Why we should wear a mask

   People who don’t believe that masks make a difference believe so because they CHOOSE not to believe that they do make a difference. No matter how much evidence you present to them proving that their way of thinking is incorrect, they will continue to disregard any and all information that contradicts their chosen mindset.

This is one of those times where SCIENCE, the BIBLE and COMMON SENSE walk hand and hand.

One of my friends posted this comment last week on social media (he gave me permission to use it). I’m discovering the truth in those words.

Those who don’t get it won’t get it.

Despite that, let’s do a little research and check it out. I’ll be preaching to the choir, because anti-maskers are going to leave this post right here.

SCIENCE

In an editorial published (July 14) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), CDC reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities. There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” said CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

Masks work best when “used universally within communities.” Those of you who say masks don’t work are a self-fulfilling prophesy – you are the reason that masks aren’t working as well as they should.

Here’s a case study that proves masks work:

Among 139 clients exposed (in May) to two symptomatic hair stylists (in Springfield, Missouri) with confirmed COVID-19 while both the stylists and the clients wore face masks, no symptomatic secondary cases were reported; among 67 clients tested for SARS-CoV-2, all test results were negative. Adherence to the community’s and company’s face-covering policy likely mitigated spread of SARS-CoV-2.

A study led by a Texas A&M professor, reported June 12 in Science Daily, found that using a face mask reduced the number of infections by more than 78,000 in Italy from April 6-May 9 and by over 66,000 in New York City from April 17-May 9 …

“We conclude that wearing a face mask in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent inter-human transmission,” wrote Renyi Zhang, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M.

“This inexpensive practice, in conjunction with social distancing and other procedures, is the most likely opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work also highlights that sound science is essential in decision-making for the current and future public health pandemics …”

Zhang said the results should send a clear message to people worldwide — wearing a face mask is essential in fighting the virus.

The BIBLE

Jesus silenced some Pharisees and Herodians with this admonition: “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

The apostle Paul agreed with Jesus when he wrote, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities … (Romans 13:1)

The question regarding masks and governing authorities gets tricky, because we as Americans received (and still receive) conflicting advice from our political leaders.

In Ohio, ironically, the conflicting advice came from two Republicans. Which to believe? That is the source of our political divide over this issue.

Gov. Mike DeWine hired a medical doctor, Dr. Amy Acton, as his public health director. During the early days and weeks of the COVID pandemic, DeWine, leaning on Acton’s reports, was one of the first leaders nationwide to recognize its severity. He was first in the nation to close public schools, for example.

DeWine and Acton held daily press conferences to explain their motives and decisions. Dr. Acton, especially, emphasized wearing a mask – over and over and over, she pleaded with us to wear a mask in public. She and the governor offered charts, graphics, statistics and case studies to prove their point.

(I randomly picked a press conference from May 11 if you’d like to see what those conferences looked like.)

In contrast, President Donald Trump offered no such press conferences, and no such advice. I have nothing to show you here because he didn’t offer anything. Indeed, Trump has repeatedly disagreed with his own medical director, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The latest clash came today, Aug. 2. According to Market Watch:

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for three decades (and) who worked on the front lines of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s and 1990s, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 to 2016 and the anthrax attacks two decades ago, testified before Congress last week that the U.S. should have taken speedier and more comprehensive action to close businesses when coronavirus first appeared in the U.S. earlier this year.

On Twitter, Trump on Aug. 1, which Market Watch quoted, wrote this:

Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases. How did Italy, France & Spain do? Now Europe sadly has flare ups. Most of our governors worked hard & smart. We will come back STRONG!

CBS News responded:

Dr. Fauci explains (in a posted video) why the U.S. has continued to see a surge in cases while European countries have seen a sharp decrease. He says most European countries shut their economy by 95%, while functionally the U.S. only shut its economy down by 50%.

Did Europe’s economy collapse? No, because the 95 percent shutdown didn’t last long – thanks to widespread use of masks and social distancing. We in the United States still haven’t opened back up fully, because we won’t comply on a widespread basis.

What does this have to do with the Bible? Truth. Accountability. Loving other people. Serving other people.

That’s the point of wearing a mask – to protect other people as well as ourselves, which is a Biblical principle. Our Republican governor understands this; our Republican president does not.

COMMON SENSE

The COVID-19 pandemic is worldwide. It’s not a hoax perpetrated by Democrats to oust President Trump. The United States ranks eighth in the world in COVID deaths per million population, even though our actual numbers are higher than any other nation now. As of July 31, the U.S. has nearly 152,000 deaths from COVID, and is averaging 1,339 deaths per day. Closest on the chart in actual numbers to us is Brazil, with 91,000 cases and 1,129 deaths per day – with about two-thirds the population of the United States.

COVID is highly contagious and spreads quickly. It’s skyrocketing throughout the South and West, and disproportionately affects Hispanics and Blacks in this country.

Despite that, fewer people proportionally are dying from COVID, but Americans keep not only testing positive for it, but are suffering from the illness – sometimes for months.

The long-term effects of COVID, of course, aren’t known yet. But they are, and will be, very real.

Unlike many other nations around the world, we continue to suffer the consequences of not taking this virus seriously. It eventually will peak and we will return to “normal,” but at what cost?

The fact that we are an individual-rights country instead of a team-player nation is costing us dearly.

We just don’t care, do we?

Photo: Protesters sit in Father Duffy Square in Times Square on July 28 as New York City enters Phase 4 of reopening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans, and media production. (The Associated Press)

A lesson from 1968 we still haven’t learned

Racism and the National Anthem are not new issues. They go back a long way.

I re-discovered this as I re-read a book by, of all people, the great Detroit Tigers baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, who I grew up listening to with his partner Paul Carey. Best baseball radio duo ever.

Published in 1985, “Tuned to Baseball” includes a chapter titled “Jose’s Song.” Harwell, in addition to being a longtime sportscaster, was a songwriter and musician as well. In that role, the Tigers asked him to choose the National Anthem singers for the city’s three World Series home games in 1968 – games 3, 4 and 5.

Racial sensitivity

In Harwell’s words:

For the third game (the first in Detroit) my choice was Margaret Whiting. She was female, white, and represented the establishment. Margaret had strong Detroit ties. Her father and uncle, both famous songwriters, were Detroiters, and her sister Barbara still lived there.

For the second game, I picked Marvin Gaye – male, black, and a top star with a tremendous following. He also lived in Detroit.

Detroit race riots in 1967 and 1968 were still fresh in the minds of many at the time. Harwell proved his sensitivity to the era by choosing carefully his first two singers.

His choice for Game 5 on Oct. 7, 1968, revealed his deep concern for people of all racial and social backgrounds. Yet many who heard it were not happy with this musician’s rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.

To sing the National Anthem for Game 5, Harwell chose a relatively unknown but up-and-coming blind Puerto Rican singer: Jose Feliciano.

Feliciano stood by himself in deep center field, with only his guide dog and his guitar to accompany him. Wearing dark glasses (because he’s blind), Feliciano sang a bluesy rendition of Francis Scott Key’s battle song.

The intense reaction

The public’s response? In Harwell’s words:

That evening in my apartment, the phone was ringing off the hook. Radio men for interviews, newspapermen, TV men – all telling me that a furious reaction was sweeping across the country.

A couple of pages later in his book, Harwell discussed why he thought the response was so intense, and negative:

Riots were still taking place. The war in Vietnam was a major issue of the day. Drugs and crime-in-the-streets were causing even more unrest. The campuses were restless, and the chasm between young and old was deepening.

Into this vortex stepped Feliciano. The establishment reacted violently toward him. His wailing, bluesy, rock-singing style was different. Because he played a guitar and didn’t have a crew cut, the establishment equated him with “long-haired hippies.” Yet, his hair was not long. And (as his own statements later proved) his attitude toward the song and America leaned, if anything, more toward the establishment.

Even the dark glasses (worn because of blindness) prejudiced some against him. All his critics seemed ready to find something to protest. And they let him have it – full volley.

The plot deepens

What have we learned in the past half-century? Not much, it seems.

The establishment today is still fighting differences among us. It’s not Vietnam, but Russia or China. Racism, including riots and protests leading to death, destruction and plenty of publicity. Judging differences, including physical (and mental) disabilities.

We are ready to protest. And counter-protest. Full volley.

I think there’s a deeper issue in 2020 even than racism, even than COVID-19. Another issue set the stage for those crises to turn vitriolic. President Donald Trump is the lightning rod, but the issue goes deeper even than him.

The one non-negotiable issue in this country today is abortion.

The Republican Party is unabashedly “pro-life.” The Democratic Party supports abortion rights.

My opinion: Republicans are more anti-Democrat than they are pro-Trump. They cannot support any platform that allows abortion. Period. No other issue rises to the level that abortion does in the minds of staunch Republicans.

The wrong forum

The president of the United States, it should go without saying, faces many more issues besides that one. Foreign policy. The economy. The federal budget (and deficit). Education. “All men are created equal.” Public safety. Working with Congress. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” He’s commander-in-chief of our military. And on and on.

That’s why abortion is the wrong issue to stake our nation’s soul on.

Here’s a better idea. If abortion is the engine that drives Republicans, the presidency is not the correct venue for that fight. Shutting down abortion clinics doesn’t solve the problem either; it just drives it underground, out of public view.

The number of abortions performed in 2017 was less than half the number performed in the peak year of 1973, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which calls itself a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally.

Even still, at 2014 abortion rates, about one in four (24%) women will have an abortion by age 45, the institute says.

Abortion is a complicated issue, with women who undergo the procedure listing several reasons – not just one – for doing it. Issues include not being financially prepared, an unplanned pregnancy, partner issues, focus on other children, and interfering with educational or vocational plans, according to a verywellhealth.com report updated last December.

Let’s focus on those issues rather than the procedure itself. In today’s sex-saturated society, that’s a tall task.

The right issue

Republicans, especially the evangelicals in the party, should realize that faith is a bigger, much bigger, issue than abortion – or politics itself. No, the Democrats don’t have all the answers. Republicans don’t either.

The Bible, and the savior who claims the Bible was written about Him, do have the answers. Again, not the Republican version of Jesus Christ. Please, no. Jesus is so far ahead of them.

The Bible talks of unconditional love, which is love that asks nothing in return. Sex of any type does not offer that. Politicians don’t offer that. Even churches themselves can’t provide that – and Biblical churches know it, and preach Jesus and not themselves.

Ernie Harwell, in his book on baseball, understood this. In addition to being a Hall of Fame broadcaster and songwriter, Harwell was a “born-again” Christian who let his faith shine, humbly, through his microphone and in the way he lived his life. He participated in the Major League Baseball Chapel program, which offers a faith message on Sunday mornings to ballplayers who can’t attend church because of time or they are away from home. He was married to his wife, Lulu, for 68 years. He visited clubhouses and heard the rough language, but he didn’t participate in it. He understood people, that we’re all sinners. We aren’t to judge anyone, but are to love them and serve them.

That’s Harwell’s legacy. As Christians, that should be our legacy, too.

Where he stands: Andrew Yang

One in a series profiling Democratic presidential candidates – in their own words:

 

https://www.yang2020.com/policies/

 

Freedom dividend

Andrew would implement the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income of $1,000/month, $12,000 a year, for every American adult over the age of 18. This is independent of one’s work status or any other factor. This would enable all Americans to pay their bills, educate themselves, start businesses, be more creative, stay healthy, relocate for work, spend time with their children, take care of loved ones, and have a real stake in the future.

Other than regular increases to keep up the cost of living, any change to the Freedom Dividend would require a constitutional amendment.

It will be illegal to lend or borrow against one’s Dividend.

A Universal Basic Income at this level would permanently grow the economy by 12.56 to 13.10 percent — or about $2.5 trillion by 2025 — and it would increase the labor force by 4.5 million to 4.7 million people.  Putting money into people’s hands and keeping it there would be a perpetual boost and support to job growth and the economy.

  • Approximately 40 million Americans live below the poverty line.
  • Technology is quickly displacing a large number of workers, and the pace will only increase as automation and other forms of artificial intelligence become more advanced. One-third of American workers will lose their jobs to automation by 2030, according to McKinsey. This has the potential to destabilize our economy and society if unaddressed.
  • Good jobs are becoming more scarce and Americans are already working harder for less.
  • It is necessary to support and preserve a robust consumer economy.
  • Many Americans are stuck in the wrong jobs because of a need to survive.
  • Many positive social activities are impossible for many to do because they lack the financial resources to dedicate time to it, including taking care of a child or sick loved one, and volunteering in the community.

Health care

  1. Control the cost of prescription drugs through negotiating drug prices, using international reference pricing, forced licensing, public manufacturing facilities, and importation.
  2. Invest in technologies to make health services function efficiently and reduce waste by utilizing modernized services like telehealth and assistive technology, supported by measures such as multi-state licensing laws.
  3. Change the incentive structure by offering flexibility to providers, prioritizing patients over paperwork, and increasing the supply of practitioners.
  4. Shift our focus and educating ourselves in preventive care and end-of-life care options.
  5. Ensure crucial aspects of wellbeing, including mental health, care for people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS detection and treatment, reproductive health, maternal care, dental, and vision are addressed and integrated into comprehensive care for the 21st century.
  6. Diminish the influence of lobbyists and special interests in the healthcare industry that makes it nearly impossible to draft and pass meaningful healthcare reform.

Human-centered capitalism

The central tenets of Human Capitalism are:

  1. Humans are more important than money
  2. The unit of a Human Capitalism economy is each person, not each dollar
  3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values

As President, I will …

  • Change the way we measure the economy, from GDP and the stock market to a more inclusive set of measurements that ensures humans are thriving. New measurements like Median Income and Standard of Living, Health-adjusted Life Expectancy, Mental Health, Childhood Success Rates, Social and Economic Mobility, Absence of Substance Abuse, and others will give us a much clearer and more powerful sense of how we are doing both individually and as a society.
  • Rein in corporate excesses by appointing regulators who are paid a lot of money – competitive with senior jobs in the private sector – but then will be prohibited from going to private industry afterward. Regulators need to be focused on making the right decisions and policies for the public with zero concern for their next position.
  • The government should create a modern time-banking system that will reward people and organizations who drive significant social value.

In addition to GDP and job statistics, the government should adopt measurements like:

  • Median Income and Standard of Living
  • Levels of engagement with Work and Labor Participation Rate
  • Health-adjusted life expectancy
  • Childhood Success Rates
  • Infant mortality
  • Surveys of National Well-being
  • Average Physical Fitness and Mental Health
  • Quality of Infrastructure
  • Proportion of Elderly in Quality Care
  • Human Capital Development and Access to Education
  • Marriage Rates and Success
  • Deaths of Despair / Despair Index / Substance Abuse
  • National Optimism / Mindset of Abundance
  • Community Integrity and Social Capital
  • Environmental Quality
  • Global Temperature Variance and Sea Levels
  • Re-acclimation of Incarcerated Individuals and Rates of Criminality
  • Artistic and Cultural Vibrancy
  • Design and Aesthetics
  • Information Integrity / Journalism
  • Dynamism and Mobility
  • Social and Economic Equity
  • Public Safety
  • Civic Engagement
  • Cybersecurity
  • Economic Competitiveness and Growth
  • Responsiveness and Evolution of Government
  • Efficient Use of Resources

Climate change

Achieve net-zero emissions goal – 2049

  • 2025 – Establish net-zero standards for newbuildings
  • 2027 – New nuclear reactors begin to come online
  • 2030 – Zero-emission standard for all new cars
  • 2035 – 100% emissions free electric grid
  • 2040 – Net-zero for all transportation sectors
  • 2045 – 85% methane recapture
  • 2049 – Fully green economy

Budget Overview (Direct Spend)

$400 billion invested in Democracy Dollars over 20 years

$10 billion invested in a debt forgiveness fund for rural co-ops

$200 billion invested in Grid Modernization over 15 years

$50 billion invested in the next generation of safe, clean nuclear power over 5 years

$250 billion invested in net-zero emission ground transportation over 15 years

$80.8 billion invested in net-zero emission air transportation over 15 years

$285.5 billion invested in sustainable agricultural, forestry, and land methods use over 15 years

$5 billion invested in research for sustainable materials over 5 years

$45 billion invested in National Labs over 15 years

$3 trillion to finance loans for household investments in renewable energy over 20 years

$60 billion invested in vocational and apprenticeship programs over 15 years

$70 billion invested in combating rising sea levels over 20 years

$25 billion in pre-disaster mitigation grants for high-risk hurricane communities over 10 years

$122.5 billion invested in fire prevention and combating wildfires over 5 years

$90 billion to establish and fund the Climate Change Adaptation Institute over 20 years

$800 million invested in geoengineering research methods

$200 billion discretionary spending to fund additional necessary programs over 20 years

TOTAL INVESTED OVER 20 YEARS: $4.87 Trillion

As President, I will:

  • Create the American Scorecard to better measure our environmental quality and sustainability, and treat it as a primary measurement of our economy and well-being.
  • Pass legislation requiring large corporations to document the externalized costs of their environmental impact.
  • Pass Climate Risk Disclosure bills to incentivize divestment in oil companies and other heavy polluting industries.
  • End all fossil fuel subsidies and use that money for retraining programs and subsidies for low-income individuals to transition to sustainable energy sources.
  • Stop all new leases for oil and gas companies on public lands, and end any existing lease.
  • Fight against any new pipeline or similar infrastructure, especially any that would cut across contested land.
  • Create more aggressive Clean Power Plan targets, and end the grandfathering-in of old plants that haven’t been sufficiently upgraded to trigger NSR.
  • Provide a $10 billion debt forgiveness fund for all rural co-ops that are relying on non-renewable sources who want to replace their plants with renewables, and provide public financing/securitization options for rebuilding with sustainable energy.
  • Commit to equipping and powering all federal buildings with American-made efficiency and clean energy technology.
  • Work to create standards allowing common elements of systems (e.g., batteries) to be easily replaced as the technologies develop.
  • Create a plan to recycle elements (e.g., batteries) that become obsolete.
  • Set sustainable infrastructure standards for all new buildings; buildings that are being rebuilt or upgraded; and all federal buildings.
  • Propose a carbon fee and dividend system that:
    • Sets an initial carbon tax of $40/ton, which would increase in regular intervals of $5/ton for the first four years and then $10/ton until it hits $100/ton.
  • Create a border carbon adjustment to protect American goods that would:
    • Charge a fee on imports from countries that don’t impose a similar carbon fee, or some type of carbon tax.
    • Provide a rebate on exports to countries that don’t impose a similar carbon fee, or some type of carbon tax.
  • Dedicate at least half of the money raised through the fee to dividends specifically designed to help Americans afford transitions to sustainable energy sources and vehicles.
  • Create a “Race to the Top”-style competition to drive innovation in our grid system by the private sector.
  • Invest $50 billion in incentives for private companies and investment in new modern infrastructure.
  • Invest $150 billion in upgrading our current electric infrastructure systems.
  • Invest $50 billion in research and development for thorium-based molten salt reactors, and nuclear fusion reactors, to provide a green energy source for Americans.
  • Engage in a public relations campaign to update the reputation of nuclear reactors.
  • Have new nuclear reactors start to come online by 2027.
  • Immediately create a system similar to the ZEV program in California, and require all vehicles starting with 2030 models to be zero-emission.
  • Invest $50 billion in EV charging stations in nonurban areas.
  • Create a $200 billion grant program to states to convert their public transportation systems (trains, buses, school buses) to electric vehicles.

