tv West Virginia 3rd Congressional District Debate CSPAN October 23, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
is serving his 19th term in the house. he was elected to the position first in 1976. before his election to congress, nick rahall was a businessman who served as a staff aide for robert c byrd. yes three children and three grandchildren. evan left is state senator jenkins, the republican candidate. native.gton mr. jenkins has served in the west virginia legislature for two decades. he was first elected to the house of delegates and in 1994
to represent rain counties. he served three terms in the body. and 2002, he was elected to the state senate, where he is now serving his third term. his committee assignments and the state senate include education, and roll bills, judiciary, military, and natural resources. in addition to serving on the legislature, mr. jenkins is executive director of the west virginia state medical association. it is a physician-based organization focused on public health issues. mr. jenkins and his wife elizabeth have three children. next i would like to talk a little bit about the format. the candidates are familiar. i want to explain it to you out there. each candidate will have three minutes for an opening statement , then i will ask the candidates a series of questions that were developed with ideas from our readers. each candidate will have two minutes for an initial response
to each question, and then one minute for rebuttal or clarification to each question. we will proceed through the questions in that manner with candidates alternating and answering the questions first. after we have completed the questions, each candidate will have three minutes for a closing statement. we have a timer to help us keep track of the time limits. we are trying to adhere to that this evening. our business reporter at the herald dispatch, shane, raise your hand. thank you. hane has three sons. one minute, 30 seconds, and timeout. he will flash the signs to indicate how much time they have left for their opening and closing statements, as well as their answer to the questions and the rebuttals. any questions? i think were all set. ok. i want to remind the candidates
that each of you has three minutes for your opening comments. we will begin with congressman rahal. >> thank you. i want to thank the herald dispatch for sponsoring this. i would to thank each of you for your participation in our political process. too many of our veterans have fought and died for the many freedoms that we enjoy in this country, one of which is the right to vote. we all have a duty to vote. as i have been in congress working hard for you, i feel we also have a duty to work together. in this city and across southern west virginia, that is how you and i, together, have been progress on so many fronts. we work together, you and i, we have been getting things done. there my leadership position on the house transportation , numerous projects across southern west virginia from washington university, city of huntington, and throughout the southern area.
this race comes down to one thing, one thing, my friends, who can you trust to stand up for the working values of our families and west virginia? can you trust, who will be on your side for our working minimum in? i have always and will always be a fighter for west virginia values. whether it is working with republicans in standing up to my party to stop the overreaching, overzealous, job killing epa diversifying our economy, or working perfectly for you on problems you may have cutting through government red tape, social security checks, veterans benefits. i am proud of what we have been able to achieve in washington by working together and willing and able to cross party lines. for example, i should the house restriction drug abuse caucus with how rogers. secure been able to
funding for drug prevention strategies and to fight drug abuse. another example, i have led the effort to secure funding for huntington. the development of the heartland corridor. it provides jobs for our people. i could go on down the list. to top priority will be continue to finish route 35. we must create long-term solutions for our state. when we look at the loss of senator robert byrd and the retirement of senator rockefeller, and the lack this president will not be an office in two years, we have to think beyond to the long-term best interest of our state and what it means for a small state like clout andnia too have seniority in the halls of congress and the ill to work across the party aisles. this election comes down to one to fighto can we trust for our west virginia values in congress?
i will be a champion for our working family, our economy, and are independent mountaineer spirit way of life. you wanted me in the past. i'm asking for your vote again. thank you. you, mr. rahal. this tremendous crowd turning out this evening. for those watching us on the webcast, hello, i hope you have an informed evening tonight. this is a great night. i have been looking forward to a debate. i want to talk about the issues. i issued a challenge to congressman rahal the night of the primary. before heen until now is willing to stand on the stage with me and talk about the importance of the issues of west virginia. i was born and raised here. in the state it legislature for 18 years. i have my wife elizabeth and daughter olivia and sun charles here. i have one off the college.
