tv Georgia 6th District Debate CSPAN June 13, 2017 12:42am-1:44am EDT
hello and welcome to the charge of sixth congressional distric'e debate. early voting is already underw underway. the sixth congressional district includes some of the northern and northeastern suburbs and covers parts of dekalb counties. the winner o of the runoff will succeed republican tom price who resigned when they won the secretary of health and human services.. the runoff winner will finish and take place in november of next year.
we are honored to have the two candidates with us for the next hour. karen handel is a secretary of state and former chair of the commission. the congressional filmmaker. we are insisting on silence from them with two exceptions and at the end of the debate and now please welcome and thank our candidates. [applause] >> for the next hour people have a conversation on som about some issues and i can promise you in advance we won't get to all of them. they can be devoted to healthcare, the economy, jobs and the budget, foreign policy and other domestic issues. there will be two minutes to
answer initial questions and follow-ups with me and then there will be 30 seconds each order up to a minute to exchange sponsors to let each other have said and by the coin toss, it was determined karen will make the first opening statement. >> thank you for sponsoring this debate and having us both here.n as an unlikely candidate for congress i left home at just 17, finished high school and went to work. i know what it's like to fight the odds and overcome adversity. i started my career at an entry-level job and i worked hard to move up in exile and prosper holding executive positions in several companies running the chamber of commerce in north fulton. i'm tough, resilient. some people call me scrappy and that is because i am.
i am determined to get the job done and i will take that take h tenacity and determination. i look forward to answering the questions today sharing my experience how i am the better candidate for this job. thank you very much. >> thank you to georgia public broadcasting for being here. we have virtually unlimited he here. t we have all of the assets necessary to become one of the world's great commercial capitals in this region of the busiest airport in the world, just up the road from the deep water port in savanna becoming the hub for logistics and we can become that great commercial capital and bring greater opportunities for families and
households and capital and clients to businesses and entrepreneurs that we need some imagination to get that done and fresh leadership to work across the aisle to cut wasteful spending and set the right priority is like infrastructure and high-tech research, high year education with fresh leadership we can achieve our potential and go to washington to work across the aisle toto focus on solutions to become what we have the potential toe. become and have a higher qualit. of life. >> thank you very much. then they will have a chance to respond. we can move onto othe on to oth, too. i cleaned -- by the coin toss, one of the biggest problems wits
obamacare has been a sharper than expected increase in premiums people have to pay. we won't go into all of the variables, but here in the atlanta area the average annual jump in premiums in the last three years has been 5% according to georgia state a hyp university. now this 22% a year. the house republican plan that passed the house would let states get waivers so people can buy plans without some of the coverage that is now mandated. the congressional budget office estimates but they do with their waivers could end up anywhere from 4% lower to 26% over them they would be if we kepts averag obamacare.
so doesn't that potentially address the problems of uninsured people and high premiums have given isn't that a fix for obamacare? >> we need the efforts to getwh them under control and we can do that by introducing more competition. something for which i think there may be bipartisan well on both sides of the aisle shelvinn plans across state lines and like any market of consumers have more choices, then prices will be driven down and quality will be driven up. what the house health car hell'l does and these secretary suppors is not only more than 20 million americans lost their health insurance but it got the protections and there's moreansh than 328,000 with pre-existing conditions in the sixth district alone. >> if people can get coverage for just the conditions they might need, what impac wouldn'tn more people would bela insured?
>> i mentioned the other night a young man i met who was 7-years-old with a pre-existing, condition and without thewithou protections his family could be tens or hundreds of thousands to keep their son alive. another young man named sean arm would was between jobs when he developed cancer and because there are protections for georgians with pre-existingth conditions, he was able to get the care that he needed. with all due respect, you are misinformed about that. this bill got those protections and it's consistent in the record imposing her own views on the health care choices and weee
discussed as an executive at the foundation she sought to do it in that capacity. >> we will pick up on that in a moment but let me ask you quickly if you went he would be joining the house caucus for some of the members of saving answers to the problems you are referring to are the republicans are referring to in the system is to move to a single-payer system along the lines of medicare or some of th were some national insurance programs and other western nations. would you favor that? >> we need less ideology and more focus on how to make the progress in a bipartisan basis. i don't think that there is a token passing congress. the only way we can get something done this in a bipartisan approach and by increasing competition in theind market i will be the kind of independent voice ready to work across the aisle to achieve that kind of result. >> thanks very much. on the same subject, the
congressional budget office score of the plan projects that 23 million more americans will go uninsured in the next ten years and build build coaster that interval interviews would lose coverage over the next decade but there is another problem.m. while premiums would drop for some people, and i referred to that, others could become uninsured by being priced out.lo cbo said it would become more difficult including people with pre-existing medical conditionst in the states that get waivers because they would go up so sharply so that leads to the question we got from someone in the audience how are you going to make sure that my son will be able to afford insurance as he
turns 2 26 in ages out of the coverage? >> the status quo on obamacare is unacceptable. this is a system that is collapsing in on itself. we talk about skyrocketing premiums and what might happen in the repeal and replace. ladies and gentlemen, the premiums are already pricing hud people out. we get our insurance off of the obamacare exchange. we have seen our premiums go from 300 to almost 1200 a month. meanwhilmeanwhile our deductiblt from 2500 to $10,000. people are already being priced out. the status quo cannot continue. >> that assumes not a single solitary person currently on the exchange is going to take advantage on the tax creditit
given to these individuals that want to buy a plan. what this does is provide tax credits and get government out of the way. that will create more plan options and doctor choices and bring down the premiums. it's incorrect to cbo projectede great numbers for obamacare and they didn't come through. we need more choice to get them out of the way. and with all due respect, you are factually incorrect. i have great empathy on the pre-existing condition issue. my sister was born without an esophagus and is the very definition of that. for individuals that plan they cannot be denied or charged more. there are already individuals that are being priced out of the market. so, what is being accomplished?
