On Sunday, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) and Democratic challenger, Scott Wallace participated in their first debate at Shir Ami synagogue in Newtown Township according to the Intelligencer.
The 90 minute long debate, moderated by Josh Runyan, editor of the Jewish Exponent, between the candidates for the 1st Congressional District included discussions on most topics they disagreed with such as healthcare and tax reform, but did feature some small commonground.
The Democratic candidate was very critical of President Trump and the Republican led Congress’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and pinned the removal of the individual mandate in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act as a sign they are “sabotaging the healthcare law.”
“The premiums got too high and forced millions off the exchange,” Wallace said according to the Intelligencer. “We need to restore the mandate so they are all in the same market together. I do favor a public option that could move us toward a Medicare for all system.”
Fitzpatrick stated his belief that a Medicare for all system would be a “disaster”, but favored a market-based system, which “allows for more innovation and shorter wait times for patients.” Fitzpatrick did vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017, but did vote in favor of the GOP tax reform bill that included the individual mandate repeal.
“About 80 percent of the people who paid that fine made less than $50,000 a year,” said Fitzpatrick. “It was essentially a poverty tax.”
Fitzpatrick touted the tax reform bill as benefiting the people of the district that will help continue economic expansion, while Wallace finds it to be detemental and only benefiting the top 1% in America.
“The goal of any tax or regulation reform is finding that equilibrium,” said Fitzpatrick according to the Intelligencer. “You don’t want taxes so high they stifle the economy, but you don’t want them so low it bleeds revenue for the federal government. If we continue with the economic expansion we have seen, it will benefit the social safety nets.”
“I’m not in favor of the 1986 tax law, but we can do a lot better than we have done by not giving tax cuts to corporations that don’t know what to do with the cuts,” said Wallace according to the Intelligencer. “They did not spend that money on building new factories, they bought back their own stock to benefit their wealthy investors.”
When each candidate was asked if they could find an issue that they agreed upon, neither one could come to a specific one, although the Intelligencer reports that they did agree that a two-state solution is the best answer for the Israel-Palestine conflict, mental health and substance abuse are major problems affecting U.S. families and overall healthcare costs are still too high.
The two candidates will meet on Friday morning at a forum hosted by the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Bucks County at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown.
For further in-depth coverage, here is the full debate recap from the Intelligencer.