Wikileaks Supporters Plan “Cableweek” In Celebration Of The 2nd Anniversary Of Cablegate

Wikileaks Logo

Nov 28th – 2 year anniversary of Cablegate

Wikileaks supporters are planning a weeklong “cableweek” in celebration of the anniversary of Cablegate.  Cableweek participants will be dissecting embassy cables, report new findings and help spread awareness.

Cablegate was the infamous event of Wikileaks releasing sensitive US embassy cables.  These cables gave the world an unprecedented look into the inner-workings of the US Secretary of State and embassies all over the world.

Learn more about Cableweek

Votepedia’s involvement

Although Votepedia is no way affiliated with Wikileaks or staff, we do have the platform for online activists to make noise and be found.  Our staff has been actively helping Wikileaks supporters spread awareness of the event, and invite all participants to share your findings with Votepedia!

Votepedia will be monitoring the social media and blogsphere for any Cableweek buzz.  To keep up on the latest from Cableweek, follow up on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

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How To Get Started With Political Blogging

How To Get Started With Political Blogging

bloggingThe internet has made sharing thoughts and ideas quick and easy.  No longer can stories be censored byPolitical Blogging With Votepedia mainstream-media.  Through social networking and blogging, anyone can start weighing in on the conversation.  Blogs can be easily setup at minimal or
no-cost to the owner.  Blogs also have the potential to be monetized – meaning it is possible to make some spending change while promoting your views.

Politics is a topic where everyone has an opinion.  Now is the chance for you to broadcast your points to the world.  Political blogging can be very engaging.  Commenters from all spectrums can weigh in their thoughts.  This guide will give you the basics on political blogging and how to get started.

Setting up the blog – Hosted vs self-hosted?

There are two options to go about starting the blog.  Blogs can be created using free “hosted” services such as, Blogger or

Hosted blogs


Hosted blogs, such as the platforms mentioned above, and fast, easy and free to start.  Simply enter an email address and a blog name and you’re good to go!  These platforms are incredibly search-engine friendly.

Each platform carries with it a community of users.  This offers an opportunity for people to connect with your blog through internal discovery, as well as through traditional means of promotion.  For those that choose the self-hosted route (explained below), it is still a good idea to create a hosted blog to build links and to try to tap into these various communities.

bloggerBlogger has the option of adding ads into the blog to generate revenue.  Wordpress offers the same for blogs that have been hosted through them under a registered domain.  Currently, WordPress does not allow users to monetize the free version.


Self-hosted blogs are hosted directly on the users domain.  These blogs are more customizable and have the advantage of being uniquely branded by the websites name.  In order to host a blog, users must first register a domain and purchase a hosting plan.  I would suggest HostGator for webhosting.
JoomlaThere are many “content management systems” (CMS) designed primarily for blogging.  The most popular platforms are;, Joomla and Drupal.  Wordpress is the usually considered the most “user-friendly” and “turnkey”, though opinions vary.

These platforms are free to download and install.  The only initial investment is the domain name ($9 – $15, usually) and hosting (varies).

Self-hosted blogs cost a little bit of money and take more effort to setup, but the customizability and branded domain make up for it.  For those who are new to webhosting or CMS systems, it might be best to experiment with before hosting your own blog.

Step-by-step walkthrough for installing these platforms will be covered in another post.

Posting content – posts vs pages


Add New PagePages are usually reserved for general information about the blog, company, individual,ect.  Most blogs allow for customizable menu’s, but if not, pages are usually displayed in the horizontal navigation at the top of the page.

Add New PostPosts

Posts are usually where the majority of the blogs content 
is found.  Posts can be pretty much anything.  Posts are “tagged” and “categorized” based on the subjects be written about.  Readers can use tags to search for similar content found on the blog.  Categories are more broad.  Most platforms will allow the owners to “nest” categories underneath others.  This allows blog-owners to add niche categories that fall into a broader area.

Promoting the blog

Hosting a blog is the easy part, now it’s time to gain exposure and get some followers.  Blogs are promoted the same way as a website would.  There are a number of free methods of promotion, as well as paid marketing services.  For this guide, we’re assuming the readers are pursuing the no-cost route.

Social media

FacebookSocial media is a free and easy to use method of promotion.  Accounts and pages could be setup for the blog and existing social networks should be tapped into to drive followers.  There are many different networks out there, and each network comes with it’s own set of Twittertechniques and strategies.

Most the tactics used for promoting a petition using Twitter can be applied to political blogs.  Votepedia will write more guides on promoting blogs through social networks at a later date.

Search Engines

GoogleSearch engines provide organic traffic to your blog.  Organic search engine traffic is great because it does not require any marketing and happens in the background.  Most blogs are very search-friendly right out of the box.  For self-hosted blogs, there a number of plugins that can increase the visibility to search engines.

This guide is not going to dive too deep into “search engine optimization” (SEO) in this post, but here are some general guidelines for making posts as search-friendly as possible:


Quality content – Search engines want to provide the best service to their users.  This means delivery quality, unique content to the searchers.  Well-written, complete posts have a better chance of ranking than something that is not well-organized and contains massive spelling or punctuation errors.  Search engines give penalties for duplicate content, so try to make sure to keep things as original as possible!

Blog title – Most blogging platforms will use the title of the blog to create the URL for that page.  Creating blog titles that contain words or phrases that people will be searching for will increase the chance of exposure.  Make sure the blog title also accurately describes the content and makes users want to click-through and read more.

Yahoo“Header-tags” – Google looks at the content contained in the “header-tags” as being more important than plain text.  Using the headers appropriately, but don’t try manipulate it by deliberately stuffing the header-1 with all the keywords or phrases.  Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to detect manipulation, and you may be penalized for it.

“Backlinks” – a “backlink” is a link from another site to your content.  This backlink works as a “vote” for that particular post or page.  Building these links up over time will help all the blogs content rank higher.  There are many techniques to building links.  Some work, some don’t and some will get a website penalized or banned.

Search engine optimization is a technical subject and is constantly changing.  To learn more about it, check out SEOmoz.  They have numerous guides and resources, plus an active community providing their own insight.  SEOmoz is a very credible source and the techniques discussed will usually not be frowned upon by search engines.

Other websites & communities

Using other online communities to promote your blog is a great tactic.  Votepedia is a great example for that.  By registering and joining our community, blog-owners can reach a very politically-active and web-savvy community.

 Use Votepedia’s political blogging platform to create “summary post” linking to the new content.  Not only will this build valuable backlinks to your blog, but it will give Votepedia users enough information to want to continue reading more.  (Make sure content is unique for Google to count the link!)

There are many political forums and websites out there.  Joining and interacting in these communities will help drive awareness and traffic.  Other blogs can also be used to make connections and drive awareness.  Blog owners love when you comment on their posts, and most comment sections allow users to enter a website.  Clicking on the name entered in the comment box will direct viewers to your blog.

Standing out from other political blogs

There are many people talking about politics.  This is especially true during the later parts of the election year.  Standing out from the crowd can me challenging.  Here are a couple of tips for competing with the “big dogs”

  • “Niche” content –  try to find the things other bloggers and media outlets aren’t talking about. Many of the mainstream media outlets will report on what’s “hype” at the moment and will neglect to report on less “newsworthy” stories.

By covering what no one else is covering, that content is guaranteed to rank high and gain exposure.

  • Different angle – Sometimes stories and events can be discussed from a different angle or perspective than what’s being covered by mainstream media.  By placing a unique and original “spin” on popular stories, it’s possible to stand out from the crowd – This is true for both search engines and readers!
  • Patience – Nothing happens overnight.  Keep it up and go with what works.  Remember, if you’re passionate about something, it shows through in the writing!  Keep creating wonderful, unique content, get those links and build your following!  As the blog gets larger and larger, it will develop more credibility and authority.  Everything happens in time.

This is the first of many guides on political blogging

Stay tuned for more guides and tips on political blogging from Votepedia.  If you are a political blogger, please use the comment box below to show-off your work and share what has worked well for you!


Embedding YouTube videos into posts – YouTube videos are a great way to make your posts stand out while adding multimedia to the post.  There is no risk of copyright infringement when embedding videos,  making it the safest way to add media to a post.

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How To Promote A Petition Through Twitter

Protesters Marching On White House Promoting causes through Twitter

Twitter is a very powerful micro-blogging platform, when used correctly. Twitter is the platform of @mentions and #hashtags. If used correctly, Twitter can have a broad reach and it’s easy to touch niche communities.  Best of all, Twitter is free.

Setting up the Twitter handle

The first step is setting up the Twitter handle. The Twitter handle can be dedicated to the specific petition, or dedicated to the broader cause. It is also possible to promote the petition from a personal handle. The most optimal route to go when setting up the handle name may vary based on the petition and type of movement involved.

The if the Twitter handle is branded to the petition or the movement, it’s important to be clear and concise as to what you are doing in 140 characters or less. If a website URL can fit into the profile description, that’s great. If not, no big deal.

Try to make the profile so that users within the petitions niche can easily identify with the profile. The name of the profile should accurately describe the niche the petition or movement is in.

How to properly use hashtags to promote a petition

Hashtags allow Tweeters to brand their tweets with specific topics or tags. Hashtags can be clicked on to bring up a page dedicated to that topic. Most petitions fall into fairly specific categories: Human rights, health, criminal, & justice, and so on. Using hashtags properly will expose tweets to the audience who will be willing to sign your petition.

Make sure the hashtag has activity, but not excessive activity – Before tagging a bunch of tweets with hashtags, it’s usually best to scope our the topics to see if there’s any traffic. If the hashtag has no activity, it’s probably not worth pursuing. On the flip-side, the hashtag is way too active, tweets will get lost in the chaos and never be read.

Finding the right hashtags is important to promoting a petition or cause. Usually the more niche the hashtags are, the better. Even if the tweet is not exposed to massive amounts of traffic, the niche traffic is usually more qualified for the particular cause.

Tweets found under hashtags will usually be tagged with similar topics. Monitoring tweets under known hashtags will usually give users insight into other things that tweets could be tagged with. Sometimes it’s best to experiment with different topics to see which ones get the best response.

@Mentions – get the retweet you need

@mentions are done by tagging the tweet with a users @name. Their name will be clickable on your tweet and the user will be informed of the mention. If the tweet is compelling enough and the person mentioned is in the same niche, they will usually retweet your tweet, or respond back with an @mention, giving the petition or cause valuable exposure.

Many times, especially when promoting a petition, the tweet can ask the person for a retweet.  This may end up looking like “RT plz” or something similar. “RT” is short for “retweet” and “plz” is short for “please”.

If the user retweets, there’s a chance his following will see the RT and retweet as well. This can get your petition infront of the eyes of entire networks all within the same niche.

Getting infront of those networks is the easiest way to develop followers as well.

Responding to tweets

Certain tweets rank higher in “popular” than others. Responding to high-ranking tweets is a great way to get exposure on high trafficked hashtags. Joining the conversation is similar to replying with an @mention, except the conversation is recorded under the original tweet.

Anyone “Expanding” the tweet or respond will see your tweet right below the original. Anyone responding after you will automatically @mention you. Keeping the conversations going is a great way to get @mentions and gain exposure in my competitive topics.

Experiment. Success may vary based on the cause.

Keep experimenting.  What works may vary from person to person. Pursue what is working and try to optimize what’s not. Starting out with zero followers can be intimidating, but things get easier as the handle grows.

Remember that you’re promoting a good cause, and most people are willing to jump behind it. Make the points compelling, and get yourself in-front of the authorities of your niche.

Online Petitioning, Nonpartisan Debate And More!

Starting an online petition with Votepedia

Votepedia - Political Social Media & Online Petitioning

Votepedia is a nonpartisan political social-network.

We strive to give our users the tools and resources needed to make their voices heard. The internet has made communicating thoughts and ideas much easier. Web 2.0 technologies such as social media are quickly being leveraged by activist groups to promote movements and causes.

Votepedia is the next generation of “Activism 2.0”. We aim to becoming the one-stop-shop for movements and causes. Online-petitioning is one of the tools we offer the activist community.  Users are also able to create groups, write blogs and participate in a community that all believes in the same thing – conspiring to better our world.

Our official website will launch late November. We are very excited about the robust new features our platform will offer. We have a temporary platform in place right now that performs a good amount of the functions that we’re planning on implementing. Sign-up now to know exactly when our new platform launches.

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2012 Democratic Party Platform


Four years ago, Democrats, independents, and many Republicans came together as Americans to move our country forward. We were in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the previous administration had put two wars on our nation’s credit card, and the American Dream had slipped out of reach for too many.

Today, our economy is growing again, al-Qaeda is weaker than at any point since 9/11, and our manufacturing sector is growing for the first time in more than a decade. But there is more we need to do, and so we come together again to continue what we started. We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.

This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families.

We Democrats offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have a drastically different vision. They still believe the best way to grow the economy is from the top down – the same approach that benefited the wealthy few but crashed the economy and crushed the middle class.

Democrats see a young country continually made stronger by the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity in the world, and a nation of people drawn to our shores from every corner of the globe. We believe America can succeed because the American people have never failed and there is nothing that together we cannot accomplish.

Reclaiming the economic security of the middle class is the challenge we must overcome today. That begins by restoring the basic values that made our country great, and restoring for everyone who works hard and plays by the rules the opportunity to find a job that pays the bills, turn an idea into a profitable business, care for your family, afford a home you call your own and health care you can count on, retire with dignity and respect, and, most of all, give your children the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger and go even further than you ever imagined.

This has to be our North Star – an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class, and that provides ladders of opportunity for those working hard to join the middle class.

This is not another trivial political argument. It’s the defining issue of our time and at the core of the American Dream. And now we stand at a make-or-break moment, and are faced with a choice between moving forward and falling back.

The Republican Party has turned its back on the middle class Americans who built this country. Our opponents believe we should go back to the top-down economic policies of the last decade. They think that if we simply eliminate protections for families and consumers, let Wall Street write its own rules again, and cut taxes for the wealthiest, the market will solve all our problems on its own. They argue that if we help corporations and wealthy investors maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, whether through layoffs or outsourcing, it will automatically translate into jobs and prosperity that benefits us all. They would repeal health reform, turn Medicare into a voucher program, and follow the same path of fiscal irresponsibility of the past administration – giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires while sticking the middle class with the bill. But we’ve tried their policies – and we’ve all suffered when they failed.

It is not enough to go back to where the country was before the crisis. We must rebuild a strong foundation that ensures it never happens again.

Democrats know that America prospers when we’re all in it together. We see an America where everyone has a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. We see an America that out- educates, out-builds, and out-innovates the rest of the world.

We see an America with greater economic security and opportunity, driven by education, energy, innovation and infrastructure, and a tax code that helps to create American jobs and bring down the debt in a balanced way. We believe in deficit reduction not by placing the burden on the middle class and the poor, but by cutting out programs we can’t afford and asking the wealthiest to again contribute their fair share.

These values are why we enacted historic health care reform that provides economic security for families and enacted sweeping financial reform legislation that will prevent the recklessness that cost so many their jobs, homes, and savings. They’re why we rescued the auto industry and revived our manufacturing supply chain. They’re why we helped American families who are working multiple jobs and struggling to pay the bills save a little extra money through tax cuts, lower health care costs, and affordable student loans.

They’re why we fought to reclaim the value of treating all Americans with dignity and respect. And they’re why President Barack Obama has ended one war and is responsibly drawing down another. They’re why we’re restoring our alliances and image around the world and pursuing a foreign policy that’s making us safer.

But there is more to be done. We knew that renewing the American Dream wouldn’t be easy – we knew it would take more than one year, or one term, or even one president.

The problems we’re facing right now have been more than a decade in the making. We are the party of inclusion and respect differences of perspective and belief. And so, even when we disagree, we work together to move this country forward. But what is holding our nation back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take.

We must keep moving forward and doing the hard work of rebuilding a strong economy by betting on the American worker and investing in a growing middle class.


We’ve come a long way since 2008. The President took office in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; that month 800,000 Americans lost their jobs – more than in any single month in the previous 60 years. On Day One, he took immediate action to stop the free fall and put Americans back to work. In the midst of the crisis, President Obama knew what Democrats have always known: that American workers are tougher than tough times. Since early 2010, the private sector has created 4.5 million jobs, and American manufacturing is growing for the first time since the 1990s.

The President knew from the start that to rebuild true middle class security, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. We must out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the world. We need an economy that creates the jobs of the future and makes things the rest of the world buys – not one built on outsourcing, loopholes, or risky financial deals that jeopardize everyone, especially the middle class.

We’ve already made historic progress. States have more flexibility to raise standards and reform schools, more students are receiving grants and scholarships, and young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans as they finish their education and enter the workforce. More working families than ever before have received tax cuts, and fuel-efficiency standards are doubling. The President cracked down on Wall Street recklessness and abuses by health insurance, credit card, and mortgage companies.

Our work is far from done. A crisis this deep didn’t happen overnight and it won’t be solved overnight. Too many parents sit around their kitchen tables at night after they’ve put their kids to bed, worrying about how they will make a mortgage payment or pay the rent, or how they will put their children through college. We now stand at a make-or-break moment for families, and America faces a clear choice in this election: move forward toward a nation built from the middle class out where everyone has the chance to get ahead, or go back to the same failed ideas that created the crisis in the first place.

The Republicans in Congress and Mitt Romney have a very different idea about where they want to take this country. To pay for their trillions in additional tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires, they’ll raise taxes on the middle class and gut our investments in education, research and technology, and new roads, bridges, and airports. They’ll end Medicare as we know it. They want to let Wall Street write its own rules again and allow insurance companies to once again deny health care to working families. Their troubling and familiar economic scheme doubles down on the same bad ideas of the last decade while arguing that, somehow, this time, they’ll lead to a different result. We can’t afford to go back or abandon the change we’ve fought so hard for. We have to move forward.


