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Copyright 2000 The National Journal, Inc.  
The National Journal

 View Related Topics 

September 30, 2000

SECTION: POLITICS; Pg. 3056; Vol. 32, No. 40

LENGTH: 10464 words

HEADLINE: Bush and Gore: Issue by Issue: An Update


The following is an update on our recent charts on the presidential
candidate's positions.
Bush: Consistently opposes abortion.
Gore: Supports abortion rights across the board.
Public Funding
Bush: Opposes the use of public funds to provide or to advocate abortions. Can
be expected to cut federal funds for domestic family-planning services through
Title X. As Texas governor, signed laws that restricted state family- planning
funds. Wants to greatly increase federal funding for abstinence-only sex
Gore: Supports federal funding of abortions for Medicaid recipients in cases
of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Supports Clinton Administration
increases in federal funding for family planning, including abortion, through
Title X.
International Family Planning
Bush: Would reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which during the Administration
of his father, President Bush, banned overseas family-planning groups that
received federal funding from providing abortion-related services, even with
private money.
Gore: Supports the Clinton Administration's reversal of the Mexico City
Bush: Would reinstate the ban that was in effect during his father's
Administration prohibiting privately funded abortions at overseas military
Gore: Supports the Clinton Administration's policy of allowing military
personnel to obtain privately funded abortions at military bases overseas.
"Partial-Birth" Abortion
Bush: Would sign legislation to ban the procedure.
Gore: Opposes Republican-authored legislation that would ban the procedure.
Bush: Supports a more market-oriented approach to agriculture than does Gore.
Touts opening overseas markets as the best way to boost American farm income.
Gore: Would instate regular federal payments to farmers to stabilize farm
income from year to year.
Freedom to Farm Act
Bush: Supports eliminating most federal subsidies, but advocates covering more
commodities under federal crop insurance. Would phase out the estate tax and
pursue tax incentives to encourage farmers to save money for lean years.
Gore: Critical of the market-oriented 1996 Freedom to Farm Act, which
exchanged farm subsidies for "transition payments" aimed at encouraging
farmers to plant as the market dictates. Favors targeting federal aid to
small- and medium-sized farms, and more-aggressive enforcement of antitrust
laws in agribusiness.
Bush: Would call upon the European Union to open its markets to bioengineered
Gore: Supports federal funding of bioengineered agricultural products and of
efforts to open foreign markets for them. But also urges strong scientific
review to address consumers' safety concerns about bioengineered foods.
Bush: Would push for fast-track trade-negotiating authority and pursue new
markets abroad for American agricultural products. Opposes withholding food
and medicine from countries as part of unilateral trade sanctions or
Gore: Supports opening markets and reducing tariffs abroad for American farm
products, despite opposition from labor leaders. Like Bush, opposes including
food and medicine in unilateral trade embargoes.
Bush: Supports federal funding for research into effective ways to use ethanol
and other biofuels.
Gore: Supports federal funding for research on ethanol and tax incentives for
using it.
Bush: Supports vigorous enforcement of existing laws, but opposes increased
government regulation of the industry.
Gore: Favors increased consumer-protection regulations in the banking
Bush: Favors Republican-authored 1999 Bankruptcy Reform Act, which is awaiting
final action in Congress. The bill would force some bankruptcy filers to pay
off more of their debts to credit card issuers.
Gore: Opposes 1999 Bankruptcy Reform Act on the grounds that it provides
insufficient consumer protections. Backs compromise reforms that would require
credit card issuers to provide easy-to-understand information about their
interest rates and fees.
Bush: Backs industry position that consumer-privacy protections in the 1999
Financial Services Modernization Act are adequate. (Act limits the information
that banks can share with third parties, but lets them use that information to
pitch additional products to their customers.)
Gore: Supports strengthening the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act to
prevent banks from using their customers' personal data for marketing
Community Reinvestment Act Reform
Bush: Supports provisions enacted in recent financial reforms that require
community groups filing comments on bank mergers and expansions to annually
report information about their own borrowing. Also supports the newly mandated
and less onerous regulatory reviews of small banks' fair-lending practices.
Gore: Supports a review of the new financial services law's fair-lending
provisions, on the grounds that the rules may invite small banks to skirt
their obligations to lend to the poor. Also believes the law's supposed
"sunshine" provisions may actually discourage public comment on bank mergers
and expansions.
Bush: Wants to set aside one-quarter of the surplus for broad tax cuts, and
has proposed myriad tax credits in areas from education to health care. Has
been less explicit about direct domestic spending, but wants to aid farmers,
boost military salaries, and invest in schools and in research and
Gore: Has been a longtime advocate of fiscal restraint through "reinventing"
government and reducing debt; would aim to pay off the federal debt by 2012.
At the same time, would increase domestic spending in key areas.
Bush: Projects it to total $ 265 billion over 10 years after tax cuts, spending
plans, and putting aside Social Security and Medicare.
Gore: Would establish a $ 300 billion reserve fund after tax cuts, spending,
and Social Security and Medicare funds are put aside. Has outlined a 10-year
surplus plan that would furnish a Medicare prescription drug benefit and boost
federal spending on education, law enforcement, environmental protection, and
National Debt
Bush: Would eliminate the national debt by 2016.
Gore: Would retire natioanl debt by 2012.
Budget Process
Bush: Wants to overhaul the budget process. Would push for biennial federal
budgets and for legislation that would keep the government operating even if
some appropriations bills were not signed into law. Would impanel a bipartisan
commission to eliminate pork barrel spending. Would ask Congress for new line-
item veto authority, notwithstanding the Supreme Court's 1998 ruling that the
line-item veto approved by Congress in 1995 was unconstitutional.
Gore: No specific plan, although Clinton Administration has supported biennial
Bush: Supports raising campaign contribution limits, but would tighten
disclosure and lobbying rules.
Gore: Has proposed a sweeping reform package that would ban unregulated money
and furnish generous public subsidies to candidates. Has pledged to make a
"soft-money" ban the first bill that he sends to Congress.
