tv Campaign 2020 Kentucky U.S. Senate Debate CSPAN October 17, 2020 10:05pm-11:04pm EDT
underway. that is live at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. democrats need to win four republican-held senate seats to take control of the upper chamber. they are targeting kentucky, where majority leader mitch mcconnell is facing amy mcgrath they met for their only debate just before the start of early voting in kentucky. >> breaking news in louisville. >> my name is courtney. >> i am bill bryant from wkyt. >> the most-watched senate race in america is happening in kentucky mitch mcconnell versus , amy mcgrath. >> while we are not in front of a live audience, we know what is at stake is too important not to debate. >> over the next i will talk hour, with the candidates about everything from the covid-19 pandemic to the u.s. supreme court. >> tonight, gray television and
uk student government will bash welcome you to the kentucky debate. studiosevening from the of wk y t in lexington. i am bill bryant. i am joined by u.s. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and by retired lieutenant colonel amy mcgrath. we are following cdc guidelines tonight. while we are in the same studio the candidates and i are each 20 , feet apart. each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer our questions and brief rebuttals will be , permitted tonight. a drawing determined the order of who will answer first. and lieutenant colonel mcgrath, we will begin with you. and our question is, going into this election, nothing impacts voters more than the covid-19 pandemic. the two of you have sparred over whether each of you should be tested before this debate. it comes to that. the president and first lady have had covid-19. kentucky's governor and his quarantinenow in after an exposure. what should the federal
government be doing right now to mitigate the threat of covid-19? lt. col. mcgrath: the coronavirus has upended all of our lives. and if you take a step back and recognize that senator mcconnell, as senate majority leader has the highest levels of national security briefings of any member of congress. and he knew about the dangers of coronavirus way back in january. and did he tell us? did he come back to kentucky and say we need to prepare, did he and getnation prepared the president prepared for what was to be this crisis? he did not. the first time he said the word coronavirus was not until the stock market crashed. and all along, he is playing these very partisan, political games. even now when kentucky and , america needs more aid. that is not what you are going to get from me. i have a plan to get us through this coronavirus our schools are opened up safely, so we get our economy back and stop playing these games. to this day, senator mcconnell
does not have a plan, a national testing and tracing plan. and he is not going to do what is right for our country. senator mcconnell. i want toconnell: start by graduating colonel mcgrath for her service in the military. it has been my privilege to nominate 131 kentucky women have the same opportunity she did. i also was involved in making it possible for women in the military to go into different jobs, like being able to fly in combat. with regard to the question you asked, what i did was shepherd through the senate an almost $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which has provided $13 billion for kentucky. over a billion dollars for hospitals and health care providers. and i have tried to be a good .xample, too
when we went back in session in may, i was the one who said we need to wear masks, practice social distancing. dr. fauci has made it clear that coronavirus is not going away we need to practice , distancing and masks until we finally get a vaccine and can put this in the rearview mirror. bill: lt. col. mcgrath, do you have a rebuttal? lt. col. mcgrath: senator mcconnell, that legislation was passed in march. and here we are this coronavirus , is still happening. the house put up legislation in may, and it has been sitting on his desk all summer long. he took a vacation and did not see the urgency to do anything. meanwhile, here in kentucky, we have a million kentuckians who have filed for unemployment sometime in the last six months. have thousands of kentuckians who still do not have health care in the middle of the coronavirus. he is walking away from negotiations even now when president trump even wants negotiations. it is irresponsible.
bill: senator mcconnell. sen. mcconnell: what she supported after the cares act was the so-called heroes bill in the house, a $3 trillion which included tax cuts for rich people in new york and california, health care for illegal immigrants. add by the way, that bill she supported, that they passed in the house after the cares act provided more money for puerto , rico than it did for kentucky. in spite of her best efforts she , is a national democrat. she is in line with schumer and pelosi and all the rest on all of these issues. bill: for kentuckians, president trump and governor andy beshear are the two most important voices they hear regarding covid-19. the messages are often different. how would you rate their handling of the health crisis that we now face? sen. mcconnell: i think they have both done the best they can with an unknown disease that we were all trying to figure out
how to handle. imagine the situation we had in early march, when dr. fauci recommended we shut down the economy in order to deal with the health care pandemic. so we were confronted with a combination of problems, a health care emergency and a shut down economy at the same time. what to do? well, the cares act began in my office. it out,ed it, built appealed to the democrats and the administration, and literally flooded the zone with ultimately $3 trillion to deal with the health care pandemic and the economic crisis created , by shutting down the government. and we learned some lessons. dr. fauci has indicated we are not going to shut down the economy again. i agree with him. a created a whole different set of problems. so in the meantime what we have , to do until we get a vaccine masks, practice social distancing and try to , prevent the spread.
