Charles Melancon in 2010 Louisiana Senate Debates


On Civil Rights: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act fights women's discrimination

Fireworks erupted when the candidates were asked if the law should guarantee women equal pay for doing the same work as men. While Melancon and Vitter both said they support equal pay, Melancon used the question as a springboard to attack Vitter for a range of votes that Melancon characterized as anti-woman, including against a bill to give women more time to file suit when they think they've been victims of pay discrimination. "We deserve a senator who respects women and stands up for women," Melancon said.

Vitter called the charge "a complete misrepresentation of my record," and said he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 because he thought it was a sop to plaintiff's lawyers. "Quite frankly it's a trial lawyer bonanza," Vitter said.

Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Congressional trip to Antarctica to study global warming

The panel pressed Melancon on whether a trip to Antarctica to study global warming was a good use of taxpayer dollars. "We met with scientists," Melancon said. "We were up at 5:30 a.m."
Source: WWLTV Eyewitness coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Families & Children: Family brings us all together; about honesty & integrity

Family values were addressed right out the gate in Wednesday's debate, with Sen. David Vitter briefly addressing his "serious sin." When asked by the moderator about how their values affect their candidacy, Vitter briefly referenced his tie to a Washington, D.C., madam in 2007. "My greatest strength in life is my family, and their love and prayers and support. Obviously I've stumbled in my marriage, obviously I've committed serious sin, which I've discussed in the past," Vitter said.

Melancon took the opportunity to set themselves apart from Vitter and his values. "It's the family unit that brings us all together... It's about honesty and integrity in Washington," Melancon said.

There were no other direct references to the call-girl issue at the forum, though Melancon has run attack ads seeking to remind voters of the controversy.

Source: WDSU New Orleans coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Health Care: Supports kids on parents' insurance policies until age 26

Vitter stressed his differences with Melancon on new federal health care law. While Melancon and Vitter both voted against the health care law, Vitter has introduced legislation to repeal it while Melancon said there are many parts of it he would like to keep, such as the requirement that children be allowed to stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26.

Melancon made a point to say he opposed the bill initially, but opposed repealing it because of the good things it did, like provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Immigration: I have been a staunch hawk on immigration

When asked whether he would apologize for a controversial anti-immigration campaign ad that some groups found offensive, Vitter was quick to offer up an answer. "The one thing in the ad that is offensive is Melancon's votes," said Vitter, saying that Melancon voted against laws that would clamp down on illegal immigration.

But Melancon maintained he has a strong stance against illegal immigration. "I have been a staunch hawk on immigration," said Melancon.

Source: WWLTV Eyewitness coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Principles & Values: OpEd: Vitter broke the law, and lied about it, with DC Madam

One question Vitter repeatedly dodged had to do with whether he broke the law when he was linked to a D.C. prostitution ring in 2007. When a panelist told Vitter he would give him the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" and explain himself, Vitter responded, "I'm not going to take that opportunity, because I think the voters of Louisiana have understood exactly what I said to them."

"You've lied, broken the law, and embarrassed the state," responded Melancon.

Source: WWLTV Eyewitness coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Tax Reform: Tax increase on wealthiest taxpayers but not middle-class

Vitter stressed his differences with Melancon on tax policy. On taxes, Vitter favor a permanent extension of all the income-tax cuts approved in the early years of President George W. Bush's administration.

Melancon said he supports extending the tax cuts for middle-income earners but allowing rates to increase on the wealthiest taxpayers. "Every one of us wants to extend the present tax rates... except one candidate, Charlie Melancon," Vitter said.

The candidates were less sure of themselves when asked for specifics on what federal spending they would seek to offset the tax cuts with corresponding cuts to spending. Vitter did not offer any suggestions for what he would cut, while Melancon suggested that Congress should take its cue from a government report that details which federal programs and agencies are "not giving bang for the buck."

Source: NOLA.com coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 28, 2010

On Health Care: Opposed healthcare bill because it didn't work for America

Melancon and Vitter debated on a wide range of topics including the economy and health care. "It's a shame that Mr. Vitter continues to lie about my record, I opposed the health care bill, because the health care bill didn't work for America," said Melancon.

Senator Vitter responded, calling their differing views on health care "a big, honest disagreement between us, I fought 'ObamaCare,' I'm still fighting it," he said.

Source: KATC News coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 27, 2010

On Principles & Values: Ran based on Vitter's integrity issue from call-girl scandal

Republican Sen. David Vitter again acknowledged unspecified "serious sins" but offered no new information on the prostitution scandal that broke in 2007 when he was linked to a Washington call girl ring run by the "D.C. Madam." In July 2007, Vitter was linked by phone records to a Washington, D.C. escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who committed suicide in 2008 after being convicted of running a prostitution ring.

