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What does Hillary Clinton believe? Where the candidate stands on 12 issues

BY and   April 10, 2015 at 6:13 PM EST  | Updated: Apr 11, 2016 at 6:09 PM
No other 2016 candidate possesses a political resume quite like Hillary Clinton's. Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters

No other 2016 candidate possesses a political resume quite like Hillary Clinton’s. Photo by Scott Morgan/Reuters

Hillary Rodham Clinton owns a singular resume: first lady, senator and secretary of state. She is also a lawyer who worked on the Watergate investigation and a four-decade veteran of campaigns. Add two-time presidential contender. She’s also the only Clinton to win the Iowa caucuses. Here is a look at where Clinton stands on 12 key issues.

Education: Make public college debt-free. Fund universal pre-K. Against No Child Left Behind. Position unknown on Common Core.

Clinton proposes a “New College Compact” that would make community college free and allow students to attend public four-year colleges debt-free. This would include a tax credit of up to $2500 per student. The $350 billion higher ed plan requires students, parents and states to contribute certain amounts. She pays for it by closing yet-unspecified tax loopholes for the wealthy. She also proposes universal preschool access for all four-year-olds.

READ MORE: What does Bernie Sanders believe?

In her 2008 campaign, Clinton decried President George W. Bush’s trademark education program, calling No Child Left Behind an unfunded mandate and pledging to end it if elected. Last year, Clinton supported the NCLB’s replacement “Every Student Succeeds Act,” saying the legislation is imperfect, but it “will help give states and teachers flexibility to serve the needs of their students, while ensuring schools are held accountable for raising the achievement of all children.” During a campaign stop in Iowa in April, Clinton indicated support for Iowa’s version of Common Core, but did not specifically endorse the national education standards.

Guns: Ban several types of assault weapons. Repeal protections for gun makers. Create a comprehensive background check system and close loopholes.

A gun-control advocate, Clinton laid out her approach to gun violence in August 2015. She has co-sponsored and would push for a reinstatement of the assaults weapons ban. Clinton would expand background checks and close what she calls loopholes in the system. Additionally, she proposes repealing a law that protects some gun manufacturers and sellers from civil lawsuits.

Health care: Give the government a role is setting insurance rates. Expand Obamacare but do not attempt to create a universal health care system now.

The former health care task force leader proposes a $250 monthly cap on out-of-pocket drug costs and a tax credit for families with large out-of-pocket medical costs. She would repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on high-value insurance plans. Clinton also proposes that government should be able to block excessive health insurance hikes. She has said she supports the idea of universal health care in the long run, but thinks it is politically unfeasible and even detrimental to raise it now. Finally, Clinton would invest $2 billion a year into Alzheimer’s research. She would also create an early-screening system for autism. During the PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate in February, Clinton said she supports “the goal of universal health coverage,” but thinks it has to be achieved incrementally.

Immigration: Continue DACA and DAPA programs to waive deportation and expand them. Give undocumented residents a path to legal status.

Clinton supports comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. She voted for the 2007 plan endorsed by then President George W. Bush which ultimately died in the Senate. The Democratic candidate supports President Obama’s DACA and DAPA programs to waive deportation for those brought to the U.S. as children or who are the parents of lawful residents. She would close all private immigration detention facilities, allow the undocumented to buy into Obamacare and encourage states to offer in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.

Jobs and Wages: $275 billion stimulus plan. Tax credits for jobs. Raise federal minimum wage to $12 an hour.

The core of Clinton’s jobs plan is a $275 billion infrastructure/stimulus plan to improve roads, bridges, railways, airports and FAA technology. This will be paid for, she has said, by “unspecified business reform.” She proposes a few job-related tax credits, including credits for businesses hiring felons and those hiring apprentices. On wages, Clinton supports raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 now to $12. She has said that states, not the federal government, should be encouraged to raise it further, to $15 an hour in some places.

READ MORE: What does Donald Trump believe?

Marijuana: “Wait and see” on overall legalization.

Clinton told CNN in 2014 she wants to see more studies and research, especially in states which have legalized marijuana, before forming her opinion on the federal level. In November, Clinton called for a reclassification of marijuana, which would effectively make it easier for scientists to research the drug.

Social Issues: Abortion should be legal. So should same-sex marriage.

Clinton is a staunch supporter of legal access to abortions. As secretary of state, Clinton told a Congressional hearing that, “Family planning is an important part of women’s health and reproductive health includes access to abortion.”

On gay marriage her stance has “evolved.” Clinton now supports same-sex marriage. But she has acknowledged that this was not always her viewpoint. Her conversation on the topic with NPR’s Terry Gross in 2014 made headlines. Clinton recently blasted Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, tweeting that it was “sad.”

Taxes: A series of targeted tax credits for the middle class. Raise capital gains taxes.

Clinton proposes a series of tax cuts she says is aimed at the middle class. These include: $1,200 for those caring for sick or infirmed family, $2,500 credit for high out-of-pocket medical costs, $2,500 credit for higher education, $1,500 for businesses hiring apprentices and a credit for businesses which hire felons.

Clinton would significantly increase taxes on short-term capital gains, or proceeds from investments. In 2008, she proposed keeping capital gains under 20 percent in a primary debate. She has said she would close tax loopholes for industries that move overseas, Wall Street and the wealthy.

She may propose to keep capital gains taxes below 20 percent, as she did during a primary debate in 2008. In 2008, Clinton proposed suspending the federal gas tax for the summer as consumers faced rising prices at the pump.

Israel: Work toward a two-state solution. Do not necessarily freeze settlement building.

As candidate, Clinton affirmed her commitment to a two-state solution in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. She said that the U.S. needs to return to a more constructive footing in the region, following tensions between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She has differed with the president on the issue. Clinton also has said she would not have pushed to freeze Israeli settlement building in 2009.

Iran: Support framework for nuclear deal. Continue diplomacy efforts and some sanctions.

Clinton supports the current Iran framework and has praised President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their diplomatic efforts. She often cites her work in bringing several nations to the table for those nuclear talks. As secretary of state, she backed sharp sanctions against Iran, but has recently said additional sanctions, proposed by Congress, would be detrimental to striking a deal.

During the 2008 campaign, Clinton criticized Obama’s suggestion that the U.S. could negotiate with Iran without precondition.

Islamic State: No boots on the ground. Use regional troops.

Clinton believes the U.S. should use air support to fight the Islamic State, that American and other Western troops should not be fighting on the ground. Instead she argues that regional forces, especially the Iraqis, should provide ground troops. Last year, Clinton broke with the White House, saying she would call for a no-fly zone in Syria, in addition to creating humanitarian zones.

Clinton wrote in her memoir, “Hard Choices,” that she pushed the Obama administration to become more involved in Syria earlier. During an 2014 interview with The Atlantic, Clinton said the failure to help Syrian rebels directly led to the rise of the Islamic State.

Trade: Clinton announced last year that she does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it currently stands. The deal — the largest trade agreement in history — cuts trade barriers, protects multinational corporations’ intellectual properties and sets labor and environmental standards.

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