nothing. we have to repeal the bill and replace it with the steps coming through the takeout does an incredible tax increases andre restore back to the people get health care decisionhealthcare e they can afford. >> just to note whether both cnn and our colleagues at npr did a fact check on that and it's true they overestimated the number of people that would gain coverage from the exchanges but they were closer to a lot of other things about it including how much it would affect coverage overall so that kind of a mixed record on that. >> it doesn't take away from the fact that mean projection was incorrect.others hav >> but others have been. do you want to respond to
something >> on the matter of pre-existing conditions and i appreciate the sharing of your personal story.a the facts are the facts. journalists, analysts for georgians with pre-existing conditions. it's fine to say someone cannot be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition. but if there is no limit on the price discrimination and the plan is unaffordable, that is a useless protection and it is a fact that this bill that's the protections against the priceout hikes with pre-existing conditions. and it's important that the voters are well-informed about this and frankly it's important the candidates for congress are well-informed about this. the secretary's position is incorrect. it's factually incorrect.
the bill will not serve georgians with pre-existing conditions more than 328,000. for that reason it is unacceptable.on >> i guess you subscribe to the nancy pelosi approached just pass it and then you will read it. i've looked at the bill.ma it specifically says individuals that have a plan as we transition to the new plan and more market approach in theu state that you cannot be denied a plan. the status quo doing nothing is unacceptable. people the premiums were going through the roof.su
you just touched on something. the marketplace plan is the day after one of you will be elect elected. insurance companies if they don't know what the subsidies will be, they will pull out of a the exchanges. they should at least figure out how to continue the marketplace since the senate hasn't agreed on what its version of the billw is and give them some certainty to continue obamacare.
as someone that has real-worldbu business experience i completely understand the requirement to have a transition period. i don't think anyone is suggesting that this would change from friday to monday. there would have to be a transition period and that is important for th patients and te that are out shopping so without question. >> there is no doubt the wall in the book needs a lot of improvement and federal agencies work to make sure these adjustments are not disruptedprt and obstinate denying people the health insurance they need but we need a bipartisan approach to this that will increase competition in the market while strengthening the essential consumer protections. the secretary's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding ito a fact that this bill is bad for
georgians with pre-existing conditions. voters and candidates need to know that. >> thank you very much. we are going to move on and come back to some of the things we've talked about and you will have time to make any planes you fel' inu didn't have time to. .. wth. a lot of economists say this is unrealistic. won't this add to the deficit if the projections are wrong, the president's math is wrong, won't this actual add to the deficit and to something that a lot of your republican colleagues in georgia are concerned about, including senator david perdue, the long-term debt which is now $550 billion. ms. handel: i think a couple of things. first, on the president actually submitting a budget, that's something that hasn't happened
certainly under the eight years obama and it is one that does balance in 10 years. to be sure, we have serious budget issues that require our attention and some tough decisions. at the same time, we're not going to cut our way out of things. so that budget was presented with also a parallel to do tax reform, roll back mandates, roll back regulation. moderator: in the short-term that would cut revenues more. i mean -- ms. handel: looking at a 10-year horizon, the budget was built out on a 10-year horizon. which i think is very important. ladies and gentlemen having a , growth rate, an economic rate of 1.5% growth in our economy is nothing short of anemic. we have to move that needle up to 3%. and i believe unlike my opponent who refuses to commit to tax reductions and tax cuts, that if we reduce corporate rates and individual rates we will start to spur real economic growth so that we can get the economy
moving up into the 3% range, if not higher. i believe that is imperative. couple that with regulatory reform as well as rolling back some of the onerous mandates that are literally strangling small businesses. the companies that are the largest creators of jobs, not only in the sixth district but in the country. moderator: last year growth was at 1.6%. are you saying we could double that in that short of time? ms. handel: in 10 years? we better or we have much bigger issues on the horizon. i believe very deeply that when you combine tax cuts for corporations and individuals and the individual component of this is key for this reason, so many businesses in the sixth and in the country are organized as l.l.c.'s and s-corps, the pass-through companies. and we must do it on the individual side so the middle class can participate and those l.l.c. and s-corp businesses can participate. that's how we get going.
