Where they stand on the issues

By CALVIN WOODWARD

Associated Press

Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush on the issues:

Bush: No. Only in cases of rape or incest or when a woman’s life is endangered.

Gore: Yes.

Bush: Would nominate “strict constructionists,” taken by some to mean justices sympathetic to abortion restrictions.

Gore: In the context of judicial appointments, has said: “I will protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Bush: Said he was disappointed by federal approval of the abortion pill but did not think a president could overturn it.

Gore: Supported approval.

Bush: Ban unregulated “soft money” from corporations and unions, not from others. Allow political “issue ads.” Increase disclosure.

Gore: Ban soft money, increase taxpayer campaign financing. Make broadcasters give candidates free time.

Bush: Tax relief, including doubling of child tax credit to $1,000.

Gore: Expand existing tax credit for child care expenses so families can claim half of expenses, up from 30 percent. Poor families that don’t get the credit because they don’t pay income tax would receive up to $2,400 for child care. As well, parents at home with babies up to age 1 could claim care expenses of $500. Total cost of plan: $30 billion. $8 billion in incentives for states to improve child care training and services.

Bush: No.

Gore: Yes. “I support vigorous enforcement of our laws against discrimination, including affirmative action.”

Bush: Yes, under existing “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Gore: Yes, openly.

Bush: No.

Gore: No, but recognize some “contractual rights” normally reserved for married couples.

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Bush: Supports.

Gore: Supports.

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Bush: Sees nuclear stockpile as excessive and favors cuts even if Russia does not match them. Would build robust missile defense system, seeking Russia’s agreement to amend ABM, but proceeding if necessary without such agreement. $20 billion more for weapons research and development over five years, $1 billion more a year for military pay raise, giving average soldier $750 more in first year.

Gore: Opposes unilateral nuclear arms cut. Would develop technology for limited missile defense while seeking Russia’s agreement to amend ABM treaty. Boost defense spending by $100 billion over 10 years.

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Bush: $47 billion, 10-year plan. In first five years, $5 billion more for literacy, $8 billion more for college scholarships and grants, $300 million fund (rising to $500 million) to reward states that improve pupil achievement based on increased student assessments. Five percent cut in education money to states where performance lags. Let families save, tax-free, $5,000 per year per student for education expenses at all ages. More spending flexibility for states that administer national test to samplings of students or a compatible state test approved by Washington. More charter schools.

Gore: $170 billion, 10-year plan. Subsidized preschool, $5,000 raises for good teachers in poor and rural areas, $5,000 more for “master teachers,” tougher standards for teachers. $8 billion in 10 years to recruit more teachers. Tax breaks for college savings and expenses, after-school care, $8 billion in school construction. Require all states to use national sampling test or meet that test’s standards. Close schools that fail to meet standards for two years and reopen them under new leadership. More charter schools.

Bush: Yes, when public schools in poor areas fail to meet standards for three years.

Gore: No.

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Bush: Increase domestic production and exploration, including in the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Increase reliance on natural gas. Halve capital gains taxes when landowner sells property for conservation. $50 million in matching grants with states for landowners to restore habitat or protect rare species while farming or ranching. Opposes unilateral extension of federal control over forests, seashores and monument properties. Opposes ratification of Kyoto agreement on global warming.

Gore: $150 billion trust fund over 10 years for cleaner energy and environment, including $2,000 tax credits for buying new energy-efficient homes, $1,000 credits to make existing homes more energy efficient, tax credits for buying coming generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, aid for cleaner mass transit and $68 billion in incentives for cleaner power plants. Apart from fund, spend $2 billion over 10 years to set aside more parkland. No drilling in Alaskan refuge. Negotiated Kyoto accord.

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Bush: Supports eventual “transition to a market economy.” Sets aside extra $7.6 billion for crop insurance over 10 years.

Gore: Promises stronger income-stability programs. Says Freedom to Farm Act, which removed price supports and required infusion of emergency aid for farmers, has failed and should be changed.

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Bush: Raise age for handgun possession to 21. Background checks at gun shows if they are instant. Would sign a bill requiring child-safety locks to be sold with guns. Says existing gun laws have not been adequately enforced.

Gore: Mandatory photo ID licenses for future handgun buyers. Require manufacturers and federally licensed sellers to report gun sales to state authorities. Ban “Saturday night specials.” Expand background checks and require child-safety locks.

Bush: “I believe law-abiding citizens who pass rigorous background checks and a firearm proficiency test should be able to protect themselves and their families. This decision is best left to individual states.”

Gore: “No. We must not loosen the restrictions on concealed weapons.”

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Bush: Tax credit of up to $2,000 per family to help low-income working Americans buy health insurance. Expand tax-free medical savings accounts that can be used to pay for health expenses. Add 1,300 rural health care centers. Create $158 billion plan to cover prescription drugs for the elderly poor and subsidize choice in drug plans for other Medicare beneficiaries.