it is about our future. it is about our children's future. why am i running for congress? >> i'm running for congress this november for because i think we need a change of direction, not a change of pace. i am telling you, people are hurting and west virginia. it is the policies of barack obama, nancy pelosi, and their ,aithful soldier, nick rahall who has causes such despair. it is time for a change. we have somebody who has been in office 30 years. .'ve represented west virginia we have done a lot of good things here. we brought autism coverage for children here in west virginia, and standing up to the insurance industries. we have fought the drug abuse crisis. i was the lead sponsor of the taxpayer's that make sure you got your tax refund and a timely fashion and that they did not -- if they did not, they have to
pay you interest. i got an e-mail today from a gentleman. he said, you know, evan, there has been a lot of talk about coal and things that are critically important. forget, this is the house of representatives. he underscored representatives. that is what this is about. who will be your representative? i am proud of our record. nick rahall was a staunch supporter of president obama tries brady voted for nancy pelosi for six times for speaker. he has cut veterans pensions. he has raised costs for our seniors. i am telling you, folks, west virginians are hurting. forward to the discussion tonight about those policies. about those votes. that me close with the last three seconds. in an interview with keith overman, here is what congressman rahal said. i keep on with my endorsement of obama because i am looking at
the long range view of what is best for our democratic party. he puts his party first. i want to put west virginia first grade i want to put west virginia's back to work. i want to stand up to barack obama. i would be honored to have your vote. >> thank you, senator. our first question this evening. it will be addressed by mr. jenkins first. it has to do with energy. as you both are fully aware, cole has been a big topic in this campaign. you both have stated your commitment to supporting coal. i want to put that into context of overall energy policy. we do each police expired to us what kind of energy policy you think the nation should have and what specific steps you would take as a congressman to stew the nation towards that policy? senator jenkins. is an energynia state we are proud of our coal history.
we have made the manufacturing base of this country based on coal fired power plants. we have fueled america. we have 90% of the energy and west virginia that is coal-fired. we do have an oil and gas exposure and is well we need to do both. call as well as oil and natural gas and west virginia. we have a unique opportunity to lead the country and energy independence. we need to step up to the plate and free up our coal miners and make sure that they can mine the coal that god has given us and bless us with. you can't the rollcall and vote coalnst -- you can't be pro- and vote for nancy pelosi for speaker six times a was to kill coal. aol and vote pro-c for a carbon tax, like nick rahall has.
devastatinges are to our coal industry. he voted against the keystone pipeline. we can go on and on. he set up the first cap and trade initiative and our country. it gave the epa the biggest budget increase in their history. to comecific directions up with policies related to greenhouse gas regulations. what? those policies are coming home to roost. we can't continue in this direction. this is killing our jobs. it is limiting our ability to grow and prosper in the state. pro-coal.100% i will be pro-coal miner. coall make sure our communities get back on her feet and like people get back to work. >> thank you. >> congress and rahall.
