BY STEPHANIE LULAY Aurora Beacon-News
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and former Rep. Bill Foster squared off Thursday in their first debate for the 11th Congressional District seat.
Biggert, a Republican from Hinsdale, and Foster, a Democrat from Naperville, talked tax cuts, tax returns and the future of Fermilab in the debate, which will be broadcast Sunday morning on FOX Chicago Sunday.
Biggert has represented the 13th Congressional District since 1998. Foster represented the 14th Congressional District from 2008 to 2011, when he lost a re-election bid to Randy Hultgren.
The newly drawn 11th District covers parts of Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Plainfield.
Biggert said the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended for everyone.
"This is not the time to tax anyone. It's the businesses and the small business which would really be hurt by this tax," she said.
Foster said the Bush tax cuts promised to generate huge growth that was not realized in the eight years after the cuts.
"I would vote 'yes' for middle class tax cuts. I would vote no for extending the high-net worth -- the above-$250,000 (tax cuts)," Foster said.
Biggert said that one of the last votes Foster cast on the House floor was to extend tax cuts for all.
Foster acknowledged that vote, but said it came at a time when the economy was still in a state of absolute collapse.
"(The income bracket) will be separated due to the expiration of the cuts coming up," Foster said.
Neither Foster nor Biggert has ever released their tax returns, but both said they would be willing to do so.
"I would be willing to release my taxes. Nobody's asked," Biggert said.
Foster said he'd release his spouse's tax returns, too, if it was relevant.
"If people are interested, it's not a problem," Foster said.
Foster, who spent his career as a physicist at Fermilab in Batavia, said there is a difference between how Biggert talks about science and how she votes on science funding. He said facilities like Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory are always either growing or dying.
"In the 13 years that Congresswoman Biggert has been in office, there have been zero new major construction projects at either Argonne or Fermi," Foster said.
Biggert, who is on the Congressional Science Committee, said that is not true.
"Fermi has had its problems, but with Argonne we've had the supercomputers, we've had the nanotechnologies, we've had the vehicles," she said.
On Fox Sunday
The debate, hosted by FOX Chicago Sunday reporters Mike Flannery and Dane Placko, will air Sunday from 8:30 to 9 a.m.