When President Obama took office, the economy was in the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. His Recovery Act represented the largest education investment since President Johnson, the largest infrastructure investment since President Eisenhower, the single largest clean energy investment ever, and the broadest tax cut in American history. It helped keep teachers, police officers, nurses, and firefighters on the job. It ensured that as we re-built our country, we bought American-made iron, steel, and manufactured goods wherever feasible, consistent with our international obligations. It helped the President stop the bleeding and reverse the free fall.

But just as the recession was not created overnight, we knew it would take time to recover from the crisis – and more needs to be done. Last September, President Obama put forward the American Jobs Act to provide an immediate boost to the economy and strengthen the recovery. We have already enacted key parts of the American Jobs Act – payroll tax relief, tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and an extension of unemployment insurance that also included reforms like work-sharing, a “Bridge to Work” to help the long-term unemployed reconnect with the labor force, and support for unemployed workers looking to become entrepreneurs. But Republicans in Congress blocked other provisions that independent analysis said could create one million jobs.

Even as President Obama remains committed to working with both parties, he and his cabinet pursued a series of executive actions to help spark economic growth and job creation, including expanding access to refinancing for families who have stayed current on their mortgages, challenging Community Health Centers to hire veterans, accelerating permitting for transportation projects, cutting waste and reducing improper payments, and enabling student loan borrowers to cap their payments at a percentage of income.

That’s why President Obama and the Democratic Party have cut taxes on American workers and businesses and made sweeping reforms to the unemployment system to help get people back to work.

And we continue to fight for measures that would strengthen the recovery and create jobs now, including keeping teachers and first responders on the job, putting construction workers back to work by investing in our roads, bridges, schools, and water supply, helping families refinance their mortgages and save hundreds of dollars a month, cutting taxes for small businesses that invest and hire, and putting veterans back to work. That’s why we continue to fight for relief for the long-term unemployed, including a ban on hiring discrimination against the unemployed and a reformed and expanded universal worker training proposal to provide more training and job search assistance to all displaced workers regardless of how they lost their job. The President’s plan includes many measures that have long had bipartisan support.


Middle Class Tax Cuts. President Obama and Democrats in Congress cut taxes for every working family, putting more money in the pockets of Americans who need it most. A typical family has saved $3,600 during his first term. Now he’s fighting to stop middle class families and those aspiring to join the middle class from seeing their taxes go up and to extend key tax relief for working families and those paying for college, while asking the wealthiest and corporations to pay their fair share. That is why we will always vigorously oppose the type of tax reform supported by Mitt Romney, which independent experts have found would require raising taxes on typical families with children by at least $2,000 if it were paid for. At the same time, Mitt Romney’s plan would cut taxes for those making over $3 million by an average of $250,000 and would create incentives that will lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs going overseas at the expense of American workers.

Health Care. We believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise, that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go broke because they get sick. Over the determined opposition of Republicans, we enacted landmark reforms that are already helping millions of Americans, and more benefits will come soon.

As a result of our efforts, today, young Americans entering the workforce can stay on their parents’ plans. Insurers can no longer refuse to cover kids with pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies will no longer be able to arbitrarily cap and cancel coverage, or charge women more simply because of their gender. People with private insurance are getting preventive services like cancer screenings, annual well-woman visits, and FDA-approved contraception with no out-of-pocket costs. We’ve established new Offices of Minority Health, and are helping state Medicaid programs fund home and community-based services. Small businesses are receiving tax credits to help them cover their workers, and businesses and families are receiving rebates from insurers who overcharged them.

Soon, working families will finally have the security of knowing they won’t lose health care or be forced into bankruptcy if a family member gets sick or loses their job. And soon, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Medicaid will cover more working families. Those who don’t get insurance at work will be able to shop in new exchanges and will be eligible for new tax credits. As a result, all Americans will have access to health care. We heard powerful testimony before the platform drafting committee about the difference it will make in Americans’ lives when, for the first time, 30 million of our fellow citizens finally gain health insurance.

“My life was saved by the Affordable Care Act. I have a family history of breast cancer, and when I heard on the news that the health care law was going to make sure I could get a mammogram without any copay, I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew I’d be able to keep on schedule and stay up to date on my breast cancer screenings. Then I had a mammogram and found out I had a small tumor. Luckily, we caught it very early and I’m doing fine.” – Judith Smith

Mitt Romney and the Republican Party would repeal health reform. They are more concerned with playing politics than supporting families in this country. No law is perfect and Democrats stand willing to work with anyone to improve the law where necessary, but we are committed to moving forward. We will continue to stand up to Republicans working to take away the benefits and protections that are already helping millions of Americans every day. We refuse to go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your health policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.

At the same time, the Affordable Care Act is not the end of efforts to improve health care for all Americans. Democrats will continue to fight for a strong health care workforce with an emphasis on primary care. We remain committed to eliminating disparities in health and will continue to make sure families have access to mental health and substance abuse services. We will strengthen Medicaid and oppose efforts to block grant the program, slash its funding, and leave millions more without health insurance. We will continue to invest in our public health infrastructure – ensuring that we are able to respond to emergencies and support community-based efforts to prevent disease. The Recovery Act and the health reform law made historic investments in Community Health Centers, and Democrats will continue to support these valuable institutions. We Democrats have increased overall funding to combat HIV/AIDS to record levels and will continue our nation’s fight against HIV/AIDS. President Obama established the first-ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for responding to the domestic epidemic, which calls for reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care, optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities. This is an evidence-based plan that is guided by science and seeks to direct resources to the communities at greatest risk, including gay men, black and Latino Americans, substance users, and others at high risk of infection. And we will continue to support America’s groundbreaking biomedical researchers in their lifesaving work.

Stabilizing the Housing Market and Hard-Hit Communities. For more than a decade, irresponsible lenders tricked buyers into signing subprime loans while too many homeowners got in over their heads by buying homes they couldn’t afford. But when the housing bubble burst, it hurt everyone, including responsible homeowners who played by the rules, but saw their home values decline and their neighbors’ houses sit vacant. The housing market’s dramatic collapse did more than punish millions of innocent Americans; it also triggered the economy’s downward spiral into recession.

President Obama took swift action to stabilize a housing market in crisis, helping five million families restructure their loans to help them stay in their homes, making it easier for families to refinance their mortgages and save hundreds of dollars a month, and giving tax credits to first-time home buyers. He also cracked down on fraudulent mortgage lenders and other abuses that contributed to the housing crisis. Democrats have held the largest financial institutions accountable by requiring them to provide relief for homeowners still struggling to pay their mortgages and to change practices that took advantage of homeowners. Democrats also understand the importance of helping communities fight back against the foreclosures that threaten entire neighborhoods, which is why the President proposed to expand the successful neighborhood stabilization efforts in his American Jobs Act.

Too many people still owe more on their homes than they are worth. That is why Democrats are fighting to give every responsible homeowner the chance to refinance their home, spurring investment in communities that have been hit hardest by foreclosure, and taking whatever steps we can to avoid more foreclosures. The President remains committed to creating an economy that’s built to last, where home ownership is an achievable dream for all Americans.

Social Security and Medicare. We believe every American deserves a secure, healthy, and dignified retirement. America’s seniors have earned their Medicare and Social Security through a lifetime of hard work and personal responsibility. President Obama is committed to preserving that promise for this and future generations.

During their working years, Americans contribute to Social Security in exchange for a promise that they will receive an income in retirement. Unlike those in the other party, we will find a solution to protect Social Security for future generations. We will block Republican efforts to subject Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market through privatization. We reject approaches that insist that cutting benefits is the only answer. President Obama will also make it easier for Americans to save on their own for retirement and prepare for unforeseen expenses by participating in retirement accounts at work.

The Republican budget plan would end Medicare as we know it. Democrats adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare; unlike our opponents we will not ask seniors to pay thousands of dollars more every year while they watch the value of their Medicare benefits evaporate. Democrats believe that Medicare is a sacred compact with our seniors. Nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities rely on Medicare each year, and the new health care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, and improving care for patients. And, over 10 years, the law will save the average Medicare beneficiary $4,200. President Obama is already leading the most successful crackdown on health care fraud ever, having already recovered $10 billion from health care scams. We will build on those reforms, not eliminate Medicare’s guarantees. The health care law is closing the gap in prescription drug coverage known as the “doughnut hole.” More than five million seniors have already saved money – an average of $600 last year – and the doughnut hole will be closed for good by 2020.

In short, Democrats believe that Social Security and Medicare must be kept strong for seniors, people with disabilities, and future generations. Our opponents have shown a shocking willingness to gut these programs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest, and we fundamentally reject that approach.

An Economy that Out-Educates the World and Offers Greater Access to Higher Education and Technical Training. Democrats believe that getting an education is the surest path to the middle class, giving all students the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and contribute to our economy and democracy. Public education is one of our critical democratic institutions. We are committed to ensuring that every child in America has access to a world-class public education so we can out-educate the world and make sure America has the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. This requires excellence at every level of our education system, from early learning through post-secondary education. It means we must close the achievement gap in America’s schools and ensure that in every neighborhood in the country, children can benefit from high-quality educational opportunities.

This is why we have helped states and territories develop comprehensive plans to raise standards and improve instruction in their early learning programs and invested in expanding and reforming Head Start.

President Obama and the Democrats are committed to working with states and communities so they have the flexibility and resources they need to improve elementary and secondary education in a way that works best for students. To that end, the President challenged and encouraged states to raise their standards so students graduate ready for college or career and can succeed in a dynamic global economy. Forty-six states responded, leading groundbreaking reforms that will deliver better education to millions of American students. Too many students, particularly students of color and disadvantaged students, drop out of our schools, and Democrats know we must address the dropout crisis with the urgency it deserves. The Democratic Party understands the importance of turning around struggling public schools. We will continue to strengthen all our schools and work to expand public school options for low-income youth, including magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools, and career academies.

Because there is no substitute for a great teacher at the head of a classroom, the President helped school districts save more than 400,000 educator jobs.

We Democrats honor our nation’s teachers, who do a heroic job for their students every day. If we want high-quality education for all our kids, we must listen to the people who are on the front lines. The President has laid out a plan to prevent more teacher layoffs while attracting and rewarding great teachers. This includes raising standards for the programs that prepare our teachers, recognizing and rewarding good teaching, and retaining good teachers. We also believe in carefully crafted evaluation systems that give struggling teachers a chance to succeed and protect due process if another teacher has to be put in the classroom. We also recognize there is no substitute for a parent’s involvement in their child’s education.

To help keep college within reach for every student, Democrats took on banks to reform our student loan program, saving more than $60 billion by removing the banks acting as middlemen so we can better and more directly invest in students. To make college affordable for students of all backgrounds and confront the loan burden our students shoulder, we doubled our investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, and we’re creating avenues for students to manage their federal student loans so that their payments can be only 10 percent of what they make each month. President Obama has pledged to encourage colleges to keep their costs down by reducing federal aid for those that do not, investing in colleges that keep tuition affordable and provide good value, doubling the number of work-study jobs available to students, and continuing to ensure that students have access to federal loans with reasonable interest rates. We invested more than $2.5 billion in savings from reforming our student loan system to strengthen our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska, Hawaiian Native Institutions, Asian American and Pacific Islander Institutions, and other Minority Serving Institutions. These schools play an important role in creating a diverse workforce, educating new teachers, and producing the next generation of STEM workers.

“I work full-time during the day, and I attend Florida International University at night as a part-time student. I’m working towards a degree in Public Administration. If it wasn’t for financial aid, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dream. Like so many people, I would have to put my education on hold. Because of President Obama, I don’t have to make this sacrifice. By doubling Pell Grants and enacting college tax credits, he’s standing up for students and helping to make college more affordable and accessible.” – Maytee Lopez

We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges. That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled, and to support business-labor apprenticeship programs that provide skills and opportunity to thousands of Americans. The President also proposed to double key investments in science to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, encourage private sector innovation, and prepare at least 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade. And to make this country a destination for global talent and ingenuity, we won’t deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home.

Mitt Romney has a radically different vision. He says we need fewer teachers, cops, and firefighters – good middle class jobs – even after losing hundreds of thousands of such jobs during the recession and at a time when state, local, and territorial governments are still shedding these jobs. He supports dramatic cuts to Head Start and the Pell Grant program. Tuition at public colleges has soared over the last decade and students are graduating with more and more debt; but Mitt Romney thinks students should “shop around” for the “best education they can afford.” And he supports the radical House Republican budget that would cut financial aid for more than one million students while giving tax cuts to the rich. We Democrats have focused on making sure that taxpayer dollars support high-quality education programs, but Mitt Romney is a staunch supporter of expensive, for-profit schools – schools that often leave students buried in debt and without the skills for quality jobs and that prey on our servicemembers and veterans.


“As a math teacher, my job is to enter into my classroom each day and get my students excited about the world around them. I know that by sharing the fundamentals of math with my students, I am providing the critical tools they need to create their own success, and President Obama understands that a quality STEM education is critical to my students and to the economy of the future. That’s why he is challenging our country to support the work I do, and train more teachers like me.” – Hannah Pultz

After the previous administration put two wars and tax cuts weighted towards the wealthy on the nation’s credit card, and in the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Democrats took decisive steps to restore fiscal responsibility to Washington. We reinstated the tough pay-as-you-go budget rules of the 1990s so that all permanent new spending and tax cuts must now be offset by savings or revenue increases. President Obama has already signed into law $2 trillion in spending reductions as part of a balanced plan to reduce our deficits by over $4 trillion over the next decade while taking immediate steps to strengthen the economy now. This approach includes tough spending cuts that will bring annual domestic spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy in 50 years, while still allowing us to make investments that benefit the middle class now and reduce our deficit over a decade.

We are committed to defeating efforts that would return us to the failed economic policies of the past, in which tax relief for the wealthy explodes the deficit and asks the middle class to shoulder that burden.

To help spur economic growth, President Obama and the Democratic Party cut taxes for every working family – providing $3,600 in tax relief to the typical family over the President’s first term in office – and we are committed to extending the middle class tax cuts for the 98 percent of American families who make less than $250,000 a year, and we will not raise taxes on them.

In order to reduce the deficit while still making the investments we need in education, research, infrastructure, and clean energy, the President has asked for the wealthiest taxpayers to pay their fair share. We have to cut what we don’t need in order to make room for the things we do need to grow our economy. We support allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire and closing loopholes and deductions for the largest corporations and the highest-earning taxpayers. We are committed to reforming our tax code so that it is fairer and simpler, creating a tax code that lives up to the Buffett Rule so no millionaire pays a smaller share of his or her income in taxes than middle class families do. We are also committed to reforming the corporate tax code to lower tax rates for companies in the United States, with additional relief for those locating manufacturing and research and development on our shores, while closing loopholes and reducing incentives for corporations to shift jobs overseas.

The Republican Party has a different vision—instead of asking everyone to do their fair share and making investments we need for an economy built to last, they would slash taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, let Wall Street once again write its own rules, and balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. Romney and Congressional Republicans share the same, distorted view of the economy and support the same, lopsided budget. Romney would roll back the tax relief Democrats provided to working families and college students, and would require massive new taxes on the middle class to pay for his $5 trillion tax plan that primarily benefits the wealthy.

The Democratic Party opposes efforts to give additional tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class and investments in our future.


All-of-the-Above Energy Policy. In the last four years, President Obama and the Democratic Party have taken concrete steps to make us more energy independent. We’ve supported nearly 225,000 clean energy jobs and Americans are importing less oil, breathing cleaner air, and saving money on energy costs. Historic investments in clean energy technologies have helped double the electricity we get from wind and solar. New emissions and fuel efficiency standards for American cars are reducing our oil use, saving consumers at the pump, and putting Americans back to work. Our dependence on foreign oil is now at a 16-year low, and a new era of cheap, abundant natural gas is helping to bring jobs and industry back to the United States.

We can move towards a sustainable energy-independent future if we harness all of America’s great natural resources. That means an all-of-the-above approach to developing America’s many energy resources, including wind, solar, biofuels, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal, and natural gas. President Obama has encouraged innovation to reach his goal of generating 80 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources by 2035. Democrats support making America the world’s leader in building a clean energy economy by extending clean energy incentives that support American businesses and American jobs in communities across the country. It’s not enough to invent clean energy technologies here; we want to make them here and sell them around the world. We can further cut our reliance on oil with increased energy efficiency in buildings, industry, and homes, and through the promotion of advanced vehicles, fuel economy standards, and the greater use of natural gas in transportation. Harnessing our natural gas resources needs to be done in a safe and responsible manner, which is why the Obama administration has proposed a number of safeguards to protect against water contamination and air pollution. We will continue to advocate for the use of this clean fossil fuel, while ensuring that public and environmental health and workers’ safety are protected. We support more infrastructure investment to speed the transition to cleaner fuels in the transportation sector. And we are expediting the approval process to build out critical oil and gas lines essential to transporting our energy for consumers. Building a clean energy future means that new exploration and production needs to be approached safely and responsibly. Democrats are committed to balancing environmental protection with development, and that means preserving sensitive public lands from exploration, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pacific West Coast, Gulf of Maine, and other irreplaceable national landscapes.

We are saving consumers money on their energy bills – both at home and at the pump – but Republican energy policy is full of empty rhetoric and bad ideas that would make their Big Oil donors even richer at the expense of the middle class. Republicans would keep giving billions of taxpayer dollars a year to profitable oil companies and increase costs on consumers. Democrats will fight to cut tax subsidies for Big Oil while promoting job growth in the clean energy sector, so we can cut the deficit and increase jobs and growth in America.

