Tom Steyer
Answers Our Top Questions

Climate  |  Foreign Affairs  |  Healthcare  |  Immigration  |  Taxation  |  Voter Protection 

Climate

The climate crisis is a significant contributing factor to many conflicts and refugee situations around the globe, putting Americans abroad - and all global citizens - at risk due to political insecurity. How will you ensure that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions below Paris Accord targets and lead the global effort to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown and the global insecurity it would cause? 

With only 10 years left to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, I’m the only candidate in this race who will make combating climate change their top priority.  Climate change threatens humanity and the world. Our lives and communities are in peril. If this isn’t the top priority for our next president, it won’t get done. Combatting the climate crisis must be the guiding principle behind every foreign and domestic policy decision. We must organize and unite all Americans around this common purpose. I’m the only candidate in this field who will make this commitment and mean it.

But don’t take my word for it, look at my record. Over the last ten years I have been taking on Big Oil, the utilities, and huge corporations to protect our air and water. I’ve lead fights in California, Nevada, and Michigan to transition to renewable energy, to stop pipelines and shut down coal fired power plants.

It is time that we break the stranglehold these companies have over our health and safety. We need a president who fights for our climate everyday — I am prepared to do that. 

You can read more about my plan here:

https://www.tomsteyer.com/climate-justice/

What do you think a U.S. President in early 2021 can do, independently of the cooperation of Congress or other countries, to respond to this crisis?

On day one of my presidency, I will declare the climate crisis a national emergency. I will direct each agency in the administration to take action to curtail the climate crisis. In addition to taking bold executive actions, I will challenge Congress to pass vital legislation to enact a Green New Deal and provide additional funding to protect the country against climate and weather-related natural disasters.

My Justice-Centered Climate Plan will eliminate fossil fuel pollution from all sectors to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero global warming pollution by no later than 2045. This means massive and immediate mobilization to decarbonize every sector in an equitable way, including transitioning to clean electricity, setting strong standards for new buildings, retrofitting existing buildings to improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency, accelerating electric vehicle deployment and charging infrastructure, eliminating the use and production of global warming super-pollutants, and expanding new development while meeting pollution reduction goals.

Every decision our government makes about infrastructure, purchasing, contracting, and investing taxpayer dollars must be aligned with achieving our climate targets. To make this happen, we are going to need to invest in workers, families, and towns to keep our lights on and our vehicles moving. My plan will create opportunities for all people to participate in saving our planet through a Civilian Climate Corps. It will ensure that communities have the tools, training, and resources to lead the clean energy and healthy climate transition from the ground up. It will also protect workers’ right to unionize, help Americans build inclusive and prosperous communities, allow our economy to diversify away from fossil fuels, and ensure that former fossil fuel workers have access to healthcare, equivalent wages, and benefits.

Foreign Affairs

Americans abroad hear from our neighbors and colleagues that the standing of the U.S. in world affairs has plummeted over the past three years. What would you do to re-establish trust and re-build the confidence of the U.S. government in global institutions and with other countries?

Any new president is going to have to be repair the damage that Donald Trump has done to the United States’ foreign policy. He has made friends with our enemies, and enemies out of our friends. His judgment is clouded by a desire to enrich himself. His curiosity about the world —much less his knowledge of it— is as limited as the menu at a Trump Hotel.

It is time that we rebuild our global alliances, and work with coalitions to solve the serious, urgent challenges that we all face, starting with climate change. My administration will will reinvigorate the State Department and respect the skills and expertise of our career diplomats and intelligence community. We will negotiate trade agreements with everyone at the table, including labor and environmental groups. And we will restore American’s global leadership throughout the world by encouraging more free and fair elections, rights for women and minorities, freedom of expression, and the rule of law. Greater democratic rules lead to greater economic growth and greater stability around the world. Our foreign policy should reflect our values.

Above all, I will work with our friends to protect America’s national security and honor the role our service men and women play in keeping America safe, and bring a steady hand and cool temper back to the White House.

