Table of Contents

Campaign Site: http://www.barackobama.com/index.php

Unless otherwise stated, info was taken from the above site.

Civil Rights

  • Has stood together with Latino leaders for last 20 years. (Jun 2008)
  • Hate crimes related to the immigration issue is unacceptable. (Feb 2008)
  • People want to move beyond our divisions. (Jan 2008)
  • 2004 DNC speech merged “heritage” with “diversity”. (Dec 2007)
  • The politics of fear undermines basic civil liberties. (Oct 2007)
  • 1980s boss predicted Obama would be heir to MLK's voice. (Aug 2007)
  • Racial equality good for America as a whole. (Jun 2007)
  • Put the Confederate flag in a museum, not the state house. (Apr 2007)
  • Muslim heritage gives Obama unique influence in Muslim world. (Oct 2006)
  • No black or white America–just United States of America. (Oct 2006)
  • Gays should not face discrimination but should not marry. (Oct 2004)
  • Forthright on racial issues and on his civil rights history. (Jul 2004)
  • Defend freedom and equality under law. (May 2004)
  • Politicians: don't use religion to insulate from criticism. (Apr 2004)
  • Miscegenation a felony in 1960 when Obamas practiced it. (Aug 1996)
  • The civil rights movement was a success. (Aug 1996)
  • Keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work. (Aug 2008)
  • Apply affirmative action to poor white college applicants. (Apr 2008)
  • Legalized discrimination meant blacks could not amass wealth. (Mar 2008)
  • Fight job discrimination to give women equal footing at jobs. (Feb 2008)
  • Remove discriminatory barriers to the right to vote. (Feb 2008)
  • Benefited from affirmative action but overcame via merit. (Dec 2007)
  • Include class-based affirmative action with race-based. (Oct 2007)
  • Better enforce women's pay equity via Equal Pay Act. (Aug 2007)
  • Blacks should infiltrate mainstream to affect change. (Aug 2007)
  • Commitment to diversity by CEOs is advisable. (Mar 2007)
  • African-Americans vote Democratic because of issue stances. (Jul 2004)
  • Supports affirmative action in colleges and government. (Jul 1998)
  • Opposes CA Prop. 8, one-man-one-woman marriage. (Jul 2008)
  • Being gay or lesbian is not a choice. (Nov 2007)
  • Decisions about marriage should be left to the states. (Oct 2007)
  • Homosexuality no more immoral than heterosexuality. (Oct 2007)
  • Ok to expose 6-year-olds to gay couples; they know already. (Sep 2007)
  • Has any marriage broken up because two gays hold hands? (Aug 2007)
  • We need strong civil unions, not just weak civil unions. (Aug 2007)
  • Legal rights for gays are conferred by state, not by church. (Aug 2007)
  • Disentangle gay rights from the word “marriage”. (Aug 2007)
  • Gay marriage is less important that equal gay rights. (Aug 2007)
  • Gay rights movement is somewhat like civil rights movement. (Aug 2007)
  • Let each denominations decide on recognizing gay marriage. (Jul 2007)
  • Pass ENDA and expand hate crime legislation. (Mar 2007)
  • Opposed 1996 Illinois DOMA bill. (Mar 2007)
  • Supports health benefits for gay civil partners. (Oct 2006)
  • Opposes gay marriage; supports civil union & gay equality. (Oct 2006)
  • Marriage not a human right; non-discrimination is. (Oct 2004)
  • Include sexual orientation in anti-discrimination laws. (Jul 1998)
  • Strengthen the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Aug 2007)
  • Voted NO on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
  • Ending racial profiling is part of fight for justice. (Jan 2001)
  • Sponsored bill for special-needs evacuation plans. (Sep 2005)
  • Sponsored bill for a Rosa Parks commemorative postage stamp. (Dec 2005)
  • Rated 89% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 100% by the NAACP, indicating a pro-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Recognize Juneteenth as historical end of slavery. (Jun 2008)
  • Provide benefits to domestic partners of Federal employees. (Dec 2007)
  • Re-introduce the Equal Rights Amendment. (Mar 2007)
  • Reinforce anti-discrimination and equal-pay requirements. (Jan 2008)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

Obama and Biden will reverse the politicization that has occurred in the Bush Administration's Department of Justice. They will put an end to the ideological litmus tests used to fill positions within the Civil Rights Division.

Combat Employment Discrimination

Obama and Biden will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. They will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Expand Hate Crimes Statutes

Obama and Biden will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation, expand hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepard Act, and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section.

End Deceptive Voting Practices

Obama will sign into law his legislation that establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud and provides voters who have been misinformed with accurate and full information so they can vote.

End Racial Profiling

Obama and Biden will ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and provide federal incentives to state and local police departments to prohibit the practice.

Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support

Obama and Biden will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama and Biden will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates.

Eliminate Sentencing Disparities

Obama and Biden believe the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated. Expand Use of Drug Courts

Obama and Biden will give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior.

Defense

Invest in a 21st Century Military

  • Rebuild the Military for 21st Century Tasks: As we rebuild our armed forces, we must not simply recreate the military of the Cold War era. Obama and Biden believe that we must build up our special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations, and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply; invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, and human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skill sets; and create a more robust capacity to train, equip, and advise foreign security forces, so that local allies are better prepared to confront mutual threats.
  • Expand to Meet Military Needs on the Ground: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops. Increasing our end strength will help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments and decrease the strain on military families.
  • Leadership from the Top: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will restore the ethic of public service to the agenda of today's youth, whether it be serving their local communities in such roles as teachers or first responders, or serving in the military to keep our nation free and safe.
  • Lighten the Burdens on Our Brave Troops and Their Families: An Obama-Biden administration will create a Military Families Advisory Board to provide a conduit for military families' concerns to be brought to the attention of senior policymakers and the public. Obama and Biden will end the Bush administration's stop-loss policy and establish predictability in deployments so that active duty and reserves know what they can and must expect.

Build Defense Capabilities for the 21st Century

  • Fully Equip Our Troops for the Missions They Face: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must get vitally needed equipment to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines before lives are lost. We cannot repeat such failures as the delays in deployment of armored vehicles, body armor and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that save lives on the frontlines.
  • Review Weapons Programs: We must rebalance our capabilities to ensure that our forces have the agility and lethality to succeed in both conventional wars and in stabilization and counter-insurgency operations. Obama and Biden have committed to a review of each major defense program in light of current needs, gaps in the field, and likely future threat scenarios in the post-9/11 world.
  • Preserve Global Reach in the Air: We must preserve our unparalleled airpower capabilities to deter and defeat any conventional competitors, swiftly respond to crises across the globe, and support our ground forces. We need greater investment in advanced technology ranging from the revolutionary, like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and electronic warfare capabilities, to essential systems like the C-17 cargo and KC-X air refueling aircraft, which provide the backbone of our ability to extend global power.
  • Maintain Power Projection at Sea: We must recapitalize our naval forces, replacing aging ships and modernizing existing platforms, while adapting them to the 21st century. Obama and Biden will add to the Maritime Pre-Positioning Force Squadrons to support operations ashore and invest in smaller, more capable ships, providing the agility to operate close to shore and the reach to rapidly deploy Marines to global crises.
  • National Missile Defense: An Obama-Biden administration will support missile defense, but ensure that it is developed in a way that is pragmatic and cost-effective; and, most importantly, does not divert resources from other national security priorities until we are positive the technology will protect the American public.
  • Ensure Freedom of Space: An Obama-Biden administration will restore American leadership on space issues, seeking a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites. He will thoroughly assess possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them, establishing contingency plans to ensure that U.S. forces can maintain or duplicate access to information from space assets and accelerating programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack.
  • Protect the U.S in Cyberspace: An Obama-Biden administration will work in cooperation with our allies and the private sector to identify and protect against emerging cyber-threats.

Restore the Readiness of the National Guard and Reserves

  • Barack Obama and Joe Biden will provide the National Guard with the equipment it needs for foreign and domestic emergencies and time to restore and refit before deploying. They will make the head of the National Guard a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ensure concerns of our citizen soldiers reach the level they mandate. They will ensure that reservists and Guard members are treated fairly when it comes to employment, health, and education benefits.

Develop Whole of Government Initiatives to Promote Global Stability

  • Integrate Military and Civilian Efforts: An Obama-Biden administration will build up the capacity of each non-Pentagon agency to deploy personnel and area experts where they are needed, to help move soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines out of civilian roles.
  • Create a Civilian Assistance Corps (CAC): An Obama-Biden administration will set a goal of creating a national CAC of 25,000 personnel. This corps of civilian volunteers with special skill, sets (doctors, lawyers, engineers, city planners, agriculture specialists, police, etc.) would be organized to provide each federal agency with a pool of volunteer experts willing to deploy in times of need at home and abroad.

Restore Our Alliances

  • Engage Our Allies in Meeting Our Common Security Challenges: America's traditional alliances, such as NATO, must be transformed and strengthened, including on common security concerns like Afghanistan, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Obama and Biden will renew alliances and ensure our allies contribute their fair share to our mutual security.
  • Organize to Help Our Partners and Allies in Need: An Obama-Biden administration will expand humanitarian activities that build friends and allies at the regional and local level (such as during the response to the tsunami in South and Southeast Asia), and win hearts and minds in the process.

Reform Contracting

  • Create Transparency for Military Contractors: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require the Pentagon and State Department to develop a strategy for determining when contracting makes sense, rather than continually handing off governmental jobs to well-connected companies. An Obama-Biden administration will create the transparency and accountability needed for good governance. Finally, it will establish the legal status of contractor personnel, making possible prosecution of any abuses committed by private military contractors.
  • Restore Honesty, Openness, and Commonsense to Contracting and Procurement: An Obama-Biden administration will realize savings by reducing the corruption and cost overruns that have become all too routine in defense contracting. This includes launching a program of acquisition reform and management, which would end the common practice of no-bid contracting.Obama and Biden will end the abuse of supplemental budgets by creating a system of oversight for war funds as stringent as in the regular budget. Obama and Biden will restore the government's ability to manage contracts by rebuilding our contract officer corps. They will order the Justice Department to prioritize prosecutions that will punish and deter fraud, waste and abuse.

Economy

Jumpstart the Economy

  • Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families:Barack Obama and Joe Biden will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on the Obama-Biden long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief.
  • Provide $50 billion to Jumpstart the Economy and Prevent 1 Million Americans from Losing Their Jobs: This relief would include a $25 billion State Growth Fund to prevent state and local cuts in health, education, housing, and heating assistance or counterproductive increases in property taxes, tolls or fees. The Obama-Biden relief plan will also include $25 billion in a Jobs and Growth Fund to prevent cutbacks in road and bridge maintenance and fund school re­pair - all to save more than 1 million jobs in danger of being cut.

Provide Middle Class Americans Tax Relief

Obama and Biden will cut income taxes by $1,000 for working families to offset the payroll tax they pay.

  • Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Obama and Biden will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama and Biden will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.
  • Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000: Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This proposal will eliminate income taxes for 7 million seniors and provide these seniors with an average savings of $1,400 each year. Under the Obama-Biden plan, 27 million American seniors will also not need to file an income tax return.
  • Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama and Biden will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama and Biden will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama-Biden proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.

Trade

Obama and Biden believe that trade with foreign nations should strengthen the American economy and create more American jobs. He will stand firm against agreements that undermine our economic security.

  • Fight for Fair Trade: Obama and Biden will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. They will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks. Obama and Biden will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports.
  • Amend the North American Free Trade Agreement: Obama and Biden believe that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. They will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers.
  • Improve Transition Assistance: To help all workers adapt to a rapidly changing economy, Obama and Biden will update the existing system of Trade Adjustment Assistance by extending it to service industries, creating flexible education accounts to help workers retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers in sectors of the economy vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.
  • End Tax Breaks for Companies that Send Jobs Overseas: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that companies should not get billions of dollars in tax deductions for moving their operations overseas. Obama and Biden will also fight to ensure that public contracts are awarded to companies that are committed to American workers.
  • Reward Companies that Support American Workers: Barack Obama introduced the Patriot Employer Act of 2007 with Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to reward companies that create good jobs with good benefits for American workers. The legislation would provide a tax credit to companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in America relative to those outside the US; maintain their corporate headquarters in America if it has ever been in America; pay decent wages; prepare workers for retirement; provide health insurance; and support employees who serve in the military.

Invest in the Manufacturing Sector and Create 5 Million New Green Jobs

  • Invest in our Next Generation Innovators and Job Creators: Obama and Biden will create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to identify and invest in the most compelling advanced manufacturing strategies. The Fund will have a peer-review selection and award process based on the Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund, a state-level initiative that has awarded over $125 million to Michigan businesses with the most innovative proposals to create new products and new jobs in the state.
  • Double Funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership: The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) works with manufacturers across the country to improve efficiency, implement new technology and strengthen company growth. This highly-successful program has engaged in more than 350,000 projects across the country and in 2006 alone, helped create and protect over 50,000 jobs. But despite this success, funding for MEP has been slashed by the Bush administration. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the MEP so its training centers can continue to bolster the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.
  • Invest In A Clean Energy Economy And Create 5 Million New Green Jobs: Obama and Biden will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial scale renewable energy, invest in low emissions coal plants, and begin transition to a new digital electricity grid. The plan will also invest in America's highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and manufacturing centers to ensure that American workers have the skills and tools they need to pioneer the first wave of green technologies that will be in high demand throughout the world.
  • Create New Job Training Programs for Clean Technologies: The Obama-Biden plan will increase funding for federal workforce training programs and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to help Americans find and retain stable, high-paying jobs. Obama and Biden will also create an energy-focused youth jobs program to invest in disconnected and disadvantaged youth.
  • Boost the Renewable Energy Sector and Create New Jobs: The Obama-Biden plan will create new federal policies, and expand existing ones, that have been proven to create new American jobs. Obama and Biden will create a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require 25 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025, which has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own. Obama and Biden will also extend the Production Tax Credit, a credit used successfully by American farmers and investors to increase renewable energy production and create new local jobs.

New Jobs Through National Infrastructure Investment

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that it is critically important for the United States to rebuild its national transportation infrastructure – its highways, bridges, roads, ports, air, and train systems – to strengthen user safety, bolster our long-term competitiveness and ensure our economy continues to grow.

  • Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation’s most challenging transportation infrastructure needs. The Bank will receive an infusion of federal money, $60 billion over 10 years, to provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation. These projects will create up to two million new direct and indirect jobs and stimulate approximately $35 billion per year in new economic activity.

Technology, Innovation and Creating Jobs

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will increase federal support for research, technology and innovation for companies and universities so that American families can lead the world in creating new advanced jobs and products.

  • Invest in the Sciences: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support doubling federal funding for basic research and changing the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology. This will foster home-grown innovation, help ensure the competitiveness of US technology-based businesses, and ensure that 21st century jobs can and will grow in America.
  • Make the Research and Development Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama and Joe Biden want investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama and Biden want to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes.
  • Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we can get broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation's wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.

Support Small Business

  • Provide Tax Relief for Small Businesses and Start Up Companies: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will eliminate all capital gains taxes on start-up and small businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. Obama and Biden will also support small business owners by providing a $500 “Making Work Pay” tax credit to almost every worker in America. Self-employed small business owners pay both the employee and the employer side of the payroll tax, and this measure will reduce the burdens of this double taxation.
  • Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators. Business incubators facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. Obama and Biden will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.

Labor

Obama and Biden will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama and Biden will ensure that his labor appointees support workers' rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. Obama and Biden will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year.

  • Ensure Freedom to Unionize: Obama and Biden believe that workers should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union without harassment or intimidation from their employers. Obama cosponsored and is strong advocate for the Employee Free Choice Act, a bipartisan effort to assure that workers can exercise their right to organize. He will continue to fight for EFCA's passage and sign it into law.
  • Fight Attacks on Workers' Right to Organize: Obama has fought the Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) efforts to strip workers of their right to organize. He is a cosponsor of legislation to overturn the NLRB's “Kentucky River” decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction, and professional workers as “supervisors” who are not protected by federal labor laws.
  • Protect Striking Workers: Obama and Biden support the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary. They will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.
  • Raise the Minimum Wage: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs.

Protect Homeownership and Crack Down on Mortgage Fraud

Obama and Biden will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders. They will also make sure homebuyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and they will give a tax credit to all middle-class homeowners.

  • Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: Obama and Biden will create a 10 percent universal mortgage credit to provide homeowners who do not itemize tax relief. This credit will provide an average of $500 to 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year.
  • Ensure More Accountability in the Subprime Mortgage Industry: Obama has been closely monitoring the subprime mortgage situation for years, and introduced comprehensive legislation over a year ago to fight mortgage fraud and protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Obama's STOP FRAUD Act provides the first federal definition of mortgage fraud, increases funding for federal and state law enforcement programs, creates new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty of fraud, and requires industry insiders to report suspicious activity.
  • Mandate Accurate Loan Disclosure: Obama and Biden will create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, which will provide potential borrowers with a simplified, standardized borrower metric (similar to APR) for home mortgages. The HOME score will allow individuals to easily compare various mortgage products and understand the full cost of the loan.
  • Close Bankruptcy Loophole for Mortgage Companies: Obama and Biden will work to eliminate the provision that prevents bankruptcy courts from modifying an individual's mortgage payments. They believe that the subprime mortgage industry, which has engaged in dangerous and sometimes unscrupulous business practices, should not be shielded by outdated federal law.