Soft Money
Bush: Would bar corporations and labor unions from making unlimited "soft-
money" contributions to the political parties. However, would permit wealthy
individuals to continue making unregulated soft-money donations.
Gore: Wants to ban all "soft money," including unregulated contributions from
unions, corporations, and individuals.
Bush: Wants to require Internet disclosure of campaign contributions within a
week of receipt. Endorsed recently enacted disclosure laws aimed at so- called
527 political organizations. But does not support requiring other types of
politically active groups to disclose their issue-oriented expenditures.
Gore: Wants to require all politically active groups that broadcast issue ads
within 60 days of an election to disclose their funding sources.
Public Financing
Bush: Opposes public financing of elections.
Gore: Has proposed a public-private Democracy Endowment, which would raise $7.1 billion over seven years to finance the campaigns of general election
candidates who agree not to accept any other private money. "Paycheck Protection"
Bush: Endorses so-called paycheck-protection legislation that would require
labor unions to get members' permission before spending members' dues on
political activities.
Gore: Opposes paycheck-protection legislation.
Contribution Limits
Bush: Wants to increase the limit on campaign contributions to keep pace with
inflation. For example, the individual $ 1,000 contribution limit would be
indexed to $ 3,400.
Gore: Gore: Opposes raising the existing contribution limits.
Lobbying Reform
Bush: Wants to ban members of Congress from asking lobbyists for political
contributions while Congress is in session.
Gore: Wants to require lobbyists to disclose more about their activities,
including the names of those to whom they've contributed, and to post that
information monthly on the Internet.
Bush: Emphasizes the family's role in child care and wants to give states
discretion in spending federal grants. Has proposed a  $ 2.3 billion " Strong
Families, Safe Children" child welfare reform initiative that would give
states $ 1 billion in additional resources for preventative services to help
families in crisis.
Gore: Proposes a $ 38 billion, 10-year federal program to make child care more
affordable for working families. Some $ 30 billion of the funding would come
out of his $ 250 billion middle-class tax cut proposal, the rest from the
federal budget surplus.
Child Care Tax Credits
Bush: Would double the $ 500-per-child federal tax credit to $ 1,000. Supports
block grants that would allow low-income families to choose child care
providers. Proposes bigger tax cuts for adoptive families and $ 2.3 billion for
child-welfare programs over five years.
Gore: Would offer a refundable tax credit to help parents cover as much as 50
percent of child care costs, compared with 30 percent today. Low-income
families with no tax liabilities would receive up to $ 2,400 for child care.
Would offer a $ 500 tax credit to stay-at-home parents with infants under age
Child Care Standards
Bush: Supports measures, now in place in Texas, that require child care
workers to undergo background checks, receive training, and submit to surprise
spot inspections. As Texas governor, has boosted child care spending by $ 360
million since taking office.
Gore: Would provide $ 8 billion in grants to states for day care improvements,
provided that they set up early-childhood reading programs, improve health and
safety standards, require training and background checks for child care
workers, and perform spot inspections of centers.
Out-of-Wedlock Births
Bush: Would direct the Health and Human Services Department to work with
states to establish, administer, and publicize the existence of paternity
registries. Wants to see at least as much federal spending on abstinence
education as on teen-contraception programs. Wants to study the effectiveness
of federally funded sex education programs.
Gore: Wants states to pass laws requiring all fathers who owe child support to
pay up or go to work. Wants to strengthen child-support enforcement and give
credit bureaus data on "deadbeat" parents and challenge credit card companies
to deny them new cards.
Adoption and Foster Care
Bush: Has proposed a variety of tax credits and vouchers to promote adoption
and assist children in foster care. These include $ 300 million over five years
for vouchers to cover college tuition or vocational training to young people
who "age out" of foster care.
Gore: Promoted adoption legislation while in Congress, and touts the Clinton
Administration's enactment of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1998-a
bill authored by congressional Republicans-which was followed by a 29 percent
increase in the number of children adopted from foster care.
Bush: Opposes quotas and racial preferences. Has proposed initiatives to
assist the disabled, but takes issue with hate crimes legislation now pending
on Capitol Hill.
Gore: Strongly backs affirmative action; supports legislation to expand
federal prosecution of hate crimes; defends gay rights; supports programs to
assist the disabled. Pledges that "the first civil rights act of the 21st
century" will be a ban  on racial profiling by police.
Affirmative Action
Bush: Supports what he calls affirmative-access programs. His "Texas 10
percent plan" automatically admits those students who graduate in the top 10
percent of their high school class to any state college or university. Would
increase federal funding for historically black colleges and Hispanic- serving
institutions. Declined to support the 1999 Nondiscrimination Employment Act,
which extends federal workplace discrimination protections to gays. Advocates
breaking down government contracts into smaller sizes to promote
entrepreneurship in all communities.
Gore: Has championed the Clinton Administration's establishment of an
Education Department Advisory Board to advise the Education Secretary on ways
to strengthen historically black colleges. Has worked with the Small Business
Administration to provide business development and federal contract support to
minority-owned businesses. Supports pay equity for women.
Hate Crimes
Bush: Declined to back a Democratic-sponsored hate crimes bill, saying: "All
crime is hate crime."
Gore: Strongly supports congressional hate crimes legislation.
Gay Rights
Bush: Declined to support the 1999 Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which
extends federal discrimination protections in the workplace to gays and
Gore: Strongly supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Persons With Disabilities
Bush: Has proposed a "New Freedom" initiative that would furnish more than $ 1
billion over five years to promote technologies aimed at further integrating
Americans with disabilities into the work force and into community life.
Gore: Has pledged to move persons with disabilities out of institutions and
into their communities, and to expand their  employment and educational
opportunities and health care.
Bush: Would support tough laws for domestic violence, juvenile offenders, and
sex offenders. Also wants strong penalties and longer prison terms for violent
Gore: Would support tough gun and gang laws, but places greater emphasis than
Bush on prevention. For example, would give federal grants to states for
crime-mapping software to target crime hot spots. Supports federal funding to
help local governments hire 50,000 new police officers.
Death Penalty, DNA Testing
Bush: Supports the death penalty for those who commit violent crimes. Supports
post-conviction DNA testing if, in the context of all the evidence, it can
help determine guilt or innocence.