Pass the Aircraft Emission Act, requiring:

  • All commercial, private, and government aircraft to move toward low-emission standards as is technically feasible by 2040.
  • Government investment of $2 billion in carbon capture technologies research and $9.5 billion over 15 years in installing carbon capture systems that can equal out the remaining limited amount of air travel emissions.
  • Government investment of $300 billion over 15 years into research for alternative aircraft fuel.
  • Provide grants and guarantee profitability for farms that experiment with new, sustainable techniques.
  • Increase farm bill subsidies by $75 billion over the next 15 years for farms that experiment with new, sustainable techniques.
  • Invest $2 billion in research for vertical farming techniques.
  • Direct the Department of Agriculture to provide reports to states and private enterprises to help them improve their grazing and livestock land management.
  • Work with states to determine sustainable crops for their areas, and suggest changes as climate change continues to advance.
  • Increase funding to biogas programs by tripling the current annual mandatory funding for biogas to $200 million.
  • Authorize a $500 million increase to federal agencies tasked with maintaining land to increase afforestation while rejuvenating high-carbon ecosystems such as peatlands, wetlands, rangelands, and mangroves.
  • Invest in research for drought-resistant crops.
  • Provide $300 million in tax credits to incentivize supermarkets to waste less food, either through donations or inventory management changes, and to source more local food.
  • Create the Renewable Energy Building Association – REBA – to loan up to $3 trillion over 20 years to individuals to purchase heat pumps, solar panels, batteries, and other technologies for their residences. If households choose to take advantage of this, they will pay off these loans at a 3% (or lower) interest rate and will end up paying less annually than their previous energy bills.
  • Research coastal communities that are likely to be impacted by rising sea levels and provide property owners with information about risks and options.
  • Make up to $40 billion available in subsidies, grants, and low-interest loans to individuals who wish to elevate or relocate their homes, or move to higher ground.
  • Help communities plan for rising sea levels with expertise and information.
  • Invest $30 billion in high-risk cities to build seawalls and water pumps, upgrade roads and sewer systems, and rejuvenate beaches to serve as barriers to rising sea levels.
  • Invest $25 billion over 10 years in helping communities that are likely to be impacted by repeated hurricane and flood damage to make their communities more disaster-resistant through pre-disaster mitigation grants.
  • Re-evaluate the way FEMA and the NFIP determine where structures can be rebuilt, taking a stricter stance against rebuilding in danger zones.
  • Quintuple the budget for the U.S. Forest Service to $24.5 billion for at least five years, and specifically tailor it to focus on fire prevention, and promote partnerships with local experts on combating wildfires in their areas. This will more than pay for itself by preventing megafires.
  • Work with federal agencies such as the EPA to adjust how specific metrics are measured to take a more long-term view of the costs and benefits of prescribed fires.
  • Work with Congress to pass legislation aligning incentives for states, developers, and homeowners towards fire prevention and avoiding high-risk areas.
  • Establish a National Fire Insurance Program that provides insurance for homeowners in high risk fire zones, with a stipulation that homes must take preventative actions such as defensible space and reevaluation standards in case locations are determined to be dangerous for rebuilding.

Establish a Climate Change Adaptation Institute with a starting annual budget of $4.5 billion to monitor the ongoing effects of climate change and propose new adaptation measures, including:

  • Better urban planning, better farming methods, and better land use, especially with respect to water management during droughts.
  • Educational drives to inform people on how to cope with heat waves, and prepare treatment centers to quickly respond to and treat individuals suffering from the effects of a heat wave.
  • Better equipping local officials to respond to emergencies such as floods, droughts, landslides, mudslides, avalanches and outbreaks.
  • Provide $800 million to NASA, the Department of Defense, and NOAA to research, experiment with, and test geoengineering methods that will either give us more time to deal with climate change, or give us options should we hit a climate tipping point of which we aren’t aware.
  • Convene a global summit on geoengineering. Many researchers in the U.S. and other countries are doing work in this field – if we bring them together we can formalize and accelerate our learning and build a global approach.

Criminal justice

As President, I will…

  • Work to end the use of private prison facilities for federal inmates.
  • Shift drug policy away from punishment and towards treatment.
  • Invest money to fund innovative prison programs that decrease recidivism and increase reintegration.
  • Invest money to support businesses that hire felons who have served their prison term.
  • Push to reconsider harsh felony laws that prevent those who have served their prison term from reintegrating into society.
  • Identify non-violent drug offenders for probation and potential early release.
  • Support the full legalization of marijuana at the federal level and remove it from the controlled substances list.
  • Expunge the federal convictions of all marijuana-related use or possession offenses.
  • Identify non-violent drug offenders for probation and potential early release.
  • Work with states to decrease their reliance on cash bail, providing assistance and grants for various programs to increase trial attendance without the need to incarcerate people ahead of conviction.
  • Implement a federal program of pre-trial services that would be made available to states, such as a text message system to remind individuals of their upcoming court dates.

Education

As President, I will…

  • Immediately reduce the student loan payments for millions of Americans by ensuring that the American government does not profit one cent from its educational loan servicing and that students get the same interest rates as the wealthiest bank. Any profit that the government does realize will go into reducing rates the following year until profit is zero.
  • Explore a blanket partial reduction in the principal of school loans, especially for recent graduates with the largest debt levels, and forgiveness for debt beyond a certain period after graduation.
  • Propose the 10×10 Student Loan Emancipation Act, a plan by which the federal government would buy student loan debt (negotiated rate with the private lenders) and allow students to opt into a plan to repay it through pledging 10% of their salary per year for 10 years, after which the balance would be forgiven.
  • Ask schools to forgive in part or in whole the debts of those who do not graduate.
  • Initiate a program that allows graduates to pay a percent of income instead of a fixed amount.
  • Establish a commission that will explore debt forgiveness or reduction for students who sought degrees under false pretenses.
  • Change bankruptcy laws to make it easier to discharge educational debt.
  • Expand a program that forgives the debt of graduates who work in rural areas or with underprivileged populations.
  • Close schools with high loan default rates and consistently low employment placement success.
  • Police and prosecute all marketing representations of schools that might induce enrollment under false pretenses.
  • Allow student loan debt to be discharged through bankruptcy, thus forcing lenders to work with students in good faith to find workable repayment plans.
  • Increase funding to vocational programs within public schools.
  • Direct the Department of Education to provide materials to all public schools about career paths that don’t require a college degree.
  • Prioritize career paths that students express interest in rather than giving blanket advice that college is the right/only option.
  • Begin a public education campaign championing vocational jobs and education, “I Work With My Hands – And It’s Awesome.”
  • Ensure HBCU federal funding levels are equitable when compared to similar schools.
  • Commit $250 million in federal funds to provide training programs in grant writing for faculty and staff at HBCUs.
  • Provide $7.5 billion in federal funding for general infrastructure improvements including facilities and academic resources, as well as $750 million for building out a fundraising infrastructure.
  • End any practices that allow banks to charge HBCUs higher fees, and provide public funding options to ensure that all HBCUs can receive lower rates.
  • Help strengthen HBCUs with support for loan forgiveness and salary incentives through $1.5 billion in federal funding to recent PhDs who commit to teaching at HBCUs.
  • Strengthen and empower the White House Initiative on HBCUs by providing $6 billion in federal funding for scholarships and internships through the organization, and by encouraging them to engage in dialogue with HBCU leaders on strengths and weaknesses of various programs.

Government reform

As President, I will…

Pledge to personally:

  • Divest from all personal investments and business interests, and place all assets in a blind trust.
  • Disclose the previous 10 years of my income tax returns.
  • Accept no speaking fees or board positions for personal gain after leaving office.

Hold my cabinet officials to a higher standard by:

  • Increasing salaries for government officials who operate in a regulatory capacity to much higher levels, but ban them from receiving anything of value in exchange for advocating for a position (lobbying) to members of the federal government.
  • Providing an Anti-Corruption Stipend for all members of the Executive Branch after the termination of their employment, to be paid as long as they don’t accept anything of value in exchange for advocating for a position to members of the federal government.
  • Firing anyone in my Administration who accepts money from lobbyists for a personal legal defense fund they’ve established to defend from any wrong-doing, whether while in office or before.

Work with Congress to pass legislation that:

  • Raises the next President’s salary to $4 million and simultaneously bars them from receiving any speaking fees or board positions for personal gain after leaving office.
  • Prevents individuals serving in government from accepting money from lobbyists for a personal legal defense fund.
  • Create a new executive department – the Department of Technology – to work with private industry and congressional leaders to monitor technological developments, assess risks, and create new guidance. The new department would be based in Silicon Valley and would initially be focused on Artificial Intelligence.
  • Create a new Cabinet-level position of Secretary of Technology who will be tasked with leading the new department.
  • Create a public-private partnership between leading tech firms and experts within government to identify emerging threats and suggest ways to mitigate those threats while maximizing the benefit of technological innovation to society.

Family/social cohesion

As President, I will…

  • Work with Congress to pass the Equality Act, the Do No Harm Act, and any legislation extending protected status to individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Restore the Voting Rights Act to protect against voter ID laws that can deny transgender individuals access to the ballot box.
  • Allow transgender people to serve in the military.
  • Appoint LGBTQ+ individuals to senior posts in my administration.
  • Restore voting rights to individuals convicted of felonies and prohibit states from denying ex-felons the right to vote.
  • Restore voting rights for current inmates unless they have deprived someone else of their right to vote.
  • Prioritize all initiatives to expand and restore voting rights in the U.S. to the previously and currently incarcerated.
  • Create a Department of the Attention Economy that focuses specifically on how to responsibly design and use smartphones, social media, gaming, and chat apps. It will include overall guidelines, as well as age-based ones.
  • Direct the Department to investigate the regulation of certain companies and apps. Many of these companies essentially function as public utilities and news sources – we used to regulate broadcast networks, newspapers, and phone companies. We need to do the same with technology companies now that they are the primary way people both receive information and communicate with each other.
  • Provide guidance (and regulation, if needed) on design features that maximize screen time for young people, like removing autoplay video for children under 16, removing the queues that allow infinite scrolling, capping the number of recommendations per day, reducing notification signs and “like” counts, and using artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine when children are using devices to cap screen hours per day.
  • Establish rules and standards around kid-targeted content to protect them from extreme or inappropriate content.
  • Incentivize content production of high-quality and positive kids programming similar to broadcast TV.
  • Require platforms to provide guidance on kid-healthy content for parents, and provide incentives for companies that work to make user data of minors available to their parents.
  • Include classes on the responsible use of technology in public school curricula and teach children how to distinguish reliable from unreliable news sources online.

Women

As President, I will…

  • Provide every American voter with $100 Democracy Dollars for each election cycle, a voucher that they can use to support candidates of their choosing.
  • Commit to appointing women in top leadership positions in government and the military.
  • Prioritize the skills and capability over typical traditional experience for judicial nominees, thereby prioritizing women and minorities for the federal bench.
  • Implement a Freedom Dividend that empowers women to start businesses and further their education.
  • Explore legislation similar to the California law that promotes women on corporate boards.
  • Require certain diversity standards for federal contracts and development grants as a way to incentivize women in leadership.
  • Implement a gender-neutral paid family leave federal mandate.
  • Work with Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into law.
  • Appoint judges who support a woman’s right to choose.
  • Ensure comprehensive contraceptive care is covered under all health insurance plans.
  • Repeal the Hyde Amendment.
  • Fully support and increase funding to Planned Parenthood. Repeal the Title X Gag Rule and the Global Gag Rule.
  • Implement a comprehensive federal Paid Family Leave plan that provides the ability for all families, regardless of make-up, the time to heal and bond with their child.
  • Guarantee six months Paid Family Leave for all parents, making this accessible to all families and employees in the U.S.
  • Offer tax breaks for employers who offer 12 months of paid leave for single parents.
  • Ensure this policy applies to the addition of a new child by birth, adoption, or foster care.

Foreign policy/veterans

  • Work with our allies to rebuild our stature in the world, and strengthen alliances such as NATO.
  • Reinvest in diplomacy and bolster funding to the State Department.
  • Work with allies to project our combined strength throughout the world, without engaging in activities that will cost American lives and money with no clear benefit to our long-term well-being.
  • Sign a repeal to the AUMF, returning the authority to declare war to Congress, and refuse to engage in anything other than emergency military activity without the express consent of Congress.
  • Regularly audit the Department of Defense.
  • Focus our federal budget on fixing problems at home instead of spending trillions of dollars abroad.
  • Work to combat the misconception that most veterans face mental health issues, decreasing employment prospects.
  • Create mentorship programs, and work with businesses and nonprofits to do the same.
  • Incentivize businesses to hire veterans, and create programs to help with early career transitions for veterans.
  • Assist veteran-run businesses in getting off the ground, and in becoming successful.
  • Implement policies to increase the stability veterans feel, and assist in their transition to civilian life.
  • Invest in veteran mental health, and improve funding to crisis helplines.
  • Create an initiative to have senior members of the military discuss their own battles with mental health issues, and the treatment they received, to destigmatize it.
  • Provide all veterans with gun storage lockers.

Immigration

As President, I will …

  • Secure the southern border and drastically decrease the number of illegal entries into the U.S.
  • Provide a new tier of long-term permanent residency for anyone who has been here illegally for a substantial amount of time so that they can come out of the shadows, enter the formal economy, and become full members of the community.
    • This new tier would permit individuals to work and stay in the country, provided they pay their taxes and don’t get convicted of a felony.
    • This tier would put them on a longer, 18-year path to citizenship (the same amount of time it takes those born in the U.S. to get full citizenship rights), not only reflecting our desire to bring them into our country but also their decision to circumvent legal immigration channels.
  • Invest heavily in an information campaign to inform immigrant communities of this new tier of residency, and deport any undocumented immigrant who doesn’t proactively enroll in the program.
  • Support the DREAM Act as a part of comprehensive immigration and border security reforms.
  • Enhance the H-1B visa program and give workers who receive positive reviews from employers the option to remain in the country as permanent residents.
  • Enhance the F-1 visa program and automatically grant any student who graduates with at least a graduate degree a green card.
  • Personally encourage the top students of the world to come to America, start their families here, build their companies here, and then their child can become President.

Where she stands: Elizabeth Warren

One in a series profiling Democratic presidential candidates – in their own words:

 

https://elizabethwarren.com/plans

 

Clean energy

As president, I’ll work to rapidly achieve 100% clean, renewable and zero-emission energy in electricity generation. To do that, we will:

  • Set high standards for utilities nationwide.My administration will require utilities to achieve 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030, with strong interim targets along the way, and to achieve all-clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy in electricity generation by 2035. We’ll also establish regulations to retire coal power within a decade, while ensuring that we do not leave coal communities behind by funding health care and pensions for miners.
  • Create a Federal Renewable Energy Commission.I’ll work with Congress to overhaul the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is tasked with regulating the U.S. electrical grid, replacing it instead with a Federal Renewable Energy Commission. The revised commission’s mission will be to reduce greenhouse gas pollution — and we’ll slam shut the revolving door with industry to ensure it is responsive not to fossil fuel interests but to our communities.
  • Use the strength of federal investment and policy to accelerate the transition. I’ll require federal agencies to achieve 100% clean energy in their domestic power purchases by the end of my first term. I’ll set a goal of providing 10% of our overall electricity generation from renewable sources offshore or on public lands — nearly 10 times what we are currently generating.
  • Provide federal subsidies to speed clean energy adoption. We’ll expand existing federal energy financing programs, like the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program and the Rural Utilities Service, including by providing direct grants for clean energy projects. We’ll extend programs to provide grants in lieu of tax credits, establish refundable tax incentives to speed utilities’ deployment of existing smart grid and advanced transmission technologies, and work with utilities to increase on-bill investment in energy efficiency solutions, including by subsidizing those investments for low-income communities. And we’ll implement community workforce and project-labor agreements to ensure that the jobs created by these investments are good, union jobs, with prevailing wages determined through collective bargaining.
  • Expand interstate and regional coordination. To maximize efficiency of the grid, I’ll provide incentives to expedite planning and siting of long-distance and inter-state transmission of clean electricity. We’ll prioritize areas with significant queues of clean-energy generation capacity awaiting transmission. We’ll provide dedicated support for the four Power Marketing Administrations, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Appalachian Regional Commission to help them build publicly-owned clean energy assets and deploy clean power to help communities transition off fossil fuels. And we’ll expand investments in smart energy storage solutions and cybersecurity for the grid.
  • 100% CLEAN VEHICLES

A Warren administration will set a goal of achieving zero emissions in all new light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks, and buses by 2030. To achieve this, we will:

  • Set ambitious standards for fuels and emissions … reaching a requirement for 100% zero-emissions for all new light- and medium-duty vehicles by 2030. At the same time, I’ll establish a Clean Fuel Standard to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting lower-carbon alternative fuels.
  • Modernize the automotive manufacturing base and developing infrastructure. I’ll provide federal investments to grow domestic zero-emission vehicle manufacturing and reinforce the assembly plants and supply base, including battery manufacturing. I’ll also invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including ensuring that every federal interstate highway rest stop hosts a fast-charging station by the end of my first term in office, and ensuring that charging stations are as widespread and accessible tomorrow as gasoline stations are today.
  • Boost consumer demand for zero emission vehicles. I’ll extend business and consumer tax credits for purchasing zero-emission vehicles. And I’ll create a “Clean Cars for Clunkers” program, based on the Recovery Act trade-in program, to extend financial incentives to encourage consumers to replace fuel-inefficient cars with zero-emission vehicles, made in America, by union workers. My Green Manufacturing plan commits $1.5 trillion over 10 years for the federal procurement of clean, green, American-made products, including zero-emission vehicles. We’ll use this funding to require rapid electrification of the federal vehicle fleet, requiring that all new vehicle purchases be zero-emission by the end of my first term. And we’ll work with state and local governments to accelerate the electrification of their vehicle fleets as well, including by financing the transition from diesel to zero-emission transit and school buses.
  • Decarbonize other forms of transit. We cannot stop at cars and buses — we must address carbon pollution from all forms of transportation, including maritime, rail, and aviation, and expand and improve public transit across our country. And in addition to transforming the vehicle sector, my administration will invest in research that prioritizes decarbonization of long-distance shipping and transportation — two of the most challenging sectors to decarbonize. Aviation pollution in particular remains fast-growing. As president, I’ll commit to international goals to hold climate pollution from civil aviation to 2020 levels, and then reduce them over time.
  • 100% CLEAN BUILDINGS

As president, I’ll commit to take immediate action to achieve zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings by the end of my second term in 2028. To make that happen, we will:

  • Adopt bold standards for construction.I’ll create a national zero-carbon building standard by 2023, and I’ll partner with states and local governments to enforce new and stronger building codes. My administration will provide incentives for local governments to adopt more aggressive standards, bringing down emissions. We’ll link energy and pollution standards to federal support for new construction projects, by building them into agencies’ grantmaking requirements, federal housing tax credits, and green mortgage products offered by federal housing finance agencies. And I’ll direct federal agencies to accelerate proven appliance energy efficiency standards, making American-manufactured appliances cleaner and more competitive, and saving consumers money.
  • Use federal buying power to drive change.We will accelerate the adoption of a rule to eliminate all fossil fuel use in new and renovated federal buildings — moving that deadline up by five years to the end of my first term, by 2025. We’ll use a portion of the $1.5 trillion federal procurement commitment in my Green Manufacturing plan to purchase clean energy products for use in federal buildings, from construction materials to heat storage technology to appliances. And we’ll increase access to federal financing for retrofits and new construction, to upgrade public buildings at all levels of government.
  • Encourage private capital investments. I’ll create incentives for private investment in energy efficiency and electrification in residential and commercial buildings, including through tax credits, direct spending, and regulatory tools. We’ll expand refundable credits for installing energy efficiency upgrades, and extend existing tax credits for wind and solar power.
  • Incentivize retrofits of existing building stock. In addition to achieving zero emissions in new buildings, we must address our existing stock of commercial buildings and residential housing. I’ll establish a national initiative to upgrade building energy efficiency, offering tax credits, generous and inclusive financing, and direct federal funding to put Americans to work reducing the carbon output of existing homes and businesses, including subsidizing weatherization for low-income households — and I’ll meet Governor Inslee’s target of refurbishing 4% of houses and buildings every year until the job is done.

