Californians will go to the polls March 3 to cast their votes in both the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

While President Donald Trump is expected to win the Republican nomination, Democrats are still voting for they want as their nominee come November. Mustang News took a look at some of the proposed policies and stances of the four Democratic candidates who are still in the race polling above 6 percent. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg both announced they suspended their presidential campaigns Sunday, March 1 and Monday, March 2, respectively. This information was gathered from campaign websites.

Climate change

Bernie Sanders

The United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement, which President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw from in June 2017, under a Sanders presidency, but the Vermont senator’s campaign website said the nation “must think beyond Paris.”

Sanders’ climate change policy “will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond,” according to his campaign website.

In addition to decarbonization by 2050 and 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation, Sanders intends to create 20 million jobs through the Green New Deal. These jobs will be in varying fields from auto manufacturing to coding and server farms. Sanders also plans to assist fossil fuel workers in transitioning to clean energy jobs. 

Sanders’ plan intends to pay itself more than 15 years, according to his campaign website, through taxing the fossil fuel industry, reducing military spending and making the wealthy and other large corporations “pay their fair share.”

Elizabeth Warren

Warren is also a supporter of the Green New Deal, and supports its goal of the U.S. reaching net-zero emissions by 2030.

Her proposals include 100 percent clean electricity output for electricity by 2035, vehicles by 2030 and zero-carbon pollution for new commercial and residential buildings by 2028. 

Warren’s $10.7 trillion of investment from the Green New Deal will also create 10.6 million jobs in the process, according to her campaign website. 

Warren also plans for the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement, her website said.

Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg intends for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Agreement. 

In addition, Bloomberg intends to implement policies that reduce pollution, according to his website. This includes mandating all vehicles to be pollution-free by 2035, and all new homes and buildings to be pollution-free by 2025.

Despite his environmental plans, Bloomberg’s money management group Willett Advisors has called itself “natural gas bulls,” while investing in natural gas companies. In addition, Bloomberg has written that “it makes sense to frack” in his co-authored book, Climate of Hope, published in 2017.

Joe Biden

A Biden-led administrations intends to lay out the framework for reaching a 100 percent clean energy economy and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

His plans also intend to have infrastructure built during his administration to “withstand the impacts of climate change,” according to the Biden campaign website. Every dollar spent on infrastructure will go toward preventing, reducing and withstanding climate change, the campaign website said.

Biden was one of the first people to introduce climate change legislation back in January 1987. The bill called on then-President Ronald Reagan to investigate climate change’s impact by setting up a task force. Biden also played a part in getting the United States involved with the Paris Agreement.

College affordability

Bernie Sanders

One of Sanders’ marquee plans is to offer free tuition at public colleges, universities and trade schools to everyone.

According to Sanders’ campaign website, $48 billion per year will go to eliminating tuition and fees at these institutions, which also includes community colleges, tribal colleges and apprenticeship programs. 

Sanders will also provide Pell grants to cover non-tuition costs, and triple funding for the Federal Work-Study program to cover 2.1 million students instead of the current 700,000, according to the campaign’s website. 

The same Wall Street speculation tax used to cancel all student debt will be used to pay for these plans, according to the Sanders campaign website. 

Elizabeth Warren

Warren also plans to make public colleges (both two-year and four-year institutions) tuition-free and ensure students graduate with zero debt. 

According to her campaign website, Warren plans to use the same 2 percent tax on families making $50 million or more to cover her tuition-free college programs.

Warren also proposes adding $100 billion in Pell grant funding over a 10-year period to cover non-tuition expenses.

Michael Bloomberg

Pell grants will be doubled in size under a Bloomberg administration, according to the Bloomberg campaign website. DREAMers and formerly incarcerated students will be allowed to get Pell grants, a change in current financial aid policy.

Food insecurity among college students will be combatted, as Bloomberg intends to cover meal costs for low-income students and increase SNAP benefits, according to campaign goals.