Out-Building and Out-Innovating the Rest of the World. The American people will make a clear choice. They can vote for Republicans who opposed saving the auto industry, who favor a tax code that would actually encourage outsourcing, and whose plans would gut investments in federally financed labs and universities that build new American industries. Or they can elect Democrats who bet on the American worker, will reward those who create private-sector jobs here in America, and make the investments that strengthen the middle class.

Betting on American Manufacturing and the American Automobile Industry. Thanks to President Obama’s recovery program, American manufacturers are creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s, including more than 500,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010. Instead of cutting jobs or shipping them abroad, many American companies are now “insourcing,” or bringing overseas jobs back home.

“In early 2009, the auto industry was collapsing. Our plant shut down and I was laid off. And, like so many of us, I was scared. But then President Obama bet on the American worker and rescued America’s auto industry, and it’s paying off for our economy and our country. The plant opened its doors again, so I got my job – and my pride – back. That’s a great American comeback story.” – Ina Sydney

President Obama and the Democrats boldly rescued America’s auto industry, saving more than one million jobs, preventing the collapse of the industry’s supply chain, and shoring up countless communities, while revitalizing the backbone of America’s manufacturing sector. Mitt Romney thought the government’s action would destroy the auto industry; he and Republican leaders opposed the support President Obama extended to rescue an iconic industry.

All three of America’s biggest auto manufacturers – Chrysler, GM, and Ford – are stronger today because of President Obama’s decisive leadership. GM and Chrysler have repaid their outstanding loans years ahead of schedule, new American cars are inspiring pride, and the auto industry added more than 200,000 jobs in the last three years.

At the same time, President Obama forged an agreement with American carmakers to nearly double fuel efficiency standards in the coming years, changes that will save a typical car owner more than $8,000 in fuel costs over the life of their vehicle and reduce American consumers’ fuel costs by almost $2 trillion.

Today American carmakers and auto workers are helping to drive a stronger recovery. The Democratic Party supports a broad-based strategy to further strengthen an American renaissance in manufacturing, with tax relief for clean energy manufacturing, incentives to create advanced vehicles in the United States, more research, and a network of manufacturing innovation hubs.

Insourcing. The Democratic Party believes in insourcing so that America can out-build the rest of the world again. We want to cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and for special interests, and instead offer tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, betting on American workers who are making American products we sell to the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

Our strategy is paying off. After decades of watching American companies take jobs to other countries, we’re beginning to see entrepreneurs and manufactures make the decision to keep factories and production facilities here in the United States — and even bring jobs back from overseas.

But the Republican Party has nominated a man whose firm invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing – and whose plans would actually encourage outsourcing by eliminating all taxes on the foreign profits of U.S. companies.

There is more to do. We Democrats support lowering the corporate tax rate while closing unnecessary loopholes, and lowering rates even further for manufacturers who create good jobs at home. We will give our businesses access to newer roads and airports, and faster railroads and Internet access. We will fight for immediate investments for highways, transit, rail, and aviation and for the creation of a national infrastructure bank to help modernize our infrastructure, put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job, and help businesses grow.

“Back in August 2007, the entire span of the Minneapolis Bridge that crosses the Mississippi river collapsed. Tragically, 13 people were killed and dozens injured. The new Saint Anthony Falls I-35W Bridge was re-opened in September 2008. In my ten years in a steel mill, I’ve worked alongside my brother and sister steelworkers, and I’m proud to have produced the 63mm anchor bars that secured the newly rebuilt Minneapolis Bridge to bedrock. The bridge’s collapse and repair shows the importance of our infrastructure and the strength of American steel. I am extremely grateful for President Obama’s tireless commitment to repairing our infrastructure and creating good paying manufacturing jobs.” – David Hallas, Listening to America hearing participant

Out-Building the Rest of the World. We support long- term investments in our infrastructure. Roads, bridges, rail and public transit systems, airports, ports, and sewers are all critical to economic growth, as they enable businesses to grow. That’s why President Obama and Democrats in Congress have enacted infrastructure investments that will sustain our Highway Trust Fund and provide states, U.S. territories, and communities with two years of funding to build needed infrastructure. These investments are critical for putting Americans back to work and strengthening America’s transportation system to grow our economy. The President has proposed to go substantially further, including a significant up-front investment in our infrastructure followed by sustained increases in investment paid for with part of the savings from winding down our overseas wars, together with reforms that will better leverage government dollars and target significant projects. We will continue to partner with local communities to support their sustainable development.

Out-Innovating the Rest of the World. Democrats support a world-class commitment to science and research so that the next generation of innovators and high-technology manufacturing companies thrive in America. President Obama signed into law changes to help entrepreneurs raise capital and create jobs.

Democrats are committed to preparing math and science teachers and training workers with skills for the future, and doubling funding for key basic research agencies. We support expanding and making permanent the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit. President Obama has charted a new mission for NASA to lead us to a future that builds on America’s legacy of innovation and exploration. Democrats reformed the patent system to speed approval of investors’ patents and provide alternatives to wasteful litigation.

Democrats know that the United States must preserve our leadership in the Internet economy. We will ensure that America has a 21st century digital infrastructure – robust wired and wireless broadband capability, a smarter electrical grid, and upgraded information technology infrastructure in key sectors such as health care and education. President Obama has committed to ensuring that 98 percent of the country has access to high-speed wireless broadband Internet access. We are finding innovative ways to free up wireless spectrum and are building a state-of-the-art nationwide, interoperable, public safety network. President Obama is strongly committed to protecting an open Internet that fosters investment, innovation, creativity, consumer choice, and free speech, unfettered by censorship or undue violations of privacy.

The administration is vigorously protecting U.S. intellectual property – our technology and creativity – at home and abroad through better enforcement and innovative approaches such as voluntary efforts by all parties to minimize infringement while supporting the free flow of information. Customs seizures of counterfeit drugs are up 600 percent and seizures of fake consumer safety and critical technology have increased nearly 200 percent; the Department of Justice has aggressively prosecuted the illegal overseas transfer of trade secrets. As technology advances, we will continue to work with all stakeholders to protect the security of the nation and its knowledge assets, U.S. intellectual property, the functioning of fair and competitive markets, and the privacy, free expression, and due process rights of Americans.

Standing Up for Workers. When the President took office, the American middle class was under assault. From 2001 to 2007, we had the slowest private-sector job growth in an economic expansion since World War II. The typical family saw its income stall and inequality climb, even as the economy grew. And we had an administration that thought the answer was limiting unions.

Upon taking office, President Obama began the work of restoring an economy built to last that creates good jobs that pay well. Because the President and the Democratic Party believe in the right to organize and in supporting America’s workers with strong labor laws, the President rolled back harmful labor policies designed to undermine collective bargaining rights. The President appointed members of the National Labor Relations Board and National Mediation Board who understand the importance of standing up for the rights of workers. He placed his bet on the American worker when he rescued the auto industry. His administration will continue its fight against the exploitative practice of employers fraudulently misclassifying workers as independent contractors or white-collar workers to evade taxes or deny them protections and overtime benefits. As new employment relationships evolve away from the traditional employee-employer model, we need to make sure our labor laws are modernized and keep pace with changes in our economy.

The Republican Party would return us to the failed policies of the last administration, vilifying the American worker, undermining unions, and arguing that everyone should fend for themselves. We oppose the attacks on collective bargaining that Republican governors and state legislatures are mounting in states around the country.

“When the auto industry was falling on hard times, the President stepped in to keep it from a total collapse. He also helped some paper workers in St. Paul Minnesota. The Rock-Tenn mill in St. Paul is the largest paper recycler in the state. We have four paper machines the size of football fields, and we make the paper used for corrugated and boxboard boxes. Had the auto industry been allowed to fail, the mill probably would have closed, and 500 people would have lost their jobs. We make the paper for the boxes that Detroit uses to ship its auto parts. If there aren’t any auto parts to ship, there isn’t a need for boxes.” – Bob Ryan, Listening to America hearing participant

Democrats believe that the right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental American value; every American should have a voice on the job and a chance to negotiate for a fair day’s pay after a hard day’s work. We will continue to fight for the right of all workers to organize and join a union. Unions helped build the greatest middle class the world has ever known. Their work resulted in the 40-hour workweek and weekends, paid leave and pensions, the minimum wage and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare – the cornerstones of middle class security. We will fight for labor laws that provide a fair process for workers to choose union representation, that facilitate the collective bargaining process, and that strengthen remedies for violations of the law. We will fight for collective bargaining rights for police officers, nurses, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers, and other public sector workers – jobs that are a proven path to the middle class for millions of Americans. We will continue to vigorously oppose “Right to Work” and “paycheck protection” efforts, and so-called “Save our Secret Ballot” measures whenever they are proposed.

We will raise the minimum wage, and index it to inflation. We believe in an America where people looking for work can find good jobs, where hard work pays, and where responsibility is rewarded. Our Occupational Safety and Health Administration will continue to adopt and enforce comprehensive safety standards. The first bill the President signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, we are committed to passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, and we will continue to battle Republican opposition to efforts to stop wage discrimination.

Helping Small Business. Small businesses employ half of all working Americans, and, over the last two decades, have created two out of three net new jobs. Democrats believe that small businesses are the engine of job growth in America. President Obama signed 18 small-business tax cuts to encourage with a tax credit to help pay for the cost of coverage. In 2014, the tax credit will grow and small businesses will be able to pool their purchasing power together to get affordable coverage.

“When President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act two years ago, he made sure to guarantee some loans to small businesses. That made it easier for people like me to get the credit needed to make it through the recession. I got a loan from a local community bank and the Small Business Administration, which saved my business. I’m proud that I didn’t lay off a single employee. This June, we’ll celebrate 40 years in business. When we do, we’ll be toasting President Obama. The President looked out for small businesses because he knew that we – the creators of most of the jobs in America – were struggling and in need of help.” – Peter Aaron

We recognize the importance of small business to women, people of color, tribes, and rural America and will work to help nurture entrepreneurship.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to continue cutting red tape for small businesses, helping them sell their goods around the world and access the capital they need to grow. This includes tax cuts for small businesses that make new investments, hire more workers, or increase wages.

Opened Markets All Over the World for American Products. President Obama and the Democratic Party know that America has the best workers and businesses in the world. If the playing field is level, Americans will be able to compete against every other country on Earth. Over the last four years, we have made historic progress toward the goal of doubling our exports by 2015. We have taken steps to open new markets to American products, while ensuring that other countries play by the same rules. President Obama signed into law new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama that will support tens of thousands of private-sector jobs, but not before he strengthened these agreements on behalf of American workers and businesses. We remain committed to finding more markets for American-made goods – including using the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the United States and eight countries in the Asia-Pacific, one of the most dynamic regions in the world – while ensuring that workers’ rights and environmental standards are upheld, and fighting against unfair trade practices. We expanded and reformed assistance for trade-affected workers, and we demanded renewal of that help alongside new trade agreements.

Both publicly and privately, the President has made clear to the Chinese government that it needs to take steps to appreciate its currency so that America is competing on a level playing field. This administration has doubled the rate of trade cases brought against China by the last administration, and created a new government-wide Interagency Trade Enforcement Center. The President is committed to continuing to fight unfair trade practices that disadvantage American producers and workers, including illegal subsidies, non-tariff barriers, and abuse of worker rights or environmental standards.


For too long, we’ve had a financial system that stacked the deck against ordinary Americans. Banks on Wall Street played by different rules than businesses on Main Street and community banks. Without strong enough regulations, families were enticed, and sometimes tricked, into buying homes they couldn’t afford. Banks and investors were allowed to package and sell risky mortgages. Huge reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line.

That behavior not only nearly destroyed the financial system, it cost our economy millions of jobs, hurt middle class and poor families, and left taxpayers holding the bill.

For the past three and a half years, President Obama and Democrats around the country have been fighting to bring the country back from this historic economic crisis. We put in place Wall Street reform with smarter, tougher, commonsense rules that will prevent a crisis like that from ever happening again. We know that the free market only works when there are rules of the road to ensure that competition is fair, open, and honest.

Mitt Romney and the Republicans would roll back financial reform and let Wall Street write its own rules again. The President put in place government reform that has led to the most open, efficient, and accountable government in history. We know that transparent and effective government makes economic sense.

Republicans would continue to allow lobbyists too much sway over lawmakers, leading to gridlock in Washington, an outdated regulatory system, and a tax code riddled with loopholes. The President put in place unprecedented ethics reforms and we’re fighting for campaign finance reform. We know that millions of Americans are struggling to get by, and their voices shouldn’t be drowned out by millions of dollars in secret special-interest lobbying and advertising.

Mitt Romney’s opposition to commonsense campaign finance is nothing less than support for corporate and special-interest takeovers in our elections.

We believe America prospers when everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street, does their fair share and plays by the same rules. We will not back down from making sure an oil company can’t take the same reckless actions that led to the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago. We will not back down from protecting our kids from toxic mercury pollution, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean. We will not back down from ensuring that everyone has a seat at the American table and the opportunity to grab the first rung on the ladder to the middle class.


A strong middle class can only exist in an economy where everyone plays by the same rules, from Wall Street to Main Street. That’s why President Obama and Democrats in Congress overcame fierce opposition from the financial industry to pass the most far-reaching Wall Street reform in generations.

The failed policies of the past decade and hands-off approach toward the excesses of the financial industry helped create the deepest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. In the fall of 2008, when the financial system and economy were on the verge of catastrophic collapse, the last administration put in place the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Obama administration has ensured that big banks repay these loans with interest, and its rigorous stewardship has brought transparency and accountability to the program. We enacted Wall Street reform to end all future taxpayer-funded bank bailouts.

Today Democrats are holding Wall Street accountable, bringing new transparency to financial markets, and ending taxpayer-funded bank bailouts and the era of “too big to fail.” President Obama put in place new rules of the road that refocus the financial sector on getting capital to entrepreneurs and small and mid-sized businesses who create jobs and financing to millions of families who want to buy a home or send their kids to college.

We’ve created a single consumer watchdog agency whose sole job is looking out for working families by protecting them from deceptive and unfair lending practices of mortgage brokers, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial institutions. Democrats are not only fighting to protect consumers from practices that can hurt their pocketbooks and add to their debt, but also working to put an end to practices that helped cause the mortgage crisis.

Mitt Romney and his allies in Congress believe that the best way to grow the economy is from the top down – the same approach that benefited a few, but crashed the economy, hurt the middle class, and contributed to soaring income inequality. They would roll back financial reform and let Wall Street write its own rules again.


President Obama and the Democrats are committed to rethinking, reforming, and remaking our government so that it can meet the challenges of our time. We reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. We reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. Rules should be simpler and more flexible, and regulations should be based on sound science and secure Americans’ freedom of choice. In our platform hearing we heard about the importance of a safety net that works, public schools that educate, and government that invests in a strong economy. A 21st century regulatory system must promote economic growth, innovation, and job creation while also protecting public health and welfare.

President Obama proposed a simpler, smarter, and more cost-effective approach to regulation, rather than one riddled with special rules written by lobbyists. Efficient and effective regulations enforce common sense safeguards to protect the American people. That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. That’s why the administration launched the Internet Privacy Bill of Rights and encouraged innovative solutions such as a Do Not Track option for consumers. But there’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. That’s why President Obama asked all federal agencies to review and streamline outdated regulations, an effort that will save at least $10 billion over five years, and will eliminate tens of millions of hours in annual paperwork burdens. That’s why he has approved fewer regulations in the first three years of his presidency than his Republican predecessor did in his. At the same time, those regulations have more than 25 times the net benefits of the previous administration’s regulations.

Looking to make our government leaner, smarter, and more consumer-friendly, President Obama has asked Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents had to reorganize and consolidate government agencies. President Obama has also called for an ambitious, transparent, and unprecedented government-wide review of existing federal regulations to eliminate unnecessary rules. In response, more than two dozen agencies have released plans to streamline existing requirements. Just a small fraction of these initiatives will save billions of dollars in the near future without sacrificing consumer protections, the environment, workplace safety, or health. For too long, overlapping responsibilities among agencies have made it harder, rather than easier, for our small businesses to interact with their government. Where appropriate, we are also committed to working with states and U.S. territories to support innovation in exchange for accountability and results.

We are committed to the most open, efficient, and accountable government in history, and we believe that government is more accountable when it is transparent. This administration was the first to make public the list of visitors to the White House and create a centralized ethics and lobbying database available to the public online. Democrats led the fight to enact the STOCK Act to ban congressional insider trading.

President Obama launched the Open Government Initiative to empower the public – through greater openness and new technologies – to influence the decisions that affect their lives. We are committed to using government as a platform to spur innovation and collaboration. Forums such as release more information to the public so that the private sector can pioneer innovative new services.


Our political system is under assault by those who believe that special interests should be able to buy whatever they want in our society, including our government. Our opponents have applauded the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and welcomed the new flow of special interest money with open arms. In stark contrast, we believe we must take immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests on our political institutions.

President Obama signed an executive order to establish unprecedented ethics rules so that those who leave the executive branch may not lobby this administration and officials may not accept gifts from lobbyists. We support campaign finance reform, by constitutional amendment if necessary. We support legislation to close loopholes and require greater disclosure of campaign spending. President Obama and the national Democratic Party do not accept contributions from federal lobbyists this cycle. We support requiring groups trying to influence elections to reveal their donors so the public will know who’s funding the political ads it sees. President Obama and the Democrats are fighting to reduce the influence of money in politics, and holding Congress to higher conflict-of-interest standards.


As Americans, we are bound together by more than nationality or geography. We are bound by a shared set of ideals and values rooted in the notion that we are greater together; that our collective efforts produce something better than the sum of our individual actions; and that together, rather than divided, we can overcome the greatest challenges that come our way.

