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Running for Congress: Schauer and Walberg debate

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Incumbent Democratic congressman Mark Schauer (right) listens as Republican challenger Tim Walberg makes a point during their debate at JCC's Potter Center.

Social Security sparked a spirited debate between the two major party candidates running for Michigan's 7th Congressional seat.

Incumbent Democrat Mark Schauer and Republican former congressman Tim Walberg are in a close race and social security is seen as a key issue.

Walberg supports allowing younger people to opt out of the social security system rather than pay into a system which is running out of money:

"Mr. Schauer will say 'Nobody's missed a check.' Still coming. Well. As long as China keeps lending us money, we'll keep it going. But is that how we want to operate our Social Security trust fund," says Walberg.

Schauer says any changes to social security should wait for the president's bi-partisan commission to deliver its recommendations in December.

"I will work until my last breath to make sure that Tim Walberg is not able to privatize Social Security," says Schauer.

The nation's new health care reform law was also a point of contention in the debate.

Republican Tim Walberg says if he wins in November, he'll work to repeal the new federal health care reform law.

"That is a bureaucracy that will cost, will restrict and ultimately ration health care," says Walberg.

Mark Schauer defends the health care law.

"I fundamentally believe that...every member of the public should have access to the same kind of health care I do," says Schauer.

The two also clashed on the economy, negative TV ads and restoring the Bush tax cuts.

The debate will be broadcast this evening on WILX TV in Lansing.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.