Healthcare

In a 2019 survey of Americans living abroad, Democrats Abroad found that 2.2% cited their reason for living abroad as “affordable healthcare.” These numbers include ‘healthcare refugees’ who cannot afford to return to live in the U.S. due to the high cost of healthcare and the threat of bankruptcy due to illness. Under your healthcare plan, will Americans currently abroad at all income levels and states of health be able to return to live in the U.S. and receive quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for their families at reasonable cost without threat of bankruptcy? 

Yes. My administration will break the stranglehold corporations have over our healthcare system, so you and your doctor — not the drug manufacturer or insurers — can decide what is best for your health. I support a universal healthcare plan, which would include a strong public option that can aggressively compete with private insurers, and potentially put these companies out of business. We are going to get the insurance and prescription drug costs under control and give people more services and better access to hospitals, doctors, and nurses.

Health care must be a constitutional right — not a privilege — so everyone has the chance to live a healthy life. I will fight for a healthcare system that provides high-quality, affordable and secure health care to all Americans.

Immigration

Executive orders such as the one exploiting the term "public charge" demonstrate that our current immigration system was founded in a shameful era of discrimination and bigotry, and that family members of Americans abroad are allowed entry to the U.S. due to a patchwork of fragile bandaids and weakly defended interpretations. Would you restore the principle of family reunification?   

For America to flourish, this has to be a place where immigrants can flourish, too. A path to citizenship and safe-haven from persecution are fundamental American values. Throughout our history, we have welcomed immigrants be they coming to study at our world-class universities or fleeing persecution at home. We don’t have to trade border security for compassion — it’s un-American and ineffective, and nothing more than a racist-political tactic led by Donald Trump. Our truth: with open arms, America has been built by welcoming those yearning to be free.

I would use presidential executive authority to reverse the Trump Administration’s egregious family detention policy and eliminate the use of family detention centers. I would accelerate the review process for families seeking asylum. It is inhumane that people, particularly children, are being caged like animals.

Taxation

Regulatory guidance from the Treasury Department could mitigate the harms of FATCA suffered by thousands of Americans living and working abroad. Will you commit to directing the Treasury Department to study and then implement, as a high priority, new guidance that will provide relief to ordinary Americans living abroad who are demonstrably not evading taxes?

I would be willing to study FACTA and reduce unnecessary burdens if it doesn’t weaken tax enforcement or encourage evasion.

Most Americans living abroad think that the time has come for Residency-Based Taxation, the principle guiding all other countries' tax systems and a fix for numerous unjust burdens on Americans living and working abroad. There are bi-partisan, revenue-neutral proposals to implement RBT that include robust provisions to protect the law from abuse by tax evaders.  All we need is a moment of leadership to get this done. Will you be that leader?

I am open to reforming the tax codes to help working families abroad, but want to make sure that any changes that we make to tax laws do not not encourage corporations to move jobs and profits overseas, or help some of the wealthiest Americans escape paying their fair share of taxes in the US.

Voter Protection

While federal legislation provides some protection for overseas voters, this legislation does not go far enough to counter the challenges that states, and recently the Trump administration, have set up to limit voting from abroad. 67% of abroad ballots are returned by mail, largely due to state requirements, yet postal delivery of ballots is fraught with problems, and during each election thousands of ballots do not arrive on time to be counted. To make matters worse, in less than a month the U.S. may withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, likely leading to serious delays and postal mail price increases. How will you help protect the rights of Americans abroad to vote while helping states ensure that ballots are returned safely?

The right to vote is fundamental to America’s democracy. A healthy democracy depends on the broadest participation possible. Everyone must have an equal voice to demand justice from our government, and everyone must be able to vote with no discrimination and no barriers. I will advocate for a National Vote by Mail system so all Americans, including those living abroad, have easy access to their ballot. I will work with state elections officers to prevent disenfranchisement of any Americans vote.

Climate  |  Foreign Affairs  |  Healthcare  |  Immigration  |  Taxation  |  Voter Protection