The path to restoring middle class security is through the basic values that made our country great. We are a nation that says anyone can make it if you try – no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you look like. We know that America is strongest when everybody has a seat at the table and when the same rules apply to everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street.

Republicans like Mitt Romney want to turn back the clock on the progress we’ve made, telling people whom they can marry, restricting women’s access to birth control coverage, and going back to the same economic policies that benefited the wealthy but crashed our economy. Their narrow vision is of an America where everyone is left to fend for themselves and the powerful can write their own rules. Ours is a vision of a big, compassionate America where everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead – not just those already at the very top. It’s a vision that says everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone engages in fair play. It’s a vision that says we prosper when we realize that we are all in it together and stand united as a nation without dividing or excluding people.


Immigration. Democrats are strongly committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that supports our economic goals and reflects our values as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. The story of the United States would not be possible without the generations of immigrants who have strengthened our country and contributed to our economy. Our prosperity depends on an immigration system that reflects our values and meets America’s needs. But Americans know that today, our immigration system is badly broken – separating families, undermining honest employers and workers, burdening law enforcement, and leaving millions of people working and living in the shadows.

Democrats know there is broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English, and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship. We need an immigration reform that creates a system for allocating visas that meets our economic needs, keeps families together, and enforces the law. But instead of promoting the national interest, Republicans have blocked immigration reform in Congress and used the issue as a political wedge.

Despite the obstacles, President Obama has made important progress in implementing immigration policies that reward hard work and demand personal responsibility. Today, the Southwest border is more secure than at any time in the past 20 years. Unlawful crossings are at a 40-year low, and the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its history. We are continuing to work to hold employers accountable for whom they hire. The Department of Homeland Security is prioritizing the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat, such as children who came here through no fault of their own and are pursuing an education. President Obama’s administration has streamlined the process of legal immigration for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, supporting family reunification as a priority, and has enhanced opportunities for English-language learning and immigrant integration. When states sought to interfere with federal immigration law by passing local measures targeting immigrants, this administration challenged them in court.

President Obama and the Democrats fought for the DREAM Act, legislation ensuring that young people who want to contribute fully to our society and serve our country are able to become legal residents and ultimately citizens. Although this bill has a long history of bipartisan support, Republicans decided to play politics with it rather than do the right thing. So the Obama administration provided temporary relief for youth who came to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, grew up as Americans and are poised to make a real contribution to our country.

“We congratulate President Barack Obama for giving hope to millions of aspiring citizens when he announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Immigrant youth – who grow up attending our schools, churches, and places of recreation – come to this nation with the same desires and ideals the forefathers had; liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. In order to create immigration policies that reflect our nation’s values, lawmakers must work together to protect the rights of all and create a road map that allows immigrants to become full-fledged citizens. With our dreams, work, and talent we can help make America a more just and prosperous country.” – Gaby Pacheco, Listening to America hearing participant

These are not permanent fixes. Only Congress can provide a permanent, comprehensive solution. But these are steps in the right direction. President Obama and the Democratic Party stand for comprehensive immigration reform that intelligently prioritizes our country’s security and economic needs, while Mitt Romney and the Republicans have opposed commonsense reforms and pandered to the far right.

Families. It’s time we stop just talking about family values and start pursuing policies that truly value families. The President and Democrats have cut taxes for every working American family, and expanded the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. We believe that all parents and caregivers – regardless of gender – need more flexibility and support in the workplace. We support passing the Healthy Families Act, broadening the Family and Medical Leave Act, and partnering with states to move toward paid leave. We have invested in expanding and reforming Head Start and grants to states to raise standards and improve instruction in their early learning programs, and we support expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. We must protect our most vulnerable children by supporting our foster care system, adoption programs for all caring parents, grandparents, and caregivers, and protecting children from violence and neglect. We recognize that caring for family members and managing a household is real and valuable work.

President Obama’s administration has offered men who want to be good fathers extra support. We have bolstered community and faith-based groups focused on fatherhood, partnered with businesses to offer opportunities for fathers to spend time with their kids at the bowling alley or ballpark, and worked to help deployed dads connect with their children. We all have a stake in forging stronger bonds between fathers and their children.

We support parents and their children as they work to lead healthier lives. With prevention and treatment initiatives on obesity and public health, Democrats are leading the way on supporting healthier, more physically active families and healthy children.

Supporting Troops, Military Families, and Veterans. President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to keeping the sacred trust we have with our troops, military families, and veterans. These brave men and women and their families have borne the burden of war and have always made our military the best in the world. We will not only continue to support them in the field, but we will also continue to prioritize support for wounded warriors, mental health, and the well being of our military families and veterans. We will keep working to give our veterans the health care, benefits, education, and job opportunities that they have earned. That’s why the President and the Democratic Party supported the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to provide opportunities for military personnel, veterans, and their families to get a better education. That’s why the President is working to ensure returning veterans are able to get good jobs and put their skills to good use at home. That’s why the President has launched partnerships with the private sector to help veterans transfer their experience into skilled manufacturing jobs, and why the President has proposed a new Veterans Jobs Corps to put veterans to work as first responders. That’s why the President signed an executive order making it harder for for-profit colleges to prey on veterans. That’s why we enacted the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warrior Tax Credit to give companies incentives to hire vets. That’s why we have committed to ending veterans’ homelessness by 2015, and have launched new partnerships with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development and with veterans’ organizations to do just that. That’s why, because the traumas of war don’t always end when our loved ones return home, this administration is continuing to work to meet the mental health needs of our veterans. That’s why we will continue to partner with the nation’s Veterans Service Organizations and veterans advocacy groups to ensure that every veteran of every generation receives the care and benefits they’ve earned. That’s why we have made it easier for veterans in rural communities to get the care they need. And it is why we have substantially increased funding for the VA, and directed it to eliminate its backlog of claims, hire additional claims processors, and deploy new systems to improve claims processing times.

Americans with Disabilities. No one should face discrimination based on disability status. President Obama and the Democratic Party will continue to lead efforts to facilitate the access of Americans with disabilities to the middle class, employment opportunities, and the ability to lead full, productive, and satisfying lives. The administration and the Democratic Party are committed to assisting the approximately 50 million people in this country living with disabilities, assuring their full integration into society.

“Under President Obama, veterans have started to realize the promise of a square deal. PTSD is no longer a dirty word. More veterans are getting their benefits. More veterans are in college. More veterans have more options in finding good jobs. I am one of these veterans. America has finally started to honor its promises to veterans after decades of breaking them.” – Senior Airman Benjamin Krause, United States Air Force, Special Operations veteran, Listening to America hearing participant

This administration has committed to hiring 100,000 Americans with disabilities within the federal government by 2015, and has proposed new rules to create employment opportunities with federal contractors. We are committed to expanding access to employment for people with disabilities and removing barriers to work. The Affordable Care Act is opening access to health insurance to Americans with disabilities who were previously excluded because of pre-existing conditions, expanding access to Medicaid, and helping Medicaid to support home- and community-based services to keep people in their communities. Further, the President issued an executive order repealing the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and signed into law the Christopher and Dana Reeves Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis. Democrats are committed to ensuring that Americans with disabilities can exercise their right to vote and have access to the polls. We will continue to oppose all efforts to weaken the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, and we will vigorously enforce laws that prevent discrimination. And the President and the Democratic Party will fiercely oppose the harsh cuts in Medicaid that would inevitably lead to no or significantly less health care for millions of Americans with disabilities, workers with disabilities, and families raising children with autism, Down Syndrome, and other serious disabilities.

Faith. Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith- based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world – from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.

Rural Communities and Agriculture. We are committed to creating a rural economy built to last – one focused on reclaiming the security of the rural middle class by growing the food, fiber, and fuel that the rest of the world buys and restoring the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great. By investing in job creation, clean energy, agriculture, and education, Democrats have built a stronger rural economy where future generations can enjoy the rural way of life.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress have worked to extend credit to a record number of small business owners, boosting economic growth in rural America. We support a clean energy economy that is creating jobs and helping lower energy costs in rural America. U.S. biofuel production is at its highest level in history. We have made historic investments in renewable fuels and expanded markets for them.

We support strengthening rural water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure to make rural businesses more competitive. We have expanded broadband access to nearly seven million rural Americans, including rural businesses, creating new jobs. We have invested in water and wastewater community infrastructure projects, safeguarding the health of 18 million rural residents and creating even more jobs. Democrats will strengthen the American farm safety net by renewing crop disaster relief, maintaining strong crop insurance programs, and creating a permanent disaster relief program. We will improve access to education and health care, especially for rural veterans, and conserve millions of acres of public lands while supporting rural recreation and tourism.

Our vision for rural America stands in stark contrast to our opponents’. Republicans in Congress have introduced a budget that would gut rural economic programs that invest in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and health care, undermining job growth and economic development in rural America. They would severely weaken the farm safety net for family farmers in times of natural disaster and economic hardship.

Agriculture. An agricultural economy built to last is integral to the affordability of our food, the independence of our energy supply, and the security of America’s middle class. Democrats support agriculture from the small farms that feed the community to the large farms that feed the world. Under President Obama, American farmers are seeing record farm income, record agricultural exports, and millions of acres enrolled in conservation programs. President Obama has expanded markets for American goods that help support more than a million agriculture jobs here at home. And in the past few years, agriculture has been one of the fastest-growing parts of our economy, creating one out of every 12 American jobs.

Democrats appreciate agriculture’s role in securing America’s food security and making our country an ambassador of food aid to countries across the world. That’s why Democrats support a strong farm safety net, with increased availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss. Democrats are also planning for a strong agricultural future, and President Obama has proposed increasing funding for research and development to improve agricultural productivity and continue to pursue global food security.

Tribal Sovereignty. American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are sovereign self-governing communities, with a unique government-to-government relationship with the United States. President Obama and Democrats in Congress, working with tribes, have taken unprecedented steps to resolve long-standing conflicts, finally coming to a resolution on litigation – some dating back nearly 100 years – related to management of Indian trust resources, administration of loan programs, and water rights.

The President worked with Democrats to pass the HEARTH Act to promote greater tribal self- determination and create jobs in Indian Country. The Affordable Care Act permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to improve care for Native Americans. Democrats enacted the Tribal Law and Order Act, support expansion of the Violence Against Women Act to include greater protection for women on tribal lands, and oppose versions of the Violence Against Women Act that do not include these critical provisions. We will continue to honor our treaty and trust obligations and respect cultural rights, including greater support for American Indian and Alaska Native languages. Democrats support maximizing tribal self-governance, including efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of Native Hawaiians.

Puerto Rico. As President Obama said when he became the first President to visit Puerto Rico and address its people in 50 years, Boricuas every day help write the American story. Puerto Ricans have been proud American citizens for almost 100 years. During that time, the people of Puerto Rico have developed strong political, economic, social, and cultural ties to the United States. The political status of Puerto Rico remains an issue of overwhelming importance, but lack of resolution about status has held the island back. It is time for Puerto Rico to take the next step in the history of its status and its relationship to the rest of the United States.

The White House Task Force Report on Puerto Rico has taken important and historic steps regarding status. We commit to moving resolution of the status issue forward with the goal of resolving it expeditiously. If local efforts in Puerto Rico to resolve the status issue do not provide a clear result in the short term, the President should support, and Congress should enact, self-executing legislation that specifies in advance for the people of Puerto Rico a set of clear status options, such as those recommended in the White House Task Force Report on Puerto Rico, which the United States is politically committed to fulfilling.

The economic success of Puerto Rico is intimately linked to a swift resolution of the status question, as well as consistent, focused efforts on improving the lives of the people of Puerto Rico. We have made great progress for Puerto Rico over the past four years, including a sharp, historic increase in Medicaid funding for the people of Puerto Rico and fair and equitable inclusion in the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act. Going forward, we will continue working toward fair and equitable participation for Puerto Rico in federal programs. We support increased efforts by the federal government to improve public safety in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, with a particular emphasis on efforts to combat drug trafficking and crime throughout our Caribbean border. In addition, consistent with the task force report, we will continue to work on improving Puerto Rico’s economic status by promoting job creation, education, health care, clean energy, and economic development on the Island.

Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We also recognize and honor the contributions and the sacrifices made in service of our country by the Americans living in the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We support full self-government and self- determination for the people of the territories, and their right to decide their future status. We will work as partners to the people of Guam on military matters, and take seriously the unique health care challenges that Pacific Island communities face. For all those who live under our flag, we support strong economic development and will work towards fair and equitable treatment under federal programs.

Arts and Culture. Democrats are proud of our support for arts funding and education. We are committed to continuing the policies and programs that have already done so much for our creative arts industry and economy. Investment in the arts strengthens our communities and contributes to our nation’s rich cultural heritage. We will continue to support public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for programs providing art and music education in primary and secondary schools. The entire nation prospers when we protect and promote the unique and original artistic and cultural contributions of the women and men who create and preserve our nation’s heritage.


Civil Rights. We believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody plays by the same set of rules. At the core of the Democratic Party is the principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Democrats support our civil rights statutes and we have stepped up enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and other settings. We are committed to protecting all communities from violence. We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling and requiring federal, state, and local enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice, and we continue to support enforcement of Title VI. We are committed to equal opportunity for all Americans and to making sure that every American is treated equally under the law.

“Because of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ each time I went off to war, no one was at the armory to say goodbye. No one was waiting at the airport when I returned. My partner, George Di Salvo, and I started a family five years ago by adopting two wonderful boys. But I kept their existence secret, because that’s what the law required. Not anymore, however. Thanks to the unyielding efforts of President Obama, I can serve my country openly and proudly with my family by my side.” – Dr. Vito Imbasciani, Colonel, California National Guard, Medical Service Corps

We are committed to ensuring full equality for women: we reaffirm our support for the Equal Rights Amendment, recommit to enforcing Title IX, support the Paycheck Fairness Act, and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. We know that putting America back to work is Job One, and we are committed to ensuring that Americans do not face employment discrimination. We support the Employment Non- Discrimination Act because people should not be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to ensuring all Americans are treated fairly. This administration hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and we must continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth. The President’s record, from ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in full cooperation with our military leadership, to passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to ensuring same-sex couples can visit each other in the hospital, reflects Democrats’ belief that all Americans deserve the same chance to pursue happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love. The Administration has said that the word ‘family’ in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect bi-national families threatened with deportation.

Women. President Obama – the son of a single mother and the father of two daughters – understands that women aren’t a special interest group. They are more than half of this country, and issues that affect women also affect families. That is why the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight back when they are paid less than men, and why we continue to fight to overcome Republican opposition and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to help stop gender discrimination in pay before it starts. And that is why the Justice Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, led by President Obama’s appointees, have investigated and prosecuted numerous violations of the nation’s civil rights laws, and obtained more than $140 million in relief for victims of gender discrimination. We Democrats will continue to support efforts to ensure that workers can combat gender discrimination in the workplace and to protect women against pregnancy discrimination. And that’s why we support passing the Healthy Families Act, broadening the Family and Medical Leave Act, and partnering with states to move toward paid leave.

We understand that economic issues are women’s issues, and the challenges of supporting and raising a family are often primarily a woman’s responsibility. That’s why putting Americans back to work is Job One. That’s why the Affordable Care Act especially helps women by guaranteeing they and their families won’t become uninsured when they lose their jobs. That’s why this administration strengthened Medicare and Medicaid for millions of women and families. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act is ending health insurance discrimination against women, and provides women with free access to preventive care, including prenatal screenings, mammograms, cervical cancer screening, breast-feeding supports, and contraception.

“I know firsthand the injustice of gender discrimination in pay: for years I was paid less than my male colleagues, and it took an anonymous note from a colleague to tip me off to the fact that I was being denied equal pay for equal work. I also know firsthand that President Obama takes these issues seriously: the first bill that he signed into law was focused on making sure that other women don’t face the same injustice. While the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act won’t change my story, I couldn’t be prouder of the legislation that bears my name, and I know who is standing up for women and families.” – Lilly Ledbetter

We understand that women’s rights are civil rights. That’s why we reaffirm our support for the ERA, recommit to enforcing Title IX, and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. That’s why we are committed to ending violence against women, why Vice President Joe Biden originally wrote and championed the Violence Against Women Act during his time in the Senate, and why we support reauthorizing and strengthening it now.

The President and the Democratic Party believe that women have a right to control their reproductive choices. Democrats support access to affordable family planning services, and President Obama and Democrats will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. The Affordable Care Act ensures that women have access to contraception in their health insurance plans, and the President has respected the principle of religious liberty. Democrats support evidence-based and age-appropriate sex education.

Protecting A Woman’s Right to Choose. The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

Voting Rights. We believe the right to vote and to have your vote counted is an essential American freedom, and we oppose laws that place unnecessary restrictions on those seeking to exercise that freedom. Democrats have a proud history of standing up for the right to vote. During the Obama administration, the Justice Department has initiated careful, thorough, and independent reviews of proposed voting changes, and it has prevented states from implementing voter identification laws that would be harmful to minority voters. Democrats know that voter identification laws can disproportionately burden young voters, people of color, low-income families, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and we refuse to allow the use of political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens.

District of Columbia. Every citizen of the United States is entitled to equal citizenship rights, including the 638,000 residents of the nation’s capital who pay federal taxes without representation. The American citizens who live in Washington, D.C., like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference.

Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.

We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

Firearms. We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements – like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole – so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.


Cities and Metro Areas. Cities and metro areas are a vital part of the American community and are incubators of innovation and job creation. Cities and metro areas represent over 80 percent of this country’s gross domestic product and 80 percent of this country’s population. We are committed to supporting and revitalizing these communities around the country.

