Welcome to the Bluegrass Politics Debate. Each Wednesday and Thursday through the end of September, the candidates for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat — U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, and Republican lawyer Andy Barr of Lexington — will debate a topic chosen by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The candidates ask and answer the questions. Questions are limited to 35 words. Answers, which will be posted online by 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, are limited to 75 words. Rebuttals, which will be posted online by 6 p.m. on Thursdays, are limited to 35 words.
The entire debate will appear in the Sunday City|Region section of the Herald-Leader, as space allows.
Week 8 topic: Immigration
Barr’s question for Chandler: Since 2007, you’ve approved enough spending to increase the publicly-held debt from $4.9 to $9 trillion. Why did you oppose a May 7, 2009 committee amendment to provide an additional $200 million for border security?
Chandler’s answer: Because protecting America is my top priority, I’ve consistently opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants and supported building a fence and sending additional troops to the border. Your attack is deceptive. I’ve repeatedly supported dramatic funding increases to secure our borders, and voted against this amendment because it would have stripped funding from our troops’ rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan and from our response to the deadly H1N1 virus outbreak. Are you against these important efforts?
Barr’s rebuttal: We need more than lip service. We need a Congressman who will consistently vote for border security and enforcing our immigration laws so states don’t have to do the job for the federal government.
Chandler’s question for Barr: In these tough economic times, illegal immigration takes critical jobs from American citizens. Will you pledge to support increased funding as I have for the E-Verify program which checks the work eligibility of potential employees?
Barr’s answer: On June 24, 2008, you voted against extending the E-Verify program. On June 12, 2009, you voted against an amendment that would have made the E-Verify program permanent. Then, on July 17, 2009, you voted against a ban on funds being used to delay the implementation of a requirement that federal contractors use the E-Verify program. You talk about supporting E-Verify, but unlike you, I will actually vote consistently in favor of it.
Chandler’s rebuttal: Funding I supported improved E-Verify, slashed the error rate and reduced costs. Before these improvements, you would’ve been irresponsibly locking in a system that hurt small businesses and let illegal immigrants slip through the cracks.