On Oct. 18th Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-08) and the Democratic challenger Kathryn Boockvar appeared on WNPV's Comment Please by Univest with host Darryl Berger
The radio debate is available online so you can listen for yourself. I listened and took notes. This is not intended as a complete transcript and, as always, I apologize in advance for any errors or misconceptions.
DB: 8th congressional district still all of Bucks County but no longer NE Philly, part of Montgomery County in the district has shifted more to the west. Parts of North Penn area, Indian Valley.
MF: Thanks. My name is Mike Fitzpatrick. I was sent to Congress in 2011 to put congressional house in order and to criticize my party when wrong and Democrat party when wrong. I am one of the most independent congressional representatives.
KB: Thanks. Thanks to the Inquirer for endorsing me. I’ve never been a politician but always in public service, representing disabled veterans, women, senior citizens. Running whole life, feel congress has lost public service, now it is all about them. I want to bring it back to being about people. Move things forward for all of us, boosting economy.
DB: Nature of this campaign, a lot of money on negative ads, how you’ve been characterized by other campaign
MF: It is an issue. A lot of money spent by outside organizations. Think I and KB would agree that things should stay in Bucks Co. I have a voting record. I’m described one way when my voting record is another. Cites document from bipartisan group (Bipartisan Policy Center) on vanishing moderates. Always independent. My constituents know me and my record. National Dems trying to change people’s minds. Don’t think it will work.
KB: Congressman does have a voting record. MF has voted with Tea Party on important issues, in favor of Tea Party record, in favor of abolishing Planned Parenthood. I’m proud of my career and record, representing disabled veterans, senior citizens. This is what I’ve always done. They call me names because they don’t want to talk about their voting record.
DB: So much money coming into this campaign, some from constituents but a lot from outside, from PACS. Does it seem disproportionate to you? Millions raised for race for what end?
KB: I was in favor of campaign finance reform, never so much in favor of it as I am now. Amount of money being spent is a national travesty. The good we could do with that money. Don’t always know who has donated because of organizations that don’t have to report it. I will work hard to enact campaign finance reform.
MF: With all due respect, we’re all going to say we’re for campaign finance reform. Would like to see rule that only people who live in district can donate to race. Tried to reach out to opponent two years ago to limit donations, they laughed, this year reached out no response. Only outside group is Take Down Fitzpatrick. It started early. Trying to define me in a way that my constituents said that’s not fair. For the course of the year the only outside force involved in Take Down Fitzpatrick. Easy to say you’re for campaign finance reform but harder to do.
KB: I have nothing to do with Take Down Fitzpatrick. In last quarter Fitzpatrick raised over $200K from PACS. We’ve had over 12K individual contributors to this race. Fitzpatrick started out race a year before us with $1Million. I will start from day 1 as a member of congress to fight for voices of people to be louder than voices of corporations.
DB: IN DC you vote on bills from party leaders. If you approach someone who says they are voting for other presidential candidate how to you appeal to them
KB: I am knocking on Republican, Democratic, and Independent doors. Bucks Countians are independent thinkers. Everyone so frustrated with so little getting done. Looking for people to work across the aisle. I don’t agree with everything Barack Obama does or Mitt Romney does. My mediation background has me looking for common ground and solutions. Just at an event when a woman came over and said voting for Mitt Romney but also voting for Kathy Boockvar.
MF: If you take a look at the voting history of Bucks, I always run looking for support of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. I live 3 blocks from where I grew up. One of most diverse communities in county. I live amongst and talk to Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, take all that down to nation’s capital. One of the most competitive districts in state and country. Requires a Representative who lives here and understands it.
DB: Jobs and the economy
MF: First, jobs and the economy are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd issue. I was sent to DC to stand up for the district, to take on the Democrat administration when they were wrong. The jobs and economic record of this administration a failure. Debt gone up 60% in 4 years. Real unemployment rate in double digits. Gasoline went from $1.83 when Obama took office to $4.00 today. Dragging down economic ability to expand. Talk to businessmen all the time, talk to them about the challenges they face, getting people to work. I put together a plan called Made in the USA. Businesses looking for lower taxes, smart regulations, health care costs out of control. Current admin failed on. More taxes, greater expenses for small biz, stand up and say he’s wrong.
KB: The Boockvar agenda is action not words. MF in office for 21 months, no action. We’ve been in a critical situation for years now, why haven’t we moved forward. Would lower base corporate tax rate, a disincentive for business. Limit loopholes, biz able to get out of paying taxes. Give credits to biz for bringing jobs back. Build in America so we can buy in America. Research and technology. This is the first thing I would do.
