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What does Jim Webb believe? Where the candidate stands on 10 issues

BY , and   July 2, 2015 at 6:14 PM EST
Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D) speaks at 'National Sheriffs' Association annual conference June 30, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Webb is expected to announce soon that he will run for President of the United States. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb speaks at the National Sheriffs Association conference June 30, 2015, in Baltimore. Webb announced that he will run for president today. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Famously Scottish-American, Jim Webb is a Marine veteran and former Secretary of the Navy who has written 10 books and is the creative force behind “Rules of Engagement.” He’s won an Emmy award (we should disclose it was for an essay he wrote for The PBS NewsHour) and lost a controversial boxing championship to Oliver North at the Naval Academy. Webb upset the Virginia Democratic establishment and the national Republican party with his 2006 longshot-to-top-dog Senate victory. That was his first political campaign. The race for president is his second. Here is where the Democrat stands on 10 key issues.

Budget: Cut the budget by reviewing all programs. Support military funding.

Webb told the Des Moines Register editorial board in June that he would cut the federal budget by calling for “bottom-up program reviews” in all federal agencies. In a December 2014 press conference, the Democrat told reporters that as president he would work across party lines to try and reduce the national debt. As a senator, Webb voted against a balanced budget amendment. As Secretary of the Navy, Webb resigned from office in protest over proposed budget cutbacks at the Pentagon.

Climate change and energy: Limit EPA power to regulate emissions. Expand energy access. Build the Keystone Pipeline.

While in the U.S. Senate, Webb voted for an amendment to at least temporarily block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that the nation’s energy concerns were pressing and Congress needed to have more input in regulation. He has strongly advocated energy expansion, including construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling off the coast of Virginia.

Guns: Gun ownership is an important right.

An advocate for less restrictive access to guns, Webb sees the issue as a critical self-defense right. The former senator himself has held a permit to carry a weapon in Virginia and defended his ownership when an aide brought one of his loaded pistols to Capitol Hill, violating Washington, D.C., law at the time. Webb has voted to allow firearms in checked baggage on Amtrak trains and co-sponsored a bill to repeal some of D.C.’s restrictions and requirements on gun ownership.

Immigration: Allow a path to citizenship after the border is secure. Support the DREAM Act.

Webb supports a possible path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally after the border is secure. In the U.S. Senate, he voted against the 2007 McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill. A year later he supported a bill to expand and reinforce fencing along the United States’ southwest border. In 2010, Webb voted for the DREAM Act, which would have given legal status to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Webb called President Obama’s executive actions to waive deportation for some undocumented workers “legal” but also stated that he is “not a believer in executive orders.”

Obamacare: President Obama mishandled the process. The law could have been narrower.

A critical yes vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2009, Webb has since criticized the way President Obama handled the debate, saying it should have been more focused. The former Virginia senator has said that the health care law could have been smaller in scope.

Prison Reform: Initiate sweeping reform of criminal justice and incarceration system.

Starting in 2006, Webb called for more attention to the incarceration rate in the U.S., authoring a bill to initiate widespread reform in the criminal justice system. The former senator has especially focused on high prison rates for minorities and failures to address addiction and mental illness.

Social Issues: Same-sex marriage should be legal. Government has no role in private matters. Allow abortion access.

In a Facebook post, Webb applauded the Supreme Court’s June decision on same-sex marriage, saying it prevents discrimination while giving religious opponents First Amendment protection. In 2006, Webb defined marriage as between a man and a woman and in 2014, he praised the country’s evolution on gay marriage.

The Virginia native supports the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and has said government power should stop at the front door.

Taxes: Cut corporate taxes. Raise taxes on investments.

Speaking in Richmond at the end of 2014, Webb outlined a tax reform plan: He would cut corporate taxes at the same time as raising taxes on capitol gains and eliminating loopholes. He generally opposes any tax increases on regular pay and voiced a clear “no” to President Obama’s 2012 plan to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Iran and Israel: End current negotiations with Iran.

A hawk on many military issues, Webb has strongly criticized current talks between the Obama administration and Iran. The former senator argues that the U.S. has not demanded enough concessions from Iran and that the White House must get the consent of Congress before moving further. Webb told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the U.S. needs a more clear policy toward the Middle East.

Islamic State and Iraq: The U.S. needs a clear strategy. Unknown if he would send troops to fight Islamic State. Presidents should limit military action.

The presidential candidate has repeatedly said that the U.S. lacks a clear strategy in Iraq and the region. He has not specifically said if he would send U.S. troops to fight Islamic State militants. The former Navy secretary told the NewsHour in February that he would not want American military to become an “occupying force.” In 2014, Webb told “Meet the Press” that he believes no U.S. president has the right to unilaterally send troops to foreign territory where no Americans are directly at risk or no treaties are in effect. In 2002, the former Marine wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post sharply criticizing a potential invasion of Iraq and arguing that such an invasion could force a U.S. military presence in the region for decades.

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