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