3rd District congressional candidates differ widely on cures for nation's ills

October 24, 1992|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Staff Writer

The man who wants to unseat Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin in Maryland's 3rd Congressional District offered the best summation of their debate.

"I just think that we differ and the people really have a choice," said William T. S. Bricker, the Republican nominee, at the end of a half-hour debate broadcast last night on Maryland Public Television.

From health care to the environment and deficit reduction, the two candidates offered vastly different prescriptions for America's ills. The new district include parts of Baltimore and Baltimore County along

with portions of Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

Mr. Bricker, 63, a lawyer who formerly headed Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration, said he favors a balanced-budget amendment as a way of forcing Washington not to overspend.

But Mr. Cardin, a 49-year-old Democrat running for a fourth term, said Congress would likely find a way to bypass such a law. Congress must make specific cuts, he said, to cut the $4 trillion deficit.

"Everything must be talked about," Mr. Cardin said, including domestic and military spending. He said revisions in the health-care system could save $50 billion a year and that U.S. allies should pay the entire cost of their defense.

On health care, Mr. Cardin has pushed legislation -- similar to a plan later adopted by Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton -- that would require each employer to provide basic health insurance to all employees and dependents. Those not working would be covered under a new plan similar to the federal Medicare program. Mr. Cardin has said his bill includes no new taxes but would use savings from cost containment.

Mr. Bricker favors a national lottery game to finance affordable health care for the estimated 35 million Americans without health insurance. "That may seem funny," he admitted. "But I really think that poor people if they're going to gamble -- and they are going to gamble -- that they pay [for] insurance premiums [instead of] baseball stadiums."

Mr. Bricker criticized the "overreaction" of some environmental laws. He said that boosting fuel efficiency for autos to 40 miles per gallon, as some have suggested, would "cost people jobs."

Mr. Cardin noted that acid rain is damaging the Chesapeake Bay, and he said that strong environmental laws are necessary.

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