because if we don't include that segment of the economy, middle class and small business, we won't achieve it. moderator: mr. ossoff, you've talked about cutting wasteful spending. it is a prominent part of your website and ads. you said you identified $600 billion in potential savings. over what period of time and to secretary handel's point, can we cut our way out of this? just about every economist on, no matter where they are on the spectrum has said, yeah, we have to cut wasteful spending but there's no way we can cut our way to budget stability. mr. ossoff: first of all, to ensure the record is accurate, secretary handel, i've been advocating for reduction in corporate tax rates for small and medium sized businesses, i think that would be a big win for the business community here in georgia. and unlike the secretary i've , identified specific cuts and savings, $600 billion over 10 years, $16 billion immediately, in order to reduce the deficit and create space for us to set
the right priorities. higher education. infrastructure. high tech research we need to grow our local economy here. it's important that candidates for congress understand the facts. and the budget proposal we've been talking about has been widely panned by independent economists because it's unrealistic growth expectations and because it presumes that the tax reform plan which so far amounts to little more than some bullet points on a single sheet of paper is deficit neutral. it's not been assessed by independent economists, yet the secretary supports it. she supports the health care bill and she is wrong about what is in that as well. moderator: but can you address those deficits and debt without looking at the revenue side? you have talked about tax cuts for small and medium sized businesses. but if you win, you're going to join a house democratic caucus where many members have called for increasing individual income taxes on folks in the top income
bracket. now according to the census bureau, the median household income in your district was $83,900. that would certainly affect some of those folks. would you support a higher tax rate for upper income americans as many democrats in the house do? mr. ossoff: no. i don't support any increase in income tax rates. what i support is a serious approach to tackling wasteful spending and then setting the right priorities, like infrastructure, high-tech research and higher education. secretary handel has not specified any cuts. whereas i have, which is pretty unusual for a candidate for congress, specified $600 billion in cuts over 10 years. i think that speaks to the kind of independent-minded leadership we need, to work across the aisle, to attack waste. and by the way folks know this. , both parties in washington are complicit in wasting huge amounts of taxpayer dollars. the problem is career
politicians. and if we send another career politician like secretary handel to washington, we're going to get more of the same. you elect more of the same. you get more of the same. we need a fresh perspective that will take tackling waste seriously. ms. handel: thank you. moderator: that is two minutes. ms. handel: thank you. my opponent talks a lot about cutting spending. he talks about balancing budgets. he has not done it one single time. he was a junior staffer for hank johnson, one of the most liberal tax and spend members of congress that we have. i have a track record of cutting spending and balancing budgets. in fulton county, i took on a $100 million budget deficit. i worked in a bipartisan fashion to stave off a massive property tax increase for the people of fulton county and get that budget balanced. as secretary of state, i cut that budget by nearly 20% as well. that's the kind of real world experience. we cannot just sit around and talk about this, that and the
other, which -- what john has proposed is essentially just a gnat in the grand scheme of big budget. what needs to happen is fundamental budget reform. we need to move to zero based budgeting. we need to break down the silos in the federal government, and break down the bureaucrat speak where they talk about, oh, if i don't get the same amount of money i got last year that's a cut. that's the kind of talk that comes out of the liberals, that jon ossoff is being propped up by and supported by. we need experience. someone who really knows how to deal with the budget. moderator: you have about 30 seconds. mr. ossoff: only a big spending career politician like secretary handel would refer to $600 billion as a drop in the bucket. that is $600 billion. ms. handel: in terms of balancing this budget and dealing with a $20 trillion debt, it is. mr. ossoff: with all due respect, secretary handel, you don't have a lot of credibility. on fiscal responsibility. when secretary handel was the chair of the fulton county
commission, she plundered the county's cash reserves to balance the budget. in fact, was found just a couple of months ago telling half truths about it, at the same time grew her own office budget by more than 40%. what we need is a fresh perspective. career politicians on both sides of the aisle, dennis, have been wasting taxpayer dollars for too long. moderator: secretary, a couple seconds. ms. handel: unbelievable. you continue, continue to mislead and lie to the voters. i have one of the strongest fiscal records of any individual who has held public office in the state of georgia. balancing that budget at fulton county by having targeted cuts, realigning that budget, prioritizing spending, and as secretary of state i cut that budget by nearly 20%. my record speaks for itself. you have a record of working for one of the most liberal members of congress. your track record, your experience amounts to being a junior staffer for hank johnson and producing a couple of documentaries. moderator: about 15 seconds.