>> coal is a way of life in west virginia. tickets are lights on. it is not just a business or job. -- it keeps our lights on. states everything to our of west virginia. i have always stood for coal, and standing for coal, and always will stand for coal. what is so important to keep in mind, my friends, is that we need the domestic -- energy policy that embraces all of the above, as long as they are domestic resources. yes, we have oil and gas and was virginia. have other energy sources as well in this nation. as long as they are domestic, we need to stand up and use those resources. unfortunately, when you look at the facts in this race, the new york millionaires -- they did not make their money and coal, they made their money and whirling gas. coal will always be with us. agencyrgy -- information
-- it is still 35 percent. coal will be here. i don't care who the president of united states is great i don't care of this bigger the houses. i don't care which party controls either one. coal is not going away. is a viablel natural resources that we have in west virginia. you know as well as i do, my friends, our coal miner is the most precious resource of all. and fought for lower dust levels in our coal mines. i stood with our coal miners and fought for their health and safety. i thought for the pension benefits. i am proud of my record. i work on behalf of coal. brothershink the koch or the call rose of the world are going to change west virginians knowledge of nick rahalll's ability to fight and
work for coal. that is who we are. it is our way of le. >> thank you. senator jenkins, any clarification rebuttal? >> lets talk about the one vote in particular. nancy pelosi, long before obama came on the scene in 2007, said we need to green the capitol. guess what? nick rahall introduced legislation, sponsored legislation, giving direction to the architect of the capitol to reduce carbon emissions. guess what, the united states capital was field with coal from west virginia. here is a guy who sponsored a legislation to say, no, we will stop using west virginia coal in feeling the capital of our united states. rahall.essman, nick
you have never met johnny-come-lately until tonight. he is on stage with me. 20 years, he has been in the senate of west virginia. ask his colleagues. as he been at the pro-coal rallies, the anti-epa rallies i have been in our nations capital in trenton, west virginia, testifying before the epa and their efforts to revoke permits. mr. johnny-come-lately, welcome to the battle. , i am glad you recognize what coal means to our stately whatever about you referenced, lets look at the facts. we used to be friendly and i hope we can be friends after this. i am happy to say that he is a past supporter of mine. 2010ve my campaign in after barack obama was elected president, after the affordable care act was signed into law. that, he was a
supporter of my campaign treat i appreciate it. >> thank you. we will go on to the next question now. it also has to do with the coal mining industry. west virginia is the second leading coal producing state in the nation to thousands of people are employed in what is a dangerous occupation. do you think steps taken by the federal government have been sufficient to keep minor safe and healthy? if not, what further steps should the federal government do to improve safety in the mines? as part of that, i would like you to address whether the gentleman is doing enough to protect minors from black lung disease and to help those who suffer from it. congress and, nick rahall, your first. answer, no, no, and no. we are not doing enough. i was the first official who disastroushen that explosion happened in 2010. i was with those widows.
--as with them 24 set of 24/7 waiting for word about their loved ones. we passed a mine safety bill, but it did not go far enough. to pass the robert c byrd mine safety legislation in the commerce of the united states that will provide additional protections for our coal miners. need to ensure that they have a number that they can call an honestly to support unsafe conditions and not be afraid of losing their jobs. we also need to step up to the plate and protect the health and safety, as i said earlier, of our most precious resource in the state, i'll coal miners. i will continue to do that. 100% safe. be coal mining is a dangerous job. i have been in the coal mines. i just wish that my opponents billionaire backers would have invite to go into
our coal mines and see what it is like. perhaps they will get there to hundred dollar manicure thing was a little duster. at least they would learn what coal mining is like. this is what it is about. being with our coal miners and whose side you are on. being with our working families in the state. whose side are you on? i am very proud of my record. that is why i have been endorsed. i am proud of senator joe manchin calling nick rahall a straight shooter. that's what these ads are all about. outsiders running their own hidden agenda. >> thank you. senator jenkins. >> i wonder if nick rahall, when andas with those widows first re-squanders, that tragic
incident. explosion,er the ubb while they were still in search and recovery, nick rahall went and sold his corporate ownership in massey. after the you bb explosion, nick rahall, instead of consoling the widows, instead ,f helping the first responders it must have been his first call, to sell his ownership interest in massey. this is the gentleman that in changed cut, reduced, the criteria for black lung benefits. said theumw a official worst about, the worst bill in
