tv Nebraska 2nd Congressional District Debate CSPAN September 25, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
terry, running for a ninth term. brad ashford a member of the nebraska state legislature. -- maha world harlede herald newspaper is hosting the ebate. >> from the cam us of the university of nebraska, race for the house, a debate for nebraska second congressional district. sponsored by the omaha world herald. the can't dits running for nebraska second congressional district are republican incumbent lee terry who is 52 years and -- years old and lives in omaha. he is married with three children. the democratic challenger is
brad ashford who is 64 years old. he's been -- he is married and has three children. your host and not rateor is a political reporter from the omaha herald. >> hello and welcome to this evening's race for congress. i'm a senior political reporter at the omaha world herald. thank you for joining us. we are coming to you from the university of nebraska at omaha's campus. this debate is sponsored by the world herald and produced by the staff and students of u.n.l. television. we are looking for a robust change of views between republican nominee lee terry and democratic challenger brad ashford. we are going to rotate the order and questions the candidates
will get. they're each going to get about 50 seconds to respond. in the middle of the debate, the candidates will get to ask each other a question. otherwise, i'm going to ask a question. i also will determine if a follow up is in order. this response should be no more than 30 seconds. we have a light system to keep track of time. when you see the red light, gentlemen, wrap it up. the campaigns drew numbers to determine who will begin and end, mr. ashford, you'll get the first crack at the first question. you're also going to get the last word in closing statements. if everyone is ready, let's get started. >> ready. >> you are both veteran lawmakers. tell us about your single biggest legislative accomplishment. >> first of all, thank you for being here and moderating this debate. thanks to u.n.o. and omaha world herald. it's been a great experience for
me to serve in the legislature where we have no political parties. the most important thing for me in my 16 years of scompeengs e experience is developing on how to work together on tough issues. i suppose the one thing i think was plaguing nebraska for so many years was the tough issue of juvenile justice and juvenile crime. over the last few years we in the legislature working across rty lines unanimously passed legislation regarding juveniles. the goal is to keep them out of trouble, keep them out of detention, make them -- make this state a better place to live for them. i think that would be my number one -- there's been so many wonderful experiences, but that would be the one i would think of. >> that's great. mr. terry. >> thank you. i too want to thank the omaha
orld herald for sponsoring this. i've passed a lot of bills in my time in the united states congress. in fact, currently right now i'm rated number six in the number of bills that are passed and in the two 2% of actually the bills that i've written and passed that have actually had senate co-sponsors or equal bill on the senate side and all of whom have been bipartisan bills. one of my goals is for prosperity and future of our country's energy independence. so a lot of the bills that i have passed that i'm proud of has to do with energy. making our resources accessible, but also in the world of renewable fuels as well. hydrogen -- i got to drive a hydrogen car. it was me and a democrat that were actually able to get a bill passed that allowed for research
of hydrogen vehicles as well as others. >> so the hydrogen bill was your top legislative come accomplishment? >> no i would say there were others like keystone pipeline have gotten more accomplishment. but breaking through a hydrogen barrier to get through the future energy of the world, i think that will be in the top bills. 20 years from now people will look back at that bill and how it changed the world. >> you both have had to cast some difficult votes. tell us about the vote you regret. what was the vote? why do you regret it? and what did you learn from it? >> well, that's a good point because you take so many votes and you spend the time to research and you call people and you get the feedback from the experts in your district. i think the one vote that you look from sunday morning quarterbacking but my vote on
iraq, that was one that probably if we had all of the facts, most of my colleagues and i would have done it differently. no job -- no child left behind was certainly not implemented the way it was written and we need to change that. we passed a bill in congress this year to take it back and take the burdens off of our pub public school systems that that mandated. >> mr. terry -- >> i would agree. i've had thousands and thousands of bills that i've had an opportunity to vote on. many bills we vote on -- in our system we have a nonpartisan legislature. we have three rounds of debate on every bill. there are plenty of votes that i've taken i would like to get back. >> just one. >> that's a tough question. i think maybe the one vote that i would like to take back was l.b. 1059, that goes back a
number of years. that was a bill that eventually i did vote for the amendments on it years later, but basically at l.b. 1059 did was -- it lowered property tax by broadening the tax base for school finance and had i thought more about it at that time, that was in' 92 or' 93, i think that would have been a vote i might have voted differently. >> thank you very much. we're going to turn now to foreign policy. as you both know, there's a lot going on in the world. mr. ashford, you get the pirs question. we are going to ask that you keep it kind of short, 15, 30 seconds because we are going to rro in deeper -- bureau in deeper. what criteria should the u.s. use in determining when to risk
