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The Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat, Wayne Powell, faces off with House majority leader Eric Cantor during a debate Monday in Richmond.
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BY CHELYEN DAVIS
MANAKIN SABOT--Rep. Eric Cantor accused opponent Wayne Powell of offering no solutions to national problems, while Powell accused Cantor of being out of touch with everything but corporate interests in the 7th Congressional District's only debate, held here Monday night.
The contentious debate at Carmax headquarters was held before about 200 state Chamber of Commerce members and viewers of C-SPAN, which broadcast the debate live.
A combative Powell took Cantor to task for taking corporate campaign contributions, not having served in the military, and refusing to consider tax increases on the wealthy to help solve the federal debt and deficit issues.
Cantor said Powell complains that everything is wrong, but his only solutions to fix problems are to raise taxes.
The hourlong debate was moderated by political analyst Bob Holsworth.
His first question was on an issue that came up several times later--the "fiscal cliff" faced by the federal budget if Congress doesn't act to renew tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, and if Congress also doesn't act to avert steep cuts to defense and other spending by January.
Cantor said he favors extending those tax cuts for another year, to give Congress time to work on reforming the tax system in such a way as to reduce the tax rate for corporations and individuals.
"A tax increase is the last thing that our economy needs right now," Cantor said. "There's agreement on both sides of the aisle that we need to reform the tax code and bring rates down. For the last two years it's been very difficult to try to get both sides to come and say hey, we want to solve these problems."
Powell called the very term "fiscal cliff" "Washington-speak," and blamed Cantor for a lack of cooperation during budget and debt ceiling talks last year.
Cantor would "kick the can down the road," Powell said.
"I hear a person who's dysfunctional, a person who will not cooperate, will not sit down with the opposing party," Powell said.
He adopted a proposal from Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine to let tax cuts expire on those making more than $500,000 a year.