the history of coal miners. it looks to me like we will have a fun night. i lot of cute comments. a lot of funny gestures. that is not going to do a bit to help hard-working west virginia go back to work. people thatll the you sold your corporate ownership the day after the disaster. i bet not. he likes to talk about this money. he talked about a 500 conservation i made to him. guess what? $2000 illegalke a me.ribution to what i did with the maximum limits and west virginia, i sent $1000 back and cap the thousand he sent. [applause]
>> congressman rahall? if he had been in that area, he would have known that cell phones don't work in that area. wascontribution he gave me $500. i don't know that the money shenanigans he is talking about -- since he brought up the issue of money, all we have to do is follow the money. follow the money, my friends. look who the big backers of his campaign are. don blankenship, the koch wivesrs, they and their have maxed out to him to follow the money. that will tell you who sigh he is on. he is on.ide lets look at the facts of this race. less decide who is in the best interest of west virginia. is there fighting for our
west virginia values, for the working men and women, to make sure, who is fighting for our coal miners. i am proud to have the umw a endorsement. i'm proud of that fact. you think they would endorse me if i was against black lung benefits question mark i don't think so. >> senator jenkins. >> you notice he did not deny selling his corporate ownership. a little deception there. congress apparently teaches you a lot of tricks. i am telling you, what an outrage. before he took a personal financial hit, he ran. he got out of it. about theng to talk koch brothers. he likes to talk about little histories. he has not told you that he took money from coke industries. that was several years ago. long before they were ever involved in running ads for the americans for prosperity. the rahall took money from
kochs. don lincolnshire does not like me. he worked against me. don blankenship does not like me. he made one contribution back in 2000, and another race, 14 year since then. he has worked against me and does not support me. >> thank you. we will go on to our next question. it has to do with health reform. has beendable care act the subject of much debate since it was passed in 2010, and it continues to be so after its of limitation. about a million people have been enrolled to the program. what is your position on the affordable care act? should it be repealed? if so, would you propose something in its place? if you think it should be kept in force, do you think there should be some adjustments to the program? senator jenkins, your first.
as i am passionate about care for it i get up every day, working to bring accessible, affordable care to west virginia and spare that is what i do for a living. it is a passion of mine. obamacare was the wrong recipe. our health care system is broken. we need a true health care system that is actually promoting access, does improve access to care and reduce costs. obamacare, come on folks, this is a boondoggle. on smalled prices businesses. a cause coverage to decrease. the congress has tried to make changes. nick rahall has voted for a review of many provisions. is it not unbelievable that you
have a 2700 page bill that does not get a single republican vote , that nancy pelosi says you reading, that barack obama has delayed come a deferred. we have not seen the tip of the negative consequences. what we have seen is hurting our seniors. medicare -- out of thank you, congressman rahal. health care/. thank you, congressman rahall. obamacare is broken. it was not the right recipe. -- do need to expand coverage and access to it i hope we have a hearty discussion about health care reform tonight. it is critical. i have made it perfectly clear that the byrd amendment, related to black lung benefits, i will fight tooth and now to make sure that our coal miners and are
widows -- the 1981 vote that that raise thee eligibility and cut benefits -- i will make sure that is preserved. we go into our coal miners. >> thank you. cumbersome and rahall? >> i have been in congress a long time. i have never seen a perfect law passed congressman the affordable health care act is not perfect. does it need tweaking, yes. numerous times to make the amendments necessary. we need to put the politics aside on this bill and make it work for the american people. has language in there that expedites the process for black lung claims. you repealed provision. you repealed the affordable you repealedct,
the fact that they can no longer discriminate against one because of a pre-existing condition. you repealed the fact that they can no log limits are coverage because of annual caps on lifelong caps on you would eliminate the fact that they closed the hole for our senior citizens, made up for -- more portable under part d medicare. we have close the doughnut hole. we eliminated waste, fraud, abuse, and duplications. those were the reforms we made in the affordable care act. all of those savings, we put it right back into medicare. we went to ensure the solvency of the medicare trust fund for another 13 years. the rollout was atrocious. that the president should be held responsible. if he did not know about it, then heads should have rolled quicker than they finally did. i voted to extend the employer
mandate, the individual mandate. the employer mandate, the president did finally allow that to be extended. as i said, it is time to put the politics aside on this issue. do you think that that the unit backers of my opponent are worried about health care? i don't think so. jenkins.r your rebuttal. >> here is the gentleman who said the 2012 or 13 why of the year. if you like your plan, you can give your plan. that is what nick rahal said. that is what president obama said. he went on the radio last year, after we had 9000 people in west virginia having their insurance policies canceled, and what did he say? , maybe having their insurance canceled was in their best interest.