american lives on foreign soil? >> the number one criteria would be the safety and welfare of the united states. i do support what's going on now with the air strikes in syria and iraq. isis in my view is clearly a threat to the people of the united states and building a coalition i think is the appropriate mechanism at this point. >> thank you. thank you mr. ashford. mr. terry. > it has to be in the national security interest of our nation. so if you are under threat of attack, then i think you have to respond. and certainly with isil and the meetings that i have attended, they are a clear threat. >> ok, thank you. the next question goes to mr. terry. the war in afghanistan has gone on for 13 years. it has caused the u.s. the lives of more than 2,200 servicemen
and women and the cost has stretched into the hundreds of billions. looking back, do you think a long-running ground war was the right tactic in the war on terror, why and why not? >> i would state with the premise it was in our national security after 9/11 to remove the taliban and the al qaeda that was stationed and working out of afghanistan absolutely was necessary to go into afghanistan. it's been a long process, but i think we need to stay. we need to work until afghanistan can stand on their own two legs and defend themselves from the taliban. >> so you are not for the withdrawal? >> i want the withdrawal to occur as they are able to take care of themselves. and i don't want to do what happened in iraq. i think one of the lessons learned here is that in iraq when you pulled out too fast and you create a vacuum because the government isn't ready yet, that vacuum is going to be filled and
that vacuum in iraq was filled by isil and that could happen again in afghanistan if we pull out too quickly. >> mr. ashford, i'm going to give you a few more seconds there. >> ok. what's amazing to me is the effectiveness of our military in the middle east. and i agree with lee on this. i think we should maintain our presence in afghanistan until we get -- we've made some progress on the new government that's just been elected in afghanistan . that has been a plus. but we had to act when we acted. terrorism occurred to a great extent because of what was going on in afghanistan before we invaded. i think we need to stay a little longer. i agree with lee that leaving afghanistan or the way we approached afghanistan after the invasion did create a vacuum. and leaving -- i'm sorry, iraq left a vacuum. we see the problems of isis
today. i think we need to stay in afghanistan until the democracy is set. >> ok, thank you very much. i believe this goes to mr. ashford first. some critics have blamed president obama for the current upheefl in iraq, saying he should have kept american soldiers on the ground in that country. do you agree? 20/20.sight is i think what one could say is had we left troops on the borders of syria, we could have maintained some training mission and some support mission on the border with syria theoretically in and around bag daud and other parts of iraq, that train has left the station at this point. i don't see -- i really don't see us coming back into iraq with that kind of force now or in the future. >> ok. mr. terry. >> well, i agree that hindsight
is 20/20. the reality is that foreign policy of the president into not helping with the establishment of the government and pulling our military too quickly so they weren't trained when the government started in essence pun shalling segments of their society and they left to join isil, all of that we should have been much more involved in that to prevent that from happening. if we would have been more active we may not have had isil. i do want to say as i support the president on his strikes, i think that's the right thing to do. we have to do what's in our national security interest to do that. but with we've got to make sure that this government and their military is -- they're the ones and the kurds should be armed as well. and i appreciate the germans arming the kurds. they're good fighters. i think the boots on the ground in iraq should remain iraqi boots. >> ok. you did recently vote against arming the syrian rebels.
can you explain your position on that? >> yeah, thank you for letting me do that. i was the only one in our entire delegation region that voted against that. that was to arm the free syrian army and train them. and i've seen just too many incidences where we trained a group of people and then as we're training them they turn their weapons on us. and see -- see yaw is one of those places where it's really difficult to find -- just because they're fighting assad doesn't mean they're our friends. and so i worry that they would just turn on the united states whenever they would get the chance and we would have trained them to do that. >> thank you. mr. ashford do you agree with mr. terry? >> here's what i think about this. it's impossible for me no know about the vote because i wasn't briefed. intrick ow about the casseys of that congressional decision. what i do believe and i don't
understand this, maybe lee can explain it, how congress could have left washington after four days coming back from the summer vacation and had a vote on training syrian moderate rebels without a thorough discussion and debate about where that was going to go. and i think those questions need to be asked. i think the authority needs to be discussed and debated. what authority do we have in making this move? so i would say stay in washington, debate at least for a couple days. there's only four days of congressional meeting after the summer recess. i think it should have been thoroughly debated at least over the weekend after that vote. >> ok. mr. terry, you get a chance to respond. >> >> and there were several days of discussion. the process was the president asked for congress to make the authority that the president he wanted it in the continuing resolution and we had a deadline because of that continuing resolution. that's the answer.
