Democratic challenger Daryl Romeyn painted Cathy McMorris Rodgers as a do-nothing incumbent who has no solutions for federal deficits, illegal immigration, high school dropouts or childhood obesity.
McMorris Rodgers suggested Romeyn was someone who didn’t understand complex forest issues and would tax small businesses out of existence and set off a trade war with China.
In their first – and likely only – televised debate, the three-term congresswoman and the former television reporter agreed on very little Tuesday except for the importance of the American dream and the need to secure the nation’s borders before addressing other problems with illegal immigration. Those few seconds of agreement on immigration were closed off with Romeyn’s suggestion that she should’ve done something about it already: “She’s been there six years.”
Asked how to cut unemployment and boost the region’s economy, Romeyn suggested programs to boost the timber and farm communities and manufacture airplane parts. McMorris Rodgers said it’s not government programs but government stability on taxes, regulations and health care costs that will get businesses hiring again.
“We need to calm the waters, first of all,” she said.
Both danced around the request for tough choices they’d make to cut the
federal budget after saying it had to be balanced like a household
budget. McMorris Rodgers said she’d roll back spending to pre-Obama,
pre-stimulus levels of 2008.
“Grandiose statements but no details,” countered Romeyn, who said he’d cut “waste in government.”
“Get our economy growing,” McMorris Rodgers countered.
“Let’s get people back to work,” Romeyn replied.
people in some Eastern Washington forests takes actions, not words or
government programs, he added. “Get some folks out there with some chain
saws and get to work.”
No, it takes discussions among the “warring
factions” to open some areas to cutting, others to recreation and
preserve others, McMorris Rodgers said, adding that’s what she’s been
doing with U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat.
Romeyn said he
favored pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan right away, and spending
money planned for roads and irrigation projects there in the United
States. McMorris Rodgers said she supported President Obama’s plan to
increase troops, although she didn’t support a date certain to begin a
Because the military is fighting a war, McMorris Rodgers
said we should wait on any possible changes to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
policy for homosexuals in the armed services. Romeyn said the nation
should listen to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and end it.
about previous comments that the U.S. should impose tariffs on Chinese
goods, Romeyn said he’d favor such charges on all energy saving
technology that could harm U.S. manufacturers of “green” products.
“I don’t think starting a trade war is the best way to get our economy going,” she replied.
tried to knock McMorris Rodgers, who is part of the House GOP
leadership, for voting Republican: “She votes 97 percent of the time
with her party.”
McMorris Rodgers said she works with Democrats when
the need arises, such as with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Fairchild
Air Force Base issues, and contended Romeyn’s the one tied to his party:
“My opponent’s supporting the policies of the last couple of years that
have added to the deficit.”
Both decried negative advertising.
McMorris Rodgers said she thought having debates on the issues was the
best approach. Then why has she not appeared with him at a public event
before that debate, countered Romeyn.
The debate almost didn’t occur.
It was first cancelled because McMorris Rodgers couldn’t fit it into
her schedule, then when she freed up time, Romeyn initially said he
couldn’t. They didn’t agree to debate until Monday.