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 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.

Where he stands: Michael Bloomberg

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

 

https://www.mikebloomberg.com/getting-it-done

 

Economy

  • Creating jobs

Mike will launch a major public research and development initiative in industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and medicine to create jobs and reward cities with the best plans for inclusive growth. He will also invest in community college partnerships and apprenticeships that connect people with identifiable jobs and career paths.

  • Minimum wage

Mike’s plan will enhance the Earned Income Tax Credit, pay it monthly and pay more where it’s most needed. Mike will also increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, indexed to inflation, ensure affordable child care, paid family leave and the right to sue employers for harassment and discrimination related to characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability. And his plan will grant all workers — including gig, contract and franchise employees — the right to organize and bargain collectively.

  • Small businesses

Mike will set up “Business Resource Centers” across the country to help entrepreneurs access capital, navigate bureaucracy and take advantage of federal programs. And he will consolidate programs for small businesses in the Small Business Administration, and increase staffing and funding.

  • Rural America

Mike’s plan will include improving rural America’s connection to growth centers – for example, by investing in rural broadband access. These areas will be provided with technical assistance to help reap benefits from efforts to connect them with educational institutions, entrepreneurial projects and the online information economy.

Climate change

  • Mike Bloomberg commits to propelling the country towards a 100% clean-energy economy-wide future … before 2050, slashing emissions by 50% across the U.S. economy in 10 years. Mike calls for phasing out all carbon and health-threatening pollution in the electricity sector, ensuring 80% clean electricity by the end of his second term of office.
  • Immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement and meet the targets science recommends. …
  • Restore U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, so that developed countries meet and exceed their goal to contribute $100 billion a year to developing countries, and ensure that this funding enables these countries to access affordable clean energy and strengthen their resilience to natural disasters.
  • Achieve reductions in all greenhouse gases, including … refrigerants, methane, and black-carbon emissions. Submit the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for ratification; improve satellite detection of methane leaks worldwide; reinstate U.S. leadership on the Arctic Council and prioritize the removal of black carbon from the atmosphere; and strengthen efforts to reduce emissions from the shipping and aviation industries.
  • Make climate change a top priority of U.S. foreign policy, and intensify U.S. and international actions to stop the expansion of coal and otherwise lower emissions. …
  • Calculate the costs of U.S. climate change efforts and apply a corresponding border adjustment – a charge on imports and a tax break for exports – for emissions-intensive goods.
  • Work with other countries to jointly end export assistance for fossil fuel investments.
  • Hold governments accountable and penalize corporations responsible for deforestation and other practices that increase climate change and rob indigenous peoples of their lives and communities.
  • Mandate the disclosure of all climate-related risks, including the full cost of retiring fossil-fuel assets, and greenhouse gas reporting. Furthermore, institute stress testing of financial institutions, including banks. Work with financial regulators around the world to do the same, and standardize these actions.
  • Encourage the G20 and the Financial Stability Board to develop a Task Force that would bring financial institutions together with multilateral and national development banks to finance clean energy and resilience projects in developing countries.
  • Protect national security, and ensure that the world’s most vulnerable people are kept safe from the impacts of climate change.
  • … Create an entry point to apply for refugee status in the United States at a minimum.
  • Make funding clean energy and resilience a priority for U.S. development assistance programs in the President’s annual budget request.
  • Establish an Office of Climate Security in the White House to coordinate climate-related strategies in intelligence, defense, development and diplomacy, and will include civilian and military staff.
  • Lead a new council bringing together all research-focused federal agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to work together on R&D challenges affecting the most vulnerable to climate change.
  • Put military bases at home and abroad on a path to self-sufficiency by improving the resilience of all infrastructure that the military relies on at home and abroad from the effects of climate change, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. …
  • Help homeowners, building owners and tenants replace appliances, and upgrade existing buildings to save energy and reduce building emissions.