>> you know, i think the american public deserves deserves to understand fully what the extent, not only of that vote is, but what the further appropriations are going to be acquired and are we going to go to the 2003 resolution for the invasion of iraq or do we need a new resolution. at least that could have been debated on some basis at that time. >> i think we'll move on if that's ok. we are going to talk a little bit about jobs and the economy. mr. terry, years ago america emerge frd the recession but wages continued to stagnate. they are not keeping up with inflation. what would you pose congress to do to boost family income? >> we have to continue to expand our economy. there's a lot of things we should be doing to make sure or economy is growing jobs. i've seen wages in our
metropolitan area going up. there's open manufacturing jobs right now that are $20 where maybe a couple of years they would have been far less than that. in order to expand our economy, we've got to reform our tax code and use our energy so we don't have to spend the money to bring it in from foreign countries that don't like us. the best way to get people high paying jobs is to give them the skills necessary. our veterans have some skills and they need other skills. there was another bill in the legislature that brad ashford could have pushed providing workforce training and skills for veterans but he wouldn't allow it. >> i think mr. ashford, you're up. >> i sup sorted job training bills in the legislature. i pushed vocational -- 21st century vocational education. have supported certainly
training for veterans and disabled veterans. we passed a bill in 2014 to do that. the bill that lee is talking about talked about giving further resources directly to employers. i wanted to see the money go for training directly to our veterans. but let me say this about the question. i think that we need to unleash our economy. we have spent now at least in congress for 14 years we have not had corporate tax reform in 14 years. we have to bring the $2 trillion that is located outside of the united states, it's lodged outside of the united states, bring it back to america, get our country moving again. >> do you want to comment on the corporate tax reform? >> yeah. as a matter of fact, it has to be reformed and that's been one of my goals in congress. we've had our president that actually talked about making our
corporate tax code flatter, simpler. it has to be done. the rest of the world has gone this way. what we have is an old code for a different time. it has to be modernized. and we need our president and the senate to get engageed. the ways and means committee drafted a modern simple bill which harry reid said they would never take up. >> we will move on to the next question. mr. ashford, i think it's your question. do you think the growing income in equality is a problem in the nation, and if so, what, if anything should the federal government do about it? >> in the last 14 years, 15 years, the g.d.p. has increased by about 40% and the median family income has increased in the united states less than 8%. so there is a gap. nd we need to push equal pay
for equal work for women. i think the minimum wage is important because traditionally since the 1930's when the minimum wage was .25, congress has always worked together to increase the minimum wage so those at the lower end of the pay scale can receive a better wage. and if -- congress needs to work together to get these things passed. it's been five years since the minimum wage was passed. i think that's important. also, infrastructure is important. i worked with deb fischer to pass l.b. 84 to fund our infrastructure. you have to work together to build a coalition to do inif a structure, which creates good paying jobs. >> just a follow up here. as you know, on the ballot this fall would be a minimum wage question, would you vote for it
yes or no? >> yes. so the question is to you, do you think there's a problem with the growing income inequality in the nation? >> i think the reality more of our middle class has taken a hard hit in this economy. not only many of them had good paying jobs have to go to an underemployment situation but now because of the president's health care bill, full timers are now being put into a position where they're now part-timers. so the solution here, first of all, is we do have to strengththen our economy. but the reality is the way that people are going to get an $20 to $25 an hour job is to have the skill sets that are necessary. i don't want people to go from $7 to $10. i'm trying to figure out if you're a single mother and you're struggling as minimum wage, we want to make sure you have the skills necessary to earn $20 an hour and those jobs are open right now in omaha,
