Murphy, Maggi TV Debate Gets Heated

The candidates for the 18th Congressional District took part in a debate aired Tuesday night.

A TV debate between U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and Democratic challenger Larry Maggi aired on PCNC Tuesday night and got heated when discussing whether Maggi supports President Barack Obama and his health care bill.

When Murphy said Maggi "supports the president," Maggi responded: "I'm not in Congress, I'm a county commissioner. I appreciate the title you're giving me, but I have not voted (in Congress) or supported the president."

"You said you supported the Democrat ticket and that you support President Obama," Murphy said.

"I never said that," Maggi responded.

"Yes you did, you said it as the Westmoreland debate. I have it on tape," Murphy said.

The candidates also bickered while discussing President Obama's health care bill.

"My district didn't want me to vote for the health care bill. I didn't. He (Maggi) does (want Obama's health care bill)," Murphy said.

Maggi tried to interrupt.

"He (Maggi) does support it. He says he would not try to get rid of the bill that means he supports it," Murphy said.

Maggi wouldn't say if he would try to repeal the health care bill and said it "needs to be fixed." He admitted that he has not read the bill.

Murphy said he likes some parts of the bill, but that "it is a bad version" and that it "has a heck of a lot of taxes."

Maggi repeatedly criticized Murphy for supporting the Ryan budget "that ends Medicare system as we know it" and gives a tax break to the "top 2 percent." Maggi admitted that he hasn't read the Ryan budget.

"They (Congress) want to continue to give the top 2 percent tax cuts and that's where I'm saying he's (Murphy) not in tune with western Pennsylvania," Maggi said. "We need to give middle class the tax breaks. We need to take care of the middle class and have the richest of the rich pay their fair share of taxes."

"I don't know where this comes form trying to raise taxes on the middle class and trying to cut things for the upper 2 percent," Murphy responded. "The president has continued to propose to raise taxes on people who make more than $250,000 and that affects small business in America ... Instead of investing (money) into that business, they're (small business owners) are sending more (money) to the government.

"The issue before us is whenever the government has raised taxes, the government has expanded. When government cuts taxes you see revenue grow."

Maggi said Murphy doesn't get anything done in Congress.

Murphy said the House has sent more than 40 bills to the Senate.

"And they go there to die," he said.

Murphy did tout his record on creating the Generic Drug and Biosimilar User Fee Act of 2012 that authorizes the Food and Drug Administration to expedite approvals of generic pharmaceuticals, and getting bipartisan support to save the 911th airlift wing and build a new commissary.

"Washington, D.C. just doesn't get it," Maggi said.

Maggi said he balanced nine budgets and cut government spending in Washington County. He boasted the county's low tax rate.

"I'm excited about what's going on in Washington County and I think Washington (D.C.) could take a lesson in that. With my background of living in southwestern Pennsylvania my whole life ... I feel like I know what's going on and can make a difference in Washington, D.C.," he said.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Observer-Reporter have endorsed Murphy. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review didn't endorse either candidate.


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