Gore: Supports the death penalty for heinous crimes; says it has a deterrent
effect. Has not stated a position on post-conviction DNA testing.
Mandatory Drug Testing of Prisoners, Parolees
Bush: Has not staked out a position.
Gore: Supports mandatory drug testing and treatment of state prisoners before
release; would furnish states with $ 500 million in grants to cover the costs.
Victims' Rights
Bush: Supports a constitutional amendment that would give victims the right to
be notified of trials and probation hearings, to give input in plea bargains,
and to be told when a prisoner's release is imminent.
Gore: Supports a constitutional amendment giving victims the right to be
notified of trials and probation hearings, to give input in plea bargains, and
to be told when a prisoner's release is imminent.
Juvenile Crime
Bush: Supports aggressive enforcement of existing handgun laws and prosecution
of gun offenses. Says he would support legislation to prevent juvenile
offenders from buying a gun when they become adults.
Gore: Would support tough juvenile crime laws and additional federal funding
for school anti-drug programs.
Bush: Embraces high-tech weapons, including ones for a national missile
defense program.
Gore: Advocates spending increases; would exercise caution on national missile
defense plans.
Defense Spending
Bush: Would increase defense spending, particularly for troops' pay and for
weapons research.
Gore: Would continue recent steady increases in defense spending.
National Missile Defense
Bush: Would dramatically expand the proposed system of ground-based rockets,
probably adding sea-based and possibly air- and space-based interceptors;
would do so, if need be, at the expense of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
with Russia and of arms control in general.
Gore: Would continue President Clinton's cautious course by balancing a
limited, ground-based system against international objections and the
strictures of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.
Gays in the Military
Bush: Would retain the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which allows
closeted gays and lesbians to serve in the military.
Gore: Rejects the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy as unworkable, and
would work to overturn the law that bans openly gay and lesbian people from
serving in the military.
Modernizing the Military
Bush: Would increase military research-and-development spending by $ 20 billion
over five years and focus research on revolutionary weapons that would " skip a
generation" ahead of current technology.
Gore: Focuses on reorganizing the Pentagon, particularly streamlining business
practices and increasing cooperation among the Air Force, Army, Navy, and
Marine Corps, rather than on developing radically new weapons for each
Military Readiness
Bush: Has blasted the Clinton-Gore Administration for underfunding and
overusing U.S. forces, arguing this has eroded their readiness to fight and
win a major war.
Gore: Defends military downsizing as well managed, and emphasizes that the
U.S. military remains the strongest on Earth.
Bush: Favors a major cut in income tax rates and the privatization of Social
Gore: Favors targeted tax cuts, broader increases in spending, but no major
reforms or deregulation of the U.S. economy.
The Surplus
Bush: Favors making broad tax cuts, paying down the debt, and targeting
spending increases and tax credits for education, health, and defense.
Gore: Favors eliminating the national debt more than cutting taxes or
increasing spending.
Federal Reserve
Bush: Has said almost nothing about rising interest rates, a major complaint
of U.S. business, but generally supports Alan Greenspan and the Federal
Reserve Board's strategy of raising rates to rein in inflation. Bush advisers
have voiced skepticism that the "new economy" can grow fast without inflation.
Any successor to Greenspan would probably be less inclined to support bailouts
of foreign economies or U.S. banks.
Gore: Takes Clinton's tack of praising Greenspan and largely keeping quiet on
the Fed. Fully endorses the new-economy model. Candidates for replacing
Greenspan: former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and current Treasury
Secretary Larry Summers.
Bush: Would likely focus on price-fixing cases. On Microsoft case, has
suggested he'd prefer an out-of-court settlement.
Gore: Has given no indication he would depart from current policy. On
Microsoft, supports action against predatory behavior that impedes
Bush: Supports vouchers and charter schools, but would expand federal funding
in a few areas, such as early-childhood education and teacher training.
Gore: Supports greatly expanding the federal role in education, including
teacher hiring and training, school construction, and early-childhood
School Choice
Bush: Would give vouchers to students in schools that remain on a state's
"failing" list for three years; the vouchers would be worth about $ 1,500 and
could be used at a public or private school. Would offer $ 3 billion in loan
guarantees to establish or improve 2,000 charter schools in the next two
Gore: Opposes vouchers but supports charter schools and public school choice.
Would use federal money to triple the number of charter schools to 5,100 by
Bush: Would require states to annually test pupils in grades 3 through 8.
Would establish a $ 500 million fund to reward schools that improve their test
scores; would give vouchers to pupils in schools that fail. States that do not
improve test scores would lose administrative money.
Gore: Would create a $ 500 million Accountability Fund to pay for state
improvement plans. Schools would have to improve or face being shut down.
Would reward states that improve their scores on the National Assessment of
Educational Progress.
Teacher Quality
Bush: Would consolidate federal funding for teachers; the move would dissolve
President Clinton's class-size-reduction program and increase total funding
for teacher recruiting, hiring, and training from $ 2 billion to $ 2.4 billion.
Would expand the current Troops-to-Teachers program budget from $ 2.4 million
to $ 30 million.
Gore: Supports Clinton's effort to pay for 100,000 new teachers. Would offer
grants to poor school districts to lure top teachers by giving higher
salaries. Wants teacher testing and "fast, fair" removal of bad teachers.
Would establish a Teacher Corps to encourage professionals and high school
graduates to teach.
School Safety
Bush: Supports federal prosecution of juveniles who bring guns to school.
Would rate schools on their safety and make the information available to
Gore: Would offer grants to schools that enforce zero-tolerance policies for
guns on campus and for alternative schools for  children who have discipline
problems. Unlike Bush, has no formal plan for rating schools on their safety.
Paying for Education
Bush: Would increase the annual limit on contributions to tax-free education
accounts from $ 500 to $ 5,000; the savings could help pay for education from
kindergarten through college. Boosts the maximum award for Pell grants from $3,300 to $ 5,100 for college freshmen. Proposes a $ 1.5 billion program to help
states establish merit-scholarship programs.
Gore: Would create tax-free accounts for education throughout a person's life.
