Guide to Democratic Party - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Guide to Democratic Party

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Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2004 11:31 am | Updated: 5:44 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Down to the issues

Where each man stands on 5 major topics

Get the PDF Guide for Canditates Stand on 5 Major Issues

The 5 major issues are:

Iraq/national security




Health care

Wesley Clark

Has given conflicting statements on his support of the war, but now says it was a mistake. Would internationalize the occupation force in Iraq and turn over the search for weapons of mass destruction to international weapons inspectors. To combat terrorism, pressure Saudi Arabia in creating a joint commando force to work the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Make better use of existing assets like intelligence specialists, linguists and special operations personnel.

Consolidate existing tax breaks for children and provide a $2,250 tax credit per child. Eliminate marriage penalty for low-income families. Expand earned income tax credit for low-income working families. Close corporate tax loopholes and raise income tax rates by 5 percentage points on those with incomes of more than $1 million per year. Additional tax breaks for poor, childless workers.

Provide grants of $6,000 per year to pay for the first two years of a student’s college at a public or private institution. Consolidate existing tax credits and grants for college. Increase funding to states by $20 billion to pay for education and training. Extend credits to individual retirement accounts for college savings. Fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act with increased federal aid to states.

Develop temporary worker program to allow foreign workers to fill vacant jobs. Create opportunity for foreign workers to apply for legal status. Allow illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the United States, and do not have criminal records, to obtain legal status. Enforce immigration laws against employers who hire illegal immigrants once a mechanism is in place to hire guest workers. Increase funding on border security and stiffen penalties for smuggling.

Implement tax credits for families making up to $90,000 per year to help defray health insurance costs. Provide universal coverage to children and college-age students. Give every American access to a health plan modeled after the one available to members of Congress. Provide protections to ensure coverage to those between jobs.

Howard Dean

Opposed American invasion. Internationalize occupation force to prevent terrorists from gaining power. Rebuild international alliances to wage international war against terrorism. Proposed 10-year, $60 billion international effort to work with other nations to identify and eliminate stockpiles of unsecured nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, including $30 billion from the United States. Reconfigure the U.S. military to better combat terrorism with emphasis on special forces and improved intelligence.

Complete repeal of recent tax cuts and reforming tax code to make it simpler and more fair. Eliminate corporate tax subsidies. Double current spending on early education programs by spending $110 billion over 10 years for community-based services to ensure children start school ready to learn. Fund prekindergarten for every 4-year-old. Reform the No Child Left Behind Act by setting attainable goals that do not rely solely on standardized tests.

Fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act to pay for smaller classes, after-school programs and teacher training. Use federal funds to match state investment in building and renovating schools.

Create a mechanism whereby illegal immigrants who work, pay taxes and otherwise obey the law gain legal status and eventually become citizens. Create a more stable mechanism to allow migration of people at all skill levels in a way that makes economic and humanitarian sense. Ensure companies cannot lay off skilled American workers to hire foreign workers at a lower wage and fewer benefits. Work with Mexico and other countries to reduce the economic need for workers to cross the borders.

Extend current government-paid health programs to every child and to adults younger than 25 who earn up to three times the national poverty level. Require employers to extend health benefits to cover dependants up to age 25. Extend coverage to families with children making up to 185 percent of federal poverty level. For those making more, allow them to buy into a federal health plan modeled after coverage afforded to federal employees. Provide tax credits for insurance.

John Edwards

Supported resolution for invasion of Iraq. United States should share domestic control of Iraq with the United Nations and bring NATO and other countries into the occupation force. Create homeland intelligence agency responsible for tracking terrorists and ensuring protection of civil liberties. Provide $50 billion to states and local governments for homeland security, including hiring, training and equipping police officers, firefighters and emergency personnel. Substantially increase the number of border patrol agents.

Repeal recent tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 per year while preserving those that benefit the middle class. Increase capital gains tax rates for those making more than $300,000, with the top rate on capital gains tax reaching 25 percent for those making $400,000 per year or more. Eliminate tax loopholes that allow companies to avoid U.S. taxes by renouncing their citizenship. End corporate deductions for companies that buy life insurance policies for their rank-and-file employees naming themselves as beneficiaries.

Fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act. Give states more flexibility in setting standards. Double federal funding for teacher training to $6 billion per year. Create scholarships for future teachers willing to work in underserved areas. Provide one year of free tuition to public universities and community colleges for those who will spend 10 hours per week working in community service projects.

Create a path for immigrants who work, pay taxes and do not break the law to gain citizenship and naturalization. Co-sponsored legislation to make it easier for children of illegal immigrants meeting certain qualifications to attend state college.

Require parents to provide health insurance for their children up to age 21 in return for tax credits, which will decline as family income increases. Low-income parents would receive payments to offset the insurance costs. Require insurance companies to let families cover children up to age 25. Allow importation of prescription drugs from other countries. Provide federal grants to hospitals to retain 50,000 nurses and scholarships to an additional 50,000 nurses willing to work in underserviced areas. Double federal funding for community health clinics.

John Kerry

Supported congressional resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq. Would obtain new resolution giving the United Nations authority over Iraqi reconstruction and development of a new constitution. Make homeland security the the primary mission of the National Guard. Develop federal standards for security of ports, cargo and infrastructure like bridges and tunnels. Increase the number of active-duty military personnel by 40,000, with half of the new troops specializing in post-conflict skills like military police.

