Top 10 Most Important Issues in the Cicilline/Doherty Race
Monday, September 24, 2012
With six weeks until the general election, the two candidates hoping to represent the 1st Congressional District say the differences between one another are crystal clear.
In one corner, incumbent Congressman David Cicilline has been a reliable Democratic vote in Congress who stands up for women’s rights, supports Obamacare and is a major proponent of the “Buffet rule.” In the other corner, Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty is backing Mitt Romney for President, is against the Affordable Care Act and wants to create a “fairer” tax code.
So where do they stand on the most important issues? GoLocalProv asked each campaign to break down the key factors that will decide the race.
Jobs & the Economy
It’s the most important issue across the country and Rhode Island is no different. Congressman Cicilline maintains that his Make it in America Block Grant is part of a larger effort to stop handing out tax breaks overseas and to create more manufacturing jobs in the United States.
Doherty maintains that Cicilline supports an agenda that allows the government to pick winners and losers and believes that small businesses need to make their own decisions about how to invest, innovate, and grow. Doherty says reforming the tax code for small businesses is key to helping put people back to work.
Perhaps the largest difference between the two candidates. Republican Doherty has said more than once that he would vote to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act if Romney is elected President. Doherty says he supports some parts of the initiative (keeping young people on their parents’ health care, for example), but maintains that it costs too much.
Meanwhile Cicilline is an avid supporter of Obamacare, praising the President’s plan for helping seniors save on prescription drugs costs and for preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions.
Medicare and Social Security
Cicilline supporters maintain that if elected to Congress, Doherty will vote with a Party that is seeking to make drastic changes to Medicare and Social Security. The incumbent has said he is against any changes to either program and that he believes there are other ways to trim the nation’s trillion dollar deficit.
But Doherty’s campaign has accused the Cicilline campaign of deliberately misleading voters about where he stands on the issue. Doherty says he wants to protect and preserve the programs so they can remain intact for generations to come, but acknowledges that not addressing Medicare and Social Security could place the programs at risk. The Republican plans to hold a press conference today to unveil his “iron clad pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security benefits.”
Congressman Cicilline has a strong base of female voters thanks to his support of a woman’s right to choose. Doherty is pro-life and Cicilline has already spent time tying his opponent to the national Republican agenda, which he claims will “roll back rights for women’s reproductive health.”
In nearly every public appearance, Doherty mentions his support for the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission to help address the nation’s deficit. Doherty maintains that Congressman (and Vice Presidential candidate) Paul Ryan’s budget as well as the progressive budget Cicilline has supported need to be tabled and Congress needs to work off the Simpson-Bowles plan first.
Cicilline believes the key to addressing the deficit is asking “millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share” in taxes. He has ripped Republicans for targeting social programs and for making cuts at the “expense of important investments in our economic growth.”
Providence VS Washington
Cicilline cruised to victory over Anthony Gemma in the Democratic primary despite his opponent’s attempt to tie the Congressman to mistakes he made while he was Mayor of Providence. But the resounding win hasn’t stopped Doherty from labeling Cicilline a liar for saying he was leaving the city in “excellent financial condition” in 2010 (Mayor Angel Taveras inherited a $110 million structural deficit).
But Cicilline spent much of the primary focusing on Washington and continues to do so against Doherty. He maintains that Doherty would vote in lockstep with a Republican Party that has made it a goal to repeal Obamacare and alter Social Security and Medicare.
Doherty says the “Illicit relationship” between Washington and big business has created a tax and regulatory scheme that benefits big business and the uber-wealthy, while hurting the average Rhode Island business or middle class family. While he has not offered a specific proposal, he maintains the country needs comprehensive reform that eliminates unfairly targeted tax expenditures, while lowering taxes for the middle class and small businesses.
Cicilline continues to support the “Buffet rule,” which would raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires while protecting middle class families. The Congressman maintains that the plan is one commonsense approach to addressing the deficit.
Campaign Finance Reform
With a significant amount of Super PAC money likely coming to Rhode Island, Cicilline maintains that Congress needs to reverse the Citizens United decision to make campaign spending more transparent.
Doherty has offered to give back all of the money he has received from Political Action Committees (PACs) if the Congressman does the same, but Cicilline hasn’t done so yet.
In a district that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008, Cicilline is expected to benefit from having the President on the ticket this year. While Doherty is a Mitt Romney supporter, he has distanced himself from the Presidential race in recent months. But Cicilline has made every effort to tie Doherty to both Romney and Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman who heads up the House Budget Committee.
Control of Congress
While Democrats attempt to connect Doherty with the national GOP, Doherty maintains that he’ll be an independent thinker who benefits from being in the majority in the House. The Republican says Rhode Islanders have the option of re-electing an “ineffective second term Congressman in the minority party” or electing member of the majority “who will have the ear of leadership.”
Cicilline uses the same argument, warning that if Doherty wins the race, Republicans will almost certainly regain control of the House and continue pursue a “radical agenda.”