Immigration

As president, I will:

  • Decriminalize migration and refocus enforcement on serious criminal activity. … In 2016, more than half of all federal criminal prosecutions were for immigration violations — more than prosecutions for terrorism, organized crime, hate crimes, or financial fraud. … As president, I will immediately issue guidance to end criminal prosecutions for simple administrative immigration violations; end Operation Streamline, which subjects migrants to mass prosecutions; and refocus our limited resources on actual criminals and real threats to the United States. I will also issue prosecutorial guidance to prioritize immigration cases with security concerns, and make sure government attorneys are properly exercising their discretion for individuals who pose no public safety risk.
  • Separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement. When law enforcement is forced to also handle immigration violations, people are less willing to report crimes for fear of revealing their immigration status. As President, I’ll put in place strict guidelines to protect sensitive locations like schools, medical facilities, and courthouses from enforcement actions. I’ll expand programs that grant protections to immigrant victims of serious crimes who come forward and assist law enforcement. And I’ll end programs that force local police to enforce federal immigration laws.
  • Remake CBP and ICE in a way that reflects our values … focusing their efforts on homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods, and preventing smuggling and trafficking. And I’ll insist on transparency and strengthen the authorities of independent internal watchdogs to prevent future abuses.
  • End unnecessary detention. As President, I’ll issue guidance ensuring that detention is used only where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk. I will put additional layers of protection in place for certain groups, including asylum seekers, families and pregnant women, and LGBTQ+ people who are more vulnerable in a general detention facility. And I’ll enforce strict standards for remaining detention facilities, including for medical care and to end the use of solitary confinement.
  • Eliminate private detention facilities. …
  • Expand the executive use of parole and invest in alternatives-to-detention.… I’ll significantly expand successful programs, which include case management, referrals to legal and social services, and periodic check-ins and surveillance. Their expanded use would save more than a billion dollars each year.
  • Reject exclusionary policies based on race, religion and nationality. 
  • Raise the refugee cap. At a time when 70 million people are displaced around the world, I’ll welcome 125,000 refugees in my first year, ramping up to at least 175,000 refugees per year by the end of my first term.
  • Affirm asylum protections. We should welcome those fleeing violence. … I’ll streamline processes to eliminate the backlog of individuals waiting for an asylum adjudication. And I’ll pardon those convicted of providing food and water to migrants — because no one should go to jail simply for providing humanitarian aid to another person in need.
  • Expand legal immigration. 
  • Make it easier for those eligible for citizenship to naturalize. Today more than 9 million green card holders are eligible to apply for citizenship but many have not chosen to naturalize due to unnecessary barriers, including the cost of applications, the complexity of the process, and administrative issues and backlogs.
  • Reduce the family reunification backlog. As many as 4 million immigrants who are otherwise eligible to come to the United States legally are prohibited because of by-country visa caps. My administration will redistribute unused visas to reduce this backlog. I’ll also urge Congress to repeal laws that make family reunification more difficult to achieve.
  • Repeal the 3- and 10-year bars. The law requires a person unlawfully in the United States to depart the country for three or 10 years before they can apply for legal status. I’ll petition Congress to repeal that requirement. In the meantime, I’ll reinterpret “extreme hardship” to include family separation, making it easier to obtain a waiver allowing people to apply for legal status without having to leave the country for an extended period of time.
  • Provide a fair and achievable pathway to citizenship … for the approximately 11 million undocumented individuals currently living and working in the United States. We should immediately reinstate the DACA program and protections for our Dreamers and their families. I’ll expand the program to cover more young people by extending the cut-off date, eliminating the arbitrary application age requirement, and extending the “minor” designation to anyone who was brought to the U.S. under the age of 18. But Dreamers have families and communities that are productive, longtime members of our American family and need protection too. The same is true of the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure holders. I’ll extend the individual exercise of discretion to offer deferred action protections to immigrants who have contributed to our country for years and have built careers and families here. And I’ll push for a legislative fix that provides a fair but achievable path to citizenship for them.
  • Limit the penalties considered for status determinations. We shouldn’t penalize people for prior convictions under statutes that criminalize border crossing for the purpose of status determinations. And we should establish a statute of limitations for how long a misdemeanor will be considered as part of an individual’s immigration adjudication. Citizens with minor, non-violent criminal records should not be permanently excluded from being a part of American society — and immigrants shouldn’t be, either.
  • Create an Office of New Americans dedicated to supporting new immigrants as they transition into our society and economy, and task that office to draft a national strategy for integration. We should provide English, civics, and employment-focused classes and training for immigrants who want to enroll, and work with faith groups and other community organizations to provide support services for refugees.
  • Restore and increase aid. I’ll commit at least $1.5 billion annually in aid to fully fund programs that target crime, disrupt trafficking, address poverty, reduce sexual violence, and enhance programs for at-risk youth in Central America and throughout our hemisphere — and I’ll rally the international community to match those funds.
  • Step up efforts to address transnational crime. A Warren administration will expand efforts to reduce corruption and improve the rule of law, investigate and prosecute human trafficking, employ targeted financial sanctions against drug kingpins and money launderers, and provide robust funding for efforts to counter gangs.
  • Inform and protect those seeking refuge. My administration will provide information about the right to seek asylum, reinstate the Central American Minors program, and coordinate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help resettle children and families who need protection. We’ll also do more to spread awareness about the dangers of attempting migration across borders to help prevent vulnerable people from being exploited along the way.

Part-time workers

My Fair Workweek plan will:

  • Require employers with 15 or more employees to give two weeks of advance notice of work schedules. Employees in the retail, food service, cleaning, hospitality, and warehouse industries will get their work schedules at least two weeks in advance so that they can plan their lives. Workers will be compensated for changes within that two-week window and have the right to decline work hours that are not listed.
  • Empower employees to ask for schedules that work for them without fear of retaliation. … If employees ask to change their schedule to accommodate caregiving, education or training, or a second job, their employer will have to accommodate them unless they have a legitimate business reason for denying the request.
  • Ensure a right to rest between shifts. Too often, workers are forced to work the closing shift one day and the opening shift the next, leaving too little time to rest or take care of obligations outside work. My plan would give workers at companies with more than 15 employees … at least 11 hours between shifts and compensating them with higher pay for hours voluntarily worked within that window.
  • Require employers to offer additional work hours to existing, qualified, part-time workers before hiring new employees or contractors. 
  • Provide benefits to part-time workers. … Workers who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months will have access to Family Medical Leave Act leave and protection, regardless of whether they are part time or full time. Workers who work at least 500 hours for two consecutive years will also have access to employee retirement plans.

Public education

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Strengthen Title VI. … Students and parents should have the right to challenge systemic discrimination that perpetuates school segregation, so I will push to expand the private right of action under Title VI to cover claims of disparate impact against states and school districts. I will also fight to give the Justice Department – in coordination with the relevant funding agency – direct enforcement authority to bring disparate impact claims under Title VI, and to give DOJ the right to issue subpoenas and civil investigative demands under Title VI to strengthen their investigative capacity.
  • Revive and fund the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws in our public schools. …
  • Improve federal data collection to support better outcomes. Activists, academics, and legislators rely on the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection to monitor and remedy what’s broken in our public education system. But there’s a years-long lag in the data collection process – and the data that are collected glosses over crucial details. I will increase funding for CRDC so that we can expand the types of data collected, provide data collection training on the district and state level, and produce data more quickly.
  • Expand access to early childhood services and education. … I will ensure all children can attend free high-quality universal pre-K.
  • Eliminate high-stakes testing. The push toward standardized testing has hurt both students and teachers. … As president, I’ll push to prohibit the use of standardized testing as a primary or significant factor in closing a school, firing a teacher, or making any other high-stakes decisions, and encourage schools to use authentic assessments that allow students to demonstrate learning in multiple ways.
  • Cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and provide free and nutritious school meals. … And to further address student food insecurity and hunger, I will direct my Department of Education to work with schools to look for ways to provide dinner, and meals over weekends and throughout long holidays to students who need it.
  • Invest in evidenced-based school safety. Despite evidence that the militarization of our schools does not … I will push to close the mental health provider gap in schools so that every school has access to the staff necessary to support students. And if police officers have to be in schools, they should receive training on discrimination, youth development, and de-escalation tactics, and the contracts between districts and law enforcement agencies should clearly define the responsibilities and limitations of the officers and the rights of the students. And no teacher should be armed – period.
  • End zero-tolerance discipline policies. Zero-tolerance policies require out-of-school suspensions or expulsions on the first offense for a variety of behaviors. These policies are ineffective, disproportionally  hurt Black, Latino, Native American, and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander students, and can serve as the entry point to the school-to-prison pipeline. My administration will encourage schools to adopt discipline policies that draw students in rather than pushing them out, including restorative justice programs. I will also push to issue guidance to limit the use of discriminatory dress codes.
  • Establish more School-Based Health Centers. … I’ve committed to establishing a $25 billion capital fund for communities that are in health professional shortage areas.
  • Expand the implementation of comprehensive, culturally relevant curriculum and Social Emotional Learning – curriculum that focuses on empathy, responsible decision-making, and positive relationships. … I’ve already committed to supporting programs to ensure that public school curriculum includes Native American history and culture as a core component of all students’ education. In addition to those programs, we should ensure that all the communities that make up our public schools are reflected in school curricula. …
  • Address chronic absenteeism without punishing parents or children. … I’m committed to decriminalizing truancy and to working to decrease the rate of chronic absenteeism through other means …
  • Provide funding for schools to increase pay and support for all public school educators. …
  • Strengthen the ability of teachers, paraprofessionals, and staff to organize and bargain for just compensation, for a voice in education policy, and for greater investment in public education. One of the best ways to raise teacher pay permanently and sustainably – and to give teachers more voice in their schools – is to make it easier for teachers to join a union, to bargain collectively, and to strike like educators did across 14 states in 2018-19. I have led the effort to eliminate the ability of states to pass anti-union “right to work” laws, and I will make enacting that change a top priority. …
  • Ensure that anyone can become a teacher without drowning in debt. … I will push states to offer a pathway for teachers to become fully certified for free and to build teacher retention plans. I will increase funding for Grow Your Own Teacher programs that provide opportunities for paraeducators or substitute teachers to become licensed teachers. And I will push to fully fund the Teacher Quality Partnership program to support teacher residency programs in high-need areas, like rural communities, and in areas of expertise like Special Education and Bilingual Education.
  • Build a more diverse educator and school leadership pipeline. … I will target the biases and discrimination that inhibit our ability to build a diverse educator workforce and school leadership pipeline, such as pay discrimination, by expanding OCR’s purview to investigate systemic and individual workplace discrimination in our schools. And I am committed to passing the Equality Act to guarantee workplace protections for LGBTQ+ teachers and staff.
  • Ensure charter schools are subject to at least the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools. … I support the NAACP’s recommendationsto allow only school districts to serve as charter authorizers, and to empower school districts to reject applications that do not meet transparency and accountability standards, consider the fiscal impact and strain on district resources, and establish policies for aggressive oversight of charter schools. …
  • End federal funding for the expansion of charter schools. …
  • Ban for-profit charter schools. …
  • Require companies that lobby school systems that receive federal funding to comply with expanded federal lobbying restrictions and disclosure requirements.That means these education conglomerates will have to disclose the details of their meetings with all public officials, or their lobbyists will not be able to donate or fundraise for federal candidates, those lobbyists will not be able to cycle through the revolving door into our federal government, and education companies like Pearson that often spend more than $500,000 each year on lobbying will be subject to my new lobbying tax.
  • Ban the sharing, storing, and sale of student data. …

Higher education

  • As President, I will enact legislation to make public two-year, four-year, and technical colleges tuition-free for all students. … I’ve also proposed dramatically scaling up high-quality apprenticeship programs with a $20 billion investment that will support partnerships among high schools, community colleges, unions, and companies. … And I’ll direct the Department of Education to issue guidance on how schools can leverage federal programs to facilitate education-to-workforce preparedness.
  • It cancels $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with household income under $100,000.
  • It provides substantial debt cancellation for every person with household income between $100,000 and $250,000. The $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000, so, for example, a person with household income of $130,000 gets $40,000 in cancellation, while a person with household income of $160,000 gets $30,000 in cancellation.
  • It offers no debt cancellation to people with household income above $250,000 (the top 5%).
  • For most Americans, cancellation will take place automatically using data already available to the federal government about income and outstanding student loan debt.
  • Private student loan debt is also eligible for cancellation, and the federal government will work with borrowers and the holders of this debt to provide relief.
  • Canceled debt will not be taxed as income.

Farming

  • Break up big agribusinesses, including by reviewing — and reversing — anti-competitive mergers.
  • Strengthen rules and enforcement under the Packers and Stockyards Act. In 1921, Congress passed the act to protect independent farmers. My administration will make it easier for farmers to bring suits against unfair practices, including by clarifying that they do not have to prove harm across the entire sector to bring a claim.
  • Make sure programs benefit independent family farmers. … I will prevent huge factory farms from accessing funds intended to benefit family farmers, like those for payment limitations and for programs like EQIP, and ban companies that violate labor and environmental standards from accessing funds, too.
  • Hold Big Ag accountable for environmental abuses … by closing the loopholes that CAFOs use to get away with polluting and beefing up enforcement of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts against them, including by working with state and local officials.

Criminal justice

As president, I will fight to:

  • End cash bail. About 60% of the nearly 750,000 people in jail have not been convicted of a crime. We should allow people to return to their jobs and families while they wait for trial, reserving preventive detention only for those cases that pose a true flight or safety risk.
  • Restrict fines and fees levied before adjudication. … In cases of pre-trial civil forfeiture, an individual often cannot recover property seized prior to conviction. …
  • Cap the assessment of fines and fees … at a percentage of income for low-income individuals. States should also eliminate the profit incentive that drives excessive fees and fines by capping the percentage of municipal revenues derived from the justice system, and diverting seized assets into a general fund.
  • Eliminate fees for necessary services. Private companies and contractors can charge incarcerated people for essential services, like phone calls, bank transfers, and health care. Private companies also profit from charging individuals for their own incarceration and supervision, including through fees for re-entry, supervision, and probation. I will end this practice.
  • For law enforcement, improve access to treatment and early intervention. For the third straight year, the number of suicides among law enforcement in 2018 outnumbered the line-of-duty deaths. Law enforcement officers experience higher rates of addiction, post-traumatic stress, and other trauma related disorders. I’ll invest in mental and emotional health support to help our officers do their job.
  • Improve data collection and reporting. … Today there is no comprehensive government database on fatal police shootings, ethics issues, misconduct complaints, or use of force incidents. My Justice Department will establish a rigorous and systematic process to collect this data, provide relevant data collection training to local law enforcement, and make data publicly available wherever possible. We’ll use that data to prioritize federal oversight and to hold police accountable for the portion of the bad policing outcomes for which they are responsible. And we’ll work with interested departments to use their own data to improve their legitimacy in the communities they serve and inform more just and effective policing.
  • Empower state attorneys general … to conduct their own oversight of police behavior nationwide.
  • Demand increased civilian oversight. … To expand local oversight and democratic engagement in policing, I will implement a competitive grant program that provides funding to communities that establish an independent civilian oversight mechanism for their police departments, such as a civilian oversight board or Office of Civilian Complaints. These boards should have a role in officer discipline and provide input on hiring police executives as well as hiring and promoting within the departments they oversee.
  • Establish a federal standard for the use of force. 
  • Increase federal funding for law enforcement training. … My administration will provide incentives for cities and states that hire a diverse police force and provide tools and resources to ensure that best practices on law enforcement training are available across America, providing local police with what they need to meet federal training requirements, including training on implicit bias and the scientific and psychological roots of discrimination, cultural competency, and engaging individuals with cognitive or other disabilities.
  • Restrict qualified immunity to hold police officers accountable.

  • End racially discriminatory policing. … I’ll end stop-and-frisk by directing the Justice Department to withhold federal funding from law enforcement agencies that continue to employ it and other similar practices, and I’ll work with Congress to pass legislation to prohibit profiling at all levels of law enforcement.
  • Separate law enforcement from immigration enforcement. 
  • Demilitarize local law enforcement. … As President, I will eliminate the transfer of military-grade weapons and lethal equipment to local police via the 1033 program, prohibit local law enforcement from buying military equipment with federal funding, and create a buy-back program for equipment already in use in our communities.
  • Expand the responsible use of body cameras and protect citizen privacy. … I’ll also establish a task force on digital privacy in public safety to establish guardrails and appropriate privacy protections for this and other surveillance technology, including the use of facial recognition technology and algorithms that exacerbate underlying bias. And I’ll make it clear that individuals have every right to record an interaction with the police.
  • Strengthen public defenders and expand access to counsel. The Sixth Amendment provides every American accused of a crime with the right to an attorney — but too many defendants cannot afford one, and too often, public defenders are under-resourced, overworked, and overwhelmed. If we expect fair trials, we need to balance resources on both sides of each case in every jurisdiction. I’ll fund federal public defenders and expand targeted grant funding for public defenders at the state level, to ensure that they have the tools to effectively defend their clients. …
  • Rein in prosecutorial abuses. 
  • Expand access to justice for people wrongfully imprisoned. Defendants who are wrongfully imprisoned have the right to challenge their detention in court through a procedure known as habeas corpus. The Framers believed this right was so important to achieving justice that they guaranteed it specifically in the Constitution. It’s particularly important for minority defendants — Black Americans, for example, make up only 13% of the population but a plurality of wrongful convictions. …
  • Appointing a diverse judicial bench. The justice system should reflect the country it serves. Judicial appointments are primarily white and male, and large numbers tend to have a prosecutorial background. … I support gender and racial diversity for judicial nominees. I’ll appoint a diverse slate of judges, including those who have a background defending civil liberties or as public defenders.
  • Take into account the views of those most impacted by the system. As President, I will establish an advisory board comprised of survivors of violence, along with formerly incarcerated individuals. I’ll consult with this advisory board and listen to the needs of those who have first-hand experience with the system as we find fair and just solutions to the challenges we face.
  • Ensure that incarceration meets basic human rights standards. From inadequate health care to overcrowding, our prison system is not meeting the government’s basic responsibility to keep the people in its care safe. I’ll embrace a set of standards for the Bureau of Prisons to fix this. That includes accommodating religious practices, providing reasonable accommodations for prisoners with disabilities, and and limiting restrictive housing. We should ensure that trans people are assigned to facilities that align with their gender identity and provide the unique medical and psychiatric care they need, including access to hormone treatments and help with adjusting to their care. And I will eliminate solitary confinement.
  • Protect special populations. Vulnerable individuals like pregnant women, victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals often require special protections while behind bars. … I’ll ensure that juveniles are not housed in adult facilities. …
  • Invest in programs that facilitate rehabilitation. 
  • Expand mental health and addiction treatment. 
  • Eliminate private prisons. 