Employers would be permitted to contribute. Persons could contribute up to $2,500 a year to the account and withdraw funds without paying taxes if they
used the money for educational purposes. Would allow families to deduct from
their taxes up to $ 10,000 a year for college tuition and fees.
Early-Childhood Education
Bush: Wants to make Head Start more focused on education, and to require
evaluations of each program's effectiveness. Would spend $ 1 billion annually
on a new federal reading initiative based on testing, remedial help, and
teacher training. Proposes $ 400 million more a year for after-school
"certificates" for low-income families.
Gore: Supports Clinton's proposal to spend $ 1 billion more on Head Start.
Would set aside money to train preschool teachers. Favors voluntary universal
prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds.
Bush: Says that his $ 483 billion, five-year tax cut will free up capital for
investment, help the economy to expand, and create jobs. Shares his party's
traditional skepticism of federal job training programs.
Gore: Supports minimum-wage hikes. Like Clinton, rejects the notion that
federal spending can create jobs and tacitly shares the GOP view that that job
creation and job training are best left to the private sector. However,
supports some state-based job-training initiatives.
Minimum Wage
Bush: Has favored an unspecified increase in the minimum wage, provided the
President could rescind it if it is judged to threaten job creation. After
House GOP leaders backed Clinton's plan for a $ 1-an-hour wage increase,
endorsed the $ 1 figure, with his opt-out clause.
Gore: Supports Clinton's call for a $ 1-an-hour hike in the minimum wage,
phased in over two years. But he does not back the additional increases
advocated by some labor unions.
Job Training
Bush: Has no specific plan for job training. His $ 7 billion college education
plan is geared to those just out of high school.
Gore: Would leave the responsibility for most new job-training opportunities
to states and employers, with matching grants used to encourage new spending.
For example, the federal government would pay half the cost of an additional
13 weeks of unemployment benefits, to allow a recipient to complete job
training. Dislocated workers would be helped by plan to make most college
education expenses tax-deductible.
Bush: Promises a more state-directed, industry-friendly environmental policy,
although his reliance on this approach while governor of Texas has come under
attack from environmental groups.
Gore: Promotes a continuation and, in some cases, an acceleration of the
Clinton Administration's environmental policies.
Global Warming
Bush: Agrees that human activity is causing warming, but opposes the 1997
Kyoto treaty, an international pact signed by the Clinton Administration,
which would force industrial nations to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.
Gore: Supports the Kyoto global-warming treaty.
Energy Policy
Bush: Has not articulated a detailed energy policy, but would furnish tax
incentives for ethanol use, and has said that he supports the development of
energy-efficient technologies. Supported provisions in the Texas electricity
deregulation bill that require state utilities to reduce pollution at their
oldest coal-fired power plants.
Gore: Calls for a 10-year, $ 125 billion energy plan that would help electric
firms retrofit coal-fired power plants; develop new energy technologies; and
provide tax breaks, loans, and grants to consumers and businesses who switch
to environment-friendly homes, factories, and vehicles.
Bush: Advocates flexible cleanup standards and new financial support to speed
up reclamation and development of brownfields-- contaminated waste sites in
urban regions.
Gore: Calls for more funding to help companies rehabilitate urban brownfields.
Would let state and local governments float bonds to pay for cleaning up
abandoned factories.
Oil Policy
Bush: Opposed tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Gore: Supported tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to supplement low
heating oil supplies in the Northeast.
Snake River Dams
Bush: Opposes tearing down four dams on Washington state's Snake River to
protect the seriously depleted local species of salmon and other fishes.
Instead, recommends alternative methods to save the fish.
Gore: Promises to hold a "salmon summit" to decide whether to breach the dams
to protect the declining populations of salmon and other fishes in the Snake
Bush: Emphasizes free trade and internationalism, with an emphasis on
unilaterally asserting American interests.
Gore: Emphasizes free trade and internationalism, with an emphasis on
cooperative engagement through international institutions such as the United
Arms Control
Bush: Opposes the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and would withdraw
from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, if necessary, to build a robust
national missile defense system. Is generally skeptical of multilateral arms
control agreements.
Gore: Supports the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and a renegotiated
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Is generally supportive of multilateral arms
control agreements.
Bush: Would strive to reduce the role of U.S. forces in peacekeeping missions
around the world by shifting peacekeeping duties in the Balkans to European
allies, and by shunning future missions unless vital U.S. interests were at
Gore: Strongly supports the use of U.S. forces in recent peacekeeping
Bush: Favors a "one-China" policy, and supports the Taiwan Security
Enhancement Act, which commits the United States to closer defense cooperation
with Taiwan.
Gore: Supports a "one-China" policy, but opposes the Republican-crafted Taiwan
Security Enhancement Act.
Bush: Supports tight economic sanctions and international isolation.
Gore: Backs the recent relaxation of sanctions on Cuba to allow for shipments
of food and medicine, and for greater dialogue.
Bush: Would refocus U.S.-Russian relations on security matters. Would likely
oppose further loans to Russia by the International Monetary Fund.
Gore: Helped fashion current policy of multilayered engagement with Russians
to promote both economic reforms and nonproliferation efforts.
Middle East
Bush: Would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Gore: Would delay any decision on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem until a
Middle East peace settlement is reached.
Bush: Advocates a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops and transferring the
peacekeeping mission to European allies.
Gore: Advocates the continued participation of U.S. troops in a NATO-led
peacekeeping force.
Latin America and Mexico
Bush: Supports NAFTA and fast-track trade-negotiating authority, and proposes
a hemispheric free-trade area for the Americas.
Gore: Supports NAFTA and fast-track authority, and proposes a free-trade area
of the Americas.
Bush: Supports continued economic sanctions and advocates increasing support
for Iraqi opposition groups seeking to oust Saddam Hussein. Has publicly
threatened to unilaterally strike any known Iraqi sites used to produce
weapons of mass destruction.
Gore: Defends the present policy of economic sanctions and "containment" of
North Korea
Bush: Has aligned himself with foreign-policy advisers who have criticized the
Clinton Administration deal that freezes North Korea's nuclear weapons
program, but provides fuel oil to and constructs civil nuclear reactors for
that country.