then we're going to have to move on. mr. ossoff: the facts are the facts once again. when secretary handel was the chair of the fulton county commission, she plundered the county's cash reserves to balance the budget. was found telling half truths about it by an independent fact check a couple of months ago. moderator: ok. ms. handel: thank you so much. when i left as fulton county commission chairman, finishing up my term as chairman, fulton county had the highest cash reserves in the recorded history of fulton county. jon, you are the one who needs to get your facts straight. moderator: at that point -- this could go on for the entire time. but we will have to move on here. and if you just joined us, this is georgia's sixth congressional district debate on pba 30 and 90.1 wabe. we are joined by the two candidates in the june 20 runoff election, republican karen handel, and democrat jon ossoff. let's talk about president trump and the russia investigation for a moment. for our audience, if you are
watching or listening after thursday morning, we are speaking moments before james comey speaks to the senate intelligence committee. but we did at least see the opening statement in advance in which he said in a series of meetings, the president asked him to back off the investigation of former national security advisor michael flynn. and asked for what amounted to a loyalty pledge. secretary handel, starting with you, do you think the president obstructed justice? ms. handel: based on that testimony, i don't think we can know one way or the other. we don't know what former f.b.i. director comey is going to say. today in front of the committee. what i think is the responsible thing to do here is let the four investigations proceed. we have a special counsel, we have the senate, the house, as well as the justice department investigation. and it is imperative that we get to the facts of this situation and let the facts really drive where we go and what action we take.
not innuendo and all of those things that have been in the press. so i'll be anxious to see what he actually testifies to. moderator: i'm sorry, is what's happening more than innuendo? at least some of the things? we have already seen the president fire james comey. ms. handel: and comey should have been fired. moderator: but then he told lester holt that the russia investigation had something to do with it. the white house has not said that -- denied "the washington post" report that the president approached top intelligence officials who testified yesterday, as we speak, that went before that very same senate intelligence committee. so do you see anything wrong here? i mean, someone might say, look, if a democratic president had done this, it's not much of a stretch to believe that republicans would be holding hearings that would make benghazi look like nothing? ms. handel: what i have said, i continue to believe. there is enough here, that's why we have to have this investigation. and i'm not going to get into the speculatory realm of this.
i want to see the actual facts. and the american people have a right and deserve to know what actually happened. let's let the investigations go, get the facts, and i hope that everyone who is called to testify, that they actually show up and they tell truthfully and forthright -- with a forthright manner everything that they know. moderator: the president campaigned for you. did he mention anything about loyalty or any of the things that mr. comey -- ms. handel: yes, primarily what was happening in the race. moderator: do you think that -- do you have any second thoughts about him campaigning for you, given what has happened? ms. handel: look, we have an investigation going on in this. let's let the facts go where they need to go on this. president trump is the president. and having his support -- i'm happy to have his support. but i'm also happy to have, frankly, the support of the people of the sixth district. that is what is most important to me. because as the next congressman
for the sixth district, i understand full well that i am not an extension of the white house. i am an extension of the people of the sixth district. moderator: mr. ossoff, on the same subject, for all of the questionable things, some of which i just cited to secretary handel, there is still no concrete evidence, concrete evidence now, of any collusion between the trump campaign and the russians, let alone the president or the president-elect as he was at the time. and this brings up a question, another one from our audience, what congressional oversight is needed on russian election interference and any trump campaign ties? and if you were in congress, would you join some of your democratic colleagues, a few who are already demanding impeachment? mr. ossoff: here's what we know. the u.s. intelligence community has publicly stated that the russian government sought to interfere in the u.s. presidential election. and that they did so through their intelligence services on
the direct orders of vladimir putin. and that is an outrage. no matter your party, as a matter of national security, as a matter of patriotism, foreign intelligence service, interfering in the u.s. presidential election requires a firm and tough response. and it requires a complete independent and transparent investigation and that's what we need. i've been calling for an independent investigation for a long time. along with independent-minded leaders on both sides of the aisle. senator john mccain has been calling for an independent investigation for months. secretary handel was silent on the subject. didn't call for an independent investigation until former f.b.i. director mueller had already been appointed. and what we need is effective congressional oversight. not partisan congressional oversight. when matters so serious as a foreign intelligence service interfering in the u.s. presidential election come to light, we need folks in both parties to be aggressively seeking the facts. so the american people know what happened. moderator: so if you were in
congress, and this may come up should you win, should congress pass a bill putting the existing sanctions against russia into law? in other words, have congressional on it because of their behavior in syria and because of the interference in the election? mr. ossoff: absolutely. we need a tough and firm response to russian meddling in our politics and it shouldn't be a matter of partisanship. secretary handel refused to call for an independent investigation until director mueller had already been appointed. because it was politically sensitive. i don't think these issues need to be judged on the politics or whether it's a partisan issue. we're talking about a foreign government interfering in a u.s. election. and career politicians, with all due respect, career politicians on both sides of the aisle have made congressional oversight into a partisan matter. that's why we need independent leadership. moderator: quick yes or no. you told me a few weeks ago you weren't there yet on impeachment. is that still the case? mr. ossoff: we're still not there yet. we need the facts but we need
