tv Campaign 2018 New York 21st District U.S. House Debate CSPAN October 27, 2018 10:56am-11:56am EDT
today. i would like to, at this time, thank our candidates and present them, and they both know exactly what this is, present them with the chamber challenge coin. thank you very much. >> president trump will deliver remarks at the future farmers of america convention in indianapolis live starting at 2:45 p.m. eastern here on c-span. with the midterm elections just days away, was the competition for the control of congress on c-span. candidatesrself, the and the debates from key house and senate races. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. >> republican new york
representative debated her opponents in the state 21st district congressional race. thom hallock: three candidates are looking to represent new york 21, the largest congressional district geographically in new york state. tonight, elise stefanik and her two opponents, tedra cobb and lynn kahn meet face-to-face for their first debate. >> from pbs mountain lake, this is an election special. the 21st congressional district debate. thom hallock: hello, i am thom hallock. are hosting the first debate among the three candidates running for the seat for new york's 21st district. new york 21 covers 12 counties north of the capital district all the way to the canadian border and spanning across the north country from lake champlain to lake ontario. let us begin by introducing our three candidates from left to right. elise stefanik from wellsboro. dr. lynn kahn from back -- lake.
and ms. tedra cobb. the candidates will have 90 seconds for opening and closing statements and 90 seconds to answer questions. there may be follow-up questions from the panel. candidates will get 30 seconds to answer those and 30 seconds for rebuttals. we drew names to decide the order. we begin with elise stuff phonic -- stefanik. rep. stefanik: thank you and thank you to mountain lake for hosting the debate. my name is elise stefanik and i'm honored to serve as your congresswoman. since my first day in office i have worked tirelessly delivering results to the hard-working families across the district. i am proud to be in the top 10% of most bipartisan numbers of congress. since day one i have focused like a laser on delivering the votes for you whether it is fighting on behalf of north country farmers so they can exist for future generations, standing up for our troops, advocating for our veterans to ensure that they get access to the v.a. care that they deserve.
or whether it is working with small businesses and north country manufacturers to create jobs and grow. unemployment is down in each of the counties that i represent since i have taken office and wages are up. according to the not country chamber of commerce, small business optimism is at an all-time high. that is good news. we cannot afford to turn back to the failed policies of nancy pelosi and andrew cuomo. i'm excited to be here and i'm looking forward to the next hour and i wanted to take this opportunity to also thank my opponents. it takes a lot of courage to run for political office in today's political climate and i think it is a testament to the region that we have three strong women running for office. thank you. ms. kahn: thank you, i am dr. lynn kahn, i am the green party candidate for congress in district 21. i was born in the bronx. part of new york city. and grew up in a small town north of the city.
i graduated from a terrific public high school. which in many ways saved my life. when i was a kid, my dad would drive us up north for his two week vacation every summer up here in the adirondacks in the north country. this is what i learned what clean air smells like and what clean water taste like. this is where i got to hear nature and hear myself think. my earliest memories are sitting on a chair with my father fishing all day. i believe that my entire life i have been motivated to figure out how people work and how systems work. so of course i went into psychology. my phd is in clinical psychology. my area of expertise is group dynamics. instead of doing group therapy or family therapy i went into government agencies to try to fix them and i started with the internal revenue service. back in the day when your chance
of getting a correct answer from taxpayer services was 50-50, i escaped the irs and went to the federal aviation administration. represented aviation in the white house and i am here today to talk about how to drive solutions to complicated problems. ms. cobb: thank you for letting us be here today and thank you to dr. kahn and to elise stefanik as well. i am tedra cobb and the 21st congressional district is not some area on the map for me. it has made me who i am. i came here 30 years ago and went to sydney potsdam, i got married and raised a family. i started my own business and i served in the same lawrence county legislature. -- st. lawrence county legislature. as a mom, a volunteer firefighter, and educator and a health-care activist, i know and i love the people of northern new york because i share our hopes and challenges.