Gore: Supports the Clinton Administration's deal that freezes North Korea's
nuclear weapons program, but provides fuel oil to and constructs civil nuclear
reactors for that country.
United Nations
Bush: Supports the paying of past U.S. dues, but only if U.S.-backed reforms
are fully instituted and the percentage of peacekeeping dues paid by the
United States is reduced. Has pledged never to put U.S. troops under U.N.
command. Has called for reforms to make the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank less activist.
Gore: Has called for the repayment of all past U.S. dues; advisers close to
Gore support recent proposals for significantly strengthening U.S.
peacekeeping capabilities.
Bush: Proposes dramatic restructuring and cuts to reduce the size of
Gore: Has been a longtime champion of "reinventing government." Touts federal
staffing reductions and efficiency gains made on his watch.
Government Jobs
Bush: Would eliminate 40,000 civil service management jobs. Would give more
government work to private contractors. Would change civil service rules to
reward individual performance.
Gore: Says that the Clinton-Gore Administration has eliminated 370,000 federal
jobs over eight years. Has not specifically called for more job cuts,
outsourcing of federal work, or changes to civil service rules. Supports
giving federal workers more on-the-job flexibility, as long as goals are met.
Bush: Would offer more government services and data online. Would create a
chief information officer and furnish $ 100 million for computer automation.
Gore: Would offer more government services and data online, including his
Across America initiative, which would target students, the elderly, and rural
Bush: Would establish a bipartisan Sunset Review Board to eliminate
duplicative and ineffective programs.
Gore: Has not stated a position. As an eight-year incumbent, has less reason
than challenger Bush to emphasize oversight.
Bush: Supports strong enforcement of existing gun laws, and funding for such
federal programs as Project Exile, which brings prosecutors and law
enforcement officials together to target armed, convicted felons and violent
Gore: Supports strong gun control measures.
Background Checks at Gun Shows
Bush: Supports immediate background checks of prospective buyers at gun shows.
Gore: Supports background checks at gun shows, even if they cannot be done
Gun Registration and Licensing
Bush: Opposes government-mandated registration of guns.
Gore: Supports national, mandatory licensing; supports an alternative to
registration, whereby sellers report identities of buyers to state
authorities; backs photo licenses and gun safety tests for new handgun owners.
Child Safety Locks
Bush: Supports voluntary efforts to equip guns with safety locks; however,
will sign gun-lock mandates if Congress approves them.
Gore: Supports mandatory child safety locks.
Concealed Weapons
Bush: Believes that individuals who pass background checks and a firearms
proficiency test should be able to carry concealed weapons, but says that this
decision is best left to individual states.
Gore: Strongly opposes any laws that loosen the restrictions on carrying
concealed weapons.
Bush: Advocates reducing the number of uninsured citizens by subsidizing their
purchase of private health coverage. Also supports limited patients' rights.
Gore: Supports incremental movement toward reducing the number of uninsured
citizens, first by expanding coverage through existing government programs.
Also supports broad patients' rights legislation, including patients' right to
sue their health plans for denied services.
Tax Credits
Bush: Would give people who don't have employer-sponsored health insurance an
annual tax credit of up to $ 1,000 per individual and $ 2,000 per family to
cover up to 90 percent of the cost of health insurance. The subsidy would vary
depending on income.
Gore: Advocates the use of tax credits as a way to make insurance more
affordable for the uninsured. The tax credit would be the equivalent of 25
percent of a person's health insurance costs.
Bush: Wants to give states more flexibility in administering the Children's
Health Insurance Program, a federal block grant, and allow them to expand CHIP
to other eligible people, including some parents.
Gore: Supports enrolling more children, and some parents, in the state
Children's Health Insurance Program and in Medicaid. Would expand eligibility
to include children living at up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level
(which would make a family of four earning $ 41,000 eligible), and make states
responsible for enrolling eligible children.
Medical Savings Accounts Bush
Wants to make existing medical-savings-account pilot programs permanent and to
lift the federal cap of 750,000 on the number of accounts. Would allow all
employers to offer MSAs, and would let both employers and employees contribute
to them. Would lower the minimum deductible for accompanying catastrophic
health plans to $ 1,000 for an individual and $ 2,000 for families.
Gore: Opposes the widespread use of medical savings accounts, which he argues
would mostly attract healthy people and pull them out of the regular insurance
market, ultimately boosting costs for others.
Patients' Bill of Rights
Bush: Supports giving patients in federally governed health plans a limited
ability to sue their health plans for denied medical services.
Gore: Wants a broad patients' bill of rights that allows people who are denied
medical services to sue their health plans.
Long-Term Care
Bush: Would make the cost of long-term-care insurance fully deductible, and
establish a personal tax exemption for home caregivers.
Gore: Wants a $ 3,000 tax credit for home caregivers. Has not proposed a tax
break for the purchase of long-term-care insurance because he wants to see
quality improvements in that market.
Group Purchasing
Bush: Would allow small businesses to band together across state lines and
form association health plans, in order to buy health insurance through bona
fide trade associations.
Gore: Would give tax credits to small-business employees who join health care
purchasing cooperatives, which could be run by nonprofit organizations or
other groups. Opposes association health plans.
Bush: Would let local public housing authorities give low-income renters up to
a year's worth of rental vouchers in a lump-sum payment, to cover home-
purchase costs. Would permit the use of Section 8 vouchers to subsidize
monthly mortgage payments. Would furnish $ 1 billion in federal homeownership
assistance over five years.
Gore: Supports President Clinton's call for $ 690 million for 120,000 new
Section 8 vouchers for fiscal 2001. Would also increase support for the
Housing and Urban Development Department's Home Investment Partnership program
and Community Development Block Grant program.
Bush: Calls for changes in structure and policy of the Immigration and
Naturalization Service.
Gore: Supports changes in laws to allow families to stay together; supports
Clinton Administration policies intended to streamline the naturalization
INS Reform
Bush: Would divide the INS into two agencies-one that handles enforcement of
current immigration law and one that focuses on naturalization. Calls for a $500 million funding increase over five years to improve service through
employee incentives.
