Where Bush and Kerry stand on some of the issues
October 13, 2004
A look at some of the positions of Republican President Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry:
Support abortion rights?
Bush: Only in cases of rape or incest or when a woman’s life is endangered. Signed bill to ban a procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion.
Kerry: Yes. Would nominate only Supreme Court justices who support abortion rights. Voted against partial-birth ban.
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Bush: Record deficits in a time of war, terrorism and tax cuts. Deficit expected to surpass $400 billion this year; the government had a $127 billion surplus three years earlier. Says deficits can be halved in five years but has not fully explained how. Bush proposes that Congress limit discretionary spending in programs outside defense and homeland security to a 0.5 percent increase next year.
Kerry: Cut deficit by half, at least, in first term, but has not fully explained how he would do so in light of major proposals on health care, education, defense and more. Repeal of Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans would cover some costs.
Kerry: Opposes “other than in cases of real international and domestic terrorism.”
Bush’s record: The economy has lost 821,000 jobs since Bush took office. Won $1.35 trillion in tax cuts for all income levels in 2001, a $96 billion stimulus in 2002 and a $330 billion package in 2003 – half of what he had sought. Congress this year approved $146 billion in 10-year tax cuts, extending the $1,000 child tax credit, the 10 percent income tax bracket and breaks for married couples; and $136 billion in corporate tax cuts over 10 years.
Bush’s plans: Wants $3,000 re-employment accounts to help the unemployed with job-search expenses. Wants to make recently passed temporary tax cuts permanent, ease business regulations, pursue more free-trade deals, increase domestic energy production, limit class-action lawsuits and medical malpractice liability. Also, give tax breaks, regulatory relief and investment incentives to needy communities.
Kerry: Keep Bush’s tax cuts for middle- and low-income people but raise taxes on people earning over $200,000. He promises taxpayers earning less than $200,000: “I am not going to raise taxes.” Would increase child-care tax credit by $1,000. Spend on highways, school construction, pollution cleanup, energy projects and more to create 3 million jobs in 500 days. Provide $50 billion over two years to states struggling with budget deficits.
Bush: Championed a 2002 overhaul of elementary and secondary education that toughened standards for teachers, schools and student achievement. Budget proposal would increase spending on poor school districts, children with disabilities, Pell grants to help poor students attend college, and experimental private-school voucher programs. The plan would cut spending on vocational education, a family literacy program, arts in education, dropout prevention and more. Budget proposal, if passed, would mark 43 percent increase in federal spending on programs under the No Child Left Behind Act since Bush took office.
Kerry: Establish community service plan for high school students that would qualify them for the equivalent of their states’ four-year public college tuition if they perform two years of national service. Provide a tax credit for every year of college on the first $4,000 paid in tuition. Credit would provide 100 percent of the first $1,000 and 50 percent on the rest. Opposes private-school vouchers. Backed 2002 changes but says insufficient money was spent on them and too much emphasis is placed on tests for measuring student achievement. Wants to establish $200 billion education trust fund to help pay for the 2002 school reforms and special education.
Bush: Proposes constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Has continued former President Clinton’s policy allowing gays to serve in military if they are not open about their homosexuality.
Kerry: Opposes gay marriage but also opposes constitutional amendment against it; supports right to civil unions. Would ban job discrimination against homosexuals, extend hate-crime protections to gays and let gays serve openly in the military.
Bush: Favors granting gun makers immunity from civil lawsuits, but that measure failed in the Senate. Backed congressional maneuvers letting the ban on assault-type weapons expire, while saying he supports the ban and a requirement for background checks at gun shows. Criticized Clinton for weak enforcement of existing gun laws, but prosecution of people who lie on background checks has continued to lag.
Kerry: Supports ban on assault-type weapons and requiring background checks at gun shows. Opposes granting immunity to gun makers.