it's outstanding to me that you can be that out of touch. to think that you know what is best for the people. an ndred each and every person in here is paying for it. and our seniors are hit up particularly hard in the cuts to medicare and medicare advantage programs. it's an outrage. >> congressman rahall. >> we have to look back at what the situation was when the affordable care act was passed. insurance companies were raising premiums through the ceiling and cancelling policies at will. they had that right. and they were exercising it to the cruelest degree on so many people. health care costs were going through the ceiling and certainly something needed to be done sm the status quo was unacceptable.
the new law was designed in part to give consumers new rights to protect themselves. for example, the new law forces insurance companies to publicly justify unreasonable premium increases and in many cases, the insurance commissioner of the state has to justify exorbitant premium increases by insurance companies. my opponent who has been nothing but a show for the snurps companies, would have us go back to the old days where insurance companies can force you off because of pre-existing conditions and children can no longer remain on their parents' insurance policies. that is another positive impact. >> next question has to do with education. educational achievement has fallen below most other states in the nation and the nation falls below the performance of many other countries. what steps, if any, should the
federal government take to improve the educational improvement in k-12 and the common core standards be improved to improve standards in learning? >> our federal government needs to be a partner with the states in promoting and improving our educational system, our teachers. thank god for our teachers. i can recall who my teachers were for the most part, but i can't recall who my congressman was. teachers affect children's lives for an eternity. we must provide for student loan interest at a reasonable level and not ex who are by tant rates. -- exorbitant rates. this is what our young people need. we should make education affordable and accessible for any child, for any student, as long as he or she wants to go to school regardless of their
financial wherewithal, not just open for the wealthy. the teachers deserve to have the tools with which to do their job. and they have not had the proper tools and it's because of the efforts in washington to slash our budget, to cut and gut, to ut and gut so many programs. the ryan budget that my opponent has not said yes or no. how would you vote on the ryan budget? it would cut the department of education. it would gut programs for our seniors, our veterans. transportation would take a tremendous slash in this cut and gut ryan budget, the same gentleman that has came down here and campaigned on my opponent's behalf. let's look at what is best for west virginia values. education is right up there at the very top. as far the core curriculum, it is up to the states to decide
what the teachers teach. there is no cookie cutter that fits all. each state is different. we tried under no child left behind under the bush administration and it didn't work. >> thank you. senator jenkins. >> he likes to talk about who contributes and suggesting somehow we are supportive of their positions. and i have made it clear, i would not support the ryan budget. will not express for any budget i have not had an opportunity to participate in. nick rahall voted for the progressive budget and we can talk about that, i suspect in a little bit. i don't support common core. i'm concerned what is happening n this national socialized one-size-fits-all driven policy. i don't support that. you know, big government, big
washington, you know, he mentions no child left behind, race to the top. we could go through all of the history of these different mega, big idea, washington, d.c., give you a little money and then all tft strings are attached. -- of the strings are attached. we have to get washington out of our lives. yes, we need to address the student loan debt problem. yes there are problems. there are things we can do on that front. but this big government mentality that we know what's best in washington for education, let's put a big bill out there, but it's all the strings attached. let's free up our teachers. i'm for new research into school choice. i'm a product. i went to the lab school here in huntington for a couple of years. there are huge opportunities, free up our teachers.