E-cigarettes

  • Direct the FDA to prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, as well as all menthol-flavored tobacco products. .,.
  • Reduce tobacco use by increasing the federal tax on cigarettes by $1. …
  • Fight back against addiction. Nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are boosted to increase the chance of addiction in children. The same is true of traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products marketed to all ages. As president, Mike will mandate the reduction of nicotine in tobacco products to make them less addictive.
  • Make it easier for smokers to quit. … As president, Mike will make health insurance companies cover counseling and cessation medicines for smokers trying to quit. These services will be provided without co-pays, prior authorization requirements or limits on the duration of treatment. Mike will also require the FDA to expedite the approval of improved smoking-cessation products through its Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Gun safety

More effective background checks:

  • Require point-of-sale background checks for all gun sales and close the private sale loophole, which enables prohibited people to buy guns simply by finding unlicensed sellers at gun shows or on the Internet.
  • Require every gun buyer to get a permit before making a purchase.
  • Use sales records to identify crime guns and notify local police when individuals have been prohibited from having a gun. A central system will let local authorities know when a gun owner has become barred from having firearms – due to a criminal conviction or a restraining order.
  • Allow for extreme risk screening before guns are purchased so that issuers would be equipped to deny permits to troubled people who pose a danger to themselves or others. …

Keep guns out of the wrong hands:

  • Close the “boyfriend loophole” which allows domestic abusers to have guns, despite criminal convictions or restraining orders simply because they are not married to their victims.
  • Pass a federal red flag law that expands extreme risk orders to 50 states, and funds state efforts to maximize the policy.
  • Require buyers to be at least 21 years old to buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
  • Set a temporary ban on gun possession by assault and other violent misdemeanor offenders.

Ban assault weapons, protect schools, and prevent unintentional shootings:

  • Reinstate the federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
  • Require secure storage of firearms, which have been shown to reduce the risk of child gun injuries by up to 85 percent. However, an estimated 4.6 million American children live in houses with an unlocked gun.
  • Ban all guns in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, except for law enforcement.

Tackle daily gun violence in the hardest-hit communities:

  • Fund at least $100 million annually for local violence intervention programs.
  • Increase ATF funding by up to $100 million annually so that the Bureau is able to police the gun industry more effectively.
  • Fund at least $100 million annually for public health research into gun violence.
  • Require all buyers to wait at least 48 hours before any firearm purchase.
  • Make straw purchasing and trafficking stand-alone federal crimes, with serious penalties for offenders in order to help stop illicit sales.
  • Require all gun owners to report to police if their firearms have been lost or stolen, within three days after they know or should know that their guns are missing.
  • Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) so that gunmakers and gun dealers will no longer have broad immunity from civil lawsuits.
  • Allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to treat guns like other household products so that the federal government will have the power to set safety requirements for gun technology.
  • Formally declare the gun violence crisis to be a public health emergency to expedite funds and research.
  • Appoint a White House gun coordinator to mobilize the public to fight gun violence and launch an interagency hub to fight gun violence.
  • Focus executive energy on suicide reduction, school safety interventions, and corporate partnerships.

Health care

  • Public option. The first step is to create a Medicare-like public option — health insurance that would be administered by the federal government but paid for by customer premiums. Priority would go to the uninsured, including low-income people who are in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the ACA. A public insurance option would improve consumer choice and increase competition in the private insurance market, lower everyone’s premiums. People of modest means who buy the public option would be eligible for the same subsidies that would apply on the health insurance exchanges.
  • Build on the Affordable Care Act. The ACA made great strides in helping people who don’t get health insurance through an employer afford coverage in the individual market. Mike … would expand enrollment efforts, restrict the sale of health plans that don’t meet ACA standards, and defend the law against politically motivated lawsuits. He would expand subsidies to cap premiums at 8.5% of a household’s income. He would create a permanent reinsurance program that, by helping insurers with the largest claims, would reduce customer premiums roughly 10%. Finally, because about a third of Americans choose not to see a dentist regularly because it is too expensive, Mike would expand Medicare to include an optional policy covering dental, hearing, and vision care, and would require all states to cover oral health services for adults in Medicaid.
  • Cap health care prices and ban surprise medical bills. … To bring prices down, Mike would cap out-of-network charges at 200% of Medicare rates. (Medicare does something similar; beneficiaries enrolled in private plans, known as Medicare Advantage plans, have capped prices for out-of-network providers. This cap protects beneficiaries, and, at the same time, gives private insurers greater leverage in negotiating rates with hospitals and clinicians.)
  • Lower drug costs. Mike would work with Congress to authorize the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. The government would cap drug prices at 120% of the average in other advanced nations — and this cap would apply to consumers with public or private insurance. Mike would ban drug company payments to the people who make decisions at pharmacies so that drug makers compete on the cost and value of their products — not on the amount of money they pay to get preferential treatment.