Bloomberg’s college affordability plan also includes starting programs to get adults re-enrolled in college if they have not finished their coursework.

Joe Biden

Biden does not support tuition-free university, but does plan to make community colleges tuition-free for two years.

Biden’s plans also call for doubling Pell grant money from the 2019-2020 maximum of $6,195. 

Outside of university programs, Biden’s campaign is proposing $50 billion to be invested in workforce training programs. This includes an apprenticeship program and a partnership program among community colleges “that lead to a relevant, high-demand industry-recognized credential,” according to the campaign website.

Student loans

Bernie Sanders

Sanders plans to cancel all $1.6 trillion in student debt for 45 million Americans, according to his campaign website.

In addition, Sanders will cap the interest rate of future student loans at 1.88 percent, less than the average interest rate of 6 percent for federal loans.Student loan cancellation will be paid for by placing a less than one percent tax on Wall Street speculation across stock trades, bond trades and derivative trades. These taxes will bring in $2.4 trillion, according to an International Review of Applied Economics article.

Elizabeth Warren

Warren’s plans include canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans, according to her campaign website.

Her debt cancellation plan will vary based on a person’s household income. Those who make less than $100,000 will have $50,000 of their student loan debt cancelled. Those who make between $100,000 and $250,000 will see less in debt forgiveness, depending on their income. Those who make $250,000 will not have any debt cancelled.

Student loan cancellation will be covered by adding a 2 percent tax on the 75,000 families making $50 million or more, Warren’s campaign website said.

Michael Bloomberg

To combat the student loan crisis, Bloomberg intends to reduce the cap of student loan payments by 50 percent. Loans will be forgiven tax-free after 20 years, according to the Bloomberg website.

These promises include the plan to “make it possible for students to pay back just what they can afford,” Bloomberg’s website said. 

Joe Biden

Biden’s student loan repayment plan would be an income-based repayment plan that automatically enrolls people, instead of the 10-year repayment plan, unless one decides to opt-out of the program. 

Under Biden’s proposed plan, those who make less than $25,000 will not have to pay back any amount of their loan. Those who make over $25,000 will pay 5 percent of  their discretionary income (the Biden campaign defines this as income income minus taxes and living expenses).

Student loans would be forgiven after 20 years, and any forgiven loans would not be taxable. 

Biden’s campaign website also says he intends to fix and simply the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which allows teachers and other educators to have their loans forgiven.

Cannabis

Bernie Sanders

A Sanders administration will legalize cannabis, expunge cannabis-related convictions and reschedule cannabis from its current schedule I status, according to an Oct. 24, 2019 news release.

In addition, Sanders plans to regulate the marijuana industry with market share and franchise caps to prevent companies from improperly making profits, along with encouraging nonprofits and co-ops. 

Sanders’ campaign website said this is to prevent the legal cannabis industry from “from becoming the next Big Tobacco.”

Elizabeth Warren

Warren supports cannabis legalization, and plans on delisting the drug from its current schedule I status to allow for federal research, Warren’s campaign website said. She also proposes expunging past convictions for cannabis usage.

In addition, Warren’s plans also call for an inclusive cannabis industry and investing $500 million in communities affected by marijuana policy implemented under the War on Drugs.

Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg plans to decriminalize marijuana usage at the federal level, according to his campaign website.  

His plans also include commuting all existing sentences and expunging marijuana-related records, according to the Bloomberg campaign’s website.

However, Bloomberg said Colorado’s legalization of cannabis was “one of the stupider things that’s happening in our country” during a 2015 interview at the Aspen Institute.

Joe Biden

Biden intends to decriminalize cannabis usage and expunge all cannabis-related criminal charges, as part of greater criminal justice reform.

He also supports legalization for medicinal purposes, but will leave recreational legalization up to the states.

During an interview with The New York Times editorial board, Biden said he wants to research marijuana’s effects before recreationally legalizing it. His campaign website says marijuana will be reclassified as a schedule II drug in order to study its effects.

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