SPRINGFIELD — Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren fought yesterday over who would be better at creating jobs, cutting taxes, holding down the federal deficit and protecting Medicare during their third debate in Massachusetts’ closely-watched Senate race.
The meeting at Springfield’s Symphony Hall stuck mainly to the issues and steered clear of much of the personal sniping between the candidates that has marked the campaign to date.
A recurring theme in the debate was Warren’s assertion that Brown was protecting millionaires at the expense of average Americans, countered by Brown’s insistence that any increase in taxes would hurt the economy.
Warren supports allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire on Dec. 31 for the wealthiest 2 percent of taxpayers, as part of what she called a balanced approach to erasing the federal deficit. Brown believes the cuts should be continued for all taxpayers and that tougher spending controls are needed.
Warren began the debate by faulting Brown for voting against a series of Democratic-sponsored jobs bills, while also noting Brown has vowed to repeal the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act if re-elected.
Brown cited higher taxes as the reason he opposed the jobs bills and said that while he supported Massachusetts’ landmark health care bill, he opposes the federal version because it also included tax increases.
Brown referred to what he called “Obamacare” as a “jobs crushing bill” and warned seniors that it would cut Medicare spending by nearly three quarters of a trillion dollars. Warren said the law would not cut benefits by “one penny.”
Warren also criticized Brown for opposing the so-called Buffett rule, which would require those earning $1 million a year or more to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.
“Senator Brown voted with the billionaires, not with the secretaries,” said Warren, who also criticized Brown for signing conservative anti-tax activist Grover Norquist’s no-new-tax pledge.