The Democratic presidential candidate uses his eighth policy announcement to focus on an area that he prioritized in Congress.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday morning released a plan to improve the lives of veterans, returning to an area of priority during his time in the U.S. House for his latest 2020 policy rollout.
In keeping with measures he supported in Congress, the plan calls for a “responsible end” to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — reinvesting $1 out of every $2 saved in veterans programs — and the creation of a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund for each future war. The fund would be paid for by a “war tax” on households without service members or veterans.
“We must be willing to pay any price, and bear any burden, to provide the full care, support, and resources to every single veteran who served every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in a statement, adding that the best way to honor veterans is to “cancel the blank check for endless war—and reinvest the savings to ensure every American can thrive upon their return home.”
The war tax would be a progressive tax on adjusted gross income. The tax would range from $25 for those making less than $30,000 per year to $1,000 for those earning over $200,000 every year.
O’Rourke’s platform also includes ideas to overhaul veterans’ health care, ensure all veterans are treated equally and help with the transition back to civilian life.
O’Rourke was set to discuss the plan during a veterans roundtable later Monday morning in Tampa, Florida. O’Rourke is visiting the state ahead of his appearance at the first primary debate Wednesday in Miami.
The veterans plan takes O’Rourke back to a constituency that he prioritized during his three terms representing El Paso — home to Fort Bliss — in the House. He served on both the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees, and he held quarterly town halls specifically for veterans.
Initially knocked as light on details, O’Rourke has been unveiling policy proposals at a steady clip since early May. Before the veterans plan, he put out ideas on climate change, immigration, criminal justice reform, abortion, voting rights, LGBT rights and entrepreneurship.
And there is likely more to come, with his campaign recently hiring a batch of policy staffers. Chief among them is national policy director Carmel Martin, a former Obama administration official and top policy expert at the Center for American Progress.
Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines
Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.
"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.
More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.
At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.
Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy
"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."
Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why
According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.
As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."