bill: senator, thank you. lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: i give the president, the white house and this congress an f for its handling of coronavirus. we have 213,000 americans dead in nine months. that is more americans dead than world war ii, korea, vietnam, persian gulf war, iraq and afghanistan wars combined. and senator mcconnell things we've done a good job? thanks -- senator mcconnell thinks we've done a good job? we have 5% of the world's population, 25% of the covid cases. we still have a president and mixed messages from this white house on how to handle this virus. and senator mcconnell, his one job is to help america through this crisis in passing legislation to keep our economy afloat so that people can make ends meet. and instead of doing that he is , trying to ram through a
supreme court nominee right now instead of negotiating, which is what he should have been doing all summer long to make that happen. bill: do you have an additional response? senator mcconnell: [laughter] she wanted us to pass was the bill that provided health care for illegals, tax cuts for rich people in new york and california had more money in it for puerto rico than. yeah, we've been trying to put something reasonable together that actually attacks the problem. i laid out a bill in this in a month ago that provided liability protection so people did not get sued as a result of how they handled this. kids in school, jobs, health care, we couldn't get a single democrat to vote for it. so it is pretty clear to me that her party does not want to get a solution. lt. col. mcgrath: can i respond to that? bill: yes, please. lt. col. mcgrath: senator mcconnell three years ago had no problems ramming through working overtime to pass a $2 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest 1%
and corporations. but when it comes to kentucky families, when it comes to putting food on the table, and it comes to renters, 40% of kentucky renters are facing eviction right now, he won't pass the $2 trillion that even president trump wants done. $2 trillion for corporations? no problem. $2 trillion for kentucky in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a national crisis we have not seen in 100 years? no, that is too hard. bill: you both made cleansing -- passing references to the economic activity in the problem we have right now and the trouble with getting a deal. and the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our economy and we are well aware of , that. a $600 boost to unemployment a loans ended, and forgiveness program for small businesses expired. airlines have started mass layoffs as federal payroll assistance programs have ended as well. so this question, which comes from the university of kentucky student, we are privileged to have their perspective tonight
where do you stand on , negotiations from a second stimulus bill? and we begin with lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: as i said before, i think it is an absolute dereliction of duty to not be negotiating and working on this. you know, this is the first time in a century, in 100 years where , we have a major international crisis where no one in the world is looking to the united states for leadership. think about that. it is because we have such poor leaders right now. can't get this coronavirus under control. and the one thing that our senate is supposed to do is help people right now. and here is the problem. senator mcconnell built a senate that is so dysfunctional and so partisan that even in the middle of a national crisis, he can't get it done. think about that. for that reason alone, he should be voted out of office. we've got to get our democracy
back again. we've got to get our democracy working because we have to get through this crisis right now. bill: senator mcconnell. sen. mcconnell: my opponent is entitled to her opinion but not , to her own set of facts. here is the situation. we have been in negotiation with the speaker. she has been demanding we throw $3 trillion at this problem in a way that is largely unrelated to solving the problem. what we have been trying to do is to region agreement. when you have divided government, you actually have to reach an agreement. and the speaker has been totally unreasonable and not interested in getting an outcome as we have , tried and tried. as i said, i put a bill on the floor of a half $1 trillion. a lot of money, about a month
ago, to tackle this problem in a highly targeted way, going after vaccines, treatment, testing. and we couldn't get a single democrat to vote for it. i think they don't want a solution prior to the election. bill: lt. col. mcgrath, 30 seconds. lt. col. mcgrath: all summer long, senator mcconnell did not see the urgency of doing anything, and even negotiating. he sits here and says it is too and here is the thing. hard to negotiate. two hard to get it done basically saying, that is too , hard for him. that is not hard to do what is right for america. it is not hard. i will tell you what is hard. strap on a $70 million jet to your back, land it on an aircraft carrier, 150 miles an hour, at night in bad weather with no navigational aids. that is hard. doing what is right for the american public in the middle of a national crisis, not hard. bill: senator mcconnell. do you have an additional response? sen. mcconnell: when you have divided government, there has to be a willingness on both sides to get an agreement.
