Murphy, Maggi TV Debate Gets Heated
The candidates for the 18th Congressional District debated on PCNC on Tuesday night.
A televised debate between U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, the Republican incumbent, and Washington County Commissioner Lawrence Maggi, the Democratic challenger, aired on PCNC on Tuesday night and got heated when the two men discussed whether or not Maggi supports President Barack Obama and his health care bill.
When Murphy said that Maggi "supports the president," Maggi responded, "I'm not in Congress; I'm a county commissioner. I appreciate the title you're giving me, but I have not voted (in Congress) or supported the president."
"You said you supported the Democrat ticket and that you support President Obama," Murphy said.
"I never said that," Maggi responded.
"Yes, you did; you said it at the Westmoreland debate. I have it on tape," Murphy said.
Murphy and Maggi are competing to represent the U.S House of Representatives' 18th District of Pennsylvania, which includes all of Whitehall Borough.
The candidates also bickered while discussing President Obama's health care plan.
"My district didn't want me to vote for the health care bill. I didn't. He (Maggi) does (want Obama's health care plan)," Murphy said.
Maggi tried to interrupt.
"He (Maggi) does support it. He says he would not try to get rid of the bill. That means he supports it," Murphy said.
Maggi wouldn't say if he would try to repeal the health care bill and said it "needs to be fixed." He admitted that he has not read the bill.
Murphy said that he likes some parts of the bill but that "it is a bad version" and that it "has a heck of a lot of taxes."
Maggi repeatedly criticized Murphy for supporting Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan's budget plan "that ends Medicare system as we know it" and gives a tax break to the "top 2 percent." Maggi admitted that he hasn't read the Ryan budget.
"They (Congress) want to continue to give the top 2 percent tax cuts, and that's where I'm saying he (Murphy)'s not in tune with western Pennsylvania," Maggi said. "We need to give middle class the tax breaks. We need to take care of the middle class and have the richest of the rich pay their fair share of taxes."
Murphy responded, "I don't know where this comes from—trying to raise taxes on the middle class and trying to cut things for the upper 2 percent. The president has continued to propose to raise taxes on people who make more than $250,000, and that affects small business in America ... Instead of investing (money) into that business, they (small business owners) are sending more (money) to the government.
"The issue before us is: Whenever the government has raised taxes, the government has expanded. When government cuts taxes, you see revenue grow."
Maggi said that Murphy doesn't get anything done in Congress.
Murphy said that the U.S. House has sent more than 40 bills to the Senate.
"And they go there to die," Murphy said.
Murphy did tout his record on creating the Generic Drug and Biosimilar User Fee Act of 2012, which authorizes the Food and Drug Administration to expedite approvals of generic pharmaceuticals, and getting bipartisan support to save the 911th airlift wing and build a new commissary.
"Washington, DC, just doesn't get it," Maggi said.
Maggi said that he balanced nine budgets and cut government spending in Washington County. He boasted of the county's low tax rate.
"I'm excited about what's going on in Washington County, and I think Washington (DC) could take a lesson in that," Maggi said. With my background of living in southwestern Pennsylvania my whole life ... I feel like I know what's going on and can make a difference in Washington, DC."
This article originally appeared on the UpperSt.Clair Patch.
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