let's get education down to the classroom and in the neighborhood to try to empower our teachers and our parents and our local administrators. i was chair of the pensions committee, a ward about our teachers. during my oversight for our teachers increased the solvency of our teacher retirement program significantly. our teachers are important. we wanted to make sure they also had a safe financial retirement future. >> thank you. congressman rahall, rebuttal. >> i'm proud to have the backing of teachers in this state that have endorsed my campaign. i'm proud to fight for our pre-school kids, the head start 12 gram, the wick program, k- program so we don't have to pay
higher costs later on in life. i have also worked and brought in the drug czar into this state of ours, to work with our teachers, our educators, our law enforcement, so we can provide proper education at an early level, which begins with the parents in the home, number one and extends our teachers in the school. every one has the responsibility to join together and help improve and fight drugs regardless of what that drug is in west virginia. these efforts help our education system. too many kids have been going in west virginia not to learn, but to eat, because the parents have given away money to drugs over the weekend. >> i was in a county this summer and a middle school came up to me and said you know what? earlier this spring, the intercome ame on the
d said any parent who lost their jobs, come on down and sign up for the free lunch program. that's the policies of barack obama and nancy pelosi and nick ra hall. the best jobs policy is getting our people back to work. let's build our families. i look out here, we have a school principal, we've got school teachers. i'm proud to be supported by teachers and administrators caring about the future and they are here to support me. nd i appreciate. >> towns such as hunting ton, cost of higher education and increase of debt of students as they pursue their degrees. what strategies do you think the
federal government should implement to control higher education costs and help students manage the burden of loan debt. mr. jenkins. >> as i said, loan debt is a very troubling concern. we all know about the mortgage crisis. loans in the real estate business. we know what has happened to our country financially as a result. every financial prognosticator says the next big crisis the student loan debt. we must roll up our sleeves. we don't need to bring our nation's economy down again like we saw in 2008 as a result of this. we need to step up. we need to address this. we must do it in a bipartisan way. we must do it to make sure that r children, our students are
not shouldered with this absolutely unacceptable debt. w, in west virginia, we have fought tooth and nail to try to t money into marshal l university. i was right there when our medical school was having trouble and we got an extra million dollars for marshall. i voted against the budget this year because it had cuts to education. so, we must do better about supporting education in our state and record of supporting and making sure our higher ed institutions to the extent possible, but candidly when you see this war on coal, sorry to bring it back, but i'm not apologizing for saying when this economy goes down, it's real
trouble. and i have been a staunch advocate and been there throughout the entire time for the promise scholarship and making the promise by keeping it fully funded. >> congressman rahall. >> a good example is reconnect in mcdowell county. that's an effort by the private sector, providing free laptop computers to all the students along with our teachers' union, along with the local government, along with state government. it's headed up by former first lady. and it is going to be something that will catch on in other counties as well, the private sector has come on board and they have an important role to play. you have not heard me advocating that the federal government is
the cure-all. it's not. the federal government has to be a partner with us in so many areas. ut it's not a cut and gut type of philosophy that is going to solve our education problems. and that's all we have seen from the so-called ryan budget in washington that would devastate our programs to elementary and secondary education and higher education. i have been proud what i have been able to do for marshall university. the federal grants because of my seniority, have come to marshal lsh's' way. the earmark that established the rahall transportation institute, gave incentives to our young people to get involved in the engineering field, to work with the army corps of engineers that i fought so hard here in huntington. these are the type of efforts that our federal government has
a role. hooked up colleges through tapping the federal communications fund and that we have been able to secure funding from that fund to help our higher education in southern west virginia. and with the technology, students can learn from their home. >> thank you. senator jenkins. >> oftentimes, nick ra hall talks about all this -- rahall alks about all this money. he is just doing his job in congress. let's talk about the stimulus bill. $800 billion. let's talk about that seniority and help for marshal l and other shovel-ready initiatetives. stunningly west virginia 3 under nick rahall's leadership got $100 million less than the first
congressional district. west virginia 3, thank you, nick rahall, got a billion dollars less than west virginia 2. folks, the job's not getting done and he can talk about five million there or five thousand there and interesting, i heard that the rahall institute has been laying off people recently. just not getting the job done. i would be interested in knowing how many people you let go, laid off as a result of not being able to bring home sufficient money to even handle the project with your name on it. >> congressman rahall. >> my opponent, and i'm not new at this game and been around and every two years you hear
bad-mouthing. this gentleman has been in the state senate and was a democrat. as a democrat in the state senate until he switched to the republican party. what party he will be next year, i'm not sure. but nevertheless, where he has been the 20 years he has been in the state senate as a democrat? where has he been? come on, friends. this nay saying that occurs every two years, doesn't get us anywhere. number two, it doesn't work. and number three, it's destroying the morale and the faith that so many hard-working men and women who hold our values dear have in our state. candidates like this are trying to erode that confidence and faith in our future. i believe we have the ball rolling. we are going in the right direction. coal is in the swamp right now. but coal's going to come back.
