Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sharp Exchanges Mark Saccone-Lamb Debate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sharp Exchanges Mark Saccone-Lamb Debate

Article excerpt

Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb agreed that Pennsylvania steelworkers need protection from foreign imports. But that was about as far as the consensus between the two congressional candidates extended during a Saturday night debate on WTAE-TV.

The two men are running to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Tim Murphy in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District. The district encompasses portions of four southwestern Pennsylvania counties where steel still looms large, and both men spoke approvingly of President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

"I do agree that we have to take some action," said Mr. Lamb, a Democrat and former federal prosecutor from Mt. Lebanon. "For too long China has been making cheap steel, and they've been flooding the market with it."

"I believe our steelworkers can compete with anybody in the world, as long as the playing field is level," said Mr. Saccone, a Republican state representative from Elizabeth Township. "I think President Trump is trying to even the scale back out."

But things quickly turned sour after that. Mr. Lamb questioned Mr. Saccone for having voted "to allow the use of foreign steel instead of American steel" in infrastructure projects.

That echoed claims in a Democratic attack ad that faulted Mr. Saccone for voting against a measure to give preferential treatment to domestic companies for public-private partnerships.

Mr. Saccone's vote ultimately had no impact on the final bill, and he said he'd advocated for local workers by fighting against regulations and taxes.

"I've stood for the union workers, and that's why they've voted for me in droves."

The two men revisited some issues from a debate aired on KDKA-TV last month,

Mr. Lamb, for one, urged Mr. Saccone to announce his opposition to some $200 billion in Medicare cuts envisioned in Mr. Trump's proposed budget.

Mr. Saccone did not specifically reject the budget, but said he "would never advocate" cutting such programs. …

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