Address Predatory Credit Card Practices

Obama and Biden will establish a five-star rating system so that every consumer knows the risk involved in every credit card. They also will establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to stop credit card companies from exploiting consumers with unfair practices.

  • Create a Credit Card Rating System to Improve Disclosure: Obama and Biden will create a credit card rating system, modeled on five-star systems used for other consumer products, to provide consumers an easily identifiable ranking of credit cards, based on the card's features. Credit card companies will be required to display the rating on all application and contract materials, enabling consumers to quickly understand all of the major provisions of a credit card without having to rely exclusively on fine print in lengthy documents.
  • Establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to Protect Consumers: Obama and Biden will create a Credit Card Bill of Rights to protect consumers. The Obama-Biden plan will:

o Ban Unilateral Changes

        o Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt
        o Prohibit Interest on Fees
        o Prohibit "Universal Defaults"
        o Require Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments

Reform Bankruptcy Laws

Obama and Biden will reform our bankruptcy laws to protect working people, ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies, and require disclosure of all pension investments.

  • Cap Outlandish Interest Rates on Payday Loans and Improve Disclosure: Obama and Biden will extend a 36 percent interest cap to all Americans. They will require lenders to provide clear and simplified information about loan fees, payments and penalties, which is why they'll require lenders to provide this information during the application process.
  • Encourage Responsible Lending Institutions to Make Small Consumer Loans: Obama and Biden will encourage banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to provide affordable short-term and small-dollar loans and to drive unscrupulous lenders out of business.
  • Reform Bankruptcy Laws to Protect Families Facing a Medical Crisis: Obama and Biden will create an exemption in bankruptcy law for individuals who can prove they filed for bankruptcy because of medical expenses. This exemption will create a process that forgives the debt and lets the individuals get back on their feet.

Work/Family Balance

Obama and Biden will double funding for after-school programs, expand the Family Medical Leave Act, provide low-income families with a refundable tax credit to help with their child-care expenses, and encourage flexible work schedules.

  • Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act: The FMLA covers only certain employees of employers with 50 or more employees. Obama and Biden will expand it to cover businesses with 25 or more employees. They will expand the FMLA to cover more purposes as well, including allowing workers to take leave for elder care needs; allowing parents up to 24 hours of leave each year to participate in their children's academic activities; and expanding FMLA to cover leave for employees to address domestic violence.
  • Encourage States to Adopt Paid Leave: As president, Obama will initiate a strategy to encourage all 50 states to adopt paid-leave systems. Obama and Biden will provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist states with start-up costs and to help states offset the costs for employees and employers.
  • Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama and Biden will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve a million more children. Obama and Biden will include measures to maximize performance and effectiveness across grantees nationwide.
  • Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Obama and Biden will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.
  • Protect Against Caregiver Discrimination: Workers with family obligations often are discriminated against in the workplace. Obama and Biden will enforce the recently-enacted Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on caregiver discrimination.
  • Expand Flexible Work Arrangements: Obama and Biden will create a program to inform businesses about the benefits of flexible work schedules; help businesses create flexible work opportunities; and increase federal incentives for telecommuting. Obama and Biden will also make the federal government a model employer in terms of adopting flexible work schedules and permitting employees to request flexible arrangements.

Education

  • Invest in early childhood education and higher education. (Aug 2008)
  • Fight for social & economic justice begins in the classroom. (Jul 2008)
  • To compete, students need at least H.S. & college degree. (Jun 2008)
  • Pay for college education for those who commit to teaching. (Jun 2008)
  • We need real commitment to education; instead we got NCLB. (Jun 2008)
  • $10 billion to guarantee early childhood education for all. (Jun 2008)
  • Merit pay ok if based on career instead of a single test. (Apr 2008)
  • Evolution & science aren't incompatible with Christian faith. (Apr 2008)
  • Children's First Agenda: zero to five early education. (Feb 2008)
  • $4,000 college tuition for 100 hours' public service a year. (Feb 2008)
  • Put billions of dollars into early childhood education. (Jan 2008)
  • Need after-school and summer programs with good parenting. (Jan 2008)
  • Get parents re-engaged in educating the children. (Dec 2007)
  • Nationwide program to reconstruct crumbling school buildings. (Sep 2007)
  • STEP UP: summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged. (Aug 2007)
  • We left the money behind for No Child Left Behind. (Aug 2007)
  • Pay “master teachers” extra, but with buy-in from teachers. (Aug 2007)
  • Supreme Court was wrong on school anti-integration ruling. (Jul 2007)
  • Incentives to hire a million teachers over next decade. (Jun 2007)
  • Pay teachers more money & treat them like professionals. (Jun 2007)
  • Cut banks out and add $4.5 Billion to college loans. (Mar 2007)
  • More teacher pay in exchange for more teacher accountability. (Oct 2006)
  • Guarantee affordable life-long, top-notch education. (Jun 2006)
  • Sex education needed to help children discuss molestation. (Oct 2004)
  • Provide decent funding and get rid of anti-intellectualism. (Jul 2004)
  • Address the growing achievement gap between students. (May 2004)
  • Will add 25,000 teachers in high-need areas. (May 2004)
  • Free public college for any student with B-average. (Jul 1998)
  • I doubled charter schools in Illinois; but no vouchers. (Oct 2008)
  • Vouchers don't solve the problems of our schools. (Oct 2008)
  • FactCheck: McCain for national reforms & also DC vouchers. (Oct 2008)
  • Supports charter schools; it's important to experiment. (Feb 2008)
  • We need a sense of urgency about improving education system. (Sep 2007)
  • Sends kids to private school; but wants good schools for all. (Jul 2007)
  • Public school system status quo is indefensible. (Oct 2006)
  • Supports charter schools and private investment in schools. (Jul 1998)
  • First Senate bill: increase Pell Grant from $4,050 to $5,100. (Aug 2007)
  • Sponsored legislations that recruit and reward good teachers. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted YES on $52M for “21st century community learning centers”. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on $5B for grants to local educational agencies. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (Mar 2005)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

Early Childhood Education

  • Zero to Five Plan: The Obama-Biden comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, the Obama-Biden plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama and Biden will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state “zero to five” efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
  • Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama and Biden will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.
  • Affordable, High-Quality Child Care: Obama and Biden will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.

K-12

  • Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
  • Support High-Quality Schools and Close Low-Performing Charter Schools: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the Federal Charter School Program to support the creation of more successful charter schools. An Obama-Biden administration will provide this expanded charter school funding only to states that improve accountability for charter schools, allow for interventions in struggling charter schools and have a clear process for closing down chronically underperforming charter schools. An Obama-Biden administration will also prioritize supporting states that help the most successful charter schools to expand to serve more students.
  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama and Biden will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
  • Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama and Biden will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school - strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.
  • Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama and Biden will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.
  • Support College Outreach Programs: Obama and Biden support outreach programs like GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare for college.
  • Support College Credit Initiatives: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will create a national “Make College A Reality” initiative that has a bold goal to increase students taking AP or college-level classes nationwide 50 percent by 2016, and will build on Obama's bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate to provide grants for students seeking college level credit at community colleges if their school does not provide those resources.
  • Support English Language Learners: Obama and Biden support transitional bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students get ahead by holding schools accountable for making sure these students complete school.

Recruit, Prepare, Retain, and Reward America's Teachers

  • Recruit Teachers: Obama and Biden will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location.
  • Prepare Teachers: Obama and Biden will require all schools of education to be accredited. Obama and Biden will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively. Obama and Biden will also create Teacher Residency Programs that will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools.
  • Retain Teachers: To support our teachers, the Obama-Biden plan will expand mentoring programs that pair experienced teachers with new recruits. They will also provide incentives to give teachers paid common planning time so they can collaborate to share best practices.
  • Reward Teachers: Obama and Biden will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward accomplished educators who serve as a mentor to new teachers with a salary increase. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well.

Higher Education

  • Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama and Biden will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Recipients of the credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of community service.
  • Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid: Obama and Biden will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application.

The Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America plan will:

    Watch the Video
  * Provide short-term relief to American families facing pain at the pump
  * Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
  * Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
  * Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
  * Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  * Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Environment:

ENERGY PLAN OVERVIEW:

Provide Short-term Relief to American Families

The Obama-Biden comprehensive New Energy for America plan will:

(video available on source site)

* Provide short-term relief to American families facing pain at the pump * Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future. * Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined. * Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars – cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon – on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America. * Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. * Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Environment:

ENERGY PLAN OVERVIEW:

Provide Short-term Relief to American Families

  • Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families.
  • Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation.
  • Swap Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices.

Eliminate Our Current Imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years

  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
  • Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015.
  • Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles.
  • Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
  • A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases.
  • Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas.

Create Millions of New Green Jobs

  • Ensure 10 percent of Our Electricity Comes from Renewable Sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  • Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
  • Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
  • Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
  • Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.

Reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80 Percent by 2050

  • Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  • Make the U.S. a Leader on Climate Change.Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families.
  • Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation.
  • Swap Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices.

Eliminate Our Current Imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years

  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
  • Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015.
  • Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles.
  • Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
  • A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases.
  • Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas.

Create Millions of New Green Jobs

  • Ensure 10 percent of Our Electricity Comes from Renewable Sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
  • Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
  • Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
  • Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
  • Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.

Reduce our Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80 Percent by 2050

  • Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  • Make the U.S. a Leader on Climate Change.

Ethics

Shine the Light on Washington Lobbying

  • Centralize Ethics and Lobbying Information for Voters: Obama and Biden will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format.
  • Require Independent Monitoring of Lobbying Laws and Ethics Rules: Obama and Biden will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated.

Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarks

  • Create a Public “Contracts and Influence” Database: As president, Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them.
  • Expose Special Interest Tax Breaks to Public Scrutiny: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format.
  • End Abuse of No-Bid Contracts: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded.
  • Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
  • Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama's Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.

Bring Americans Back into their Government

  • Hold 21st Century Fireside Chats: Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.
  • Make White House Communications Public: Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public.
  • Conduct Regulatory Agency Business in Public: Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
  • Release Presidential Records: Obama and Biden will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.

Free the Executive Branch from Special Interest Influence

  • Close the Revolving Door on Former and Future Employers: No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.
  • Free Career Officials from the Influence of Politics: Obama will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution.
  • Reform the Political Appointee Process: FEMA Director Michael Brown was not qualified to head the agency, and the result was a disaster for the people of the Gulf Coast. But in an Obama-Biden administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency's mission.

Family

Support Working Families

Provide a “Making Work Pay” Tax Cut for America's Working Families: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama and Biden will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.

Raise the Minimum Wage to $9.50 an Hour by 2011: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that people who work full time should not live in poverty. Before the Democrats took back Congress, the minimum wage had not changed in 10 years. As president, Obama will further raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation.

Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: In both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate, Obama has championed efforts to expand the EITC, which is one of the most successful anti-poverty programs to date. As president, Obama will reward work by increasing the number of working parents eligible for EITC benefits, increasing the benefit available to parents who support their children through child support payments, and reducing the EITC marriage penalty which hurts low-income families. Under the Obama-Biden plan, full-time workers making minimum wage would get an EITC benefit up to $555, more than three times greater than the $175 benefit they get today. If the workers are responsibly supporting their children on child support, the Obama-Biden plan would give those workers a benefit of $1,110.

Expand Paid Sick Days: Half of all private sector workers have no paid sick days and the problem is worse for employees in low-paying jobs, where less than a quarter receive any paid sick days. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require that employers provide seven paid sick days per year.

Expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The FMLA covers only certain employees of employers with 50 or more employees. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the FMLA to cover businesses with 25 or more employees. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the FMLA to cover more purposes as well, including allowing workers to take leave for elder care needs; allowing parents up to 24 hours of leave each year to participate in their children's academic activities at school; allowing leave to be taken for purposes of caring for individuals who reside in their home for 6 months or more; and expanding FMLA to cover leave for employees to address domestic violence and sexual assault.

Encourage States to Adopt Paid Leave: As president, Barack Obama will initiate a 50 state strategy to encourage all of the states to adopt paid-leave systems. Obama and Biden will provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist states with start-up costs and to help states offset the costs for employees and employers.

Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children. Obama will include measures to maximize performance and effectiveness across grantees nationwide.

Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.

Protect Against Caregiver Discrimination: Workers with family obligations often are discriminated against in the workplace. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will commit the government to enforcing recently-enacted Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines on caregiver discrimination.

Expand Flexible Work Arrangements: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will address this concern by creating a program to inform businesses about the benefits of flexible work schedules for productivity and establishing positive workplaces; helping businesses create flexible work opportunities; and increasing federal incentives for telecommuting. Obama and Biden will also make the federal government a model employer in terms of adopting flexible work schedules and permitting employees to petition to request flexible arrangements.

Strengthen Our Schools

Expand Early Childhood Education: Obama has been a champion of early childhood education since his years in the Illinois legislature, where he led the effort to create the Illinois Early Learning Council. Obama has introduced a comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year to create: Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts; quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both; work to ensure all children have access to pre-school; provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families; and create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels.

Improve Public Schools: From the moment our children step into a classroom, the single most important factor in determining their achievement is their teacher. Barack Obama and Joe Biden value teachers and the central role that they play in education. They will work to ensure competent, effective teachers in schools that are organized for success. The Obama-Biden K-12 plan will expand service scholarships to recruit and prepare teachers who commit to working in underserved districts. To support teachers, Obama and Biden will foster ongoing improvements in teacher education, provide mentoring for beginning teachers, create incentives for shared planning and learning time for teachers. To retain teachers, Obama and Biden will support career pathways that provide ongoing professional development and reward accomplished teachers for their expertise. This Career Ladder initiative will help eliminate teacher shortages in hard-to-staff areas and subjects, improve teacher retention rates, strengthen teacher preparation programs, improve professional development, and better utilize and reward accomplished teachers.

Reform and Fund No Child Left Behind: The goal of the No Child Left Behind Act is the right one - ensuring that all children can meet high standards - but the law has significant flaws that need to be addressed. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe it was wrong to force teachers, principals and schools to accomplish the goals of No Child Left Behind without the necessary resources. We have failed to provide high-quality teachers in every classroom and failed to support and pay for those teachers. Obama and Biden understand that NCLB has demoralized our educators, broken its promise to our children and must be changed in a fundamental way. Obama and Biden will work with mayors and state leaders to ensure that NCLB reform addresses the need for a broader and better range of assessments and an accountability system that focuses on improving schools, rather than punishing them.

Make College More Affordable: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university. Recipients of this credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of public service a year.

Help American Families Stay Healthy

Provide Universal Health Care and Lower Health Costs: Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to signing universal health legislation by the end of their first term in office that ensures all Americans have high-quality, affordable health care coverage. Their plan will save a typical American family up to $2,500 every year on medical expenditures by providing affordable, comprehensive and portable health coverage for every American; modernizing the U.S. health care system to contain spiraling health care costs and improve the quality of patient care; and promoting prevention and strengthening public health to prevent disease and protect against natural and man-made disasters.

Protect Homeownership

Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: The current mortgage interest deduction excludes nearly two-thirds of Americans who do not itemize their taxes. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that anyone with a mortgage, not just the well-off, can take advantage of this tax incentive for homeownership by creating a universal mortgage credit. This 10 percent credit will benefit an additional 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year. Non-itemizers will be eligible for this refundable credit, which will provide the average recipient with approximately $500 per year in tax savings.

Combat Mortgage Fraud and Subprime Loans: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must establish stiff penalties to deter fraud and protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Obama introduced the STOP FRAUD Act, which would increase funding for federal law enforcement programs, create new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty of fraud, and require industry insiders to report suspicious activity. In March 2007, Obama urged Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to bring together lenders, consumer advocates, federal regulators and housing agencies for a summit meeting on preserving home ownership. The bill also provides counseling to homeowners and tenants to avoid foreclosures. As president, Obama will continue to fight to ensure more Americans can achieve and protect the dream of home ownership.

Mandate Accurate Loan Disclosure: Today's subprime mortgage problem stems in large part from the lack of easy-to-understand information that borrowers receive from mortgage brokers. As president, Barack Obama will enact laws to ensure that all prospective homebuyers have access to accurate and complete information about their mortgage options. Obama and Biden will create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, which will provide potential borrowers with a simplified, standardized borrower metric (similar to APR) for home mortgages. The HOME score will allow individuals to easily compare various mortgage products and understand the full cost of the loan. The HOME score would also help borrowers understand their long-term obligations and would be required to include mandatory taxes and insurance.