we stand at a fork in the road. will we stick with the incumbent who has voted in ways that harmed us or will we choose a new path and be an active voice in our own future? i say we act. elise stefanik has voted to harm us because of corporate donors and outside interests in washington. this is the time that we have a voice. i want you to know that i will be accountable to you and only you and i will be beholden to the north country. thank you so much. thom hallock: now, let us get to our questions from our panel brian mann has a first question for elise stefanik. brian: thank you. congresswoman, under the republican party's leadership and with president trump's massive tax cuts taking effect, the annual federal deficit exploded dramatically this year
despite the fact that we are not in a recession or at war and we have full employment. the republican senate majority leader mitch mcconnell blamed the spike in federal debt not on the tax cuts but on programs like social security and medicare. it is a two-part question --do you agree with senator mcconnell that entitlements are the problem? do you think the president's tax cuts were a good idea? rep. stefanik: on the tax cuts, thank you for asking, this is an example of my independence that comes to representing this district. as we know, new york state is one of the highest taxed states in the country. my democratic opponent has voted multiple times to raise taxes for her constituents. i voted no on the tax plan because i think new yorkers should be able to deduct their state and local taxes. that is important. i do not believe in double taxation. when it comes to the deficit, i am concerned but i want to point out that under president obama and nancy pelosi's leadership
the deficit was over $1 trillion, more than it is today. we need to continue to focus on economic growth. we are over 4% in economic growth. four years ago democrats said that number was not possible. i'm excited to see the economic growth including seeing the unemployment go down in this district as we see wages increase. in terms of how we can rein in our deficit, i think we should look at programs across the federal government. i voted for a balanced budget amendment which makes sure that congress is held responsible the same way that hard-working families are, balancing their budget every week and every month. when it comes to protecting entitlements, social security and medicare are incredibly important programs for this region and for seniors across the country. i believe we should make no changes to social security and medicare for those above the age of 50 but for my generation, we know those programs are not on the path to solvency and we need
to show bipartisan leadership, coming together to strengthen and modernize those programs. ms. kahn: clearly, the tax cuts benefited the wealthy and not regular folks. i don't know where in district 21 there is a growing economy and lowering unemployment. it certainly is not consistently across district 21. there are pockets of growing economy here and there throughout the district. most of this district is poverty with a beautiful view. i would crawl back some of those tax cuts to fund the programs that we need to bring everybody up in their lives including universal health care, including a dramatic government response to climate change, including transforming the department of veterans affairs to certainly serve our veterans. i have trouble calling social
security, medicaid and medicare entitlement programs. we paid into those programs are entire working lives. so it is not an entitlement. it is how we invested in our future. i have talked about a war on waste. we have a war on drugs that has not done very much. we have a war on terrorism that i have a lot of questions about. how about a war on waste? one report came out, saying nearly $180 billion of our taxpayer money goes to duplicated programs. that means that there are for example 47 programs inside nine agencies all doing the same job training. they do not coordinate or communicate and that is part of how we waste money. our money. ms. kahn: despite the hype, the social security trust fund is solvent. the number one donor to elise stefanik is securities and wall
street to the tune of $870,000. elise stefanik in 2012 was the policy director for the republican platform committee. and broke the plan to privatize -- and wrote the plan to privatize social security and voucher medicare. 169,000 people in this district rely on social security. here is the thing -- i was a county legislator and despite elise stefanik saying i do not understand taxes, i do and i worked with legislators, republicans and democrats, to balance the budget and to make sure that the burden from the federal government that gets passed down to our state department state government and then passed a local governments passed to local governments is unfair. i worked with people in my community to push back on the
state and to work with the federal government and say -- it is not ok to put that burden on local taxpayers. we can make social security solvent. we can make it fair by raising the cap. we also need to make a commitment to not give the richest among us a tax break while putting the burden on us, especially at the local level. thom hallock: thank you. rep. stefanik: i think it is important to highlight my democratic opponent's failed record when it comes to growing deficit. when she started on the st. lawrence county legislature, they have a balance of $23 million. under her failed leadership they had to borrow $12 million, $10 million, and $9 million annually. they went -3 million into the red. this is one of the reasons why republicans won control of the st. lawrence county legislature. my democratic opponent has a record of tax-and-spend policies from nancy pelosi. and when it comes to social security, i am proud to have delivered over $1.8 million to seniors watching today.