Pro-choice

  • Create federal statutory rights that parallel the constitutional right in Roe v. Wade. …These rights would have at least two key components. First, they must prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a health care provider to provide medical care, including abortion services. Second, they must prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a patient to access medical care, including abortion services, from a provider that offers them.
  • Pass federal laws to pre-empt state efforts that functionally limit access to reproductive health care. States have passed countless Targeted Regulations on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which are designed to functionally limit and eliminate women’s access to abortion care while not technically contravening Roe. … A bill already proposed in Congress, The Women’s Health Protection Act, would provide the mechanism to block these kinds of schemes.
  • Guarantee reproductive health coverage as part of all health coverage. … Making that a reality starts with repealing the Hyde Amendment, which blocks abortion coverage for women under federally funded health care programs like Medicaid, the VA, and the Indian Health Service. … Congress must also pass the EACH Woman Act, which would also prohibit abortion restrictions on private insurance. And we should ensure that all future health coverage — including Medicare for All — includes contraception and abortion coverage.
  • Ensure equal access and reproductive justice. … We must crack down on violence at abortion clinics and ensure that women are not discriminated against at work or anywhere else for the choices they made about their bodies.

Where he stands: Tom Steyer

One in a series profiling Democratic presidential candidates – in their own words:

 

https://www.tomsteyer.com/

 

Climate justice

On day one, Tom will declare the climate crisis a national emergency.

  • Electricity sector
    • 100% clean electricity by 2040
      • All new sources must be zero carbon by 2030
      • Financing and securitization assistance to phase out emitting plants
    • Mobilize a $250 billion investment in grid modernization and resilience
    • Mobilize a $200 billion investment in distributed reliability resources, including solar, microgrids, mobile batteries, and emergency power centers
  • Transportation sector
    • 100% clean standard for all new passenger cars, trucks, and medium-duty vehicles by 2030
    • 100% clean standard for all new heavy duty and freight vehicles by 2035
    • Targeted vehicle replacement assistance and transportation alternatives programs for lower-income households
    • Mobilize $650 billion for clean freight, public transit, intercity rail, and fleet purchasing incentives
    • Mobilize $135 billion for universal broadband to encourage telecommuting and reduced vehicle miles traveled
    • Low-carbon aviation and freight transportation standards to reduce emissions 40% from these sectors by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045
      • Backed by revenue-generating market mechanisms that will direct at least 50% of proceeds to disadvantaged communities
      • Incentivized by tripling federal R&D for decarbonizing these sectors
    • Mobilize $115 billion to provide public green space and tree canopies, safe walkable communities, and zero-emission school buses
    • Require all new parking structures to provide adequate EV charging infrastructure beginning in 2022 to support projected 2030 EV adoption
  • Commercial buildings, housing, and industry
    • 100% zero-carbon new commercial and residential buildings by 2030
    • 100% zero-carbon retrofits for all buildings nationwide by 2045
    • Provide $375 billion in public investment to accelerate decarbonization of existing homes, municipal buildings, universities, schools, and hospitals
    • Mobilize $195 billion for clean affordable housing and communities, urban parks and greenspace, and universal renter displacement climate disaster insurance
    • Establish low-carbon steel, cement, and manufacturing standards to reduce emissions 40% from these sectors by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2045
      • Backed by revenue-generating market mechanisms that will direct at least 50% of proceeds to disadvantaged communities
      • Incentivized by tripling federal R&D for decarbonizing these sectors
    • Mobilize $300 billion for Superfund site cleanup, brownfield remediation, and responsible re-use
  • Working and recreational lands: America’s forests, food, and parks
    • Mobilize $130 billion for forest health and wildfire fuel reduction treatments, to promote ecosystem resilience, fire safety, and carbon sequestration in federal, state and private forests, and for regenerative agriculture to promote soil health, help young farmers and family farmers, and to expand composting, no-till and low-till practices, and innovative crop rotation.
    • Establish regenerative and carbon-sequestering standards for farming and ranching on public lands, establish sustainable fisheries standards for U.S. waters and vessels, and manage forest and ocean systems to optimize carbon sequestration and overall ecosystem health
    • Make national parks free for every American and dedicate $25 billion to upgrading and maintaining parks facilities and sites
    • Expand coastal and ocean monuments and protected areas
    • Provide communities with the tools and funding they need to provide public access to safe and healthy parks or open space within a half-mile of every home
    • Establish low-carbon agricultural standards to reduce emissions and water pollution 40% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045
      • Backed by revenue-generating market mechanisms that direct at least 50% of proceeds to disadvantaged communities and small and mid-sized farmers
      • Incentivized by tripling federal R&D for decarbonizing these sectors
  • Drinking water and watersheds
    • Ensure that every American has access to safe and clean drinking water by 2030
    • Mobilize $130 billion for residential water systems, irrigation systems, and water efficiency and monitoring systems
    • Mobilize $75 billion for upstream watersheds, groundwater, and green infrastructure
  • Fossil fuel production and infrastructure
    • Ensure that fossil fuel companies prioritize continuity of employment and benefits as they transition to environmental reclamation, decommissioning onshore and offshore oil operations, and maintaining continuous inspection and maintenance of legacy wells, mines, and other fossil fuel sites
    • Stop issuing leases for fossil fuel mining, drilling, and fracking on public lands, offshore, and in the Arctic and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
    • End federal permitting for new fossil fuel infrastructure on day one of my administration, and responsibly wind down existing fossil fuel production nationwide
    • Invest $50 billion towards establishing a careful process to wind down fossil fuel production nationwide, and for promoting economic diversification and providing worker protection programs for fossil industry workers and communities
    • Stop construction and permitting for Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and subject all new infrastructure permitting to a rigorous climate test to ensure compatibility with achieving carbon neutrality in 2045
    • Protect the property rights of farmers and ranchers from eminent domain abuse, and to honor the treaties the U.S. government has signed with sovereign tribal nations

Economy

  • Establish a national referendum process and Congressional term limits, repeal Citizens United, restructure the Federal Elections Commission, and make it easier to vote.
  • Foster the growth and organizational strength of our public and private sector labor unions.
  • Pass a federal $15/hour minimum wage and expand the earned income tax credit and retirement security programs.
  • Guarantee that Americans have five new constitutional rights — the right to health care, clean air and water, a livable wage, an equal vote, and a quality education
  • Make our federal tax system more equitable. I will institute a wealth tax — 1% on those whose net worth is above $32 million — that will generate more than $1 trillion for health care, education, environmental, and criminal justice programs.
  • Increase resources to public schools and social service programs, address systemic gender and racial wealth disparities, and invest in a multi-year effort to rebuild America’s infrastructure (e.g. bridges, affordable housing, roads, ports, broadband networks, airports, etc.).
  • Provide a health care system that covers more Americans at a lower cost. I will strengthen the Affordable Care Act, enact a strong public option, and institute insurance industry rate review. I will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs and eliminate pay-for-delay contracts to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
  • Make major investments in higher education, worker training and apprenticeship programs to produce a highly trained, skilled, and educated workforce and meet the technological needs of our changing economy.
  • Reduce student loan debt by guaranteeing two years of free college, refinancing student loans at lower interest rates, passing a Student Borrowers Bill of Rights, and forgiving the student loan debt of teachers and other public servants.
  • Harness innovation and promote competition by reviewing and enforcing existing — and enacting new — antitrust regulations that ensure fair markets across all sectors and industries.
  • Negotiate trade agreements with vital economic partners and emerging regions of the world to strengthen key domestic economic sectors and rebuild American national security relationships. These agreements will be negotiated in a manner that includes the voices and reflects the input of all stakeholders, particularly environmental groups, indigenous populations, and labor unions.

Democracy

  • Limit Congressional terms. We propose a term limit of 12 total years in both the House and Senate.
  • Initiate a vote-at-home system. This would provide voters with postage-paid absentee ballots, allowing voters more time to participate in our democracy, as well as increasing overall election security.
  • Establish independent redistricting commissions.

HBCUs

Born out of segregation and slavery, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have produced a majority of African American judges, doctors and teachers. … But many HBCUs are facing dire economic circumstances and as a result, some are facing closure. More than other schools, HBCUs depend on tuition as the main source of revenue. The student body disproportionately relies on federal student aid and loans to pay for expenses at a time when federal assistance is getting cut. And to top it off, HBCUs have seen 42% of their federal funding disappear from 2003 until 2015.

Tom commits to:

  • Investing $125 billion in federal resources to HBCUs.The money will be distributed over the course of 10 years, starting with $35 billion in the first year to address immediate infrastructure needs. Tom’s plan then allocates $10 billion every year after that to be used for educators and administrators, technology, infrastructure, student services, and other activities. It would also provide technical assistance to help schools build their endowments.
  • Creating a HBCU Board of Regents.Within 180 days, the White House Initiative on HBCUs will develop a stronger HBCU governing structure that allows for more independent decision-making without putting federal assistance at risk. It will administer a new HBCU Board of Regents, which will coordinate state and federal resources, programming, and ensure fiscal accountability. It will work with businesses and nonprofits to further research, endowment support, and student services.
  • Establishing HBCU Centers of Innovation. HBCUs train the next generation of academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Tom will establish or build on existing HBCU Centers of Innovation to train a workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields as well as health care, business, civic engagement, criminal justice, and environmental protection.
  • Fostering Strategic Partnerships. HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic activity and support 130,000 jobs within their regional communities – most of which are off-campus. A Steyer Administration will assist schools in forging relationships and formal partnerships with federal, state and local governments and agencies, the private sector, and nonprofits to help address the economic, environmental, and social needs in the communities where they are located.

Affordable housing

  • Invest $47 billion per year in affordable construction and renovation through the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, which make grants and loans for new construction, renovations and preservation for low-income housing, including for seniors and people with disabilities. Funds will highlight multifamily projects that include wraparound services, communal spaces and meet our climate goals.
  • Update low-income housing tax credit allocations by 50% over the next five years, establish a 4% housing credit floor for renovation projects, and enact reforms to create more than 500,000 additional affordable rental units. Increasing housing stock requires changes to zoning and land use laws to allow for more affordable units to be built in high-density areas. A Steyer Administration will prioritize LIHTC projects that incorporate transit-oriented development, deep energy efficiency, and densification.
  • Establish the IDEAHousing competition. Tom will dedicate $10 billion per year to solve the housing crisis through the creation of the Ideas to Develop and Ensure Affordability Housing competition (IDEAHousing), a grant competition designed to support innovative solutions in streamlining, financing, technology, and construction to end America’s housing crisis. Grants will go to public-private partnerships based upon the creation of community-led innovative and replicable ideas that promote healthy, safe and affordable homes.
  • Preserve, encourage, and green public housing. Tom will work to repeal the Faircloth Amendment, which limits the supply of public housing. Repeal would allow the federal government to build new public housing — desperately needed homes for low-income people.
  • Fight gentrification. Every city gets its soul from having its residents come from diverse backgrounds and from every income level. Cities gain character from long-term residents who have invested deeply in their neighborhood life. We must center fairness for the people who have strong roots in a neighborhood to enable them to thrive in their community as it changes and ensure through strong tenant protections that long-term, aging residents will continue to have a home in the communities where they have built their lives. We will work with people who have called communities home for generations to help them build equity as the neighborhood gains wealth, so that long-time community members’ economic fortunes rise as neighborhoods prosper.
  • Support rural housing. Tom will expand programs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Housing Improvement Program for affordable housing, including programs to develop new housing, acquire and renovate older units, provide senior housing, and house farm workers in communities.
  • Increase funding for Community Development Block Grants to resource programs that help with equitable local economic development, affordable housing, transit-oriented development, disaster resilience, and infrastructure.
  • Expand access to the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the first line of defense that keeps 2.2 million people from falling into homelessness. Yet a lack of funding stops roughly 3 in 4 eligible households from accessing the voucher. Tom will expand access to all families that qualify for the program and provide navigators to make access easier.
  • Provide relief for low- and middle-income renters … with a quarterly tax credit. … Families who qualify can use this credit either for rental payment assistance or to save for a down payment on a home mortgage.
  • Protect tenants by creating a renters emergency fund to make one-time grants or loans to low-income families facing eviction due to an unexpected expense and assure that everyone has a right to legal representation in eviction proceedings.
  • Protect vulnerable communities from housing discrimination. Tom will ensure that new technology products (like financing and placement algorithms) meet established civil rights standards, reform the Fair Housing Act to include non-discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity, increase resources to programs for homeless youth and victims of trafficking, and ensure that the protections for women in the Violence Against Women Act are fully enforced and funded.
  • Fair chance housing. Tom will give returning citizens a fair chance in the housing market by prohibiting landlords, real estate agents, homeowner associations, banks, and government services from inquiring against past conviction records prior to processing an individuals’ financial application.
  • End financial discrimination against renters based upon the source of their income or history of bankruptcy, if they demonstrate current cash flow and stability requirements for occupancy.
  • Invest $8 billion in Homeless Assistance Grants and Case Management. A Steyer Administration will expand Section 5 of the McKinney-Vento Act to rehabilitate vacant properties to house the previously homeless or those at risk of becoming so.
  • Empower and improve coordination with state and local governments including by expanding upon the work of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and Continuum of Care hand in hand with local officials and advocates.
  • End veteran homelessness. As president, Tom will expand access and increase funding to the HUD-VASH program so that more veterans who are homeless can obtain housing. He will increase funding for the VA’s Support Services for Veterans Families anti-homeless program to provide housing assistance in high-cost areas, and increase job training opportunities for veterans returning home.
  • Allow tribal participation in HUD’s Continuum of Care.
  • Encourage densification that grows individual and family equity. The supply of housing is woefully undersupplied in many major cities. As president, Tom will encourage densification that builds and shares equity, including incentives for accessory units, 2-4 unit construction, co-living houses and cooperatives, land trust ownership models, and other creative densification solutions.
  • Extend access to less expensive mortgages. Lower cost homes in rural and suburban America are being bought up by businesses and investors with access to plentiful financing and turned into rental units. Through rigorous enforcement of consumer protection laws, a revitalization and racially-corrective reform of the Federal Mortgage Program, and along with financial incentives, a Steyer Administration will ensure that individuals and families have access to financial products that will help keep housing stock in individual and family hands, instead of as a source of passive income for the already wealthy.

Where he stands: Bernie Sanders

One in a series profiling Democratic presidential candidates – in their own words:

 

https://berniesanders.com/issues/

 

Immigration

As president, Bernie will:

  • Put a moratorium on deportations until a thorough audit of current and past practices and policies is complete.
  • Work with Congress to codify limitations on the President’s ability to restrict or suspend the entry of people or classes of people into the United States by passing the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act.
  • Instruct DOJ to drop any litigation or funding restrictions relating to sanctuary cities.
  • Connect detainees with sponsors and supports.
  • Ensure all children who were separated from their families by the United States government are reunited swiftly.
  • Convene a hemispheric summit with the leaders of Latin American countries who are experiencing migration crises and develop actionable steps to stabilize the region.
  • Immediately extend legal status to the 1.8 million young people currently eligible for the DACA program, and provide administrative relief to their parents, those with Temporary Protected Status, and parents of legal permanent residents.
  • Use executive authority to allow undocumented immigrants who have resided in the United States for five or more years to stay here free from threat of deportation.
  • Expand parole in place to the families and caregivers of citizens and legal permanent residents and employed workers, and use hardship waivers to remove barriers to green cards and citizenship for as many eligible cases as possible.
  • Push Congress to enact a swift, fair pathway to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants currently living, working, and contributing in America today.
  • Prioritize expedited citizenship for undocumented youth.
  • Ensure any path to citizenship does not come with a reduction in traditional, family-based visas.
  • Repeal 8 U.S. Code Section 1325, putting border crossings on par with other forms of immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa.
  • Establish immigration courts as independent Article I courts, free from influence and interference.
  • Authorize and fund community-based alternatives to detention, which will connect immigrants with health, legal, educational, and work resources.
  • Ensure any shelters necessary to provide temporary housing for immigrants meet humane, 21st century living standards. This includes medical screenings and access to medical services, nutrition, hygienic conditions and supplies, educational opportunities, and counseling.
  • Ensure justice and due process for immigrants, including the right to counsel and an end to cash bail. Create a $14 billion federal grant program for indigent defense. Ensure access to translation and interpretation services throughout every stage of the legal process. …
  • Break up ICE and CBP and redistribute their functions to their proper authorities. Deportation, enforcement, border and investigatory authority would return to the Department of Justice. Customs authority would return to the Treasury Department. Naturalization and citizenship authority would be given to the State Department.
  • Refocus border enforcement on stemming the flow of firearms and drugs at ports of entry that have contributed to the opioid epidemic, ensuring that labor standards on the border are enforced, and stopping human trafficking. …
  • Ensure schools, places of worship, medical facilities, courthouses and other sensitive areas are exempted from immigration targeting and enforcement.
  • End the use of DNA testing and facial recognition technology for immigration and border enforcement.
  • Work with Congress to pass the Protecting Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act, which would expand the U-visa to protect undocumented immigrants who report labor and workplace violations. …
  • Restructure work visas to make them portable … allow spouses to work, raise the prevailing wage, and include a pathway to citizenship for those seasonal workers who wish to pursue it.
  • Withhold federal contracts for employers found exploiting guest workers.
  • End workplace raids and shift the focus of enforcement from workers to employers who mistreat their workforce.
  • Strengthen labor protections for farmworkers, domestic workers, gig economy workers and other historically under-regulated industries that rely heavily on immigrant and undocumented workforces.
  • Require at least a $15 minimum wage and overtime pay for agricultural workers, and remove farmworker exemptions from the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Direct OSHA and the EPA to create and enforce heat stress and air quality standards.
  • Require employers to provide protective gear and respiratory equipment to farmers working in conditions affected by smoke and wildfires. …
  • Restore and increase aid to Central and South American nations, work to strengthen human rights, and fund programs to curb corruption, political repression, violence, and poverty. …
  • Create a program to welcome migrants displaced by climate change, and set a floor of accepting at least 50,000 climate migrants in his first year in office. …
  • Provide year-round, free universal school meals; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks through our school meals programs to all students regardless of immigration status, and offer incentives for sourcing food from local sources.
  • Address disciplinary practices in schools that disproportionately affect Black and Brown children.
  • Pass a permanent repeal of the public charge statute, so we do not penalize immigrants who at some point may need to access support programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Ensure customs and immigration agencies have the funding and personnel necessary to eliminate the backlog of pending applications and cut wait times for immigration applications. …
  • Eliminate discrimination facing LGBTQ+ families throughout immigration laws, including making sure that all children born to U.S. citizen parents have acquired citizenship, regardless of a biological relationship.
  • Direct the newly created National Office of Disability Coordination to work with agencies to ensure the immigration and citizenship process is fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Health care

  • Create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service.
  • No networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, no surprise bills.
  • Medicare coverage will be expanded and improved to include dental, hearing, vision, and home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs, and more.
  • Ensure that no one in America pays more than $200 a year for the medicine they need.
  • Allow Medicare to negotiate with the big drug companies to lower prescription drug prices with the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.
  • Allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to buy low-cost prescription drugs from Canada and other industrialized countries with the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act.
  • Cut prescription drug prices in half with the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, by pegging prices to the median drug price in five major countries: Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan.
  • Eliminate the $81 billion in past-due medical debt. Under this plan, the federal government will negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills in collections that have been reported to credit agencies.
  • End abusive and harassing debt collection practices.
    • Prohibit the collection of debt beyond the statute of limitations.
    • Significantly limit the contact attempts per week a collector can make to an individual through any mode of communication, regardless of how many bills are in collection.
    • Require collectors to ensure information about a debt is fully accurate before attempting to collect.
    • Substantially limit the assets that can be seized and the wages that can be garnished in collection to ensure consumers do not lose their homes, jobs, or primary vehicles and will be able to financially support their families.
  • Instruct the IRS to review the billing and collection practices of the nearly 3,000 non-profit hospitals to ensure they are in line with the charitable care standards for non-profit tax status, and take action against those who are not.
  • Reform the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 to use the existing bankruptcy court system to provide relief for those with burdensome medical debt.
    • Eliminate means testing requirements to file for bankruptcy.
    • Allow for the adjudication — including potential discharge — of debt, including interest and penalties, stemming from direct payments to providers and insurers for medical expenses. Assuming documentation, this includes medical debt incurred on credit cards or any other consumer debt product.
    • End “credit counseling” required before filing to discharge medical debt.
    • Include broad “automatic stay” protections, placing an immediate prohibition on any evictions, utility (heat, electric, etc.) interruptions, foreclosure proceedings, wage garnishments, driver’s license suspensions, and other actions.
    • Prohibit requiring the disclosure of medical debt discharge on housing, loan, or other applications.
  • Remove and exclude medical debt from credit reports.
  • Create a secure public credit registry to replace for-profit credit reporting agencies. This registry will use a public, transparent algorithm to determine creditworthiness that eliminates racial biases in credit scores. Allow Americans to receive credit scores for free, and prohibit medical debt from being included.