Close Bankruptcy Loophole for Mortgage Companies: As president, Obama will work to eliminate the federal bankruptcy law's Chapter 13 provision that prevents bankruptcy courts from modifying an individual's mortgage payments. This forces individuals who seek bankruptcy protection to continue paying the full amount of their existing mortgage plans. This provision, which provides unique protection to the mortgage industry, places the interests of big lenders over than of low and middle-income Americans. Obama and Biden believe that the subprime mortgage industry, which has engaged in dangerous and sometimes unscrupulous business practices, should not be shielded by outdated federal law. Strengthen Families at Home

Strengthen Fatherhood and Families: Barack Obama has re-introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act to remove some of the government penalties on married families, crack down on men avoiding child support payments, ensure that support payments go to families instead of state bureaucracies, fund support services for fathers and their families, and support domestic violence prevention efforts. As president, Obama will sign this bill into law and continue to implement innovative measures to strengthen families.

Support Parents with Young Children: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand programs like the successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis concluded that these programs produced an average of five dollars in savings for every dollar invested and produced more than $28,000 in net savings for every high-risk family enrolled in the program. The Obama-Biden plan would assist approximately 570,000 first-time mothers each year. Strengthen Retirement Security

Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less Than $50,000: Obama and Biden will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will provide an immediate tax cut averaging $1,400 to 7 million seniors and relieve millions from the burden of filing tax returns.

Create Automatic Workplace Pensions: The Obama-Biden retirement security plan will automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan. Under their plan, employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan, will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account that is compatible to existing direct-deposit payroll systems. Employees may opt-out if they choose. Experts estimate that this program will increase the savings participation rate for low and middle-income workers from its current 15 percent level to around 80 percent.

Expand Retirement Savings Incentives for Working Families: Obama and Biden will ensure savings incentives are fair to all workers by creating a generous savings match for low and middle-income Americans. Their plan will match 50 percent of the first $1,000 of savings for families that earn less than $75,000. The savings match will be automatically deposited into designated personal accounts. Over 80 percent of these savings incentives will go to new savers.

Fiscal

Restore Fiscal Discipline to Washington

  • Reinstate PAYGO Rules: Obama and Biden believe that a critical step in restoring fiscal discipline is enforcing pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue.
  • Reverse Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthy: Obama and Biden will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but they will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.
  • Cut Pork Barrel Spending: Obama introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks. Obama and Biden believe that spending that cannot withstand public scrutiny cannot be justified. Obama and Biden will slash earmarks to no greater than year 1994 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public.
  • Make Government Spending More Accountable and Efficient: Obama and Biden will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid. Obama and Biden will also increase the efficiency of government programs through better use of technology, stronger management that demands accountability and by leveraging the government's high-volume purchasing power to get lower prices.
  • End Wasteful Government Spending: Obama and Biden will stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense. Obama and Biden have called for an end to subsidies for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, as well as the elimination of subsidies to the private student loan industry which has repeatedly used unethical business practices. Obama and Biden will also tackle wasteful spending in the Medicare program.

Make the Tax System More Fair and Efficient

  • End Tax Haven Abuse: Building on his bipartisan work in the Senate, Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.
  • Close Special Interest Corporate Loopholes: Obama and Biden will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry.

Foreign Policy:

Iran

  • The Problem: Iran has sought nuclear weapons, supports militias inside Iraq and terror across the region, and its leaders threaten Israel and deny the Holocaust. But Obama and Biden believe that we have not exhausted our non-military options in confronting this threat; in many ways, we have yet to try them. That's why Obama stood up to the Bush administration's warnings of war, just like he stood up to the war in Iraq.
  • Opposed Bush-Cheney Saber Rattling: Obama and Biden opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which says we should use our military presence in Iraq to counter the threat from Iran. Obama and Biden believe that it was reckless for Congress to give George Bush any justification to extend the Iraq War or to attack Iran. Obama also introduced a resolution in the Senate declaring that no act of Congress – including Kyl-Lieberman – gives the Bush administration authorization to attack Iran.
  • Diplomacy: Obama supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama and Biden would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

Renewing American Diplomacy

  • The Problem: The United States is trapped by the Bush-Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders we don't like. Not talking doesn't make us look tough – it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership. On challenges ranging from terrorism to disease, nuclear weapons to climate change, we cannot make progress unless we can draw on strong international support.
  • Talk to our Foes and Friends: Obama and Biden are willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe.They will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table, and that he is willing to lead. And if America is willing to come to the table, the world will be more willing to rally behind American leadership to deal with challenges like terrorism, and Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs.
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Obama and Biden will make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a key diplomatic priority. They will make a sustained push – working with Israelis and Palestinians – to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.
  • Expand our Diplomatic Presence: To make diplomacy a priority, Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world – particularly in Africa. They will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.
  • Fight Global Poverty: Obama and Biden will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and they will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. They will help the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth.
  • Strengthen NATO: Obama and Biden will rally NATO members to contribute troops to collective security operations, urging them to invest more in reconstruction and stabilization operations, streamlining the decision-making processes, and giving NATO commanders in the field more flexibility.
  • Seek New Partnerships in Asia: Obama and Biden will forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements, such as the six-party talks on North Korea. They will maintain strong ties with allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia; work to build an infrastructure with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity; and work to ensure that China plays by international rules.

Nuclear Weapons

  • A Record of Results: The gravest danger to the American people is the threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon and the spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes. Obama has taken bipartisan action to secure nuclear weapons and materials:

1. He joined Senator Dick Lugar in passing a law to help the United States and our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world.

       2. He joined Senator Chuck Hagel to introduce a bill that seeks to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
       3. And while others have insisted that we should threaten to drop nuclear bombs on terrorist training camps, Obama believes that we must talk openly about nuclear weapons – because the best way to keep America safe is not to threaten terrorists with nuclear weapons, it's to keep nuclear weapons away from terrorists.
  * Secure Loose Nuclear Materials from Terrorists: Obama and Biden will secure all loose nuclear materials in the world within four years. While we work to secure existing stockpiles of nuclear material, Obama and Biden will negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material. This will deny terrorists the ability to steal or buy loose nuclear materials.
  * Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Obama and Biden will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions.
  * Toward a Nuclear Free World: Obama and Biden will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama and Biden will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. Butthey will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. They will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global.

Bipartisanship and Openness

  • The Problem: Under the Bush administration, foreign policy has been used as a political wedge issue to divide us – not as a cause to bring America together. And it is no coincidence that one of the most secretive administrations in history has pursued policies that have been disastrous for the American people. Obama and Biden strongly believe that our foreign policy is stronger when Americans are united, and the government is open and candid with the American people.
  • A Record of Bringing People Together: In the Senate, Obama has worked with Republicans and Democrats to advance important policy initiatives on securing weapons of mass destruction and conventional weapons, increasing funding for nonproliferation, and countering instability in Congo.
  • Consultative Group: Obama and Biden will convene a bipartisan Consultative Group of leading members of Congress to foster better executive-legislative relations and bipartisan unity on foreign policy. This group will be comprised of the congressional leadership of both political parties, and the chair and ranking members of the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Appropriations Committees. This group will meet with the president once a month to review foreign policy priorities, and will be consulted in advance of military action.
  • Getting Politics out of Intelligence: Obama would insulate the Director of National Intelligence from political pressure by giving the DNI a fixed term, like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Obama and Biden will seek consistency and integrity at the top of our intelligence community – not just a political ally.
  • Change the Culture of Secrecy: Obama will reverse President Bush's policy of secrecy. He will institute a National Declassification Center to make declassification secure but routine, efficient, and cost-effective.
  • Engaging the American People on Foreign Policy: Obama and Biden will bring foreign policy decisions directly to the people by requiring his national security officials to have periodic national broadband town hall meetings to discuss foreign policy. They will personally deliver occasional fireside chats via webcast.

On Israel

  • Ensure a Strong U.S.-Israel Partnership: Barack Obama and Joe Biden strongly support the U.S.-Israel relationship, believe that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the Middle East. They support this closeness, stating that that the United States would never distance itself from Israel.
  • Support Israel's Right to Self Defense: During the July 2006 Lebanon war, Barack Obama stood up strongly for Israel's right to defend itself from Hezbollah raids and rocket attacks, cosponsoring a Senate resolution against Iran and Syria's involvement in the war, and insisting that Israel should not be pressured into a ceasefire that did not deal with the threat of Hezbollah missiles. He and Joe Biden believe strongly in Israel's right to protect its citizens.
  • Support Foreign Assistance to Israel: Barack Obama and Joe Biden have consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. They defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and have advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. They have called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defense systems.
  • Read the full Israel Fact Sheet

Meeting the Challenge of a Resurgent Russia

  • The Problem: Russia's invasion of Georgia in August 2008 has created a serious new security challenge for the United States and our partners in Europe. In contrast to the Bush Administration's erratic policy of embracing Vladimir Putin but neglecting U.S.-Russian relations, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will address the challenge posed by an increasingly autocratic and bellicose Russia by pursuing a new, comprehensive strategy that advances American national interests without compromising our enduring principles.
  • A Comprehensive Strategy: Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and we are not returning to the Cold War. Retrofitting outdated 20th century thinking to address this new 21st century challenge will not advance American national interests. Instead, Obama and Biden will address the new challenges Russia poses by pursuing an integrated and vigorous strategy that encompasses the entire region. The core components of this strategy include:

1. Supporting democratic partners and upholding principles of sovereignty throughout Europe and Eurasia while working proactively to gauge effectively the intentions of actors in the region, and address tensions between countries before they escalate into military confrontations;

       2. Strengthening the Transatlantic alliance, so that we deal with Russia with one, unified voice;
       3. Helping to decrease the dependence of our allies and partners in the region on Russian energy;
       4. Engaging directly with the Russian government on issues of mutual interest, such as countering nuclear proliferation, reducing our nuclear arsenals, expanding trade and investment opportunities, and fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban; and also reaching out directly to the Russian people to promote our common values; and,
       5. Keeping the door open to fuller integration into the global system for all states in the region, including Russia, that demonstrates a commitment to act as responsible, law-abiding members of the international community.
  * Read Previous Statements on the Republic of Georgia / Russia Conflict
    

On Africa

  • Obama's Record: As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Barack Obama has fought to focus America's attention on the challenges facing Africa – stopping the genocide in Darfur, passing legislation to promote stability in the Congo and to bring a war criminal to justice in Liberia, mobilizing international pressure for a just government in Zimbabwe, fighting corruption in Kenya, demanding honesty on HIV/AIDS in South Africa, developing a coherent strategy for stabilizing Somalia, and travelling across the continent raising awareness for these critical issues. He has also increased America's focus on the long term challenges of education, poverty reduction, disease, strengthening democratic institutions and spurring sustainable economic development in Africa.
  • Stop the Genocide in Darfur: As president, Obama will take immediate steps to end the genocide in Darfur by increasing pressure on the Sudanese and pressure the government to halt the killing and stop impeding the deployment of a robust international force. He and Joe Biden will hold the government in Khartoum accountable for abiding by its commitments under the Comprehensive Peace Accord that ended the 30 year conflict between the north and south. Obama worked with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) to pass the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act in 2006.
  • Fight Poverty: Obama and Joe Biden will double our annual investment in foreign assistance from $25 billion in 2008 to $50 billion by the end of his first term and make the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015, America's goals. They will fully fund debt cancellation for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries in order to provide sustainable debt relief and invest at least $50 billion by 2013 for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, including our fair share of the Global Fund.
  • Expand Prosperity: Obama and Biden will expand prosperity by establishing an Add Value to Agriculture Initiative, creating a fund that will extend seed capital and technical assistance to small and medium enterprises, and reforming the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They will launch the Global Energy and Environment Initiative to ensure African countries have access to low carbon energy technology and can profitably participate in the new global carbon market so as to ensure solid economic development even while the world dramatically reduces its greenhouse gas emissions. They will also strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act to ensure that African producers can access the U.S. market and will encourage more American companies to invest on the continent.

On Latin America & the Caribbean

  • The Problem: George Bush’s policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in people’s lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region. As the Americas have changed, we have sat on the sideline, offering no compelling vision and creating a vacuum for demagogues to advance an anti-American agenda.
  • Start a New Chapter of Engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean: Obama and Biden will rebuild diplomatic links throughout the hemisphere through aggressive, principled, and sustained diplomacy in the Americas from Day One. He will bolster U.S. interests in the region by pursuing policies that advance democracy, opportunity, and security and will treat our hemispheric partners and neighbors with dignity and respect.
  • Promote Democracy in Cuba and Throughout the Hemisphere: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will support democracy that is strong and sustainable in the day to day lives of the people of the Americas. In the case of Cuba, they will empower our best ambassadors of freedom by allowing unlimited Cuban-American family travel and remittances to the island. Using aggressive and principled bilateral diplomacy he will also send an important message: if a post-Fidel government takes significant steps toward democracy, beginning with freeing all political prisoners, the U.S. is prepared to take steps to normalize relations and ease the embargo that has governed relations between our countries for the last five decades. Throughout the hemisphere, Obama and Biden will increase support for the building blocks of durable democracies—strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, and the rule of law.
  • Work Towards Energy Security: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will bring together the countries of the region in a new Energy Partnership for the Americas to forge a path toward sustainable growth and clean energy. They will call on the American people to join this effort through an Energy Corps of engineers and scientists who will go to the region and beyond to help develop clean energy solutions.
  • Advance Opportunity from the Bottom-up: Obama and Biden will substantially increase our aid to the Americas and embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and they will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal.
  • Trade Policy That Works for All People in All Countries: Obama and Biden believe that trade with foreign nations should strengthen the American economy and create more American jobs. They will stand firm against agreements that undermine our economic security and will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world.
  • Advance Security Across the Region: Obama and Biden believe that we need to target all sources of insecurity through a new hemispheric security initiative. This initiative will foster cooperation within the region to combat gangs, trafficking and violent criminal activity. It will strive to find the best practices that work across the hemisphere, and to tailor approaches to fit each country.

