- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2019

While the political jockeying gets more attention, candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential race are advancing serious policy proposals. The Washington Times takes a weekly look at some of them that may have flown under the radar.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday laid out a set of immigration proposals that would reverse Trump administration policies and shuttle more taxpayer dollars toward Central American countries.

Mr. Biden would move to immediately reverse the Trump administration’s “cruel and senseless policies” that have led to the separating migrant families, as well Mr. Trump’s new restrictions on people petitioning for asylum in the U.S.

He also would seek to reinstate protections for “Dreamers,” an issue that is now before the Supreme Court.

Mr. Biden would work with Congress on legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million immigrants who are living in the country illegally and offer other changes to the U.S. visa system.

Mr. Biden also announced a four-year, $4 billion strategy to address factors driving migration to the U.S. from the three “Northern Triangle” countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

His comparatively late immigration policy roll-out came shortly after he told Telemundo that he has nothing to apologize for with respect to the Obama administration’s record on deportations. More than 3 million people were deported during President Obama’s tenure.

His campaign appeared to acknowledge related misgivings among immigrant-rights groups, saying that Mr. Biden understands the “pain” felt by people who have had loved ones deported, “including under the Obama-Biden administration.”

Warren on a ‘Blue New Deal’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday rolled out what her campaign called a “Blue New Deal” to safeguard the world’s oceans with an eye toward combating climate change.

“While the ocean is severely threatened, it can also be a major part of the climate solution — from providing new sources of clean energy to supporting a new future of ocean farming,” she said on her campaign website.

Under the plan, Ms. Warren would fast-track permits for offshore renewable energy projects, including “wind and wave” energy, that would involve union-friendly labor protections.

She also wants to direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct more research into ocean-based farming, saying that algae could power vehicles and airplanes in the future.

Ms. Warren would work to fully electrify U.S. ports and require them to have “speed reduction zones” to try to cut down on emissions from boats and ships.

She also said she would issue an executive order directing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to build a “domestic blue carbon program” to support ocean-based carbon sequestration projects.

Bloomberg on poverty

Former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Wednesday announced plans to expand popular housing and income tax credits in a bid to “wage war on poverty.”

Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, wants to expand the federal low-income housing and earned income tax credits and increase the child tax credit to make it fully refundable, among other priorities.

“I’m running for president to reunite and rebuild our country — because too many Americans are struggling just to get by, and they’ve been ignored by Washington for too long,” he said.

Mr. Bloomberg also would look into expanding the earned income credit to cover family caregiving and other forms of “unpaid or ineligible” employment.

He also would set aside $10 billion in federal money for localities that prioritize building affordable housing in neighborhoods with “good schools, transportation and economic opportunities.”

The set of proposals also included a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025.

Buttigieg on education

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday released a proposal that would pour more money into K-12 education and provide universal access to pre-K services for children up to age 5.

Mr. Buttigieg would put $700 billion over a decade into early learning programs such as pre-K and full-day child care. The plan is structured so that no family would pay more than 7% of their income in early-learning costs and so families in poverty would have “fully subsidized” care.

“Too often, access to education is predicted by income or ZIP code. And success can be determined before a child even sets foot in a classroom,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

For K-12, Mr. Buttigieg would put more than $300 billion of new federal money into “Title I” schools that serve a large percentage of students in poverty, with the money also going toward increasing salaries for teachers and school leaders.

He would also ban for-profit charter schools and expand access to mental health services in schools.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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