ms. cobb: what elise stefanik does not understand is local government nor does she understand that in 2008, the was working to try to make sure that our roads and bridges were paid for, that our community services were paid for, that our office for the aging was paid for. that is what we do at the local level. and only have an understanding of federal government and not the burden on local taxpayers is really what is missing for our congresswoman and what i bring as a congresswoman. ms. cobb: this is why i am a third-party candidate, -- i am a green party candidate. i have specific solutions to specific problems and it starts with a war on waste. i have already talked about nearly $180 billion of programs that are duplicating each other's. a report by the department of
defense that outlined $125 billion of waste inside the pentagon. let us go after that waste and have a war on waste and find programs that help regular people. thom hallock: pat bradley has the second question, she is from wamc northeast public radio. pat bradley: despite reassurances, there have been concerns raised that with the confirmation of brett kavanaugh to the u.s. supreme court, the high court is now poised to roll back abortion rights. if the court does reverse roe v. wade or even lgbtq which is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender questioning laws, what we you as a congresswoman do in response? ms. kahn: what bothered me the
most about the kavanaugh hearings was the level of animosity among the republicans and democrats. i do not believe that republicans and democrats can get past hating each other to get anything done. i am an independent green so i'm going to talk about abortion in a way that will probably keep me out of that club. and piss off a lot of people. i'm a psychologist in my degrees in clinical psychology. i want to look at the root causes for why people choose abortion. and the research says that we could decrease the number of requested abortions by 150% if -- by over 50% if we had free and easy access to birth control. that part of the solutions says -- is this a fight about abortion or about sexuality? we could decrease upwards if we -- abortions if we had better support for parents of young families. we could further decrease abortion if we had a science-based sex education in our schools.
there are far too many young people that are becoming parents when they did not want to be and are choosing not to have an abortion who are spreading sexually transmitted diseases. they have no idea how they got pregnant. and it is the school's responsibility, the family's, the community's to teach a science-based approach to education. i think we can dramatically reduce the number of abortions in this country if we had realistic solutions to these problems. ms. cobb: reducing many of the -- it is great that i'm following dr. con because i did hiv education for many years and sex education in schools, reducing many of the things that dr. con -- dr. kahn is talking about. what we are talking about are our rights as human beings and access to health care. first and foremost, every woman must have access to health care
and the decisions that she makes must be between her and her doctor and her family should she choose. so as a congresswoman, i would stand up for the rights of women. secondly, this president right now is talking about changing the language and the law of what a gender is and what a person is. i will make sure that people that are straight, gay, or questioning have equal access under the law to be fully who they are. now and into the future. and so as a congressperson, we need the balance of powers. we need people in congress who will fight for human rights and civil rights. not just now but into the future and to make sure that we are a fair and just society. i believe that these are north country values and i believe that that is what is missing in washington right now and i will bring those to washington.
thom hallock: thank you. rep. stefanik: to address the question directly regarding roe v. wade, justice kavanagh and justice roberts both testified that they believe roe v. wade is settled law, an important precedent that should be respected by the supreme court. i do not support impeaching justice kavanaugh. when it comes to what we should do in congress, i am pro life. i do believe that women should have access to birth control. and contraception covered by health insurance. that is something i think is important. and when it comes to lgbtq rights, i have a strong record standing up for employee nondiscrimination for example. i have one of the strongest records of republicans in congress when it comes to standing up for lesbian, gay, queer rights. ms. cobb: i would just like to remind people that elise stefanik voted five times to
defund planned parenthood and to move that money into community health centers. the problem is that many people in our communities rely on planned parenthood for just the sorts of things that dr. kahn has talked about for education and for health care. and for access to birth control. rep. stefanik: i am proud of being one of the strongest supporters for community health centers across the district which there are more of an -- than planned parenthood. i think it is a model that works in providing rural care. i have received national recognition standing up for community health centers like hudson headwaters and i delivered multiple years of funding, $7 million of funding for community health care. , that is something i am proud of and it shows my bipartisan leadership and my ability to deliver results to this community. ms. cobb: i understand community health centers are important. i helped to start one in canton.
elise stefanik voted to repeal the affordable care act with no replacement. our community health centers are important but they do not meet the needs of 64,000 people who would have lost their health insurance if the affordable care act had been repealed. let us not forget that. we are fighting for health care here in the north country. not just community health centers. not just child health plus but access to health care everywhere. ms. kahn: while my opponents are arguing with each other, we have the same two parties and the same bad results. as i walk around district 21, i talk to people about real issues. in my town, if there was someone that had a serious emergency, the protocol is to drive them 91 miles south to albany medical health the center. i have spoken to people who have had to wait three months to have their prescription filled. there are serious problems with resources for health care in the north country. and throughout rural america.
