Home 2018 Elections Live Video, Live Blog: VA-10 Debate Between Jennifer Wexton (D) and Barbara...

Live Video, Live Blog: VA-10 Debate Between Jennifer Wexton (D) and Barbara Comstock (R)

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This morning’s VA-10 debate (see video, below) begins at around 8:40 am. I’ll have comments below. Enjoy?

First of all, the format of this Loudoun Chamber debate is a travesty – costs a lot of money to attend, of course the fact that it’s the heavily Republican Chamber of Commerce, Dominion is a sponsor, etc. So ridiculous, but Comstock turned down the League of Women Voters, so this is what we’ve got. Ugh. See further comments below the video…

UPDATE 9:49 am – Wexton says VA-10 says Comstock is a “masterful political chameleon,” styles herself as a supporter of #MeToo, but voted to repeal a rule to require federal contractors to protect victims of harassment. Voted to impose cuts to federal workers pay. Voted against bipartisan transportation bill but shows up for photo ops. Says  she started as a prosecutor, not a politician; got bills passed with bipartisan support. Will stand up to dangerous policies of Trump and his administration – unlike Comstock (who votes 98% with Trump). Comstock repeats her idiotic line about “results not resistance,” and totally paints a false picture of her horrible record. Says she works with Debbie Dingel (yipee!). Comstock loves using phrases like “all working together,” but of course she’s been a hyperpartisan Republican hack her entire career.

UPDATE 9:45 am – Final question is on federal agencies using best practices on evaluating costs/benefits of regulations. Terrible/biased question, by the way. Right wingnut she is, of course, Comstock is all for “low tax,” “low regulation,” “right to work.” All of which benefit corporations over workers and the environment. Nauseating. Comstock is such a shill, 100% for corporations and 0% for everyone else. Wexton says people writing regulations need to listen to small businesses. Wants to eliminate duplicative or “unduly burdonsome” regulations. But saying “get out of the way is a  half-baked response.” It’s government’s responsibility to regulate externalities, prevent environmental disasters, etc. Bingo! Don’t impose arbitrary caps – bingo! Protect consumers, environment and businesses. Again, bingo! Wexton gets it, Comstock totally does not.

UPDATE 9:41 am – Question about overtime pay, contract employees. Wexton says independent contractors often don’t get the benefits they should. Comstock goes back to pay freezes, says budget was “silent on it.” Also claims it’s a “bipartisan problem” (riiiiight). Talks about “onerous red tape and regulations.” More “portable and affordable health care” – isn’t that what the ACA was trying to do??? “It’s a workers’ market right now.” Hmmmm.

UPDATE 9:38 am – Question on pay raise for federal employees. Comstock says she reached out to the Trump administration on this, claims that “freezes have been bipartisan.” Says can’t balance budget on backs of federal employees. Says she supports paid family leave for federal employees. Wexton says Trump’s pay freeze announcement is yet another attack on federal workers by the Trump administration. Wexton says Comstock CLAIMS to be a friend of federal workers, but one of the first thing she did when Trump took office was vote for a rule that allows reduction of federal employee’s pay to $1. She also voted for spending plan that includes these pay freezes.

UPDATE 9:34 am – Question on affordable housing in VA-10. Wexton says there are things that can be done; grants, loans, etc. at the federal level that have not kept pace with what we need.  Many teachers and sheriffs deputies in Loudoun County can’t afford to live there – need to change that. Comstock says the “booming economy” provides more resources for problems like these (huh?).

UPDATE 9:30 am – Question on opioid crisis. Comstock says this is about “sick people getting well.” Problem is, her party’s done nothing serious to combat the opioid crisis. Wexton says this is a true public health emergency. Proud to have been part of the governor’s task force on this issue. This is not something where we can “arrest our way out of it,” this is a “treatment issue.” Need resources for people who need help. Advocates drug courts for people trying to stay clean. Also notes that every dollar that HHS is spending to keep kids in detention is a dollar that is NOT spent on dealing with problems like these…

UPDATE 9:25 am – Question on comprehensive immigration reform. Wexton says America is a nation of immigrants and diversity is a source of strength. But today, our immigration system is failing. Need to address those challenges in a bipartisan and comprehensive way. Trump is only making that more difficult. Need immigrant workers to fill the gaps that are holding back American businesses. Republicans have sat on their hands and put kids in cages. Wexton says Comstock, who claims to be an independent voice, wouldn’t allow a bill that protects DREAMers to come to the floor for a vote, but instead voted for a draconian, anti-immigrant bill. Comstock says, disingenuously/dishonestly, that she supports a “bipartisan,” “compromise” immigration reform bill. Total bulls***. Wants to expand H1-B visas. Claims, again disingenuously/dishonestly, that she does support DACA. Finally, she conflates immigration with MS-13, refers to “criminal alien gang members.”

UPDATE 9:21 am – Question about Dulles Airport. Comstock says Dulles is essential/vital economically and bashes giving more “slots” to National Airport. Wexton says Dulles is extremely important economic driver for the region, that she helped ensure that United remained there and keep it as a hub. Make sure perimeter rule is not expanded any further. Need to make sure Phase 2 of Silver Line comes in on time, under budget and with quality workmanship. That will help make Dulles Airport more successful.