Gore: Would encourage the agency to separate enforcement and service
operations more clearly, but opposes creating two separate agencies. Supports
the Administration's call for more than $ 200 million in additional INS
funding, most of it for enforcement and border patrols.
H1-B Immigrant Visas
Bush: Calls for an unspecified increase in the number of H1-B visas for high-
skilled foreign workers.
Gore: Would increase the number of H1-B visas offered annually from 115,000 to
200,000, but would raise the fee for them and use that money for education
Bush: Calls for a six-month deadline for processing applications.
Gore: Supports Clinton Administration efforts to streamline the process with a
goal of reducing the time of processing applications to three months.
Family Reunification
Bush: Would change INS policy so that spouses and children of permanent legal
residents can more easily obtain visitor visas while their applications for
permanent residency are pending.
Gore: Supports provisions that would more easily allow families to stay
together; would allow immigrants to have their papers processed in the United
States, rather than in their home countries.
Status of Refugees
Bush: Has declined to take a position on recent legislation proposed by
Democrats on Capitol Hill that would relax restrictions on Central American
and Caribbean immigrants fleeing human rights violations.
Gore: Supports recent legislation authored by Democrats on Capitol Hill that
would allow Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Haitians fleeing human
rights violations to become legal immigrants. (At present, only Cubans and
Nicaraguans enjoy that privilege.) The legislation also would make it easier
for long-term migrants to obtain permanent legal residency.
Bush: Advocates making greater use of the nation's natural resources and
handing over more authority for land use policies to the states.
Gore: Would expand the land preservation policies of the Clinton
Land Preservation
Bush: Would encourage land conservation with tax credits for private parties
and local governments. Recommends abolishing the inheritance tax so landowners
won't be tempted to sell property to developers to pay taxes. Supports full
funding of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, with a mandate that
50 percent of the proceeds be spent on state and local conservation efforts.
Gore: Recommends setting aside more federal lands and paying for them with new
mining royalties from other federal property. Calls for $ 2 billion in tax
incentives to protect wilderness areas from development. Supports the use of
habitat conservation plans, under which landowners agree to preserve local
Resource Extraction
Bush: Supports increased domestic production and exploration, including in the
protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Would continue the
current moratorium on offshore drilling in California and Florida.
Gore: Opposes new oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Would go beyond the current moratorium on oil-exploration leases off the
coasts of California and Florida and ban new drilling under existing leases.
National Monuments
Bush: Opposes President Clinton's policy of protecting federal lands by
designating them as national monuments.
Gore: Supports President Clinton's designation of new national monuments.
National Forests
Bush: Would reverse Clinton Administration proposals to protect 43 million
acres of road-free national forests. Recommends more logging on all national
Gore: Supports Administration proposals to bar new road-building on as-yet-
untouched national forest lands, but would take the issue further by including
Alaska's Tongass National Forest in the road-free designation. Also would
prohibit logging in those wilderness regions.
Bush: Opposes expansive readings of the Constitution by judges.  Strong
supporter of measures to discourage  proliferation of lawsuits.
Gore: Has opposed measures that would limit class action suits and citizens'
access to courts.
Tort Reform
Bush: Favors a reduction in what he sees as a proliferation of frivolous civil
lawsuits that he argues undermines U.S. competitiveness. Favors making losers
in civil lawsuits pay costs of litigation. Would push class action cases into
federal courts. Favors a cap on punitive damages.
Gore: Opposes efforts to limit non-economic damages or cap punitive damages or
otherwise limit recoveries for workplace injuries. Opposes limits on class
action lawsuits.
Bush: Advocates additional private-sector health plan choices for Medicare
beneficiaries, including options with prescription drug coverage.
Gore: Defends the rights of the elderly to remain in traditional fee-for-
service health insurance plans if they so desire, and advocates a prescription
drug benefit that applies to all Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare Reform
Bush: Wants to build on the work of the National Bipartisan Commission on the
Future of Medicare; its leaders recommended opening up Medicare to more health
plans as a way to give the elderly more choices while lowering costs.
Gore: Advocates rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse and giving Medicare more
competitive tools, so long as beneficiaries are protected from premium
inflation. Would bar HMOs that leave Medicare from re-entering for four years.
Prescription Drugs
Bush: Supports spending $ 48 billion over four years to fund state assistance
programs that would provide prescription drugs to low-income seniors. Would
furnish another $ 110 billion over eight years for broader Medicare reforms
that would give seniors a choice of health plans, including plans providing
prescription coverage. Seniors living in poverty would get full or partial
subsidies for prescription insurance premiums, depending on their income
levels. All other seniors would receive 25 percent of the premium costs for
coverage, as well as catastrophic protections after $ 6,000 in out-of-pocket
Gore: Would create a prescription drug benefit that would cover half the cost
of medicines up to $ 5,000 with no deductibles, and catastrophic protections
after $ 4,000 in out-of-pocket payments. Elderly people with annual incomes
below $ 11,000 would pay no premiums or co-payments.
Bush: Has not taken a position on Gore's proposal to put Medicare in an off-
budget lockbox.
Gore: Wants to put Medicare in an off-budget lockbox, so that savings from
Medicare cannot be spent on other programs.
Trust Fund
Bush: Proposes a unified trust fund for Medicare Part A, which covers
hospitalization, and Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits. Also
supports doubling federal funding for Medicare over 10 years, but has not said
where the extra money would come from.
Gore: Advocates using $ 75 billion of budget surplus money over 10 years to
extend the life of Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund until at least
Provider Giveback
Bush: Proposes to restore $ 40 billion in Medicare funding that was lost to
doctors, hospitals, and other Medicare providers as a result of the Balanced
Budget Act of 1997.
Gore: Would use $ 40 billion in budget surplus money to restore funding to
hospitals and other health care providers that was lost as a result of the
1997 Balanced Budget Act.
Bush: Has endorsed "opt-in" rules under which companies must get their
customers' explicit approval for use of data collected from each transaction.