and fighting each other is not going to solve the problem. thom hallock: our next question is coming from peter crowley. he is the editor of the adirondack daily enterprise. >> the constitution specifically gives congress powers to direct war, naturalization, and commerce. but congress has sat on the sidelines while recent presidents have changed immigration policy, imposed tariffs and cut trade deals with nations and started wars including one that has been going on for 17 years. should congress take back powers that presidents have taken for themselves and how would you pursue that? ms. cobb: the first thing you are talking about is the unauthorized use of military force and congress must reevaluate the unauthorized use of military force.
lynn kahn said we argue with each other on stage. what we're talking about is policy differences. what we are talking about is the importance of speaking to the issues that we face every single day and each of us has a different strategy or focus to do that. i believe that congress, this particular congress, has failed to act, has failed to hold this president accountable but what they have allowed to happen is repeal things like the green power plan or put into the farm bill the repeal of the clean water rule. these are things that congress must pass. the environmental protections that we rely on. and what you're talking about peter is this president or any president overreaching. and this president has, in my opinion, reached and it is the
-- overreached and it is the , duty of congress to push back and to pass laws that will protect us not only now but into the future. rep. stefanik: i disagree with my democratic opponent. she is misinformed. we have an authorization for the use of military force, it is under the 2001 authorization use of military force. i believe that should be updated given that we are facing additional security threats around the globe, given the rise of isis. i believe president trump's foreign-policy has been a strong suit. i think he was correct for example in acting to strike syria in response to the syrian president's use of chemical weapons on his own population. i think that with strength that we did not see under president obama when it comes to constitutional coequal branches of government, when it comes to issues like the environment, when it comes to issues like immigration, it is the job of congress to act and legislate. on immigration, i have been one of the leading voices in taking
back the congressional authority and passing legislative solutions whether it is fixing our broken visa program for agricultural workers, whether it is providing increased border security which is a concern for many, many constituents in this district as a look at what is happening on the southern border. and you also mentioned tariffs. i think congress has a role in terms of finalizing trade agreements, we are going to have a vote on the updated nafta. and i think that is important. it should come before congress. again, i disagree, my democratic opponent is misinformed because there is an authorization for the use of military force and it should be updated. i have been clear on that an d active in the discussion on the house armed services. ms. kahn: 17 years covers both republican and democratic administrations. this congress and all of those before have failed their constitutional responsibilities.
they have violated the oaths, the pledge they made to defend and support our constitution. article one section eight -- our congress is responsible for declaring war and it is not just about having a congressional conversation but having a conversation with america. why are we going to war? why have we murdered more than 4 million people? why are we in 76 different countries around the world with active-duty troops? what are we doing in africa? these should be public conversations. we should be part of the conversation about why and where we send our sons and daughters off to war that do not need to be fought. these wars are for oil, empire, and ego and that is a problem for both political parties. we need to transform our foreign-policy to better balance our military strength with
diplomatic wisdom and i talk -- and i have talked about a five point doctrine to do that and it begins with we must be strong to build peace. do not confuse conversations about diplomacy with weakness for our military forces. i believe we have to be a strong military force to build peace and that is what the future of our planet depends on. ms. cobb: perhaps ms. stefanik did not understand what i said -- we had the unauthorized use of military force and what i said was that we need to revisit it. that is what we need to do. and as far as the visa programs, the visa has been that our -- has been sitting, and our farmers have been waiting for immigration changes in policies while this congress talks about it without acting on it. rep. stefanik: i think it is important when we talk about national security issues first of all to thank the soldiers of the 10th mountain division. i have been a leading voice in protecting fort drum making sure our soldiers have the services they need.
