Elizabeth Warren
Answers Our Top Questions

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

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? 

To really bend the curve on climate, we’ll need sustained big, structural change across a range of industries and sectors. That’s why I’ve woven climate policy throughout my plans, and why I’ll use all levels of government to tackle the climate crisis. I am an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, and I’ve proposed to spend $3 trillion to combat climate change, leveraging additional trillions in private investment and creating millions of good, high-paying union jobs. My Green Manufacturing Plan would invest $2 trillion over ten years in clean energy technology made right here in America, and I will use the full power of the federal procurement process to create demand for the resulting technology by committing to purchase American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use. I have also adopted and built on Governor Inslee’s ten-year action plan to achieve 100% clean energy for Americans by decarbonizing our electricity, our vehicles, and our buildings. To do so, I’ll commit an additional $1 trillion to subsidize the consumer transition to clean and renewable electricity, zero emission vehicles, and green products for commercial and residential buildings. My plan for a new farm economy will radically expand the Conservation Stewardship Program that provides funding for farmers eager to transition to sustainable practices and hold big agribusinesses accountable by making them pay for the full costs of the environmental damage they wreak. I’ve proposed subjecting new infrastructure projects to a climate test, a stringent environmental impact review conducted by independent entities without conflicts of interest related to the projects. And on my first day, I will sign an executive order establishing a moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. Instead, I have set a goal of providing 10% of our overall electricity generation from renewable sources offshore or on public lands. And justice for communities at the front lines of the climate crisis cannot be a secondary concern – I will put it at the center of our response to climate change. Even after we reduce the U.S. emissions to net-zero, we’ll still fall short of the reduction in global emissions needed to avert a climate crisis. My Green Marshall Plan will provide American-made clean energy technology to countries that need it most. I’ll commit $100 billion over ten years to offer discounts to countries hit hardest by the climate crisis or provide an incentive for regulatory changes that further reduce emissions. I’ll also return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord and leverage U.S. trade policy to promote environmental stewardship.

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?

From day one of my presidency I will work to implement a Green New Deal, using all the tools of the federal government to do so. We won’t meet our climate goals with a one-time, one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, we need big, structural change -- and I am prepared to use the full power of the presidency to achieve it. I’ll start by immediately issuing a sweeping climate executive order to show Americans and the rest of the world that defeating the climate crisis is a top priority for my administration, starting on day one. I will roll back all of Trump’s disastrous pro-fossil fuels policies and reinstate Obama era environmental protections that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. That includes reinstating the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air and restoring the Clean Power Plan to put limits on carbon pollution emitted from our power plants. I will reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide, and I will make agribusinesses pay the full costs of the environmental damage they wreak by closing the loopholes they use to get away with polluting by beefing up enforcement of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. To safeguard our public lands and work towards a managed decline of fossil fuels, I will ban all new fossil fuel leases offshore and on public lands. And I will commit the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change, as a first step to leading the world in our collective effort to keep warming below 1.5 degrees celsius. I’ll make combating climate change a key focus of our trade deals - and make sure America lives up to the same standards we hold other countries. I'll require countries we negotiate trade deals with to comply with the Paris Climate accord and end fossil fuel subsidies. I will also use our trade policy to promote environmental stewardship, protecting domestic subsidies for green products and preferential treatment for green energy production from WTO challenges, and imposing a border carbon adjustment on carbon-intensive imported goods. As part of our commitment to addressing the climate crisis, we should end all American support for international oil and gas projects through the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. We should also commit to using America’s voting power in the World Bank and other global financial institutions to cut off investment in fossil fuel projects and to direct that investment into clean energy projects instead. Our efforts should be dedicated to accelerating the global transition to clean energy. As my administration works toward defeating the climate crisis, justice for communities at the front lines will be at the center of our response to climate change. That’s why under a Warren administration the Council on Environmental Quality will become the Council on Climate Action, with a new mandate to ensure justice is at the center of the administration's climate efforts and to elevate the voices of frontline and fenceline community leaders to the highest levels of our government. I will also use the full extent of my executive authority under NEPA to protect frontline communities and give them a voice in the process, because communities should have a say in what infrastructure and development cut through their neighborhoods.

Foreign Affairs

President Trump has been a disaster for America’s reputation and our standing on the world stage. His actions and instincts align with those of authoritarian regimes around the globe. He embraces dictators and undermines our allies. And his reckless and erratic policies have sowed confusion and exacerbated tensions around the world. But while it is easy to blame him for our problems, the truth is that our challenges began long before him. And without serious reforms, they are just as likely to outlast him. In recent decades, Washington’s focus shifted from policies that benefit everyone to policies that benefit a handful of elites, both here at home and around the world. After decades of domestic policies that have helped the rich get richer and left everyone else behind, and it’s no wonder Americans have less faith in democratic government today than at any other time in modern U.S. history. Our country is in a moment of crisis decades in the making, a moment in which America’s middle class has been hollowed out, working people have been betrayed, and democracy itself is under threat. To begin to rebuild trust, we should first refocus our international economic policies so that they benefit all Americans, not just wealthy elites. I have a plan to transform our approach to trade to create and defend good American jobs, raise wages and farm income, combat climate change, lower drug prices, and raise living standards worldwide.