Healthcare

  • Health care is a right: something's fundamentally wrong now. (Oct 2008)
  • FactCheck: Exempts small business, but no $2,500/yr savings. (Oct 2008)
  • Health tax credit is bad idea; it will cost taxpayers more. (Sep 2008)
  • $15B subsidies to private insurers was a lobbyist giveaway. (Sep 2008)
  • FactCheck: McCain's plan taxes employees, not employers. (Sep 2008)
  • Give more help to those denied a life of dignity & respect. (Jul 2008)
  • Guaranteed health care for anyone who needs it. (Jul 2008)
  • End-of-life self-medication ok; euthanasia by others not ok. (Apr 2008)
  • Hillary's plan must either be enforced, or leave out people. (Feb 2008)
  • The problem with health care is about affordability. (Jan 2008)
  • Subsidies to people who can't afford care–not single payer. (Jan 2008)
  • Bring GOP & Dems together to make haelthcare affordable. (Jan 2008)
  • FactCheck: Reducing obesity would save $18B, not $1T. (Dec 2007)
  • Reforms in prevention and drug price negotiation save money. (Dec 2007)
  • Tackle insurance companies on reimbursement system. (Oct 2007)
  • Help young people deal with the cost of medical education. (Oct 2007)
  • Morally wrong that terminally ill must consider money. (Sep 2007)
  • FactCheck: Correct that insurance lobbying cost $1B. (Sep 2007)
  • National smoking bans only after trying local bans. (Sep 2007)
  • Reform failed in '90s because of drug company lobbying. (Jul 2007)
  • Take on insurance companies; drive down health care costs. (Jun 2007)
  • Address minority health needs by more coverage & targeting. (Mar 2007)
  • Health care tied to balancing costs and taxes nation wide. (Jun 2006)
  • Allowing seniors to bulk purchase will save taxpayers' money. (Oct 2004)
  • Allow prescription drug re-importation. (May 2004)
  • Use whatever works with AIDS, including teaching abstinence. (Apr 2008)
  • We need condom distribution to deal with the scourge of AIDS. (Aug 2007)
  • Homophobia prevents talking about HIV/AIDS. (Jun 2007)
  • Got tested for AIDS, with wife, in public, in Kenya. (Jun 2007)
  • Curing AIDS must be all-hands-on-deck effort. (Mar 2007)
  • Lead global fight against AIDS. (Jul 2004)
  • Zero fines & no mandate for small business. (Oct 2008)
  • No exclusions for pre-existing conditions. (Oct 2008)
  • Ban insurance companies from discriminating against the sick. (Aug 2008)
  • I've got a health plan and a plan to get it implemented. (Jun 2008)
  • AdWatch: My plan costs $2,500 less per family than Clinton's. (Apr 2008)
  • FactCheck: Unclear if Obama's plan costs less than Clinton's. (Apr 2008)
  • Universal health care means anyone who wants it can get it. (Feb 2008)
  • Insurers are happy to have a mandate; issue is affordability. (Feb 2008)
  • Voluntary universal participation, like in Medicare Part B. (Feb 2008)
  • Mandating kids' insurance ok; mandating adults has problems. (Feb 2008)
  • Young adults up to age 25 can be covered under parents' plan. (Feb 2008)
  • My plan does more than anybody to reduce costs. (Feb 2008)
  • My health plan does not leave 15 million people uncovered. (Feb 2008)
  • Adults will get health care as they can afford it. (Feb 2008)
  • AdWatch: punishing uninsured families doesn't make sense. (Feb 2008)
  • FactCheck: Hillary's plan does mandate; but so does Obama's. (Feb 2008)
  • No one turned away due to illness or pre-existing condition. (Feb 2008)
  • Buy private insurance via National Health Insurance Exchange. (Feb 2008)
  • Against enforcement mechanism for mandating insurance. (Jan 2008)
  • FactCheck: Yes, Obama favored single-payer, despite denial. (Jan 2008)
  • FactCheck: No, US costs are not twice as much as others. (Jan 2008)
  • AdWatch: Pressure insurance & drug companies to change. (Jan 2008)
  • FactCheck: OPPORTUNITY to insure all, but no GUARANTEE. (Jan 2008)
  • AdWatch: Don't make it illegal not to have health care. (Jan 2008)
  • Being poor in this country is hazardous to your health. (Dec 2007)
  • Problem isn't mandating coverage, but affording it. (Nov 2007)
  • FactCheck: Coverage plan might leave 8.5 million uninsured. (Nov 2007)
  • Cautious incremental plan offers choice & subsidy. (Nov 2007)
  • Added 20,000 children to Illinois healthcare. (Oct 2007)
  • Government healthcare like members of Congress have. (Sep 2007)
  • Increase competition in the insurance and drug markets. (Aug 2007)
  • National Health Insurance Exchange for private coverage. (Aug 2007)
  • Health plan cuts typical family's premium by $2,500 a year. (Jun 2007)
  • Give people the choice to buy affordable health care. (Jun 2007)
  • National insurance pool & catastrophic insurance. (Apr 2007)
  • Employers are going to have to pay or play. (Mar 2007)
  • Need political will to accomplish universal coverage. (Mar 2007)
  • Universal health care by of first term. (Feb 2007)
  • Healthcare system is broken without lifetime employment. (Oct 2006)
  • The market alone can't solve our health-care woes. (Oct 2006)
  • Focus on the affordability of a broad healthcare plan. (Jan 2006)
  • Crises happen in our lives and healthcare is necessary. (Oct 2004)
  • Believes health care is a right, not a privilege for the few. (Sep 2004)
  • Will expand health coverage & allow meds to be re-imported. (May 2004)
  • Ensure access to basic care. (Jul 1998)
  • No need to mandate coverage; just let people afford it. (Jul 2007)
  • Voted NO on means-testing to determine Medicare Part D premium. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted YES on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Apr 2007)
  • Voted YES on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006)
  • Voted YES on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005)
  • Voted YES on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005)
  • Increase funding for AIDS treatment & prevention. (Jan 2001)
  • More funding for Rx benefits, community health, CHIPs. (Jan 2001)
  • Improve services for people with autism & their families. (Apr 2007)
  • Establish a national childhood cancer database. (Mar 2007)
  • Preserve access to Medicaid & SCHIP during economic downturn. (Apr 2008)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

On health care reform, the American people are too often offered two extremes - government-run health care with higher taxes or letting the insurance companies operate without rules. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe both of these extremes are wrong, and that’s why they’ve proposed a plan that strengthens employer coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference.

The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing health care system, and uses existing providers, doctors and plans to implement the plan. Under the Obama-Biden plan, patients will be able to make health care decisions with their doctors, instead of being blocked by insurance company bureaucrats.

Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year.

If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

Make Health Insurance Work for People and Businesses - Not Just Insurance and Drug Companies.

  • Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
  • Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
  • Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
  • Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
  • Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees health care.
  • Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
  • Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.

Reduce Costs and Save a Typical American Family up to $2,500 as reforms phase in:

  • Lower drug costs by allowing the importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs and taking on drug companies that block cheaper generic medicines from the market
  • Require hospitals to collect and report health care cost and quality data
  • Reduce the costs of catastrophic illnesses for employers and their employees.
  • Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anticompetitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care.

The Obama-Biden plan will promote public health. It will require coverage of preventive services, including cancer screenings, and increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility: Barack Obama will pay for his $50 - $65 billion health care reform effort by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level.

Homeland Security

  • Obama Doctrine: moral interest as well as national interest. (Oct 2008)
  • Strategic issue is where to send & how to fund our troops. (Sep 2008)
  • Inappropriate to lie to public; just don't answer questions. (Sep 2008)
  • Disrupting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan prevented another 9/11. (Sep 2008)
  • Islam in 1970s was not opposed to West & rule of law. (Jul 2008)
  • Go after al Qaeda but also shrink pool of potential recruits. (Jul 2008)
  • No torture; no renditions; no operating out of fear. (Apr 2008)
  • Al Qaida is stronger now than in 2001 as Iraq distracted us. (Jan 2008)
  • Colleges must allow military recruiters for ROTC on campus. (Jan 2008)
  • No presidential power for secret surveillance. (Dec 2007)
  • No holding US citizens as unlawful enemy combatants. (Dec 2007)
  • Congress decides what constitutes torture, not president. (Dec 2007)
  • No torture; defiance of FISA; no military commissions. (Dec 2007)
  • Restore habeas corpus to reach Muslims abroad. (Dec 2007)
  • Human rights and national security are complementary. (Nov 2007)
  • Don't allow our politics to be driven by fear of terrorism. (Nov 2007)
  • 2006: Obama-Lugar bill restricted conventional weapons. (Oct 2007)
  • Judgment is as important as experience. (Oct 2007)
  • If attacked, first help victims then prevent further attacks. (Oct 2007)
  • America cannot sanction torture; no loopholes or exceptions. (Sep 2007)
  • Repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell. (Aug 2007)
  • 2005: Passed bill to reduce conventional weapon stockpiles. (Aug 2007)
  • We are no safer now than we were after 9/11. (Aug 2007)
  • Close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus. (Jun 2007)
  • Homeland security must protect citizens, not intrude on them. (Mar 2007)
  • America must practice the patriotism it preaches. (Mar 2007)
  • Personal privacy must be protected even in terrorism age. (Mar 2007)
  • Get first responders the healthcare and equipment they need. (Mar 2007)
  • Need to be both strong and smart on national defense. (Oct 2006)
  • Grow size of military to maintain rotation schedules. (Oct 2006)
  • Battling terrorism must go beyond belligerence vs. isolation. (Oct 2006)
  • Going after Al Qaeda in Pakistan is not Bush-style invasion. (Jan 2006)
  • We are currently inspecting 3% of all incoming cargo. (Oct 2004)
  • Balance domestic intelligence reform with civil liberty risk. (Jul 2004)
  • Give our soldiers the best equipment and training available. (Jul 2004)
  • Serving America doesn't mean going out shopping. (Oct 2008)
  • $4,000 tuition tax credit in exchange for community service. (Jun 2008)
  • Expand Peace Corps and AmeriCorps to 266,000 slots. (Feb 2008)
  • Put forward a national service program. (Jan 2008)
  • Give 18-year-old women opportunity to serve. (Dec 2007)
  • Register women for draft, but not for combat. (Jul 2007)
  • Seek the peace of a world without nuclear weapons. (Jul 2008)
  • Pursue goal of a world without nuclear weapons. (Feb 2008)
  • Rebuild a nuclear nonproliferation strategy. (Jan 2008)
  • Protecting nuclear power plants is of utmost importance. (Mar 2007)
  • Rebuild the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (Jan 2006)
  • Increase funding to decommission Russian nukes. (Jul 2004)
  • Unacceptable to have veterans drive 250 miles to a hospital. (Feb 2008)
  • Improve veterans' mental health treatment & PTSD benefits. (Feb 2008)
  • Support veterans via the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act. (Aug 2007)
  • Address the deficiencies in the VA system. (Jun 2007)
  • The cost of the Iraq war should not shortchange VA benefits. (Jun 2007)
  • Make sure the outpatient facilities work for veterans. (Jun 2007)
  • Comprehensive plan for our veterans healthcare. (Mar 2007)
  • FactCheck: Promised to repeal Patriot Act, then voted for it. (Jan 2008)
  • Wrote law to secure & destroy world's deadliest weapons. (Feb 2007)
  • Voted NO on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad. (Aug 2007)
  • Voted YES on limiting soldiers' deployment to 12 months. (Jul 2007)
  • Voted YES on implementing the 9/11 Commission report. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted YES on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods. (Sep 2006)
  • Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision. (Dec 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting business with entities linked to terrorism. (Jul 2005)
  • Voted YES on restoring $565M for states' and ports' first responders. (Mar 2005)
  • Sponsored bill for Iraq budget to be part of defense budget. (Jun 2006)
  • Improve mental health care benefits for returning veterans. (Jun 2008)
  • Study & address suicides among veterans. (Apr 2008)
  • Restore habeas corpus for detainees in the War on Terror. (Jun 2007)
  • Establish global strategy to defeat al Qaeda. (Feb 2008)
  • FactCheck: Iraqis have $29B surplus, not $79B. (Oct 2008)
  • FactCheck: Opposes surge–hasn't produced political solution. (Sep 2008)
  • Unwise war in Iraq distracted us from catching Bin Laden. (Sep 2008)
  • The surge is a tactic to contain 4 years of mismanaged war. (Sep 2008)
  • FactCheck: Iraq has at most $59B surplus, not $79B surplus. (Sep 2008)
  • FactCheck: Promised 16-month exit; now 16-month reduction. (Sep 2008)
  • You don't defeat a terrorist network by occupying Iraq. (Aug 2008)
  • I will only send our troops into harm's way when necessary. (Aug 2008)
  • Situation has improved in Iraq; but it's still fragile. (Jul 2008)
  • Surge reduced violence; but distracts us from long-term goal. (Jul 2008)
  • $10 billion a month spent in Iraq should be spent in the US. (Jul 2008)
  • President sets Iraq mission; Generals then implement tactics. (Apr 2008)
  • President sets Iraq mission; give generals a new mission. (Apr 2008)
  • $2.7 billion each week of Iraq spending is unsustainable. (Feb 2008)
  • Humanitarian aid now for displaced Iraqis. (Feb 2008)
  • FactCheck: Overstated displaced Iraqis; actually 4.2 million. (Feb 2008)
  • The Iraq war has undermined our security. (Jan 2008)
  • Iraq is distracting us from a host of global threats. (Jan 2008)
  • End the war, and end the mindset that got us into war. (Jan 2008)
  • The Iraq war was conceptually flawed from the start. (Jan 2008)
  • Title of Iraq war authorization bill stated its intent. (Jan 2008)
  • Get our troops out by the end of 2009. (Jan 2008)
  • No permanent bases in Iraq. (Jan 2008)
  • FactCheck: No, violence in Iraq is LOWER than 2 years ago. (Jan 2008)
  • Congress decides deployment level & duration, not president. (Dec 2007)
  • Surge strategy has made a difference in Iraq but failed. (Nov 2007)
  • Leave troops for protection of Americans & counterterrorism. (Sep 2007)
  • Hopes to remove all troops from Iraq by 2013, but no pledge. (Sep 2007)
  • Tell people the truth: quickest is 1-2 brigades per month. (Sep 2007)
  • No good options in Iraq–just bad options & worse options. (Aug 2007)
  • Be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. (Jul 2007)
  • We live in a more dangerous world because of Bush's actions. (Jun 2007)
  • Case for war was weak, but people voted their best judgment. (Jun 2007)
  • War in Iraq is “dumb” but troops still need equipment. (Apr 2007)
  • Open-ended Iraq occupation must end: no military solution. (Apr 2007)
  • Saddam is a tyrant but not a national security threat. (Mar 2007)
  • Iraq 2002: ill-conceived venture; 2007: waste of resources. (Feb 2007)
  • Saddam did not own and was not providing WMD to terrorists. (Oct 2004)
  • Iraq War has made US less safe from terrorism. (Oct 2004)
  • Invading Iraq was a bad strategic blunder. (Oct 2004)
  • Democratizing Iraq will be more difficult than Afghanistan. (Oct 2004)
  • Never fudge numbers or shade the truth about war. (Jul 2004)
  • Set a new tone to internationalize the Iraqi reconstruction. (Jul 2004)
  • Iraq war was sincere but misguided, ideologically driven. (Jul 2004)
  • Not opposed to all wars, but opposed to the war in Iraq. (Jul 2004)
  • International voice in Iraq in exchange for debt forgiveness. (Jul 2004)
  • More aid to Pakistan; but pursue bin Laden over their border. (Oct 2008)
  • Prevent Iran from attacking Israel, but keep military option. (Oct 2008)
  • FactCheck: Pakistan has lost 1,200 troops fighting Al Qaeda. (Sep 2008)
  • FactCheck: Kissinger says Iran meet ok; but only lower level. (Sep 2008)
  • Afghanistan needs more troops and resources. (Sep 2008)
  • McCain says he'd follow Laden to hell; but not to his cave? (Aug 2008)
  • Engaging in tough diplomacy with Iran is a sign of strength. (Jul 2008)
  • Iran is biggest strategic beneficiary of invasion of Iraq. (May 2008)
  • Military surge in Afghanistan to eliminate the Taliban. (May 2008)
  • Take no options off the table if Iran attacks Israel. (Apr 2008)
  • Two-state solution: Israel & Palestine side-by-side in peace. (Feb 2008)
  • Al Qaida is based in northwest Pakistan; strike if needed. (Jan 2008)
  • No action against Iran without Congressional authorization. (Dec 2007)
  • Iran: Bush does not let facts get in the way of ideology. (Dec 2007)
  • Meet directly for diplomacy with the leadership in Iran. (Nov 2007)
  • Committed to Iran not having nuclear weapons. (Oct 2007)
  • Iran military resolution sends the region a wrong signal. (Oct 2007)
  • Deal with al Qaeda on Pakistan border, but not with nukes. (Aug 2007)
  • Military action in Pakistan if we have actionable intel. (Aug 2007)
  • FactCheck: Yes, Obama said invade Pakistan to get al Qaeda. (Aug 2007)
  • Focus on battle in Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda. (Jun 2007)
  • Bush cracked down on some terrorists' financial networks. (Jun 2007)
  • Iraq has distracted us from Taliban in Afghanistan. (Apr 2007)
  • Iran with nuclear weapons is a profound security threat. (Apr 2007)
  • We did the right thing in Afghanistan. (Mar 2007)
  • We are playing to Osama's plan for winning a war from a cave. (Oct 2006)
  • Al Qaida is stronger than before thanks to the Bush doctrine. (Jan 2006)
  • Terrorists are in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran. (Oct 2004)
  • Problems with current Israeli policy. (Jul 2004)
  • Engage North Korea in 6-party talks. (Jul 2004)
  • Use moral authority to work towards Middle East peace. (Jul 2004)
  • Voted to fund war until 2006; now wants no blank check. (Nov 2007)
  • Late to vote against war is not late to oppose war. (Jun 2007)
  • Spending on the Cold War relics should be for the veterans. (Jun 2007)
  • Would have voted no to authorize the President to go to war. (Jul 2004)
  • Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

The first responsibility of any president is to protect the American people. Yet, seven years after the 9/11 attacks, we are not as safe as we can and should be. As president, Barack Obama will provide the leadership and strategies to strengthen our security at home.

Barack Obama's strategy for securing the homeland against 21st century threats is focused on preventing terrorist attacks on our homeland, preparing and planning for emergencies and natural disasters and investing in strong response and recovery capabilities. As president, Barack Obama will strengthen our homeland against natural or accidental disasters and terrorist threats - ensuring the federal government works with states, localities, and the private sector as a true partner in prevention, mitigation, and response.

Defeat Terrorism Worldwide

  • Find, Disrupt, and Destroy Al Qaeda: Obama will responsibly end the war in Iraq and focus on the right battlefield in Afghanistan. An Obama Administration will work with other nations to strengthen their capacity to eliminate shared enemies.
  • New Capabilities to Aggressively Defeat Terrorists: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will improve the American intelligence apparatus by investing in its capacity to collect and analyze information, share information with other agencies and carry out operations to disrupt terrorist operations and networks.
  • Prepare the Military to Meet 21st Century Threats: Barack Obama will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a threat to America. Obama will ensure that our military becomes more stealthy, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. He will bolster our military's ability to speak different languages, navigate different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.
  • Win the Battle of Ideas: An Obama Administration will defeat al Qaeda in what the 9-11 Commission called “the Battle of Ideas” by returning to an American foreign policy consistent with America's traditional values and by working with moderates within the Islamic world to counter al Qaeda propaganda. Barack Obama will establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund to work to eliminate the global education deficit and offer an alternative to extremist schools.
  • Restore American Influence and Restore Our Values: Thwarting terrorist networks requires international partnerships in military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial transactions, border controls, and transportation security. To make diplomacy more effective, Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world. He will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.

Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have a comprehensive strategy for nuclear security that will reduce the danger of nuclear terrorism, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities, and strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

  • Secure Nuclear Weapons Materials in Four Years and End Nuclear Smuggling: Barack Obama will lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons materials at vulnerable sites within four years - the most effective way to prevent terrorists from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Barack Obama will fully implement the Lugar-Obama legislation to help our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Strengthen Policing and Interdiction Efforts: Barack Obama will institutionalize the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a global initiative aimed at stopping shipments of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide.
  • Convene a Summit on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Barack Obama will convene a summit in 2009 (and regularly thereafter) of leaders of Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and other key countries to agree on implementing many of these measures on a global basis.
  • Eliminate Iran's and North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Programs Through Tough, Direct Diplomacy: Barack Obama will use tough diplomacy - backed by real incentives and real pressures - to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to eliminate fully and verifiably North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
  • Strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Barack Obama will seek to ensure that the Agency gets the authority, information, people, and technology it needs to do its job.
  • Control Fissile Materials: Barack Obama will lead a global effort to negotiate a verifiable treaty ending the production of fissile materials for weapons purposes.
  • Prevent Nuclear Fuel from Becoming Nuclear Bombs: Barack Obama will work with other interested governments to establish a new international nuclear energy architecture - including an international nuclear fuel bank, international nuclear fuel cycle centers, and reliable fuel supply assurances - to meet growing demands for nuclear power without contributing to the proliferation of nuclear materials and fuel production facilities.
  • Set the Goal of a Nuclear-Free World: Barack Obama will show the world that America believes in its existing commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to work to ultimately eliminate all nuclear weapons. Barack Obama fully supports reaffirming this goal, as called for by George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn, and the specific steps they propose to move us in that direction. He has made clear that America will not disarm unilaterally.
  • Seek Real, Verifiable Reductions in Nuclear Stockpiles: Barack Obama will seek deep, verifiable reductions in all U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons and work with other nuclear powers to reduce global stockpiles dramatically by the end of his presidency.
  • Work with Russia to Increase Warning and Decision Time: Keeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment's notice is a dangerous relic of the Cold War. Barack Obama believes that we must address this dangerous situation. As president, Barack Obama will aim to work with Russia to end such Cold War policies in a mutual and verifiable manner.
  • Appoint White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security: Barack Obama will appoint a deputy national security advisor to be in charge of coordinating all U.S. programs aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism and weapons proliferation.
  • Strengthen Nuclear Risk Reduction Work at Defense, State, and Energy Departments: Thwarting terrorist networks requires international partnerships in military, intelligence, law enforcement, financial transactions, border controls, and transportation security. To make diplomacy more effective, Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world. He will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military.

Strengthen American Biosecurity

Biological weapons pose a serious and increasing national security risk. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work to prevent bioterror attacks and mitigate consequences. * Prevent Bioterror Attacks: Obama and Joe Biden will strengthen U.S. intelligence collection overseas to identify and interdict would-be bioterrorists before they strike. * Build Capacity to Mitigate the Consequences of Bioterror Attacks: A well-planned, well-rehearsed, and rapidly executed epidemic response can dramatically diminish the consequences of biological attacks. Barack Obama will ensure that decision-makers have the information and communication tools they need to manage disease outbreaks by linking health care providers, hospitals, and public health agencies. * Accelerate the Development of New Medicines, Vaccines, and Production Capabilities: Barack Obama will build on America's unparalleled talent to create new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests and to manufacture these vital products much more quickly and efficiently than is now possible. * Lead an International Effort to Diminish Impact of Major Infectious Disease Epidemics: Senator Obama was one of the first legislators to recognize the dangers of a potential avian influenza pandemic and was successful in securing $25 million for U.S. agencies to combat and contain widespread outbreaks of avian flu and worked to provide $4 billion in funding to the Centers for Disease Control to combat avian flu. Barack Obama will continue to promote international efforts to develop new diagnostics, vaccines, and medicines that will be available and affordable in all parts of the world.

Protect Our Information Networks

    As president, Barack Obama will lead an effort, working with private industry, the research community and our citizens, to build a trustworthy and accountable cyber infrastructure that is resilient, protects America's competitive advantage, and advances our national and homeland security.
  * Strengthen Federal Leadership on Cyber Security: Barack Obama will declare the cyber infrastructure a strategic asset and will establish the position of national cyber advisor who will report directly to the president and will be responsible for coordinating federal agency efforts and development of national cyber policy.
  * Initiate a Safe Computing R&D Effort and Harden our Nation's Cyber Infrastructure: Barack Obama will support an initiative to develop next-generation secure computers and networking for national security applications. He will work with industry and academia to develop and deploy a new generation of secure hardware and software for our nation's critical cyber infrastructure.
  * Protect the IT Infrastructure That Keeps America's Economy Safe: The public and private infrastructure that keeps America running is increasingly brought online to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Barack Obama will work with the private sector to establish tough new standards for cyber security and physical resilience for critical infrastructure.
  * Prevent Corporate Cyber-Espionage: Innovations in software, engineering, pharmaceuticals and other fields are being stolen online from U.S. businesses at an alarming rate. These losses are making America less safe and less competitive and costing us jobs here at home. Barack Obama will work with industry to develop the systems necessary to protect our nation's trade secrets and our research and development.
  * Develop a Cyber Crime Strategy to Minimize the Opportunities for Criminal Profit: Barack Obama will shut down the mechanisms used to transmit criminal profits by shutting down untraceable Internet payment schemes. Barack Obama will also initiate a grant and training program to provide federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to detect and prosecute cyber crime.
  * Mandate Standards for Securing Personal Data and Require Companies to Disclose Personal Information Data Breaches: Nearly 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year, costing more than $55 billion. We must ensure that the privacy of personnel data in computer systems is better protected. The federal government must partner with industry and our citizens to secure personal data stored on government and private systems. An Obama administration will institute a common standard for securing such data across industries and will back strong legislation to protect the rights of individuals in the information age.

Improve Intelligence Capacity and Protect Civil Liberties

  • Improve Information Sharing and Analysis: Barack Obama will improve our intelligence system by creating a senior position to coordinate domestic intelligence gathering; establishing a grant program to support thousands more state and local level intelligence analysts and increasing our capacity to share intelligence across all levels of government.
  • Give Real Authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board: Created by Congress and recommended by the 9/11 Commission, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board needs to be substantially reformed and empowered to safeguard against an erosion in American civil liberties. As president, Barack Obama will support efforts to strengthen the Board with subpoena powers and reporting responsibilities, will give the Board a robust mandate designed to protect American civil liberties and will demand transparency from the Board to ensure accountability.
  • Strengthen Institutions to Fight Terrorism: Overseas, Barack Obama will establish a Shared Security Partnership Program to invest $5 billion over three years to improve cooperation between U.S. and foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies. This program will include information sharing, as well as funding for training, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and the targeting of terrorist financing.

Protect Americans from Terrorist Attacks and Natural Disasters

  • Allocate Funds Based on Risk: Barack Obama believes that the President and Congress should allocate our precious homeland security dollars according to risk, not as pork-barrel spending or a form of general revenue sharing. He will eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse that cost the nation billions of Department of Homeland Security dollars.
  • Prepare Effective Emergency Response Plans: Obama passed legislation to provide funding for planning for evacuating individuals with special needs from emergency zones and to create a National Family Locator System to help families locate loved ones after a disaster. As president, Obama will further improve coordination between all levels of government, create better evacuation plan guidelines, ensure prompt federal assistance to emergency zones, and increase medical surge capacity.
  • Support First Responders: Barack Obama is committed not only to rolling back the Bush-McCain funding cuts that have affected our first responders - police, firefighters, and emergency medical professionals - but also to increasing federal resources and logistic support to local emergency planning efforts.
  • Improve Interoperable Communications Systems: Barack Obama supports efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems. He will appoint a National Chief Technology Officer who will have the responsibility to ensure that the current non-interoperable plans at the federal, state, and local levels are combined, funded, implemented and effective.
  • Working with State and Local Governments and the Private Sector: Barack Obama believes the federal government must be a better partner to states and localities, listen to local concerns and consider local priorities. Barack Obama will reach out to the private sector to leverage its expertise and assets to protect our homeland security.

Protect Critical Infrastructure

  • Create a National Infrastructure Protection Plan: Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security will develop an effective critical infrastructure protection and resiliency plan for the nation and will work with the private sector to ensure that targets are protected against both natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
  • Secure our Chemical Plants: Chemical plants are potential terrorist targets because they are often located near cities, are relatively easy to attack, and contain multi-ton quantities of hazardous chemicals. As president, Barack Obama will work with all stakeholders to enact permanent federal chemical security regulations.
  • Improve Airline Security: Barack Obama believes we must redouble our efforts to determine if the measures implemented since 9/11 are adequately addressing the threats our nation continues to face from airplane-based terrorism. Airline passengers are still not screened against a comprehensive terrorist watch list. Such a list must be developed and used in a way that safeguards passengers' privacy while ensuring the safety of air travel.
  • Monitor our Ports: Barack Obama has been a consistent supporter of strengthening our port security, will redouble our efforts to develop technology that can detect radiation and determine the danger it poses, and he will work with the maritime transportation industry to integrate this technology into their operations so as to maximize security without causing economic disruption.
  • Safeguard Public Transportation: Every weekday, Americans take 34 million trips on public transportation systems to get to work, school and beyond. Despite recent international attacks on mass transit systems, the Bush administration has invested only a small fraction of the $6 billion that transportation officials have said is necessary to implement needed security improvements. Barack Obama will fill this critical hole in our homeland security network.
  • Improve Border Security: Americans know that our national border security system is broken, leaving our country vulnerable. Barack Obama will support the virtual and physical infrastructure and manpower necessary to secure our borders and keep our nation safe.

Modernize America's Aging Infrastructure

  • Build-in Security: Barack Obama will ensure that security is considered and built into the design of new infrastructure, so that our critical assets are protected from the start and more resilient to naturally-occurring and deliberate threats throughout their life-cycle.
  • Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: Barack Obama will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. This independent entity will be directed to invest in our nation's most challenging transportation infrastructure needs, without the influence of special interests. The Bank will receive an infusion of federal money, $60 billion over 10 years, to provide financing to transportation infrastructure projects across the nation.
  • Invest in Critical Infrastructure Projects: Barack Obama will invest in our nation's most pressing short and long-term infrastructure needs, including modernizing our electrical grid and upgrading our highway, rail, ports, water, and aviation infrastructure. Obama will establish a Grid Modernization Commission to facilitate adoption of Smart Grid practices to improve efficiency and security of our electricity grid. He will also build on his work in the U.S. Senate to ensure that the federal government prioritizes strengthening our critical infrastructure.

Immigration

Create Secure Borders

Obama and Biden want to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry. Improve Our Immigration System

Obama and Biden believe we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill. Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally

Obama and Biden will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Bring People Out of the Shadows

Obama and Biden support a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens. Work with Mexico

Obama and Biden believe we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.

Iraq

Judgment You Can Trust

In 2002, as the conventional thinking in Washington lined up with President Bush for war, Obama had the judgment and courage to speak out against going to war, and to warn of “an occupation of undetermined length, with undetermined costs, and undetermined consequences.” He and Joe Biden are fully committed to ending the war in Iraq as president. A Responsible, Phased Withdrawal

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. Immediately upon taking office, Obama will give his Secretary of Defense and military commanders a new mission in Iraq: ending the war. The removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government. Military experts believe we can safely redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – more than 7 years after the war began.

Under the Obama-Biden plan, a residual force will remain in Iraq and in the region to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel. They will not build permanent bases in Iraq, but will continue efforts to train and support the Iraqi security forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism. Encouraging Political Accommodation

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that the U.S. must apply pressure on the Iraqi government to work toward real political accommodation. There is no military solution to Iraq’s political differences, but the Bush Administration’s blank check approach has failed to press Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future or to substantially spend their oil revenues on their own reconstruction.

Obama and Biden's plan offers the best prospect for lasting stability in Iraq. A phased withdrawal will encourage Iraqis to take the lead in securing their own country and making political compromises, while the responsible pace of redeployment called for by the Obama-Biden plan offers more than enough time for Iraqi leaders to get their own house in order. As our forces redeploy, Obama and Biden will make sure we engage representatives from all levels of Iraqi society—in and out of government—to forge compromises on oil revenue sharing, the equitable provision of services, federalism, the status of disputed territories, new elections, aid to displaced Iraqis, and the reform of Iraqi security forces. Surging Diplomacy

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will launch an aggressive diplomatic effort to reach a comprehensive compact on the stability of Iraq and the region. This effort will include all of Iraq’s neighbors—including Iran and Syria, as suggested by the bi-partisan The Iraq Study Group Report. This compact will aim to secure Iraq’s borders; keep neighboring countries from meddling inside Iraq; isolate al Qaeda; support reconciliation among Iraq’s sectarian groups; and provide financial support for Iraq’s reconstruction and development. Preventing Humanitarian Crisis

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that America has both a moral obligation and a responsibility for security that demands we confront Iraq’s humanitarian crisis—more than five million Iraqis are refugees or are displaced inside their own country. Obama and Biden will form an international working group to address this crisis. He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find sanctuary. Obama and Biden will also work with Iraqi authorities and the international community to hold the perpetrators of potential war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide accountable. They will reserve the right to intervene militarily, with our international partners, to suppress potential genocidal violence within Iraq. The Status-of-Forces-Agreement

Obama and Biden believe any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases. Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to Congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval—yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress. The Bush administration must submit the agreement to Congress or allow the next administration to negotiate an agreement that has bipartisan support here at home and makes absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

Poverty

Expand Access to Jobs

  • Help Americans Grab a Hold of and Climb the Job Ladder: Obama and Biden will invest $1 billion over five years in transitional jobs and career pathway programs that implement proven methods of helping low-income Americans succeed in the workforce.
  • Create a Green Jobs Corps: Obama and Biden will create a program to directly engage disadvantaged youth in energy efficiency opportunities to strengthen their communities, while also providing them with practical skills in this important high-growth career field.
  • Improve Transportation Access to Jobs: As president, Obama will work to ensure that low-income Americans have transportation access to jobs. Obama will double funding for the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities and that urban planning initiatives take this aspect of transportation policy into account.
  • Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Supports: Obama and Biden will work to ensure that ex-offenders have access to job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling, and employment opportunities. Obama and Biden will also create a prison-to-work incentive program and reduce barriers to employment.

Make Work Pay for All Americans

  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: Obama and Biden will increase the number of working parents eligible for EITC benefits, increase the benefits available to parents who support their children through child support payments, increase benefits for families with three or more children, and reduce the EITC marriage penalty, which hurts low-income families.
  • Raise the Minimum Wage to $9.50 an Hour by 2011: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that people who work full time should not live in poverty. Even though the minimum wage will rise to $7.25 an hour by 2009, the minimum wage's real purchasing power will still be below what it was in 1968. As president, Obama will further raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs such as food, transportation, and housing - things so many people take for granted.
  • Provide Tax Relief: Obama and Biden will provide all low and middle-income workers a $500 Making Work Pay tax credit to offset the payroll tax those workers pay in every paycheck. Obama and Biden will also eliminate taxes for seniors making under $50,000 per year.

Strengthen Families

  • Promote Responsible Fatherhood: Obama will sign into law his Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act to remove some of the government penalties on married families, crack down on men avoiding child support payments, and ensure that payments go to families instead of state bureaucracies.
  • Support Parents with Young Children: Obama and Biden will expand the highly-successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all 570,000 low-income, first-time mothers each year. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families.
  • Expand Paid Sick Days: Today, three-out-of-four low-wage workers have no paid sick days. Obama and Biden support guaranteeing workers seven paid sick days per year.

Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing

  • Supports Affordable Housing Trust Fund: Obama has supported efforts to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.
  • Fully Fund the Community Development Block Grant: Obama and Biden will fully fund the Community Development Block Grant program and engage with urban leaders across the country to increase resources to the highest-need Americans.

Tackle Concentrated Poverty

  • Establish 20 Promise Neighborhoods: Obama and Biden will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement in cities across the nation. The Promise Neighborhoods will be modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone, which provides a full network of services, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities, to an entire neighborhood from birth to college.
  • Ensure Community-Based Investment Resources in Every Urban Community: Obama and Biden will work with community and business leaders to identify and address the unique economic development barriers of every major metropolitan area. Obama and Biden will provide additional resources to the federal Community Development Financial Institution Fund, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies, especially to their local branch offices, to address community needs.
  • Invest in Rural Areas: Obama and Biden will invest in rural small businesses and fight to expand high-speed Internet access. They will improve rural schools and attract more doctors to rural areas. And they will implement a bold climate change and energy independence plan that will revitalize rural America through new investments in renewable energy production, including wind, solar and biofuel investments.

