Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has rallied progressive voters in what has proven to be a formidable effort to become the second consecutive woman to secure the Democratic nomination for president. Following a 30-year career as a law professor, she unseated moderate Republican Sen. Scott Brown in 2012 before winning reelection in 2018. Warren entered the race for president in February 2019.
Here is where Warren stands on some of the top issues voters care about in the 2020 campaign.
One of the centerpieces of Warren's campaign for "big, structural change" is a complete overhaul of the American health care system under "Medicare-for-all."
Warren says she would use the first several years of her administration to help "transition" the American health care system to "Medicare-for-all" by creating a public health insurance option that would be free to anyone under 18 and families making less than double the federal poverty line.
She further promises that "no later than my third year in office, I will fight to pass legislation that would complete the transition to full Medicare-for-all."
Warren has said she can fund her ambitious health care plans "without raising taxes on the middle class by one penny." This has been disputed, however, by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which said in a report that funding "Medicare-for-all" using simply taxes on the rich would be "impossible."
Warren says that a 6 percent wealth tax on families worth over $1 billion would put her $52 trillion plan over the funding finish line, though Marc Goldwein of the CRFB cast doubt that the tax would bring in the amount she says it will.
"If we think we’re going to get 100 percent of our expected tax base, that’s a little bit of a fantasy because people will take measures to avoid the tax, including some that aren’t even what you’d think of as tax avoidance, just like spending the money or giving it to charity," he told Fox News.
Warren would also essentially abolish private health insurance under her "Medicare-for-all" plan, as would her progressive opponent Bernie Sanders. Other 2020 contenders, including Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, would allow private health insurance to continue to exist.
Climate and environment
Warren, who has called climate change an "existential threat," co-sponsored Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution. The resolution seeks to mobilize the federal government in the fight against climate change while achieving ambitious social justice goals.
"The #GreenNewDeal isn't just an agenda for reducing carbon emissions and defeating the climate crisis — it's an opportunity to transform our economy and create millions of good, new jobs. American ingenuity can rise to meet this challenge," Warren tweeted in December.
Warren's climate change plan, which she says would create more than 10 million new jobs, particularly through a green manufacturing plan she dubs the "Green Apollo Program," comes with a $3 trillion price tag. That cost is almost double the amount the more moderate Biden plans to spend fighting climate change, but just a fraction of the $16 trillion Sanders says he would spend on the issue.
Warren sets 2050 as the goal for the United States to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, which is not as ambitious as some other Democrats who have been in the primary, but she does advocate a total ban on fracking, which differentiates her from Buttigieg and Biden.
Economy and minimum wage
As income inequality has become a big issue in the Democratic primary, Warren has taken a unique approach to corporate taxes. While some candidates advocate raising the corporate tax rate back to 35 percent -- the level it was before President Trump signed a tax reform bill in 2017 -- Warren says she will implement at 7 percent surtax on profits for extremely large companies.
This plan leaves the Trump tax rates in place for most companies while hitting giant corporations which Warren says, "make huge profits but pay zero federal corporate income taxes on those profits."
Warren, like nearly the entire Democratic primary field, supports raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.
Additionally, Warren's proposal for a wealth tax is not just for funding "Medicare-for-all." While she hopes to hit families worth over $1 billion for 6 percent of their wealth each year to fund her health care plan, she also says she will fix a 2 percent levy on all families worth over $50 million.
With the nearly $3 trillion she plans to bring in through that wealth tax, Warren says she will fund no less than eight separate initiatives:
- Student debt cancellation
- Universal childcare
- Universal pre-k
- $800 billion in new federal funding for public schools
- Tuition-free college
- $50 billion for historically black colleges and universities
- $1 trillion for "Medicare-for-all"
- Tackling the opioid crisis
Most of the top candidates remaining in the race, excluding Biden, have voiced support for some form of wealth tax. There are questions not just about the effectiveness of a wealth tax, however, but also its constitutionality.
"The Constitution does not specifically empower Congress to adopt a wealth or asset tax (as with the Sixteenth Amendment), an asset tax cannot be 'equally apportioned' (by definition, it takes only from the better off), and possessing wealth or assets is not, by definition, a 'transaction' (any more than owning a home is)," Heritage Foundation Research Associate Joel Griffith wrote for Fox News last year. "In fact, seizing this private property without just compensation would clearly violate the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause."
Warren, like other 2020 Democrats, has lambasted Trump's immigration policies and his administration's treatment of immigrants.
"He’s advanced a policy of cruelty and division that demonizes immigrants," Warren writes of the president on her website. "He’s axed programs that protect young Dreamers and asylum seekers fleeing violence and upheaval. He’s championed dramatic cuts to legal immigration, and imposed a bigoted ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries."
While some Democrats in the 2020 field have said they would be open to some physical barrier on the southern border in some cases, Warren has professed that she is against any type of wall or fence. She has also said she is in favor of making illegal border crossings a civil offense instead of a criminal offense, which most of the primary field favors but Biden has opposed.
Warren also backs a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Warren is also one of the most liberal candidates on criminal justice, particularly in regard to the legalization of marijuana. She is one of five co-sponsors to the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, also known as the MORE Act, in the Senate. Former presidential candidate Kamala Harris is the bill's original Senate sponsor.
The MORE Act would decriminalize marijuana federally, support members of marginalized communities who start marijuana businesses, and pursue several other social justice goals.
Warren also favors the abolition of the death penalty, like most Democrats, and has signaled she would consider allowing currently incarcerated felons to vote. While most 2020 Democrats have backed allowing felons to vote once they have served out their prison terms, Warren and Sanders have been at the forefront of allowing such individuals to vote from behind bars.