and the speaker of the house has clearly not been interested in getting an outcome. that is why the talks have gone on for a while. she just chooses to blame the republican senate when obviously , the biggest part of the problem has been the democratic house. if i am a viewer watching this debate, i am saying why can't , you guys get this together? i think the answer is, proximity andi think the answer is, proximity to the election has slowed the process. and that is unfortunate for the country. it is unacceptable. but she wants to cast all of the blame on the senate. bill: go ahead. i will give you a second. lt. col. mcgrath: [laughter] the house passed a bill in may. the senate went on vacation. senator mcconnell: [laughter] you just don't do that. you negotiate. senator, it is a national crisis. you knew that the coronavirus
was not going to end at the end of july. here is the thing. if you want to call yourself a leader, you have got to get things done. those of us that served in the marines, we do not point fingers at the other side. we get the job done. sen. mcconnell: nobody went on vacation except the house was , gone most of the time. but nobody went on vacation. we actually can do things like use telephones. we communicate with each other a lot. the challenge here was the speaker was simply unwilling to cooperate to the extent that we could get a reasonable proposal. the secretary of the treasury , who was delegated by the president to talk to her, it went on and on for months. i think we have belabored this point pretty thoroughly, bill. it seems to me she thinks we are the problem. i think they are the problem. what we need is a solution. the way you get a solution is -- bill: we know we have a problem. and it is continuing. lt. col. mcgrath: a lot of excuses. bill: and so is the pandemic
continuing. it appears we have an escalation in many of our states. and as the pandemic continues and as winter and flu season are approaching, what is the appropriate balance between keeping the economy open, students and school if they can be and protecting the health of , americans? senator mcconnell. sen. mcconnell: the single biggest thing is this is not , going to be put in the rearview mirror until we get a vaccine. for those of you familiar with world war ii history, we had the project, trying to get the atom bomb as quickly as we could to avoid having to invade japan. we have a manhattan project underway to get a vaccine. some of our major pharmaceutical companies are already producing doses even before the clinical , trials are proved out. we are going to get a vaccine in the most rapid period of time that this has ever been done,
without cutting any corners. is the honest answer, bill, until we get a vaccine, we , cannot entirely put this behind us. we have a resurgence here in kentucky, a resurgence around the country. the vaccine -- the coronavirus is not going to go away until we can kill it. and it is going to take the vaccine to do that. bill: lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: certainly the coronavirus is not going to go away until we get a vaccine, but we still have the worst trajectory of first world countries when it comes to the coronavirus. and there are other countries that have been able to get this under control. and they have done it with a national testing and tracing plan that we still don't have in this country. this virus was so bungled at the federal level that we literally had states and communities fighting each other for personal protective equipment. there is, like, no leadership at all. so what do we need? we need immediate aid right now
that, unfortunately senator , mcconnell does not want to work on. but we need unemployment thatance, an extension of for those people who have been thrown off their work for no fault of their own. we need another round of ppe money we need a testing and for small businesses right now. tracing plan. i cannot believe nine months , into this thing i am still saying that. and we need leadership at the very top to talk to us, to tell , us the truth about this virus and how deadly it is. bill: anything to add to this? sen. mcconnell: i know how to make deals. i made three major deals with joe biden during the obama era. what the problem here is, we had an unwillingness by the speaker to make a deal. we can spend the whole debate on this if we want to, but she wants to blame the republican senate. i think it has been clearly the case that it is the democratic speaker of the house. but there are some other issues going on here, like a new supreme court justice, that we
might want to cover it at some point. bill: lt. col. mcgrath, if you want to -- lt. col. mcgrath: sure. i was a united states marine for 20 years. when you go into combat, you do not make excuses. you get the job done. you are the senate majority leader. he is the senate majority leader . and all he can do right now is make excuses, in the middle of a national crisis. he has built a senate -- what was once the greatest liberty of body in the world cannot even function in the middle of a national crisis. it is because of what he has and built. that is why we have got to get rid of him. bill: this morning, the senate judiciary committee began confirmation hearings for supreme court justice nominee amy coney barrett. and this is on the minds of many out,e, and as it turns many uk students when he asked them to submit their questions. and one of the students asked,
should the confirmation hearings be happening this close to an election when early voting is , already underway? lt. col. mcgrath? lt. col. mcgrath: no. that is the short answer. nobody should be voting on the supreme court nominee right now. four years ago, senator mcconnell said, by the mcconnell rule during an election year, we do not vote on a nominee let the , people decide. well, right now, with 22 days until an election, we should let the people decide. what is really important is we should be focusing on aid for kentucky and not a supreme court , nominee. let's be clear about what this butlet's be clear about what this is about. senator mcconnell, for a decade, tried to undermine and get rid of the affordable care act legislatively. he could not do it. so now he is trying to do it in , the courts. the first case the supreme court is going to hear after the election is going to be about the affordable care act. and that is something that we really cannot have in kentucky