Rural

Ensure Economic Opportunity For Family Farmers

  • Strong Safety Net for Family Farmers: Obama and Biden will fight for farm programs that provide family farmers with stability and predictability. They will implement a $250,000 payment limitation so that we help family farmers — not large corporate agribusiness. They will close the loopholes that allow mega farms to get around the limits by subdividing their operations into multiple paper corporations.
  • Prevent Anticompetitive Behavior Against Family Farms: Obama is a strong supporter of a packer ban. When meatpackers own livestock they can manipulate prices and discriminate against independent farmers. Obama and Biden will strengthen anti-monopoly laws and strengthen producer protections to ensure independent farmers have fair access to markets, control over their production decisions, and transparency in prices.
  • Regulate CAFOs: Obama's Environmental Protection Agency will strictly regulate pollution from large CAFOs, with fines for those that violate tough standards. Obama also supports meaningful local control.
  • Establish Country of Origin Labeling: Obama supports immediate implementation of the Country of Origin Labeling law so that American producers can distinguish their products from imported ones.
  • Encourage Organic and Local Agriculture: Obama and Biden will help organic farmers afford to certify their crops and reform crop insurance to not penalize organic farmers. He also will promote regional food systems.
  • Encourage Young People to Become Farmers: Obama and Biden will establish a new program to identify and train the next generation of farmers. They will also provide tax incentives to make it easier for new farmers to afford their first farm.
  • Partner with Landowners to Conserve Private Lands: Obama and Biden will increase incentives for farmers and private landowners to conduct sustainable agriculture and protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests.

Support Rural Economic Development

  • Support Small Business Development: Obama and Biden will provide capital for farmers to create value-added enterprises, like cooperative marketing initiatives and farmer-owned processing plants. They also will establish a small business and micro-enterprise initiative for rural America.
  • Connect Rural America: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that rural Americans have access to a modern communications infrastructure. They will modernize an FCC program that supports rural phone service so that it promotes affordable broadband coverage across rural America as well.
  • Promote Leadership in Renewable Energy: Obama and Biden will ensure that our rural areas continue their leadership in the renewable fuels movement. This will transform the economy, especially in rural America, which is poised to produce and refine more American biofuels and provide more wind power than ever before, and create millions of new jobs across the country.

Improve Rural Quality Of Life

  • Combat Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine use has increased 156 percent nationwide since 1996. Obama has a long record of fighting the meth epidemic. As President, he and Joe Biden will continue the fight to rid our communities of meth and offer support to help addicts heal.
  • Improve Health Care: Rural health care providers often get less money from Medicare and Medicaid for the very same procedure performed in urban areas. Obama and Biden will work to ensure a more equitable Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement structure. They will attract providers to rural America by creating a loan forgiveness program for doctors and nurses who work in underserved rural areas. They support increasing rural access to care by promoting health information technologies like telemedicine.
  • Improve Rural Education: Obama and Biden will provide incentives for talented individuals to enter the teaching profession, including increased pay for teachers who work in rural areas. Obama and Biden will create a Rural Revitalization Program to attract and retain young people to rural America. Obama and Biden will increase research and educational funding for Land Grant colleges.
  • Upgrade Rural Infrastructure: Obama and Biden will invest in the core infrastructure, roads, bridges, locks, dams, water systems and essential air service that rural communities need.

Service

Enable All Americans to Serve to Meet the Nation's Challenges

  • Expand Corporation for National and Community Service: Obama and Biden will expand AmeriCorps from 75,000 slots today to 250,000 and they will focus this expansion on addressing the great challenges facing the nation. They will establish a Classroom Corps to help teachers and students, with a priority placed on underserved schools; a Health Corps to improve public health outreach; a Clean Energy Corps to conduct weatherization and renewable energy projects; a Veterans Corps to assist veterans at hospitals, nursing homes and homeless shelters; and a Homeland Security Corps to help communities plan, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
  • Engage Retiring Americans in Service on a Large Scale: Older Americans have a wide range of skills and knowledge to contribute. Obama and Biden will expand and improve programs that connect individuals over the age of 55 to quality volunteer opportunities.
  • Expand the Peace Corps: Obama and Biden will double the Peace Corps to 16,000 by 2011. They will work with the leaders of other countries to build an international network of overseas volunteers so that Americans work side-by-side with volunteers from other countries.
  • Show the World the Best Face of America: Obama and Biden will set up an America's Voice Initiative to send Americans who are fluent speakers of local languages to expand our public diplomacy. They also will extend opportunities for older individuals such as teachers, engineers, and doctors to serve overseas.

Integrate Service into Learning

  • Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation's Schools: Obama and Biden will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year. They will develop national guidelines for service- learning and will give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience. Green Job Corps: Obama and Biden will create an energy-focused youth jobs program to provide disadvantaged youth with service opportunities weatherizing buildings and getting practical experience in fast-growing career fields.
  • Expand YouthBuild Program: Obama and Biden will expand the YouthBuild program, which gives disadvantaged young people the chance to complete their high school education, learn valuable skills and build affordable housing in their communities. They will grow the program so that 50,000 low-income young people a year a chance to learn construction job skills and complete high school.
  • Require 100 Hours of Service in College: Obama and Biden will establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.
  • Promote College Serve-Study: Obama and Biden will ensure that at least 25 percent of College Work-Study funds are used to support public service opportunities instead of jobs in dining halls and libraries.

Invest in the Nonprofit Sector

  • Social Investment Fund Network: Obama and Biden will create a Social Investment Fund Network to use federal seed money to leverage private sector funding to improve local innovation, test the impact of new ideas and expand successful programs to scale.
  • Social Entrepreneurship Agency for Nonprofits: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will a create an agency within the Corporation for National and Community Service dedicated to building the capacity and effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.

Seniors & Social Security

Protect Social Security

Obama and Biden are committed to ensuring Social Security is solvent and viable for the American people, now and in the future. Obama and Biden will be honest with the American people about the long-term solvency of Social Security and the ways we can address the shortfall. Obama and Biden will protect Social Security benefits for current and future beneficiaries alike. And they do not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age. Obama and Biden are strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security. As part of a bipartisan plan that would be phased in over many years, they will ask those making over $250,000 to contribute a bit more to Social Security to keep it sound.

Obama does not support uncapping the full payroll tax of 12.4 percent rate. Instead, he and Joe Biden are considering plans that would ask those making over $250,000 to pay in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total (combined employer and employee). Strengthen Retirement Savings

  • Reform Corporate Bankruptcy Laws to Protect Workers and Retirees: Current bankruptcy laws protect banks before workers. Obama and Biden will protect pensions by putting promises to workers higher on the list of debts that companies cannot shed; ensuring that the bankruptcy courts do not demand more sacrifice from workers than executives; telling companies that they cannot issue executive bonuses while cutting worker pensions; increasing the amount of unpaid wages and benefits workers can claim in court; and limiting the circumstances under which retiree benefits can be reduced.
  • Require Full Disclosure of Company Pension Investments: Obama and Biden will ensure that all employees who have company pensions receive detailed annual disclosures about their pension fund's investments. This will provide retirees important resources to make their pension fund more secure.
  • Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less Than $50,000: Obama and Biden will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will provide an immediate tax cut averaging $1,400 to 7 million seniors and relieve millions from the burden of filing tax returns.
  • Create Automatic Workplace Pensions: The Obama-Biden retirement security plan will automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan. Under their plan, employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan, will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account that is compatible to existing direct-deposit payroll systems. Employees may opt-out if they choose. Experts estimate that this program will increase the savings participation rate for low and middle-income workers from its current 15 percent level to around 80 percent.
  • Expand Retirement Savings Incentives for Working Families: Obama and Biden will ensure savings incentives are fair to all workers by creating a generous savings match for low and middle-income Americans. Their plan will match 50 percent of the first $1,000 of savings for families that earn less than $75,000. The savings match will be automatically deposited into designated personal accounts. Over 80 percent of these savings incentives will go to new savers.
  • Prevent Age Discrimination: Obama and Biden will fight job discrimination for aging employees by strengthening the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and empowering the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to prevent all forms of discrimination.

Affordable Health Care

  • Provide Cheaper Prescription Drugs: Our seniors pay the highest prices in the world for brand-name drugs. To lower drug costs, Obama and Biden will allow the federal government to negotiate for lower drug prices for the Medicare program, just as it does to lower prices for our veterans. They also support allowing seniors to import safe prescription drugs from overseas, and will prevent pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheap and safe generic drugs from the market.
  • Protect and Strengthen Medicare: Obama and Biden are committed to the long-term strength of the Medicare program. They will reduce waste in the Medicare system, including eliminating subsidies to the private insurance Medicare Advantage program, and tackle fundamental health care reform to improve the quality and efficiency of our healthcare system. They support closing the “doughnut hole” in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
  • Provide Transparency to Medicare Prescription Drug Plans: Many seniors are enrolled in Medicare prescription drug plans that are actually more expensive for them than other available plans. Obama and Biden will require companies to send Medicare beneficiaries a full list of the drugs and fees they paid the previous year to help seniors determine which plans can better reduce their out-of-pocket costs and improve their health.
  • Strengthen Long-Term Care Options: As president, Obama will work to give seniors choices about their care, consistent with their needs, and not biased towards institutional care. He will work to reform the financing of long term care to protect seniors and families. He will work to improve the quality of elder care, including by training more nurses and health care workers.

Protect and Honor Seniors

  • Ensure Heating Assistance: Obama and Biden will increase funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps low-income citizens — many of them seniors — pay their winter heating and summer cooling bills.
  • Support Senior Volunteer Efforts: Retired Americans have a wide range of skills and knowledge to contribute to local and national public service efforts. Obama and Biden will engage more interested seniors into public service opportunities by expanding and improving programs like Senior Corps to connect seniors with quality volunteer opportunities.

Technology

Ensure the Full and Free Exchange of Ideas through an Open Internet and Diverse Media Outlets

  • Protect the Openness of the Internet: A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history. It needs to stay that way. Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.
  • Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Barack Obama believes that the nation’s rules ensuring diversity of media ownership are critical to the public interest. Unfortunately, over the past several years, the Federal Communications Commission has promoted the concept of consolidation over diversity. As president, Obama will encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.
  • Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment: We live in the most information-abundant age in history and the people who develop the skills to utilize its benefits are the people who will succeed in the 21st century. Obama values our First Amendment freedoms and our right to artistic expression and does not view regulation as the answer to these concerns. An Obama administration will give parents the tools and information they need to control what their children see on television and the Internet in ways fully consistent with the First Amendment. To further protect children online, Obama and Biden support tough penalties, increased enforcement resources and forensic tools for law enforcement, and collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector to identify and prosecute people who abuse the Internet to try to exploit children.
  • Safeguard our Right to Privacy: The open information platforms of the 21st century can also tempt institutions to violate the privacy of citizens. As president, Barack Obama will strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and will harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy.

Create a Transparent and Connected Democracy

  • Open Up Government to its Citizens: The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history. Our nation’s progress has been stifled by a system corrupted by millions of lobbying dollars contributed to political campaigns, the revolving door between government and industry, and privileged access to inside information-all of which have led to policies that favor the few against the public interest. An Obama presidency will use cutting-edge technologies to reverse this dynamic, creating a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America's citizens.
  • Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama and Biden believe in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better. Obama will appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

Deploy a Modern Communications Infrastructure

  • Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama believes that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and Obama will do likewise for broadband Internet access. Obama and Biden believe we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.

Improve America's Competitiveness

  • Promote American Businesses Abroad: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support a trade policy that ensures our goods and services are treated fairly in foreign markets. President Bush has failed to address the fact that China has engaged in ongoing currency manipulation that undercuts US exports; that China fails to enforce U.S. copyrights and trademarks and that some of our competitors create regulatory and tax barriers to the delivery and sale of technology goods and services abroad. Barack Obama will fight for fair treatment of our companies abroad.
  • Invest in the Sciences: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support doubling federal funding for basic research over ten years, changing the posture of our federal government from being one of the most anti-science administrations in American history to one that embraces science and technology. This will foster home-grown innovation, help ensure the competitiveness of US technology-based businesses, and ensure that 21st century jobs can and will grow in America.
  • Invest in University-Based Research: Barack Obama and Joe Biden strongly support expanding research initiatives at American colleges and universities. The U.S. faces a challenge in funding younger researchers. Obama and Biden will provide new research grants to the most outstanding early-career researchers in the country.
  • Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama wants investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama and Biden want to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes.
  • Ensure Competitive Markets: Barack Obama believes we need a business and regulatory landscape in which entrepreneurs and small businesses can thrive, start-ups can launch, and all enterprises can compete effectively while investors and consumers are protected against bad actors that cross the line. As president, Obama and Biden will reinvigorate antitrust enforcement, which is how we ensure that capitalism works for consumers.
  • Protect American Intellectual Property Abroad: The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that in 2005, more than nine of every 10 DVDs sold in China were illegal copies. The U.S. Trade Representative said 80 percent of all counterfeit products seized at U.S. borders still come from China. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work to ensure intellectual property is protected in foreign markets, and promote greater cooperation on international standards that allow our technologies to compete everywhere.
  • Protect American Intellectual Property at Home: Intellectual property is to the digital age what physical goods were to the industrial age. Barack Obama believes we need to update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.
  • Reform the Patent System: A system that produces timely, high-quality patents is essential for global competitiveness in the 21st century. By improving predictability and clarity in our patent system, we will help foster an environment that encourages innovation. Giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation. As president, Barack Obama will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.
  • Restore Scientific Integrity to the White House: Good policy in Washington depends on sound advice from the nation's scientists and engineers and decision-making based on the needs of all Americans. Obama and Biden will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best-available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees.

Prepare All our Children for the 21st century economy

  • Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama and Biden will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
  • Improve and Prioritize Science Assessments: Science assessments need to do more than test facts. They need to measure a student's higher order thinking skills including inference, logic, data analysis, interpretation, forming questions and communication. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work with governors and educators to ensure that state assessments measure these skills.
  • Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama and Biden will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school - strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.
  • Pinpoint College Aid for Math and Science Students: In 2007, Barack Obama introduced the National STEM Scholarship Database Act, which would launch an innovative online database to coordinate information on financial aid opportunities available in science and technology fields through the federal government and public or private resources. Access to this information is especially crucial for first generation college students who might otherwise receive limited guidance in how to successfully pursue, and finance, a degree in science or technology.
  • Increase Science and Math Graduates:Obama and Biden will improve science and math education in K through 12, to prepare more students for these studies in college. They will work to increase our number of science and engineering graduates and encourage undergraduates studying math and science to pursue graduate studies. They will also work to increase the representation of minorities and women in the science and technology pipeline, tapping the diversity of America to meet the increasing demand for a skilled workforce. The challenges of the 21st century can only be met by combining many skills from people with many backgrounds. America's diversity is a clear competitive advantage if we use it.

Prepare Adults for a Changing Economy

  • Lifelong Retraining:Obama and Biden will reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, and increase resources for community colleges and lifelong learning initiatives to ensure our citizens can continue to gain new skills throughout their lifetimes. Obama and Biden will also modernize and expand the existing system of trade adjustment assistance to include workers hurt by changing trade patterns. They will also create flexible education accounts that workers can use to retrain. And they will expand and fully fund apprenticeship programs to help workers get credentials and skills in crafts that reward that investment with a middle class income and benefits.
  • Build a Reliable Safety Net:Obama and Biden will work, through his proposals on portable health care and retirement savings accounts and expanding unemployment insurance, for programs that will help Americans facing job transitions in a fierce global economy.

Employ Science, Technology and Innovation to Solve Our Nation’s Most Pressing Problems

The 21st century tools of technology and telecommunications have unleashed the forces of globalization on a previously unimagined scale. They have “flattened” communications and labor markets and have contributed to a period of unprecedented innovation, making us more productive, connected global citizens. By maximizing the power of technology, we can strengthen the quality and affordability of our health care, advance climate-friendly energy development and deployment, improve education throughout the country, and ensure that America remains the world’s leader in technology.

  • Lower Health Care Costs by Investing in Electronic Information Technology Systems: A key feature of Barack Obama and Joe Biden's health care plan is the use of health information technology to lower the cost of health care. Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes them difficult to use to coordinate care, measure quality, or reduce medical errors. Processing paper claims also costs twice as much as processing electronic claims. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.
  • Invest in Climate-Friendly Energy Development and Deployment: Barack Obama knows that we need to rely on technology to help solve the critical energy and environmental problems facing this country. As he announced in his energy policy, Barack Obama and Joe Biden will invest $150 billion over the next ten years to enable American engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. This investment will transform the economy and create 5 million new jobs.
  • Modernize Public Safety Networks: Barack Obama is committed to improving the information and communications technology used to support public safety from the antiquated 1970s and 1980s-based technology currently used by agencies around the country to a modern system that will enable us to respond to emergencies and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Obama and Biden will implement policies to:
  1. Spur the development and deployment of new technologies to promote interoperability, broadband access, and more effective communications among first responders and emergency response systems.
  2. Advance the Biomedical Research Field:As a result of biomedical research the prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer and heart disease is better today than any other time in history. Obama strongly supports investments in biomedical research, as well as medical education and training in health-related fields. As president, Obama will strengthen funding for biomedical research, and better improve the efficiency of that research by improving coordination both within government and across government/private/non-profit partnerships. An Obama administration will ensure that we translate scientific progress into improved approaches to disease prevention, early detection and therapy that is available for all Americans.

o Advance Stem Cell Research:Despite recent advances pointing to alternatives like adult stem cell and cord blood, embryonic stem cells remain unmatched in their potential for treatment of a wide variety of diseases and health conditions. Barack Obama has been a long-term supporter of increased stem cell research. He introduced legislation while a member of the Illinois Senate that would allow embryonic stem cell research in Illinois. Obama has cosponsored legislation to allow greater federal government funding on a wider array of stem cell lines. Obama believes we need high ethical standards that allow for research on stem cells derived from embryos produced for in vitro fertilization, embryos that would otherwise be needlessly destroyed.

