters of the 8th congressional district are encouraged to watch the debate themselves.

As always I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Welcome to Chamber of Commerce and LWV debate
Linda Mather of the League of Women Voters of Bucks County
Carlo Borgia senior vp of Wachovia Bank

Biographical Introductions
Patrick Murphy is an Iraq War veteran, born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, attended Bucks County Community College, then Kings College and Widener Law School. He served in Bosnia and IraQ and earned the Bronze Star.

Mike Fitzpatrick is a lifelong resident of Middletown Township, served as Bucks County Commissioner for 10 years, two years in congress. He attended Bishop Egan High School, St. Thomas University and Dickinson School of Law.

Moderators ask audience to turn off cell phones, etc, “your unwanted actions will detract, we are here to hear from them not from you.”

Opening statement

PM: thanks. I’ve had the honor of serving in Congress for the past 3.5 years, also honor of serving in the army. I’ve done everything I can to help the people in the district, what can we do to make our country an even greater country. brought 3k jobs to district. can't be just a service dominated economy. we have to make things. MF gave his vote to the Bush admin and Wall St. I’ll be honored to earn your vote.

MF: thanks. serious and significant debate. at crossroads in nation's history. we are hurting. businesses are struggling. not just a referendum on Obama admin, choice between PM and me. I believe in smaller more efficient government, small businesses can employ more people, more opportunities in private sector. PM for larger govt that taxes and spends more. stimulus created no jobs. choice is clear.

Q1: long tern strategy for business to create jobs and employ more workers

PM: small businesses -- empower them to create more jobs. giving them proper tax incentives to hire and buy. I've done that. we need to get back to making things in our country gain. MF was tie breaking vote to outsource jobs. CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). hurt Bucks and middle class. at our own detriment.

MF: not about trade but how to empower small business. need to do everything we can. jobs not created in public sector but private sector. ask them to create jobs and listen to them. They need contained health care costs and lower taxes. I’m the only candidate who signed taxpayer protection pledge. PM recessed congress without extending tax cuts.

Q2: isn't not taking actions on extending tax cuts actually a tax increase:

MF reason jobs not being created in current econ is because of rising health care costs and uncertainty of tax rates. so when congress recessed without extending tax cuts is historic tax increase.

PM: in the military I learned about honor and integrity. I voted not to adjourn but to tackle tax cuts. extend for 98% of Americans. we cannot afford to borrow $700B from China to extend those tax breaks to millionaires. cannot borrow and spend. not the right thing to do. right to extend for middle class.

Q3 estate tax, go from 0% to 55%
[blogger update: initially I reversed the speaker's initials -- thanks the reader (see comment below) who corrected me. apologies to the candidates]

MFPM: wife is an attorney in Doylestown at Fox Rothschild, does estate work, extend tax break to estates up to $7M, but tax estates above that. co-sponsored bill to do just that. going back, MF raised property taxes 7 times in 10 years. that is his record

PMMF: talking about Bucks Commissioner term 15 years ago, many of those tax increases voter approved. does not go from 0 to 55%, taxed from time we are born to when we die, income, capital gains, unAmerican to tax death. not a tax but confiscation of private property

Q4: prevent Fannie or Freddie from creating economic problems in future

MF: main culprit in mortgage meltdown. as member of financial services committee asked them tough questions, Barney Frank not concerned about that, but only how many people could be put in houses whether they could afford it or not. fannie and freddi not included in new regulations.

PM: you heard about a pledge and tough questions. we have worst mortgage meltdown in history. When I took over from Mike it was like cleanup crew from Eagles game. changed rules so you have to have money to get mortgage. He sat on oversight committee and did nothing. if you want to go back to failed policies he's your guy.

Q5: 6 months of hindsight, should any portion of the health care reform bill be amended or repealed

PM: proud to vote for hcr, tax credits for small businesses to give employees health insurance. voted for bill that they wouldn't have same 1099 requirements. chaired econ development committee for small business in community. they said health care costs important. we addressed it. MF wants to repeal.

