- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 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.


Sen. Cory A. Booker on Thursday released a plan intended to cut child poverty in the U.S. by about two-thirds. It includes an “allowance” for families with children, expanded federal welfare programs and new benefits regardless of a person’s immigration status.

“In the richest country in the world, we have a moral responsibility to look after each other and make sure that every child living in America has the opportunity to grow and thrive,” the New Jersey Democrat said.

Mr. Booker wants to expand the child tax credit and start a payment program that would give at least $250 per month to families with children.

He also would expand by 30% the maximum benefit under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, and increase funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by 40%.

The senator also wants to change child support policies by reducing orders during periods of incarceration and create a new jobs program targeted toward people living in poverty and people receiving federal assistance.

Mr. Booker also would eliminate eligibility requirements based on immigration status for all “safety net” programs, as well as health coverage and subsidies available under Obamacare.

Biden on guns

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday released a package of new gun control measures that includes a ban and buyback of “assault” weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Under Mr. Biden’s plan, owners of certain kinds of semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines would be forced to sell them to the government or register them with the federal government under the National Firearms Act.

His campaign said he also supports requiring background checks for all gun sales, extending the amount of time a gun dealer has to wait to hear back from the FBI before proceeding with a sale, and ending all online sales of firearms, ammunition, kits and gun parts.

Mr. Biden also wants to give incentives to states to develop their own gun licensing and “red flag” laws, so law enforcement can temporarily seize guns from people judged to be a danger to themselves or others.

He also wants to put the U.S. on a path where 100% of the guns sold in the U.S. are “smart” guns that work only for owners and “authorized users” of the firearms.

Warren on lobbying tax

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a new tax plan Wednesday that seeks to raise government revenue from “excessive lobbying” to help insulate Congress from the influence of big corporations.

The Massachusetts Democrat already has vowed to implement a “wealth tax” and is now pushing for a new tax on “every corporation and trade organization that spends over $500,000 per year lobbying our government.”

Under her plan, businesses that spend between $500,000 to $1 million on lobbying would pay a 35% tax on that spending. The tax climbs from there, with every dollar over $1 million spent on lobbying being slapped with a 60% tax and every dollar over $5 million being slapped with a 75% tax.

“My new lobbying tax will make hiring armies of lobbyists significantly more expensive for the largest corporate influencers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boeing and Comcast,” she said in a Medium post. “Sure, this may mean that some corporations and industry groups will choose to reduce their lobbying expenditures, raising less tax revenue down the road — but in that case, all the better.

“And if instead corporations continue to engage in excessive lobbying, my lobbying tax will raise even more revenue for Congress, agencies, and federal watchdogs to fight back,” Ms. Warren said.

She said the money raised from the new tax would pay for a new Lobbying Defense Trust Fund that could help beef up the Office of Technology Assessment and the Congressional Budget Office.

She said the money also would be used to establish a new “Office of the Public Advocate.”

Castro and workers’ rights

Former housing secretary Julian Castro on Wednesday released a plan intended to bolster workers’ rights and strengthen the power of labor unions.

Mr. Castro would work to bar states from instituting right-to-work laws that prevent people from joining unions as a condition of employment and require large corporations to reserve a third of their board seats for workers elected by “non-management” employees, among other priorities.

Mr. Castro said the issue is “personal” for him because his grandmother worked her entire life as a maid, a cook and a babysitter and his mother was a community organizer in the Chicano movement.

“This platform will spark economic opportunity, empower workers with justice and dignity, and ensure all workers are included in our future prosperity,” he said.

Mr. Castro also would expand federal employment protections for farm workers and create a “fair and reasonable” path to U.S. citizenship for agricultural workers and their families in the U.S., regardless of immigration status.

He also would work to guarantee at least three months of paid family and medical leave for every American per year.

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