congressional oversight to go after the facts aggressively. and we need a transparent investigation. seconds to30 respond. ms. handel: the independent, transparent investigation is under way. going around and calling for things on the campaign trail is nothing but a bunch of platitude, with all due respect. so we have four different investigations that are under way. it is imperative that we get to the bottom of exactly what happened with facts, not with unanimous leaks and sources, and -- not with anonymous leaks and sources, and certainly not with innuendo, with real facts. so that then we can take whatever action, as tough as it is needed under the circumstances of what actually occurred. moderator: as mr. ossoff said, he's not there yet. if, and we won't go through any hypotheticals here, but is impeachment something that is off the table for you should the facts show the president obstructed justice? ms. handel: i will look at the facts and let the facts take us to where the appropriate action should be. moderator: ok. moving on.
we're going to go to some foreign policy questions now. and if you just joined us, this is the sixth congressional debate on 90.1 wabe, and on pba 30. i'm denis. we are joined by the two candidates in the runoff election, democrat jon ossoff and republican karen handel. mr. ossoff, i'm going it start with you on some foreign policy questions here. and this is about the iran nuclear deal. you have said, in fact, said fairly recently, that you would want to make sure that we are able to have snapback sanctions, was i believe your word. if our intelligence shows that iran is cheating on that nuclear deal, but you did not support just tearing it up as the president has said he would do. although he hasn't yet. but how can you be sure that our intelligence, good as it is, would be able to catch that?
mr. ossoff: our intelligence community and inspectors have the capability to ss whether -- to assess whether iran is in compliance with the deal. we need monitoring of iran's compliance with its obligations to restrict iranian enrichment. furthermore, we should be prepared to impose additional sanctions if iran continues to test ballistic missiles in violation of u.n. security council resolutions. but secretary handel sees fit to shred the agreement and in so doing put iran back on the path to a nuclear weapons capability. releasing them from their obligations to restrict enrichment. we need a tough and firm approach when it comes to iran. they are a major state sponsor of terrorism. they are a major threat to our ally, israel. and we need to make sure they're living up to their obligations. moderator: but they have a history of violating agreements in the past. so do you support continued suspension of the sanctions for now? mr. ossoff: that's why we need strict uncompromising monitoring.
and in the event that iran violates -- moderator: you're saying we could get that? mr. ossoff: absolutely. our intelligence community and the international atomic energy agency have that capability. the office of the director of national intelligence and senator bob corker, republican of tennessee, on the foreign affairs committee on the senate side have both said that iran is in compliance and if they violate the deal, sanctions should snap back immediately. moderator: secretary handel, you have said, look, they are violating the deal and we need to tear it up. how do you know they're not complying? what evidence do you have, especially given the last few moments of what mr. ossoff said, that even republicans and even secretary tillerson has said, for now they're complying? ms. handel: it has been reported and like jon we only know what we can read in the newspapers. we don't have any inside sources on this. but from the things that i have seen, they are already and have violated the terms of the deal. that is the reason that there is a bill working its way through the united states senate now to
enhance and increase and put in place stricter sanctions against iran. i think that that has to happen. having a bad deal, which it was a bad deal, let's be honest, obama put the deal in place on his way out, took billions of dollars in cash over there to iran, and their own people admitted that some of that money was going to support terrorism. moderator: real quickly, we have about 30 seconds here. several administrations, as you have implied, have identified iran as a state sponsor of terror. yet the president just finished a trip to saudi arabia. where private actors with connections at least have certainly been accused of funding terror. now the president has lashed out against qatar where we have a major military base. if we focus just on iran in our policy here, is the president simultaneously ignoring or possibly even making deals with other places from which terror funding comes? ms. handel: i have never
suggested that we should only focus on iran. i believe that, look, the incredible and despicable attacks that happened in manchester and london really speak to the very fact that nations around the world -- we have to come together with our allies. and do whatever is necessary to combat terrorism, while at the same time making sure that we prevent the nuclearization of further nations. moderator: 30 seconds for a response here. mr. ossoff: i think that the facts matter. that we need a tough and firm policy on iran. that if iran violates its obligations, then we need to impose sanctions immediately. secretary handel sees fit to put iran back on the path to nuclear weapons capability by eliminating their obligations to avoid restricting uranium and i don't agree with her on that. , 30rator: secretary
seconds. then we can move on. ms. handel: we can move on. he's just wrong. moderator: let's talk a little bit about something we mentioned a moment ago. and, secretary handel, president trump did not do very well in the primaries. the republican primaries. in the sixth district. compared to not only previous presidential candidates on the g.o.p. side, but he didn't win the district in the georgia primary. is that a signal that voters are looking for someone who will push back against the president, against the president when he, for instance, takes on the russia investigation, or when he tweets and calls people names and whatever? ms. handel: i realize that democrats and even the media want to make this congressional race about -- moderator: i apologize for interrupting. i've been told we have one minute here for each of you. ms. handel: about president trump. this race is not about the president.
