Debate

Congressman Adam Schiff, right, and challenger Phil Jennerjahn participate in a debate for the new 28th Congressional District at the Burbank City Hall. (Photo by Mike Mullen / October 15, 2012)

From Social Security to abortion, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and his GOP challenger, Phil Jennerjahn, differed on just about everything during a debate at Burbank City Hall Monday night sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank.

The two men are running to represent the newly drawn 28th Congressional District, which includes Glendale and Burbank.

Jennerjahn said that while Social Security is a nice “security blanket,” changes need to be made to the program in the future as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, causing a “generational swing” that will push the program to the financial brink.

He added that it would leave Social Security with insufficient funds for subsequent generations.

“There may be some cuts to the level of payments that are made,” he said.

Schiff took issue with Social Security being called a “security blanket” and said the program is vital for seniors who enter retirement. He added that it shouldn't be privatized, nor should Medicare be shifted to a voucher program.

“They will face challenges and [they can meet] those challenges without changing the structure of those programs so that the next generation can continue to enjoy the security of knowing that when they retire, they won't have to retire into poverty,” he said.

The two also differed on job creation, with Schiff supporting making it easier for small businesses to gain access to capital and giving tax breaks to small businesses that hire more employees.

He also said investing in the country's infrastructure and giving incentives to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States are important ways to stimulate job growth.

Jennerjahn, though, said the government shouldn't be in the business of creating jobs.

Higher employment, he said, should be the result of a strong open market.

“Sometimes the best thing a government can do is just get out of the way,” he said.

Jennerjahn also supported cutting corporate taxes and encouraging big companies in other countries to move to the United States.

On abortion, the two men were diametrically opposed, with Schiff contending that it should be “safe, legal and rare,” and a personal choice.

“Every woman, after consultation with her physician and her clergy or whoever she chooses — she needs to make that decision,” he said.

Jennerjahn said abortion should be illegal no matter the reason, whether rape, incest or harm to the mother.

“I am pro-life with no exceptions or exemptions being made,” he said.

He explained that past generations sacrificed so that today's generation could live and that commitment should continue.

When a fetus is formed, Jennerjahn added, it's more than just a cluster of cells.

“It will become a human being,” he said.

The debate was recorded and will be broadcast regularly on the Burbank cable access channel.

It can be viewed on the city's website.

Follow Mark on Twitter @LAMarkKellam.