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John Delaney is a former three-term Maryland congressman, a first person in his family to go to college and a Bruce Springsteen super fan. A businessman and attorney, Delaney founded two publicly traded financial companies before running for Congress in 2012, and was at one point the youngest CEO on the New York Stock Exchange. He has an estimated net worth of $232 million.
In July 2017, the self-made millionaire kicked off his White House run, becoming the first Democrat to officially enter the race. Since then, Delaney has pinned his presidential hopes on the Iowa caucuses. He has toured all of the state’s 99 counties and self-funded more than $1 million in television ads there.
Here is where Delaney stands on some of the key issues of the 2020 election cycle:
Delaney envisions creating a government health care program for all Americans under the age of 65, after which they could enroll in Medicare. The plan would enshrine healthcare as a right for all Americans while still allowing people the choice of buying into the private market. Delaney opposes “Medicare for All,” saying that Medicare works and should be left alone. In Congress, he was a vocal supporter of the Affordable Care Act and was open to adding a public option, as well as expanding Medicare for people over the age of 55.
Delaney supports comprehensive immigration reform. As a congressman, he cosponsored the DREAM Act in 2017, which would have provided a path to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. He called President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, “cruel, heartless and mean-spirited,” and said deporting “Dreamers” would be both morally wrong and damaging to the economy. Delaney believes immigration reform should be modeled on the bipartisan 2013 Senate immigration bill, which would have given undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship and increased border security funding.
At the top of Delaney’s list of priorities, both as a congressman and presidential candidate, is investment in infrastructure. A year ago, he wrote a letter urging Trump to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 23 percent in order to fund a $200 billion infrastructure package. In Congress, he strongly opposed the tax reform bill passed by Republicans in 2017 (which lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent). The tax bill included measures incentivizing companies to bring overseas earnings back to the United States; Delaney argued that the revenue should have been put towards infrastructure spending. Each House session he was in Congress, Delaney introduced the Partnership to Build America Act to fund a $750 billion infrastructure package.
Delaney identifies as pro-choice and as a strong supporter of same-sex marriage. In Congress, he consistently voted to strengthen anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws and for legislation to fund organizations like Planned Parenthood.
The former CEO has criticized China for intellectual property theft and supports building a global alliance to pressure China to open its markets. He commended the president for taking China seriously as a global threat, but opposes the administration’s tariffs, which Delaney argues hurt American farmers and curtail job growth. While in Congress, Delaney was one of a few Democrats who supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he is interested in revisiting the trade deal if elected in 2020.
Delaney strongly supports the Senate vote declaring Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Delaney has also praised the Senate’s decision to withdraw military aid from Saudi forces fighting in Yemen. He has not spoken publicly about Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria.
Tess Conciatori is a politics production assistant at PBS NewsHour.
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