Maternal health

  • … Mike’s plan encourages states to pass laws that allow trained medical professionals to provide more care that is currently limited to a doctor’s scope. This is also aimed at providing better care for more women, especially in rural areas.
  • His proposal calls for the expansion of the National Health Service Corps, which offers loan repayment and scholarship opportunities for doctors who practice in high-need areas, to also cover medical students from minority communities. And he will boost funding for medical schools at historically black colleges and universities to increase the number of people of color in the health care workforce.
  • The plan re-confirms Mike’s long-standing support for women’s reproductive rights. Mike will work with Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into law, guaranteeing legal access to safe abortion in all 50 states. He will also partner with Congress to repeal the Hyde amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of incest or rape.

Housing

  • Mike will work to alleviate the nation’s severe shortage of affordable housing, break down barriers to building it in places where people want to live and ensure that the nation’s poorest can get into it. …
  • He will expand the Low Income Tax Credit, with conditions to ensure that more new construction is in low-income areas with substantial community investments to improve schools and reduce crime.
  • He will increase funding to federal affordable housing programs, such as the Public Housing Capital Fund, the HOME program, Community Development Block Grants, the Capital Magnet Fund and the Housing Trust Fund. …
  • He will set aside $10 billion in federal funds for a competition to reward municipalities that remove obstacles to the construction of affordable housing in neighborhoods with good schools, transportation and economic opportunities — for example, by changing zoning rules or allowing property owners to build additional housing units. Research suggests that in some cities, zoning restrictions increase housing costs by 50% or more.
  • He will enforce Department of Housing and Urban Development rules, such as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, that require cities to demonstrate progress in addressing segregation — for example, by removing exclusionary zoning regulations. …
  • He will increase funding for housing vouchers. It’s unacceptable that only one in four households that qualify for federal housing assistance actually receive it.
  • He will make it easier for people using vouchers to move to where opportunities are — for example, by administering them regionally and matching their value to rents by ZIP code.
  • Mike will … expand efforts to provide housing and prevent people from becoming homeless. …
  • He will expand permanent supportive housing, which provides stability to the chronic homeless, provides services to address issues such as substance abuse and seeks to graduate them to independent living. This approach … reduces the use of publicly-funded crisis services, including shelters, hospitals, psychiatric centers and prisons.
  • He will use federal funds to encourage cities to adopt rapid rehousing strategies, which provide housing search support and short-term rental assistance, and to implement strategies that prioritize access for the homeless and provide support and work training needed to achieve economic independence.
  • He will expand federal grants to cities that implement effective homelessness prevention programs such as Homebase, which work to keep people facing crises in their homes, including with legal aid and temporary financial assistance.
  • Mike recognizes that generations of discriminatory public policy — such as redlining, which effectively denied federal loan guarantees to minorities — have prevented some Americans from accumulating housing wealth and left them concentrated in high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods. …
  • He will create a Housing Fairness Commission, funded with an initial $10 billion, to work with municipalities and nonprofits on testing policies aimed at reversing the effects of discrimination and expanding programs that work.
  • He will expand Fair Housing Act protections to include all relevant forms of discrimination, such as family status, veteran status, sexual orientation and source of funds.
  • He will enforce fair lending laws and keep gathering the data needed to do so.
  • He will revive HUD’s efforts to enforce progress on housing desegregation (under its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule) and ensure people’s right to challenge discriminatory policies in the courts (under its disparate impact rule).