nebraska. >> minimum wage, same question to you, it's on the nebraska ballot, yes or no? >> if we have a demand on jobs, they're going no go up naturally much higher than $10 an hour. >> how will you vote? >> i am not going to support that because i think we can do a better job providing skills for them necessary to earn a much larger pay than what the minimum wage would bring. my son who is a baker at bakers as a 16-year-old, he's kind of hoping it goes up. >> thank you very much. brad, did you want to -- >> well, i think 70% of americans on minimum wage today are women. and a lot of them are single moms and, yes, they want to earn $20 an hour. i think they should. we need to do job training and have 21st century vocational education in the schools. but the minimum wage, we are
talking about low wage earners -- >> thank you. i think we are going to move on. our next question is on ss d self-defense. and i think -- is on social security. mr. terry, social security payroll taxes are currently capped at $117,000 of income. some say it's time to raise that cap or scrap it all together. would you support one of those options to help secure social security long term? >> well, social security, we have to deal with that issue. there's no doubt about it. social security is a social promise. -- the to let the reality is by 2040 as the social
security administration says, if we do nothing, then there will be a 25% automatic reduction of everyone's benefits. we have to stop that. so my goal here is to put everything on the table. so, yes, increase the cap. increase the -- we should be looking at every solution and the solution is going to be republicans and democrats working together, holding their hands together and coming up with the solution. each side is going to have to give on something and accept something else that the other side wants to get this fixed. so far, only the republican side of the aisle has been willing to move in some direction. >> so just to recap, you would raise the cap and you would raise the retirement age? >> i think everything should be on the table and negotiate those. >> thank you. mr. ashford. >> well, here's the problem. if congress does nothing, then by 2040 you're right. i mean, the two trust funds will
be left. that's the problem. congress does nothing. the only thing we get out of congress is a proposal to privatize social security. >> that's not true. >> privatizing social security doesn't make sense to me. we need to work together to find a solution. i agree with lee. as far as raising the cap -- we just raised the retirement age to 67. i don't see that as a viable option at this point, but i do think we have to take a look at all the options. but we have to take privatization of social security off the table. we don't pass anything in congress, so i think -- >> do you think -- i wanted to ask mr. ashford one quick question. do you think mr. tear terry supported privatization? >> he'll have to tell you. there's certainly a vote on rivate tiesing the budget that
privatized medicare -- >> there's nothing on the table, brad. >> i'm not -- >> ok. >> during the bush administration -- >> president bush did -- >> you supported it at that time. >> you said take it off the table. it hasn't been off the -- >> it was on the table in the bush administration and you got behind it. whether you did or didn't, maybe you didn't, all i'm saying it shouldn't be on the table. >> you're telling people it's on the table and take it off. it hasn't been on the table. if the democrats would come to the table on this we could -- >> that's the problem. we've got to get rid of this animosity. >> just real quick here. >> you started the privatization. >> mr. ashford, real quick here. what would you do to shore up social security? >> i think it has to be on the
table. i don't think -- we just raised the retirement age. i think we need work year in, year out, provide the congressional overnight. it has to be done in a collaborative bipartisan matter, and that's fine. but, no, he don't think raising the retirement age at this point is necessary. i think we can take the two trust funds and -- it's the bedrock of our social system, i think, as retirees having the social security. that's what i would recommend. >> i think we are going to move now to that portion of the debate where you folks -- you two get to ask each other a question. mr. terry, you're going to get to go first. >> brad, i'm particularly curious about one area that you are deeply involved in, and that's coddling criminals. you refuse to allow any new
prisons to be built. you are the main sponsor of what is called the good time law which is simply take whatever the court sentenced and cut that in half. you fought the governor on the bill that he supported that would have done reforms to quote, unquote good time which is now just halftime. and as one of the reforms was simply you have to earn your good time and you fought the governor on that and you refused to let it come out of your committee. why don't you want reforms to good time and why would you do that to the people and violent criminals are being released? >> thanks for the question. >> thanks, lee. the question i think 20 months ago the department of corrections came to us -- to me and said, look, we're at 140% of capacity. our law provides that when we get to 140% of capacity in our department of corrections that the governor may call an emergency, and he did not. so we took the issue and we reformed the prison system.