Taxes

  • FactCheck: Yes, McCain wants Bush cuts in place after 2011. (Oct 2008)
  • My plan cuts taxes for most small businesses & 95% of people. (Oct 2008)
  • Yes, earmarks are abused, but small compared to tax cuts. (Sep 2008)
  • No $300 billion on tax cuts for those who don't need them. (Sep 2008)
  • Tax cut for 95% of all working families, not corporations. (Aug 2008)
  • Tax cut for middle class and relief to struggling homeowners. (Jul 2008)
  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. (Jul 2008)
  • Middle class tax cut helps offset rising cost of gas & food. (Jun 2008)
  • I'm running against failed policy of profligate GOP spending. (May 2008)
  • I will raise CEO taxes, no doubt about it. (May 2008)
  • Under Bill Clinton, rich people didn't feel oppressed. (Apr 2008)
  • No tax increase if earning under $250K; tax cuts under $75K. (Apr 2008)
  • Raise capital gains tax for fairness, not for revenue. (Apr 2008)
  • Tax cut for seniors and those making $75,000 a year or less. (Feb 2008)
  • I'm not bashful about it: wealthy will pay more taxes. (Jan 2008)
  • Stimulus package: $500 tax cut, & Social Security supplement. (Jan 2008)
  • Restore progressive tax; close loopholes; relief to seniors. (Oct 2007)
  • Trillion dollar giveaway: the Paris Hilton Tax Break. (Oct 2007)
  • Reduce Bush tax cuts to pay for health care & other programs. (Jun 2007)
  • Estate tax only affects the wealthiest 1/2 of 1%. (Oct 2006)
  • Specific tax relief for families making $75,000 or less now. (Jan 2006)
  • Bush tax cuts help corporations but not middle class. (Jun 2004)
  • Tax incentives to create jobs at home instead of offshore. (Jun 2004)
  • Last thing we need now is a permanent tax cut. (Jan 2008)
  • FactCheck: Voted for non-binding tax increase on $42K income. (Sep 2008)
  • GovWatch: didn't vote to raise taxes 94 times; at most 54. (Jul 2008)
  • Voted YES on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted NO on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted NO on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted NO on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted NO on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007)
  • Voted NO on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006)
  • Voted NO on permanently repealing the `death tax`. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut. (Feb 2006)
  • Voted NO on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Feb 2006)
  • Voted NO on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. (Nov 2005)
  • Rated 100% by the CTJ, indicating support of progressive taxation. (Dec 2006)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

Barack Obama’s tax plan delivers broad-based tax relief to middle class families and cuts taxes for small businesses and companies that create jobs in America, while restoring fairness to our tax code and returning to fiscal responsibility. Coupled with Obama’s commitment to invest in key areas like health, clean energy, innovation and education, his tax plan will help restore bottom-up economic growth that helps create good jobs in America and empowers all families achieve the American dream.

Obama’s Comprehensive Tax Policy Plan for America will:

  • Cut taxes for 95 percent of workers and their families with a tax cut of $500 for workers or $1,000 for working couples.
  • Provide generous tax cuts for low- and middle-income seniors, homeowners, the uninsured, and families sending a child to college or looking to save and accumulate wealth.
  • Eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses, cut corporate taxes for firms that invest and create jobs in the United States, and provide tax credits to reduce the cost of healthcare and to reward investments in innovation.
  • Dramatically simplify taxes by consolidating existing tax credits, eliminating the need for millions of senior citizens to file tax forms, and enabling as many as 40 million middle-class Americans to do their own taxes in less than five minutes without an accountant.

Under the Obama Plan:

  • Middle class families will see their taxes cut – and no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase. The typical middle class family will receive well over $1,000 in tax relief under the Obama plan, and will pay tax rates that are 20% lower than they faced under President Reagan. According to the Tax Policy Center, the Obama plan provides three times as much tax relief for middle class families as the McCain plan.
  • Families making more than $250,000 will pay either the same or lower tax rates than they paid in the 1990s. Obama will ask the wealthiest 2% of families to give back a portion of the tax cuts they have received over the past eight years to ensure we are restoring fairness and returning to fiscal responsibility. But no family will pay higher tax rates than they would have paid in the 1990s. In fact, dividend rates would be 39 percent lower than what President Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut.
  • Obama’s plan will cut taxes overall, reducing revenues to below the levels that prevailed under Ronald Reagan (less than 18.2 percent of GDP). The Obama tax plan is a net tax cut – his tax relief for middle class families is larger than the revenue raised by his tax changes for families over $250,000. Coupled with his commitment to cut unnecessary spending, Obama will pay for this tax relief while bringing down the budget deficit.

Impact of the Obama Tax Plan

  • Married Couple Making $75,000 with two children, one of whom is in college = $3,700 (includes $1,000 Making Work Pay; $500 universal mortgage credit; and $4,000 college credit net of current college credits)
  • Married Couple making $90,000 = $1,000
  • Single Parent making $40,000 with two young children and childcare expenses = $2,100 (includes $500 making work pay; $500 universal mortgage credit, and $1,100 from Obama expansion of the child care tax credit)
  • 70-Year Old Widow Making $35,000 = $1,900

Source: Calculations based on IRS Statistics of Income. Tax savings is conservative; does not account for up to $500 in savings from expanded Savers Credit and the $2,500 in savings per family from the Obama healthcare plan

Urban

Strengthen Federal Commitment to our Cities

  • Create a White House Office on Urban Policy: Obama and Biden will create a White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs. The Director of Urban Policy will report directly to the president and coordinate all federal urban programs.
  • Fully Fund the Community Development Block Grant: In the long run, regions are only as strong as their people and neighborhoods. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is an important program that provides housing and creating jobs primarily for low- and moderate-income people and places. Barack Obama has fought against Bush Administration cuts to the CDBG program and, as president, he will restore funding for the CDBG program.
  • Do No Harm: Barack Obama and Joe Biden do not support imposing unfunded mandates on states and localities. They strongly support providing necessary funding for programs such as No Child Left Behind.

Stimulate Economic Prosperity in our Metropolitan Regions

  • Support Regional Innovation Clusters: Thriving innovation clusters across the country like the North Carolina Research Triangle Park and Nashville's thriving entertainment cluster prove that local stakeholders can successfully come together and help reshape their local economies. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will create a federal program to support “innovation clusters” - regional centers of innovation and next-generation industries. This innovation clusters program will provide $200 million in planning and matching grants for regional business, government and university leaders to collaborate on leveraging a region’s existing assets - from transportation infrastructure to universities - to enhance long-term regional growth.
  • Support Job Creation: The federal government has a role to play to ensure that every American is able to work at his or her highest capacity. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double federal funding for basic research, expand the deployment of broadband technology and make the research and development tax credit permanent so that businesses can invest in innovation and create high-paying, secure jobs.
  • Enhance Workforce Training: Obama and Biden will make long-term investments in education, language training, and workforce development so that Americans can leverage our strengths – our ingenuity and entrepreneurialism – to create new high-wage jobs and prosper in a global economy. A critical part of this process is ensuring that we reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and ensure that it strengthens federal investments needed for success in the 21st Century.
  • Increase Access to Capital for Underserved Businesses: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will strengthen Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to women and minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of these firms. They will also strengthen Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are engaged in innovative methods to provide capital to urban businesses.
  • Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators, which facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. They will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in urban communities throughout the country.
  • Convert our Manufacturing Centers into Clean Technology Leaders: America boasts the highest-skilled manufacturing workforce in the world and advanced manufacturing facilities that have powered economic growth in America for decades. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that America is at a competitive advantage when it comes to building the high-demand technologies of the future, and they will help nurture America's success in clean technology manufacturing by establishing a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize.
  • Strengthen Core Infrastructure: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will make strengthening our transportation systems, including our roads and bridges, a top priority. As part of this effort, Obama and Biden will create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. These projects will create up to two million new direct and indirect jobs per year and stimulate approximately $35 billion per year in new economic activity.
  • Improve Access to Jobs: America's families and businesses depend upon workers having reasonable access to their places of employment. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to ensure that additional federal public

transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities and that urban planning initiatives take this aspect of transportation policy into account. The Obama-Biden urban agenda will also help facilitate the creation of new jobs in underserved economic areas, so more low-income urban residents can find employment within their home communities.

  • Invest in a Skilled Clean Technologies Workforce: Obama and Biden will increase funding for federal workforce training programs and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to help Americans find and retain stable jobs. Obama and Biden will also create an energy-focused youth jobs program to invest in disconnected and disadvantaged youth.

HOUSING

  • Lower People's Interest Payments by Creating a New Mortgage Interest Tax Credit: Many middle class Americans do not receive the existing mortgage interest tax deduction because they do not itemize their taxes. Obama and Biden will ensure that middle-class Americans get the financial assistance they need to purchase or keep their own home by creating a 10 percent universal mortgage credit that gives tax relief to 10 million Americans who have a home mortgage.
  • Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing throughout Metropolitan Regions: Communities prosper when all families have access to affordable housing. Barack Obama and Joe Biden supported efforts to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to create thousands of new units of affordable housing every year. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will also restore cuts to public housing operating subsidies, and ensure that all Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs are restored to their original purpose.

POVERTY

  • Establish 'Promise Neighborhoods' for Areas of Concentrated Poverty: Successful strategies to address concentrated, intergenerational poverty are comprehensive in nature and address the full range of obstacles that stand in the way of poor children. One highly-acclaimed model is the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, which provides a full network of services to an entire neighborhood from birth to college. Obama and Biden will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in cities that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement.
  • Increase the Minimum Wage: As president, Obama will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 and index it to inflation so full-time workers can earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs such as food, transportation, and housing – things so many people take for granted.
  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: In the Illinois State Senate, Obama led the successful effort to create the $100 million Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As president, Obama will reward work by increasing the number of working parents eligible for EITC benefits, increasing the benefit available to noncustodial parents who support their children through child support payments, increasing the benefit for families with three or more children, and reducing the EITC marriage penalty which hurts low-income families.
  • Help Low-Income Workers Enter the Job Market: As president, Obama will invest $1 billion over five years in transitional jobs and career pathways programs that implement proven methods of helping low-income Americans succeed in the workforce. This investment will be coupled with other measures to encourage the private sector and state and local governments to increase their support of these effective employment programs.

STRENGTHEN LIVABILITY OF CITIES

  • Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities: Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.
  • Control Superfund Sites and Data: As president, Obama will restore the strength of the Superfund program by requiring polluters to pay for the cleanup of contaminated sites they created.
  • Use Innovative Measures to Dramatically Improve Efficiency of Buildings: Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States today and carbon emissions from buildings are expected to grow faster than emissions from other major parts of our economy. It is expected that 15 million new buildings will be constructed between today and 2015. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work with cities so that we make our new and existing buildings more efficient consumers of electricity.
  • Foster Healthy Communities: How a community is designed – including the layout of its roads, buildings and parks – has a huge impact on the health of its residents. For instance, nearly one-third of Americans live in neighborhoods without sidewalks and less than half of our country's children have a playground within walking distance of their homes. Barack Obama introduced the Healthy Places Act to help local governments assess the health impact of new policies and projects, like highways or shopping centers.

URBAN EDUCATION

  • Support Teachers in Urban Schools: Barack Obama and Joe Biden value teachers and the central role that they play in education. To ensure competent, effective teachers in schools that are organized for success, the Obama-Biden K-12 plan will expand service scholarships to underwrite high-quality preparation for teachers who commit to working in underserved districts and support ongoing improvements in teacher education.
  • Expand Early Childhood Education: Obama and Biden have a comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year to create: Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts; quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both; work to ensure all children have access to pre-school; and create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels.
  • Reduce the High School Dropout Rate: The warning signs for high school drop-outs often occur well before high school. Obama will sign into law his “Success in the Middle Act” to improve the education of middle school students in low-performing schools. Obama and Biden will also establish a competitive grant process for entities pursuing evidence-based models that have been proven to reduce dropouts.

CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • Job training for ex-offenders, to avoid return to crime. (Jul 2008)
  • We need more cops; but we also need more families. (Jun 2008)
  • Reduce recidivism by providing ex-offender supports. (Feb 2008)
  • Ban racial profiling & eliminate disparities in sentencing. (Feb 2008)
  • Have a civil rights division enforce laws fairly and justly. (Jan 2008)
  • GovWatch: No, more young black men in college than in prison. (Jan 2008)
  • Lack of enforcement sets tone for more hate crimes. (Dec 2007)
  • Legislated protecting police detainees during interrogation. (Nov 2007)
  • Pushed Illinois bill to videotape all capital interrogations. (Oct 2007)
  • No extra penalty for gang association. (Oct 2007)
  • Works on ex-offender laws because it could have been him. (Aug 2007)
  • Need justice that is not just us, but is everybody. (Jun 2007)
  • Reformed death penalty by listening & compromising. (Feb 2007)
  • Some heinous crimes justify the ultimate punishment. (Oct 2006)
  • Videotape all capital punishment interrogations. (Oct 2006)
  • Passed 150 laws to toughen penalties for violent crime. (Oct 2004)
  • Restrict police entry rules, to protect our civil liberties. (Oct 2004)
  • Death penalty should be enforced fairly and with caution. (Oct 2004)
  • Death penalty should not discriminate by gang membership. (Oct 2004)
  • Battles legislatively against the death penalty. (Jul 2004)
  • Supports alternative sentencing and rehabilitation. (Jul 1998)
  • Voted YES on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program. (Mar 2007)
  • Increase funding for “COPS ON THE BEAT” program. (Jan 2007)
  • Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance. (Mar 2007)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

  • Support Local Law Enforcement: Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to fully funding the COPS program to put 50,000 police officers on the street and help address police brutality and accountability issues in local communities. Obama and Biden also supports efforts to encourage young people to enter the law enforcement profession, so that our local police departments are not understaffed because of a dearth of qualified applicants.
  • Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Supports: America is facing an incarceration and post-incarceration crisis in urban communities. Obama and Biden will create a prison-to-work incentive program, modeled on the successful Welfare-to-Work Partnership and work to reform correctional systems to break down barriers for ex-offenders to find employment.
  • End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence: As president, Barack Obama will support innovative local programs, such as the CeaseFire program in Chicago, that have been proven to work. Such programs implement a comprehensive public health approach that implements a community-based strategy to prevent youth violence. He will also double funding for federal afterschool programs and invest in 20 Promise Neighborhoods across the country to ensure that urban youth have meaningful opportunities to succeed.
  • Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
  • End Racial Profiling: Barack Obama cosponsored federal legislation to ban racial profiling and require federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice. He introduced and passed a law in the Illinois State Senate requiring the Illinois Department of Transportation to record the race, age, and gender of all drivers stopped for traffic violations so that bias could be detected and addressed.

STRENGTHEN HOMELAND SECURITY

  • Allocate Funds Based on Risk: Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that the president and Congress should direct our precious homeland security dollars according to risk, not as a form of general revenue sharing. To address this pressing issue, Obama introduced an amendment, supported by the Families of 9/11 and former 9/11 Commissioners Lee Hamilton and Tim Roemer, to increase risk-based funding in the 9/11 bill.
  • Prepare Effective Emergency Response Plans: As our nation witnessed in the Hurricane Katrina crisis and its aftermath, too many localities do not have integrated emergency response plans to handle disasters. As president, Obama will further improve coordination between all levels of government, create better evacuation plan guidelines, ensure prompt federal assistance to emergency zones, and increase medical surge capacity.
  • Improve Interoperable Communications Systems: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems.
  • Safeguard Mass Public Transportation: Every weekday, Americans take 34 million trips on public transportation systems to get to work, school and beyond. Obama and Biden will fight for greater information-sharing between national intelligence agents and local officials and provide local law enforcement agencies with the everyday tools they need to protect their transportation systems.

