The national debt, sequestration and immigration were some of the of issues debated Friday by incumbent Rep. Frank Wolf and his opponent for the 10th congressional district Democrat Kristin Cabral, an attorney from McLean.
The two squared off during a forum hosted in Manassas by the Prince William Committee of 100 and mediated by Dr. Stephen J. Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington professor and author.
During the forum, Wolf, who has held his position as congressman for the 10th District since 1981, spoke often of his support for the Simpson-Bowles Commission’s findings concerning the national debt. U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the commission in 2009 to study the national debt and other issues.
The president “walked away” from the commission's findings and suggestions about the debt crisis, Wolf said. Walking away is one of the greatest failures of the Obama administration, he added.
Simpson-Bowles is a blueprint and model that lowers the tax rate, Wolf said.
“I believe that’s the way to go about it,” he said.
When asked what was the most pressing issue facing, Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park, Wolf said it is the national debt.
“It’s just eating us alive,” Wolf said. “I’m going to do everything I can to get it solved.”
When asked the same question, Cabral said sequestration is the most pressing issue facing the three jurisdictions.
Wolf voted for sequestration, a plan which, if passed, would adversely affect hundreds of thousands of Virginia families, she said.
The debt crisis needs to be solved by “using a scalpel and not a hatchet,” the hatchet being sequestration, Cabral said.
In addition to other things, U.S. exports need to be increased and the laws need to be adjusted to stop “tax dodgers from going off soil," she said.
If they do business in the U.S. then they need to pay taxes in the U.S., she added.
Wolf said the bill they called sequestration stopped the government from defaulting and shutting down completely. The idea of sequestration came from the White House, he added.
Simpson-Bowles eliminates sequestration next year and for the next 10 years, Wolf said.
The candidates were also asked about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act commonly called "Obamacare."
Wolf said he favors repealing and replacing it. He’s in favor of a law that would, among other things, allow all the small businesses in Manassas to pool together for healthcare and allow people to shop across state lines for coverage, Wolf said. "Obamacare" would “break the backs” of companies, he added.
“Why not amend it?” Cabral said on a rebuttal to Wolf’s statement about the act.“ … Why throw the baby out with the bath water?”
Cabral and Wolf also differ on issues such as oil drilling off the Virginia coast—Cabral is against it and Wolf is for it— and the discontinuation of the controversial 287(g )program by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Wolf is for 287(g), a 3-year-old federal program that delegates immigration enforcement responsibilities to trained law enforcement officials. The program will expire at the end of this year.
“I think 287(g) has been very important ... it has kept a lot of very bad characters off the street,” Wolf said.
He’s been in touch with Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish III about 287(g); some local lawmakers as well as police are all very concerned about the loss of it, Wolf added.
Cabral, who said she enforced immigration laws as a federal prosecutor, said she agrees with the Obama Administration, 287(g) should be phased out.