thank you for everything you do for every day of the year around the globe protecting our national security. i think that is important for all of us to acknowledge and thank them for their service. when it comes to my democratic opponent statement on the visas. i voted on h2 c visa, i was proud of that vote and i was proud to be one of the leading voices to force the immigration discussion. unfortunately, no democrat supported that legislation. thom hallock: now, to questions from our viewers that we asked them to send in. the majority we received had to do with health care, efforts to repeal the affordable care act and people worried about the affordability of health care especially those with pre-existing conditions. the question -- how do we resolve the health care crisis? what will you do in congress to
guarantee health care and make it affordable and available? rep. stefanik: i ran for congress to bring better health care. my family was impacted by the implementation of obama care. my family small business lost health care coverage under obamacare. i have been a strong advocate for replacing obamacare with common sense patient centered health care to give you more choices and more affordable options. i put forth specific solutions whether it is allowing small businesses to pull together in associated health care plans. whether it is encouraging two primary health care visits a year and have them required by health insurance. obamacare is not working. prices are increasing year after year after year. we need better health care and i have been a leading voice to fix and replace obamacare.
ms. kahn: i am on the record with an article that has been published about the right to -- the roadmap to universal health care. i believe in that. we are the richest country on the plan and the only developed country that does not allow its citizens to have free and easy access to free health care including vision, dental, and the full range of mental health services. in my proposal, i say that i will support and sign the medicare for all bill with my eight amendments and the first one is clarifying the purpose of that legislation. i do not want to see just another insurance policy put in place. there are too many problems with the ones we arty have. -- already have. i want to make sure that the purpose of this legislation is to expand health care, lower costs, and improve health care outcomes which are not improving in district 21.
my second amendment says -- it is time to really start reducing the cost of medications -- marketing came out of taxpayer-funded research. i want to demand that if we the taxpayers are paying for the research, we need to get some of the benefits. there are a lot of ways to do that and one way is to use something called the -- saying if pharmaceutical companies cannot make life-saving medications available, then we can move the patents around so they can deliver those medicines for everyone. ms. cobb: i am in this race stefanikise repealed, voted to repeal the affordable care act. that is the long and short.
i have spent my life's career in my community working to improve access to health care. the things that elise stefanik has just mentioned, going to a doctor twice a year -- what does it matter if you go to a doctor twice a year when you cannot pay for any follow-up care? what we need is a commitment that every person in this country has portable and affordable health care. it could be medicare for all. it could be medicare expansion and the aca expansion. i am not starting with the solution, i am starting with the problem and it is a moral problem, a fairness problem, and it is killing us economically and literally. the health care association of new york state asked a least a opponent and the congress, every congressional representative, not to repeal the affordable care act without a replacement. and yet, they did taking 64,000 of our friends and neighbors off their health care, closing hospitals and nursing homes and health care centers. we have got to make a commitment that every person has portable
and affordable health care but also there are bills sitting in congress that would allow the united states to negotiate drug prices and we are being gouged right now by prescription drugs and we cannot afford it. those are the changes that need to be made and i will commit to those in washington, to help our friends and neighbors in northern new york. rep. stefanik: dr. kahn and i have specific proposals. we have the courage to put out our specific ideas about how we can fix our were broken health -- our broken health care system. i think we all agree on this stage that we have a broken health care system and i agree that we need to have more portability and more affordability when it comes to health care. my democratic democratic opponent wants more government run health sometimes she wanted, sometimes she doesn't. i believe patients should have greater options and be allowed to purchase health care across
state lines. when you talk about seeing a doctor twice per year, that is a bipartisan bill, a bill that i'm working on with a democrat that would be a fix to the affordable care act. ms. kahn: the universal health care that i believe we should have access to is more than just a moral issue, more than just a health care issue. it is a social issue, economic issue, and it is going to be a national security issue. we don't know what kinds of diseases are being unleashed by defrosted tundra. we don't know what kind of bugs are moving up north. but we do know there's a polio like virus hitting 22 states. the time to act is now. ms. cobb: i'm going to talk about a policy solution. one is to not take a dime from insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies.
that is unlike my republican opponent, who takes hundreds of thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars, from those companies, and votes against the interest of her district. i'm only going to be beholden to the people of this district. i've supported either medicare for all or expansion. it doesn't matter right now what the answer is. what matters is that congress actually do its job and hold hearings to find solutions. this congress has failed to find a solution. ms. kahn: i've been having those conversations. i've been going around this district. i know what people are concerned about, what the issues are, from transportation to affording medication, to getting to see a doctor within three weeks. we have the information about what is needed. it is time to act.