it is about who is most equipped and has the best experience and really aligns with the people of the sixth district to be their next congressman. jon ossoff, he says he lives five minutes outside the district. that might be true but his the sixth district to be their next congressman. values are 3,000 miles away in california. we need someone who has been part of this community, someone the people know. the people of the sixth district know my track record. they know what i have accomplished. they know that i am going to go there to be a voice for them. and to fight for them. i have built my career on facing down and staring down the status quo. i have never been a go along to get along. that's not going to change. it's just who i am. i will have a singular mission, to be the fiercest advocate for the people of the sixth district. moderator: mr. ossoff, let me pursue that point for just a second. because it's one that secretary handel has made in her campaign, or at least the republicans have made in their campaign ads. assuming you're elected, you're almost going to be immediately running for re-election.
and you're going to need help from the democratic leadership, which has been part of the help for your campaign. it's a natural thing in politics, they're going to say, look, we helped you, you need to help us. you've talked about being independent. how can you when you may need their help against a well-funded republican opponent in the next election, should you win? mr. ossoff: there is indeed a clear contrast in this race, as secretary handel said. i will be a fresh independent voice for this district. secretary handel on the other hand is a career politician who has run six times for five different offices. the last two major responsibilities she had as secretary of state, she quit the job early to seek higher office as so many career politicians do. her last major responsibility in the private sector, at the komen foundation, she quit. she resigned in disgrace amidst a scandal of her effort to defund life saving breast cancer screenings at planned parenthood. and in secretary handel, you quote, "i embrace
that i led the project." that project being to defund breast cancer screenings at planned parenthood. the last few weeks you avoided responsibility. i think you should take responsibility for what you did and explain to the people of the sixth district why you thought it was appropriate to impose your own views on women here in georgia and across the state, by defunding life-saving breast cancer screenings at planned parenthood. moderator: secretary? ms. handel: if i might. jon, i know you're really stuck on this issue. so i'm really glad you brought it up again so that i can reiterate the facts. what was happening at komen was not a defunding of screenings. it was a recognition that, number one, planned parenthood does not do mammograms. those dollars were being realigned to provide direct services to women so that more women would have access to more mammograms. number two, and i realize you might not know this, because you don't live in the sixth district, the sixth district does not have a single planned parenthood clinic. we do however have four community health centers. and these community health centers are the front door for a
full range of health care for low income women in our community, around the state of georgia there are four planned parenthood clinics as opposed to 60 community health care centers. i've always been in the place of wanting more funding for women to have greater access to health screenings. and that's what i will fight for. mr. ossoff: i'm sorry, but there is a planned parenthood clinic in marietta that serves many residents of the sixth district. ms. handel: it's not in the sixth district. mr. ossoff: you said in 2012, quote, "i embrace that i led the project." the project to defund breast cancer screenings. now, you avoid responsibility. which is the truth? ms. handel: once again, you continue and have throughout this entire campaign misled individuals with false and deceptive comments. mr. ossoff: it's a simple question, with all due respect. ms. handel: with all due respect, do not interrupt me. when i was in my role as komen, the objective was to find way to have more money to go to
mammograms. so that we were able to get greater benefit out of very limited dollars. planned parenthood does not do mammograms. and jon and democrats saying that over and over again does not make it true. moderator: real quickly, you have about 15 seconds here. mr. ossoff: in 2012, secretary handel said, i led the project. to defund breast cancer screenings at planned parenthood. and planned parenthood provides hundreds of thousands of breast cancer screenings per year. and now secretary handel has said that she didn't lead the effort. so she was either telling the truth then or she's telling the truth now. moderator: we're going to move on. on planned parenthood, though, bear with me, we have a couple of fact checks here that might please both sides, make both sides less than happy. planned parenthood, according to the fact checkers at "the washington post," does in fact not provide mammograms. it does do physical exams. so the claim from secretary handel that it does not provide mammograms was rated true.