Climate change

As president, Bernie will:

  • Transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to 100 percent energy efficiency and sustainable energy by 2030 at the latest. …
  • Build enough renewable energy generation capacity for the nation’s growing needs. Currently, four federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and the Tennessee Valley Authority generate and transmit power to distribution utilities in 33 states. We will create one more PMA to cover the remaining states and territories and expand the existing PMAs to build more than enough wind, solar, energy storage and geothermal power plants. We will spend $1.52 trillion on renewable energy and $852 billion to build energy storage capacity. Together, with an EPA federal renewable energy standard, this will fully drive out non-sustainable generation sources.
  • We will end greed in our energy system. The renewable energy generated by the Green New Deal will be publicly owned, managed by the Federal Power Marketing Administrations, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Tennessee Valley Authority and sold to distribution utilities with a preference for public power districts, municipally- and cooperatively-owned utilities with democratic, public ownership, and other existing utilities that demonstrate a commitment to the public interest. The Department of Energy will provide technical assistance to states and municipalities that would like to establish publicly owned distribution utilities or community choice aggregation programs in their communities. Electricity will be sold at current rates to keep the cost of electricity stable during this transition.
  • Build a modern smart grid. A smart grid means a resilient, secure, and intelligent electric grid system that is capable of managing high amounts of renewable energy, charging electric vehicles quickly, and maximizing efficiency. We will spend $526 billion on a modern, high-volt, underground, renewable, direct current, smart, electric transmission and distribution grid.
  • Weatherize homes and businesses to perform energy efficiency upgrades to make buildings more energy efficient and lower energy bills. We will provide $2.18 trillion for sliding-scale grants for low- and moderate-income families and small businesses to invest in weatherizing and retrofitting their homes and businesses. …
  • Phase out the use of non-sustainable sources. This plan will stop the building of new nuclear power plants. … It will also enact a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States to protect surrounding communities. …
  • Regulate all dangerous greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is a dangerous greenhouse gas, but it is not the only one we must address. Methane is 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) can be more than a thousand times more powerful. To ensure we reach our carbon pollution emissions goals, the EPA will, under the Clean Air Act, regulate carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons. …
  • Grants to purchase a new EV. Provide $2.09 trillion in grants to low- and moderate-income families and small businesses to trade in their fossil fuel-dependent vehicles for new electric vehicles. …
  • Vehicle trade-in program. Provide $681 billion for low- and moderate- income families and small businesses for a trade-in program to get old cars off the road. Families with a conventional car will be able to access an additional incentive for trading in for an American-made electric vehicle. …
  • Electric vehicle charging infrastructure. … We will spend $85.6 billion building a national electric vehicle charging infrastructure network similar to the gas stations and rest stops we have today. …
  • School and transit buses. Provide $407 billion in grants for states to help school districts and transit agencies replace all school and transit buses with electric buses. …
  • Replace all shipping trucks. Because this nation depends heavily on goods that are shipped all over the country by truckers, we must ensure that they are able to keep up their pace while we meet our climate goals. That means we must spend $216 billion to replace all diesel tractor-trailer trucks with fast-charging and long-range electric trucks. …
  • Build public transit that is affordable, accessible, fast, and resilient. With a $300 billion investment, we will increase public transit ridership by 65 percent by 2030. …
  • Build regional high-speed rail. A $607 billion investment in a regional high-speed rail system would complete the vision of the Obama administration to develop high-speed intercity rail in the United States. …
  • Retrofit dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure. … The Federal Railroad Administration will adopt new rules requiring companies to retrofit coal and oil trains to prevent explosions, derailments, and spills. We will take similar action to protect communities’ well pads, substations, compressor stations, and pipelines. …
  • Invest in decarbonizing the shipping and aviation industries as soon as possible. … We will fund a $500 billion effort to research technologies to fully decarbonize industry, and a $150 billion effort to fully decarbonize aviation and maritime shipping and transportation.
  • heEstablish a nationwide materials recycling program. …
  • Invest in the Green Climate Fund. … In order to help countries of the Global South with climate adaptation efforts, the U.S. will invest $200 billion in the Green Climate Fund for the equitable transfer of renewable technologies, climate adaptation, and assistance in adopting sustainable energies. …
  • Bring together the leaders of the major industrialized nations with the goal of using the trillions of dollars our nations spend on wars and weapons of mass destruction to instead work together internationally to combat our climate crisis and take on the fossil fuel industry. …
  • Rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and enforce aggressive climate reduction goals. …
  • Renegotiate trade deals to protect the environment. …
  • End overseas fossil fuel financing. The federal government currently supports investments in fossil fuels through the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, OPIC, the Export-Import Bank, and other multilateral institutions. These international investments are inconsistent with a goal to curb the global climate crisis and must end. …
  • Create a Climate Justice Resiliency Fund. The CJRF will ensure our infrastructure and communities are protected from the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Once the CJRF is established and funded at $40 billion, the EPA, together with a number of other agencies, will conduct a nationwide survey to identify areas with high climate impact vulnerabilities and other socioeconomic factors, public health challenges, and environmental hazards. Each community will then be eligible for funding in order of most vulnerable to least vulnerable.
  • Rebuild America’s infrastructure, including the nation’s water systems. …
  • Build resilient, affordable, publicly owned broadband infrastructure. Internet access and communications are key in the wake of a disaster. We will provide $150 billion in infrastructure grants and technical assistance for municipalities and states to build publicly owned and democratically controlled, co-operative, or open access broadband networks. This communications infrastructure will ensure first responders and communities are ready to deal with the worst climate emergencies.
  • Increase funding for roads. … Bernie’s Rebuild America Act provides $75 billion for the National Highway Trust Fund to improve roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure in the United States and another $2 billion for other surface transportation needs.
  • Build 7.4 million affordable housing units to close the affordable housing gap across the country. We will greatly expand the National Housing Trust Fund to build the units necessary to guarantee housing as a right to all Americans.
  • Adapt to sea level rise. Forty percent of the U.S. — more than 126 million Americans — live on the coasts. … We will provide coastal communities with $162 billion in funding to adapt to sea level rise.
  • Increase funding for firefighting to deal with more frequent and severe wildfires. … We will increase funding for firefighting by $18 billion for federal firefighters to deal with the increased severity and frequency of wildfires. …
  • Increase investments in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which helps mitigate damage from future disasters. The program saves $4 for every $1 invested up front by decreasing the impact of future disasters. We will invest $2 billion to ensure communities that are rebuilt after disasters strike have necessary resources to build back stronger than before the disaster.
  • Invest in green infrastructure and public lands conservation by reinstating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). One of the most successful New Deal programs and the most rapid peacetime mobilization in American history, the CCC put millions of men to work building and maintaining trails and conserving America’s wilderness. … We will invest $171 billion in reauthorizing and expanding the CCC to provide good-paying jobs building green infrastructure, planting billions of trees and other native species, preventing flood and soil erosion, rebuilding wetlands and coral, cleaning up plastic pollution, constructing and maintaining accessible paths, trails, and fire breaks; rehabilitating and removing abandoned structures, and eradicating invasive species and flora disease; and other natural methods of carbon pollution sequestration.
  • Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps stimulate our nation’s $1.7 trillion a year outdoor recreation, natural resource protection, and historic preservation industry by conserving millions of acres in our national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and wild and scenic river corridors via more than 41,000 state and local projects. In 2019, the LWCF was permanently authorized. However, it has been chronically underfunded. We will spend $900 million to permanently fund the LWCF.
  • Prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused. President Sanders will ensure that his Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigate these companies and bring suits — both criminal and civil — for any wrongdoing, just as the federal government did with the tobacco industry in the 1980s. …
  • End fossil fuel subsidies. The federal government hands out almost $15 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year. …
  • Ban offshore drilling. …
  • Ban fracking and mountaintop removal coal mining. …
  • Ban imports and exports of fossil fuels. …
  • Divest federal pensions from fossil fuels. …
  • Ensure a just transition for energy workers. … We will spend $1.3 trillion to ensure that workers in the fossil fuel and other carbon intensive industries receive strong benefits, a living wage, training, and job placement. …
  • Provide employers with tax credits to incentivize hiring transitioning employees. …
  • Invest in workers and de-industrialized communities’ economic development. Counties with more than 35 qualifying workers will be eligible for targeted economic development funding to ensure job creation in the same communities that will feel the impact of the transition most. Economic development funding will be distributed through an interagency effort spearheaded by the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. Funds will be allocated through the Appalachian Regional Commission, Economic Development Assistance Programs and the Abandoned Mine Lands fund. Other eligible projects include drinking and waste water infrastructure, broadband, and electric grid infrastructure investments. These targeted investments are intended to supplement, not supplant infrastructure and economic development funding throughout the rest of this plan. …
  • Focus job training and local hiring to reflect the racial and gender diversity of the community receiving federal investments. …
  • Incentivize farmers to develop ecologically regenerative farming systems that sharply reduce emissions; sequester carbon; and heal our soils, forests, and prairie lands … with an investment of $410 billion. This assistance will focus on both sequestering carbon and increasing resiliency in the face of extreme weather events. Funds will be used to offset the costs of enterprise-level changes and barriers to transition, including design, technical assistance, purchasing equipment, installing infrastructure, site remediation, contract termination, and repaying farm-debt. …
  • Invest in family farms and rural communities, and break up big agribusinesses that have a stranglehold on farmers and rural communities.
  • Invest in historically underserved communities to grow the number of farmers of color. …

Higher education

When Bernie is in the White House, he will:

  • Guarantee tuition and debt-free public colleges, universities, HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions and trade-schools to all.
  • Cancel all student loan debt for the some 45 million Americans who owe about $1.6 trillion and place a cap on student loan interest rates going forward at 1.88 percent.
  • Invest $1.3 billion every year in private, non-profit historically black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions
  • End equity gaps in higher education attainment. And ensure students are able to cover non-tuition costs of attending school by: expanding Pell Grants to cover non-tuition and fee costs, tripling funding for the Work-Study Program, and more.
  • Provide Pell Grants to low-income students to cover the non-tuition and fee costs of school, including: housing, books, supplies, transportation, and other costs of living.
  • Require participating states and tribes to cover the full cost of obtaining a degree for low-income students (normally those with a family income of less than $25,000) by covering any gap that may still exist after we eliminate tuition, fees, and grants.
  • Place a cap on student loan interest rates going forward. … Today, the average interest rate on undergraduate student loans is more than 5 percent. Under this proposal, we will cap student loan interest rates at 1.88 percent.
  • In addition to eliminating tuition and fees, we will match any additional spending from states and tribes which reduces the cost of attending school at a dollar for dollar rate. This funding goes beyond closing the cost gap – participating states and tribes could use this money to hire additional faculty, ensure professors get professional development opportunities, and increase students’ access to educational opportunities.
  • Triple funding for the Work-Study Program. … Today, this program provides about $1,760 per year to some 700,000 students. When we are in the White House, we will expand the program to reach at least 2.1 million students – a 1.4 million student increase. And we will ensure that funding targets schools that have large low-income student enrollment.
  • Provide $1.3 billion to private, nonprofit HBCUs and MSIs per year to eliminate or significantly reduce tuition and fees. This funding would support some 200 schools which serve at least 35 percent low-income students.
  • Double funding for the TRIO Programs and increases funding for the GEAR UP Program so more low-income students, students with disabilities, and first-generation students can attend and graduate college with a degree. By increasing our investment in these programs, we will reach 1.5 million students through TRIO programs and more than 100,000 additional students through GEAR UP than the program reaches today.

Public education

As president, Bernie Sanders will:

  • Increase federal funding for community-driven strategies to desegregate schools.
  • Triple Title I funding to ensure at-risk schools get the funding they need.
  • Establish a dedicated fund to create and expand teacher-training programs at HBCUs, minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and tribal colleges and universities to increase educator diversity.
  • Fully fund the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
  • Fund school transportation to help integration.
  • Increase funding for public magnet schools to $1 billion annually to help integrate our schools.
  • Increase access to English as a Second Language instruction.
  • Ban for-profit charter schools and support the NAACP’s moratorium on public funds for charter school expansion until a national audit has been completed to determine the impact of charter growth in each state. That means halting the use of public funds to underwrite new charter schools.
  • Charter schools must be made accountable by:
    • Mandating that they comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools.
    • Mandating that at least half of all charter school boards are teachers and parents.
    • Disclosing student attrition rates, non-public funding sources, financial interests and other relevant data.
    • Matching employment practices at charters with neighboring district schools, including standards set by collective bargaining agreements and restrictions on CEO pay.
    • Supporting the efforts of charter school teachers to unionize.
  • Rethink the link between property taxes and education funding.
  • Establish a national per-pupil spending floor.
  • Eliminate barriers to college-readiness exams by ensuring states cover fees for the ACT, SAT and other college preparatory exams for all students.
  • Provide schools with the resources needed to shrink class sizes.
  • Provide $5 billion annually for career and technical education.
  • Ensure schools in rural communities, indigenous communities, Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories receive equitable funding.
  • Give schools the funding needed to support arts, foreign language and music education.
  • Ensure that the federal government provides at least 50 percent of the funding for special education.
  • Guarantee children with disabilities an equal right to high-quality education by enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Address the shortage in special education teacher recruitment, training opportunities, workload and pay.
  • Set a starting salary for teachers at no less than $60,000 tied to cost of living, years of service, and other qualifications; and allowing states to go beyond that floor based on geographic cost of living.
  • End racial and gender disparities in teacher pay.
  • Triple the above-the-line tax deduction for educator expenses and index it to inflation to reimburse teachers for the nearly $500 on average they spend on out of pocket classroom expenses each year.
  • Create a grant program to provide teachers with funds explicitly meant for classroom materials.
  • Empower teachers to provide a teacher-supported curriculum.
  • Spend $5 billion annually to substantially expand access to summer and after-school programs, teen centers and tutoring.
  • Provide year-round, free universal school meals; breakfast, lunch and snacks through our school meals programs, and offer incentives for sourcing food from local sources.
  • Expand Summer EBT across the country to ensure no student goes hungry during the summer.
  • Pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act into law to protect the rights of LGBTQ students.
  • Protect students from harassment, discrimination, and violence in educational institutions by protecting and enforcing Title IX.
  • Enact gun violence prevention laws to end the epidemic of gun violence in this country and in our schools.
  • Ensure that immigrant children and their parents are free from harassment and surveillance at school, regardless of their immigration status.

Workplace democracy

Bernie’s pro-union plan would:

  • Provide unions the ability to organize through a majority sign up process, allowing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union if it receives the consent of the majority of eligible workers. …
  • Enact “first contract” provisions to ensure companies cannot prevent a union from forming by denying a first contract. Employers would be required to begin negotiating within 10 days of receiving a request from a new union. If no agreement is reached after 90 days of negotiation, the parties can request to enter a compulsory mediation process. If no first contract is reached after 30 more days of mediation, the parties would have a contract settlement through binding arbitration.
  • Eliminate the “Right to Work for Less.” Bernie’s plan would repeal Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act, which has allowed 28 states to pass legislation that eliminates the ability of unions to collect dues from those who benefit from union contracts and activities, undermining the unions’ representation of workers.
  • Give federal workers the right to strike. …
  • Make sure every public sector union in America has the freedom to negotiate.  …
  • Require companies that merge to honor existing union contracts.  …
  • Deny federal contracts to employers that pay poverty wages, outsource jobs overseas, engage in union busting, deny good benefits and pay CEOs outrageous compensation packages.  …
  • Ban the permanent replacement of striking workers.  …
  • Protect the pensions of workers. 
  • Establish federal protections against the firing of workers for any reason other than “just cause.”  When Bernie is president he will fight to make sure workers cannot be fired “at will.”
  • Create a sectoral collective bargaining system with wage boards to set minimum standards across industries, not just employer-by-employer.  In addition, under this plan all cities, counties, and other local jurisdictions would have the freedom to establish their own minimum wage laws and guarantee other minimum standards for workers.
  • Guarantee the right to unionize for all workers. Bernie will ensure farm workers and domestic workers, historically excluded from labor protections, are afforded the same standards as all workers, including the right to overtime pay and to join a union. He will enact a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to secure safe working conditions, collective bargaining, and a living wage for domestic workers.
  • Allow for secondary boycotts. This plan reinstates a union’s freedom of speech to take action to pressure clients and suppliers of companies opposing unions.

Social Security

Today, a billionaire pays the same amount of money into Social Security as someone who makes $132,900 a year because the Social Security payroll tax is capped.  Bernie’s Social Security plan would lift this cap and apply the payroll tax on all income above $250,000 in order to accomplish four things:

  • We will make sure that Social Security will pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 52 years.
  • We will expand benefits across-the-board including a $1,300 a year benefit increase for seniors with incomes of $16,000 a year or less.
  • We will increase the minimum benefits paid to low-income workers when they retire.
  • We will increase cost-of-living adjustments to keep up with the rising cost of health care and prescription drugs by establishing a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly.