we have run out of time. as you listen to these competitors, all you are going to hear is how the other party hasn't been helpful. neither of them have been helpful. same parties, same bad results. rep. stefanik: one important topic is providing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. i support an amendment to the health care bill that required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, that didn't allow insurance companies to kickoff individuals with pre-existing conditions, that doesn't allow insurance companies to raise prices on those with pre-existing conditions. i think whatever direction we move in, we have to protect those with pre-existing conditions. we have to allow young people to stay on their parents plan until 26. where ms. kahn said it doesn't matter what the details are, it does matter what the details are. medicare for all is a government run program that would cost
trillions of dollars. i've seen how government run programs aren't effective. >> final word on this? ms. cobb: the question is, when did the pre-existing conditions get covered, when you voted to repeal the affordable care act? because pre-existing conditions were not covered in that. the reality is this. we are getting a line about what ms. stefanik is going to help us with. we've been waiting for four years. our businesses have been harmed. our families are harmed. every single one of us have family members with pre-existing conditions. what we get is waiting period >> out next question is from a viewer. a report from the united nations is painting a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change.
predicting catastrophic global warming within the next few decades without drastic reductions in carbon emissions. with an executive branch that has disputed the existence or cause of climate change and worked to loosen regulations that could lead to more rapid climate change, what steps would you take to get congress and the white house to act, and would you support any type of carbon tax? ms. kahn: thank you. i'm on the record with a plan to deal with climate change. i start by saying it is he or a lower for mother earth. -- it is zero hour for mother earth. we have run out of time. that means putting climate change responsibility into the goals and measurements of every single government agency. that means reestablishing the interagency climate change working group that got
dismantled by this administration. that means asking our military and intelligence community, which are more sophisticated about the impacts of climate change, and asking them to step forward, calling for congressional hearings to talk about what they know. and finally i have called for a green energy manufacturing corridor along the river that is based in part on production of hydrogen fuel. the rest of the world is moving forward with hydrogen fuel. hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. it burns clean with no emissions. that is where the rest of the world is going. switzerland, australia, canada, south korea is producing cars that run on hydrogen fuel. 25 nations in europe have come together to create a hydrogen fuel economy. we are lagging behind.
it is time for new york to lead the country. >> thank you. 90 seconds. ms. cobb: elise stefanik voted against the clean power plant, which was our commitment to the paris climate accord. we need to the leaders again in the world to protect our environment and we need to rely on the military, which has spoken very decisively about the security issues that we face because of climate change. we look at the world and people moving from place to place for security, for food, and so we have got to invest in clean energy, but this congress has not done that. they have taken away the clean power plant and reversed the clean water rule. they've got $800 million from
the conservation stewardship program, which invests in conservation. we have an opportunity to move off of fuel, and it may be a carbon tax, or it may be a return to all of us. there are policies out there that can help us move off of fossil fuels. first and foremost, to help us get there, every person who is elected should not take a dime from fossil fuels or from oil and gas. unlike elise stefanik, i won't take a dime, and i will be able to vote for the policies that truly help us and help our environment. >> you have 90 seconds. rep. stefanik: this is an important issue for our region. we feel the impacts of climate change in the adirondacks, whether it is our tourism sector
or the increase in invasive species. i have a strong record of independence when it comes to standing up for our environment. i challenged the president. when he proposed cuts to the epa, we make sure that you be a was funded. when my colleagues wanted anti-science amendments passed, i reached across the aisle to stand up for scientific-based research. both my opponents have mentioned climate change. i have been the leading republican voice when it comes to ensuring that our dod has climate friendly solutions and looks to climate change as one of the national security problems. i don't think it is the largest national security problem, but i do think it is important, and we should be focusing on our investment in renewable energy, wind, solar, as well as hydropower and biomass. that is a growth opportunity for
our region. i'm proud of my support for the environmental defense fund, my award from the audubon society, because of my environmental record. and about a carbon tax, i don't support a carbon tax because that would increase energy cost for constituents that i represent. people are struggling to make ends meet. that would be an additional tax and of course my democratic opponent supports increasing taxes. ms. kahn: take it easy. love. neither of these people have talked about hydrogen fuel. it is where the world is going. we have a perfect opportunity for the development of an economic powerhouse. both republicans and democrats have their head in the sand when it comes to renewable energy that includes hydrogen fuel.