because the affordable care act , did a lot of good for many kentuckians. so i do not want to throw it away. i want to fix it. bill: senator mcconnell? sen. mcconnell: no one believes the supreme court is going to strike down the affordable care act. what this is really about is trying to change the subject away from this extraordinary nominee that is before the senate. an outstanding woman, an accomplished scholar, a judge on the seventh circuit, a marvelous family, seven children, two of them adopted, one of them with special needs, an absolute legal all-star. judiciary committee, you saw it today they wanted to , talk about anything other than the nominee. this is the progressive position. my opponent says she is the most progressive person in kentucky. what does that mean? it means they want to stack the supreme court, in other words add numbers so they can get an , outcome they like. she once to make the district of
columbia a state, puerto rico a state, get rid of the filibuster in the senate. in short there is not a dime's , worth of difference between my opponent and all the national democrats that you have watched. if you give them control of the government, that is what they will do. bill: lt. col. mcgrath, any additional response? lt. col. mcgrath: i want to do what is right for kentucky, always. that is what i am all about. after 36 years in washington, this is what you get, a man whose word means nothing. integrity means nothing. does one thing four years ago and then changes his mind and , makes up an excuse next four years. it's what everybody hates about washington. folks we cannot change washington until we change the , people we send there. bill: senator mcconnell, any additional response? have you seenell:
those ads that she runs, about the swamp, washington is the swamp? well she wants to give the swamp , a place where they are full of influence peddlers and lobbyists two senators just like kentucky. that is one of the things she is in favor of. that is why she is one of if not the most progressive person in kentucky. they want to completely change the rules in the senate to give them an advantage, admit the district as a state, puerto rico as a state, that is for new isators for them, -- that four new senators for them, and then pack the supreme court so they will get the outcomes they want that they cannot pass through the congress. bill: do you want to respond? lt. col. mcgrath: i would just say that senator mcconnell is lying to you about my stances. you know, but that is par for the course. bill: would you favor enlarging the court? lt. col. mcgrath: i think we should be working on unpacking the senate right now. because he has polarized and made this partisan mess of the supreme court so bad that people were even saying they were going to vote for or against the nominee before they even had the name.
and in my mind, that is not what we should be looking at. i'm focused on kentucky. sen. mcconnell: you notice she won't answer the question. and joe biden won't enter -- won't answer the question either. what joe biden says is i will , tell you after the election. we are entitled to know now whether you are going to pack the supreme court. ruth bader ginsburg, who we all revered, said in an interview last year nine is the right , number. nine is the right number according to ruth bader ginsburg. it has been nine since 1869. lt. col. mcgrath: except for the one year that you left eight all year long. but here is the thing, ruth bader ginsburg also said she did not think her seat should be filled until the next president. and it does come down to this. when ruth bader ginsburg was initially nominated and confirmed, she was confirmed 96-3 at the time. think about that. wasn't themcconnell
senate majority leader then so , we actually had regular order. since he has become the leader, he has made this a partisan, complete weapon of a mess we have with the supreme court. we have got to get rid of him. senator mcconnell: every one of the supreme court controversies were started by her party. bork, thomas, kavanaugh, look what they did to kavanaugh a year ago tried to destroy his , reputation. under the constitution, the president can nominate for a vacancy on the supreme court any time he so chooses. and this president has, for a vacancy during an election year just like a lot of other , presidents have over the years. 19 times. 17 of the times they have been confirmed when you have the party of the president also in control of the senate. bill: i'm not going to leave this general topic, but the question is this. if judge barrett is confirmed,
there are some who believe that roe v. wade, the right for a woman to get an abortion, could be overturned. and a western kentucky university student wants to know that and wheren , do you stand on women's reproductive health issues? sen. mcconnell: i am pro-life myself and enjoy the support of right to life and the susan b. anthony list and others who worked on this issue over the years. but that is a different issue than what is before the supreme court. every president has been surprised by how supreme court nominees that they have put up have voted. no one knows what may happen with any nominee. every republican nominee has been projected to be a disaster for women, and none of them have turned out that way. so we don't know how the court may rule. i suspect this nominee, just like ruth bader ginsburg, will not answer any question about a case that might come before her.
