Kaine Addresses Ashby Ponds Residents
The Democrat running for U.S. Senate has proposed a compromise on Bush-era tax cuts.
Democrat Tim Kaine brought his campaign for U.S. Senate to Ashby Ponds in Ashburn as he traded barbs with his Republican opponent George Allen, who was traveling elsewhere in the state, on their respective support for Medicare proposals.
The residents gathered were quick to correct Charlotte Nurge, who called Kaine a Republican when she introduced him, but Nurge was jokingly referring to Kaine’s connection to the GOP through his father-in-law, former Virginia governor Linwood Holton.
“I just wanted to get a rise out of him,” she explained.
Kaine touched on a range of issues that distinguish him from Kaine, from the extension of Bush-era tax cuts to Medicare.
Kaine pointed to Metro’s Silver Line project to Loudoun County as an example of government moving a project forward that creates jobs during construction, then results in useful infrastructure “that people can rely on for decades to come.”
He expressed concern for veterans, particularly young veterans, who “have an unemployment rate that’s higher than the national average.” While many have injuries that keep them from working, Kaine said, many others have skills and leadership abilities not recognized by employers.
The former Virginia governor pointed to his term in that job as great experience for budget cutting—the state cut about $5 billion during that time. But he also said that cuts alone are not the way for the United States to reduce its $1.3 trillion deficit and nearly $16 trillion debt.
On Medicare, Kaine acknowledged there are shortfalls, which he blamed on congress for not dedicating revenue to the program. He said U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which Allen has called a starting place for the debate, would push Medicare costs onto the most vulnerable people. Instead, Kaine said he believes there are cost-reduction options, such as changing the law to permit congress to negotiate better drug prices.
“The reason I don’t like the Ryan Plan is because it would turn Medicare into a voucher program,” said Kaine. “Expenses over a certain threshold would be on the shoulders of seniors who are least able to afford them. It isn’t a cost reducer, it’s a cost shifter.”
Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said Kaine’s support of the Affordable Health Care Act means he supports cutting Medicare significantly.
“Tim Kaine should tell seniors why he calls the health care tax law that cuts $500 billion from Medicare a ‘great achievement,’” Davis said. “And Tim Kaine should explain why he supports the Cap and Trade energy tax scheme that will make electricity prices ‘skyrocket,’ especially hurting seniors on fixed incomes. The answer is Northern Virginia seniors can’t afford six years of Tim Kaine’s record of higher prices and fewer choices for seniors.”
Kaine offered a compromise on the debate about whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts. President Barack Obama has proposed extended the cuts only for those making less than $250,000, while congressional Republicans want the cuts extended for everyone. Kaine proposed extending the cuts for those making less than $500,000, which he said would increase revenue by $500 million to $600 million annually.
“First, I hope that Congress does something before I get there,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think the House and Senate should wait until after the election to decide.
When asked about gun control, Kaine, who was governor when the mass shooting at Virginia Tech occurred, said, “I hope we’ll get serious about it.”
Kaine said he supports the rights of residents to hunt and fish—a constitutional right in Virginia—but believes there are measures that should be taken to reduce the sale of large-capacity ammunition clips, assault weapons and items “created purely, purely to create a lot of mayhem.” He said consideration should be given to the ease with which anyone can purchase large quantities of ammunition and that records checks should be required prior to gun show sales. It’s easier to ship ammunition than wine in the United States, Kaine said.
Kaine and Allen hope to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Jim Webb, who ousted Allen from the position six years ago.
[Correction: The initial version of this story said George Allen supports Paul Ryan's budget proposal on Medicare; Allen has called the proposal a starting point for an important debate.]