The Democrat running for Iowa’s first district congressional seat is calling for an increase in federal spending on public health initiatives to respond to Ebola, while his Republican opponent says more money isn’t the answer. During a debate Saturday night, Democrat Pat Murphy said mandatory federal budget cuts have reduced the government’s ability to respond.
“We actually have had a 10 percent in the Centers for Disease Control on their actual funding,” Murphy said. “It’s important to make sure they have the tools that they need so they can educate our health care workers that are on the front line.”
Rod Blum — Murphy’s Republican opponent — scoffed.
“Spoken like a true career politician. We never have enough money in government,” Blum said. “In fact, in the budget that the GOP submitted, they put more money in that budget, Pat, than President Obama requested for the CDC.”
The two candidates debated one another for an hour Saturday night on KWWL TV in Waterloo. Blum repeatedly called Murphy a “career politician” while stressing his own background as both a businessman and a political novice.
“I don’t want to go to Washington, D.C. to be important,” Blum said. “I want to go to Washington, D.C. to do something that’s important and that is get this country back on track.”
Murphy suggested his 25 years of experience in the state legislature gives him a realistic view of what can be accomplished.
“As a legislator, I understand that quite frankly you’re not going to go in and change the world, but the most important part is figuring out those things that you can work on to both improve your country as well as your district or your state,” Murphy said.
Both candidates are from Dubuque. They’re seeking the seat in the U.S. House that has been held by Democrat Bruce Braley, who is running for the U.S. Senate.