On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) and Democratic challenger, Scott Wallace participated in their final debate at Bucks County Community College’s Lower Bucks campus in Bristol Township.
The candidates for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District sparred over a number of different issues from foreign policy, environment, healthcare and more.
Like many of their debates, Wallace often stressed the damages he believes a Trump presidency has brought to the country and thinks this specific election is of great importance.
“We have something even bigger on the ballot,” Wallace said, according to the Bucks County Courier Times. “Our nation’s moral core … the soul of America, is at stake in this election.”
Throughout the campaign, Fitzpatrick has continuously called out extremes in both parties as the greatest threat to the country.
“I think that ultimately this comes down to whether we’re going to grow the country from the center out,” Fitzpatrick said according to the Courier Times. “I think it’s really, really broken.”
The first policy question the candidates were faced was about the current state of healthcare in the nation, which polls have indicated is the top issue for voters in this district, according to the Courier.
Fitzpatrick did not vote for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and although he doesn’t believe it is a perfect piece of legislation, it was worth standing against his party on.
“You make a decision: Is it better than what exists, or not better than what exists?” Fitzpatrick said, according to the Courier Times. “I stood by that decision.”
Wallace criticized Fitzpatrick’s vote in favor of the GOP tax reform bill, that included a provision eliminating the mandate for Americans to purchase health insurance, which was viewed as one of the main parts of the ACA. Wallace continued to express his opinion that a “Medicare for all” program would best suit the nation, although it would not be a mandate, but a “public option.”
Fitzpatrick thinks a single-payer system would be detrimental to the country.
“Single-payer should scare everyone,” Fitzpatrick said according to the Courier-Times. “That’s not what we stand for in this country.”
The candidates were asked if the world had become a safer place since Trump began his presidency. Wallace cited specific issues he had with Trump on foreign policy, while Fitzpatrick believes it was an “issue-by-issue question.”
“Are we going to embrace this dictator or that dictator … and are we going to shun our closest allies?” Wallace asked while talking about Trump, according to the Courier Times. “Nobody can count on us anymore.”
Fitzpatrick agreed with Trump that the nuclear deal with Iran was ineffective and while talking about the humanitarian aid from countries in the Middle East and Central America, the candidates found some common ground believing they should not abandon them.
“We have to keep those relationships,” with countries like Saudi Arabia, Fitzpatrick said according to the Courier Times. “But they have to be honest relationships.”
Both candidates also found similarities in how the U.S. should treat the environment, although they were not identical visions.
Wallace touted his family’s foundations work on issues related to this subject and called for a “complete transition to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by 2030,” although he didn’t provide specifics of how this would be accomplished.
Fitzpatrick boasted about a bipartisan bill he co-authored that would put a tax on carbon at $24 per metric ton, which would be paid by industries producing the greenhouse gas, and the revenues going to infrastructure.
For further in-depth coverage to see where the candidates stood on tax reform, immigration, and more, here are the links to debate recaps.
Bucks County Courier Times: Fitzpatrick, Wallace make closing arguments in final debate
LevittownNow: Divided On Issues, Congressman Fitzpatrick & Scott Wallace Come Together For Final Debate