and mr. ossoff's claim that ms. handel had said she had led the efforts to defund breast cancer screenings was rated mostly true by politifact. so those are the -- ms. handel: if i might. moderator: let me get to -- ms. handel: well, this is really -- you've allowed him to have the last word every single time. moderator: no. ms. handel: so if i might. there is a big difference for me to do my job at komen, that is what i did. i led the effort to find a way to have those dollars that were going to an organization that did not provide mammograms, be reinvested. there was no decrease in funding for it at all. in fact, more women were going to be able to get mammograms. because those dollars were going to go directly to the service providers. that's a very different statement than is being presented.
moderator: two very important -- let me stop you. i think you'll have a chance to get in what you're trying to say in response to this question. secretary handel, i'm going to start with you. because the president's fiscal 2018 budget defunds planned parenthood, because we're going from the past to now. with planned parenthood. the house passed a bill to the house passed a bill to temporarily block planned parenthood from receiving medicaid funds. but none of the federal money goes to abortions. you mentioned community centers. you're chair of the fulton county commission. you know the state of fulton county's health department sometimes. do you think that community centers could really take up the slack all around the country if planned parenthood were defunded? ms. handel: first of all, again, planned parenthood is not the front door of women's health. not here in the sixth district, not in the state of georgia, and not around the country. so it is imperative for community health centers to be
able to pick up the slack. and i support more funding for these community health centers. because in the state of georgia there are four planned parenthood clinics. while there are 60 community health centers. and they are located strategically around this state where low-income women can have access. think about a poor woman who lives let's just say in south georgia. the closest -- in long county. the closest planned parenthood clinic for that woman is going to be in macon or savannah. she doesn't maybe even have a car, let alone the gas money to get there. so we need to build up the infrastructure, as well as the resources and the talent within
our community health centers. because they are the front door for low-income women. for a full range of health care. denis: mr. ossoff. obviously you want to make a point about what had happened previously, we're already into our domestic issues section. mr. ossoff: the physical breast cancer screenings that planned parenthood provides are recommended as a key diagnostic technique by the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists. my fiance's mother survived breast cancer because it was caught early. and there are millions of women who survived breast cancer because it was caught early. and that's why this is so important. because secretary handel took a job at a charity whose purpose was to fight breast cancer. and she brought in her own agenda, she led the effort to defund life-saving breast cancer screenings at planned parenthood. and it cost the komen foundation tens of millions of dollars or more. in lost revenues. it did significant damage to their life saving mission. denis: secretary handel, 15 seconds. then we have to move on. ms. handel: what i supported then and support now is making sure that dollars go where women can really get mammograms. planned parenthood does not do mammograms. planned parenthood in georgia,
there are four. so if you're a low-income woman and you are looking for the full range of health care, you're not traveling three, four hours to get to a planned parenthood clinic. you're going to the community health center that's right there in your community. and i support more funding for that and will fight for that. denis: moving on. to the environment. and this comes from a question that we got from our audience. they want to know from both of you, mr. ossoff, i'm going to start with you, if elected, will you represent the majority of your district, this according to the member of our audience, and stand up to president trump on climate change, because he recently decided to pull out of the paris climate agreement and is rolling back obama-era climate plans? but the paris climate accord is voluntary, so there's no guarantee that it by itself would produce effects that might not happen otherwise. you probably know quite well that here in georgia, georgia
power is phasing out coal plants, even with or without the clean power plan that the president is scrapping. so isn't there enough happening in the united states and here in georgia with or without the paris accord? mr. ossoff: here's who agrees that climate change is a major threat to our prosperity and to our security. the military, the intelligence community and peer-reviewed science. if that's not enough for you, your head is buried pretty deep in the sand. when the military, the intelligence community and peer-reviewed science all agree, then policymakers need to take that seriously. and in paris, for the first time, china and india, two major emitters, as well as two major economic competitors of the united states, also committed to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. and rather than letting them off the hook, we need to take a tough stance that holds china
and india accountable to living up to their obligations and the u.s. should continue to exercise global leadership in the fight against climate change. denis: secretary handel. ms. handel: the paris accord was a very bad deal for america and americans. it is important that we do the right thing, but we also do the right thing in the right way. in that accord, first of all, there is no ability within the accord to hold india or china accountable. none whatsoever. and american businesses were being put at a significant competitive disadvantage. so what the president has said is he wants to renegotiate it and come back to the table and make it a fair agreement where there is accountability within that agreement. denis: let me ask you a quick follow-up here. the paris agreement, though, is based on what is a pretty widely accepted and vast body of evidence, scientific evidence, that human activity contributes to climate change. at least. so what response would you like to see to climate change? you can start by answering