When the scandal broke, Vitter said in a news release that he had committed a "serious sin," but he has steadfastly refused to say more about the matter and has avoided questions. With polls showing him leading in the current race, he has limited campaign appearances and used television ads to boost his conservative profile and attack his Democratic opponent, Rep. Charlie Melancon.

Melancon said that issues of honesty and integrity were what prompted 11 people to seek Vitter's seat. "It's the reason everyone got into this race, to challenge Mr. Vitter," Melancon said.

Source: Miami Herald coverage of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 27, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Stimulus package will avoid God-awful recession like 1980s

Melancon voted for the stimulus package, saying he recalled the 1980s, the last time the country faced an economic collapse. "It was pretty God awful," Melancon said.

Vitter criticized the measure as wasteful spending. Today, unemployment stands at 10 percent with about 80 percent of the stimulus money dedicated. "It immediately increased spending and debt," Vitter said. "At the same time, I didn't think it would lead to significant job creation."

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Budget & Economy: TARP package will avoid depression from doing nothing

Bush's Wall Street bailout, or Troubled Asset Relief Program, led to $700 billion in government money going to financial institutions in danger of collapsing. Melancon said he voted for the bill after consulting with business leaders and economists who feared an economic free fall. "They all agreed that doing nothing would lead us into a depression," Melancon said.

At every turn, Vitter tried to thwart the program. He introduced legislation aimed at blocking the use of $250 billion of the TARP money, which was approved in two installments. He called for any money returned to the federal government by the institutions taking part in the program to be dedicated to reducing the federal deficit instead of supporting further spending. Vitter also wanted an ending date for the program. "It played out to do what I feared, to expand the power and the role of the federal government," Vitter said.

Vitter's proposed measures did not pass. The government has received most of its money back.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Corporations: Supported $30 billion small-business lending fund

Melancon voted for the Small Business Tax and Lending Bill, which established a $30 billion small-business lending fund administered by the U.S. Treasury. The money was directed to community banks to lend to small businesses.

Melancon is a former small businessman, having operated an insurance agency and several ice cream stores. "I had to worry about making payroll and staying in business and creating jobs," Melancon said.

Vitter didn't vote on the measure, saying his absence was equal to a "no" vote. The bill passed.

Vitter, who sits on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, joined fellow Republicans in calling the measure another government bailout that would do little to stimulate small business and didn't provide enough tax breaks.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Energy & Oil: Funnel BP oil-leak penalties into coastal restoration

Melancon tacked two amendments onto a recently passed bill to improve oil drilling regulation. His measures called for lifting the drilling moratorium and for funneling money from oil-leak penalties against BP into coastal restoration.

Melancon said he is most proud of his non-legislative actions on the ground after BP's oil leak. During the recent oil leak, Melancon ensured that the federal government created a mobile health clinic and provided services for victims under stress, he said.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Health Care: ObamaCare costs too much & does too little for middle-class

In rare moment of agreement for the two lawmakers, Melancon and Vitter voted against the massive health-care legislation successfully pushed by Obama and the Democratic leadership.

Melancon said the plan costs too much and does little for middle-class Louisiana families.

Vitter likewise opposed the measure, saying it would inject the government into decisions that should be left to doctors and their patients.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Immigration: Supports SCHIP, despite insuring illegal immigrant kids

The SCHIP bill reauthorized the State Children's Health Insurance Program for the next five years, funding it with a 62-cent federal tax on cigarettes. It removed a five-year waiting period, and loosened citizenship requirements.

Melancon voted for the measure, trying to debunk claims by opponents that it would amount to government-run insurance, health care for illegal immigrants or coverage for high-income families. "Making sure children have health insurance is not only the right thing to do, it's also much more cost-effective for taxpayers than leaving them uninsured and using the emergency room as a primary-care provider," Melancon said.

Vitter opposed the bill, saying it was disproportionately skewed toward states such as New York, which has higher incomes for eligibility than Louisiana, he said. In New York, the program's cutoff for a family of four is $88,200. Louisiana taxpayers shouldn't subsidize those states, Vitter said. "It just makes no sense to me," he said.

Source: Baton Rouge Advocate on of 2010 Louisiana Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Louisiana Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Louisiana Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Charles Melancon.
Click here for a profile of Charles Melancon.
Charles Melancon on other issues:
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare
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Page last updated: Dec 02, 2010