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Where the GOP, Dem presidential candidates stand on the issues

All five remaining presidential hopefuls are hoping to

All five remaining presidential hopefuls are hoping to win big in New York on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Credit: Getty Images composite

New York will hold its presidential primaries Tuesday. The following is a look at where the Republican and Democratic candidates stand on key issues:


Donald Trump

Economy: Trump, a real estate mogul turned reality television star, has campaigned on his business experience, vowing to bring more jobs to the United States. He said he would impose hefty tariffs on goods imported from Mexico and China and other countries, to encourage American companies to keep jobs in the United States instead of overseas. Trump proposes a “simplified tax code” composed of four tax brackets, instead of the current seven. Under his plan, individuals earning $25,000 or less a year will not be taxed, those earning between $25,001 and $50,000 will have a 10 percent tax rate; those earning between $50,001 and $150,000 will face a 20 percent tax rate and those making more than $150,000 will have a 25 percent rate.

National Security: Trump has said he would combat the Islamic State terrorist group by bombing the group’s oil fields in Iraq and Syria. Trump has said he is open to using nuclear weapons to fight the Islamic State, and supports the use of waterboarding and other interrogation torture methods. Trump has said he is open to the idea of establishing a database to track Muslims living in the United States in response to ISIS’ recruitment of Muslims.

Immigration: Trump has said he would build a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border to prevent immigrants without legal documents from crossing into the country. He said he would “compel” the Mexican government to pay for it — a proposal that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has said the country will not agree to. Trump said he would eliminate birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to foreign parents, and called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States amid concerns of terrorist threats perpetrated by the Islamic State militant group.

Health care: Trump has said he would repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and “replace it with something terrific.” He proposes tax exemptions for consumers who buy individual health care plans, similar to tax write-offs for corporations that pay for employee insurance plans. Trump supports giving U.S. patients the option of purchasing pharmaceutical drugs from overseas. Trump believes states should have greater control over the federally administered Medicaid program, which provides health insurance to low-income Americans.

Education: Trump has championed charter schools, saying competition would foster improvement. “Let schools compete for kids,” Trump said in November. He opposes the federal Common Core educational standards, believing local governments should set the curriculum. He has said he would consider eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, or cut its spending.

Ted Cruz

Economy: Cruz has focused his economic agenda on implementing a “simple flat tax” across all U.S. income groups. The tax plan calls for consolidating the current seven personal income tax rates into a uniform rate of 10 percent. Cruz contends a simplified tax system will “jump-start” economic growth and jobs. He supports amending the U.S. Constitution to require a federal balanced budget each year. Cruz said in March: “I will pull back the federal regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency and all the regulators that are killing small businesses and manufacturing.”

National Security: Cruz has said as president he would “carpet bomb” the Islamic State terrorist group’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria. He has called for the use of “overwhelming air power” to combat the group, but has said it’s “not necessary” for U.S. troops to be deployed for ground combat. Cruz argues Kurdish fighters “are our boots on the ground,” and has called on the United States to arm the local force. Cruz has called for securing the U.S. border with Mexico by erecting 700 miles of fencing and tripling the amount of U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Immigration: Cruz has called for overhauling the nation’s guest worker visa program, by limiting H-1B visas to immigrants with advanced degrees. Cruz said he would end birthright citizenship to prevent foreigners from coming to the United States to give birth. He also proposes criminally charging those who overstay their visas with a federal misdemeanor on their first offense, and a felony for subsequent offenses. Cruz supports granting states and local law enforcement agencies the discretion to enforce federal immigration laws.

Health care: Cruz has said as president he would “repeal every word of” the Affordable Care Act set forth by President Barack Obama. Cruz has said Americans should be allowed to purchase private health insurance across state lines to create competition in the marketplace, which he contends will drive down costs. He has not addressed whether providers would have to guarantee coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, but has called for expanding the amount people can contribute to tax-exempt health savings accounts.

Education: Cruz has said he would dismantle or drastically cut back funding to the U.S. Department of Education, believing local governments should be in charge of setting their educational agenda and curriculum. He has said he would repeal the Common Core educational standards, and is a supporter of charter schools as an alternative to public schools.

John Kasich

Economy: Kasich often touts federal statistics that show Ohio generated 400,000 new jobs during his past five years as governor to make the case that his job-generating initiatives could work on the federal level. Kasich has said he would create jobs by supporting small-business growth with his proposals to reduce tax rates and offer incentives to businesses that add new jobs to the U.S. workforce. He also proposes lowering personal income tax rates. Kasich supports amending the U.S. constitution to mandate a federal balanced budget. He served as the chairman of the House Budget Committee in the early 1990s, and often touts his role in drafting 1997’s federal balanced budget.

