Patty Murray in 2010 WA Senate Debates


On Tax Reform: Bush tax cut for top 2% costs us $2 trillion

The final Washington US Senate debate featured a sharp disagreement over tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Democratic incumbent Patty Murray repeatedly said the country can't afford them. Republican Dino Rossi insisted that if the tax cuts go away, more jobs will be lost.

After the election, Congress plans to reauthorize Bush-era tax cuts. But Democrats want to let expire the break for Americans who make more than $200,000 a year. Murray attacked Rossi for saying he would vote to extend those tax cuts saying, "The top 2% of Americans are costing us a trillion dollars, [and if we do that] we will not have the resources to provide a skilled workforce, or the transportation infrastructure."

Rossi responded that small business owners are among those wh would have to pay the higher tax, saying, "We need to make sure that we don't have the biggest tax increase in American history because quite frankly it's going to kill more jobs."

Source: KPLU (NPR) coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 18, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Government action needed to fix damage done by Wall Street

Murray and Rossi offered voters starkly contrasting views about what role government should play in bringing the US economy out of its historic recession.

Murray, the Democrat, sang the praises of government action to repair the damage done by Wall Street, and touted her record of delivering federal dollars for the state's roads, colleges and businesses. "I'm working with your local leaders to provide the kinds of investments to create jobs, so you're strong again and our Main Street businesses kee their doors open," Murray said, touting millions she recently helped secure to repair Howard Hanson Dam & replace Seattle's South Park Bridge.

But Rossi, the Republican, contended that big government backed by Murray is the cause of the current crisis, not its solution. Rossi said businesses need stable regulation & low taxes to start hiring again. "It's not with more government, it's not with stimulus, it's not with a healthcare plan. It's got to be with small business being more successful," he said.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Government Reform: Halting earmarks shortchanges important state projects

Eager to remind voters she hasn't grown aloof during 18 years in office, Murray repeatedly mentioned that she comes home and talks to local leaders and businesses about what help they want from Washington, D.C. Rossi said he's been listening to voters as he travels the state.

Rossi accused Murray of heading to Congress with good intentions years ago but claimed she's changed since then to become a D.C. insider. He ripped her record as a prolific sponsor of earmarks, citing a Seattle Times report about former Murray staffers now cashing in on their connections as lobbyists, garnering nearly $20 million in earmarks for clients in a recent defense bill alone. "That's precisely what's wrong with Washington, D.C. That's what has to change," Rossi said.

Murray defended her record, and said Rossi would shortchange important Washington state projects with his call to halt earmarks and cut the federal budget while insisting on $1 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Health Care: ObamaCare provides money to train future family physicians

Rossi hit Murray time and time again for what he called "an 18-year record of taxing, spending and growing government that is indefensible."Murray stuck to her strategy of linking Rossi to Wall Street and the failed economic policies of the Bush administration, and again accused him of failing to get beyond a few generic Republican talking points.

Once again, the health-care overhaul was a point of controversy. Rossi noted that Murray said during the Spokane debate she'd read all 2,600 pages of the bill, and helped write it. He asked whether she was responsible for controversial parts of the law that raised taxes or hired "hordes and hordes of IRS agents" to administer it.

Murray fired back that she'd personally written a section of the law that provided money to train future family physicians. "Mr. Rossi is going to repeal that program and take that away," she said.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Immigration: Give kids of illegal immigrants a chance to be citizens

Rossi also refused to say whether he favors allowing children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country and start on a path toward citizenship. He said he hasn't heard of a good solution to that issue, and that such questions are moot until the federal government secures the borders.

Murray touted her support for a law that would give such people a chance to be citizens after going to college or joining the military.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Social Security: No comment on raising retirement age or other changes, yet

Both candidates refused to say whether they'd back raising the Social Security retirement age or other changes to the entitlement. They each pointed to a bipartisan commission studying the issue, saying they wanted to read that report before making any promises.
Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 17, 2010

On Budget & Economy: Bush policy is tax cuts & wars without paying for them

The first debate between Murray and Rossi came down to who's to blame for the sluggish economy. Murray warned that a vote for Rossi would reverse progress. "He wants to go back to the Bush economic policies that got us into this mess--going into two wars without paying for it, passing tax cuts that are not paid for and leaving us with tough decisions today that hurt all of us."

Rossi pointed to the health care overhaul and stimulus spending and said leaders are "moving down a path that is very dangerous."

"If we don't have a course correction in this election, I think we're going to wake up 24 months from now in a country that we don't even recognize," Rossi said.