“America’s metro areas – cities and suburbs working in partnership – are home to 86 percent of the nation’s jobs. In this economic environment, our nation’s mayors call for a renewed investment in our metro economies. President Obama and the Democratic Party have already worked hard toward this promise, including the over $100 billion of infrastructure investment as part of the Recovery Act, because investment in infrastructure, education, workforce training, and public safety will support job creation, foster innovation, and provide companies with a globally competitive workforce. The generations who came before us built our great nation by investing in the future. We must do the same.” – Mayor Kevin Johnson, Listening to America hearing participant

When President Obama first took office, four in five cities had already cut services at a time when American people needed them most, while 48 states faced the prospect of budget deficits in the next fiscal year. We took swift and aggressive action in the first months of this administration to pull cities back from the brink, preventing our local communities from sinking into deeper holes and being forced to lay off tens of thousands of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and teachers. This administration is implementing the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to combat poverty in American cities and the Sustainable Communities Initiative, supports the proposed Growth Zone Initiatives, and has invested in green jobs training programs, community development, public and affordable housing, and homelessness prevention to cut red tape and help revitalize American cities. The administration knows one size does not fit all, which is why it has listened to city leaders about what they need most and is fostering ground-up, instead of top-down, solutions by assigning federal workers to work side-by-side with local leaders in struggling cities.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress have enacted infrastructure investments that will sustain our Highway Trust Fund and provide states, U.S. territories, and communities with two years of funding to build needed roads, bridges, and transit systems. We will continue to partner with local communities to support their sustainable developments such as passenger rail, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and other projects to support livable cities.

Poverty. Too many Americans live without hope for a better future or access to good, family-supporting jobs. Fifteen percent of our fellow citizens live in poverty, and one in five families struggles with food insecurity. Many of these families work but are unable to pay the bills. The economic crisis has hit low- income American families particularly hard, but merely restoring our country to where it was before the economic crisis is not enough. We must make ending poverty a national priority.

When the President took office, we were losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. President Obama and Democrats took immediate action to get the economy moving again. By expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and supporting unemployment insurance benefits and food stamps, the Recovery Act kept seven million people out of poverty and reduced poverty for 32 million more in 2010. The Obama administration invested in Promise Neighborhoods in communities across the country – a comprehensive approach to fighting poverty from early learning to college and career. The administration provided grants to financial institutions in urban and rural communities for the purpose of increasing lending for low-income Americans.

But there is still more work to do. Democrats believe that we must raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation. We will continue to fight for equal pay for equal work, a strong labor movement, and access to a world-class education for every child. We will help lift people with disabilities out of poverty. We understand that poverty disproportionately affects communities of color and we are committed to working with those most affected by poverty. We will continue the improvements in refundable tax credits for low-income families to encourage work and education while lifting families out of poverty. To enhance access and equity in employment, education, and business opportunities, we encourage initiatives to remove barriers to equal opportunity that still exist in America. We will expand the Promise Neighborhoods Program to prepare more students for college.

We face an opposition that has proven its priorities are elsewhere. Mitt Romney would raise taxes on low- and middle-income Americans to fund his tax breaks weighted toward the wealthiest. We reject the Republican budget plan that would force us to destroy the safety net in order to help the wealthiest avoid doing their fair share.

Public Safety, Justice, and Crime Prevention. In the last four years, rates of serious crimes, like murder, rape, and robbery, have reached 50-year lows, but there is more work to do. President Obama and Democrats are fighting for new funding that will help keep cops on the street and support our police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. Republicans and Mitt Romney have opposed and even ridiculed these proposals, but we believe we should support our first responders. We support efforts to ensure our courageous police officers and first responders are equipped with the best technology, equipment, and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes.

We will end the dangerous cycle of violence, especially youth violence, by continuing to invest in proven community-based law enforcement programs such as the Community Oriented Policing Services program. We will reduce recidivism in our neighborhoods. We created the Federal Interagency Reentry Council in 2011, but there’s more to be done. We support local prison-to-work programs and other initiatives to reduce recidivism, making citizens safer and saving the taxpayers money. We understand the disproportionate effects of crime, violence, and incarceration on communities of color and are committed to working with those communities to find solutions.

We will continue to fight inequalities in our criminal justice system. We believe that the death penalty must not be arbitrary. DNA testing should be used in all appropriate circumstances, defendants should have effective assistance of counsel, and the administration of justice should be fair and impartial. That’s why we enacted the Fair Sentencing Act, reducing racial disparities in sentencing for drug crimes. That’s why President Obama appointed two distinguished jurists to the Supreme Court: Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Moving forward, we will continue to nominate and confirm judges who are men and women of unquestionable talent and character and will always demonstrate their faithfulness to our law and our Constitution and bring with them a sense of how American society works and how the American people live.

We must help state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement work together to combat and prevent drug crime and drug and alcohol abuse, which are blights on our communities. We have increased funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program over the last four years, and we will continue to expand the use of drug courts. We support the rights of victims to be respected, heard, and compensated.

We are committed to ending violence against women. We support reauthorizing the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act and oppose the proposals by Republicans in the House of Representatives that would undermine this law and deprive law enforcement of the tools it needs to combat violence against women.

Service, Volunteerism, and Social Innovation. President Obama has called on all Americans to participate in our nation’s renewal by serving in our communities. The Democratic Party believes, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, that everybody can be great because everybody can serve. The challenges America faces are unprecedented and the new foundation for economic growth we need in America will not be built by Washington alone – it’s going to take all of us, working together. To this end, Democrats enacted the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, increasing the size of AmeriCorps and creating more opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve their communities. President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have also sought to increase the budget for the Peace Corps, and today VISTA is larger, stronger, and more vital than it has ever been.

We believe solutions to America’s challenges are being developed every day at the grassroots level, and government should be supporting those efforts. We’ve created a Social Innovation Fund that is leveraging millions in private sector dollars to invest in programs with a proven track record of success. Our nation is experiencing some of the greatest challenges in a generation, but it is also a time of great opportunity if we come together as a community.

Environment. Democrats are committed to protecting our natural resources while creating jobs, preserving habitats, and ensuring that future generations can enjoy our nation’s outdoor heritage. From investing in clean energy to protecting our air, land, and water, Democrats have made protecting the environment a top priority. Today we are responsibly developing our natural resources to create clean energy jobs here at home while encouraging conservation, reducing energy waste, and protecting the environment.

President Obama has taken the most significant strides in decades to cut pollution and advance public health – protecting our children and communities from harmful pollution by restoring and advancing safeguards for clean air and water and by working to reduce carbon pollution. Pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and mercury are a threat to human health, and Democrats will continue to stand up to polluters in the interest of environmental and public health.

We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making. We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits.

President Obama has been a leader on this issue. We have developed historic fuel efficiency standards that will limit greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history, made unprecedented investments in clean energy, and proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants. As we move towards lower carbon emissions, we will continue to support smart, energy efficient manufacturing. Democrats pledge to continue showing international leadership on climate change, working toward an agreement to set emission limits in unison with other emerging powers. Democrats will continue pursuing efforts to combat climate change at home as well, because reducing our emissions domestically – through regulation and market solutions – is necessary to continue being an international leader on this issue. We understand that global climate change may disproportionately affect the poor, and we are committed to environmental justice.

We are restoring treasured landscapes like the Great Lakes, the Florida Everglades, and local wilderness areas. We are working with Gulf Coast states to restore the Gulf and hold BP and other responsible parties accountable. Democrats will continue to work with local communities to conserve our publicly- owned lands and dramatically expand investments in conserving and restoring forests, grasslands, and wetlands across America for generations to come. We will ensure that our National Parks are protected while expanding opportunities for Americans to visit and experience these national treasures. Democrats will continue working to ensure the integrity of the waters Americans rely on every day for drinking, swimming, and fishing, by supporting initiatives that restore our rivers, oceans, coasts, and watersheds. We will preserve landscapes and ecosystems and open more lands and waters for hunting, fishing, and recreation. This will bolster local economies and is good for communities today and for generations to come.

Our opponents have moved so far to the right as to doubt the science of climate change, advocate the selling of our federal lands, and threaten to roll back environmental protections that safeguard public health. Their leaders deny the benefits of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts – benefits like job creation, health, and the prevention of tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. They ignore the jobs that are created by promoting outdoor recreation, cleaning up our air, and promoting a healthy environment.


When President Obama took office in January 2009, our armed forces were engaged in two wars. Al- Qaeda, which had attacked us on 9/11, remained entrenched in its safe havens. Many of our alliances were strained, and our standing in the world had diminished. Around the world and here at home, there were those who questioned whether the United States was headed toward inevitable decline.

Under the leadership of President Obama and the Democratic Party, the tide of war is now receding, and America is looking ahead to a new future. We have responsibly ended the war in Iraq. We have struck major blows against al-Qaeda, bringing Osama bin Laden and other senior al-Qaeda leaders to justice, and putting the terrorist organization on the path to defeat. And we have reversed the momentum of the Taliban and established the conditions to draw down our forces in Afghanistan.

These actions have enabled a broader strategic rebalancing of American foreign policy. After more than a decade at war, we can focus on nation-building here at home and concentrate our resources and attention abroad on the areas that are the greatest priority moving forward. This means directing more energy toward crucial problems, including longstanding threats like nuclear proliferation and emerging dangers such as cyber attacks, biological weapons, climate change, and transnational crime. And it means a long-overdue focus on the world’s most dynamic regions and rising centers of influence.

As we rebalance our foreign policy, we have rebuilt our relationships around the world. From Europe and Asia to the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas, we have strengthened the alliances and partnerships that are so central to global security, and we have taken steps to reinvigorate international institutions. All the while, we have built the foundation for sustained American leadership by growing our economy, preserving our unrivaled military strength, and advancing our values.

President Obama and the Democratic Party know that there is no greater responsibility than protecting the American people. We also understand the indispensable role that the United States must continue to play in promoting international peace and prosperity. And because of the steps we have taken, the United States is leading once again, and America is safer, stronger, and more secure than it was four years ago.


Charting a responsible path out of the war in Iraq has been a crucial element of President Obama’s foreign policy and has enabled important shifts in our broader strategy.

Then-Senator Obama pledged during the 2008 campaign to responsibly end the war in Iraq, saying it was imperative to “be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in” – and that is precisely what he has done. For over half a decade, our focus on Iraq meant we had taken our eye off of al-Qaeda, and it had cost us thousands of lives, a trillion dollars, and severely strained our key alliances. When President Obama took office, there were over 140,000 American troops in harm’s way in Iraq. Today, all of those forces are out of Iraq, and there are no American bases there either. The Iraqi people, in continued partnership with the United States, now have the opportunity to build a better future.

“As Commander-in-Chief, President Obama has proven willing to use military force when necessary, though he also knows how important it is for force to be used as a last resort. He is a strong and responsible leader who has kept his promises to end our wars overseas while maintaining America’s commitment to those of us who served. The President signed tax credits into law for businesses that hire veterans and wounded warriors. He supported the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which helps 800,000 veterans and their families pursue their education. I would like to thank the President for supporting our military and our veterans every day.” – Lieutenant Junior Grade Leo Cruz, United States Navy, Iraq War veteran

After taking office, President Obama removed our combat brigades and ended our combat mission on a 19-month timetable. And after an interim period in which we continued to advise Iraqis and conduct counterterrorism operations, we completed the drawdown of all U.S. troops last December. This decision was reached after extensive discussions and with the full agreement of the Iraqi government, and it was determined to be in the best interest of both nations. Many Republicans, including Mitt Romney, would have preferred to leave tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq in an open-ended commitment, against the will of the Iraqi government and people.

Moving forward, President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to building a robust, long- term strategic partnership with a sovereign, united, and democratic Iraq in all fields – diplomatic, economic, and security – based on mutual interests and mutual respect.


President Obama and the Democratic Party understood that the war in Iraq distracted us from confronting many of the most fundamental national security challenges facing the United States, including the danger posed by international terrorist organizations that threaten the American homeland. As the Bush administration shifted its focus to Iraq, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda established safe havens across the border from Afghanistan, in Pakistan. President Obama’s decision to end the Iraq war freed up military and intelligence resources to refocus on this fight and enabled us to shift to a much more effective approach to counterterrorism.

Importantly, President Obama also shifted away from the Bush administration’s sweeping and internationally-divisive rhetoric of a “global war on terrorism” to a more focused effort against an identifiable network of people: al-Qaeda and its affiliates. That has allowed us to target force with greater precision against those who want to harm Americans and attack the United States and move away from the type of large-scale military deployments characteristic of the previous administration and favored by many Republicans today.

As a candidate, then-Senator Obama committed to bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, even if that meant crossing the border into Pakistan. As a consequence of the President’s decisions and the brave work of our military and intelligence professionals, bin Laden can no longer threaten the United States and al-Qaeda’s senior leadership has been devastated, rendering the group far less capable than it was four years ago. The al-Qaeda core in Afghanistan and Pakistan has never been weaker. We have also struck blows against al-Qaeda’s leadership in Yemen and Somalia – with the full support and close cooperation of those governments. At the same time, the President and the Democratic Party understand that we must stay vigilant. The al-Qaeda core may be on the path to defeat, but the organization and its affiliates remain active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. For that reason, we are committed to an unrelenting pursuit of those who would kill Americans or threaten our homeland, our allies, our partners, and our interests around the world.


The United States went into Afghanistan after 9/11 to bring justice to those who had attacked us and to take away al-Qaeda’s safe haven. But by the time President Obama took office, we had lost sight of those goals. So the President refocused our efforts there in 2009, setting the clear goal of defeating al-Qaeda and denying it an ability to reestablish a safe haven in Afghanistan. Because of the deteriorating security situation, he sent additional resources to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and to give the Afghans the time and space to build the capacity of their security forces. We have accomplished that, and now we have begun the process of bringing our troops home from Afghanistan, including removing 33,000 by September 2012. And, with the support of our allies, the President has outlined a plan to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014.

Already, the United States and our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies have begun to transition responsibility to Afghan security forces. At the same time, we are keeping up the pressure on the Taliban, pursuing the possibility of a political resolution to parts of the conflict, and continuing our capacity- building efforts. Beyond 2014, we will continue to provide counterterrorism and training assistance and to build an enduring relationship with Afghanistan, as outlined by the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement concluded in May. But we will not build permanent bases in Afghanistan. More broadly, we will also continue to support peace and stability in South Asia. Pakistan can be a partner in that process. The United States will make clear that we respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and democratic institutions, and that our interest is in putting an end to al-Qaeda’s safe havens and respecting Afghan sovereignty.

Mitt Romney has been both for and against our timeline to end the war in Afghanistan, but he has failed to outline any policy ideas for how he would bring our troops home and, at times, has suggested he would leave them there indefinitely.


In our continuing efforts to keep America safe, President Obama and the Democratic Party believe we must address the threat that nuclear weapons pose to our security and to peace in the world. Despite the two decades that have passed since the end of the Cold War, large stockpiles of nuclear weapons persist, and more nations are interested in acquiring them. Nuclear testing and black-market trade in sensitive nuclear materials continue. And terrorists remain determined to buy, build, or steal the ultimate weapon.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons and to eventually ridding the planet of these catastrophic weapons. This goal will not be achieved overnight. It will require patience, perseverance, and the steady accumulation of concrete actions. But real progress has already been made.

Reducing Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles. The Obama administration has moved away from Cold War thinking by reducing the prominence of nuclear weapons in America’s national security strategy, and it has urged others to do the same. As long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies. But President Obama has taken important steps to decrease America’s nuclear arsenal and is committed to further responsible reductions.

To reduce our warheads and stockpile, lower the threat of a nuclear exchange, and lay the foundation for future progress, President Obama negotiated and signed the landmark New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, producing cuts in each side’s deployed nuclear stockpiles and launchers and allowing us to monitor and verify Russia’s arsenal. Yet despite bipartisan consensus among former National Security Advisors, Secretaries of Defense, and Secretaries of State that New START makes America safer, Mitt Romney strongly objected to the treaty. Moving forward, the President will work with Russia to achieve additional reductions in stockpiles and nuclear delivery vehicles, including tactical and non-deployed nuclear weapons. We will also work to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and seek a new Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty that prohibits the production of fissile materials intended for use in nuclear weapons.

Preventing Nuclear Proliferation. President Obama and the Democratic Party are also committed to strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the bedrock of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional countries. As we work to uphold our obligations under the treaty by reducing stockpiles and recognizing the rights of all rule-abiding states to peaceful nuclear energy, we will insist that countries without nuclear weapons comply with their obligations not to develop them, and we will ensure that violators face real consequences.

Iran. President Obama, working closely with our international partners and Congress, has put in place unprecedented sanctions against Iran. Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon, but has continually failed to meet its obligations under the NPT and several United Nations Security Council resolutions, and it cannot demonstrate with any credibility that its program is peaceful.

The President is committed to using all instruments of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. When President Obama took office, Iran was ascendant in the region, and the international community was divided over how to address Iran’s nuclear violations. The President’s early offer of engagement with Iran – quickly rebuffed by the regime – allowed the United States to expose Iranian intransigence and rally the international community as never before. Working with our European allies and with Russia and China, the administration gained unprecedented agreement for the toughest ever UN sanctions against Iran, laying the foundation for additional national financial and energy sanctions imposed by the United States and other nations. As a result, Iran is now increasingly isolated and the regime faces crippling economic pressure – pressure that will only build over time.

President Obama believes that a diplomatic outcome remains the best and most enduring solution. At the same time, he has also made clear that the window for diplomacy will not remain open indefinitely and that all options – including military force – remain on the table. But we have an obligation to use the time and space that exists now to put increasing pressure on the Iranian regime to live up to its obligations and rejoin the community of nations, or face the consequences.