in california, buses are running on hydrogen fuel. germany has piloted their first hydrogen fueled train. china has a corridor for hydrogen fuel production and development. we can reach that level of economic development and we can address climate change directly, and the worst implication of ignoring climate change is that we are more likely to get into more conflicts and more wars because more people are hungry and thirsty. we will have climate change refugees in our country and in our borders. ms. kahn: you can't be a sometimes environmentalist. i lived off the grid and with solar panels since 1993. my husband is a solar installer. i agree with lynn kahn about
investing in renewable energies. we can invest a carbon tax which allows us to reduce and invest in conservation. we've done it before. we have invested in new york state, in renewable energy, in conservation, to allow families to not rely so much on fuel costs. these are opportunities we have. it has to do with being independent. the scientific integrity act has been sitting in committee for a very long time. let's get it out of committee. >> we're going to continue with questions from our panel. we will go back to brian for his next question to tedra cobb. >> one minute for your responses, please. >> the u.s. spends over twice as much on our military compared
with china and russia combined. when you count our close allies, we spend three times as much preparing for war. despite the ballooning national debt, congress and president trump have continued to grow the military budget. the latest one-year increase is more money than russians spend in total on their national defense. the question is, does that make sense given our massive national debt? can the u.s. continue to spend so lavishly on the military? ms. cobb: ok, the john mccain national defense authorization act just past. it is important that john mccain be honored. the president did not. elise stefanik did not honor him.
i think it is important to start with that. we can't continue to sustain our military spending. but it is a matter of priorities. we need to invest in the people that serve us. finally, the ndaa invested in our military service people and gave them a raise, but there's still a gap there. we need to invest in our federal workforce. we need to invest in our veterans and make sure that veteran services are not discretionary. and we need to invest in our military bases that are unique and are part of our community. i am from st. lawrence county and i was a county legislator working with the regional liaison under the fort drum expansion. i will support fort drum and the
work it has done in our community and continues to do. rep. stefanik: i am the only one on this stage that has had the privilege and honor of working with john mccain. i'm the only one who has earned the support for my campaign by john mccain. i consider john mccain a friend and he is a loss for this entire country. and i am the only one on this stage who is a part of congress who named the ndaa after john mccain. we passed the ndaa every year and i'm proud of the work we've done to rebuild our military. to answer the question, i believe what we are spending is adequate to meet all the threats around the world today. you have russia, who is a destabilizing influence to our nato allies, and has been meddling in elections across the country. you have china asserting itself in the south china sea. you have terrorist organizations like isis. you have iran and north korea.
i believe that our soldiers deserve all the resources they need. i don't support going backwards to the defense cuts under democratic leadership that decimated fort drum, that decimated military readiness. ms. kahn: john mccain might have been your friend, but you didn't have the courage to say his name, and you don't have the courage to talk about the national security implications of climate change in public. you said more today than i've heard you say in four years. don't interrupt me. don't interrupt me. that $125 billion report from the department of defense about ways to reduce waste in the department of defense was about $100 billion ago in terms of the budget. we cannot sustain this budget.
it is driving us into more places where we are more likely to create more conflict. my dad was a marine. veterans benefits helped my family out of poverty. i support our soldiers and veterans. the most important thing we can do for all of them is stop sending them off to wars that we do not have to fight. >> 30 seconds. rep. stefanik: when it comes to john mccain, i'm very proud working with him on rebuilding our military. i was one of the members of congress that nature we named that go after him. he will be sorely missed in this country. what i think does a disservice is not supporting the ndaa, which they said they did not support and were critical of. it doesn't sound like you support it either. but i strongly support the defense bill we just past. >> thank you. 30 seconds.
ms. cobb: elise stefanik voted to shut down the house intelligence committee's investigation, so just on this stage, she's talked about russia, and the threat of russia, and yet the house intelligence committee voted to shut down that investigation. it was wrong and she is responsible for that. we must make sure that the mueller investigation goes forward, because clearly this house intelligence committee failed to do their duty and uphold the constitution and put patriotism before party. >> thank you. we have to move on to the next question. these responses need to be 45 seconds. cap, your question? >> the environmental law and energy center at harvard university currently lists 48 items that they call environmental regulatory rollbacks of the trump
administration. that is their title. including the clean power plant and pollution emission guidelines, endangered species act rule, and that harris climate agreement. do you agree with any of the administration's changes, and what will you do to ensure environmental protection? rep. stefanik: thank you for the question. i have opposed the president's rollback of the clean power plant. i've said that publicly. when the president made the decision to leave the paris climate accord, i disagreed with that publicly as well. the endangered species act, i opposed rolling down the endangered species act. this is why i have one of the most proenvironment records of any republican in congress. more importantly, this shouldn't change from administration to administration. this is congress' job to legislate. >> thank you.
