- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 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 those ideas that may have flown under the radar.

Former Rep. John Delaney announced a $2 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday that would set up infrastructure funds to boost priorities, while pumping more money into the federal highway trust fund.

The Maryland Democrat’s plan would set up dedicated streams of funding to work on climate resiliency, water, schools, rural broadband and “areas left behind.”

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He would pay for the proposal by increasing the federal gasoline tax and by raising the corporate income tax rate from 21 % to 27 %, undoing part of President Trump’s tax overhaul.

In announcing the plan, Mr. Delaney chided President Trump for canceling a recent meeting scheduled with Democratic congressional leaders to work out funding options for infrastructure.

“As your president, I won’t walk out of an infrastructure meeting with congressional leaders and act like a spoiled child; I will roll up my sleeves and do what my dad the electrician did his whole life, get to work and start building things — big things — again,” he said.

Hickenlooper on contraception

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper rolled out a plan Wednesday intended to expand access to long-acting reversible contraception, saying the country should embrace an initiative he supported in his home state.

In a Medium post, Mr. Hickenlooper said Colorado’s plan helped reduce teen pregnancy and abortion rates and saved the state $70 million over five years in “averted public assistance costs.”

His plan would increase Title X family planning funding by $700 million and help subsidize contraceptives for women who can’t afford them.

Mr. Hickenlooper also would push to appropriate money so that more doctors and health-care staff are trained to offer long-acting contraceptives as part of their practices.

“The notion that the people that are so opposed to abortion don’t recognize that in many ways by eliminating women’s access to reproductive health they’re actually going to increase the number of abortions — it’s unconscionable,” Mr. Hickenlooper said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Moulton on mental health and veterans

Rep. Seth Moulton on Tuesday announced a plan to tackle mental-health issues, notably for U.S. veterans, as he opened up about his own experience seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The combat veteran says he wants to increase mental health checkups for active-duty military and veterans and to require a counseling session within two weeks of troops’ return home from a combat deployment.

The plan also would fund yearly mental-health screenings for high schoolers across America and establish a national mental-health crisis hotline.

The Massachusetts Democrat said he had “nightmares” after returning from combat, but called that minor when compared to returning troops who end up suicidal. That left him wondering whether he should seek care.

“And so I felt, ‘who am I to go to the VA and seek help? I’m not sure I even have post-traumatic stress,’” he said in a video posted by MSO News. “But eventually, I talked to enough fellow vets to recognize that I did have it, and that it would be smart to deal with, and that I’d be better off if I did. And that’s when I started seeing a therapist when I was in grad school. And it made a difference in my life.”

Klobuchar on ethanol

Sen. Amy Klobuchar rolled out a plan over Memorial Day weekend aimed at assisting U.S. farmers struggling with the modern economy or struck by natural disasters.

The Minnesota Democrat wants to increase certain loan limits for farmers and raise a liability cap for certain bankruptcy filings to $10 million so more individuals could claim the relief.

Her plan also called for new rules for the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuel standard, saying the government has been offering too many waivers to let small refiners escape the mandate. That’s a popular position in the first caucus state of Iowa, where the corn economy, the basis of America’s ethanol supply, is dramatically assisted by the federal ethanol mandate.

“As president, I will work to improve access to capital for family farmers, allow farmers in bankruptcy to keep their farms, and will always put our farmers before the interests of big oil companies,” the Minnesota Democrat said.

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