Criminal justice

  • Sentencing reform: Mike supports the First Step Act but he believes that Washington can go further. The Justice Department should provide incentives for states to experiment with and evaluate the impact of shorter sentences.
  • Prison reform: … Mike will push to expand alternative-to-incarceration programs that have a proven record of success, based on his work in New York City. He’ll expand drug treatment, mental health services, and re-entry and career-training for people who are incarcerated. He will restore access to Pell Grant funding for incarcerated individuals, allowing them to pay for post-secondary education while in prison. And he will lower barriers to hiring for public employee and government contractor positions so that job applicants are not asked about their criminal records until after they receive a conditional offer.
  • Bail reform: Americans are spending almost $10 billion a year to incarcerate people who are awaiting trial – in other words, who haven’t yet been convicted of a crime. Many have been granted bail but can’t afford to pay. At the same time, African Americans and Latinos are less likely to be granted bail, which is the definition of injustice. Mike supports reform efforts that aim to reduce or eliminate cash bail for non-violent offenders.
  • Juvenile justice reform: There are more than 50,000 young people in confinement away from their homes. Close to 17,000 of them are being held for low-level, non-violent crimes, and 6,000 are being held before even being convicted. Mike will launch a nationwide initiative to cut imprisonment of young people in half by the end of his first term and eliminate juvenile incarceration for all non-violent offenders.

Veterans services

  • Creates a central repository of the skills required for a military position and the most common civilian jobs that are related.
  • Educates companies to better understand the unique skills that veterans bring to the workforce, including the value in including veterans as part of their diversity-and-inclusion efforts.
  • Calls for the collection of data and developing systems to better evaluate the needs of veterans in order to inform and prioritize future employment support services.
  • Offers credentialing services and support throughout a veteran’s entire career.
  • Makes employment and education benefits available to veterans, and provides critical financial literacy support to help protect veterans and their families from predatory lenders.
  • Helps veterans transition to life outside of the military and into new communities.
  • Mike’s plan also provides relief to any veterans who need support to combat the isolation that may contribute to veteran homelessness, opioid use and suicide.

Voter rights

  • Protecting voting rights for all Americans. Mike will fix burdensome voting laws and practices that make it more difficult for Black and Latino voters, Native Americans, transgender people, and people with disabilities to vote in federal elections. And he will end voter suppression by banning states from purging eligible voters.
  • Preventing gerrymandering and eliminating partisan influence in elections. Mike will require states to establish independent redistricting commissions to draw federal congressional districts, through a transparent and inclusive process, that produces fair representation. This is especially important for communities of color. …
  • Making it easy for all eligible voters to cast their ballots. Mike will make it simpler to vote by implementing uniform standards for federal elections across states, requiring policies like automatic voter registration and early voting, and ensuring the availability and accessibility of polling places.
  • Modernizing election infrastructure so our elections are safe and secure. Mike will … mandate the use of state-of-the-art voting machines, provide training and technical assistance for election officials, and require the Department of Homeland Security to assess threats prior to elections.

Silent majority needs to be heard

The opposite of love is not hate.

Both are strong emotions. People with either love or hate care deeply about the issue at hand.

No, the opposite of love – and hate too, for that matter – is apathy.

I … just … don’t … care.

As a holiday weekend is concluding, I’m struggling with this. Perhaps I’m feeling emotional fatigue. Especially since I’ve never learned how to express my emotions verbally.

America the divided

Am I proud to be an American?

That’s a more complicated question than it used to be.

I am free to live where I choose, worship where I choose (or not), work in a career field of my choice (assuming someone would hire me), marry whom I choose, spend my free time however I choose …

Yes, this country offers many good things.

But not all receive those things equally.

This is the message of America today.

We hold up that ideal, but we aren’t close to it. We’re closer than we were a century ago.

Or are we?