whether you think human activity contributes to it. ms. handel: look, i think that clearly there have been changes in the climate. i'm not a scientist so i read all of that and take it all in. what i'm set on is making sure we do the right thing in the right way. we all, i don't think a single person in this room, regardless of their political persuasion, disagree with the fact that we must be responsible stewards of our environment. but let's do that in the right way and not cripple american businesses and put us at a complete disadvantage, with a fluffy agreement that had absolutely no ability to hold any other nations accountable. denis: mr. ossoff. mr. ossoff: neither of us are scientists, that's why we have scientists. and 97% of scientists, as well as the military and the intelligence community, agree that climate change is a threat to our security and prosperity. and that the driven in part by
human activity. and secretary handel didn't answer the question. i would give her an opportunity to do it again. do you believe 97% of scientists, the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, that climate change is a significant threat and that the driven in part by human activity? ms. handel: i would like to ask you this. do you believe that american businesses should be held at a competitive disadvantage? mr. ossoff: no. i think we need to hold china and india accountable -- ms. handel: and it's not possible in that agreement. denis: let him finish. then you can talk. mr. ossoff: i will answer the question and the answer is no. i believe that we need to hold china and india accountable to the significant and unprecedented commitments they made and exercise u.s. global leadership on this issue. now with all due respect, i would give you an opportunity to answer my question. which is, do you agree that climate change is a significant threat and driven by human activity? denis: i'm sorry for cutting you off.
ms. handel: we have to do the right thing. everyone agrees that is we have to be responsible stewards of our environment. but let's do the right thing in the right way. this agreement was not it. there's no ability to hold anyone accountable and our american business should not have been put at a competitive disadvantage. denis: it's now time for our closing statements. once again, there were a whole bunch of things we could have gotten to but we thank both of you for giving us this time. again, by coin toss, mr. ossoff, who is the democrat running for the sixth congressional district, has the first closing statement. you have two minutes. mr. ossoff: thank you again, denis. thank you, madam secretary. thanks to the audience for being here. as i mentioned in my opening statement. atlanta's economic potential is huge. and i want to see us achieve that potential. i want to see us grow into the thriving commercial capital that we can become. i believe to do that we need to exercise fresh independent leadership that listens to science, that works across the aisle, that is fact-based and that is committed to getting things done. that is the fresh independent perspective we need. with all of the gridlock and disarray in washington right now, we need independent-minded
leadership. secretary handel will likely devote her final two minutes to partisan attacks. instead i'm going focus on what we can do to growing our local economy. we need to attack wasteful spending. i've identified $600 billion in cuts and savings over 10 years. so that we can attack the deficit, so that we can set the right priorities. high-tech research, biotech research, infrastructure, higher education that we need to move this economy forward. we have some of the brightest young people in the world coming out of our public colleges and out of our public colleges and universities, who have degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. we need to make sure they can apply their talents here in our technology sector. we need to make sure that metro atlanta becomes an economic powerhouse. that's the envy of the rest of the country. if we're going to do that, we need less partisanship, we need less careerism in politics, and we need fresh leadership focused on getting things done. denis: thank you, mr. ossoff. secretary handel. ms. handel: thank you very much. jon, thanks for being here as
well. in this election, the voters of the sixth district have a real choice. between the real karen handel and the deceptive fake jon ossoff. i have brought tremendous experience and have tremendous tentacles and commitment to this community. i spent nearly 25 years in the sixth district. my opponent, he talks about what he's going to do and it may all sound good, but i have actually done it. as in the private sector, as fulton county commission chairman, i was able to balance that budget without any tax increases. as secretary of state, i cut the budget by 20%. as c.e.o. of the north fulton chamber of commerce, i led economic development programs that helped to create tens of thousands of jobs in north metro atlanta. you know my record. you know that i have a great determination to get the job done. what we need most is experience in these this role. not a lot of talk.
not someone who has a career staffer as his background. for one of the most liberal members of congress. an individual who inflated that resume. we need someone who is going to go to washington, hit the ground running for you. someone who is tested. someone who is proven. you have a real choice in this election. the karen handel that you know, the karen handel who has always stood by you, stood up for you and has never been afraid to challenge the status quo. i ask for your vote in this election. but now i'm going to work very, very hard to earn it. denis: thank you, secretary handel. and that concludes georgia's sixth congressional district debate from the studios of pba 30 and 90.1 wabe. many thanks to our studio audience who remains quiet during the conversation. as we thank our candidates, republican karen handel, and democrat jon ossoff, as well as the staff and management of public broadcasting atlanta, you have your chance to express your appreciation to our candidates. thank you all so much. [cheers and applause]