so we will not know. that is one of the reasons judges have a lifetime appointment. they are independent once they get on the court. if they are strict constructionists, they follow the constitution and the law. bill: lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: i am catholic , and i'm the mother of three small children. and this issue has been an important issue to me my whole life. i am somebody who believes that government should not be legislating my religion or my religious belief on others. i do believe we already have reasonable restrictions on abortion in this country, as outlined in roe v. wade. that said, i am the only woman up here on this stage today and the only mother. i would like to point out if you're talking about life issues, you have to talk about the fact that before the affordable care act in kentucky, there was not a single insurer on the individual market that
would cover maternity care. mcconnell had a terrible record of trying to get rid of the affordable care act all along. 50% of children born in kentucky , in rural kentucky are born on , medicaid. and senator mcconnell wants to cut that. those are life programs. and as a mother, i always want to protect children and protect health care for people. bill: additional response? senator mcconnell: speaking of health care what you really , wants and came out for was a single-payer system. that means the government is in charge of your health care. and then she waffled a little bit, and said a public option. there is not a dime's worth of difference. if you put all of health care in the hands of the government, think about it this way. if you went to the department of motor vehicles and asked them to build you a corvette, do you think it would work out well? that is what we are talking about here. you do not want the federal government to be entirely in
charge of looking for testing, vaccines, treatment and the long lines that will come as a result of the government taking over. that is where they really want to go. they are disappointed in obamacare. they think it didn't go far enough. they want to go the whole way and put all of our health care , in the hands of the government. bill: lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: i'm not sure what the sender is talking about when he talks about they. i can tell you where i stand. i ran in the primary and i defeated my opponents who were for the medicare for all system. clearly, we need to fix health care in this country. we have 300,000 kentuckians who do not have health care in the pandemic. senator mcconnell 30 years ago ran an ad that said he was going to fix health care. and now he says he needs another six years to do it. that is like my eight-year-old son saying hey mom, i am going to take out the trash but i need another six years. he is not interested in fixing
health care. bill: early voting starts in the commonwealth of kentucky tomorrow. and more than 650,000 kentuckians have requested absentee ballots. across the country, there are questions over mail-in voting and the potential for fraud. are you concerned about the integrity of this election? lt. col. mcgrath: i think that we have, here in kentucky we , have a democratic governor who came together with a republican secretary of state and they came , up with a very good plan for everybody to vote. and it is wonderful. they actually came together and negotiated. isn't that amazing? i wish we could do that at the federal level. but i think kentucky has never made it easier to vote than this year, and that is incredible. early voting starts tomorrow. i am very concerned about the u.s. postal service. the postal service is such an important service. it provides prescription medication to our seniors, to
our veterans, particularly in rural areas and it needs to be , helped through this coronavirus. i'm afraid senator mcconnell has and not done enough for that. and i would be helping our postal service. let's face it. if you can hand out $500 billion in flush funds for corporations, you should be able to turn around and help everyday people. one of the ways this to help our andone of the ways this to help our postal service. bill: response? senator mcconnell: my opponent likes to mention how long i have been in the senate. she doesn't seem to be troubled by the fact that joe biden has been in washington 47 years. under her proposal, joe biden would have been leaving the senate at the time i got there. so i'm amused by her advocacy for a position on term limits. it would have eliminated joe biden's career before i even got to the senate. look, the question is who can be , effective for kentucky?
they have four congressional leaders. i am the other one not from new york or california. by allow -- i allow kentucky to punch above its weight. what does it mean to kentucky? over my last term, 17.5 billion dollars for the commonwealth that would not have been there had i not been the majority leader of the senate. i give kentucky an opportunity to punch above its weight on national issues and to bring , home things for the state that it would not otherwise get. thank you. and a rebuttal from lieutenant colonel mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: senator mcconnell like to talk about kentucky punching above its weight. we feel like we have been sucker punched. we have the highest cancer rates in the country, the highest rates of diabetes, the highest rates of heart disease, our economy has not been this bad since the great depression. it is just unbelievable. senator mcconnell would like to talk about term limits. i would love to talk about them. and do you know what?
president trump talked about term limits. it is top on his agenda. i agree with him on that. andi agree with him on that. we should have them. we should get them right now. sen. mcconnell: less just take opioids, for example. 275 million dollars i brought into kentucky for the opioid fight. $87 million of that was the largest grant the university of kentucky has ever gotten. all of that was the outgrowth of two bipartisan bills. one of them during the last two years of president obama that i negotiated with him called the 21st century cures , act. then, the cares act came later and all of that, i was deeply , involved in negotiating what produced extraordinary results for the commonwealth. lt. col. mcgrath: meanwhile, you want to take away health care and medicaid expansion, which covers 50% of kentuckians that
are addicted right now, and getting them the treatment they need. it is just ridiculous. bill: i will give you a few seconds to respond to that. that was a little bit out of order, in time. senator mcconnell: no. bill: we will move on. you're watching the kentucky debate. we are here with the republican and democratic candidates for the u.s. senate in kentucky, u.s. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and retired lieutenant colonel amy mcgrath. we are going through a series of aretions, and they answering that tonight for our audience watching in kentucky and really come around the country. the death of breonna taylor and the grand jury's decision has garnered national attention. it sparked more than 100 nights of protests in louisville, questioned about racial injustice and what happened are many ofinds of kentucky's college students, we found out.
one student asked if you think justice was served. senator mcconnell? sen. mcconnell: i have great tolerance for peaceful demonstrations. they are a protected constitutional right. i don't have much tolerance for violence and looting. for example, in portland, they went on a rampage again, and tore down a statue of teddy roosevelt and abraham lincoln. with regards to the taylor case, the law sometimes does not, as judge barrett pointed out in her hearing this morning, the result that we all hope for. this was an incredible tragedy. a botched job, a terrible outcome. but law enforcement has to apply the law, and they are doing the best they can. i don't have any advice to give them but i think in terms of , justice in america, we have to follow the laws that were written. i am a strong supporter of law enforcement.