SUPPORT FAMILIES

  • Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they deserve. They will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family.
  • Strengthening Fatherhood and Families: As president, Obama will sign his Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act into law to remove some of the government penalties on married families, crack down on men avoiding child support payments, ensure that support payments go to families instead of state bureaucracies, fund support services for fathers and their families, and support domestic violence prevention efforts.
  • Support Parents with Young Children: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the highly successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis concluded that these programs produced an average of five dollars in savings for every dollar invested and produced more than $28,000 in net savings for every high-risk family enrolled in the program.
  • Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.
  • Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.
  • Cap Outlandish Interest Rates on Payday Loans and Improve Disclosure: In the wake of reports that some service members were paying 800 percent interest on payday loans, the U.S. Congress took bipartisan action to limit interest rates charged to service members to 36 percent. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that we must extend this protection to all Americans, because predatory lending continues to be a major problem for low and middle income families alike.
  • Encourage Responsible Lending Institutions to Make Small Consumer Loans: Some mainstream, responsible lending institutions are beginning to enter the short-term lending market to provide many Americans with fair alternatives to predatory lending institutions. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work with his Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to encourage banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to provide affordable short-term and small dollar loans – and to drive the sharks out of business.

Drugs

  • Look at needle exchange; and expand treatment. (Feb 2008)
  • Fight to rid our communities of meth. (Feb 2008)
  • Expand drug courts; help prisoners with substance abuse. (Feb 2008)
  • 2001: questions harsh penalties for drug dealing. (Oct 2007)
  • Not first candidate to use drugs, but first honest about it. (Oct 2007)
  • Do not lower drinking age from 21 to 18. (Sep 2007)
  • Experimented with cocaine but turned down heroin. (Aug 2007)
  • A “secret smoker”, especially around reporters. (Aug 2007)
  • Smokes cigarettes now; smoked some pot in high school. (Feb 2007)
  • Admitted marijuana use in high school & college. (Jan 2007)
  • Deal with street-level drug dealing as minimum-wage affair. (Oct 2006)
  • Understand why youngsters want to use drugs. (Aug 1996)
  • End harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine. (Jun 2007)
  • Require chemical resellers to certify against meth use. (Sep 2007)

Source: http://www.issues2000.org/default.htm

Veterans

A Sacred Trust

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that America has a sacred trust with our veterans. They are committed to creating a 21st Century Department of Veterans' Affairs that provides the care and benefits our nation's veterans deserve.

  • Allow All Veterans Back into the VA: One of Obama's first acts will be reversing the 2003 ban on enrolling modest-income veterans, which has denied care to a million veterans.
  • Strengthen VA Care: Obama and Biden will make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible. They will improve care for polytrauma vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health.
  • Combat Homelessness among Our Nation's Veterans: Obama and Biden will establish a national “zero tolerance” policy for veterans falling into homelessness by expanding proven programs and launching innovative services to prevent veterans from falling into homelessness.
  • Fight Veterans Employment Discrimination: Obama and Biden will crack down on employers who commit job discrimination against guardsmen and reservists.

Help for Returning Service Members

Obama and Biden will improve the quality of health care for veterans, rebuild the VA's broken benefits system, and combat homelessness among veterans.

  • Ensure a Seamless Transition: Obama and Biden will demand that the military and the VA coordinate to provide a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life.
  • Fully Fund VA Medical Care: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will fully fund the VA so it has all the resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it. Obama and Biden will establish a world-class VA Planning Division to avoid future budget shortfalls.
  • Fix the Benefits Bureaucracy: Obama and Biden will hire additional claims workers, and improve training and accountability so that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently. They also will transform the paper benefit claims process to an electronic one to reduce errors and improve timeliness.

Improved Mental Health Treatment

Obama and Biden will improve mental health treatment for troops and veterans suffering from combat-related psychological injuries.

  • Improve Mental Health Treatment: Obama and Biden will improve mental health care at every stage of military service. They will recruit more health professionals, improve screening, offer more support to families and make PTSD benefits claims fairer.
  • Improve Care for Traumatic Brain Injury: Obama and Biden will establish standards of care for Traumatic Brain Injury, the signature injury of the Iraq war.
  • Expand Vet Centers: Obama and Biden will expand and strengthen Vet Centers to provide more counseling for vets and their families.

Women

HEALTH CARE

Fixing the Nation's Health Care System:

More than 19 million women are uninsured in this country, and women are more likely than men to delay or not get medical care because of high costs. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to ensuring that all Americans have health care coverage by the end of his first term in office. The Obama-Biden plan will encourage insurers and providers to adopt electronic claims systems, electronic medical records, and patient safety reporting systems. These improvements will reduce administrative costs and health care inefficiencies such as duplicative testing and medical errors, which in turn will reduce costly medical malpractice lawsuits. These common sense steps will cut overall health-care costs by up to 10 percent or more.

Empowering Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS:

In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last twenty years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Women of color are especially hard hit: In 2004, HIV infection was the leading cause of death for African-American women between the ages of 25 and 34. Around the world, 7,000 women are infected with HIV every day. Barack Obama has been a leader in the global fight against AIDS. He introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

Supporting Research into Women's Health:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, accounting for nearly 39 percent of all female deaths. Studies show that after a first heart attack, women are less likely than men to receive diagnostic, therapeutic, and cardiac rehabilitation procedures, and are more likely to die or have a second heart attack Women are also more likely than men to report having arthritis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and depression. Health care disparities among minority and poor women are especially pervasive. Barack Obama has fought to maintain funding for the Centers of Excellence in Women's Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. He also supports legislation to encourage research that will examine gender and health disparities. The same legislation would establish community outreach programs in underserved areas to help women access health care and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Fighting Cancer:

Ovarian cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death among women in the United States. Because of the lack of early symptoms or a proven screening test, ovarian cancer also has the highest mortality of all cancers of the female reproductive system. Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of Johanna's Law. Signed into law in January 2007, the law will educate women and increase awareness of ovarian cancer. Obama has also supported efforts to combat breast cancer, another leading cause of death among women. He helped pass legislation in the Illinois State Senate to expand insurance coverage for mammograms.

Reducing Health Risks Due to Mercury Pollution:

More than five million women of childbearing age have high levels of toxic mercury in their blood and more than 630,000 newborns are born every year at risk. The EPA estimates that every year, more than one child in six could be at risk for developmental disorders because of mercury exposure in the mother's womb. Since the primary sources of mercury in fish are power plant emissions that contaminate our water, regulation of utility emissions is essential to protecting the health of our children. Barack Obama introduced two pieces of legislation to significantly reduce the amount of mercury that is deposited in oceans, lakes, and rivers, which in turn would reduce the amount of mercury in fish.

Supporting Stem Cell Research:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that we owe it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which would allow research of human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos donated (with consent) from in vitro fertilization clinics. These embryos must be deemed in excess and created based solely for the purpose of fertility treatment.

REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE

  • No litmus test; nominate to Court based on their fairness. (Oct 2008)
  • 1990: Wrote law article that that fetus cannot sue mother. (Aug 2008)
  • FactCheck: Abortions HAVE gone down under Pres. Bush. (Aug 2008)
  • Ok for state to restrict late-term partial birth abortion. (Apr 2008)
  • We can find common ground between pro-choice and pro-life. (Apr 2008)
  • Undecided on whether life begins at conception. (Apr 2008)
  • Teach teens about abstinence and also about contraception. (Apr 2008)
  • GovWatch: Obama's “present” votes were a requested strategy. (Feb 2008)
  • Expand access to contraception; reduce unintended pregnancy. (Feb 2008)
  • Rated 100% by NARAL on pro-choice votes in 2005, 2006 & 2007. (Jan 2008)
  • Voted against banning partial birth abortion. (Oct 2007)
  • Stem cells hold promise to cure 70 major diseases. (Aug 2007)
  • Trust women to make own decisions on partial-birth abortion. (Apr 2007)
  • Extend presumption of good faith to abortion protesters. (Oct 2006)
  • Constitution is a living document; no strict constructionism. (Oct 2006)
  • Moral accusations from pro-lifers are counterproductive. (Oct 2004)
  • Pass the Stem Cell Research Bill. (Jun 2004)
  • Protect a woman's right to choose. (May 2004)
  • Opposed born-alive treatment law because it was already law. (Oct 2008)
  • Supports Roe v. Wade. (Jul 1998)
  • Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)
  • Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
  • Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
  • Sponsored bill providing contraceptives for low-income women. (May 2006)
  • Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Ensure access to and funding for contraception. (Feb 2007)

Source: http://www.ontheissues.org/Gun_Control.htm

Supports a Woman's Right to Choose:

Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.

Preventing Unintended Pregnancy:

Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.

PREVENTING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Reducing Domestic Violence:

One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Family violence accounted for 11 percent of all violence between 1998 and 2002. Barack Obama introduced legislation to combat domestic violence by providing $25 million a year for partnerships between domestic violence prevention organizations and Fatherhood or Marriage programs to train staff in domestic violence services, provide services to families affected by domestic violence, and to develop best practices in domestic violence prevention.

Strengthening Domestic Violence Laws:

Approximately 1,400 women a year – four every day – die in the United States as a result of domestic violence. And 132,000 women report that they have been victims of a rape or attempted rape, and it is estimated that an even greater number have been raped, but do not report it. Senator Obama co-sponsored and helped reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Signed into law in January 2006, the bill funds and helps communities, nonprofit organizations, and police combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The legislation establishes a sexual assault services program and provides education grants to prevent domestic violence.

Fighting Gender Violence Abroad:

The genocide in Darfur has had particularly devastating consequences for women. Tens of thousands of women have been killed, raped, and displaced since the conflict began in 2003. Barack Obama has been a leading voice in Washington urging the end of genocide in Sudan. He worked with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) on the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, a version of which was signed into law. Obama has traveled to the United Nations to meet with Sudanese officials and visited refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border to raise international awareness of the ongoing humanitarian disaster there. He also worked with Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to secure $20 million for the African Union peacekeeping mission.

ECONOMIC ISSUES

Fighting for Pay Equity:

Despite decades of progress, women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Throughout his career, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have championed the right of women to receive equal pay for equal work. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama cosponsored and voted for the Illinois Equal Pay Act, which provided 330,000 more women protection from pay discrimination. In the U.S. Senate, Obama joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Fair Pay Restoration Act, a bill to overturn the Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The bill would restore the clear intent of Congress that workers must have a reasonable time to file a pay discrimination claim after they become victims of discriminatory compensation. Obama is also a cosponsor of Senator Tom Harkin's (D-IA) Fair Pay Act. As president, Obama will continue to promote paycheck equity and close the wage gap between men and women.

Expanding Paid Sick Days: Today, three-out-of-four low-wage workers have no paid sick leave. It is fundamentally unfair that a single mom playing by the rules can get fired or lose wages because her child gets sick. Barack Obama and Joe Biden support efforts to guarantee workers seven days of paid sick leave per year, a moderate proposal that should not impose too onerous a burden on employers.

Investing in Women-Owned Small Businesses:

Women are majority owners of more than 28 percent of U.S. businesses, but head less than 4 percent of venture-capital-backed firms. Women business owners are more likely than white male business owners to have their loan applications denied. Barack Obama and Joe Biden encourage investing in women-owned businesses, providing more support to women business owners and reducing discrimination in lending.

Protecting Social Security:

Americans are increasingly at risk of working their entire lives only to face retirement in poverty. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe we need to preserve the character of Social Security by stopping any efforts to privatize social security. They also will work in a bipartisan way to maintain Social Security's solvency for future generations.

Encouraging Retirement Saving:

  • Create Automatic Workplace Pensions: The Obama-Biden retirement security plan will automatically enroll workers in a workplace pension plan. Under this plan, employers who do not currently offer a retirement plan, will be required to enroll their employees in a direct-deposit IRA account that is compatible to existing direct-deposit payroll systems. Employees may opt-out if they choose. Experts estimate that this program will increase the savings participation rate for low and middle-income workers from its current 15 percent level to around 80 percent.
  • Expand Retirement Savings Incentives for Working Families: Obama and Biden will ensure savings incentives are fair to all workers by creating a generous savings match for low and middle-income Americans. His plan will match 50 percent of the first $1,000 of savings for families that earn less than $75,000. The savings match will be automatically deposited into designated personal accounts. Over 80 percent of these savings incentives will go to new savers.

NATIONAL SECURITY

Ending the War in Iraq:

Obama and Biden will change our mission in Iraq and responsibly redeploy our combat brigades in consultation with our commanders and the Iraqi government. We can safely redeploy at a pace that removes our combat brigades in 16 months, with a residual force to target remnants of al Qaeda, to protect our service members and diplomats, and to train Iraq's Security Forces if the Iraqis make political progress. This change in mission will ease the burden on our troops and their families while increasing our flexibility to address more pressing challenges in Afghanistan. The Obama-Biden Plan will also increase diplomacy in the region and act immediately to address the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

Caring for Women Veterans:

There are 1.7 million women veterans today, a number that is increasing every day. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that was built to care for World War II veterans is not ready to handle the influx of women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Barack Obama has introduced legislation to force the Pentagon and VA to better track the newest generation of veterans – including the number of women veterans – so that the VA can better plan their care. Obama also introduced legislation to fight homelessness among veterans, with a special focus on treating women who may have been victims of sexual trauma. Along with Senator Claire McCaskill, Obama has also co-sponsored legislation to provide funding for additional caseworkers and mental health counselors, a women's mental health treatment program, and a comprehensive mental health study of returning soldiers. As president, Barack Obama will fight to ensure that women can get the care they deserve at the VA.

POVERTY

Fighting Poverty:

Of the 37 million Americans living below the poverty line, approximately 14.6 million are women — a staggering number equal to the combined populations of Iowa, Indiana, and Wisconsin. And nearly 13 million children are living in poverty, a rise of 1.3 million since 2000. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are committed to a renewed effort to tackle the underlying problems that cause poverty.

Raising the Minimum Wage:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that people who work full time should not live in poverty. The minimum wage hasn't been changed in nine years and has less purchasing power in real dollars than it did in 1955. Women are the largest group of beneficiaries from a minimum wage increase: 60 percent of the workers who would benefit from an increase to $7.25 are women. As President, Barack Obama would raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, index it to inflation, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers have a living wage.

Helping Low-Income Workers:

Obama and Joe Biden will invest $1 billion over five years in transitional jobs and career pathway programs that implement proven methods of helping low-income Americans succeed in the workforce. Obama and Biden will also create a program to directly engage disadvantaged youth in energy efficiency opportunities to strengthen their communities, while also providing them with practical skills in this important high-growth career field.

EDUCATION

Protecting Title IX:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden supports eliminating gender discrimination in American schools. For 35 years, Title IX has been a bulwark against sex discrimination against students and employees at all levels of education. Obama and Biden will fight to make sure women have equal opportunities and access from pre-kindergarten through graduate school.

Expanding Early Childhood Education:

Obama has been a champion of early childhood education since his years in the Illinois legislature, where he led the effort to create the Illinois Early Learning Council. Obama has introduced a comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year to create: Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts; quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both; work to ensure all children have access to pre-school; provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families; and create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels.

Promoting Women in Math and Science:

Women constitute 45 percent of the workforce in the U.S., but hold just 12 percent of science and engineering jobs in business and industry. Women also make up just 9 percent of the recipients of engineering-related bachelor's degrees. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that every student should have equal access to education in math, science, and technology in order to compete on a global scale.

Improving Our Schools:

From the moment our children step into a classroom, the single most important factor in determining their achievement is their teacher. Barack Obama and Joe Biden value teachers and the central role that they play in education. They will work to ensure competent, effective teachers in schools that are organized for success. The Obama-Biden K-12 plan will expand service scholarships to recruit and prepare teachers who commit to working in underserved districts. To support teachers, Obama and Biden will foster ongoing improvements in teacher education, provide mentoring for beginning teachers, create incentives for shared planning and learning time for teachers. To retain teachers, Obama and Biden will support career pathways that provide ongoing professional development and reward accomplished teachers for their expertise. This Career Ladder initiative will help eliminate teacher shortages in hard-to-staff areas and subjects, improve teacher retention rates, strengthen teacher preparation programs, improve professional development, and better utilize and reward accomplished teachers.

Making College More Affordable:

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university. Recipients of this credit will be required to conduct 100 hours of public service a year, either during the school year or over the summer months.

Gun Control:

  • Ok for states & cities to determine local gun laws. (Apr 2008)
  • FactCheck: Yes, Obama endorsed Illinois handgun ban. (Apr 2008)
  • Respect 2nd Amendment, but local gun bans ok. (Feb 2008)
  • Provide some common-sense enforcement on gun licensing. (Jan 2008)
  • 2000: cosponsored bill to limit purchases to 1 gun per month. (Oct 2007)
  • Concealed carry OK for retired police officers. (Aug 2007)
  • Stop unscrupulous gun dealers dumping guns in cities. (Jul 2007)
  • Keep guns out of inner cities–but also problem of morality. (Oct 2006)
  • Bush erred in failing to renew assault weapons ban. (Oct 2004)
  • Ban semi-automatics, and more possession restrictions. (Jul 1998)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jul 2005)

Archive of Obama from March 2007

 
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