Equality an illusion

evicted 2

I just read a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond, which described the substandard housing situation in inner-city Milwaukee a decade ago. We on the outside think the long-term poor often choose to live that way, that if they would just get a job or education, they could pick themselves up by their bootstraps and improve their lives.

But that’s often not possible. The housing culture in the wonderful United States of America is designed to keep poor people poor.

evicted 5

Rents are not much cheaper in poor areas than they are in the suburbs. The federal government subsidizes low-income housing for landlords, so they charge unaffordable rents in low-income areas because they can. And when poor people get behind on rent, far too often they get evicted.

The book follows eight families who faced this. Many of them made upwards of 90 or more calls and/or visits to rental properties to find a suitable place after eviction. Eviction is like a criminal record – often landlords make it difficult for the evicted to rent again.

And if the family, often led by a single woman, has children, that’s another strike. Kids cause damage. Teens do drugs and get into trouble. Claiming this, some landlords don’t want children.

And why are neighborhoods segregated racially? Because landlords make it so. They find creative ways to refuse renting an apartment or house to a minority in a “non-minority” neighborhood.

Us outsiders don’t get it. We can’t just throw a month’s rent at one of these families and think they are good to go. The issues run far deeper than that.

Are there any solutions?

The author suggests housing vouchers, which can be used in any neighborhood.

 

By and large, both public housing residents and voucher holders pay only 30 percent of their income on rent, with government funds covering the rest.

Evicted, page 302

 

Many poor people pay 70 percent or more of their income on rent, which means they often have to decide between rent and food, or rent and the utility bill. That’s why evictions are prevalent among the severely poor.

This problem is nationwide. In 2012, one in nine occupied rental households in Cleveland were summoned to eviction court (page 296). More than 10 percent of all renters in the biggest city near here faced eviction.

Do the rest of us even notice this? Even if we do, how much do we care? Enough to change public policy to improve the lives of the poorest among us?

Compassion helps, but compassion goes only so far.

Just ask the illegal immigrants at our southern border.

Standing for … what?

Pennsylvania Daily Life

And as we celebrated our nation’s birthday, I saw this at work in the way we treat our flag. Even the flag has become a racist symbol.

What does the American flag stand for, anyway?

Does it stand for all those freedoms we like to say we have? Does it stand for the bravery of our veterans and active military service people?

What else does it stand for?

And why do some people not stand for it at all?

When I see unbridled poverty, when I see far too much violence (there was a police shooting in our city last week), when I see broken homes as the norm … can I really celebrate living in the United States these days?

Are there solutions? Or have we given up the fight, given in to apathy?

We think only of ourselves. My rights. I can live with whomever I want, drive whatever speed I want on the highway, spend my money (or other people’s money) on whatever I want …

Without thinking of consequences.

Burying our dreams

We just don’t care anymore. There’s no bigger picture.

No ideals bigger than ourselves.

What is freedom, really? What did our forefathers live and die for?

Did they live and die to create the United States we have today? Is this the best we can do?

Can we learn to get along with each other again? To overcome apathy?

We like to throw around the word “hate,” but it’s often misplaced. Sure, there’s some hate out there, but I don’t think there’s as much of it as extremists on both sides of the political aisle think there is. Most of us, rich or poor, are just trying to live our lives.

Leave us alone, we are saying. Just chill out.

Maybe I’m mistaking this for apathy. Maybe we aren’t as apathetic as I think we are.

Perhaps we do care, deep down in our hearts.

We just don’t know how to show it.

Or, more likely, we’re not allowed to show it.

We get shouted down. The “hate” word is thrown at us if we disagree. The loudest voice is often the one that gets heard in this country.

Which is why I defended the United Methodist Church this spring for standing firm – as it has for more than half a century – to its convictions regarding homosexuality. As one voice swimming against the political correctness tide, I took some flak for that, but the discussion was excellent. Thanks again to all of you who participated.

The loudest, or even the most persistent, voice is not always the right one.

Sometimes, the silent majority actually has something to say.

We care. We really do.

But does that mean anything? Can the silent majority do anything with its passions and desires in this country?

Who’s listening?

Anyone?