North Korea. President Obama will also continue to confront North Korea, another regime that ignores its international obligations by developing nuclear weapons and missile technology, with a stark choice: take verifiable steps toward denuclearization or face increasing isolation and costs from the United

States and the international community. That is why the administration worked with international partners to impose the harshest multilateral sanctions on North Korea in history. And it is why the President has made clear that the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and our allies, and we would hold North Korea accountable for the consequences of such action.

Securing Loose Nuclear Materials. The President has led a global effort to secure all loose nuclear materials around the world, hosting a nuclear security summit in Washington, and making concrete progress in locking these materials down. This is an important goal because the prospect that al-Qaeda or another terrorist organization might acquire a nuclear device represents an immediate and extreme threat to global security. At the same time, the United States will continue to work with international partners to break up black markets, detect and intercept nuclear materials in transit, and use financial tools to disrupt this dangerous trade.

Russia. Crucial to achieving all of these objectives has been, and will remain, expanded cooperation with Russia. The Cold War mentality represented by Mitt Romney’s identification of Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe” ignores the very real common interest we share with Russia in reducing nuclear stockpiles, stopping additional proliferation by countries such as Iran and North Korea, and preventing nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists. The President’s “reset” policy toward Russia has produced significant cooperation in these areas, as well as in Russian support for the Northern Distribution Network that supplies our troops in Afghanistan. We support establishing permanent, normal trade relations with Russia because it would be good for the U.S. economy, for U.S. businesses, and for U.S. workers if we do. And securing Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization is an important step toward encouraging Russia to follow a rules-based system, and to protecting the rights of American workers, farmers, ranchers, and firms. At the same time, we are candid with the Russians when we disagree. The administration will not put aside our differences but will raise them directly with the Russian government. And we will continue to strongly criticize Russian actions that we oppose, such as their support for the Assad regime in Syria.


As we have taken decisive steps to address today’s dangers from terrorism and to prevent future nuclear proliferation, we have also sought to bolster homeland security and head off emerging challenges, ranging from cyber and biological threats to climate change and transnational crime.

Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity threats represent one of the most serious potential national security, public safety, and economic challenges we face. The very technologies that empower us to lead and create also empower individual criminal hackers, organized criminal groups, terrorist networks, and other advanced nations to disrupt the critical infrastructure that is vital to our economy, commerce, public safety, and military. Defending against cyber threats requires networks that are secure, trustworthy, and resilient. The President and the administration have taken unprecedented steps to defend America from cyber attacks, including creating the first military command dedicated to cybersecurity and conducting a full review of the federal government’s efforts to protect our information and our infrastructure. We will continue to take steps to deter, prevent, detect, and defend against cyber intrusions by investing in cutting-edge research and development, promoting cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy, and strengthening private sector and international partnerships. President Obama has supported comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that would help business and government protect against risks of cyber attacks while also safeguarding the privacy rights of our citizens. And, going forward, the President will continue to take executive action to strengthen and update our cyber defenses.

Biological Weapons. Other dangers pose direct and deadly risks to our health and well-being. The use of a lethal biological agent within a population center would threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. That’s why President Obama outlined a National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats in 2009 to address the challenges from proliferation of biological weapons or their use by terrorists. We will continue to work at home with first responders and health officials to reduce the risks associated with unintentional or deliberate outbreaks of infectious disease. We will also continue our efforts with domestic and international partners to promote global health security and reinforce norms of safe and responsible conduct; obtain timely and accurate insight on current and emerging risks; take steps to reduce the potential for exploitation; expand our capability to prevent, attribute, and apprehend perpetrators of attacks; and communicate with all stakeholders. And we will build on existing public and private-sector efforts to prevent intentional contamination of the food supply.

Climate Change. The national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of vital ecosystems across the globe. That is why, in addition to undertaking measures to enhance energy independence and promote efficiency, clean energy, and renewable sources of power here at home, the President and the Democratic Party have steadily worked to build an international framework to combat climate change. We will seek to implement agreements and build on the progress made during climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, working to ensure a response to climate change policy that draws upon decisive action by all nations. Our goal is an effective, international effort in which all major economies commit to reduce their emissions, nations meet their commitments in a transparent manner, and the necessary financing is mobilized so that developing countries can mitigate the effects of climate change and invest in clean energy technologies. That is why the Obama administration has taken a leadership role in ongoing climate negotiations, working to ensure that other major economies like China and India commit to taking meaningful action. It is also why we have worked regionally to build clean energy partnerships in Asia, the Americas, and Africa.

Transnational Crime. Transnational criminal networks also pose significant national security challenges. These networks continue to expand dramatically in size and scope, harming people worldwide, posing threats to stability, and subverting government institutions through corruption. Transnational criminal organizations have accumulated unprecedented wealth and power through the drug trade, arms smuggling, human trafficking, and other illicit activities, penetrating legitimate financial systems and destabilizing commercial markets. They extend their reach by forming alliances with terrorist organizations, government officials, and some state security services. That’s why, in 2011, the Obama administration released a comprehensive Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. We are committed to a multidimensional approach that safeguards citizens, breaks the financial strength of criminal and terrorist networks, disrupts illicit trafficking networks, fights government corruption, strengthens the rule of law, bolsters judicial systems, and improves transparency. We have responded to this threat through aggressive targeting of the illicit financial infrastructure supporting cross-border criminal activity. And we will continue to coordinate with other nations and build their capacity to combat these threats.


The greatest dangers we face – terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyber and biological attacks, climate change, and transnational crime – cannot be solved by any one nation alone. Addressing these challenges requires broad and effective global cooperation. And President Obama and the Democratic Party understand that this depends on close collaboration with our traditional allies, cultivating partnerships with new centers of influence, and strong U.S. leadership within international institutions.

Europe. The cornerstone of our engagement with the world is our alliances, which had been badly damaged under the Bush administration. The President and the Democratic Party believe the foundation of global security remains our relationships with traditional allies in Europe and Asia, and our enduring commitments to their defense. That is why President Obama has worked to methodically strengthen our alliances there, while pressing our allies to bear a greater share of the burden for tackling regional and global challenges.

The President and the Democratic Party recognize America’s enduring interest in supporting peace and prosperity in Europe, as well as bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO, which is critical to the security of the continent and beyond. A decade of military operations in Afghanistan has strengthened NATO’s fighting skills and enhanced its ability to cooperate at the political level. This proved critical to the alliance’s timely, unified, and effective response in Libya. Going forward, we need to further improve the ability of NATO countries to operate collectively. Modernizing the alliance will be challenging given fiscal constraints on both sides of the Atlantic. But as large-scale military involvement in Afghanistan winds down, NATO has an opportunity to focus on further developing the capabilities required to address 21st century challenges. Therefore, we will continue to urge our NATO allies to pool, share, and specialize their capabilities, and to improve their capacity for effective coalition operations.

Meanwhile, even as the presence of U.S. forces in Europe necessarily evolves, the United States will maintain its Article 5 collective security commitments to NATO and will continue to leverage America’s comparative advantage in high-end military capabilities to ensure the defense of our allies. For example, the President is moving forward with a “phased adaptive approach” to European ballistic-missile defense that will protect both Europe and the United States from missile threats emanating from Iran and elsewhere. We believe that the United States and Russia can cooperate on missile defense, but we have also made clear that we will move forward with our system, beginning with the steps we have taken to deploy it in Poland, Turkey, and Romania.

Asia-Pacific. As we have sought to rebalance our foreign policy, we have also turned greater attention to strengthening our alliances and expanding our partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region. In part, this is in recognition that the United States has been, and always will be, a Pacific power. And, in part, it is a recognition that America’s future security and prosperity will be fundamentally interconnected with Asia given its status as the fastest growing economic region, with most of the world’s nuclear powers and about half of the world’s population. The President has therefore made a deliberate and strategic decision that the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.

President Obama has made modernizing America’s defense posture across the Asia-Pacific a top priority. We remain committed to defending and deepening our partnerships with our allies in the region: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. We will maintain a strong presence in Japan and on the Korean Peninsula to deter and defend against provocations by states like North Korea, while enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia and in Australia. We will also expand our networks of security cooperation with other emerging partners throughout the region to combat terrorism, counter proliferation, provide disaster relief, fight piracy, and ensure maritime security, including cooperation in the South China Sea. And we will continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region.

Meanwhile, the President is committed to continuing efforts to build a cooperative relationship with China, while being clear and candid when we have differences. The world has a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China, but China must also understand that it must abide by clear international standards and rules of the road. China can be a partner in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, countering proliferation in Iran, confronting climate change, increasing trade, and resolving other global challenges. President Obama will continue to seek additional opportunities for cooperation with China, including greater communication between our militaries. We will do this even as we continue to be clear about the importance of the Chinese government upholding international economic rules regarding currency, export financing, intellectual property, indigenous innovation, and workers’ rights. We will consistently speak out for the importance of respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people, including the right of the Tibetan people to preserve their cultural and religious identity. And we remain committed to a one China policy, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan.

The Middle East. President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. For this reason, despite budgetary constraints, the President has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion in the past three years. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation – including funding the Iron Dome system – to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The President’s consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel’s security.

It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel’s security concerns are met. President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel. We will continue to support Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have been pillars of peace and stability in the region for many years. And even as the President and the Democratic Party continue to encourage all parties to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.

Elsewhere in the region, President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran’s destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats.

The Americas. In the Americas, we have deepened our economic and security ties with countries throughout the hemisphere, from Canada and Mexico to Brazil and Chile and El Salvador. We have strengthened cooperation with Mexico, Colombia, and throughout Central America to combat narco- traffickers and criminal gangs that threaten their citizens and ours. We will also work to disrupt organized crime networks seeking to use the Caribbean to smuggle drugs into our country. As we collectively confront these challenges, we will continue to support the region’s security forces, border security, and police with the equipment, training, and technologies they need to keep their communities safe. We will improve coordination and share more information so that those who traffic in drugs and in human beings have fewer places to hide. And we will continue to put unprecedented pressure on cartel finances, including in the United States.

Africa. We will continue to partner with African nations to combat al-Qaeda affiliates in places like Somalia and to bring to justice those who commit mass atrocities, like Joseph Kony. We have made great efforts to reduce the violence in Darfur and built international support for a successful referendum on South Sudan’s future. And in his first visit as President to the United Nations, President Obama advanced initiatives to strengthen UN peacekeeping capabilities in Africa. This includes providing equipment, training, and logistical support for UN and African Union missions in Darfur and Somalia. The President has also worked to help African nations grow their economies, and we have opened trade and investment opportunities across the continent.

The United Nations. International institutions – most prominently the United Nations – have been a centerpiece of international order since the mid-20th century. And just as American leadership was essential to forging the architecture for international cooperation after World War II, the President and the Democratic Party are committed to modernizing its infrastructure for the 21st century – working to reform international bodies and strengthen national and multilateral capabilities to advance peace, security, and opportunity. We have restored America’s leadership at the UN by cooperating with our partners there when we can and respectfully disagreeing with them when we must, reversing the previous administration’s disdain for the UN. The President’s leadership at the UN has enabled us to make real progress on a number of top national security priorities, including getting Russia and China on board to implement the toughest UN sanctions ever on Iran and North Korea.


As the United States works with allies and partners to establish an international order that advances peace and prosperity, President Obama and the Democratic Party will continue to build three key pillars of American global leadership: a prosperous and inclusive economy, our unsurpassed military strength, and an enduring commitment to advancing universal values.

To allow each American to pursue the opportunity upon which our prosperity depends, we are investing in the sources of our long-term economic strength: access to a complete and competitive education for every American; affordable health care so our people, businesses, and government are not constrained by rising costs; training to allow our workers to adapt and win in a rapidly changing global economy; transformations in the way we produce and use energy to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and create new jobs and industry; infrastructure that fuels commerce; cutting edge developments in science and innovation that support our economy, defense, and technological leadership; and making the hard decisions to cut our deficit and put our fiscal house in order.

And, because a growing and open global economy serves as a source of opportunity for the American people and a source of strength for the United States, the President and the Democratic Party have coordinated our economic actions with other countries to address financial crises and head off renewed cycles of boom and bust. We have reformed international institutions to give emerging economies a greater role and more responsibility. We have promoted trade that is free and fair. And we have supported global economic development.

Abroad, just as we have at home, we have sought to build a new model for 21st century economic growth that is fair and in which every nation plays by the rules – a model where workers’ rights are respected, businesses compete on a level playing field, and intellectual property and new technologies are protected. Currencies must be market-driven so no nation has an unfair advantage. Reforms must protect consumers from abuse and reflect a global commitment to end corruption. And we will continue to champion sustainable growth that includes the clean energy that creates green jobs and combats climate change.

Addressing the Global Financial Crisis. Alongside our global partners, we took decisive actions to address the global financial crisis and have worked together to make the global economy and financial system more stable and secure. While Europe remains a significant risk to the global economy and while the problems there will not be solved overnight, Europe’s leaders have made clear they will do what is necessary to preserve financial stability in the Eurozone and have the collective ability to address their economic challenges. We have been and will continue to be in frequent contact with our European allies to discuss best practices and share valuable lessons from our own experience reversing our economic downturn, helping them chart the best way forward.

As we continue to work with traditional centers of influence, we have also reached out to emerging economies to give them a greater voice and a greater stake in the global economy. We have made the G-20 the premier forum for international economic coordination in recognition of the fact that 21st century economic discussions must include countries like China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil. And, together, the nations of the G-20 brought the world economy back from the brink of another depression.

Free and Fair Trade. We have also sought to promote free and fair trade. Because of the economic dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region, which is already home to more than half the global economy, expanding trade with that region is critical to creating jobs and opportunities for the American people. Building on the free trade agreement with South Korea that President Obama signed, we are working with our partners in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum to create a seamless regional economy, promote green growth, and coordinate regulatory reform. Alongside Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, we are on track to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a historic high-standard agreement that will address new and emerging trade issues, lower barriers to the free flow of trade and investment, increase exports, and create more American jobs. Exploring opportunities to shape the multilateral trading system to reflect the role and responsibility of major emerging markets in the global economy is a critical part of the President’s trade agenda.

We will work to expand free and fair trade in the Americas as well. We already export more than three times as much to Latin America as we do to China, and we will pursue additional opportunities to expand commerce and promote shared prosperity. Last year the President signed free trade agreements with Panama and Colombia – agreements that will significantly boost U.S. exports and support thousands of jobs here at home – while protecting labor rights, the environment, and intellectual property. Because the Caribbean is an important region to our country, we will continue to support robust trade and economic relationships with our partners there. And, across the region, we are moving ahead with “open skies” agreements to expand opportunities for commercial aviation and to bring our people and businesses closer together.

We have also worked to ensure that American businesses and workers are competing on an even footing with our international competitors, and we have not hesitated to take action. That’s why the Obama administration has brought trade cases against China at twice the rate of the previous administration and recently set up a new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, which substantially expands our ability to investigate and take action against unfair trade practices around the world.

Advancing Global Development. President Obama recognizes that promoting global development is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States. Development expands markets for American products and creates American jobs. Strong and prosperous regional partners are critical to addressing global challenges, ending regional conflicts, and countering the spread of global criminal networks. And good governance and stability cannot take root, and basic human dignity cannot be protected, where poverty reigns and people lack access to the food, basic education, clean water, and medicine they need to survive.

For these reasons, the President this year announced a new strategy toward sub-Saharan Africa that commits to promoting economic growth, including through increased trade and investment. They are also why we are providing robust trade and investment support to Africa and building a trade and investment partnership with the countries of East Africa – because we believe that the private sector will be the engine of prosperity in the developing world. The administration continues to work to promote opportunity and development in sub-Saharan Africa by improving the region’s trade competitiveness, encouraging economic diversification, and ensuring that the benefits from growth are broad-based.

Combating HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease. Recognizing that health is a prerequisite for development, the President has made unprecedented progress in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Building on the strong foundation created during the previous administration, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has expanded its prevention, care, and treatment programming. As a result, PEPFAR now has made significant investments in more than 30 countries, and we set a goal to roughly double the number of lifesaving anti-retroviral treatments we provide by the end of 2013. With his latest budget, the President is fulfilling his historic commitment to request $4 billion over three years for the Global Fund, and the President remains committed to robust funding for PEPFAR and the Global Fund in the future. And President Obama lifted the 25-year ban that prevented non-citizens living with HIV from entering the United States, allowing the world’s largest group of HIV/AIDS researchers, policymakers, medical professionals, and advocates to convene in Washington to continue their efforts to improve prevention and treatment.

Our efforts to combat HIV/AIDS are part of a broader commitment to address the challenges posed by infectious disease. Over the past four years, the administration has leveraged billions of dollars in commitments from donors to meet the demand for new vaccines, making it possible to immunize millions of children and prevent premature deaths.

Ensuring Food Security. The President and the Democratic Party believe that true development requires much more than delivering aid – it requires building the capacity of governments and peoples so that assistance is no longer needed. That is why the administration through its Feed the Future initiative has, with the G-8 and other countries, mobilized more than $22 billion for a global food security effort aimed at building the capacity of nations to feed themselves. This year, the President launched the next phase of this global effort – a major new food security partnership to reduce hunger and lift tens of millions of people from poverty across Africa. These efforts partner with African countries to improve nutrition for children, mitigate risks from volatile food prices, increase private capital investments, expand access to technologies and information required to boost food production, and provide greater assistance to countries that implement agricultural reforms.

Responding to Humanitarian Crises. Together with the American people and the international community, we will continue to respond to humanitarian crises around the globe. We will come to the aid of countries during their times of need, just as we did following the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. And as we did in the aftermath of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in January 2010, we will provide critical aid to countries facing devastating circumstances to meet their acute short-term needs and foster long-term recovery. The President led an unprecedented international effort in response to Haiti’s natural disaster, committing over $3.1 billion to relief, reconstruction, and recovery, and launching a multifaceted effort to improve health, promote food security, and strengthen economic security. While major challenges remain, President Obama has supported a sustained commitment to Haiti’s reconstruction, and the administration has continued to assist in Haiti’s development.


