Taxes, fiscal policy, entitlement programs and numerous other issues were flashpoints Wednesday night in a debate on the campus of the State University College at Oneonta between Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, and Julian Schreibman, his Democratic challenger in newly redrawn 19th Congressional District.
“My opponent has been running for a year now, and he hasn’t told us what budget he supports,” Gibson said of Schreibman during his opening statement before a packed room in Morris Hall.
Gibson, attempting to establish himself as a bipartisan legislator, emphasized several times during the debate that he voted for the Cooper-LaTourette budget bill in the House this year. The bill was a bipartisan effort sponsored by Reps. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, that received just 38 votes: 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans, including Gibson.
The congressman called the bill, which even its sponsors conceded beforehand was doomed, an attempt to start a dialogue in a partisan Congress
“The congressman’s voting record reflects a very different vision,” Schreibman countered. “In addition to voting to slash educational opportunity, he’s voted to end the guarantee of Medicare, turn it into a privatized voucher program, voted to restrict a woman’s right to choose and to defund Planned Parenthood.”
“He’s never a moderate when it matters,” Schreibman said.
The two men skirmished over a question about Planned
Parenthood, which Gibson voted to defund, despite the fact that it spends just 3 percent of its budget on abortion-related activities.
Gibson responded that his record was clear, “that I support women’s health, that I support fully funding women’s health.” He said he welcomed the “chance to set the record straight,” adding that he does not support overturning Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that allowed legal abortions.
However, he said, he doesn’t support late-term abortions or spending federal money on abortions. He added that if Planned Parenthood were to establish a subsidiary that dealt exclusively with abortion services, “I can’t imagine there would be a problem with federal funding continuing for healthcare services.”