i enjoy the support of the fraternal order of police in kentucky. i don't think it is appropriate to condemn all of the police officers. some of them are bad, but it is not appropriate to defund the police or demonize police officers in general. bill: time. lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: as somebody who wore the uniform, did three tours protecting her country and the mother of three , small children, i have to say that i am never for looting or writing or destruction of property or violence in any way. and i do not want to defund the police. that all said, the tragedy with breonna taylor was an absolute tragedy. and i think that leaders have to take a step back and recognize that we need change in this country, that there is systemic racism, that we have to tackle issues of equity and equality. i actually have a plan to do that. it is called equality for all.
and we put it together not just with me, but with leaders all around kentucky. that is what you are supposed to do as a leader, to tackle these issues. senator mcconnell isn't interested in that. george floyd justice in policing act is sitting on his desk as is , the john lewis voting rights act, sitting on his desk. violence against women act, sitting on his desk. i could go on and on. bill: could we move onto this issue of police reforms? let's do that. taylor's death and other cases like george floyd in minnesota demandingamericans police reform, changes in some way. some have gone as far as asking, as you both pointed out, defunding police departments. you have both gone on record tonight against that. what reforms do you think should happen within police departments that should be led on a national level? lt. col. mcgrath: i think we should provide on a national level, body cameras to all police. i think that is important.
we have the technology to do that. i think there should be a national database for police officers that, that in other words, if you get dismissed from one police department, you don't get to go into another one without people knowing your record. i always talk about the fact that, you don't get kicked out of the u.s. army and get to roll into the u.s. navy. these are commonsense reforms that we need to do, in addition to banning no knock search warrants at the federal level for federal drug cases. i think this comes down to less -- down to, let's get our senate back again so that we can actually debate these things. the george floyd justice in policing act, senator mcconnell would not even allow a debate on it. we can make changes in this country. and we have to. sen. mcconnell: there is a role for the federal government.
i put on the floor of the senate the justice act that was drafted i, myely by tim scott and colleague from south carolina an , african-american himself who has experienced the kind of extra suspicion that african-americans are frequently given. he crafted a bill that we thought made a lot of sense. i put it on the floor of the senate. we couldn't get a single democrats even let us take it up and debate get and amend it. so here was another example of how democrats in the congress the last few months have not wanted anything to succeed. they have been slow walking everything that comes up, either by the house putting up totally outrageous proposals, or senate democrats slow walking efforts to get an outcome. so i think what has happened not uncommon in proximity to the election, our
democratic friends simply don't want anything to occur that gets an actual outcome and a presidential signature. bill: time. lt. col. mcgrath, a rebuttal? lt. col. mcgrath: you are hearing it all night long. more excuses. he is not just a member of the senate. he is the senate majority leader. and he still can't get it done. we know we need reforms. and i also want to work on not reform butal justice , there are real inequities in this country. we have a $20 billion gap between majority white schools and majority nonwhite schools in this country. black kentuckians are dying at 2.5 times the rate of white kentuckians. we have got to fix these things. sen. mcconnell: i am glad that she brought up the fact that i have the majority. if she goes to washington, she will make chuck schumer the majority leader.
transferring the influence and power that kentucky has now because i am one of the four , leaders out new york or california, to new york further , degrading kentucky's influence in washington, making it less likely that kentucky gets preferential treatment, like it frequently does as a result of my being in the position that i am in. this takes the majority leader title away from kentucky, and giving it to new york. we here ingrath: kentucky know better. senator mcconnell likes to talk about his clout and power. meanwhile the price of insurance , has gone up. the price of housing has gone up. our people with pre-existing conditions are about ready to be thrown off their health care right now. we have the worst economy since the great depression. the worst job losses since the great recession. we have the highest cancer rate in the country. the highest rates of diabetes. senator mcconnell's clout is
literally killing us in kentucky. bill: additional response? sen. mcconnell: i use my clout to help our state. let's take coal. barack obama destroyed the coal industry, completely destroyed it, so i am dealing with the collateral damage. cecil roberts, the head of the united mine workers. i have produced both guaranteed health benefits and pension benefits for coal miners, and am dollars soretraining that they can get new jobs to be employed once again. that is how i used the clout that i have help kentucky. bill: we will try to get an l question ina here. but funding for higher education has consistently been reduced here in kentucky especially the , higher burden on students and families. and currently the federal
, government owns 92% of all student loans. so with tuition increasing, student loan debt mounting, how can colleges make college more 6 -- college more accessible and more affordable? we begin this time with senator mcconnell. sen. mcconnell: i started by creating a program at the university of louisville for at undergraduate scholars at no cost to the government. the 40 best and brightest kids at any given time, 10 freshmen, 10 sophomores, 10 juniors, 10 seniors, and the goal is for them to get an ivy league type education right here in kentucky in hopes that the stay here. most of them have. cares acttake the almost $475 million for kentucky , education, k-12 colleges and universities. u.k., iion to that, at have produced over $300 million for u.k., 75 million dollars for