MF: wouldn't be proud of voting for that bill. perhaps flawed because voted for without being read. we were given specific promises that it would be deficit neutral, costs for small businesses wouldn't go up and rates wouldn't rise. small businesses tell me rates going up a lot. seniors losing policies. repeal and replace.

Q6: what have you done to help family farms in Bucks

MF: as county commissioner lead effort to preserve family farms and open space, family farms are original small business in US. pay taxes, hire individuals. food security, land preservation. have experience on local level. number 1 issue is repeal of death tax

PM: we need to keep family farms, support open space efforts. allow to pass from generation to generation. pass farm bill will help family farms. just down for Delaware Valley College, family farm school for our nation. 4—H and other similar organizations. need to encourage young people to go into agriculture.

Q7: US Chamber of Commerce criticized for political spending. Chamber of Commerce says no foreign monies used. should Chamber of Commerce be able to advocate for members?

PM: supports Chamber of Commerce, concern that they are spending $50M to advocate. they do take money from foreign entities. want firewall that it could not be used in US elections. support Disclose Act. best way is transparency and disclose it. opponent doesn't mind shadow groups. we ensure foreign money isn't being spent

MF: only shadowy groups spending in 8th are spending money against me. labor money, 526? monies. my money is from in district, yours isn't. unAmerican to go against Chamber of Commerce, rights under constitution. Disclose Act created an exception for labor unions, applies to Chamber of Commerce but not labor unions, unAmerican.

Q8: detainees at Gitmo

MF: should not be closed and detainees sent elsewhere, don't try detainees in NYC. created to keep those criminals off our shore, have trials there

PM: a lot of detainees should be put to death, bring them to justice and put them to death. he doesn’t like the ads but you did raise property taxes, did sit on oversight committee. you did nothing in health care. we need people who are actually going to do something.

Q9: proper balance between environmental regulations and small business growth

PM: we have strong military and great economy. hurting right now. I voted to put our country on the right track. need to make sure streams, water and air not polluted. 99% okay. don't want to be China where air pollution causing asthma. do need balance.

MF: need to strike a balance, that's what I did for 10 years as a county commish. that's what we need, create solutions, bring people together. I voted for health care liability reform, bring down cost of defensive medicine. PM won't vote for liability reform. I must have done a good job as county commish because you {PM} moved here. you should extend tax cuts

Q10: contain health care costs for small biz

MF: primary issue for small businesses, missed opportunity for hcr, increase coverage but promise not to cost anything. did not deal w cost containment, can't buy across state lines. did nothing to keep us healthy, several taxes in hcr bill, including a tax on real estate

PM: when I tell you I do something I do it. real estate tax has been debunked. head of realtors told him yesterday not to lie about it, a phantom thing. he wants to repeal bill. for seniors that would reopen donut hole, discriminate based on pre-existing conditions.

Q11: support FRAC act (sb 1215), oil and gas companies disclose chemicals used in fracking

PM: co-sponsor of house version. need to know what's in water system. want to utilize gas in state and country. need to diversify energy uses, solar wind and nuclear. MF used to say global warming an issue now he says it isn't.

MF: Frac act, state environmental regulators should have information on it, should be able to access resources in an environmentally sensitive and reasonable way. should make sure regulations and taxes not a disincentive. marcellus shale etc can make us energy independent, also create jobs. find reasonable balance.

Q12: open govt directive, transparent and participatory

MF: directed at executive branch. we were promised by Pelosi that congress would be ethical, Obama said would be transparent. in hcr lobbyists brought in by back door, 2500 pages no one read it. not transparent. no live townhall face to face meeting not transparent.