MF: My opponent wants to lower corporate rate but she’s promised to remove Bush tax cuts, increase taxes on dividends and capital gains. There’ve been many bills introduced. Harry Reid refuses to bring them up for a vote. Bills pass in in the House, not in Senate. Reins Act, reduce regulatory problems, if affects business has to go back for review. Exploration for off shore energy.
KB: I’m on not the record for anything on capital gains tax. Only talked about Bush tax cuts, end on richest 1 or 2%. Largest part of deficit is Bush tax cuts, moreso than wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only time we lowered taxes and went to war. I don’t sign pledges. Legislators should have an open mind on options. Wealthiest 1 or 2% tax cuts have to end. Will have $1T off deficit.
MF: Stop threatening to raise taxes on American people and small businesses. In a difficult economy, don’t increase taxes. Barack Obama said that 18 months ago. KB just said she is going to raise taxes on people in Bucks County. I’m not raising the taxes on anyone. We need to recover first. Her plan would raise taxes on 1 million small businesses.
KB: The congressman can’t raise taxes because he signed Grover Norquist’s tax pledge. I go in with open mind. 98% of small businesses will not be impacted by ending Bush tax cuts for top 1 or 2%. Pres. Clinton said we should end tax cuts for top earners.
MF: between 2/3 and 75% of new jobs created by small businesses. KB’s plan would raise taxes on 1 million small businesses. We need them to buy new equipment (hopefully made in US), hire people. Small businesses tell me they want fewer regulations, cut tax rate. My opponent says she will raise taxes, increase regulations, health care. I say government that spends less, taxes less, let individuals make their own business decisions.
DB: Repeal affordable health care act (Obamacare)
KB: I would not repeal it. Everything MF saying is mostly inaccurate. MF voted twice for Ryan budget which puts burden on middle class not wealthiest. My visions is to support seniors and most vulnerable. Pres. Clinton had high job growth with higher taxes on wealthy, higher than under Bush when taxes lower. Health care is no the bill or law I would have drawn. My single biggest concern is that it not be a burden on individuals or small businesses. I owned a small business. At the same time we should acknowledge that we don’t want neighbors and friends getting health care at ER. Bill should be tweaked. Need cost containment. We spend over 17% of GDP on health care, administrative spending is unbelievable. If we were to spend less than 12% of GDP on health care, save $870B every year.
MF: I always call is Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be respectful. Some reforms need to be supported, coverage for pre-existing conditions, negotiate with employers to keep kids on health coverage while looking for jobs. But most of what is in that bill is harmful to economy. Business says it’s a burden. Repeal and replace with a new bill that includes those consumer protections. Passed without a single Republican vote. Obama said you can have your say then we’ll have our way. Elections have consequences. They said if you have health insurance you can keep it. Not a tax. Costs won’t go up. Supreme Court says it is a tax. Premiums have gone up. Most families have seen premiums go up. You keep the consumer protections which are good but repeal the balance. Go with free market reforms. Permit individuals to purchase insurance across the state lines.
KB: You can’t keep those protections if bill repealed. He voted with his party over 30 times to repeal part or all the bill. Al the citizens of Bucks and Montgomery Counties agrees we need to be able to cover kids until 26, cover pre-existing conditions, no copays for preventive care, but can’t have that unless healthy have coverage as well as sick. This is not the bill I would have drawn. A lot needs to be fixed. Individual mandate developed by conservative organization.
MF: Includes $715B out of Medicare.
KB: Same thing in Ryan budget that MF supported.
MF: When we need to strengthen and secure Medicare. Bill has IPAB, decide what is provided and what is not. Senior citizens will come to DC and ask for something to be covered but decisions made by unelected board.
KB: The $716B changes how providers are paid. MF voted twice for Ryan budget, took same $716B not to coverage but to fund tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. The panel, I’ve never said I’m in favor of it. Changes need to be made on that as well. Not a bunch of bureaucrats, but group of interested parties
MF: These decisions need to be made by physicians and patients. If she believes you can take 716B out of Medicare and not affect med care. Cuts physicians. We don’t have enough doctors now.
KB: Thank you again. There are two starkly different visions. I believe what will make America stronger is the principal of “we’re all in this together.” Working together across the aisle. Moving forward for all of us. Not just for the wealthy but working for all of us. Endorsed by National Committee to preserve Social Security and Medicare. www.boockvar.com
MF: What really matters to most of us, turning economy around. Unemployment excessively high. Stand up against administration. KB has promoted policies of Pelosi and Democrat Party. Deficit over $50K per person in 8th congressional district. High gas prices. Need change in the country. www.fitzpatrickforcongress.com