America’s unrivaled military capabilities represent a second core pillar of our global leadership. After more than a decade of war, we have an opportunity to retool our armed forces and our defense strategy to ensure we both maintain the world’s most capable military and adapt to the challenges of the 21st century.

The President and the Democratic Party understand that we have a special obligation to every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman who puts their life on the line for our nation. We must send them into harm’s way only when it’s absolutely necessary. When we do, we must ensure they have the equipment and the support that they need to get the job done. And we have to take care of our troops, their families, and our veterans when they come home.

Eleven years of continuous military operations and repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched our forces and strained their families. Going forward, our troops will face fewer deployments, allowing them more time to train and ensuring that they are ready for the full range of missions they may have to face.

In our current fiscal environment, we must also make tough budgetary decisions across the board – and that includes within the defense budget. The Budget Control Act enacted by Congress last year, with the support of Republicans and Democrats alike, mandates reductions in federal spending, including defense spending. The administration has worked with Congress to make these decisions, which has been a strategy-driven process. As we look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and the conclusion of long-term nation-building with large military footprints – we will be able to ensure our security with a more agile and more flexible force. At the same time, we will continue to emphasize forward engagement in critical regions, while enhancing robust security partnerships to share the burden. And we will continue to get rid of outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in cutting-edge technologies and maintain a versatile set of capabilities required to execute a wide range of military missions.


America’s leadership extends beyond our economic prosperity and military might – it is also rooted in our enduring commitment to advancing a core set of universal values. These include an individual’s freedom to speak their mind, assemble without fear, have access to information, worship as they please, and choose their own leaders. They also include dignity, tolerance, and equality among all people, and the fair and equitable administration of justice. The United States was founded upon a belief in these values, and people of every race, region, and religion around the globe have claimed these principles as their own. The President and the Democratic Party believe that nations that embrace these values for their citizens are ultimately more prosperous, peaceful, and friendly to the United States than those that do not.

Staying True to Our Values at Home. We must always seek to uphold these values at home, not just when it is easy, but, more importantly, when it is hard. Advancing our interests may involve new actions and policies to confront threats like terrorism, but the President and the Democratic Party believe these practices must always be in line with our Constitution, preserve our people’s privacy and civil liberties, and withstand the checks and balances that have served us so well. That is why the President banned torture without exception in his first week in office. That is why we are reforming military commissions to bring them in line with the rule of law. That is why we are substantially reducing the population at Guantánamo Bay without adding to it. And we remain committed to working with all branches of government to close the prison altogether because it is inconsistent with our national security interests and our values.

Standing With Those Demanding Greater Freedom. As we continue to perfect our union here at home, setting an example for others to follow, we will also continue to champion universal rights abroad. We recognize that different cultures and traditions give life to these values in distinct ways, and each country will inevitably chart its own course. America will not impose any system of government on another country. But we also know that the sovereignty of nations cannot strangle the liberty of individuals. So as people around the world yearn for greater freedom, we will continue to support progress toward more accountable, democratic governance and the exercise of universal rights. We will do so through a variety of means: by speaking out for universal rights, bolstering fragile democracies and civil society, and supporting the dignity that comes with development.

Across the Middle East and North Africa, we have stood with the people demanding political change and seeking their rights during the Arab Spring. Since the beginning of the protests in Tunisia, the United States has consistently opposed violence against innocent civilians, supported a set of universal rights for the people of the region, and supported processes of political and economic reform. When the Egyptian people flooded Tahrir Square in Cairo demanding democracy, the administration actively engaged the Egyptian government, military, and people in support of a transition away from decades of dictatorship and towards democracy. In Libya, we built an international coalition and intervened alongside NATO and other partner nations to protect the Libyan people and support them as they ended Muammar Qadhafi’s brutal reign. In Iran, President Obama spoke out in support of the pro- democracy protestors and imposed human rights sanctions on the Iranian government. In Yemen, we worked with Gulf Cooperation Council states to facilitate a peaceful transition of power. And in Syria, we have led the international community to politically and economically isolate the regime, to increase pressure on President Assad to step down, and to provide assistance to unify the Syrian opposition in order to enable a stable transition. Moving forward, we will work to hasten the end of the Assad regime and support a political transition to a stable and democratic Syria. We will continue to support the consolidation of democratic transitions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen. And we will engage governments and civil society across the region on behalf of genuine efforts to promote political and economic reforms that are responsive to the people of the region.

The Arab Spring represents the world’s most sweeping recent movement toward democracy, but it is not an isolated case. Across the globe, people are demanding more from their governments – and, when they do, they will continue to find support and partnership in the United States. For example, in Burma, we successfully employed a combination of sanctions and engagement to encourage the government to open up political space and release political prisoners. Our historic opening to Burma will continue to incentivize a democratic transition, a deeper engagement with the United States, and national reconciliation among Burma’s many different ethnic groups. And because human rights violations persist, we will continue to speak clearly about the additional steps that must be taken for the government of Burma to have a better relationship with the United States.

In Africa, the administration engaged to ensure a legitimate transfer of power in Cote d’Ivoire, supported the independence of South Sudan, and remains actively involved in resolving the issues between Sudan and South Sudan. In the Americas, we see vibrant democracies in countries from Mexico to Brazil and Costa Rica to Chile. We have also seen historic peaceful transfers of power in places like El Salvador and Uruguay. Yet despite the region’s democratic progress, stark inequalities in political and economic power endure. We will continue to press for more transparent and accountable governance. And we will promote greater freedom in Cuba and Venezuela until all their citizens enjoy the universal rights they deserve.

Under President Obama, we have undertaken the most significant efforts in decades to engage the Cuban people. We have focused on the importance of the family ties between Cuban Americans and their relatives still living under oppression. Because of steps the President has taken, it is now possible for Cuban Americans to visit and support their families in Cuba, and to send remittances that reduce the Cuban people’s dependence on the Cuban state. We have taken additional steps to bolster Cuban civil society, expanding purposeful exchanges that bolster independent religious groups on the island and enhancing the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people. Going forward we will continue to support the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their own future.

Promoting Transparent, Accountable Governance and the Rule of Law. To promote transparent and accountable government worldwide, we joined with Brazil to launch and co-chair the international Open Government Partnership. Fifty-five countries now belong to the partnership – representing a quarter of the world’s people – each of which has outlined concrete, credible steps to open the work of government so citizens are empowered, problems are solved, and democracy is strengthened.

The President and Democrats know that a commitment to the rule of law and effective judicial institutions are essential to sustainable economic development and must remain a core American value in the years to come. That is why the Obama administration has successfully pressed for international action against government corruption through the G-20 and promoted new initiatives to help countries develop stronger judicial institutions. Because the public’s rights, freedoms, and access to economic opportunity depend on the rule of law, we will continue to work in partnership with our allies to promote this important value around the world.

Standing up for Women’s Rights Around the Globe. As we work to advance universal values and human dignity, the President and the Democratic Party understand the critical importance of expanding protections and opportunities for women and girls around the world. Ensuring full equality and providing women and girls the opportunity to learn, earn a livable wage, and participate in public decision-making are essential to reduce violence, improve economies, and strengthen democracy. To continue to make progress at home and advance women’s rights and opportunities abroad, we will urge ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the State Department are committed to advancing the rights of women and girls as a central focus of U.S. diplomatic, development, and defense interests. We will continue to promote the full engagement of women in the political and economic spheres. We will work to address underlying socio-economic problems, including women’s access to health, education, and food security. And we will ensure that women are equal participants in reconciliation and development in areas affected by conflict.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to supporting family planning around the globe to help women care for their families, support their communities, and lead their countries to be healthier and more productive. That’s why, in his first month in office, President Obama overturned the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provided information about, counseling on, or offered abortions. And that is why the administration has supported lifesaving family planning health information and services.

Combating Human Trafficking. Some 27 million women, men, and children around the world are victims of human trafficking. The President and the Democratic Party believe that trafficking in persons is both an affront to our fundamental values and, as a source of funds for transnational criminals and terrorist organization, a threat to national and international security. The Obama administration has used bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance, training programs, public outreach, and law enforcement to combat trafficking in persons across the globe. The administration has continued to provide annual assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of foreign governments’ efforts to address the issue, encouraging all countries to do more and calling out countries that have failed to do enough. And the administration has provided technical assistance to improve law enforcement and grants to support grassroots prevention efforts around the world targeting sex and labor trafficking, child sex tourism, forced child labor, and other abuses. The administration is also committed to taking action at home to fight trafficking, including the sex trafficking of young girls.

Gay Rights as Human Rights. Recognizing that gay rights are human rights, the President and his administration have vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct or ignore abuse. Under the Obama administration, American diplomats must raise the issue wherever harassment or abuse arises, and they are required to record it in the State Department’s annual report on human rights. And the State Department is funding a program that finances gay rights organizations to combat discrimination, violence, and other abuses.

Internet Freedom. The Obama administration has led the world to recognize and defend Internet freedom – the freedom of expression, assembly, and association online for people everywhere – through coalitions of countries and by empowering individuals with innovative technologies. The administration has built partnerships to support an Internet that is secure and reliable and that is respectful of U.S. intellectual property, free flow of information, and privacy. To preserve the Internet as a platform for commerce, debate, learning, and innovation in the 21st century, we successfully negotiated international Internet policymaking principles, support the current multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, and oppose the extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet.

Through all these actions, America is leading again. By responsibly ending the wars, rebalancing our foreign policy, taking concrete steps to address the greatest threats to our country, cooperating with allies and partners to tackle common challenges, reinvigorating international institutions, and sustaining and building the core pillars of U.S. leadership, President Obama and the Democratic Party have worked to ensure that the 21st century remains an American one. That is why we are stronger abroad, and safer and more secure at home, than we were four years ago.

The United States continues to move forward towards a future of strong and sustained growth. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and Democrats around the country, we’re fighting back from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression by making investments to create jobs, grow the middle class, and lay the foundations for an economy that out-educates, out-builds, and out-innovates the rest of the world. Today, America is both stronger and safer than it was four years ago. Now, we must continue the work we’ve started so that the United States of America never fails to meet the tests of our time.

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2012 Republic Party Platform


The 2012 Republican Platform is a statement of who we are and what we believe as a Party and our vision for a stronger and freer America.

The pursuit of opportunity has defined America from our very beginning. This is a land of opportunity. The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all. And the Republican Party is the party of opportunity.

Today, that American Dream is at risk.

Our nation faces unprecedented uncertainty with great fiscal and economic challenges, and under the current Administration has suffered through the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Many Americans have experienced the burden of lost jobs, lost homes, and lost hopes. Our middle class has felt that burden most acutely. Meanwhile, the federal government has expanded its size and scope, its borrowing and spending, its debt and deficit. Federalism is threatened and liberty retreats.

For the world, this has been four years of lost American leadership, leadership that depends upon economic vitality and peace through strength.

Put simply: The times call for trustworthy leadership and honest talk about the challenges we face. Our nation and our people cannot afford the status quo. We must begin anew, with profound changes in the way government operates; the way it budgets, taxes, and regulates. Jefferson’s vision of a “wise and frugal government” must be restored.

Providence has put us at the fork in the road, and we must answer the question: If not us, who? If not now, when?

That is the choice facing the American people this November. Every voter will be asked to choose between the chronic high unemployment and the unsustainable debt produced by a big government entitlement society, or a positive, optimistic view of an opportunity society, where any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants.

The American people possess vast reserves of courage and determination and the capacity to hear the truth and chart a strong course. They are eager for the opportunity to take on life’s challenges and, through faith and hard work, transform the future for the better. They are the most generous people on earth, giving sacrificially of their time, talent, and treasure.

This platform affirms that America has always been a place of grand dreams and even grander realities; and so it will be again, if we return government to its proper role, making it smaller and smarter. If we restructure government’s most important domestic programs to avoid their fiscal collapse. If we keep taxation, litigation, and regulation to a minimum. If we celebrate success, entrepreneurship, and innovation. If we lift up the middle class. If we hand over to the next generation a legacy of growth and prosperity, rather than entitlements and indebtedness.

That same commitment must be present both here at home and abroad. We are a party that knows the difference between international acclaim and world leadership. We will lift the torch of freedom and democracy to inspire all those who would be free. As President Reagan issued the clarion call to “tear down this Wall,” so must we always stand against tyranny and oppression. We will always support and cherish our men and women in uniform who defend our liberties with their lives.

As we embark upon this critical mission, we are not without guidance. We possess an owner’s manual: the Constitution of the United States, the greatest political document ever written. That sacred document shows us the path forward. Trust the people. Limit government. Respect federalism. Guarantee opportunity, not outcomes. Adhere to the rule of law. Reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.

The principles written in the Constitution are secured by the character of the American people. President George Washington said in his first inaugural address: “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” Values matter. Character counts.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand these great truths. They share a positive vision for America – a vision of America renewed and strong. They know America’s best days lay ahead. It will take honest results-oriented, conservative leadership to enact good policies for our people. They will provide it.

We respectfully submit this platform to the American people. It is both a vision of where we are headed and an invitation to join us in that journey. It is about the great dreams and opportunities that have always been America and must remain the essence of America for generations to come.

May God continue to shed his grace on the United States of America.

Governor Bob McDonnell, Chairman
Senator John Hoeven, Co-Chair
Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Co-Chair

Restoring the American Dream: Rebuilding the Economy and Creating Jobs

We are the party of maximum economic freedom and the prosperity freedom makes possible. Prosperity is the product of self-discipline, work, savings, and investment by individual Americans, but it is not an end in itself. Prosperity provides the means by which individuals and families can maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values, practice their faith, and build communities of self-reliant neighbors. It is also the means by which the United States is able to assert global leadership. The vigor of our economy makes possible our military strength and is critical to our national security.

This year’s election is a chance to restore the proven values of the American free enterprise system. We offer our Republican vision of a free people using their God-given talents, combined with hard work, self-reliance, ethical conduct, and the pursuit of opportunity, to achieve great things for themselves and the greater community. Our vision of an opportunity society stands in stark contrast to the current Administration’s policies that expand entitlements and guarantees, create new public programs, and provide expensive government bailouts. That road has created a culture of dependency, bloated government, and massive debt.

Republicans believe in the Great American Dream, with its economics of inclusion, enabling everyone to have a chance to own, invest, build, and prosper. It is the opposite of the policies which, for the last three and a half years, have stifled growth, destroyed jobs, halted investment, created unprecedented uncertainty, and prolonged the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Those policies have placed the federal government in the driver’s seat, rather than relying on energetic and entrepreneurial Americans to rebuild the economy from the ground up. Excessive taxation and regulation impede economic development. Lowering taxes promotes substantial economic growth and reducing regulation encourages business formation and job creation. Knowing that, a Republican President and Congress will jumpstart an economic renewal that creates opportunity, rewards work and saving, and unleashes the productive genius of the American people. Because the GOP is the Great Opportunity Party, this is our pledge to workers without jobs, families without savings, and neighborhoods without hope: together we can get our country back on track, expanding its bounty, renewing its faith, and fulfilling its promise of a better life.

Job Creation: Getting Americans Back to Work

The best jobs program is economic growth. We do not offer yet another made-in-Washington package of subsidies and spending to create temporary or artificial jobs. We want much more than that. We want a roaring job market to match a roaring economy. Instead, what this Administration has given us is 42 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent, the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression. Republicans will pursue free market policies that are the surest way to boost employment and create job growth and economic prosperity for all.

In all the sections that follow, as well as elsewhere in this platform, we explain what must be done to achieve that goal. The tax system must be simplified. Government spending and regulation must be reined in. American companies must be more competitive in the world market, and we must be aggressive in promoting U.S. products abroad and securing open markets for them. A federal-State-private partnership must invest in the nation’s infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports, ports, and water systems, among others. Federal training programs have to be overhauled and made relevant for the workplace of the twenty-first century. Potential employers need certainty and predictability for their hiring decisions, and the team of a Republican President and Congress will create the confidence that will get Americans back to work.

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

America’s small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, employing tens of millions of workers. Small businesses create the vast majority of jobs, patents, and U.S. exporters. Under the current Administration, we have the lowest rate of business startups in thirty years. Small businesses are the leaders in the world’s advances in technology and innovation, and we pledge to strengthen that role and foster small business entrepreneurship.

While small businesses have significantly contributed to the nation’s economic growth, our government has failed to meet its small business goals year after year and failed to overcome burdensome regulatory, contracting, and capital barriers. This impedes their growth.

We will reform the tax code to allow businesses to generate enough capital to grow and create jobs for our families, friends and neighbors all across America. We will encourage investments in small businesses. We will create an environment where adequate financing and credit are available to spur manufacturing and expansion. We will serve as aggressive advocates for small businesses.

Tax Relief to Grow the Economy and Create Jobs

Taxes, by their very nature, reduce a citizen’s freedom. Their proper role in a free society should be to fund services that are essential and authorized by the Constitution, such as national security, and the care of those who cannot care for themselves. We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs, or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.

Our goal is a tax system that is simple, transparent, flatter, and fair. In contrast, the current IRS code is like a patchwork quilt, stitched together over time from mismatched pieces, and is beyond the comprehension of the average citizen. A reformed code should promote simplicity and coherence, savings and innovation, increase American competitiveness, and recognize the burdens on families with children. To that end, we propose to:

Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages-commonly known as the Bush tax cuts-pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising on income, interest, dividends, and capital gains;

Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner;
Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers;
End the Death Tax; and
Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.