western kentucky university. i paid a lot of attention to kentucky higher education. and on the other end of the scale, the southeast kentucky technical college, i will be there tomorrow. they were about to go out of business. i intervened with the secretary of education and literally saved them from going out of business. bill: time. lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: in the last 15 years, college debt has gone up about 540%. here in kentucky, we have some of the highest levels of college in the country. the first thing -- all of that happened, by the way, on his watch. the first thing i would do is hold betsy devos accountable. because we have a program already in place to relieve people of their college debt, but 90% of the applicants are denied. i would be jumping up and down in the senate right now finding
out why that is. why do we have a program where 90% of the applicants are denied? we need universal pre-k. maybe it is because i'm the only mom up here, but if we had more moms in the senate, we would have universal pre-k yesterday. there is 1.2 billion dollars for kentucky schools sitting on his desk right now. they have been sitting there for six months. he is not interested in helping schools and public education. bill: unless there is a need to respond we will move on. , in 2018, a dozen of the top 50 force counties were in eastern kentucky. a u.k. student is asking here is , the coal question, how would you address the losses left behind from the dwindling coal industry that feels more -- that builds more sustainable and healthy communities? we begin with lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: recognize that six years ago, senator mcconnell sat here and said you have to
vote for me, all your coal jobs are going to come back. meanwhile in the last six years, we lost 60% of those jobs. he used you and our state to bicker with the other side, and he hasn't planned for the future. you know coal powered this , country. i want to go to the senate to coalsure that our communities get what they deserve for powering our country. and that means investment in the future. that means investment in infrastructure like broadband and cell phone coverage. no business will come to a county in kentucky that can't talk to the modern world. it means investing in education and health care. and those are the types of things we have to do to rebuild for the economy of the future. we have to. and senator mcconnell hasn't done it. he has let the coal industry guy -- industry die with no plan for , the last 36 years. and look at where we bill: time.
are now. bill: time. senator mcconnell. sen. mcconnell: kentuckians are not confused about who fights the war on coal. at the beginning of the obama administration, 50% of the electricity in america was provided by coal. at the end of the obama administration, 30%. -- it reekede it havoc across coal country and particularly in eastern kentucky. we were then left to clean up the mess. the collateral damage from the war on coal. what i did is ensure health care benefits and pension benefits for coal miners so they did not , lose what was almost wiped out by the administration and , retraining so they could get another job. unfortunately, some of them have had to leave the area to do it . but they love eastern kentucky so much, they will drive all the way up to the toyota plant every day in order to attend to their new job. that is why we are in the situation we are in eastern kentucky.
and it is no mistake about who caused it. bill: lt. col. mcgrath, 30 seconds. lt. col. mcgrath: i think it starts with being honest with people. i was always taught to be honest with people in the marine corps. the decline of coal is a function of renewable energy being cheaper. it is a function of automation. it is a function of fracking, which senator mcconnell pushed for. we have to have a plan for the future. right now, the reclaim act is sitting on senator mcconnell's desk. this is an act that is bipartisan. it was put up by hal rogers. it would give $100 million to clean up kentucky, give people , the clean jobs to do that bio hazards we have seen from the industry here. and that is also introduced in the senate by senator joe manchin.
why is it sitting on the senator's desk? sen. mcconnell: what is that plan that you have that will produce jobs in kentucky? lay it out for us right now. lt. col. mcgrath: ok. what the reclaim act would do is it would provide $100 million to clean up the environmental hazards we have seen from the coal industry for many years and , allow people to clean up the environmental hazards with good, quality jobs in the transition to the future. and the transition to the future has got to include infrastructure. we badly need it. we have water systems in martin county that don't have clean water. we have sewer systems in anderson county that need to be fixed. we have to get into the 21st andwe have to get into the 21st century. i know you have been in now washington dc for 36 years , but i have served all around the world. ,and i have to tell you, no business is going to want to come to a county in kentucky that cannot talk to the modern , mobilized world. sen. mcconnell: everything she is talking about is already being done. lt. col. mcgrath: tell to the people in kentucky. senator mcconnell: and she talks
about the marines every other sentence. i think her entire campaign is she is a marine, she is a mom and i have been there too long. aret we need to see specifically in mind what she , has in mind to fix the issues that she thinks need fixing. i can tell you what she has in and mind. she will go to washington, she will make chuck schumer the majority leader. lt. col. mcgrath: senator, you have been there for 36 years. how is it looking, kentucky? have we fixed of the stuff? sen. mcconnell: what that 36 years has produced in the last term alone is $17.5 billion for kentucky, that we would not have had if she had been there on the back bench, having made chuck schumer from new york the majority leader of the senate. bill: here is a very specific question. kentucky, like many other states has a real problem with drug , addition. we know that. and recent data shows it has
