The two Republicans hoping to challenge U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-Dist. 8) this fall promised to back lower taxes and less regulation of businesses last week before an audience representing several area chambers of commerce.
Attorney Matthew Berry of Arlington and retired Army Col. Patrick Murray of Alexandria will face off in the Republican primary June 8. Retired U.S. Navy captain Ron Fisher also will challenge Moran this fall as the candidate for the Independent Green party.
Both Berry and Murray said they oppose the current version of the financial industry reform bill making its way through Congress. They also agree mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be further regulated.
Murray said taxpayers should not be on the hook to bail out failing companies in the future, and those businesses should instead be allowed to fail.
"We need to react [to the financial crisis] with reason," he said, noting Congress should not over-regulate the financial industry. "I think the most important thing is transparency."
Berry said Congress should not create a new regulatory structure, and that one of the problems was "too many regulatory agencies."
At the same time, he suggested the proposed bill will not accomplish much. "If this bill is so tough on Wall Street, why has it been endorsed by Goldman Sachs?" he asked.
Berry also advocates reducing the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent in an effort to support business development. He says the country needs a simpler tax code overall.
"I think it's disgraceful that we have a higher corporate tax rate than Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom," he said.
Murray also said the tax code needs to be simplified and the overall tax burden should be reduced. According to his campaign website, he supports a lower corporate income tax rate.
"Americans spend about 5.5 million hours a year doing their taxes," he said. "We need something a lot more simple."
As they try to make the case they are the best candidate to challenge Moran this fall, Berry and Murray have an uphill battle in terms of fundraising.
The nine-term incumbent has more than $510,000 on-hand, as of the March 31 campaign finance reports, and does not have to face a primary, as potential challenger Ronald Mitchell dropped out of the race.
Berry had about $80,500 on-hand as of March 31 and Murray had about $18,000, according to the Federal Election Commission.