Healthcare

I spent most of my career studying why families go broke, and one of the top reasons is medical costs – even for families with insurance. Private insurance companies raked in $23 billion last year while premiums skyrocket and prescription drug copays are going through the roof. It’s not right and it’s not sustainable. That’s why I support Medicare for All. Under Medicare for All, every person will get high-quality health care coverage that will cover the full list of benefits outlined in the Medicare for All Act, including long-term care, audio, vision, dental, and mental health benefits. Everybody gets the doctors and the treatments they need, when they need them. No more restrictive provider networks, no more insurance companies denying coverage for prescribed treatments, and no more going broke over medical bills. I have released a plan to pay for Medicare for All that will put $11 trillion back in the pockets of the American people. Medicare for All is the only plan that gives everyone in America high-quality health coverage, with the freedom to see any doctor, with no premiums, copays, or deductibles. Medicare for All finally brings true choice to the health care system: the choice to see the doctor you want, to get the prescriptions you need, pick the job or start the small business you want – without worrying about where your health insurance will come from. We can do all of this by cutting waste, inefficiency, and corporate profiteering by insurance companies and drug companies out of our health care system and asking big corporations and the top 1% of Americans to pitch in a little more – without raising taxes one penny on the middle-class. Instead, Medicare for All will put $11 trillion in premiums, deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket expenses back in the pockets of American families.

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?  

I start with a simple principle: immigrants have always been a vital source of American strength. They grow our economy and make our communities richer and more diverse. They are our neighbors, our colleagues, and our friends — and every bit as much a part of America as those who were born in the United States. That’s why we need real immigration reform: to create a rules-based system that is fair, humane, and that reflects our values. One that is good for immigrants, good for workers, and good for the United States. I support additional legal immigration, including expanded family reunification to make it easier for relatives of citizens and green card holders to come to the United States. Currently, as many as 4 million immigrants who are otherwise eligible to come to the United States legally are prohibited because of by-country visa caps. My Administration will redistribute unused visas to reduce this backlog and reunite more families with their loved ones. I’ll also urge Congress to repeal laws that make family reunification more difficult to achieve, and work to repeal the laws that make it more difficult for those eligible for citizenship to naturalize, including the requirement to depart the country for three or ten years before applying for legal status. And I’ll establish an Office of New Americans dedicated to supporting new immigrants as they transition into our society and economy. Our laws and our values compel us to help those fleeing violence and oppression. I’ll reject exclusionary policies based on race, religion, and nationality, incuding by reversing Trump’s bigoted Muslim Ban on my first day in office. I’ll reinstate Temporary Protected Status designations and Deferred Enforced Departure to protect individuals at risk in their home countries. I’ll raise the refugee cap to welcome 175,000 refugees per year by the end of my first term, and I’ll affirm asylum protections for those fleeing violence, including by ending the metering and “Remain in Mexico” policies. I’ll also withdraw Trump’s proposed “public charge” policy that forces immigrant families to choose between accessing critical health services and staying together. I have proposed to decriminalize migration and refocus enforcement on serious criminal activity. Entering the country without authorization will continue to be a violation of civil immigration law, but we will not take children away from their parents or lock them in cages. I will significantly reduce immigration detention by limiting its use only to those situations where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk. Instead, I’ll expand community-based alternatives to detention, which are safer, save money, and can be more effective at ensuring compliance. I will reinstate the DACA program and protections for our Dreamers and their families, and expand the program to cover more young people. But Dreamers have families and communities that are productive, longtime members of our American family and need protection too. I’ll extend the individual exercise of discretion to offer deferred action protections to hardworking immigrants who have contributed to our country for years and have built careers and families here, while pushing for a far-reaching legislative fix that provides a fair but achievable path to citizenship for them. You can read more about my plan for a fair and welcoming immigration system here

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 believe in strengthening tax enforcement to reduce the tax gap and bring in additional federal revenue for needed investments without raising taxes. We can robustly enforce FATCA while still identifying ways to reduce the burden on individual taxpayers where appropriate.

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 changes to our current approach but I support citizenship-based taxation.

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?

Right now, our democracy faces serious threats at home and abroad. Strengthening it requires major changes, so that each and every voice can be heard. I have a plan to strengthen our democracy that would establish uniform federal rules to make voting easy – rules that make it easier to register and cast a ballot, like automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, vote-by-mail, and early voting. I’ll also end voter purges, require independent redistricting commissions to end partisan gerrymandering, and overturn every single voter suppression law that racist politicians use to steal votes from people of color. We will pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Native American Voting Rights Act to shut down a host of festering discriminatory practices. And we must protect the rights of voters living abroad. I am glad that the Trump administration has decided to remain in the Universal Postal Union – and I'm committed to making sure that voters abroad have an easy and reliable voting experience.

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