Housing

When Bernie is president, he will:

  • Invest $1.48 trillion over 10 years in the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to build, rehabilitate, and preserve the 7.4 million quality, affordable and accessible housing units necessary to eliminate the affordable housing gap, which will remain affordable in perpetuity. Units constructed with this funding will be eligible to be located in mixed-income developments.
  • Invest an additional $400 billion to build 2 million mixed-income social housing units to be administered through the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which will help desegregate and integrate communities.
  • Expand USDA’s Section 515 program by $500 million to build new affordable developments in rural areas, and protect existing units from being converted to market rate housing.
  • Increase funding for the Indian Housing Block Grant Program to $3 billion.
  • Invest $70 billion to repair and modernize public housing, including making all public housing accessible and provide access to high-speed broadband for all public housing residents.
  • Ensure that public housing has high-quality, shared community spaces.
  • Fully fund tenant-based Section 8 rental assistance at $410 billion over the next 10 years and make it a mandatory funding program for all eligible households.
  • Strengthen the Fair Housing Act and implement a Section 8 non-discrimination law, so that landlords can no longer discriminate against low-income families based on their source of income.
  • Expand and strengthen enforcement of the Small Area Fair Market Rent rule to make sure that landlords are fairly compensated when they participate in Section 8, but do not make a windfall from the program.
  • Enact a national cap on annual rent increases at no more than 3 percent or 1.5 times the Consumer Price Index (whichever is higher) to help prevent the exploitation of tenants at the hands of private landlords. Allow for landlords to apply for waivers if significant capital improvements are made.
  • Allow states and cities to pass even stronger rent control standards.
  • Implement a “just-cause” requirement for evictions, which would allow a landlord to evict a tenant only for specific violations.
  • Provide $2 billion in federal matching grants for states and localities to provide a right to counsel for persons in eviction or foreclosure proceedings, or at risk of losing their Section 8 rental assistance.
  • Create an office within the Department of Housing and Urban Development to coordinate and work with states and municipalities to strengthen rent control and tenant protections, implement fair and inclusive zoning ordinances, streamline review processes and direct funding where these changes are made.
  • Pre-empt laws that prevent inclusionary zoning for luxury developments.
  • Make federal funding contingent on creating livable communities. Encourage zoning and development that promotes integration and access to public transportation to reduce commuting time, congestion and long car commutes. Prioritize projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create walkable and livable communities, and reduce urban sprawl.
  • Encourage zoning and development designed to expand and maximize the number of units fully accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Place a 25 percent House Flipping tax on speculators who sell a non-owner-occupied property, if sold for more than it was purchased within 5 years of purchase.
  • Impose a 2 percent Empty Homes tax on the property value of vacant, owned homes to bring more units into the market and curb the use of housing as speculative investment.
  • Encourage “circuit breakers” on property taxes to protect homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods from being priced out of their own homes as their property values rise.
  • Prioritize 25,000 National Affordable Housing Trust Fund units in the first year to house the homeless.
  • Double McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants to more than $26 billion over the next five years to build permanent supportive housing.
  • Provide $500 million in funding to states and localities to provide outreach to the homeless to help connect them to case management and social services.
  • Create an independent National Fair Housing Agency similar to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dedicated to protecting renters from housing discrimination, investigating landlords who misuse Section 8 vouchers, and enforce housing standards for renters. The Fair Housing Agency will also conduct audits to hold landlords and sellers engaged in housing discrimination accountable.
  • Create an office within the Fair Housing Agency to protect mobile home residents from housing discrimination, rent instability and unjust evictions.
  • Fully fund the Fair Housing Assistance and Fair Housing Initiatives Programs at $1 billion over the next 10 years.
  • Pass the Equality Act to include LGBTQ+ Americans in the Fair Housing Act.
  • Make sure that people who have served their time are not excluded from public housing.
  • Guarantee that renters have the right to form tenants unions free from retaliation by landlords or managing agents.
  • Invest $50 billion over 10 years to provide grants to start and expand community land trusts and other shared equity homeownership models. This funding will enable more than 1 million households to purchase affordable homes over the next 25 years.
  • Invest an additional $15 billion to enact a 21st Century Homestead Act to purchase and revitalize abandoned properties to create community and individual wealth and assets for historically disadvantaged communities.
  • Invest an additional $2 billion at USDA and an additional $6 billion at HUD to create a first-time homebuyer assistance program.
  • Expand pre-purchase housing counseling to all prospective homebuyers.
  • End the mass sale of mortgages to Wall Street vulture funds and thoroughly investigate and regulate the practices of large rental housing investors and owners.
  • Make data such as evictions, rent increases, and safety violations for large landlords available to the public and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Implement legislation to prevent “contract for deed” transactions and use existing authority to protect communities of color, which for too long have been exploited by this practice.

Veterans services

As president, Bernie will:

  • Work to fill the nearly 50,000 vacancies at the VA during his first year in office. The VA must hire the doctors, nurses and medical professionals necessary to provide the care that veterans need when they need it.
  • Ensure that all those with prior military service in every state and territory have access to the full complement of health care services they need to stay healthy and well.
  • Guarantee comprehensive dental care to all former service members.
  • Greatly expand access to VA mental health and suicide prevention services. …
  • Guarantee home and community based long-term care services. …
  • Provide more than $62 billion in new funding for VA infrastructure. …
  • Ensure VA providers have the option of appropriately prescribing medical marijuana to their patients.
  • Improve and simplify the claims process so veterans receive the compensation they have earned quickly, accurately, and without bureaucratic red tape.
  • Eliminate the VA benefits backlog. A Bernie Sanders Adminimstration will no longer tolerate more than 70,000 veterans having to wait more than 125 days for a determination on their benefits and up to seven years to wait for a decision by a Veterans Law Judge. …
  • Expand the list of injuries and illnesses presumed to be connected with military service. … Ensure that veterans exposed to toxic substances from asbestos and ionized radiation in World War II to Agent Orange in Vietnam to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan are compensated for the myriad of diseases associated with these chemicals.
  • Improve and expand VA’s comprehensive caregiver program. … Expand eligibility for the VA’s Caregiver Program to include not only those veterans with injuries connected to their military services but also illnesses, like cancer, blindness and dementia. … Their families also deserve to be compensated for the care they already provide; they deserve education on how to best care for their loved one, transportation to and from medical appointments, and respite care that allows them the time needed to care for themselves.
  • Ensure any service member discharged from the military for marijuana use or possession can apply for a discharge upgrade, so they can become eligible for the full complement of services and benefits provided by the VA.
  • Immediately terminate deportations of non-citizen members of our armed forces, veterans and their families.
  • Improve and simplify education benefits. …
  • Ensure access to better jobs and job training. …
  • Guarantee housing for veterans. …

Justice

As president, Bernie will:

  • Ban for-profit prisons.
  • Make prison phone calls and other communications such as video chats free of charge.
  • Audit the practices of commissaries and use regulatory authority to end price gouging and exorbitant fees.
  • Incentivize states and localities to end police departments’ reliance on fines and fees for revenue.
  • Remove the profit motive from our re-entry system and diversion, community supervision, or treatment programs, and ensure people leaving incarceration or participating in diversion, community supervision, or treatment programs can do so free of charge.
  • End the use of secured bonds in federal criminal proceedings.
  • Provide grants to states to reduce their pretrial detention populations, which are particularly high at the county level, and require states to report on outcomes as a condition of renewing their funding.
  • Withhold funding from states that continue the use of cash bail systems.
  • End federal programs that provide military equipment to local police forces.
  • Create a federally managed database of police use of deadly force.
  • Provide grants for states and cities to establish civilian oversight agencies with enforceable accountability mechanisms.
  • Establish federal standards for the use of body cameras, including establishing third-party agencies to oversee the storage and release of police videos.
  • Mandate criminal liability for civil rights violations resulting from police misconduct.
  • Ban the use of facial recognition software for policing.
  • Require and fund police officer training on implicit bias (to include biases based on race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, ethnicity and class), cultural competency, de-escalation, crisis intervention, adolescent development, and how to interact with people with mental and physical disabilities.
  • Ban the practice of any law enforcement agency benefiting from civil asset forfeiture. Limit or eliminate federal criminal justice funding for any state or locality that does not comply.
  • Provide funding to states and municipalities to create civilian corps of unarmed first responders, such as social workers, EMTs, and trained mental health professionals, who can handle order maintenance violations, mental health emergencies, and low-level conflicts outside the criminal justice system, freeing police officers to concentrate on the most serious crimes.
  • Incentivize access to counseling and mental health services for officers.
  • Diversify police forces and academies and incentivize officers to live and work in the communities they serve.
  • Triple congressional spending on indigent defense, to $14 billion annually.
  • Establish federal guidelines and goals for a right to counsel, including policies that reduce the number of cases overall.
  • Create a federal agency to provide support and oversight for state public defense services.
  • Abolish the death penalty.
  • End mandatory sentencing minimums.
  • Reinstate a federal parole system and end truth-in-sentencing. People serving long sentences will undergo a “second look” process to make sure their sentence is still appropriate.
  • End “three strikes” laws. No one should spend their life behind bars for committing minor crimes, even if they commit several of them.
  • Expand the use of sentencing alternatives, including community supervision and publicly funded halfway houses. This includes funding state-based pilot programs to establish alternatives to incarceration, including models based on restorative justice and free access to treatment and social services.
  • Legalize marijuana and vacate and expunge past marijuana convictions, and ensure that revenue from legal marijuana is reinvested in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.
  • Provide people struggling with addiction with the health care they need by guaranteeing health care — including inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health services with no co-payments or deductibles — to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.
  • Decriminalize possession of buprenorphine, which helps to treat opioid addiction, and ensure that first responders carry naloxone to prevent overdoses.
  • Raise the threshold for when drug charges are federalized, as federal charges carry longer sentences.
  • Ban the prosecution of children under the age of 18 in adult courts.
  • Work to ensure that all juvenile facilities are designed for rehabilitation and growth.
  • Ensure youth are not jailed or imprisoned for misdemeanor offenses.
  • Ensure juveniles are not be housed in adult prisons.
  • End solitary confinement for youth.
  • Abolish long mandatory minimum sentences and life-without-parole sentences for youth.
  • Eliminate criminal charges for school-based disciplinary behavior that would not otherwise be criminal and invest in school nurses, counselors, teachers, teaching assistants, and small class sizes to address disciplinary issues.
  • Ensure every school has the necessary school counselors and wrap-around services by providing $5 billion annually to expand the sustainable community school model.
  • End the use of juvenile fees.
  • Decriminalize truancy for all youth and their parents.
  • Eliminate federal incentives for schools to implement zero-tolerance policies.
  • Invest in local youth diversion programs as alternatives to the court and prison system.
  • Work with teachers, school administrators, and the disability rights movement to end restraint and seclusion discipline in schools.

Enact a Prisoner Bill of Rights that guarantees:

  • Ending solitary confinement.
  • Access to free medical care in prisons and jails, including professional and evidence-based substance abuse and trauma-informed mental health treatment.
  • Incarcerated trans people have access to all the health care they need.
  • Access to free educational and vocational training. This includes ending the ban on Pell Grants for all incarcerated people without exceptions.
  • Living wages and safe working conditions, including maximum work hours, for all incarcerated people for their labor.
  • The right to vote.
  • Ending prison gerrymandering, ensuring incarcerated people are counted in their communities, not where they are incarcerated.
  • Establishment of an Office of Prisoner Civil Rights and Civil Liberties within the Department of Justice to investigate civil rights complaints from incarcerated individuals and provide independent oversight to make sure that prisoners are housed in safe, healthy, environments.
  • Protection from sexual abuse and harassment, including mandatory federal prosecution of prison staff who engage in such misconduct.
  • Access to their families — including unlimited visits, phone calls, and video calls.
  • A determination for the most appropriate setting for people with disabilities and safe, accessible conditions for people with disabilities in prisons and jails.
  • Create a federal agency responsible for monitoring re-entry.
  • “Ban the box” by removing questions regarding conviction histories from job and other applications.
  • Enact fair chance licensing reform to remove restrictions on occupational licensure based on criminal history.
  • Increase funding for re-entering youth programs. We will also pass a massive youth jobs program to provide jobs and job-training opportunities for disadvantaged young Americans who face high unemployment rates.
  • Guarantee safe, decent, affordable housing.
  • Guarantee jobs and free job training at trade schools and apprenticeship programs.
  • Provide funding to end the national rape kit backlog and institute new rules requiring that rape kits be tested and that victims are provided with updates on the status of their rape kits.
  • Address gender-based violence on college campuses.
  • Provide housing assistance and paid leave for victims of sexual assault.
  • Expand non-police interventions for domestic violence, including a national help hotline and state-funded, long-term counseling.
  • Invest in diversion programs as alternatives to the court and prison system for people with disabilities and ensure those people have the community-based supports and services they need.

Wealth tax

This tax on extreme wealth would have a progressive rate structure that would only apply to the wealthiest 180,000 households in America who are in the top 0.1 percent.

It would start with a 1 percent tax on net worth above $32 million for a married couple. That means a married couple with $32.5 million would pay a wealth tax of just $5,000.

The tax rate would increase to 2 percent on net worth from $50 to $250 million, 3 percent from $250 to $500 million, 4 percent from $500 million to $1 billion, 5 percent from $1 to $2.5 billion, 6 percent from $2.5 to $5 billion, 7 percent from $5 to $10 billion, and 8 percent on wealth over $10 billion. These brackets are halved for singles.

Under this plan, the wealth of billionaires would be cut in half over 15 years, which would substantially break up the concentration of wealth and power of this small privileged class.

Where she stands: Amy Klobuchar

One in a series profiling Democratic presidential candidates – in their own words:

 

https://amyklobuchar.com/policies/

 

Infrastructure

As President, Senator Klobuchar’s plan will:

  • Boost federal infrastructure investment. In parts of our country where communities are not as densely populated or former hubs still adjusting to the loss of manufacturing jobs, it can be difficult to attract private investment. That’s why Amy’s plan includes more than $650 billion in federal funding for infrastructure. … For projects supported by direct federal funding, Amy will maintain Davis-Bacon wage standards (and where possible, a living wage floor) and other worker and environmental protections. … And she will ensure that these projects use materials produced in the United States through strong Buy America provisions.
  • Help states and localities leverage private funds. Amy will establish an independent, nonpartisan Infrastructure Financing Authority to complement existing infrastructure funding. The Infrastructure Financing Authority will help states and localities better leverage private funds to build and maintain the nation’s outdated infrastructure. Amy would allocate $25 billion in seed money to support an additional $250 billion to $300 billion in direct loans, loan guarantees, and other forms of credit enhancement. It would also direct funding to projects in rural areas. …
  • Issue “Move America Bonds,” “Build America Bonds,” and Clean Energy bonds. Amy would bring back the Obama Administration’s “Build America Bonds,” which provided states and local governments a direct 35 percent subsidy in lieu of the traditional tax-exempt bond and generated more than $180 billion to finance public infrastructure projects. Amy also supports the “Move America Bonds” which … allocate tax credits to private-sector purchases to attract capital investment to public infrastructure. Here, an $8 billion investment from the Treasury would support more than $200 billion in investments in infrastructure projects over 10 years. She would also establish a Clean Energy bond program to expand clean energy tax incentives.
  • Ensure revenues collected for the maintenance of our infrastructure are used for their intended purpose. … For example, Amy will make sure that money paid by shippers into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is used for its intended purpose. Currently, collected revenues in the trust fund are not being used to pay for maintenance.
  • Pay for infrastructure proposals with a series of corporate tax reforms. To pay for this infrastructure investment, Amy willmake a number of corporate tax reforms including adjusting the corporate tax rate to 25%, closing loopholes that encourage U.S. companies to move jobs and operations overseas, establishing a financial risk fee on our largest banks, and increasing efforts for tax enforcement.

Climate change

As President, Senator Klobuchar will:

  • Get the United States back in the Paris International Climate Agreement on day one. 
  • Restore the Clean Power Plan, which set emissions standards for states with respect to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. She will negotiate even stronger emissions standards that account for the progress states have already made.
  • Bring back fuel-economy standards, which are key to making an immediate impact on the emissions of cars and light trucks. …
  • Introduce sweeping legislation that will put our country on the path to 100% net zero emissions by 2050. 
  • Set ambitious goals to reduce the carbon footprint of the federal government. … As President, she will … increase the efficiency of federal buildings, data centers, and vehicles, reduce water consumption, and increase the use of renewable energy.
  • Reinstate the National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee to start addressing the climate crisis. The National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee was charged with translating the findings of the National Climate Assessment into concrete goals. During the first 100 days of her administration, Senator Klobuchar will reinstate this committee.
  • End federal fossil fuel subsidies. 
  • Make politicians accountable to voters, not special interests. … As President, Senator Klobuchar will put people first by working to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens Unitedand get dark money out of our politics, as well as establish a campaign finance system that increases the power of small donors through a matching system for small donations. She will investigate potential wrongdoings and hold energy companies accountable.
  • Provide production and investment tax credits.Senator Klobuchar will create a technology neutral tax credit to support production of or investment into clean sources of energy. She will also create a clean energy bond program so that tax-exempt entities can benefit. The credits will be phased out as overall emissions are reduced.
  • Upgrade energy grids and storage capacity.Our country’s electric grid needs an upgrade to account for the irregular nature of certain clean energy sources, accommodate distributed energy production, and facilitate smart metering and other innovative technologies. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a competitive grant program and a new investment tax credit to promote investments in grid improvements and storage. She will also provide rural electric cooperatives access to technical resources and expertise to overcome the barriers to renewable energy storage and grid improvements based on a bipartisan bill she leads in the Senate.
  • Streamline renewable energy production on federal land. 
  • Empower municipal utilities and electric cooperatives to lead on clean energy.… She will make sure smaller producers, including municipal utilities and electric cooperatives, have a seat at the table when decisions are made about federal energy policy. …
  • Strengthen enforcement of the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws.
  • Reduce methane leakage from oil and gas production. Methane has as much as 84 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide. … As President, Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen EPA and BLM methane rules.
  • Ban new fossil fuel permitting on federal lands … To help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, Senator Klobuchar will ban new fossil fuel permits on federal lands. …
  • Invest in electric vehicle infrastructure and promote electric vehicle sales. 
  • Strengthen transit and commuter rail networks and support low- and no-carbon alternatives.As President, Senator Klobuchar will refocus federal transportation grants to prioritize transit projects, first and last mile connections, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. She will also develop new incentives for transit systems and school districts to replace their bus fleets with low- and no-carbon alternatives.
  • Revitalize freight and passenger rail.… As President, Senator Klobuchar will encourage investment in short-line and freight rail networks. She will also address safety concerns including by mandating two-man crews, improving braking systems, and ensuring communities are prepared to respond to derailments involving hazardous cargo. In addition, she will build on her work pushing for greater competition in freight markets by providing fair treatment for captive shippers, appointing well qualified members to the Surface Transportation Board, and reviewing and addressing consolidation in the freight rail industry. She is also committed to expanding high-speed rail and Amtrak service in rural America.
  • Assist businesses transitioning to green manufacturing processes. Senator Klobuchar … will increase technical support through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and regional development strategies and encourage partnerships with community colleges and research universities. She will also expand manufacturing tax credits to support upgrades and investments to reduce greenhouse gas pollution for manufacturers of all sizes.
  • Build a market for new and existing climate-friendly products. As President, Senator Klobuchar will … promote federal procurement policies that account for low-carbon energy sources and climate conscious processes.
  • Create a “Buy Clean” product labeling system.
  • Institute an import fee on carbon-intensive goods.
  • Retrofit buildings to reduce their emissions. 
  • Promote effective zoning rules to minimize climate impacts. … Senator Klobuchar will prioritize areas that have updated their zoning rules when awarding federal housing and infrastructure grants.
  • Expand the Land and Water Conservation Fund … which preserves natural resources while supporting outdoor recreation through investments on our public lands. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push to permanently fund the LWCF.
  • Help American companies become global green leaders.As President, Senator Klobuchar will increase support for businesses looking to export green products and technologies through a new initiative across U.S. export promotion agencies.
  • Invest in wind and solar, and support rural energy development.As President, Senator Klobuchar will invest in interregional transmission lines and grid improvements to support the development of renewable energy. She will launch a grant program to help rural cooperatives develop energy storage and microgrid projects for renewable energy generation, transmission and storage. She will also support increased investment in small, distributed wind, solar and biogas projects.
  • Provide technical resources for small, rural energy producers and distributors.As President, Senator Klobuchar will push for new economic and environmental opportunities in rural America by investing in rural renewable energy development and by passing and signing into law her bipartisan Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) Act to provide rural electric cooperatives access to technical resources and expertise to overcome the barriers to renewable energy storage and grid improvements.
  • Protect native sod and improve soil health. Senator Klobuchar pushed for a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that closed a loophole allowing some non-insured crops to be planted four consecutive years without a reduction in crop insurance assistance for succeeding insured crops. As President, she will expand nationwide the sodsaver’s prohibition to substitute crop insurance yields on native sod that is converted to cropland. She will also expand the Soil Health and Income Protection Pilot Program to help provide farmers an alternative to cropping less productive cropland.
  • Upgrade levees to account for more frequent and severe floods. The floods we saw throughout the Midwest last year show why we cannot wait to upgrade our levees. …
  • Strengthen LIHEAP and SNAP to protect the most vulnerable Americans.To be sure that the most vulnerable Americans do not bear the costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation, Senator Klobuchar will strengthen two important programs for low-income Americans — LIHEAP, which helps with home energy costs, and SNAP, which provides nutrition assistance.
  • Use disaster funding to build more resilient communities. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to end the Stafford Act prohibition that prevents disaster funding from being used for significant infrastructure improvements. She will also increase funding for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
  • Establish meaningful enforcement of international climate goals. The United States is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, but still only accounts for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Preventing catastrophic global warming will require meaningful enforcement mechanisms to ensure other countries also meet their emission reduction goals, which means making accountability for climate commitments a central part of our international agenda, taking on China’s efforts to promote dirty energy sources in other countries, and considering climate goals in all types of international assistance.

