Will you extend middle class tax cuts? That was one question for U-S Senate candidates in their final debate before the election, Sunday night on M-P-R. Democrat Tina Smith says the cuts increased the national debt 1.5 trillion dollars and there might not be enough money for Social Security and Medicare. “We’re borrowing that money from our children and grandchildren in order to pay for that tax cut right now. I just think that those are the wrong priorities,” Smith says.
Republican Karin Housley responds the jobs and tax cut bill created 250 thousand middle-class jobs in October. Housley warns, “If Tina Smith is elected, she will vote to repeal [the tax cut bill] and go backwards into where we were before the economy was growing.”
The candidates also differed over how to avoid the shortfall projected for Social Security by 2034. Republican Housley says do *not* raise the retirement age, and reduce spending in other areas of the federal budget. “My solution is we need to really reform our immigration laws and get more people here working in our system and paying into Social Security,” she says. Democrat Tina Smith says do *not* trim cost-of-living increases, and change payroll deductions for businesses and individuals. “If you make a million dollars a year, you only pay the Social Security withholding on the first 128 thousand… and I don’t think that that’s fair,” Smith says.
Housley and Smith also clashed over border security. Housley said, “Tina does really support open borders,” to which Smith responded, “That’s just not true. I voted for 35 billion dollars in increased border security.” Housley: “But you had the opportunity to support the bill… that would have kept the Dreamers here and secure the borders and get people here legally, and you didn’t.” Smith: “That bill was far from a comprehensive immigration reform package.”
Housley says reform immigration laws but the border must be secure. She says the reason people are storming the border is the immigration process takes way too long. Smith says the U-S needs strong border security but there should also be a path to citizenship for those already here.