Contents Taken From the Website of the
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE
Democrats have a long and proud history of defending civil rights and expanding opportunity for all Americans. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 to including marriage equality in the party platform in 2012, Democrats have fought to end discrimination in all forms—including discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability.
For too many though, this ideal is still far from a reality. That’s why in our fight to stand up for civil rights for all Americans, we are committed to protecting voting rights, enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ensuring marriage equality, and equal federal rights for LGBT couples, and achieving equal pay for equal work.
Democrats believe all children should be able to lead happy, successful lives. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring the next generation has access to an quality education and the tools to drive our economy forward. Our country is strongest when our workers are trained with the knowledge and ingenuity to perform at the highest levels. Every child should have the opportunity to reach that horizon and to fulfill the American Dream.
Democrats have long valued education as the key to success, both for individuals and for our nation. In 1944, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the G.I. Bill, a landmark piece of legislation that provided World War II veterans with opportunities for higher education. The G.I. Bill helped create the modern middle class in America.
In recent years Democrats have further increased access to higher education and restructured and dramatically expanded college financial aid, while making federal programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students. In 2010, President Obama signed into law student loan reform, that cut out the role of big banks. The Obama administration also doubled our investment in Pell Grants and made it easier for students to pay back student loans. President Obama has worked to reform the higher education system and invested the most in student aid since the G.I. Bill.The Obama administration is working to overhaul the “No Child Left Behind” program and provide teachers with more professional support and resources — while also holding them accountable. President Obama instituted “Race to the Top,” a revolutionary program designed to promote innovation and provide incentives for improvement in education. As a result, dozens of states have made changes to increase standards and implement reforms.And in 2015, the President announced a landmark proposal to make community college free to anyone who is willing to work for it, a measure that could benefit nearly nine million students each year.As the global marketplace grows more competitive, we need to expand opportunities for higher education and job training. Democrats are committed to increasing the college-completion rate as well as the share of students who are prepared for budding industries with specific job-related skills.Democrats recognize education as the most pressing economic issue in America’s future, and we cannot allow our country to fall behind in a global economy. We must prepare the next generation for success in college and the workforce.
In March 2010, President Obama fulfilled a promise that Democrats have pursued for nearly a century: making quality, affordable health care available to all Americans. In all, seven presidents pushed for health reform over the years. Today, we finally are able to make real the principle that every American should have access to quality health care, and no one should go bankrupt just because they get sick.
For decades Democrats have fought for the simple idea that everyone should have some basic security in health care. When President Johnson signed Medicare into law in 1965, we were finally able to provide that security to America’s seniors. In 2009, President Obama extended SCHIP and Medicaid to cover an additional 4 million children.
But it took nearly a century to extend that basic measure of security to all Americans.
In 2010, despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, Democrats were finally able to pass comprehensive health reform into law.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 16.4 million Americans gained health care coverage and the uninsured rate has been reduced by more than a third. Among the newly insured are 2.3 million young adults who are covered because the Affordable Care Act allows them to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is now illegal, and nearly 8 in 10 Americans who recently shopped for health insurance in the marketplace could get it for less than $100 per month.
The Affordable Care Act has also allowed states to expand Medicaid to help even more Americans get covered. Twenty-eight states have expanded Medicaid, and Medicaid and SCHIP enrollment has risen 26 percent.
The Affordable Care Act also provides tax credits to small businesses to help offset the costs of employee coverage and tax credits to help families pay for insurance. We are also experiencing health care spending growth at its lowest level in 50 years.
Democrats are proud of this progress and are fighting every day to preserve it for generations to come.
Democrats believe that comprehensive immigration reform is essential to continuing the tradition of innovation that immigrants have brought to the American economy and to ensuring a level playing field for American workers.
But while Republicans have refused to act on bills that both protect our national security and provide a fair pathway to citizenship for those contributing to our society, President Obama has stepped in.
In November 2014, President Obama announced executive action offering deportation relief for up to five million undocumented immigrants who are contributing to their communities, while also cracking down on illegal immigration at the border and ensuring that immigrants who live here pay taxes.
Democrats believe in a more permanent solution that keeps families together and our country safe, which is why President Obama wants to work with the new Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill similar to the one that Senate Democrats passed in the last Congress.
As President Obama said when he announced his executive order, “we were strangers once, too.” Democrats believe that immigrants add to the richness of our society, and we are committed to making our immigration system work again.
That’s why Democrats support comprehensive reform grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability:
Responsibility from the federal government to secure our borders: The Obama administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to securing our borders and reducing the flow of illegal traffic in both directions.
Responsibility from unscrupulous businesses that break the law: Employers who exploit undocumented workers undermine American workers, and they have to be held accountable.
Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally: Undocumented workers who are in good standing must admit that they broke the law, pay taxes and a penalty, learn English, and get right with the law before they can get in line to earn their citizenship.
Jobs and the Economy:
Democrats are working to grow an economy that strengthens our country and middle-class families for the long run. We are committed to helping all Americans confront the challenges of the 21st century by spurring job creation, rebuilding our infrastructure, investing in clean-energy technologies and small businesses, and restoring fairness and opportunity to our economy.
When President Obama took office in 2009, he inherited an economy in free fall, with huge deficits, skyrocketing health care costs, dwindling employment, and banking and housing markets on the brink of collapse. Working with the President, Democrats stabilized the financial system and helped to prevent a second Great Depression.
Our economy has now added over 12 million private sector jobs and seen over 61 straight months of growth — the longest streak on record.
Democrats have cut taxes for working families, provided help for small businesses and homeowners, and strengthened consumer protections. Despite Republican obstruction at almost every turn, Democrats have provided relief for hardworking Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Democrats reinstated fiscal responsibility in government spending and ensured that American taxpayers will never again be forced to bail out big banks.
We still have work to do, but Democrats are moving forward with a middle-class economics plan to continue to strengthen the economy and create jobs for American workers.
We want to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed and that all working families can enjoy economic security. That’s why we’re improving access to education from preschool to college, reforming the tax code to reward and support working families, and helping workers save for retirement.
Democrats are committed to curbing the effects of climate change, protecting America’s natural resources, and ensuring the quality of our air, water, and land for future generations. From investing in clean-energy to protecting our ecosystems, the Obama administration and Democrats are working to address our biggest environmental challenges, paving the way to a more sustainable America.
Here’s what Democrats and President Obama have done:
Under the Obama administration, the Department of Transportation and the EPA issued new fuel-economy standards, the first meaningful increases in fuel economy for cars and light trucks in decades.
We’ve increased our use of solar energy twenty fold since President Obama took office, and tripled our electricity produced by wind power.
In June 2013, President Obama laid out a Climate Action Plan to reduce the harmful effects of climate change.
President Obama instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to take steps to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, which are the largest concentrated source of emissions in the United States. These proposed steps will reduce carbon pollution 30% from 2005 levels by 2030.
And in November of 2014, the President announced a landmark agreement with China to work together to reduce carbon pollution in the next 15 years.
For decades it has been clear that the way Americans produce and consume energy is not sustainable. Democrats are committed to sustainable solutions to protect our environment and grow our economy.
It will take all of us acting together — workers and entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens, the public and the private sector—to address the challenge of climate change and seize our clean-energy future.