To pay for these investments, Senator Klobuchar will:

  • Work with Congress to put a price on carbon that does not have a regressive impact on Americans. … Most economists agree that the most efficient way to promote a transition away from fossil fuels is by putting a price on carbon. …
  • Develop Clean Energy Bonds. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create Clean Energy Bonds that will support investment in clean energy projects. Investors would earn back their full investment as well as interest from energy savings to the government and loan repayments for clean energy projects. Estimates suggest that these clean energy bonds could raise up to $50 billion and leverage $150 billion for clean energy innovation and the creation of more than 1 million jobs.
  • End federal fossil fuel subsidies. 
  • Make a series of corporate tax reforms.  Senator Klobuchar will … adjust the corporate tax rate to 25%, close loopholes that encourage U.S. companies to move jobs and operations overseas, establish a financial risk fee on our largest banks, and increase efforts for tax enforcement.
  • Increase the capital gains rate … for Americans who make more than $200,000.
  • Close the trust fund loophole. 

Domestic terrorism

  • Empower law enforcement to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of hate-motivated violence, including against minorities, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.
  • Direct the Department of Homeland Security to resume its work tracking right wing extremism, including white nationalism.
  • Require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess the threat of domestic terrorism and increase training and resources for state and local law enforcement to address it.
  • Prevent people convicted of violent misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing or possessing firearms.
  • Make lynching a federal hate crime.
  • Require the Justice Department and the Department of Commerce to assess how current forms of communication are being used to spread hate and recommend ways to combat threats.
  • Address the root causes of domestic terrorism.
  • Increase protections for places of worship and schools.
  • Restore Voting Rights Act protections for voters immediately in states with a recent history of discrimination.
  • Fully staff and fund the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, which provides communities facing racial and other conflict with services.

Gun violence

Senator Klobuchar has laid out a plan for her first 100 days that includes executive action she can take to address gun violence:

Immediately close the “boyfriend loophole” … by preventing people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms.

Consider gun violence as a public health issue in CDC studies … and help identify approaches to reduce gun violence and save lives.

Crack down on gun manufacturers and dealers that break the law. …

Prevent people with severe mental illness from acquiring guns. Senator Klobuchar will restore a rule requiring the Social Security Administration to submit records of people with severe mental illness to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Prevent federal funding from being used to arm teachers. … She ensured that this provision was included in the school safety package that was signed into law after Parkland.

Rural housing

  • Increase affordable rental housing in rural communities … which includes expanding affordable housing programs serving Native Americans.
  • Improve access to information about rural housing programs. To take advantage of federal support for new rural housing, developers must first know about the programs available to them. Senator Klobuchar will improve training for state, local and federal agencies so communities and developers can better access housing opportunities. Senator Klobuchar will also improve and expand programs that provide technical assistance to rural nonprofits to connect rural communities with resources to develop housing.
  • Encourage innovative strategies to attract private investment. Americans living in rural areas need access to mortgages, but rural housing markets present specific challenges for private investors. Through the purchasing power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Klobuchar will encourage lenders to use their mortgage portfolio data to better serve rural mortgage markets. Senator Klobuchar will also provide incentives for community financial development institutions to provide access to credit in rural communities using the expertise of local financial institutions.
  • Invest in Housing Choice Vouchers. The Housing Choice Voucher program helps provide the stable homes families need to succeed, but demand far exceeds the number of vouchers available. Senator Klobuchar will make a major investment to make vouchers available to all qualifying households with children.
  • Give renters access to emergency funds. The path toward eviction can start with an unexpected emergency expense. Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable personal savings accounts called UP Accounts that can be used for retirement and emergencies — including non-routine expenses like rent payments in situations like a lapse in earnings, a car accident, or family leave. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career.
  • Support housing for people with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar will strengthen housing programs that assist people with disabilities. She will also invest in the successful Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program.
  • Encourage mobility for renters. An effective way to break the cycle of poverty is to move to a neighborhood that provides greater opportunity. Senator Klobuchar will expand the pilot for mobility housing vouchers that allows families to use their vouchers in higher opportunity neighborhoods. She will expand incentives to encourage relocation and work with regional and federal housing agencies to reduce obstacles.
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit is a critical tool for developing affordable rental housing. Senator Klobuchar will push to expand allocations to support the construction of additional units. …
  • Reduce homelessness. More than half a million Americans experience homelessness every night. Senator Klobuchar will make a major investment in homeless assistance grants that provide emergency and long-term housing and build on her work in the Senate increasing access to case management services like counseling and job training. This also means addressing the unique challenges of specific homeless populations including those living in rural areas, domestic violence victims, and the formerly incarcerated.
  • Help seniors age in place. By 2040, one in five Americans will be over 65, but the current supply of rental housing is not equipped for this Silver Surge. … She will update regulations for reverse mortgages to make sure seniors have access to safe products that make it easier to stay in their homes, as well as expand support for affordable senior housing. She will direct affordable housing programs to allow retrofitting of rental housing and encourage a share of new rental housing to be built in a senior friendly way.
  • Revitalize and build value in neglected neighborhoods. … Senator Klobuchar will advocate for a new federal tax credit, similar to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, to encourage investment in family-owned homes in distressed neighborhoods.
  • Promote homeownership through down payment assistance and credit development. Saving for a down payment and building a credit history are two of the largest obstacles new homebuyers face. Senator Klobuchar will build on programs that allow certain types of rental housing assistance to be used for home ownership expenses. She will also work to pass legislation that expands access to capital for down payments and makes it easier to build a credit history by allowing credit bureaus to use on-time payment data from cell phone bills, utilities, and rent in calculating credit scores.
  • Protect the Community Reinvestment Act. During the first 100 days of her presidency, Senator Klobuchar will … develop policies to encourage financial institutions to make loans and investment in local communities, especially communities in need, and conduct greater outreach to assess the true credit needs of certain areas.

To pay for these policies, Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital gains rate to the income tax rate for households making more than $400,000, and raise the corporate tax rate to 25%.

Senior citizens

Support caregivers for those living with Alzheimer’s and other chronic conditions.

Senator Klobuchar … will expand training and support services for families and caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia as well as other chronic conditions, improve caregiver well-being and health, allowing patients to stay in their homes longer.

Make it easier for people with Alzheimer’s and their families to get the medical care they need.

… Senator Klobuchar will take action to expand Medicare covered services for Alzheimer’s and she will expand efforts to make patients and their families aware of the care planning and services that are covered. She will also support an ongoing investment in public health infrastructure for Alzheimer’s that reduces risk, improves early detection and diagnosis, and focuses on tribal, rural, minority, and other underserved populations.

Strengthen the National Institutes of Health and invest in research for chronic conditions.

… And Senator Klobuchar will invest in research into health disparities. Significant and persistent disparities exist in health outcomes for minority populations in the United States. …

Improve mental health care for seniors. …

Implement and extend Kevin and Avonte’s law and expand dementia training.

Senator Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation signed into law last year that helps families locate missing people with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, or developmental disabilities, such as autism. As President, Senator Klobuchar will make sure the program is fully implemented and she will also establish federal partnerships with state and local governments to provide dementia training for public sector workers who interact with seniors.

Protect Social Security and make sure it is fair.

… As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to lift the Social Security payroll cap. Currently the payroll tax applies only to wages up to $133,000. Senator Klobuchar supports subjecting income above $250,000 to the payroll tax and extending the solvency of Social Security. And Senator Klobuchar will make sure people are treated fairly by the Social Security system. As President, she will work to strengthen and improve Social Security benefits for widows and people who took significant time out of the paid workforce to care for their children, aging parents, or sick family members.

Expand retirement savings.

… Senator Klobuchar will work to create innovative, portable personal savings accounts called Up Accounts that can be used for retirement and emergencies by establishing a minimum employer contribution to a savings plan. Under her plan, employers will set aside at least 50 cents per hour worked, helping a worker build more than $600,000 in wealth over the course of a career. And Senator Klobuchar will work to reduce disparities when it comes to retirement savings. According to a recent study, the median wealth for white families was more than $134,000, but for African American families it was just $11,000.

Defend pensions.

… As President, she will support legislation to ensure retirees can keep the pensions they have earned and, in her first 100 days, she will recommend that Treasury heighten the scrutiny of any applications to reduce retiree benefits under the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.

Negotiate better drug prices.

Seniors should have access to their medicines at the lowest possible prices. As President, Senator Klobuchar will push to allow the government to directly negotiate lower drug prices for Medicare Part D.

Strengthen Medicare.

Senator Klobuchar opposes cuts and schemes to privatize Medicare. … She will … reform payment policies through measures like site neutral payments and provide incentives for getting the best quality health care at the best price, including bundled payments and telehealth.

Expand coverage for dental, vision and hearing under Medicare. …

Create a refundable tax credit to offset long-term care costs.

… The credit will be available for qualifying long-term care costs including both nursing facility care and home- and community-based services, and additional expenses like assistive technologies, respite care, and necessary home modifications. The credit will be targeted towards those who are most in need of support. Senator Klobuchar will also stand up to efforts to cap Medicaid spending.

Reduce the costs of long-term care insurance and increase access.

… Senator Klobuchar will propose a new targeted tax credit equal to 20 percent of the premium costs of qualified long-term care insurance. Senator Klobuchar will also establish incentives and make it easier for employers to offer their employees long-term care insurance on an opt-out basis. In addition, she will explore updating federal policies to combine long-term care policies with life insurance.

Provide financial relief to caregivers and ensure paid family leave for all Americans, including those who care for elderly or disabled relatives.

Senator Klobuchar is proposing a tax credit of up to $6,000 a year to provide financial relief to those caring for an aging relative or a relative with a disability to help offset expenses, including the cost of medical care, counseling and training, lodging away from home, adult day care, assistive technologies, and necessary home modifications. As President, Senator Klobuchar will also support legislation to provide paid family leave to all Americans.

Support a world class long-term care workforce, increase long-term care options, and tackle disparities in long-term care.

Senator Klobuchar believes we must invest in and address shortages in our long-term care workforce. She is committed to increasing wages, improving job conditions and promoting other recruitment and retention policies, especially in rural communities facing workforce challenges. She will also support training for long-term care workers and new loan forgiveness programs for in-demand occupations that includes our long-term care workers. In addition, she will expand long-term care facilities and beds as well as home care and telehealth services. Research also suggests that there are significant racial and ethnic disparities in the quality of long-term care as well as disparities in coverage for long-term care. Senator Klobuchar is committed to tackling disparities in care through expanding access to long-term care with a focus on reducing inequities as well as addressing the costs of long-term care services for people in the greatest need of assistance.

Fight senior fraud and elder abuse.

… Within her first 100 days as President, she will establish a senior fraud prevention office to educate consumers, expedite the handling of complaints, and coordinate prevention efforts across the federal government. Senator Klobuchar will strengthen enforcement of age discrimination laws, and she will also take action to tackle elder abuse, strengthen oversight and accountability for court-appointed guardians, support training for employees at long-term care facilities, and increase tracking of incidents and investigations to help prevent and better respond to elder abuse.

To pay for these policies, Senator Klobuchar will close the trust fund loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying taxes on inherited wealth.

Addiction and mental health

  • Promote early intervention for mental health disorders and drug use: … She will expand funding for states and localities to detect and respond to mental health conditions, including mental health programming and resources for schools and school counselors, as well as training for pediatricians and primary care physicians. She will also lead new initiatives focused on the risks of alcohol and alcohol addiction and support school and community drug early-intervention programs. …
  • Launch a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health awareness campaign … including a focus on veterans, farmers, LGBTQ and tribal communities. To expand the tools and data available, Amy will invest in suicide prevention programs, expanded resources and health services that address suicide among students and share information with parents, mental health research and data reporting.
  • Prevent opioid addiction: … Amy will prevent doctor shopping by supporting the mandated use by doctors and pharmacists of prescription drug monitoring programs. She will also make a major investment into research and development of pain alternatives to opioids. And to build upon successful federal and local drug take-back programs, Amy will launch a national effort to create additional safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances in every urban and rural community.
  • Tackle alcoholism and prevent drunk driving: Amy will support incentives for state governments to enact ignition interlock laws for those convicted of drunk driving to help reduce repeat offenders. Since problems with alcoholism often start early, Amy will support educational initiatives that focus on the risks of alcohol as well as early identification and treatment of alcoholism.
  • Expand access and increase beds for mental health, alcohol and drug treatment services: In 2017, an estimated 21 million people needed substance use treatment, but fewer than 20 percent were able to access it. Under her plan, Amy will expand access to treatment and recovery services by increasing the number of beds in mental health and substance use treatment centers, supporting public and nonprofit entities, expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and treatment facilities, investing in treatment services in the hardest hit communities and launching an aggressive national awareness campaign to combat stigma associated with seeking treatment for substance use and mental health conditions. Amy will also target increased investments in early intervention and treatment programs for drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine.
  • Invest in research to develop effective substance use and mental health treatments: … Amy will make a dramatic federal investment in the National Institutes of Health for research on the impact of substance use on the brain and body and the development of safe treatments. She will also invest in public health surveillance and biomedical research to help develop the most effective substance use treatments.
  • Improve training for health care professionals and address workforce shortages. …
  • Prioritize mental health and substance use treatment over jail for non-violent offenders: … As President, Amy will increase federal support for drug courts, mental health courts and treatment alternatives to incarceration and expand wraparound services and regular follow-ups. …
  • Train and equip law enforcement officers to address challenges including crisis intervention: About 1 in 10 police calls involve someone who has a mental illness, but many police officers do not have the training they need to handle these calls or respond in a crisis situation. Amy will work with local and state authorities to ensure that crisis intervention is a core part of law enforcement officer training, and expand crisis intervention training to public health departments, first responders and school personnel. Amy will also provide funding for state and local agencies to equip first responders with life-saving naloxone. She will also direct the federal government to negotiate a discounted price for naloxone and promote law enforcement efforts to follow up with people and direct them to harm reduction services. In addition, Amy will increase access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in federal prisons and expand treatment in state and local prisons. She will also work with law enforcement to help stop synthetic opioids from being shipped from foreign countries to the United States.
  • Provide economic and housing opportunities and support ongoing recovery in communities: For those recovering from addiction, including formerly incarcerated people, a job can support recovery, provide income and a sense of purpose. Yet the unemployment rate among those who are recovering is more than twice the national rate. Amy will invest in training, employment and social services that connect people recovering from substance use disorders to housing and economic opportunity. In addition, Amy will significantly expand access to transitional or supportive housing and homeless shelters that can help people with mental health issues and prevent homelessness. She will also invest in existing and new recovery community organizations that meet the ongoing needs of people as they return to work, school and their families.

To pay for her plan, Amy will hold opioid manufacturers responsible for their role in the opioid crisis. She will place a 2 cent fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill to be paid by the manufacturer or importer, establishing a permanent revenue stream that will be used to provide and expand access to substance use and mental health treatment. And she will make opioid manufacturers pay their fair share to fix the crisis they helped create by crafting a Master Settlement Agreement that provides money directly to the states for the cost of addiction treatment and social services. The plan will also be paid for by requiring hedge fund managers to pay their fair share of taxes on investment earnings and by ending pharmaceutical company tactics that prevent generic competitors from entering the market.

Native Americans

As President, Senator Klobuchar’s priorities will include:

  • Making sure there is meaningful consultation with Tribal officials by all federal agencies, promoting a strong government-to-government relationship, and partnering with Native American tribes in the development of all federal policies that affect tribes. She will consult with 573 Tribal Nations on all matters of federal policy.
  • Pushing for the passage of Savanna’s Act to address violence against Native American women and girls and investing in efforts to help tribal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies combat violence and human trafficking in Indian Country.
  • Expanding broadband deployment in Indian Country by connecting every household to the Internet by 2022.
  • Increasing Native access to voter registration sites and polling locations, requiring automatic voter registration for eligible citizens when they turn 18, and bolstering Native American voter registration, education and election participation efforts in Indian Country.
  • Prioritizing and fully funding federal and tribal law enforcement efforts, expanding support for tribal judicial systems, and providing resources for and directing the Department of Justice to aggressively prosecute violent crimes in Indian country.
  • Building on her work to provide resources for tribal schools by increasing teacher pay and funding for schools, providing resources and school infrastructure investments in Indian Country, and making sure that the rising costs of post-secondary education aren’t a barrier to opportunity.
  • Working with Tribal officials to put forward a plan to cut childhood poverty in half across the country in 10 years, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Care Tax Credit, SNAP benefits and overhauling our country’s housing policy, with a focus on Indian Country.
  • Continuing to work with tribes to settle litigation and resolve long-standing disputes over trust assets and natural resources.
  • Supporting the Indian Health Service, defending the Affordable Care Act, pushing for advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service, and focusing on prevention and treatment of diseases where there is a severe health disparity between tribes and non-Indian communities, including cancer, diabetes and suicide.
  • Working to prioritize VA health care services, employment, and housing for Native veterans and advocating for our Native veterans so they have access to a good education and good jobs when they come home.

