Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and his Republican challenger Tom Smith will meet for their first and only debate in the increasingly contentious race.
The debate will be held Friday morning at WPVI-TV in Philadelphia.
WPVI will air the debate Sunday at 1 p.m., and it’s available for rebroadcast after that.
The 52-year-old Casey is running for a second, six-year term after supporting President Barack Obama’s signature policies in the Senate. He is a key ally of labor unions, the son of the late former Gov. Robert P. Casey and a former state treasurer and auditor general.
The 65-year-old Smith is a tea party favorite and political newcomer who made a fortune in coal mining and lives on the Armstrong County farm where he grew up.
A brief look at where Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith stand on a selection of issues:
• Casey: Opposes abortion rights, except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. Spearheaded the creation of the Pregnancy Assistance Fund, a $25 million-a-year program designed to aid to young mothers and adoption programs to reduce the number of abortions. Voted to allow employers and insurers to opt out of portions of the Affordable Care Act they found morally objectionable, including the requirement that insurers cover the costs of birth control.
• Smith: Opposes abortion rights in all cases, no exceptions.
• Casey: Voted for a Democratic plan to force groups the disclosure of all sources of election-related spending.
• Smith: Didn’t take a position on whether he supports the disclosure of all sources of election-related spending.
• Casey: Voted to raise debt limit to avoid default. Supports debt reduction using a mix of spending cuts and tax increases on higher income brackets. Voted for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that did not cap spending, but prohibited Social Security funds from being diverted and barred tax cuts for millionaires without a surplus.
• Smith: Opposes raising debt limit to avoid default. Supports debt reduction using spending cuts and no tax increases. Supports a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution capping government spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product.
• Casey: Supports increased funding for public schools. Opposes the use of federal tax dollars or tax breaks to help students to pay tuition to non-public schools. Voted for a college tax credit worth $10,000 over four years and increases in Pell grants and other financial aid.
• Smith: Supports eliminating or substantially reducing the U.S. Department of Education in favor of state regulation. Supports state-level policies that increase public school alternatives and programs to help children attend other public schools, charter schools, or private schools, including parochial schools. Would repeal No Child Left Behind law.
ENERGY and ENVIRONMENT
• Casey: Supported an unsuccessful plan to charge large industrial polluters for greenhouse gas emissions. Voted to delay Environmental Protection Agency regulations to limit toxic pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators. Voted against stopping EPA regulations to reduce mercury and other toxic emissions from the oldest and most polluting oil- and coal-fired power plants. Wrote legislation to create stronger federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing.
• Smith: Opposes new pollution regulations on power plants. Opposes EPA regulations to reduce toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants. Opposes federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Supports eliminating or substantially shrinking the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy and the Mine Safety and Health Administration in favor of state regulation. Supports expanded domestic oil and natural gas drilling offshore and on federal lands.
• Casey: Voted for a new post-recession regulatory scheme for banks, the Dodd-Frank Act of 2011.
• Smith: Opposes Dodd-Frank and would vote to repeal it. Opposes the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting regulations law of 2002, and would vote to repeal it.
• Casey: Supports same-sex civil unions. Didn’t take a position on same-sex marriage, a matter decided by states. Voted to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military and repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
• Smith: Opposes same-sex marriage, but would not ban it with a constitutional amendment. Supports changes to tax codes and other government rules to ensure same-sex couples are treated equally.
• Casey: Opposes stricter gun control laws.
• Smith: Opposes stricter gun control laws.
• Casey: Voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Opposes giving a subsidy to seniors for private health insurance in place of traditional Medicare. Says Medicare solvency can be extended by making it more efficient, improving patient care and targeting waste and abuse.
• Smith: Opposes the Affordable Care Act and would vote to repeal it. Supports keeping the traditional Medicare benefit while giving enrollees the option of taking a government subsidy to buy private health insurance in place of traditional Medicare.
• Casey: Voted for the “DREAM Act” bill. Supports a new Obama administration policy of allowing young illegal immigrants who have no criminal history and graduated from high school or served in the military to remain in the county as “a practical step.” Supports curbing illegal immigration by tougher border security and cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, including harsher penalties and electronic verification of employee eligibility.
• Smith: Didn’t take a position on the “DREAM Act” bill or on Obama’s policy on young immigrants. Opposes measures that offer special privileges to illegal immigrants over those waiting to immigrate legally. Supports curbing illegal immigration by tougher border security, including more immigration officers, limited fencing along the U.S. Mexico-border and more technology such as drones.
• Casey: Opposes allowing the expiration of the 2011-12 tax cut that reduced Social Security payroll taxes on workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. Opposes the diversion of Social Security payroll taxes into privately managed investment accounts. Hasn’t taken a position on whether he supports increasing the retirement age, raising the income limit for Social Security payroll taxes or limiting benefits for wealthier individuals.
• Smith: Supports allowing the expiration of the 2011-12 tax cut that reduced Social Security payroll taxes on workers. Supports allowing younger taxpayers to divert some of their Social Security payroll taxes into privately managed investment accounts. Supports increasing the retirement age. Says he is willing to consider raising the income limit for Social Security payroll taxes or limiting benefits for wealthier individuals.
• Casey: Voted to extend decade-old “Bush” income tax cuts past 2012, except on income earned by individuals above $200,000 and by couples above $250,000. Voted for a two-year extension of the lower rates for all for 2011 and 2012. Voted to increase boost the top tax rate paid by people who inherit estates to 55 percent and exempt the first $1 million. Voted to impose top tax rates next year of 20 percent on dividends and capital gains; expiring rate is 15 percent. Wrote legislation to give tax breaks to small business owners who hire new employees. Voted to allow investors in small businesses to take a 100 percent exclusion from capital gains taxes on small business investments. Voted to create tax breaks for U.S. companies that repatriate jobs from abroad and to impose tax penalties on U.S. companies that close domestic plants and open new ones overseas. Voted to eliminate tax breaks for oil producers.
• Smith: Opposes any tax increase. Supports the permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. Supports a “flat” income tax rate that would impose the same rate on every taxpayer, instead of brackets of rising tax rates that apply to higher levels of income. Supports the elimination of the capital gains tax and the estate tax, as well as tax breaks, market protection and other incentives for specific businesses. Supports keeping the earned income tax credit and deductions for low-income families, charitable giving, mortgage interest and student loan interest.
• Casey: Voted against free trade deals in 2011 with Panama, South Korea and Colombia. Helped write legislation targeting China by allowing the federal government to impose tariffs on countries that manipulate their currency to gain trade advantages. Voted to extend job training and other aid for workers who lose jobs as a result of foreign trade. Voted for the extension of the Export-Import Bank.
• Smith: Supports free trade deals with Panama, South Korea and Colombia. Opposes legislation to impose tariffs on currency-manipulating countries in favor of working through the World Trade Organization and other channels.