increased since the pandemic started. how do we turn the tide on this horrible opioid crisis? let's get a more detailed response. senator mcconnell, we begin with you. senator mcconnell: that is a really good question. it has been a devastating issue. us, around the world around the country. , what i have done is the 21st century cures act in the last two years of barack obama. the cares act after that produced a total of 275 million dollars for kentucky. in that $275 million was the single largest grant in u.k. history, $87 million, the single biggest grant they've ever got. in addition to that, there are these law-enforcement areas called high-intensity drug trafficking areas. i have gotten a number of those for kentucky, so that roughly
half of our state is covered by this combination of law-enforcement and social workers working together to go , after these very intense drug trafficking areas. we are still fighting the sowe are still fighting the battle. not over yet. --is but my clout but my clout has made a big difference in providing funds for kentucky on this big problem. bill: thank you. lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: senator mcconnell's clout has allowed billions of prescription medication pills to flood into kentucky. the first thing we need to do is hold big pharma accountable for that. he is incapable of doing that. he is incapable of doing it because he gets the most money from big pharma than any member of congress, last cycle, last year. that is why. he is basically bought off. but what we really need in
addition, is more resources for treatment and prevention to include making sure that we don't take away the affordable care act. because what senator mcconnell would do is take that away, take away the medicaid expansion where 50% of our fellow kentuckians who are addicted, they get their treatment through medicaid. and he wants to undermine that. i don't. i want to fix i want to make the affordable care act. i want to make health care easier to obtain so that people can get the prevention and treatment they need. bill: senator mcconnell, nothing extra? senator mcconnell: no, i want to move on to the next topic. bill: we will do that. you then have earned a few extra seconds for closing statements. instead of the traditional speech at the end, we thought we would know to this closing statement, with this question. senator mcconnell, you have often said and you said here
tonight that your leadership position and seniority pay big dividends for kentucky. lt. col. mcgrath, you have turned the senator's 36 years in washington against him with much of what you said tonight, saying he is out of touch with kentucky and out of ideas. , who is right? we will begin with lt. col. mcgrath. lt. col. mcgrath: i don't think this race is about mitch mcconnell. and i don't think it is about amy mcgrath. i thick it is about kentucky. kentucky deserves a senator who sees you, who listens to you, and who will serve you. a long time marines ago to serve my country, to make a difference for my country. every single combat mission that i did, no matter how high i flew, no matter where i was in afghanistan or iraq, i never forgot who sent me there. i never forgot who it was that i was serving.
senator mcconnell stop serving you a long time ago. i took an oath six times in my life to defend the constitution of this country, to defend our country. and to build a better america for american families and for my family, for my three young kids, teddy, george and eleanor. i want to do the same. i want to be your senator because you deserve better. i ask for your vote, i want to remind everybody that early voting starts tomorrow. this is the most important election of our lifetime. it would be my privilege to serve you. thank you, bill. bill: thank you. senator mcconnell: bill, thanks for the opportunity to be here. my opponent seems to not be bothered by the fact that joe biden has been in washington 47 years. he had been there 12 years before i got there. it is important to not be
confused about what this election is about. number one, if my opponent replaces me, her first vote in tr for liberals to win. make the ultimate columbiae district of estate. they will do that for puerto rico as well. -- fourfor new liberal senators. the reason that joe biden won't say whether he will pack the supreme court is because he is. that is what they intend to do so that the courts don't get in the way of any of their left-wing proposals. she will be a part of all that.
she will enable all of that. vote you castgest in the senate is the first vote, who is going to determine the agenda. she will make chuck schumer the agenda setter. this is 2020. surprise, we have 30 seconds left for each of you. senator mcgrath, we will give you -- lt. col. mcgrath, we will give you 30 seconds and cut you off. lt. col. mcgrath: how was kentucky working out for you right now? are you better off than you were six years ago? are you better off than you were 36 years ago? the senate leader of right now that is so dysfunctional and so partisan that even in the middle of a national crisis, he can't get things done for kentucky. you want more of that? i don't. i want change. i know our country is better than this. bill: thank you. sen. mcconnell: it is not complicated. do you want somebody from new
york setting the agenda for america and not terribly interested in kentucky or do you want to continue to have one of the four congressional leaders from our state looking out for kentucky, giving kentucky the opportunity to punch above its weight, providing extra assistance for kentucky? that is the question. she will transfer all of that to new york. i will keep it in kentucky. bill: that is our time. candidates, thank you very much. everybody getting a chance to hear from you this evening. we would like to thank our sponsors. the -- the university of kentucky student demonstration. the election is tuesday, november 3. the polls on election day will be open 6:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.. take you for joining us and have a --republican incumbent and