[laughter] >> thank you. we are going to our next question. >> i can't remember where we are. >> we are done with that question. >> another issue that touches the lives of many has to do with the abuse of drugs, prescription drugs, heroin, meth. what strategies would you dvocate to rein this destructive epidemic. >> i work across party aisles and this issue is a perfect example of it. i co-chaired the prescription drug abuse caucus in congress rogers. hall we brought in millions of dollars to fight prescription drug abuse and other types of drug abuse and prevention strategies. this summer, i brought the head of national drug policy into
west virginia. i have had the head of the c.d.c. in west virginia and the discussing with law enforcement, including the judicial system and faith-based organizations that are working with us on the drug-abuse problem to try to address this issue. there is no one silver bullet that is going to solve the drug abuse problem. don't kid yourself. no one person, no legislation, no one level of government. we are all in this together and it's going to take all of us. as i said earlier, from the parents, to the educators, to the law enforcement, to the pharmacies and to our doctors and perhaps there is a lot of work that needs to be done there so our doctors understand what these prescriptions are that they are prescribing their patients and scream and want a little pill for any little thing
and doctors satisfy them and get them out of the door quickly. that's the type of thing we have to review, all of us together, including our pharmacies. i led the effort in the congress highstore and increase the intensity drug trafficking initiative. it brings in law enforcement, because of the state lines and detroit is a big supplier of drugs and becaused of that we need increased federal resources. i announced a million dollar grant for this type of federal effort. we have more federal officials interfacing with local officials and providing the technologies to track down the bad guys. >> thank you. senator jenkins. > this crisis is at an epidemic. it is ravaging our communities and state, and we are working very hard and the congressman would like to say what have i done.
let me say what i have done. i was the lead sponsor of a new law in west virginia establishing the tampering prescription bill. i was a co-sponsor that closes a loophole that allows prosecutors to go after doctor shoppers. lead sponsor of the bill in west virginia to go after fill-mill doctors and make sure we shut them down. just a few blocks from here tonight, there are three or four babies at lilly's place that me, sarah and rhonda and mary and countless number of other people brought to a reality, a first of its kind in the nation. and these babies are there being taken care of because they are drug-withdrawn babies.
they were exposed to drugs during pregnancy. this is an epidemic. and there has been nobody that has fought harder to eradicate this ravage. i was the one who led the charge to stop the synthetic cocaine and marijuana, bath salts being sold in retail stores. i could go on and on. we have all been affected personally by this in some tragic ways. we can do a lot. it is job one. >> congressman rahall? >> this is not a political issue. there is a lot which my opponent just said which i agree. who can disagree? we are at ground zero in southern west virginia when it comes to the drug epidemic.
we curtail prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse jumps up. it is an effort that is needed and i'm talking about not only education, treatment and prevention, but i'm talking about all levels of government as well and all political parties. doesn't matter if you are republican or democrat or rich or poor or 9 or 90. this is something that cuts across all lines and we need to address it together. my opponent has been to drug sum myths. i appreciate that. we worked together on this issue. why shouldn't we continue to work together to try to address this drain on our economy, drain on peoples' lives. >> senator jenkins, further comment? >> but votes matter. votes matter. right before they took their recess, congress put up two immigration bills.
