Libby Casey, APRN – Washington DC
Senator Lisa Murkowski is the only woman on the US Senate’s Republican leadership team, and after only eight years in office is Alaska’s “senior senator.” But her challenger Joe Miller says she’s just not conservative enough. Miller has the backing of the national, California-based group the Tea Party Express, which says it has poured $400,000 into his campaign.
Miller calls himself a “constitutional conservative,” and wants to shut down the Department of Education and phase out Social Security and Medicare.
He’s also against earmarks.
But Senator Murkowski says earmarks make up less than one percent of the federal budget, and that criticizing them can be a red herring.
Murkowski defends her “conservative” credentials by saying she wants to reduce the debt, revamp the health care overhaul, and protect gun rights. In the past year she’s fought the Obama Administration’s plan to regulate pollution from power plants and factories, and voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. She rebukes Miller’s accusation that she’s veered to the right because of his challenge. But Murkowski says even as she stands with Republicans, she thinks that to be successful in Washington you have to work with others, like she did on a bipartisan Energy Bill last year.
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