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October 24, 2014

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Barack Obama on the issues

Presidential Candidates on Health Care

With the latest scandal or character attack dominating most of today's political headlines, many voters are still unaware of the Presidential candidates' views on key issues. The Sun looks into the major and third-party candidates' plans for health care in America, with summaries on Barack Obama, John McCain, Ralph Nader, Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney.

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Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., gestures while speaking at a rally at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nev., Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. Obama called for Americans to support the rescue plan for the financial sector and told them that if Wall Street fails, ordinary people will be hurt, too.

The following are Barack Obama's positions on selected issues:

Abortion

Has consistently fought to protect Roe v. Wade since running in the Illinois State Senate race. Believes in leaving the decision of abortion and partial birth abortion to the woman and the people she chooses to include in her decision. Discussing legality and morality of abortion is not enough though; debate must reach out to broader issues such as preventing teen pregnancy and decreasing the probability that a woman will face the decision of abortion. In 2005 voted in favor of giving $100 million to reducing teen pregnancy through education and contraceptives ... more.

Environment and Energy

America has a responsibility to address the issues of global warming and protect the environment. It starts with America's dependency on fossil fuels. Plans to decrease America's dependency includes investing $150 billion in renewable sources of energy, and creating a marketplace for bio-technology to thrive. By 2020, plans to have 20 percent of the nation's power supply originate from renewable energy sources. Require car companies to turn out more cars that use less oil, and setting caps on greenhouse gas emissions so that by 2050 the reduction is 80 percent. Transform America into an energy efficient country starting with the federal buildings. In June 2007 voted to remove oil and gas exploration subsidies. ... more.

Foreclosures

One of the first presidential candidates - on either side of the aisle - to publicly speak out against the economic distress of the subprime mortgage crisis, he put out a statement in September laying out the plan to aid those in distress due to the sub-prime loan crisis. He wanted to implement a government relief fund, change bankruptcy law and offer a new tax credit on mortgage interest for those that don't itemize or simply aren't able to deduct their interest payments from their tax returns. On Sept. 17, 2007, he appeared at the NASDAQ MarketSite to make a speech about the rising foreclosures amongst subprime mortgages. He likened the crisis to Enron and asked that Wall Street make "shared sacrifices" to avoid the same type of "crisis in confidence" that Enron produced. He urged the government, who had not yet agreed upon a solution, to investigate lender-client relationships and help borrowers come out from under their mortgages. The plan to aid subprime borrowers is hinged on the overall economical plan to simplify America's tax code and close the loopholes that corporations enjoy under the current tax code; shifting the burden from the middle class. ... more.

Health Care

Every American has the right to affordable health care. He would add to and improve the current system of coverage. The plan includes leaving Medicare for the elderly, but providing those who are uninsured or unhappy with their health insurance an affordable plan much like the coverage given to members in Congress. For those unable to afford the health plan they will receive a subsidy. He believes in guaranteed eligibility and mobility of health insurance independent of the participant's job. To ensure quality of health care, providers would be required to give reports regarding standards, technology and administration. His plan is projected to cut the average family's health care costs by $2,500. ... more.

Immigration

The problem with illegal immigration is the lack of a national reform policy. He supports a reform policy that would reduce further illegal immigration by strengthening the borders with more customs and border protection agents. The second part of the reform policy would include creating a pathway toward citizenship for the illegal immigrants who are here, who don't have a criminal record and who are willing to pay a fine and enroll in a program to become a legal citizen. Implementing an employment verification system to stop employers from hiring illegal immigrants is essential to a reform policy ... more.

Iraq

Opposed the war in Iraq as an Illinois State Senator in its inception in 2002. Called it an "undetermined" war that would keep America in Iraq for an unknown period of time and cost an unknown amount of money. Introduced legislation in Jan. 2007 to end the war in Iraq by the end of 2008. Plan to end the war calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops over a gradual period of time; removing one or two units per month. Supports leaving unspecified number of troops in the region to protect America's national security interests and train the Iraqis ... more.

Taxes

Obama wants to restore fairness to the tax structure in America. Through his plan to give tax cuts that assist the working people instead of the wealthy, Obama plans to uphold the American belief that, “If you work hard, your work will be rewarded.” Obama has laid out four tax-based proposals that take the burden away from the middle class: provide income tax cut of up to $500 per person or $1,000 per working family, give homeowners an automatic tax credit, allow for a progressive tax cut for senior citizens that would eliminate income taxes for retirees making less than $50,000 per year and streamline the process of filing tax returns. In addition to reforming the tax structure so it caters to the working people, Obama plans to close the loopholes that legally allow corporations to evade paying their fair share of taxes. Cutting the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy will insure that Obama’s other proposals such as health care are covered ... more.

Yucca Mountain

Obama, whose home state of Illinois has 11 nuclear power facilities, said it might seem to be in the best interests of his state to ship out the nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. However, the risks of transporting nuclear waste to another state poses an uncertain risk. Because a large amount of the spent fuel would likely travel by rail, it’s a serious concern for Chicago, which serves as the transportation hub of the country. Also, because Nevada elected officials have not wavered in their opposition, it could mean billions of more dollars are spent on the project without any results. For those reasons, Obama is opposed to making Yucca a permanent nuclear waste repository. He said a solution could be to find another state willing to serve as a repository, or finding regional repositories. “In short, the selection of Yucca Mountain has failed, the time for debate on this site is over, and it is time to start exploring new alternatives for safe, long-term solutions based on sound science.” ... more

— Las Vegas Sun intern Jenna Kohler and new media managing editor Dave Toplikar contributed to this report.

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