we had no votes on a massive reform of our prison system. we did that following a significant reform in our juvenile justice system. the department of corrections did not follow the good time law that was in effect, so that instead of adding on time for inmates who miss behaved what the department of corrections was putting them in administrative segregation and not adding on additional time. the department of corrections did not follow the law. they didn't follow the law in mandatory minimum sentences that we passed either. i'll tell you what, we're nod coddling prisoners, lee, when we increase penalties for sexual predators, we increase mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes which has resulted in a number of new inmates in our prison system. i think we've got significant reform with unanimous approval by the legislature and signed by
the governor. >> mr. terry, would you like to comment? >> the reality is there are two issues, one is the miscalculation. but the bill that you passed cut every sentence in half without having to earn that. >> no it didn't. >> yes. >> no it didn't. >> and so there's two issues here, brad, and that was some of the reforms the governor wanted. the bill that i was referring to, it was never passed out of your committee that you were the chair of. >> we have seven different -- >> may i? >> yes. >> we have seven different good time laws that have been passed over the last 25 years. the governor actually asked for a more lenient good time law a few years ago to alleviate prison overcrowding. the good time law we have now is an administrative sanction. every judge -- and you know this -- every judge in all district judges in this state know very well what a sentence means and what it is. we have minimum and maximum
sentences. they can make the sentence as harsh or as lenient as they wish. it's when they get into the prison system that good time is used as an administrative sanction. it was not used by the department of corrections. >> ok, mr. ashford. >> sorry. >> i apologize. mr. ashford, it is time for you to ask mr. terry a question. >> you know, we've had a discussion about wages and the middle class and still today, women's salaries, what they earn is not equal to men's. thein 2010 or at least 2009 lilly ledbetter act passed the house and you voted no. n 2013 the paycheck fairness act which would have amended the equal pay act failed and you
voted no. how do you justify those votes? >> well, first of all, i want women and everyone to have equal wages. we have a constitutional amendment that requires that. we have nebraska state laws that require that. we have an eeoc set up nationally and state to deal with those issues. so if there's someone that is receiving less wages for the exact same job, they have a legal route to go through through the courts and the administrative way through the government. so the remedies already exist. and the lillie led better act was to take the statute of limitations off and you know that there's reasons because you were both -- we're both lawyers and grads of law school, there's a reason why you don't do a civil case 20 years later. and that's what that bill was allowing to do and that would open up the door on everything
else. and the paycheck fairness act was another act that was just dove tailed into another democratic motion that as a procedural one that we voted against. >> mr. ashford. >> well, on lillie led better, lee, you also know when you're an employee and you are a victim of discrimination of your pay, if you're a woman and you're paid less than someone working right next to you, it's very unlikely if you need that job to feed your family, it's very unlikely during the course of your employment that you're going to threaten yourself with a lawsuit. all this does, this lillie led better act is after the final paycheck is received, they have 180 days to file suit. i don't think that's an unreasonable action. >> i think you misunderstood that because the -- there is time when you discover the point and it wasn't 120 days after the last paycheck. this was discovered or she
learned about it years later, and they wanted to remove the typical civil case statute of limitations of repose on that. if it was 120 days there wouldn't have been an issue on this. >> i think we're going to move on to health care. i believe it is mr. ashford, you are up next. >> ok. >> you are on record supporting only some of the provisions in the health care law, including the requirement that insurance companies can max -- cannot deny coverage for a preexisting condition. but you pose to mandate the new law. how can you get those provisions without the mandate? > first of all, the affordable care act has passed, i would have not have voted for it because it was not a bipartisan bill. it's too big a bill to have it
just go through with just democrats and not republicans. so having said that, no, i don't support the employer mandate because employers already have a tax benefit for providing insurance. they have the employees who receive the insurance also paying taxes on the income, and quite frankly i do agree that employers might make a full time employee, a part a tart time employee and it's not worth it. there are a150 million americans coughed by employer insurance and i think that will continue. as far as other mandates, if you don't pay your premium as an individual it much more works need to be done on that. there were amendments in the senate before the bill passed that would have triggered some relief for policy owners when the premiums go up. i think there's a lot of work to
be done. i do support preexisting coverage. >> thank you. the one thing is -- >> i'm sorry. >> that's ok. the one thing i want to burrow into is a lot of folks you can't have the preexisting without the mandate because if i'm not required to have insurance i'm going to wait until i'm sick to get hedge care -- healthth care coverage if the insurance company is required to take me on. >> i don't think you need the mand date. you have exchanges and people buy policies on the exchanges. prior to the senate bill being passed before it went to the house, there were efforts made to buy premium you have insurance you pay a tax. if the premium goes up by a large amount, 10%, 20%, whatever the amount is that there is some trigger mechanism in place. all i'm saying is i think there's plenty of money in the