it's a hot topic. and one of the bills, nick rahall voted against. guess what was in that bill? a provision that said if you were a drug dealer, drug thug, somebody from another country that has been dealing drugs, you can't come to this country and be eligible for asylum. you know, look at our border to mexico. look what's happening in central america. these people are coming across the border. yes, i feel for the children, but we have some bad apples and some drug dealers cooming into this country and voted against a bill to secure our borders and say, you can't be a drug dealer and come into the united states and be eligible for asylum. >> thank you. we'll go on to our next question, it's about another kind of threat. the militant group known as the
islamic state is wreaking havoc in the united states and views the united states as an enemy. as the u.s. response to this threat been so far efficient in your opinion? if not, what further steps do you think should be taken. senator jenkins. >> we have all been moved obviously in profound ways with the beheadings and what has happened. and every discussion always starts with, why did we wait so long. the president called it the j.b. crew. it didn't take it seriously. ck when assad in syria a couple of years ago horrifically used chemical weapons against his citizens. nick rahall said, i want to give the president of the doubt. we need leadership.
our country is not respected around the world. are a johnny-come-lately -- [laughter] >> it seems like to every crisis. i fully support air strikes in iraq. i fully support air strikes in syria. but i also want to make sure that all of the arab communities step up to the plate and put their boots on the ground, put their men and women like we do on the line. i'm telling you, this isis stuff just shows how much our lack of leadership has led to a much more dangerous world we live in. >> thank you. congressman ry hall.
>> isis is a threat to america's national security. it must be taken seriously and no joking around here with this heinous group. it's vital that we cut the head of the snake off. president obama is conducting air raids as we speak to hit at the head of the snake. the command and control centers in iraq and in syria. i support those strikes. i voted for a limited authorization, not for these strikes, but a limited authorization to arm the moderate syrian rebels until december 15. should we have identified these moderate rebels years ago? sure. to make sure the arms are not used against us in the future. it's a risky strategy upon by the president has embarked. i'm opposed to any boots on the ground. i opposed the iraq war. and i don't want to see us go
through that again. any further actions that the president takesn my opinion, deserves an open debate in the halls of congress, so that the peoples' representatives can speak so we can have a free flow of information. yeah, i have been to some of these classified briefings. and yes, this is a serious issue. and have there been mistakes made in the past? you bertscha. but that's gone. we have to look to the future ap we have to address this growing threat to our national security. and yes, we must bring our allies on board. and build an international coalition in which the first president bush did and which i supported when he went into iraq to get them out of kuwait. that's the type of coalition building we need now. to ensure that the allies in the
region have a skin in the game. it's their security that is a threat immediately before this threat crosses our board iris. >> senator -- borders. >> senator jenkins. >> the house and the senate went out on recess. it's the longest break in anybody's memory so they can go out and campaign. i think it's an outrage that our elected representatives are not in washington, not putting up a vote on whornt we should engage more fully in this war in the middle east and iraq and syria. but, no, they put politics first and spending time on the campaign trail talking about it.
>> that's obama. the house of representatives controlled by your party, your new-found party. second of all, you know, we need to be back home meeting with our people, hearing their issues. that's why we in the house are the closest elected federal officials to the people. nobody gets to the house of representatives by appointment, only by elections. we ought to be hear what you are saying about isis and about social security and medicare. we should not be allowing these out of state billionaires to be pouring millions of dollars in west virginia trying to buy this state so they can have a puppet in the congress that they can control. west virginia is not for sale,
my friends. we are not for sale and we need to stand up for the working values of west virginia families and what we need to push harder in our nation's capital. >> thank you. next question. has to do with social security and medicare trust funds. a significant portion of the people of west virginia rely on social security and medicare benefits and many in the future ll be counting on them for benefits and health care. the trust fund supporting social security will be depleted, forcing a reduction in benefits if nothing is done. for medicare, the forecast for plication fund will be further. how do you think action should be taken? >> social security is a contract that our seniors have with their
federal government. that contract should in no way renigged upon or changed in any manner, shape or form. social security is not the reason we are in debt today. social security has not been a part of the problem with deficit spending. this is money everyone pays into and that money should be there, should be there when we are ready to retire. i have supported cost of living adjustments more than the 1.5% that went to our seniors this past january. i have legislation that would recalculate the way the formula is did he rived that makes up the cola adjustment. the formula doesn't take in the true cost of the economy, like electricity going up and gasoline going up and if you read the bill, was never in the bill i