National Security: Kasich wants to increase federal military spending by $102 billion over the next eight years. He believes the United States should work with its allies to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group. Kasich has said the allied nations should support Kurdish fighters as they battle against the terrorists. “As president, I would immediately summon an emergency meeting at the highest level to begin working with our European, Turkish and Sunni Arab allies to contain and ultimately defeat ISIS in its homeland,” Kasich said after terrorist strikes in Paris.

Immigration: Kasich has said that in his first 100 days in office he would submit an immigration reform proposal focusing on securing the U.S. border with Mexico and creating a new guest-worker visa program. Kasich has said he would seal the border “with fencing and you do it with technology, drones and sensors.” Kasich in GOP debates has said he would not support the mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States; instead, he would “make them pay a fine and back taxes, and give them a path to legalization, never to citizenship.”

Health care: Kasich has said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act but does support a component of the act that calls on states to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income residents. “Medicaid expansion doesn’t have to be part of Obamacare,” Kasich said in July. He would like to replace Obama’s program with a “market-driven” system that relies on “insurance companies and hospitals working together to share profits, to share the gains they make by keeping people healthy rather than treating them on the basis of how they’re sick.”

Education: Kasich has said he would “reduce the power of the U.S. Department of Education,” saying state and local governments should set their educational agendas. “We don’t want the federal government driving K-12 education,” Kasich said in July. He supports charter schools but believes states should have more regulatory control of the schools.


Hillary Clinton

Economy: Clinton has said “creating good-paying jobs and raising incomes is the defining economic challenge of our time.” She proposes increasing jobs by investing in infrastructure and scientific research, and by providing tax relief to small businesses. Clinton has said she would provide a 15 percent tax credit to companies that share profits with their employees, and would place an exit tax on corporations that move their headquarters overseas. She initially supported raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, but has since called for an increase to $15 to mirror increases that were recently signed into law in California and New York.

National Security: Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, often campaigns on her foreign affairs experience, citing her diplomatic relationship with numerous world leaders. Clinton has said the United States, working in conjunction with its international allies, should play a strong role in combating the Islamic State terrorist group, by using targeted airstrikes and training local Iraqi forces. She opposes deploying U.S. ground troops. Clinton has said she would also work to ensure local U.S. military “is on the cutting edge.”

Health care: Clinton has said she would “defend” President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and would look to “build” on the health care program. Her plan calls for providing a $5,000 tax credit per family to “offset a portion of excessive out-of-pocket and premium costs” above 5 percent of their income. Clinton proposes capping out-of-pocket charges for drugs at $250. She would like for all states to expand Medicaid health care coverage for low-income Americans, saying she would continue the Obama administration’s policy of providing states 100 percent matching federal funding for the first three years they expand the program.

Environment: Clinton has called for installing 500 million solar panels throughout the United States by 2020, and said she would set “national goals” to reduce American oil consumption by a third. Clinton has said she would aim to have renewable energy sources constitute 33 percent of all the energy produced in the United States by 2027. Clinton has said she’s generally “against” fracking for natural gas under certain conditions, including “when any locality or any state is against it,” or “when the release of methane or contamination of water is present.”

Criminal Justice: In the first major policy speech of her campaign, Clinton vowed to end the “era of mass incarceration.” Clinton said she would support legislation banning the use of racial profiling among law enforcement officers, and would create “national guidelines for the use of force” against civilians. She supports ending the use of for-profit private prisons and said she would push for federal matching funds to equip local police officers with body cameras.

Bernie Sanders

Economy: Sanders has made income inequality and reforming Wall Street the cornerstone of his campaign — calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2020, and pledging to break up financial institutions deemed “too big to fail.” Sanders has said the nation’s big banks “are too powerful economically” and politically. He proposes taxing speculative trading, using the revenue generated to fund free tuition at public colleges and universities.

National Security: Sanders, who voted against approving the Iraq War in 2002, has said the United States should “move away from a policy of unilateral military action” and focus on diplomacy to “ensure the decision to go to war is a last resort.” To combat the Islamic State terrorist group, Sanders has said the United States should work in coalition with international allies to defeat the group in its home base of Syria and Iraq, but believes military efforts should be “led and sustained by the nations in the region,” not the United States.

Health care: Sanders proposes replacing the current Affordable Care Act with a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” system that would expand the federal safety net program to all Americans, not just those over the age of 65. Sanders has said by having a federally administered health care program, the U.S. government will gain the leverage to “stand up to drug companies and negotiate fair prices for the American people collectively.”

Environment: Sanders has said “climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet.” He has called for states to ban fracking for natural gas. He proposes eliminating tax breaks for fossil-fuel companies, and increasing investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Sanders has said he would aim to cut U.S. carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Criminal Justice: Amid growing public scrutiny of high-profile police brutality cases, Sanders has said he would create a federal police training program, to teach local officers how to de-escalate confrontations. Sanders said he would require law enforcement officers to wear body cameras and would push for departments “that reflect the diversity of our communities.” He would ban for-profit prisons, saying they “result in an over-incentive” to arrest and jail people.

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