If elected President, what would your priorities be when developing a federal budget?
When I am President, I will make investments to improve the quality of life for all Americans. At
the top of the list of my domestic priorities is providing quality, affordable health care to every
single American through my American Health Choices Plan. I also have an economic blueprint for
the 21st century to rebuild America's middle class that includes my plans to restore fairness to the
tax system to balance the budget and spur economic growth; to invest in new and old industries that
will create new jobs; to support our unions; to confront the housing crisis, which is threatening
Americans' dream of homeownership; and to help all Americans save for their future. I will also
reclaim the future for our children, from their earliest years and into adulthood. I plan to provide
quality prekindergarten to all four-year-olds, improve our schools and make college more affordable
for all families. And I have also unveiled a
comprehensive Youth Opportunity Agenda to help at-risk youth and combat child poverty. I also
have a bold plan to address global warming and move our country toward energy independence,
which will not only create 5 million new "green" jobs and a "green economy" but also ensure that
we preserve our environment for our children and our children's children. I know that I am setting
big goals - and as President, I will work to realize them in a fiscally responsible way. As I pursue
each of these initiatives and others, I will work to move us back toward balanced budgets and a
Today, our tax and budget system have become increasingly complex and unfair. My top priority
for reform is bringing back fairness and responsibility to government tax and budget policy. I will
reverse the policies of this Administration which favor the wealthy and well-connected over low
and middle-income American families.
I will increase federal funding for programs that help working families, including providing
universal health care, dramatically improving education opportunities from birth to college,
providing a "Marking Work Pay" tax credit to 150 million working Americans, fully funding the
CDBG program and other programs that increase the availability of affordable housing, increasing
funding for transitional jobs and career pathways programs, and expanding eligibility and
increasing the EITC to benefit 12 million Americans.
If elected President, what would you do to address the problems of predatory lending?
As President, I will end predatory lending and ensure that the abuses of recent years do not recur. I
have proposed a comprehensive agenda to crack down on abusive lending practices, crack down on
unscrupulous brokers who prey on borrowers, strengthen disclosure rules so people understand what
they are signing, and expand access to financial counseling. As President, I will tighten federal
regulation that protects families from predatory lenders. I will also ensure that the federal statutes
governing abusive lending are actually enforced.
I vigorously opposed the Bush administration's efforts to weaken the Community Reinvestment Act,
which would have made it easier for large banks and thrifts to bypass and pull out of low- and
moderate-income communities. Without access to traditional banking services, too many Americans
must turn to abusive payday lending, check cashing, and other high-cost services.
I have proposed a robust agenda to cut down on predatory lending, and ensure that communities
have access to affordable lending products. I introduced the STOP FRAUD Act, nearly two years
ago to address the subprime problem and crack down on fraud, and in wake of reports that African
Americans were being unfairly steered to high-risk subprime loans, I called on the Federal Trade
Commission to immediately investigate these disturbing reports.
I have also called to put an end to the most unscrupulous payday lending and credit card practices,
which disproportionately affect urban minorities. I will extend the 36 percent interest cap on payday
loans that applies to U.S. service members to all Americans. I will sign into law a Credit Card Bill
of Rights that bans the most egregious credit card activities. And I will work with my Secretary of
Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to encourage banks, credit unions and
CDFIs to provide affordable short-term and small dollar loans -- and to drive the sharks out of
business. Finally, I will fight to ensure that more Americans are empowered in the fight against
predatory lending by supporting initiatives to improve financial literacy and financial planning.
If elected President, what would you do to promote public financing of campaigns?
I support the public financing of federal campaigns and believe that public financing offers
solutions to many of the problems that plague our current campaign finance system. As President, 1
will work hard to move our country to a public financing system that is both fair and effective. It is
the only real solution to reducing the influence of money in politics, and I look forward to helping
pass and signing into law a meaningful, fair, comprehensive public financing system when I am
I support public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to
reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the
Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Fein gold's
(D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel
way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires
both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and
stay within the public financing system for the general election. The proposal followed
announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they
could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled my
proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising
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Vernellia Randall. All Rights Reserved
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