UPDATE 9:17 am – Wexton says every child deserves a world-class education. Deemphasize standardized tests. Federal government should not impose sweeping mandates, should make sure schools have resources they need. Need to pay teaches a competitive salary, adequately fund school construction. Need to help on college affordability, Pell grants, fight back against Betsy DeVos’ agenda to put for-profit schools ahead of public education. Comstock says she is passionate about lifetime learning. Again touts the disastrous GOP tax cut for rich people and corporations.

UPDATE 9:12 am – Question about the ACA, healthcare. Comstock claims Obamacare was totally partisan, which is a massive lie (in fact, it was heavily based on conservative ideas like the individual mandate and the exchanges, was basically Romneycare, etc.). Comstock claims, disingenously, that the ACA is collapsing (when her OWN PARTY is the one sabotaging it). Comstock is so, so dishonest, it’s incredible. Wexton says that access to high-quality, affordable health care is a right for ALL, not a privilege. She’s proud to have helped expand Medicaid in Virginia. The federal government should take measures to stabilize markets and bring premiums under control. Government should allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. FDA should speed approval of generics. Comstock voted to repeal the ACA six times. She has no interest in solutions, only sabotage.

UPDATE 9:09 am – Question on energy/environment. Wexton says regulations at their best are much-needed protections, but that we should incentivize things like community solar, conservation, etc. Comstock says she’s always supported an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, says we need to “continue to drill.” #FAIL Comstock says energy efficiency is about bringing costs down, which is actually correct (one of the first accurate things she’s said this morning!).

UPDATE 9:04 am – Question on Metro and the fed government’s role in funding/overseeing Metro. Comstock claims she’s a big/consistent supporter of Metro, which is a highly dubious claim. Wexton says Metro is of vital importance to the economic growth of the northern Virginia region, but Metro has been “mismanaged and underfunded for decades” so that it reached a “crisis stage.” Wexton helped come up with dedicated capital funding for Metro this year. Congress needs to “pay its fair share” for Metro. Wexton says Comstock likes showing up at ribbon cuttings and taking credit (“grandstand[ing]”), but doesn’t actually get stuff done.

UPDATE 9:00 am – Question on unions, Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Wexton says unions brought America the weekend, paid medical leave, etc.. She says she does support PLAs. Says there’s been a “war on American unions…union bashing.” Need to have the right to organize for better working conditions. Comstock says she supports secret ballots in union elections, wants to ban mandatory PLAs. Comstock says Wexton opposes Virginia’s “Right-to-Work” status. That’s yet ANOTHER reason to vote Wexton on November 6!

UPDATE 8:57 am – Question about Trump tariffs/trade war. Comstock says she’s a “free trader,” “I oppose tariffs.” Says NAFTA can “use some improvement.” Wexton says tariffs are hurting the economy; Trump has “needlessly and recklessly imposed tariffs that are hurting Americans.” Wexton says farmers don’t want a bailout from the government, they want to sell their products on the open market.  Wexton says Congress needs to stand up to this president and they have NOT DONE SO.

UPDATE 8:51 am – Question about the tax bill, VERY misleadingly framed. Wexton says we need a tax system that is balanced and benefits the middle class,, which is the opposite of what the Trump/Comstock plan does (benefits go OVERWHELMINGLY to top 1% and raises deficit/debt through the roof). Wexton correctly states that the GOP tax plan very bad for our nation, not sustainable. Pays for the tax cuts on the backs of federal workers and retirees. Wexton says our tax priorities need to benefit the middle class, while Trump/Comstock plan does neither. Comstock wants to expand on the disastrous Trump tax cuts. Lies about military being “hollowed out.” Keeps bragging about voting for the disastrous Trump tax cuts for the top 1% (the Chamber/GOP audience laps it up, of course).

UPDATE 8:46 am – Wexton emphasizes her strong record on business and jobs. Says she’s proud to have been part of the fight to expand Medicaid in Virginia this year. Says she’s stood up to the gun lobby. Says we live in a troubling time in our country, with the Trump administration assaulting our values – racist and sexist language – and that she’s running for Congress to fight back against the damage Trump is doing to our country. Comstock claims this is about “results vs. the resistance,” claims Wexton is the most left-wing-rated member of the State Senate, blah blah. Comstock rattles off economic statistics but of course doesn’t mention the Obama/Democratic -led recovery from the Great Recession – so dishonest. Comstock touts the horrendous Republican tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Comstock disingenuously claims she’s the only representative from this region who’s never voted for a government shutdown. Basically, this is just exaggeration after exaggeration, falsehood after falsehood, lie after lie. “These are results to celebrate…not resist.” Ugh.

UPDATE 8:45 am – Seriously biased forum, heavily pro-Comstock. VERY telling that this is the only type of forum Comstock is comfortable attending.

UPDATE 8:42 am – A friend of mine commented, “tuned in to a debate and got a utility company promo – #Va10Debate?” This whole thing is gross.

Cindy Cunningham tweets, “Since doesn’t care about women voters enough to attend the forum (that would’ve been free, as democracy should be), I’ve paid big bucks to attend this today. I’ll live tweet for those who couldn’t afford to attend.”