"The principle ought to be (that) people should not be able to use your
information or mine without permission." However, it is not clear whether
these proposed rules would apply only to particularly sensitive data, such as
medical and financial information, or to all transactions, including routine
online purchases. Has generally adopted a free-market, anti-regulation
approach to economic matters, but has also expressed some sympathy for
citizens unwilling to provide extensive personal details required by the
federal census.
Gore: Promotes an "electronic bill of rights" that would allow consumers to
learn how much companies know about them and how the data is used. It would
also block the transfer of that data to other companies. But while supporting
new laws to protect financial and medical privacy, Gore also supports self-
regulation by the online industries, possibly giving them greater freedom to
collect and share personal data. Would also propose a law banning the sale of
Social Security numbers, and would provide citizens with "digital keys" to
allow them to view information held by the federal government about them- such
as retirement data or medical records-without exposing the data to others.
Bush: Says government should turn first to faith-based organizations to help
needy people. Would extend the role and reach of charities and churches,
communities and corporations, synagogues and mosques, and mentors and
Gore: Defends separation of church and state.
Faith-Based Initiatives
Bush: Would establish an Office of Faith-Based Action in the Executive Office
of the President. Would remove barriers to faith-based groups' participation
in government programs.
Gore: Supports allowing states to enlist faith-based organizations to provide
basic welfare services as long as there is a secular alternative and no one is
required to participate in religious observances to receive services. Opposes
the use of faith-based organizations as a substitute for governmental
Public Funding
Bush: Would offer competitive grants to faith-based groups for programs that
address problems such as the needs of children of prisoners. Would expand the
federal charitable deduction to people who do not itemize on their tax
returns, would promote a new charitable state tax credit, and would provide
incentives for corporate giving.
Gore: Supports public funding for faith-based organizations, but not to the
exclusion of government programs. Calls for more private support for religious
Religion in School
Bush: Lamented recent Supreme Court ruling that public school districts cannot
allow students to lead stadium crowds in prayer before high school football
games. Supports student-led prayer and posting of the Ten Commandments in
public schools.
Gore: Opposes government-mandated prayer in public schools.
Bush: Would promote technology innovation with free-market policies, increased
government research, free trade, and legal reforms to curb lawsuits.
Gore: Would promote technology innovation with free-market policies, increased
government research, and free trade.
Internet Taxes
Bush: Has endorsed a five-year moratorium on any federal law allowing the
states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state Internet vendors, and a
permanent extension of the research- and-development tax credit.
Gore: Has supported an extension of the moratorium on any federal law allowing
the states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state Internet vendors. His
economic plan endorses a ban on tariffs imposed on international Internet
sales, and supports a permanent extension of the research-and-development tax
Biotech and Medical Research
Bush: Would add $ 20 billion to Pentagon research and double health research
spending, but would bar federal funding for experiments on stem cells taken
from human embryos. Also supports a "medical moon shot" program to cure a
variety of diseases.
Gore: Would double spending on health care research, increase spending on
environmental technologies, and create 20 biomedical computer centers. Would
support federal spending for experiments on stem cells that were taken from
human embryos by private researchers. His economic plan criticizes European
countries for unfairly excluding U.S. biotech products.
Media and Entertainment
Bush: On marketing of violence and sex to children, has said the industry must
better police itself and do more "to reduce the violence that our children see
on the screen." Has also called for more values education in the schools. Dick
Cheney has called for new rules to foster cooperation among entertainment
companies, along with internal industry sanctions and a standardized ratings
Gore: Has called on the Internet and entertainment industries to better use
content ratings and porn-filtering software to help parents monitor and
control their children's media habits. And, "if necessary we will support
strengthening of the current laws that cover false and deceptive advertising"
by the movie industry, if the industry does not act by spring of 2001.
Education and Training
Bush: Would boost government funding for use of the Internet  and computers in
schools. Would bolster math and science education, and supports vouchers for
students in low-performing schools.
Gore: Would add more Internet links to schools, hire additional teachers, and
provide more loans for university education.
Digital Divide and Telecommunications
Bush: Generally favors a free-market approach, but has offered a plan to
extend Internet and telecommunication services to underserved areas.
Gore: Would provide incentives for companies to extend telecommunication links
to rural areas, spend $ 2 billion per year to link schools to the Internet, and
create centers to help citizens get and use Internet technology.
H-1B Visas
Bush: Says he is more willing than Gore to allow large increases in
immigration of foreign-born technical workers to the U.S.
Gore: Has supported increases in annual H-1B visa awards.
Bush: Proposes allowing younger workers to divert an unspecified portion (uses
2 percent in his examples) of their Social Security payroll taxes into
individual investment accounts. Has pledged to maintain existing benefits for
disabled workers and survivors, as well as for both current retirees and
workers nearing retirement.
Gore: Proposes to use the federal budget surplus to pay down debt and reduce
the need for federal borrowing. Would credit the resulting interest savings to
the Social Security system as an accounting mechanism to extend the life of
the funds.
Bush: Proposes a plan that would not extend the life of the trust fund, as now
defined, because his plan would siphon younger workers' taxes out of the U. S.
Treasury in an expensive transition to private-sector accounts. Has ruled out
tax hikes to bridge the shortfall, leaving unspecified benefit cuts or a
diversion of general revenues as the future alternative.
Gore: Relies on federal debt reduction and reduced interest costs to extend
the life of the Social Security trust fund to 2050. Advisers say he could
apply additional interest savings as they materialize to extend solvency even
further-to 2075.
Private Investment
Bush: Would allow workers to move some of their tax payments into the equity
and bond markets to invest as they wish. Touts the "wealth creation" potential
of private accounts, which are controversial and would accrue more
dramatically to upper-income investors.
Gore: Would offer workers supplemental individual tax-free retirement accounts
("Retirement Savings Plus") matched with government tax credits on a sliding
scale. Workers could deposit as much as $ 1,500 a year in accounts managed by
private financial institutions and invested in broad-based equities, bonds,
and government securities.
Bush: Acknowledges that individual accounts would mean less in the way of
guaranteed benefits for the elderly, but says that nothing about the Social
Security system has been "guaranteed" since 1935, because Congress has made
and continues to make legislative changes along the way.