system to provide the insurance for preexisting conditions. it's 17% of our economy. i don't think that one prohibits the other. >> thank you very much. mr. terry, you believe the affordable healthth care act needs to be repealed. what would you tell those people who are now able to afford health care because of the new law or those people with preexisting conditions who are also now able to purchase health care because of the law? >> first of all, i do think it was a horrible law and it's caused a lot of damage within our economy. i've met people that have an advantage from that. but narcotic more people have come up to me and said about the high cost of their insurance now. and businesses have told me about how they've changed employees from full time to part-time or that if they don't get something done, some relief they may even actually go out of
businesses. doctors, especially, i don't know how many times i've gone into doctors' offices and met with them, but it's changed the way they work with the patients and it's really changed the doctor-patient relationship. anything that is replaced it will be replaced immediately. and preexisting, i will admit if republicans would have taken the preexisting issue and worked with it instead of thinking that the states were going to do it with their high cost funds, we wouldn't have this bill today. so preexisting will be part of any replacement bill. >> ok. but picture yourself sitting there with somebody who can now afford health care because of this law, what would you tell them? >> well, that they're going to have health care. if they're low income, they're still going to have medicare, but they may even have a better policy than what we're able to
give them, and there will maybe be some type of rebates that will be allowed to make sure the next level had access. but the reality is the way that balm -- obamacare is done now, it's really driving up the cost of them. brad and i don't need maternity care but we're paying for it. so those are just one -- there's thousands of those types of things that are in there that that's driving up the cost. >> thank you. you're running over. i've got to be stricter here so -- >> can i just? >> yes, quickly. >> i mean, my point is i think, lee, you're right. there are lots of things that could be done. but voting to repeal it 56 times instead of trying to solve the problem, that's why i have an issue on with you. i think we need to solve it. we need to get it done now. we need to have certainty in the system. and the way to do that is to work across the aisle and find a
way to fix it, not wait four years to do it. >> in that regard the 56 times, well, i think three or four were actually repealed. the other number that you do are actually trying to make changes to those. instead of 30 hours, then the mandate on the employers you move it back to 40 because that's one of the things that is causing employers to force people to part-time. >> let's move on here. i think this one goes to mr. ashford. let's step back a little bit from this whole debate about affordable health care. the key reason the law was passed was to provide coverage from for uninsured americans. fundamentally do you think it's the federal government's job to make sure all americans have affordable access to health care? >> yes. >> mr. terry? >> is it a right?
it is something we should do, absolutely. and there's a variety of ways that we could work within the system without reshuffling all of the chairs on the titanic. one of the things i actually liked in the obamacare is a medical home that would actually reduce the cost to the patient. >> we are going to wrap up and head to the next question. mr. terry, it's your question. i'm having trouble this evening calling you mr. terry, mr. ashford, i apologize. gallup poll suggests trust in government is lower. tell me, what can congress do to regain the trust. >> well, i think you gain the trust by showing you can actually get together and work on the major issues that have to be done. every bill that i've introduced and worked on, i've worked with the democrats from the beginning. that's why a couple years ago by my piers -- peers i was named
one of the top 10 republicans to work with. my leadership style is you bring everybody in at the beginning of the process and you work through the issues. one of the most liberal members in in congress is my ranking member on my subcommittee and we worked together and came to a compromised that got to the president's desk and was signed in the law. >> the question has to do with trust and people have lost trust in their government. what do you tell those folk sns how would you regain that trust? >> i'm as equally frustrated as they are. it is so frustrating to do bills like on obamacare to just change the rule from 30 hours back to 40 where there's great bipartisan support but we have unentity that's dysfunctional right now in the senate not allowing that bill to go through the senate. it's frustrating for all of us. >> mr. ashford. >> two wrongs don't make a
right. a a.c.a. should have been bipartisan effort. it should have taken a little longer and i think the people would have had trust in the resolution of that had that occurred. but then we needed to get back to fixing it. and we haven't fixed it and four years have gone by. and trust in government has eroded because of that and other things. what i see happening is an intense partisan divide in the congress, and that's what i hear people saying to me. i don't think it was that way when tip o'neal and ronald reagan was there. i don't this was that way when johnson got together to sign the civil rights act. i don't know what the reason is. maybe it's citizens united. i think members of congress need to work extraordinarily hard to cross that bridge and put solutions over party. that's what we've learned in the
legislature. i think that's what has to happen again in the congress. i'm not saying it can't happen, but the trust is gone because there's a polarization based on bipartisan in my view. >> thank you very much. we're going to move on to immigration. and, mr. ashford, you're up. at the heart of the immigration debate is how to deal with the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in this country. we know both of you think more work needs to be done to secure the border but after that would you support a pathway to citizenship and if so, why? >> the state of nebraska has to pay the freight for the lack of action by the congress. we passed a bill on benefits and employer verification. we have to pay the cost of foster care. all of these things are state responsibilities and costs because congress -- this is a federal responsibility. the immigration system is a federal constitutional system that has to be amended or reformed by congress.
