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081219-Kamala-Harris-015

Kamala Harris talks about her vision of Health Care reform during the Health Care Round table in August at The Loft at the First United Methodist Church in Burlington.

A roundup of campaign news items of interest for Monday, October 7, 2019:

HALF-YEAR PAID LEAVE IN HARRIS PLAN: Six months of paid family and medical leave for all working Americans is the centerpiece of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ “Children’s Agenda.”

Under the U.S. Senator from California’s plan, low- and middle-income workers making less than $75,000 per year would receive full wage replacement during their leave, with benefits phasing down for higher-income households. The leave could be used for caring for new children or family members with serious health conditions, addressing serious personal health conditions, or non-medical needs stemming from domestic violence or sexual assault.

“Guaranteeing six months of paid leave will bring us closer to economic justice for workers and ensures newborn children or children who are sick can get the care they need from a parent without thrusting the family into upheaval,” Harris said in a statement. “To give all children in America the opportunities they deserve, this comprehensive children’s agenda will protect their rights, ensure they have access to health care and high-quality education, and dramatically reduce child poverty.”

SANDERS’ PLAN TO ELIMINATE CORPORATE POLITICAL DONATIONS: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said he would dismantle the current federal agency charged with overseeing elections and replace it with an agency with more law enforcement authority.

It’s a staple of the U.S. Senator from Vermont’s plan to get corporate political donations out of politics.

Sanders said he would abolish what he called the “worthless” Federal Elections Commission and replace it with a Federal Election Administration, which his campaign described as “a true law enforcement agency.”

Sanders also said as the party’s nominee he would ban all corporate contributions to the Democratic Party Convention and all related committees, and as president, he would ban all corporate donations for inaugural events and cap individual donations at $500.

“Our grassroots-funded campaign is proving every single day that you don’t need billionaires and private fundraisers to run for president,” Sanders said. “We’ve received more contributions from more individual contributors than any campaign in the history of American politics because we understand the basic reality that you can’t take on a corrupt system if you take its money. Working people all over the country are responding to that message and demanding a political revolution through their small-dollar donations. When we win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump, we will transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money.”

STEYER PROPOSES WEALTH TAX: A 1 percent tax on U.S. citizens with a net worth more than $32 million is a staple of Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s economic agenda.

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The tax would generate more than $1 trillion for a Democratic agenda, the California businessman’s campaign said.

Steyer also proposed repealing the tax cuts enacted in 2017 by Republican President Donald Trump and a GOP-led Congress.

KLOBUCHAR’S PLAN FOR VETERANS: Allowing veterans to make online appointments to Veterans Affairs hospitals and extending G.I. Bill benefits to National Guard and Reserve members are elements of Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar’s plan for veterans.

Klobuchar said allowing veterans to make VA appointments online would help address long wait times and a backlog for services at VA hospitals. The U.S. Senator from Minnesota said her plan is based on a pilot program she helped create in the Senate.

Klobuchar also said she would strengthen the authority of the Inspector General and Congressional oversight of the VA, and launch an independent review of financial processes at the VA. Her plan also includes investing in mental health care workforce and increasing counseling services at the VA in order to combat veteran suicide.

“We make a promise to those who serve in defense of our country to provide them and their families the health care, education and economic opportunities they deserve. We must keep that promise,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “Across our nation, veterans are now back home facing far too many challenges, whether it’s long wait times at the VA, inadequate mental health and addiction services, finding affordable housing, transitioning into a new career after service or being able to retire with dignity. As president, I will build on my work in the Senate and begin delivering real results for veterans and their families within my first 100 days.”

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