Gore: Would add an expensive new benefit: government-matched private accounts
similar to 401(k) plans. The Gore plan includes no benefit reductions to deal
with the anticipated shortfall resulting from too few workers covering the
costs of too many retirees.
General Revenues
Bush: Would divert an estimated $ 950 billion from federal coffers between 2002
and 2010 into privately managed stocks and bonds, according to one recent
analysis. Additional revenues would be needed to cover benefits to future
retirees, unless benefits are reduced.
Gore: Says his supplemental accounts plan would cost $ 200 billion over 10
years, but most independent analysts say the price tag would likely go much
Bush: Has promised not to apply ideological litmus test on abortion or other
issues in considering nominees to the Court. Supports "strict construction" of
the Constitution. Has said that he most admires Associate Justices Antonin
Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the two most conservative members of the Court.
Gore: Has said that he will nominate Justices who recognize that the
Constitution is a living, breathing document. Defends abortion rights and the
landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, and stated at the Democratic National
Convention that "the last thing this country needs is a Supreme Court that
overturns Roe vs. Wade." Has said that he most admires the late Thurgood
Marshall, the Court's most liberal member.
Bush: Favors tax cuts of some $ 483 billion over five years, including cuts in
the rate structure.
Gore: Favors targeted tax cuts for specific purposes, as opposed to Bush's
more-sweeping cuts. Favors modified universal savings accounts, which would
encourage retirement savings for people who cannot take advantage of IRAs or
Bush: Replaces current five-rate structure of 15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent
with four lower rates of 10, 15, 25, and 33 percent.
Gore: Would make no overall changes to rate structure.
"Marriage Penalty"
Bush: Favors an $ 88 billion tax cut over 10 years for married couples. Would
restore the 10 percent deduction for two-earner families so they could deduct
up to $ 3,000 more than now permitted.
Gore: Would address the so-called marriage penalty by providing an $ 80 billion
tax cut over 10 years for married couples, which is less than that proposed by
congressional Republicans.
Low-Income Families
Bush: Would cut the marginal rate by more than 40 percent for low-income
families with two children, and by nearly 50 percent for families with one
child. Would increase the existing child tax credit from $ 500 to $ 1,000 per
Gore: Would expand the earned-income tax credit by up to $ 500 for families
with three or more children, and increase by $ 1,450 the maximum income that
two-wage married couples can earn before their credit is phased out. Favors a $1-an-hour increase in the hourly minimum wage over the next two years.
Research and Development
Bush: Would make permanent the research-and-development tax credit, which
provides tax breaks to businesses conducting research.
Gore: Would make permanent the research-and-development tax credit, which
provides tax breaks to businesses conducting research.
Bush: Would allow people to make additional contributions to the personal
retirement accounts that would be established under a Bush Social Security
Gore: Has proposed "Retirement Savings Plus" accounts that would provide a tax
credit match to encourage families to save.
Bush: Would expand tax-exempt bonds that private contractors can receive to
build public facilities to include schools. Under the plan, the private firms
would then lease the school buildings to school districts.
Gore: Would provide tax credits for bonds to modernize up to 6,000 school
buildings. Would also create a college opportunity program that would provide
tax credits or deductions for college tuition.
Earned-Income Tax Credit
Bush: Unlike Gore, has not proposed expanding the Earned- Income Tax Credit.
Gore: Would expand EITC by increasing the credit for families with three or
more children and for married couples.
Estate Tax
Bush: Would eliminate the estate tax.
Gore: Has not proposed eliminating estate tax.
Health Insurance
Bush: Would provide tax credit of up to $ 1,000 per individual and $ 2,000 per
family for those without health insurance.
Gore: Would provide a 25 percent refundable tax credit for families without
employer-provided health insurance.
Long-Term Health Needs
Bush: Would provide a 100 percent above-the-line deduction to help people
purchase long-term-care insurance and would establish an additional exemption
for each elderly spouse, parent, or relative cared for in the home.
Gore: Would provide a $ 3,000 tax credit for families that must provide long-
term health care.
Child-Care Expenses
Bush: Would fund certificates to help low-income families pay for after- school
Gore: Would expand the child care tax credit to 50 percent of cost of care for
moderate-income families and make it refundable.
Bush: An unabashed free-trader. Wants free-trade agreements with Latin
Gore: Supports free-trade policies, but emphasizes "fair trade," a code word
for a get-tough trade policy. Wants to reduce the trade imbalance.
Trade With China
Bush: Supported permanent normal trade relations with China as part of the
requirements for Beijing's membership in the World Trade Organization.
Gore: Supported permanent normal trade relations with China, over opposition
from organized labor.
Labor and Human Rights, Environmental Standards
Bush: Opposes conditioning trade liberalization on progress on labor, human
rights, and environmental issues.
Gore: Supports using trade deals to improve worker and human rights and to
protect the environment.
High-Tech Trade
Bush: Committed to easing export restrictions on commercially available
technologies, but supports trade sanctions to promote his foreign policy
Gore: Supports relaxing export restrictions on commercially available
Bush: Hasn't announced a transportation agenda, but has attacked the Clinton
Administration for higher gas prices, and has proposed a modest plan to help
disabled Americans.
Gore: Supports transportation alternatives to reduce urban sprawl and help
clean the environment.
Bush: Would set aside $ 145 million over five years to provide easier
transportation access to disabled Americans and would target community and
faith-based organizations to provide this transportation.
Gore: Would provide $ 25 billion over 10 years to give Americans more
transportation choices, such as high-speed rail, light rail, and cleaner and
safer buses.
Gasoline Prices
Bush: Blames today's high gas prices on the Administration's quest for cleaner
fuel and its failure to develop a comprehensive national energy policy. Also
argues that the Administration should pressure OPEC to increase the supply of
oil. Opposes efforts to suspend the 18-cent-per-gallon federal gasoline tax to
alleviate higher gas prices.
Gore: Blames today's high gas prices on possible price-gouging by the oil
industry. Would provide tax credits to Americans who buy energy-saving
vehicles and appliances. Like Bush, opposes suspending the federal tax on
gasoline purchases.

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