PM: folks know I had townhall meetings. MF was at one of them. he is lying to your face. newspapers moderated two of them. hard to believe I'm being lectured by guy who voted for bridge to nowhere. now every request has to be transparent, financial disclose, lectured by a guy whose first vote was to keep in in place Tom DeLay, who had ethics problems

Q13: role of federal government in education

PM: partner with and empower teachers, also about parenting, education doesn't just happen in the classroom. wife and I read to kids every night. important. checking their homework, being involved in process. taught at West Point. empower educators to do the right thing, not just teach to test, develop leaders.

MF: proper fed role, us dept of ed has mission but wastes money and inefficient, mandates but doesn't fund. mandate where can fund otherwise get off the field. don't want faceless bureaucrat in DC deciding what Bucks kids will eat for lunch or textbooks they will use, leave to local school directors.

Q14: best way to ensure nuclear weapons never used

MF: peace thru strength (quoting Reagan), strong military, navy with ships to patrol oceans, make sure Iran doesn't get nuclear weapons, both Obama and Hillary Clinton ensured that Iran would not get nuclear weapons, falling down on job

PM: secure loose nukes that might be out there especially in foreign nations like former USSR. Pakistan has nukes, must make sure not overrun by al Qaeda. when MF in office didn't focus on Pakistan, focus on Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11

Q15; balance cost of military with domestic needs

PM: need to balance books, some programs in dept of defense wasteful., Secretary of Defense asks some programs not be funded but Congress funds them anyway. I listen to him and don't fund. MF did. when they say we don't need certain things we shouldn't keep funding them.

MF: when I was in congress federal deficit decreased, when he is in office deficit exploded. national debt almost doubled. Constitution says first objective is defense. national debt is a defense issue, domestic spending under control so we can fund defense.

Q16: climate change

MF: we need to be certain before we enter treaties with other nations that science is clear. much of this science was skewed. some data debunked. if we are going to enter treaties need to hold other nations like China to same standards

PM: he spent $3T on Iraq war. climate change, we are dependent on foreign oil, funding both sides of war on terror, I supported green energy bill to do just that. we have to get serious about it. YCarbon moved to Bucks because we have energy hubs, green energy

Q17: proper role of corporations in American elections

PM: corporations part of economy, feds are referee. if they aren't doing the right thing, govt needs to step in, child labor, environmental regulations. corporations do not have more rights than citizens. The citizens united decision a travesty. my opponent supports unlimited corporate donations

MF: corporations are run by individuals. individuals play role in process. we aren't permitted to take corporate donations. value opinions of individuals that run corporations. private enterprise has made this country great.

Q18: Do you support voting representation for the citizens of Washington, D.C.

MF: debated for some time. engaged in census process. Constitution says people of several states enjoy representation. Question is people who don’t live in a state. Questions for the courts

PM: voted for it and supported it. MF was a leading congressman for corporate cash in last election because of his vote on CAFTA. on day of vote he told Bucks he was a no, then Bush called him and he flipped. has hurt small businessmen and employees.

Q19: reduce politician’s benefits and salary

PM: voted against pay increase for congress, when it passed anyway, gave that money to charity. when MF a county commish he voted for a pay raise for himself, also had a side job at a law firm. he voted against giving troops pay increase.

MF: voted for pay raises for troops. for term limits (3 terms), eliminate of congressional pensions would get back to public servants not professional politicians. PM has taken 2 pay increases and gave to charity. I did that as Bucks commish, gave every pay rise to charity, will disclose tax returns to provide today, calls on PM to do the same.

Q20: 3M notified retirees that would not cover health care due to Obama health care plan

MF: Pres promised that if you have a health care plan you like you can keep it. repeal and replace with real hc reform. costs going up. need to contain hc costs, now on slow slide to socialized medicine.

PM: hc costs have been rising, need to address, have done that. MF wants to repeal what helps seniors, wants to repeal closing of donut hole. discrimination for pre-existing condition, cherry pick healthy people.

