Aug 31, 2016 6:23 PM
Source: NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – When it comes to Social Security, Obamacare, and Northern Pass, two of the top contenders for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District definitely don’t agree.
Former state Rep. Jim Lawrence and state Rep. Jack Flanagan, the former state House majority leader, faced off over those three issues Wednesday in an NH1 News primary debate.
Social Security faces a projected insolvency by the year 2034. Asked what they would do to save the eight-decades old program, Lawrence answered that “my plan is to first and foremost is to fence off funding that’s collected for Social Security through payroll taxes. That’s the only way we can ensure we won’t face this problem again.”
Responding, Flanagan said “this is where Jim and I differ. Because Jim is looking for quick fixes and then funding. Whereas I’m looking at funding and then looking at potential fixes.”
Lawrence shot back, saying “I think it’s unrealistic to say you can solve the problem through funding without protecting the source of the funding.”
“The only credible way to solve the Social Security issue is to fence that funding first. Because if you don’t fence the funding, then you could fix all the funding issues in the world and you won’t’ be able to protect it later on,” he added.
Flanagan countered that “we kicked the can down the road in 1983 and we’re still in the same problem. And the solution that I have provides the money first and then looks at what we need to do.”
The two candidates also clashed over how much of Obamacare needs to go.
After Lawrence said that he wants to repeal all parts of the Affordable Care Act that are detrimental to the nation’s health care system, Flanagan fired back, comparing Lawrence to two-term Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who both candidates are vying to face off against in the November election.
“It looks like Jim’s position is just like Annie Kuster’s position. I think we should get rid of it completely,” Flanagan said. “We need to get rid of it. There’s a market driven plan. The House GOP has already got a plan.”
Defending himself, Lawrence stated that “I would never vote for Obamacare, I do not support Obamacare, nor have I ever. I just recently stated that I want to repeal every part of that law that’s hurting our health care.”
The two candidates also disagreed on the much debated Northern Pass hydroelectric project, with Lawrence opposed to it and Flanagan willing to consider the powerlines, which would deliver energy from Canada.
Asked if he supports it, Flanagan said “the concept I do. I don’t say unilaterally go ahead and do it. I think they really need to work with the people.”
“They are currently not working with the people,” Lawrence responded.
“I want some protections put in place for the people of New Hampshire before I green light any project like this,” he added.
The NH1 News primary debate between Lawrence and Flanagan, which was recorded during the afternoon, will air at 9pm Wednesday night on WBIN-TV, and it will stream on NH1.COM and the NH1 News Network’s Facebook page.