Posted By: Cole Miller
Both Bob Kerrey and Deb Fischer agree that change must take place in Washington. However, it's how those changes are made that separate the two.
The Omaha Community Playhouse set the stage for Kerrey and Fischer's second U.S. Senate debate Friday.
The hour long event kicked off with the question, are we better off today than we were 4 years ago.
"No. We're not better off as a country. We're not better off with our economy. We're not better off with our position in the world. We need to send leaders to Washington who are going to make tough decisions. I've shown you that I've been effective here in Nebraska in taking on tough policy issues," Republican candidate Fischer said.
"Well, in Nebraska, I'd say decidedly yes. We've got record farm income last year. We have a balance of payment surplus from the rest of the world that's a record level as well. Median family income in Nebraska is up. It's true, that poverty rates are up, and that's a problem," Democrat Kerrey said.
The body of the debate included topics ranging from abortion to the war on terror, stances on bipartisanship to social security solutions. And perhaps one of the most talked about issues, healthcare.
Fischer, sticking to her word, says the Affordable Health Care Act must be repealed.
"We don't need to have a mandate and certainly, certainly do not need to steal over $700 billion from Medicare to pay for it," Fischer said.
Kerrey, on the other hand, acknowledges there needs to be some changes made, but says in the long run, it works.
"I think you'll have trouble finding anybody 8 or 9 years from now who will say honestly they oppose this act. It'll be good for the people of Nebraska, I believe it'll be good for our economy. It'll be good for our rural hospitals. I can identify a number of things that need to be changed, but fundamentally, I think this bill will do an awful lot of good for our state," Kerrey said.
Another hot topic is Fischer's balanced budget amendment for tackling the nation's debt. She wants to cut spending without increasing taxes, but Kerrey says it isn't that easy, the government will have to break program promises or find new ways to fund them.
The third and final debate is scheduled for Monday here in Lincoln.