every time we get to a debate it's all about the borders. i think we should take the senate bill which was passed in a bipartisan manner by the senate, republicans and democrats alike passed the bill. it provides significantly more money for border security. obviously border security is the number one -- >> and then it had a pathway to citizenship? >> it had a criteria that had to be met before you obtain citizenship. it defined what legal status was, whether it was a young person, an adult, how they got here. the bill -- speaker boehner won't put the darn thing up for a vote an we're getting killed in nebraska financially because the congress would not act on that bill. so, yes, there would be citizenship is in the senate bill. t's a 13-kwleer -- year -- 13-year, there's visas and work permits. there needs to be a debate on the floor of the house and that
has not occurred for years. >> mr. terry, you get a few extra seconds on that. >>le, nirs first of all, i don't like the senate bill and i don't like the absolute reward of citizenship, a pathway to citizenship. i think there's other ways to handle that. but there's so much that we actually agree on but the senate says unless there's a pathway to citizenship, we're not even going to discuss anything else. and so when we agree onboarder and see and we agree on if they're here appropriately, we know there's repairs to the system that has to be made because even legal immigration i support and want and we need in the united states, including keeping our stem college educated people here instead of
sending them back to complete with us. why don't we get together and pass the things we can agree on and then see what we can work out a compromise to do what -- to see what we can do to help the people that are already here. >> instead of full citizenship for those folks who are living here illegally, maybe some kind of legal status where they could stay here without full citizenship. >> yes, i think that should be on the table for discussion. i'm open for the discussion. if you've been here and you haven't committed any crimes, then there may be a different way to deal with -- and a guest worker would probably be -- >> mr. ashford. >> you have to debate. we have dealt with immigration in nebraska legislature across party lines and we passed bills on it. what i would like to see, let's deal with the children first.
those that have gone through high school, going to college in nebraska that will become part of our economy hopefully, at least let's give them a pathway to citizenship first. at least let's get this on the table so we can debate it. lee, it hasn't been up for debate and i think your points can be debated, but let's get the debate going. >> ok, gentlemen, we are going to turn now to the quick uestion portion of our debate. >> it's a yes or no question. but we are asking that you keep it in kind of a 30 second range. and i believe i'll go with mr. terry. do you think the keystone pipeline will ever be built? >> it needs to be built. it's important to our national energy security. it's important to our economy. it creates jobs here in nebraska
. but i don't think it's going to be built until the -- we change presidents, until there's a new president. >> and after that will it be built? >> i think it will be. >> what do you think, mr. ashford? >> the legislate took this issue up in special session. e approved a process for the pipeline. it had environmental concerns met, i believe in the bill, l.b. 1 in the social session. and i think once the process is completed on the federal side i think it will be approved and build. >> thank you. mr. ashford, you get the next. what nation do you think poses the biggest long-term threat to the united states? >> iran. >> and why? isi think they put -- israel our strongest ally in the middle east. they've been our strongest ally in the middle east since 1948. we've been embroiled in conflict in iraq and afghanistan for
legitimate reasons because of the taliban. we've talked about that. i do think that to some extent the two state solution which prime minister net ya -- netanyahu has been retired to some extent because the american focus -- are we off the clock? >> yeah. >> all right, i apologize. but i think iran is our number one -- >> ok. i asked a follow up so i'll take that one. what nation do you think holds -- >> absolutely it's iran. now i think they're deceptively enriching uranium and plutonium and to have a nuclear iran is scary for the world. >> mr. terry, do you believe that climate change is man made? >> i believe that we have an impact on our economy -- i mean on our environment.