Repeal recently enacted tax cuts benefitting those making $200,000 or more per year while preserving tax cuts for the middle class. Specifically would preserve such things as the child tax credit and changes reducing tax inequities for married couples. Pass new tax cuts for the middle class with credits for health care and college tuition. Provide new tax credits for manufacturers that produce goods in the United States, and companies that provide health care and retirement benefits for their employees.

Require all education initiatives authorized by Congress be paid for with federal funds. Provide $50 billion in immediate federal education aid to states over two years. Reform the No Child Left Behind Act to allow states to develop alternatives to mandated testing to gauge student performance. Create a $10,000 tax deduction for teachers, principals and other education professionals who work in low-performing schools. Provide a tax credit of up to $4,000 for college tuition at a public institution.

Allow illegal immigrants to obtain legal status if they have been in the United States for a certain period of time, have been working and can pass a background check. Expedite the citizenship process for legal permanent residents serving in the military. Adequately fund border enforcement. Restore welfare, health care and other benefits for legal immigrants. Allow illegal immigrants who have grown up in the United States and graduated from American high schools to qualify for in-state tuition at colleges and universities.

Spend $72 billion annually for five years to ensure coverage to nearly 27 million Americans who are currently uninsured. Create a premium rebate pool to reimburse employee health plans for 75 percent of claims in excess of $50,000 so long as they guarantee the savings will be passed on to their workers. Opposes capping damages in malpractice cases, but would require states to make nonbinding arbitration available to settle claims.

Dennis Kucinich

Opposed U.S. invasion of Iraq. Vows to bring American troops home within 90 days, or as quickly as is safely possible. Repeal the Patriot Act enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which he says compromises civil liberties. Create a Department of Peace to support disarmament, treaties and peaceful coexistence with other nations. Cut defense spending by 15 percent, using the money for education.

Repeal $107 billion in recent tax cuts that benefit wealthiest Americans and give $87 billion in breaks to low- and middle-income families. Create $1,530 payroll tax credit for working people and create a simplified family credit consolidating existing child tax credits.

Spend $60 billion to create a free, voluntary pre-kindergarten program for children ages 3 to 5. For kindergarten through the 12th grade, opposes vouchers and supports a substantial increase in federal spending, particularly for school repairs and expansion. Increase federal funding for teacher training. Provide free college tuition for those attending public colleges and universities.

Legalize the status of working, tax-paying undocumented workers and end sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants. End the backlog of naturalization applications and create a clear path toward citizenship while working with Mexico to normalize the flow of immigrants into the United States.

Provide federally paid universal health care for all Americans, funded by an 8.5 percent tax on employers. Coverage would provide more benefits than traditional insurance plans, and would encourage prevention and alternative medicine and pay for prescription drugs.

Joe Lieberman

Supported invasion of Iraq. Spend $16 billion more for homeland security, including $7.5 billion in additional federal funding to help local emergency agencies acquire new technology, hire and train technicians and update computer networks. Provide additional $7 billion over six years to local communities to hire and train more firefighters. Hire at least 2,000 to 3,000 new border agents. Allow state and local police agencies access to all federal terrorist watch lists.

Preserve recently enacted tax cuts benefitting the middle class such as increases in the child tax credit and elimination of the penalty on married couples. Restore higher tax rates on the top two income brackets, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families. Repeal the recent tax cuts on dividends.

Increase tuition assistance for low-income families from the current cap on Pell grants of $4,050 to $6,140 in 2004 and ultimately to $7,760 by 2008. Additional $6 billion in federal funding to pay for No Child Left Behind Act. Require states to establish programs to identify standards required to complete college, and to align their curriculums to meet those standards. Provide increased federal funding to colleges and universities that demonstrate significant enrollment and graduation rates of low-income and minority students.

One-time amnesty to allow illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the United States for five years to obtain citizenship after a background check to exclude criminals. Allow visas for immigrants to work in certain jobs for which American workers are not available. Allow some illegal immigrants to attend universities in the United States while paying in-state tuition. Allow illegal immigrants to apply for legal residency after completing school or service in the U.S. military.

Provide medical coverage to every child and young adult up to age 25, regardless of income. Parents would choose from menu of plans with system modeled after the coverage provided to federal employees. Reform recent prescription drug legislation to allow importation of prescription drugs from Canada and give the federal government the power to negotiate lower prices for drugs with private insurers. Allocate $150 billion to speed development of cures for chronic diseases.

Al Sharpton

Opposed U.S. invasion of Iraq. Need to turn rebuilding of Iraq over to U.N. and withdraw American forces. Reduce military spending. Most increases in military spending have nothing to do with protection from terrorism and do not directly benefit troops. Savings should be directed to domestic spending.

Repeal recently enacted tax cuts and use money for job creation programs such as education, health care and housing for the poor.

Supports a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a quality education for all children. Supports voluntary school prayer and a moment of silence in schools. Opposes school vouchers.

No information available. Believes the existing immigration system is archaic and biased against Hispanics, and needs to be made more humane. No specific plan available.

Supports constitutional amendment guaranteeing every American equal high-quality health care. No other specific plans are available.

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