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Nebraska U.S. Senate debate recap: Fischer, Raybould spar on taxes, health care, gun control

Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 22:16:16-04

In what could be their only debate this election season, Republican Sen. Deb Fischer and Democratic challenger Jane Raybould, a Lincoln City Councilwoman, squared off at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.

ANALYSIS: Anchor Craig Nigrelli breaks down the Nebraska U.S. Senate debate

At times, things grew testy between the candidates. During the one-hour debate — live-streamed on — both women went after each other on topics ranging from health care to tax cuts to the Robert Mueller investigation, and more.

WATCH: See the debate in full on our website

Fischer defended the GOP tax cuts; Raybould said they only help the rich. 

"It should have been the exact opposite," Democrat Raybould said. "They have jacked up our huge deficit by giving massive permanent tax cuts to the biggest largest corporations, who by the way, have funded their campaigns."

Fischer responded: "Businesses and families realize that they are keeping more money in their pockets and to call it measly, what people can keep in their pockets. Nancy Pelosi called it crumbs — this is not crumbs to Nebraskans."

The debate also got heated when the candidates posed a question to one another. 

ELECTION 2018: Debate breakdown, 1-on-1 candidate interviews, and more

Raybould questioned the rise of Fischer's net worth from $300,000 to $4 million since she entered the Senate. Fischer responded by saying as a rancher, her finances can often change depending on the time of year, and that the Senate Ethics Committee has approved her financial statement each year. 

"That was really a low note in the debate, and I can't believe she would make comments like that," Fischer said afterward. 

Fischer asked Raybould, who owns a grocery business in Lincoln, whether she offers her hourly employees paid family leave. Raybould said her employees are given paid time off to use as they wish.

"You're having people take vacation time off to take their children to the doctor, for example, or stay home with a newborn," the incumbent Senator said. "That is not paid family leave."

The one place where the candidates agreed was immigration. Both said the U.S. needs to secure its borders. Fischer made a point to say she supports DACA, while Raybould mentioned the state needs immigrants to work in packing plants and on farms.