that's why i drive a hybrid. i want to lesson my impact on -- lessen my impact on the environment. i do believe we're in a period of climate change. i think we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment when we can. >> so you believe that man may -- >> have some impact. but i've debated friends who think it's 100% man made. >> mr. ashford do you believe that climate change is man made? >> yes. >> we are moving on to mr. ashford. do you support president obama's decision to send 3,000 american soldiers to west africa to fight ebola? >> that's a tough one. i think we need -- when i first heard about that, my reaction was -- >> 30 seconds. >> my reaction was that the african yoonyoon should be
primarily responsible for security and for keeping track of what's going on and sending medical help is what i would support and the african union providing security. that would be my initial reaction without looking further into it. >> mr. terry. >> i think the ebola crisis is real and we have to deal with that before it spreads into europe and the united states. so i support the president's effort to send 3,000 troops to build the facilities. mr. terry, name a president admire. >> john dingle, democrat from a drot area. he is the consummate legislate lateor. we don't always agree, but i love how he works with everybody, republican or democrat. i'm working with him on a data security bill right now and he's
just such a base of knowledge and a really decent guy. >> thank you very much. >> a member of congress? name a congressman, past or present do you admire. >> without question it's chip o'neal. ve always admired ronald reagan and tip o'neal because he had the ability to work with president rage and -- president reagan and do amazing things. that whole way of business is gone. my hope is should i be so fortunate to be elected is to hopefully go back to those days when tip o'neal and ronald reagan made things happen in the congress. >> thank you. it's time now for closing statements. prior to the debate and after drawing cards it was determined that mr. terry would go first. mr. terry. >> well, i think the reason why i'm running for congress again is because i want to secure the future for our children and
grandchildren. and to do that, we need to do some basic things to make sure that our economy stays strong and that we can be competitive in a global world in a data driven world. the first is realize that we have a real asset in the united states with our energy and we need to be energy independent. taxes are next. taxes we absolutely have to reform our tax code. we have to lower it so we're competitive with the rest of the world. then we solve the inversion problems. we don't have to worry about headquarters going overseas. my opponent has raised taxes and fees 12 times. so obviously we have a different -- in just the last four years. we need to teach the skills necessary so that people earn good middle wage -- middle income wages. the other is rules and regulations and in my hearings, i hear about the stifling rules on small businesses and gallup
even says that there's less startups and shut downs downs in the first time of american history. obviously we've got to deal with our debt. i've been hit by my opponent for voting for the republican budget and not voting for the democratic budget. but we are the only budget that said we will balance it within 10 years. i made sure we had a balance budget amendment. i'm still working for that. at least i'm going to vote for a budget that's going to get us there. >> mr. ashford. >> thanks. this has been fun. thank you, lee for this discussion. i'm running for congress because i believe congress has failed the american public. it is so polar rizzed that we can't make -- polarized, we can't decide immigration issues
and fix the health care bill. we don't have an environmental policy. we need a comprehensive energy policy for our country. it's time for a change. it's time to get back to tip o'neal. it's time to do things the way they were done 25 years ago. it's time for a change. here are my promises. number one, i will never ever vote to shut the government down. i will never asked to be paid if and when the government is shut down. i will always put real solutions over political positions. and the day i get elected to congress, i will find 25 friends. i could care less what political party anybody is, i would find 25 friends. with 25 friends we will pick priorities and make change. we will decide real issues. we will pledge that politics has to take a back seat to solutions. that's why i'm running and i respectfully request your vote. thank you very much. >> thank you both.
>> thank you. >> that will have to be the last word. thanks to both candidates for participating tonight and for your willingness to serve in an elected office. thanks to our sponsors the world herald and u.n.l. television. thanks -- and thanks especially to you, our viewers and listeners to tuning in. look for analysis on the debate of omaha.com as well as in friday's world harold. the debate will be available to watch again in the coming days on omaha.com. we encourage you to vote in the november 4 election. the issues matter. ood night. >> congressman terry and state congressman ashford are competing for the second district of nebraska, which includes omaha. we'll take a look now at our
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[applause] >> good morning. here withonor to be this distinguished panel, with the leadership of the foundation . it is an honor and pleasure to be here with each and every one of you. we are about to hear a presentation, and exchange of ideas, about something so fundamental, the right to vote. i will be brief. said one of the most significant steps we could take is a short walk to the voting booth. that is what we all have t