Q21: costs of higher education

PM: wife and I still paying off college debts. students get better bang for buck at community colleges. passed legislation to lower interest rates for college loans. train and educate for jobs of future, green jobs academy

MF: in hcr bill unholy grab of private loans for education. we don't know what outlying costs will be now that fed has grabbed all student loans. have 2 daughters in state colleges. borrowing for children's education. rising costs of health care increased education costs.

Q22: cap and trade

MF: opposed

PM: now opposed but he used to be for it. need to be investing in green jobs. we have 20k green jobs in Bucks. site of old steel mill in Fairless hills. steel jobs gone but now green jobs, 4th largest solar fields in country, Gamesa and AE Polysilicon now in Fairless

Q23: illegal immigration

PM: crack down on it. national security. funded border fence. illegal immigrants coming here because they are being paid under the table. do not like amnesty, did it under Reagan, wrong, crack down on employers paying illegals under the table. I was only Democratic congressman against federal suit again Arizona lawsuit

MF: will vote to deseat Pelosi as Speaker. need to secure border, build a fence. in Israel saw fence to reduce terrorist attacks. when in congress voted to fund fence. also need to fund high tech security, unmanned drones, fully fund verify system to id illegals

Q24: national energy tax

MF: no national energy tax. should not raise taxes in recession. should become energy independent. Democrats set unreasonable taxes. you voted cap and trade bill that included national energy tax. keeping manufacturing in US -- health care, salaries and cost of energy

PM: not for it. MF co sponsored an energy bill and then flipped on it. you can disagree with me but when I tell you something you can take it to the bank. i passed largest middle class tax break in country's history. he raised prop taxes 7 times in 10 years, hurt middle class and seniors.

Q25: what commitments can you make on what you will do to help people in Bucks

PM: tax breaks for small businesses to grow jobs to make investments here in Bucks and not for countries, stand true for idle class families and small businesses. extend marginal tax cuts for 98% of Americans. MF wants to borrow $700B from China to give multimillionaires tax cut

MF: create an atmosphere in federal government that empowers small business to create jobs, reduce national debt, be most accessible congressman in this country. unemployment going up. national debt doubled under your tenure. will have townhall meeting once a month, half on specific issue half open.

Q26: support maintaining office of c ethics as an independent body

MF: for whatever it will take to have what we were promised, most ethical congress in history, not a record to be proud of. just before being sworn in PM took $100K book advance that would have been unethical if he took it after being sworn in

PM: his plan was to allow someone criminally indicted stay in leadership position. I voted for independent ethics office. I said Rangel should not just step down from leadership position but to resign from congress.

closing statements

PM: thanks. I have done my best to serve my country and vote my conscience. want to make things in this country. built 4th largest solar field in country, [gives other exmaples]. want to do more but can't if we return to failed Bush policies. when he had the chance he voted for everyone but you. I have tried to do everything I can to [missed this]], don't want to outsource jobs. we have lost 5K jobs in Bucks because of bad trade deals according to dept of labor. that is MF's agenda. I will continue to work with you and small business and families to do what's right.

MF: believe an American worker, on a level playing field, can do better than everyone. all those companies he mentioned are subsidized by govt, he gives them money that's why they’re his friends. he has doubled national debt. can't explain away what has happened under his watch. want to see more opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs. will create jobs that will lift us out of this recession. I believe in you and the American worker. when you’re successful America will be successful. proud to represent you.

1 comment:

Robin said...

I'm rushing to get out of the house but I think you have this backward:
MF: wife is an attorney in Doylestown at Fox Rothschild, does estate work, extend tax break to estates up to $7M, but tax estates above that. co-sponsored bill to do just that. going back, MF raised property taxes 7 times in 10 years. that is his record

PM: talking about Bucks Commissioner term 15 years ago, many of those tax increases voter approved. does not go from 0 to 55%, taxed from time we are born to when we die, income, capital gains, unAmerican to tax death. not a tax but confiscation of private property

Great notes! Thanks so much for posting this.