BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has formed an exploratory committee to consider running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Here's a look at where the two-term governor stands on various issues that will be debated in the GOP primaries:
The son of Indian immigrants, Jindal remains hawkish on immigration issues. The governor says the nation needs an immigration system with a "high wall and a broad gate," with changes that aim to bring in more skilled, legal immigrants and place a stronger focus on border security. He has harshly criticized the executive actions President Barack Obama took last fall to grant work permits to millions of immigrants living in this country illegally. "Unilaterally granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants does nothing to solve our immigration problem, it only makes it worse. Our border is not secure. If we want to solve our immigration problem, job one is to secure the border," Jindal said. Louisiana joined a lawsuit seeking to block the executive orders, which are currently on hold pending an appeals court ruling.
With a limited background in foreign policy, Jindal has increased his overseas travel to bolster his credentials in international relations. But a trip to Europe earlier this year that included a speech to a London-based think tank received widespread criticism when Jindal repeated heavily disputed claims that Muslims have established "no-go zones" in European neighborhoods that operate outside of local civic control. Jindal was an advocate for Congress having a say in any nuclear deal with Iran, saying "a bad deal is worse than no deal," and he's pushed for tougher sanctions on the country. He's repeatedly criticized Obama's foreign policy, saying the president doesn't believe in "American exceptionalism," and he's pushed for more airstrikes and military action against the Islamic State group.
BUDGET AND ENTITLEMENTS
Jindal opposes tax increases and supports a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget, though critics have noted he's repeatedly balanced Louisiana's budget with short-term fixes and one-time financing. Like most other Republicans considering a presidential campaign, Jindal calls for repealing the Affordable Care Act, and he has offered a proposal for its replacement. He proposes "premium support" for Medicare, which would replace the current insurance coverage given to seniors with a federal subsidy to purchase insurance coverage, a sort of voucher program to choose their own coverage plan.
His budget restraint, however, doesn't extend to defense spending, where he says the nation should be spending more. "National defense may not be the only priority of federal government, but it should always be the first priority," he's said.
A Catholic convert raised by Hindu parents, Jindal has carefully cultivated social conservatives and evangelical Christians. He signed the Louisiana Science Education Act that allows science teachers to use outside curriculum, a move some Nobel laureates protest as a back-door way for teachers to teach Biblical creation as science. He pushed for the creation of a voucher program that pays for children to attend private schools with taxpayer dollars, including some religious schools that teach creationism and reject evolution. He opposes same-sex marriage and supports religious freedom laws. On abortion, Jindal has repeatedly supported adding new restrictions to the procedure in Louisiana, and he backs a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, similar to a law on the books in his home state.
Raised in a state heavily reliant on the oil and gas industry, Jindal has pushed back on actions taken to combat climate change. Instead, he says too little has been done to harness the country's energy potential, and he's pushed for increased oil and gas drilling on federal lands and fought increased regulations on power plants. Jindal has called Obama's environmental regulations "reckless and based on a radical leftist ideology that will kill American jobs and increase energy prices." On climate change, Jindal said "human activity is having an impact on the climate" but said unilateral steps by the United States that hurt the nation's economy would not help the environment. He said any steps to address climate change should be done with its trading partners.
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