Murray said Rossi's support for extending tax cuts for individuals who earn $200,000 a year or more could destabilize Social Security, halt the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and hurt student loans and construction projects that repair dams and other infrastructure.

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Environment: Federally fund Hanford Nuclear Reservation cleanup

Murray said Rossi's support for extending tax cuts for individuals who earn $200,000 a year or more could destabilize Social Security, halt the cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and hurt student loans and construction projects that repair dams and other infrastructure. "If Mr. Rossi gets his way and we extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, there is no way that we can sustain the programs that are so important in front of us," she said.
Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Health Care: Pre-ObamaCare worked for insurance companies but no one else

Rossi targeted the new health care law and said other concepts, like laws to limit lawsuits against doctors and allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, would have been better approaches. " You're losing your freedoms; you're losing your choices," Rossi said. "This potentially could bankrupt America and also impact Medicare, as well."

Murray said the new health law will make a difference by stopping insurance companies from denying coverage for needed care. "The only group of people that health care in this county was working for was our health insurance companies," Murray said. "Every family, every business, every community was struggling with double-digit increases."

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Homeland Security: Toss out don't-ask-don't-tell

The debate hit on several topics related to the military. Rossi said he is waiting for a study that is under way before deciding whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

Murray said she believes the "don't ask, don't tell" policy should be tossed and that sexual orientation should not be cause to discharge anyone in the military.

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On War & Peace: Set timetable for Afghan withdrawal

Rossi said setting a deadline for withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan would aid terrorists. "What they will do is go hide out in their caves and wait until we leave," Rossi said.

But Murray said she supports a timetable for withdrawal. "We have a number of military families who have sacrificed so much for our nation," Murray said. "We owe it to them to know where and how long they're going to be there and how much more sacrifice they have to give."

Source: The Spokesman-Review coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Health Care: Yes, I read ObamaCare; I helped write it!

On health care, Rossi blasted the new federal law, saying it will siphon money from Medicare, raise costs on corporations and cause "tens of thousands of jobs" to be lost or not created in Washington. "This actually could bankrupt America," he said.

Murray was asked if she read the bill before voting on it. "Not only did I read it, I helped to write it," she said proudly. She said it is "not perfect" but is a step in the right direction to give individuals greater control of their health care.

Source: Everett Herald coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 14, 2010

On Principles & Values: This state is my family and my family is hurting

Murray framed the election as a decision on "who is going to be your voice and your advocate in the United States Senate. This state is my family and my family is hurting," she said. "That's why I'm working so hard with your community leaders to get you jobs and get this country back on track again."

Rossi said the decision of voters is about changing leadership in a government that is spending too much and growing too big.

Source: Everett Herald coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 14, 2010

On Tax Reform: Extending Bush tax cuts reduces social & health programs

Murray continually hammered Rossi for supporting extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that benefit the wealthy. She said those tax breaks take away revenue that could be used for Social Security and health programs. "If Rossi gets his way and extends the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans to the tune of almost $1 trillion, there is no way to sustain the programs so important to us," Murray said.

Rossi hammered Murray as a 3-term incumbent who constantly voted for bigger government programs and more government control of business. "You have an 18-year incumbent killing jobs in the state of Washington in vote after vote," Rossi said. "I want to allow entrepreneurs to be successful."

As she has done throughout the campaign, Murray sought to paint Rossi as a friend to Wall Street & big banks. Rossi, a real estate developer, branded Murray as a big-spending liberal. The candidates referred constantly to the fight over extending the 2001 & 2003 tax cuts to individuals making more than $200,000

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Oct 14, 2010

On Principles & Values: Long history of limiting debates with her challengers

Rossi has accepted invitations to six debates. Murray, following her usual strategy of limiting debates, has agreed to just two--one in Spokane and one in Seattle.

Murray's campaign maintains that two debates is enough, and says Murray is too busy to d more considering her Senate schedule. "We had a number of very promising proposals. We considered all of them. We made a choice to accept two debates, one in Western Washington and one in Eastern Washington, that would both be available to statewide audiences and reach as many voters as possible," said Murray campaign spokeswoman.

Murray has a history of limiting debates with her challengers--a classic incumbent strategy. In 1998, during her first re-election campaign, Murray agreed to just one debate with Republican challenger Linda Smith. In 2004, Murray consented to two debates, frustrating Republican George Nethercutt, who proceeded to traverse the state "debating" an empty pair of tennis shoes.

Source: Seattle Times coverage of 2010 WA Senate debate Sep 15, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 Washington Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Washington Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Patty Murray.
Click here for a profile of Patty Murray.
Patty Murray 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: Nov 01, 2010