Where he stands: Pete Buttigieg

One in a series profiling Democratic presidential candidates – in their own words:

 

https://peteforamerica.com/

 

Health care

Provides universal access to affordable coverage for everyone.

For those who want it, Pete’s plan:

  • Preserves Medicare Advantage for 22 million seniors and people with disabilities
  • Allows you to make your own choices whether that’s private insurance or the public option
  • Forces insurance companies to compete and improve

Pete’s plan protects your right to choose your own health plan, and that includes preserving Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C). About one out of three people on Medicare, or 22 million people, rely on Medicare Advantage today. They would lose this choice under Medicare for All.

Pete’s plan won’t increase taxes on middle- or working-class Americans. Instead, he will pay for Medicare for All Who Want It by repealing Trump’s corporate tax breaks and by allowing the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to dramatically lower prescription drug prices.

Under Pete’s plan, if you choose the public option, your employer will be required to continue paying their share of your health care costs.

Infrastructure

Key policies include:

  • Create 6 million well-paying jobs with strong labor protections.For every infrastructure project that his administration funds, Pete will protect and support the Davis-Bacon Act to ensure that workers are paid fair wages and that taxpayers receive the best value for their money.
  • Commit $10 billion to attracting and training a skilled infrastructure workforce, including by supporting pre-apprenticeship programs that collaborate with Registered Apprenticeships. He will also establish a National Infrastructure Accelerator and offer $100 million in grants to support initiatives that introduce K-12 students to infrastructure and clean energy jobs.
  • Dramatically expand access to infrastructure jobs for underrepresented communities. Pete will commit $100 million to expanding Apprenticeship Readiness Programs that help job seekers from underrepresented communities enter apprenticeships and careers.
  • Create a $200 billion transition fund for workers in a clean energy economy. Pete’s transition fund will support programs to align mining and fossil fuel workers with new well-paying jobs with strong labor protections in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure.
  • Ensure lead-free water by investing $20 billion in replacing three million lead service lines by 2030 and supporting best-in-class corrosion control. As a Midwestern mayor of an industrial city, Pete understands the severity of this threat and knows that addressing these problems is not easy. That is why Pete will provide the resources to tackle this crisis by establishing a $100 billion Lead-Safe Communities Fund to address lead in water, paint, and soil.
  • Prevent and address PFAS contamination by establishing science-based standards that limit the amount of PFAS in drinking water and developing safe alternatives to PFAS in commercial use.
  • Lower water bills by an average of 50 percent for 10 million families through a Drinking Water Assistance Matching Fund. Water and wastewater services are unaffordable for nearly 14 million households, and this number could triple within five years. The Fund will provide a 1:3 federal funding match for states and local water systems that assist low-income families with water bill payments.
  • Invest more than $30 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure to expand access to basic services, upgrade existing systems, and drive innovative approaches.
  • Invest $150 billion to support cities and towns in providing equitable public transportation, including improved options for subway, light rail, bus rapid transit, and last-mile service.
  • Expand accessible rural public transportation with a $12 billion investment.
  • Improve the connectivity and safety of our national rail network.
  • Ensure that federal transportation projects improve access to opportunity by determining how effectively they connect people to jobs and services.
  • Double the BUILD program and create a Local Leaders Office at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to help local communities more easily access federal funds and expertise.
  • Create a $3 billion grant program for programs of national significance to facilitate collaboration across states and regions.
  • Provide dedicated funding to repair half of roads in poor condition and structurally deficient bridges by 2030. Pete’s DOT will strengthen State of Good Repair Performance Management requirements and require states to develop achievable plans for maintaining their roads before they use federal funds for new roads or expansions. He will also create a $50 billion grant program for states to repair bridges.
  • Power millions of new electric vehicles (EVs) by investing $6 billion in new charging infrastructure. Investing in EVs is a tool both to combat climate change and to drive manufacturing job growth. Pete will provide $6 billion in grants and loans through the American Clean Energy Bank for states and cities to partner with private companies and unions on installing publicly available charging infrastructure powered by clean energy. At least 40 percent of the funds will be available for projects in multi-unit dwellings and economically disadvantaged communities.
  • Make the Highway Trust Fund solvent. The Highway Trust Fund has been insolvent since 2008, causing uncertainty about whether states can complete projects. Pete will inject $165 billion into the Fund to ensure that it remains solvent through 2029.
  • Build safer roads for all, including by doubling funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program to install more accessible sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes. Pete will provide incentives for states, cities, and counties to build safe, accessible roads and retrofit existing unsafe roads. His DOT will work with tribal communities to ensure that roads in Indian Country are safe for families.
  • Increase funding in the Highway Safety Improvement Program for building safer rural roads. Pete’s DOT will also fund studies to improve road safety on rural roads, which account for 50 percent of traffic fatalities and are over twice as deadly as urban roads.
  • Connect funding to safety performance by requiring state transportation agencies to set targets that reduce fatalities and injuries and are consistent with a national Vision Zero goal. Pete’s administration will require states to improve their safety records or road design processes, or else lose federal funding for other roadway projects.
  • Incentivize safe driving practices. Pete will increase federal funding to $1 billion a year for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Highway Administration to address unsafe driving behavior, research solutions for distracted driving, and strengthen enforcement.
  • Protect millions of families from lead poisoning by investing $80 billion in lead-based paint remediation and ensuring that the EPA fully enforces the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule.
  • Double funding for Community Development Block Grants.
  • Create good infrastructure jobs in local communities, including by extending the DOT’s Local Labor Hiring Preference Pilot and promoting Community Benefit Agreements.
  • Repair school infrastructure. America’s $46 billion annual funding gap for repairing school buildings harms many students, including students in communities of color who suffer from poor heating and mold in classrooms. Pete’s administration will provide schools with $80 billion in grants and loans to repair classrooms and facilities.
  • Offer cities and states $3 billion to launch programs that lower infrastructure costs for low-income families.
  • Mitigate past injustices in transportation planning. Pete will use innovative solutions like complete urban streets to mitigate the negative effects of highway expansion projects on Black and Latino neighborhoods.
  • Ensure full high-speed broadband coverage with an $80 billion Internet For All initiative.
  • Ensure that students can use the Internet to learn and succeed.
  • Make broadband more affordable, especially for low-income families.
  • Repair and modernize flood protection systems in every community that needs it by 2030.
  • Prepare for rising seas with a $40 billion Sea Level Defense Fund.
  • Empower communities to develop tailored solutions for resilience through Cooperative Extensions for Climate and Flood Resilience.
  • Increase reliable water supply to mitigate the effects of drought.
  • Expand pre-disaster mitigation programs for inland and coastal areas.
  • Create a U.S. Infrastructure Cyber-Protection Taskforce to protect against digital threats.
  • Build a more resilient electric grid by improving risk management and emergency response.
  • Protect against wildfires, including by recruiting 5,000 firefighters and fire management experts.
  • Develop smart and integrated infrastructure by establishing a Digital Infrastructure Council and tasking every infrastructure agency with creating a digital infrastructure strategy.
  • Lead the world in safe and zero-emissions autonomous vehicle technology.
  • Create the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure to research innovative infrastructure technologies and solutions.

Economy

Lower housing costs. Pete will invest $430 billion in affordable housing and other measures to bring housing costs down for working families. … He will enable more than 2 million more units of affordable housing to be built or restored where it is needed most, using billions of dollars of investments in the Housing Trust Fund, Capital Magnet Fund, HOME and CDBG funds, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. He will enable 1 million low-income families to become homeowners by providing federal down payment assistance and matching funds to scale successful local programs. His administration will invest $170 billion to ensure that all eligible families with children receive housing choice vouchers, and that they also have access to wraparound services that unlock high-opportunity neighborhoods. … Pete will also work with states and cities to reform local zoning laws to make it easier to build housing for working and middle class-families, and repair or replace deteriorated public housing stock. … And he will pass the 21st Century Community Homestead Act to facilitate wealth accumulation through homeownership for low-income families from formerly redlined neighborhoods, supporting neighborhood revitalization that benefits local residents.

Lower child care costs. In more than half of states, a year of child care is more expensive than in-state college tuition — preventing millions of children from accessing the high-quality early learning that catalyzes critical early development. That’s why Pete will make a $700 billion investment in affordable, universal, high-quality early learning, as well as outside-of-school learning opportunities in K-12 education. He will make early learning and care from birth through age 5 free for lower-income families and affordable for all families, and invest in workforce development and compensation for the child care workforce. … He will strengthen and build on Head Start, the successful public program that has positive outcomes for K-12 school performance, child development, and economic success. …

Lower college costs. Tuition at public four-year colleges has tripled over the last 30 years. … That’s why Pete will invest $500 billion to make college affordable for working and middle class families. The 80% of families of public college students that earn up to $100,000 will not pay any public college tuition. The next 10% of families, earning $100,000-$150,000, will get a reduced public tuition on a sliding scale. To keep tuition costs in check, in exchange for receiving federal dollars states will guarantee to invest in their public higher education systems and constrain tuition increases. Larger Pell Grants for students at public colleges will help with costs such as housing and transportation, enabling students from low-income backgrounds to graduate completely debt free. And Pete will make $50 billion in new investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions to help students of color thrive.

Grow workers’ income by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase incomes by an average of $1,000 per year for 35 million American families, as proposed in the Working Families Tax Relief Act by Senators Brown, Bennet, Durbin, and Wyden. This $400 billion tax cut offsets income taxes and other taxes that eat into workers’ take-home pay.

Pass a $15 minimum wage that delivers a raise to more than 25 million low-wage workers and spurs wage increases for millions more middle-wage workers. Pete will also end the tipped minimum wage and the subminimum wage.

Ensure all working Americans have access to paid sick leave and 12 weeks of comprehensive paid family and medical leave. Pete will pass an enhanced version of the FAMILY Act to create a national paid family and medical leave fund, which will include making sure that benefits for lower-income workers are high enough for workers to afford to take leave.

Require gender pay transparency, banning the use of salary history to determine wages, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, aggressively enforcing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, and ensuring women can access the STEM education and technical training that enable them to join and lead America’s most innovative industries.

Through actions that include launching the Walker-Lewis Initiative, expanding the SBA Microloan Program, doubling large SBA 7a loans awarded to women-owned small businesses, and supercharging investment (5X) in Community Development Finance Institutions, Pete will unlock $60 billion to support underrepresented entrepreneurs including Black Americans and women.

Increase salaries for teachers, domestic workers, and direct care workers by raising pay standards, ensuring the right to union representation and bargaining, and creating pathways to career development and certification.

Grow job training programs for all workers of all ages in every city and town in America. Pete will invest $50 billion in workforce training and lifelong learning. Local non-profits, unions, employers, and community colleges have created proven pathways for young and middle-age workers into good jobs in health care, technology, clean energy, and other local growth industries. Pete will invest federal dollars into these programs so that incomes can grow for all workers, whether or not they have a college degree.

Hold employers accountable to labor law. Pete will codify and strictly enforce simple tests to prevent workers from being denied minimum wage, overtime, and antidiscrimination protections, and their ability to unionize.

Protect unions. Pete will double union membership by imposing the strongest union protections ever, including equal-speech rights in union elections, multimillion-dollar penalties to employers that interfere with union elections, and an end to so-called “right-to-work” laws.

Grow unions for the future. Pete will enable multi-employer bargaining and ensure that gig workers can unionize, expanding union protections and power.

Expand worker protections for gig workers, farm workers, and domestic workers, all of whom are currently denied protections.

The candidates’ views – in their own words

 

What is truth? Who do you believe?

Those aren’t easy questions to answer in today’s social media-crazed society, where everyone is a journalist and even more of us have an opinion on any issue out there.

In this atmosphere, we will determine the next president of the United States later this year. The primary and caucus season starts in less than two weeks.

President Donald Trump is the incumbent Republican, and as much as I’d like to see a challenger for him in the GOP primary, I don’t see that happening. No one is planning for his impeachment trial to be successful, so let’s just assume he will fill the Republican side of the presidential ballot in November.

So, in preparation for the upcoming primary election and caucus season – beginning with the Democratic caucus in Iowa on Monday, Feb. 3 – let’s take about a week to learn what makes the top candidates tick.

In their own words. Not from debate sound bites only on certain issues. Not from social media supporters or critics.

I researched the six candidates who participated in the last Democratic debate on Jan. 14, and added Michael Bloomberg and Andrew Yang. Those seem to be to be the top eight candidates still in the running.

I spent a little time on each candidate’s campaign web site to find where he or she stands on issues important to him or her – in their own words. Some have exhaustive explanations on numerous issues; some discuss only a few causes. Others offer short discourses on a few issues and lengthy tomes on others he or she is passionate about.

I will highlight the issues in each candidate’s own words. As the editor of this blog, I’ll condense for clarity. If you wish to find further details, I’ll provide the campaign web site for each of them.

Most of the candidates have harsh words for President Trump and for his policies. For this exercise, I’ve eliminated that. Tell me what your plan is. We’ve heard enough rhetoric and criticism. Tell me what you’re going to do about it.

Also, several of the candidates are better preachers than many preachers are. I’ve kept that to a minimum as well. My primary format is bullet points listing the candidates’ stances.

I’ll use an old newspaper technique to remain objective when profiling multiple people: I’ll highlight them in alphabetical order.

So, where does each candidate stand on the issues of our day? Let’s find out. In his or her own words. Each candidate gets his or her day:

 

Joe Biden on Friday, Jan. 24

Michael Bloomberg on Saturday, Jan. 25

Pete Buttigieg on Monday, Jan. 27

Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday, Jan. 28

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, Jan. 29

Tom Steyer on Thursday, Jan. 30

Elizabeth Warren on Friday, Jan. 31

Andrew Yang on Saturday, Feb. 1

 

I have no idea who I will vote for when the time comes. I lean toward certain candidates; others make me cringe; still others I don’t know much about.

That’s the point of this project. Who, in general, supports the positions you or I support?

Don’t expect any candidate to line up perfectly with all your views. Which issues are non-negotiable for you? Hopefully you don’t have too many of those, or you may have trouble voting for anyone.

Let’s choose our Democratic candidate wisely, with a clear mind and calm heart. After all, that’s how we want our leaders to lead.

Don’t we?

Trump, the man, the politician and the nation’s deep divide over him

We don’t discuss politics at home, and that’s a good thing.

I do talk politics in this blog on occasion, however. Responses typically are strong.

The goal of a blog is to spark discussion – to get you, the reader, to ask yourself what you believe, and why.

But with politics, we – nearly all of us – put our blinders on and mindlessly point out how I am right and you are wrong. We all quote “facts” to support our position, and label the other side’s “facts” as “fake news.”

If there’s anything I’ve learned from social media this year, it’s that.

A deep divide

I wrote a blog last week that said President Trump mocks the Christian faith, then followed up a few days later by re-posting a story saying Trump could be the loneliest man in America.

Common sense says we shouldn’t talk about politics or religion in polite society. Talk about both at the same time, and I was playing with fire – and not from an Advent candle.

The flames hurt. Two days before Christmas.

I addressed a deep dividing line among evangelical Christians, of which I count myself as one. Close friends and people I respect tremendously came down on the other side of the line I drew.

God’s choice?

Trump is God’s choice, they told me. If Trump is God’s choice, then so was former President Obama, I responded. And so was every president we’ve ever had, from George Washington forward.

Trump promotes several values and viewpoints that evangelicals defend vociferously. Pro-life/anti-abortion. Appointing conservative judges. Opposing illegal immigration. Removing our troops from war zones where we don’t have a local interest. A tough stance on trade with China. Supporting Israel. Gun rights.

Trump is upholding the GOP platform, which previous GOP leaders haven’t had the guts, or gall, to do.

Our president is a bull in a china shop, and many evangelicals are ecstatic.

Is that what it takes to run a country?

Donald Trump, Melania Trump

He ignores his own experts, often tweeting behind their backs. He’s been married three times (two of them became naturalized citizens while married to Trump), so he’s not the best with personal relationships either. If you disagree with him, he ridicules you, fires you or divorces you.

Is that what it takes to run a country?

No compromise

Whatever happened to the art of compromise? Oh right, Congress forgot how to do that years ago. That’s why Trump got elected in the first place. Congress was immobile and ineffective.

It’s our own fault Trump is president. We asked for him.

In 2016, Republicans understood the nation’s frustration with politics as usual. I’m not sure Democrats still understand.

So, the lines in the sand are drawn.

Jesus’ prayer for unity

Jesus talked about humility and loving others, including the poor and outcasts. He lived that message too. Yet Jesus did not compromise His message when talking with the religious/political leaders of His day, who sought the status quo to protect their positions, and they crucified Him for it.

The very last words of Jesus before He was killed were these:

 

“I ask … on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me …”

John 17:20-21

 

This is why my blog last week cut so deeply among so many of us. Jesus’ last words were a prayer of unity for us (those who will believe, future tense). Because we aren’t unified, Jesus’ message “that the world may believe that you have sent me” gets lost in the debate.

Two days before Christmas. Perhaps that was not a coincidence.

War at Christmas

Christmas is not a warm fuzzy story of a baby, “no crying he makes,” in a manger with animals all around. Christmas is God’s declaration of war on sin, nothing less. God the Father sent His Son to this earth to fight, and defeat, sin. To do it, He had to become fully human, as well as remain fully God. Words cannot adequately explain how this works. But that’s the story of Christmas, and the story of our Christian faith.

Donald Trump

If President Trump forces us to take a stand on our faith, then that’s a good thing.

Instead, as I mentioned, we’ve put our blinders on. When I re-posted a report claiming our president might be the loneliest man in America, some of you dismissed the article because of the sources quoted, ignoring the content of the story completely.

Because the sources, several of them, were “liberal,” the authors had an ulterior motive – that Trump isolated himself from the sources, because he disagrees with their viewpoints.

I understand loneliness, at least to a degree. If the president has isolated himself, it’s largely his own fault – because anyone who tries to get close to him gets pushed away or fired. He trusts no one.

As a bull in a china shop, he will not let anyone tame him.

The message that unifies – and divides

I’ve read articles before about loneliness among high-profile actors and actresses, because they live a lifestyle that us common folk cannot relate to. Perhaps this is Trump’s lot in life too.

But no. We reject that line of thinking because we reject the man. We treat him as less than human, because we think he treats us as less than human.

That escalates. We point fingers, accusing the other side of being less human than we are.

This is our country today.

Can we find common ground, somewhere – anywhere?

Jesus knew what He was talking about when He prayed that we might be unified. We justify all kinds of things as Christians. Our message is not unified at all. Faith is messy. Faith is hard. The Bible promises that all believers will suffer for their faith, no exceptions.

Jesus said He did not come to spruce up the traditional Old Testament message; He came to deliver an entirely new one that revolves around His crucifixion and resurrection.

That message should unify, and galvanize, Christians. That message alone.

All the other stuff follows Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

Does President Trump have the cross and the empty tomb as the starting point in his life? No, he doesn’t.

That’s why I wrote my blog last week.

And why all of us, myself included, fall off track so easily.

Father, forgive us. Every one of us, for we know not what we do.