for the five seconds. ms. kahn: i would roll back the rollbacks. i would act as if we are moving forward, protecting our environment, challenging the consequences of climate change. one thing it did bring out for me is, if the republicans are just shoving laws down the democrats' throat, and the democrats are shoving laws down the republicans' throat, it is not going to work. we have to have conversations that bring everybody together. with respect to the clean water plan, we have to have conversations with farmers and ranchers. the only successful laws and strategies to solve complicated problems come from participation, consensus, bringing people together, and that is the only way to move forward. ms. cobb: the clean water rule took 10 years to negotiate.
it didn't get rammed down people's throats. the clean power plan was a plan in place that elise stefanik voted against. she voted to dump coal into rivers. let's look at her record. her league of conservation record is abysmal. what is a 29, or in her first year, a six or a nine? it is not passing. let's be real about the commitment to the environment. this congress is rolling back, and elise stefanik is part of that. lynn, we do need to work together. i will work with my colleagues to make sure that everyone's voice is heard. but i think it is important to talk about our differences and what i bring to the table, and my deep commitment to the environment is one of the things i bring to the table. >> we need to move on to closing statements.
ms. kahn: i chose to run as a green in part because the green party has been talking about the damage we are doing to our environment for decades. the green party has been talking about climate change for decades. the green party has been talking about universal health care, finding other ways to be in the world besides war. the green party stands for the values i believe most of district 21 agrees with. i'm not just a green party candidate. when i was running as an independent candidate for president, i earned the nickname the government mechanic. i know how government works. i know how to bring together agencies with legislation that will pull everybody together and move us forward. it is about integrating the plans of multiple agencies and multiple stakeholders to create an architecture for change. i ask you, have courage, vote
green, make history, send a green to congress for the first time in the history of the united states. i have raised about 1% to 3% of what my opponents have raised. go check it out. they are all taking money from corporations. go to opensecrets.org, fdc.gov. look at where they are getting their money from. i'm the only one that is not taking money from rich people, the only one that is truly the rich people's candidate, and i don't owe anybody anything, and that is how i will start my first day in congress. rep. stefanik: thank you again. i want to thank my opponents for this debate. we have differing solutions, but thanks for your courage running for office. i am proud of my record of results for families across this district. i have focused like a laser on
providing the best constituent services, whether that is delivering $2 million of benefits to our veterans or bringing $1.8 million to our seniors social security benefits. i've been able to deliver grant funding for infrastructure projects from broadband to water infrastructure. i've been focused on economic growth. we need to continue to focus on economic growth. i'm excited of my record and i think across party lines i've been proud of my support. republicans, democrats, or independence and unaffiliated voters, i ask for your vote. this election is a choice. do we continue to focus on growing the economy, or move in the opposite direction of tax-and-spend failed policies? i think we need to continue voting for results.
ms. cobb: again, thank you to the panel, and thank you to pbs and the other candidates on the stage. we have talked about why elections matter, and we've talked about policy, and we talked about values. i've run this campaign with integrity and with great, and i would not be here but for the people who have supported me along the way. i have not taken money from corporations. i will be responsible only to the people who have supported me and have gotten me here. if you are a parent or if you are caring for your own aging parent, if you have a struggling business, or if you are burdened by crushing health care costs, this is the election that matters. we must change course now. we have had four years -- and if you are in any of those
categories i named, you know that for years is literally a lifetime of harmful votes. we have an opportunity to vote for someone who has lived here for 30 years and has a deep commitment to this community. we deserve a congressperson who lives where we live and who understands our needs and challenges, and who will passionately fight for us and work with us in washington. i will work in washington, but i will continue to live here. i ask for your vote on november 6. >> candidates, thank you all for participating. also our thanks to brian mann and pat and peter for asking the questions, as well as our volunteers with the league of women voters, who were our timers tonight. for those of you watching at home or online, our thanks as well. please do your part and vote on