Gore: Expand federal-state health plan for children, to enroll more children and allow parents to be covered, too. Offer coverage to people whose incomes now are too high to qualify. Tax credit for uninsured people for purchase of individual health policies. Add $253 billion prescription drug plan to Medicare to give free complete coverage to elderly poor and cost-sharing benefit to others. Provide $9 billion more for cancer research.

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Bush: More visas for highly skilled workers and temporary farm laborers. Spend $500 million over five years to speed processing of immigration applications. Split Immigration and Naturalization Service into two services devoted to welcoming legal immigrants and cracking down on illegal ones.

Gore: Maintain or expand immigration to help with labor shortage. Change rules that favor admission of Cubans and Nicaraguans over others from the region so Central American asylum seekers overall, as well as Haitians, are on a more equitable footing.

_Bush, Gore: No.

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Bush: Extend moratorium on new Internet sales taxes at least through 2006. $400 million over five years to improve education value of Internet use in schools.

Gore: Supports existing tax moratorium, which ends late next year. Says “computer literacy is a fundamental civil right.” Spend more to bring affordable computer and Internet technology to poor and rural communities and schools.

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Bush: “I will ensure Americans can exercise their right to know how their information is collected, how it will be used, and to accept or decline the collection or dissemination of this information, especially sensitive medical, genetic, and financial information. … I will prohibit genetic discrimination, criminalize identity theft, and guarantee the privacy of medical and sensitive financial records. I will also make it a criminal offense to sell a person’s Social Security number without his or her express consent.”

Gore: “I have called for an Electronic Bill of Rights. … It includes the right to choose whether personal information is disclosed; the right to know how, when, and how much of that information is being used; the right to see it yourself and the right to know if it’s accurate.” Wants to make a federal crime of buying or selling Social Security numbers for profit. Proposes having federal government supply credit bureaus with personal information on parents delinquent in child support so they don’t get credit cards.

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Bush: Give workers option of staying entirely in Social Security system or else investing a portion of their Social Security taxes in individual retirement accounts, taking a smaller payout from the program when they retire but supplementing their benefits with the private investments.

Gore: Opposes diverting Social Security money to personal accounts but offers tax credit to low-income and middle-income people to match their retirement investments. Value of credit varies according to income. $100 billion over 10 years to improve Social Security benefits for widows and working women.

Bush: Yes, for people near retirement. Has not ruled it out for younger workers.

Gore: Yes.

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Bush: On paper, Bush uses up $4.296 trillion of the projected 10-year budget surplus of $4.561 trillion with his tax cuts, programs, interest and Social Security commitment, which leaves a balance of $265 billion. Independent analysts say in reality he has probably overspent the surplus, in part because he assumes huge savings from cutting federal bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Gore: On paper, Gore uses up $4.261 trillion of the projected 10-year surplus of $4.561 trillion with his programs, tax cuts, interest and Social Security and Medicare commitment. That leaves $300 billion, which he says he would put into a reserve fund to help pay down the national debt by 2012. Independent analysts question whether his plan fits within the surplus, and a nonpartisan congressional panel says 19 of his tax breaks are too vague to understand how much they might really cost.

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Bush: Cut all income tax rates, with lowest rate dropping to 10 percent and highest to 33 percent. Double child tax credit to $1,000. Charitable deductions could be taken by people who don’t itemize. Promises no increase in personal or corporate tax rates. Eliminate inheritance tax. Reduce marriage penalty paid by many two-income couples by allowing a deduction of 10 percent of the lower-earning spouse’s salary, up to $30,000. Estimated cost through 2010: at least $1.3 trillion.

Gore: Selected tax relief, helping people pay for tuition, buy health insurance, save for retirement, pay for day care and more. $3,000 tax credit for people who need or provide long-term care at home. Eliminate inheritance tax on farms and businesses worth up to $5 million, raising the tax-protected threshold from $2.6 million now. Raise taxes by $130 billion on some corporate transactions and tobacco. Raise standard deduction for married couples to ease marriage penalty for those who do not itemize deductions. Package priced at $500 billion over 10 years.

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Bush: Negotiate more trade agreements. Give priority to a free-trade agreement for the Western Hemisphere.

Gore: More trade agreements, but attach environmental, labor and human rights standards to them. Favors “increased cooperation and trade with our partners in this hemisphere.”

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Bush: $8 billion plan in first year to encourage churches and other groups to assume more responsibility for needy through tax breaks and other incentives.

Gore: All states, to get federal child-support aid, should require parents who are responsible for child support payments to have jobs. Such parents would get government help if needed to find work. Greater role for churches and other groups in helping needy.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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