Rivals pull no punches in debate
Barney Frank’s GOP challenger came out swinging in a pair of debates yesterday, faulting the 30-year Democratic congressman for the nation’s great economic collapse.
“He supported housing policies that casued the economy to crumble,” said Sean Bielat, who’s running for the 10th congressional district.
Frank fought back, saying he rescued the nation’s sinking finances by tossing out faulty home ownership policies put in place by the Bush administration.
“Home ownership is not the answer for everyone. I fought for more rental housing,” Frank said.
The aggressive back-and-forth began yesterday morning on WRKO in a debate run by “Tom & Todd” hosts Tom Finneran and Todd Feinburg. It continued later during the 30-minute live debate on New England Cable News, moderated by Jim Braude.
Bielat, a Marine, hammered Frank for supporting government bailouts of the financial and automotive industries.
“Government can’t keep propping up businesses,” he said. “At some point, you’ve got to let the market forces decide.“
Frank, meanwhile, accused Bielet of pandering to the people by offering vague plans for reforming the health-care bill and revamping Social Security.
“You’re more of a politician than the politicians you criticize,” Frank said at one point.
Frank said the government has to “stop subsidizing other country’s militaries” by curbing its own military spending.
That surplus money, he said, should be used to pay down the federal deficit and “allow Americans to retire at a reasonable age.”
But Bielat argued that the nation has to recalculate its retirement age, before too many retirees and too few workers cause the country to go broke.
“Maybe it’s (age) 70, maybe it’s 68,” he said. “I’d like to make it 42, but we need to figure out what’s viable.”
Frank criticized Bielat for not having an opinion on the controversial state ballot question that seeks to repeal the state’s affordable housing law, Chapter 40B.
Frank said he’s voting to keep the law on the books, because it has been useful to generate much-needed rental housing.
Bielat said he needs to study the issue first.
Bielat also said that “for many reasons” he supports the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to dealing with gays.
But Frank called it “a flawed policy.
“Turning away thousands of patriotic young men and women who want to serve their country can be a terrible mistake,” he said.