American Competitiveness in a Global Economy

American businesses now face the world’s highest corporate tax rate. It reduces their worldwide competitiveness, encourages corporations to move overseas, lessens investment, cripples job creation, lowers U.S. wages, and fosters the avoidance of tax liability-without actually increasing tax revenues. To level the international playing field, and to spur job creation here at home, we call for a reduction of the corporate rate to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally, with a permanent research and development tax credit, and a repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax. We also support the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the current President’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of corporate taxation, so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home without additional penalty.

Fundamental Tax Principles

We oppose retroactive taxation; and we condemn attempts by activist judges, at any level of government, to seize the power of the purse by ordering higher taxes. We oppose tax policies that divide Americans or promote class warfare.

Because of the vital role of religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies in fostering benevolence and patriotism, they should not be subject to taxation, and donations to them should continue to be tax deductible.

In any restructuring of federal taxation, to guard against hypertaxation of the American people, any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.

Reining in Out-of-Control Spending, Balancing the Budget, and Ensuring Sound Monetary Policy

The massive federal government is structurally and financially broken. For decades it has been pushed beyond its core functions, increasing spending to unsustainable levels. Elected officials have overpromised and overspent, and now the bills are due. Unless we take dramatic action now, young Americans and their children will inherit an unprecedented legacy of enormous and unsustainable debt, with the interest alone consuming an ever-increasing portion of the country’s wealth. The specter of national bankruptcy that now hangs over much of Europe is a warning to us as well. Over the last three and a half years, while cutting the defense budget, the current Administration has added an additional $5.3 trillion to the national debt-now approximately $16 trillion, the largest amount in U.S. history. In fiscal year 2011, spending reached $3.6 trillion, nearly a quarter of our gross domestic product. Adjusted for inflation, that’s more than three times its peak level in World War II, and almost half of every dollar spent was borrowed money. Three programs-Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security- account for over 40 percent of total spending. While these levels of spending and debt are already harming job creation and growth, projections of future spending growth are nothing short of catastrophic, both economically and socially. And those dire projections do not include the fiscal nightmare of Obamacare, with over $1 trillion in new taxes, multiple mandates, and a crushing price tag.

We can preempt the debt explosion. Backed by a Republican Senate and House, our next President will propose immediate reductions in federal spending, as a down payment on the much larger task of long-range fiscal control. We suggest a tripartite test for every federal activity. First, is it within the constitutional scope of the federal government? Second, is it effective and absolutely necessary? And third, is it sufficiently important to justify borrowing, especially foreign borrowing, to fund it? Against those standards we will measure programs from international population control to California’s federally subsidized high-speed train to nowhere, and terminate programs that don’t measure up.

Balancing the Budget

Cutting spending is not enough; it must be accompanied by major structural reforms, increased productivity, use of technology, and long-term government downsizing that both reduce debt and deficits and ignite economic growth. We must restructure the twentieth century entitlement state so the missions of important programs can succeed in the twenty-first century. Medicare, in particular, is the largest driver of future debt. Our reform of healthcare will empower millions of seniors to control their personal healthcare decisions, unlike Obamacare that empowered a handful of bureaucrats to cut Medicare in ways that will deny care for the elderly. We must also change the budget process itself. From its beginning, its design has enabled, rather than restrained, reckless spending by giving procedural cover to Members of Congress. The budget process gave us the insidious term “tax expenditure,” which means that any earnings the government allows a taxpayer to keep through a deduction, exemption, or credit are equivalent to spending the same amount on some program. It also lumped a broad range of diverse programs under the heading of “entitlement,” as if veterans’ benefits and welfare checks belong in the same category. Far worse, the process assumes every spending program will be permanent and every tax cut will be temporary. It refuses to recognize the beneficial budgetary impact of lower tax rates, and it calls a spending increase a cut if it is less than the rate of inflation. Republican Members of Congress have repeatedly tried to reform the budget process to make it more transparent and accountable, in particular by voting for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, following the lead of 33 States which have put that restraint into their own constitutions. We call for a Constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, with exceptions for only war and national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to the historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes.

Inflation and the Federal Reserve

A sound monetary policy is critical for maintaining a strong economy. Inflation diminishes the purchasing power of the dollar at home and abroad and is a hidden tax on the American people. Moreover, the inflation tax is regressive, punishes those who save, transfers wealth from Main Street to Wall Street, and has grave implications for seniors living on fixed incomes.

Because the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy actions affect both inflation and economic activity, those actions should be transparent. Moreover, the Fed’s important role as a lender of last resort should also be carried out in a more transparent manner. A free society demands that the sun shine on all elements of government. Therefore, the Republican Party will work to advance substantive legislation that brings transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market Committee, and the Fed’s dealings with foreign central banks. The first step to increasing transparency and accountability is through an annual audit of the Federal Reserve’s activities. Such an audit would need to be carefully implemented so that the Federal Reserve remains insulated from political pressures and so its decisions are based on sound economic principles and sound money rather than on political pressures for easy money and loose credit.

Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. The commission advised against such a move. Now, three decades later, as we face the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we propose a similar commission to investigate possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar.

Ending the Housing Crisis and Expanding Opportunities for Homeownership

Homeownership expands personal liberty, builds communities, and helps Americans create wealth. “The American Dream” is not a stale slogan. It is the lived reality that expresses the aspirations of all our people. It means a decent place to live, a safe place to raise kids, a welcoming place to retire. It bespeaks the quiet pride of those who work hard to shelter their family and, in the process, create caring neighborhoods. Homeownership is best fostered by a growing economy with low interest rates, as well as prudent regulation, financial education, and targeted assistance to responsible borrowers.

The collapse of the housing market over the last four years has been not only a severe blow to the entire economy, but also a personal tragedy to millions of Americans whose homes have lost value and to so many others who have lost their homes. Combined with high unemployment, that decline has left countless homeowners saddled with mortgages exceeding the value of their homes. The response of the current Administration has done little to improve, and much to worsen, the situation. By discouraging private sector investment, it has stalled the housing recovery. Its massive intervention in the housing market, with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backing nearly all new mortgages, has hit the taxpayers with a bill for almost $200 billion to bail out the latter two institutions. It has spent billions more on poorly designed and ineffective housing assistance programs. Making matters worse, the Congress, under Democrat control, enacted the Dodd-Frank Act, a massive labyrinth of costly new regulations that deter lenders from lending to creditworthy homebuyers and that disproportionately harms small and community banks. As a result, home sales remain weak, investment in housing remains depressed, construction industry jobs remain down, and mortgage lending has yet to recover to pre-crisis levels.

Rebuilding Homeownership

We must establish a mortgage finance system based on competition and free enterprise that is transparent, encourages the private sector to return to housing, and promotes personal responsibility on the part of borrowers. Policies that promote reliance on private capital, like private mortgage insurance, will be critical to scaling back the federal role in the housing market and avoiding future taxpayer bailouts. Reforms should provide clear and prudent underwriting standards and guidelines on acceptable lending practices. Compliance with regulatory standards should provide a legal safe harbor to guard against opportunistic litigation. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a primary cause of the housing crisis because their implicit government guarantee allowed them to avoid market discipline and make risky investments. Their favored political status enriched their politically-connected executives and their shareholders at the expense of the nation. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be wound down in size and scope, and their officials should be held to account.

The FHA, tripled in size to more than $1 trillion under the current Administration, has crowded out the private sector and is at risk of requiring a taxpayer bailout. It must be downsized and limited to helping first-time homebuyers and low- and moderate- income borrowers. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to bail out borrowers and lenders by funding principal write-downs. While the federal government must prosecute mortgage fraud and other financial crimes, any settlements received thereby should be directed to individuals harmed by the misconduct, not diverted to pay for unrelated programs. FDIC insurance for bank depositors must be preserved. However, to correct for the moral hazard created by deposit insurance, banks should be well capitalized, which is the best insurance against future taxpayer bailouts.

The federal government has a role in housing by enforcing non-discrimination laws and assisting low-income families and the elderly with safe and adequate shelter, especially through the use of housing vouchers. Homeownership is an important goal, but public policy must be balanced to reflect the needs of Americans who choose to rent. A comprehensive housing policy should address the demand for apartments and multi-family housing. Any assistance should be subject to stringent oversight to ensure that funds are spent wisely.

Infrastructure: Building the Future

America’s infrastructure networks are critical for economic growth, international competitiveness, and national security. Infrastructure programs have traditionally been non-partisan; everyone recognized that we all need clean water and safe roads, rail, bridges, ports, and airports. The current Administration has changed that, replacing civil engineering with social engineering as it pursues an exclusively urban vision of dense housing and government transit. In the vaunted stimulus package, less than six percent of the funds went to transportation, with most of that to cosmetic “shovel-ready” projects rather than fundamental structural improvements. All the while, the Democrats’ Davis-Bacon law continues to drive up infrastructure construction and maintenance costs for the benefit of that party’s union stalwarts. What most Americans take for granted-the safety and availability of our water supply-is in perilous condition. Engineering surveys report crumbling drinking water systems, aging dams, and overwhelmed wastewater infrastructure. Investment in these areas, as well as with levees and inland waterways, can renew communities, attract businesses, and create jobs. Most importantly, it can assure the health and safety of the American people.

The nation’s ports have become a bottleneck in international trade. America’s exporters sometimes use Canadian ports in order to reach the world market in a timely manner. With the widening of the Panama Canal, our East Coast and Gulf ports have an extraordinary opportunity to boost container traffic but require major improvement to remain competitive receivers of large vessels.

Interstate infrastructure has long been a federal responsibility shared with the States, and a renewed federal-State partnership and new public-private partnerships are urgently needed to maintain and modernize our country’s travel lifelines to facilitate economic growth and job creation. In the last two years, Congressional Republicans have taken the lead with initiatives like the FAA Modernization and Reform Act; the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act; and the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act. The recent highway bill reforming the federal highway program included some key reforms. It will shorten the project approval process, eliminate unnecessary programs, and give States more flexibility to address their particular needs. It is a return to the principles of federalism, and it contains not a single earmark. It should be followed by reform of the 42-year old National Environmental Policy Act to create regulatory certainty for infrastructure projects, expedite their timetables, and limit litigation against them.

Securing sufficient funding for the Highway Trust Fund remains a challenge given the debt and deficits and the need to reduce spending. Republicans will make hard choices and set priorities, and infrastructure will be among them. In some States with elected officials dominated by the Democratic Party, a proportion of highway funds is diverted to other purposes. This must stop. We oppose any funding mechanism that would involve governmental monitoring of every car and truck in the nation. Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad. The public has to subsidize every ticket nearly $50. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.

International Trade: More American Jobs, Higher Wages, and A Better Standard of Living

International trade is crucial for our economy. It means more American jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living. Every $1 billion in additional U.S. exports means another 5,000 jobs here at home. The Free Trade Agreements negotiated with friendly democracies since President Reagan’s trailblazing pact with Israel in 1985 facilitated the creation of nearly ten million jobs supported by our exports. That record makes all the more deplorable the current Administration’s slowness in completing agreements begun by its predecessor and its failure to pursue any new trade agreements with friendly nations.

This worldwide explosion of trade has had a downside, however, as some governments have used a variety of unfair means to limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how, and technology-the “intellectual property” that drives innovation. The chief offender is China, which has built up its economy in part by piggybacking onto Western technological advances, manipulates its currency to the disadvantage of American exporters, excludes American products from government purchases, subsidizes Chinese companies to give them a commercial advantage, and invents regulations and standards designed to keep out foreign competition. The current Administration’s way of dealing with all these violations of world trade standards has been a virtual surrender.

Republicans understand that you can succeed in a negotiation only if you are willing to walk away from it. Thus, a Republican President will insist on full parity in trade with China and stand ready to impose countervailing duties if China fails to amend its currency policies. Commercial discrimination will be met in kind. Counterfeit goods will be aggressively kept out of the country. Victimized private firms will be encouraged to raise claims in both U.S. courts and at the World Trade Organization. Punitive measures will be imposed on foreign firms that misappropriate American technology and intellectual property. Until China abides by the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, the United States government will end procurement of Chinese goods and services.

Because American workers have shown that, on a truly level playing field, they can surpass the competition in international trade, we call for the restoration of presidential Trade Promotion Authority. It will ensure up or down votes in Congress on any new trade agreements, without meddling by special interests. A Republican President will complete negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership to open rapidly developing Asian markets to U.S. products. Beyond that, we envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets, what has been called a “Reagan Economic Zone,” in which free trade will truly be fair trade for all concerned.

A Twenty-First Century Workforce

The greatest asset of the American economy is the hard-working American. The high rates of unemployment over the last three and a half years-disastrously high among youth, minorities, and veterans-have thus been a tragic waste of energy and ideas, compounded by the waste of billions in “stimulus” funds with no payoff in jobs. The chief cause has been an unprecedented uncertainty in the American free enterprise system due to the overreaching policies of the current Administration. Nothing matters more than getting the American people back to work. In addition to cutting spending, keeping taxes low, and curtailing bureaucratic red tape, we must replace outdated policies and ineffectual training programs with a plan to develop a twenty-first century workforce to make the most of our country’s human capital.

It is critical that the United States has a highly trained and skilled workforce. Nine federal agencies currently run 47 retraining programs at a total cost of $18 billion annually with dismal results. Both the trainees in those programs and the taxpayers who fund them deserve better. We propose consolidation of those programs into State block grants so that training can be coordinated with local schools and employers. That will be critically important if States establish Personal Reemployment Accounts, letting trainees direct resources in ways that will steer them toward long-term employment, especially through on-the-job training with participating employers. We can accelerate the process of restoring our domestic economy-and reclaiming this country’s traditional position of dominance in international trade-by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations. Highly educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products. In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose. As in past generations, we should encourage the world’s innovators and inventors to create our common future and their permanent homes here in the United States.

Republicans believe that the employer-employee relationship of the future will be built upon employee empowerment and workplace flexibility, which is why Republicans support employee ownership. We believe employee stock ownership plans create capitalists and expand the ownership of private property and are therefore the essence of a high-performing free enterprise economy, which creates opportunity for those who work and honors those values that have made our nation so strong. Today’s workforce is independent, wants flexibility in working conditions, needs family-friendly options, and is most productive when allowed to innovate and rethink the status quo. The federal government should set an example in making those adaptations, especially in promoting portability in pension plans and health insurance.

Freedom in the Workplace

The current Administration has chosen a different path with regard to labor, clinging to antiquated notions of confrontation and concentrating power in the Washington offices of union elites. It has strongly supported the anti-business card check legislation to deny workers a secret ballot in union organizing campaigns and, through the use of Project Labor Agreements, barred 80 percent of the construction workforce from competing for jobs in many stimulus projects. The current Administration has turned the National Labor Relations Board into a partisan advocate for Big Labor, using threats and coercion outside the law to attack businesses and, through “snap elections” and “micro unions,” limit the rights of workers and employers alike.

We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking “card check,” enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative. We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty. Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty. We will aggressively enforce the recent decision by the Supreme Court barring the use of union dues for political purposes without the consent of the worker.

We salute the Republican Governors and State legislators who have saved their States from fiscal disaster by reforming their laws governing public employee unions. We urge elected officials across the country to follow their lead in order to avoid State and local defaults on their obligations and the collapse of services to the public. To safeguard the free choice of public employees, no government at any level should act as the dues collector for unions. A Republican President will protect the rights of conscience of public employees by proposing legislation to bar mandatory dues for political purposes.

We The People: A restoration of Constitutional Government

We are the party of the Constitution, the solemn compact which confirms our God-given individual rights and assures that all Americans stand equal before the law. Perhaps the greatest political document ever written, it defines the purposes and limits of government and is the blueprint for ordered liberty that makes the U.S. the world’s freest, most stable, and most prosperous nation. Its Constitutional ideals have been emulated around the world, and with them has come unprecedented prosperity for billions of people.

In the spirit of the Constitution, we consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral. We will strongly enforce anti-discrimination statutes and ask all to join us in rejecting the forces of hatred and bigotry and in denouncing all who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance. We support efforts to help low-income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit; but we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved, whether in government, education, or corporate boardrooms. In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.

The Republican Party includes Americans from every faith and tradition, and our policies and positions respect the right of every American to follow his or her beliefs and underscore our reverence for the religious freedom envisioned by the Founding Fathers of our nation and of our party. As a matter of principle, we oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States.

A Restoration of Constitutional Order: Congress and the Executive

We salute Republican Members of the House of Representatives for enshrining in the Rules of the House the requirement that every bill must cite the provision of the Constitution which permits its introduction. Their adherence to the Constitution stands in stark contrast to the antipathy toward the Constitution demonstrated by the current Administration and its Senate allies by appointing “czars” to evade the confirmation process, making unlawful “recess” appointments when the Senate is not in recess, using executive orders to bypass the separation of powers and its checks and balances, encouraging illegal actions by regulatory agencies from the NLRB to the EPA, openly and notoriously displaying contempt for Congress, the Judiciary, and the Constitutional prerogatives of the individual States, refusing to defend the nation’s laws in federal courts or enforce them on the streets, ignoring the legal requirement for legislative enactment of an annual budget, gutting welfare reform by unilaterally removing its statutory work requirement, buying senatorial votes with special favors, and evading the legal requirement for congressional consultation regarding troop commitments overseas. A Republican President and Republican Senate will join House Republicans in living by the rule of law, the foundation of the American Republic.

Protecting America is the first and most important duty of our federal government. The Constitution wisely distributes important roles in the area of national security to both the President and Congress. It empowers the President to serve as Commander in Chief, making him the lead instrument of the American people in matters of national security and foreign affairs. It also bestows authority on Congress, including the powers to declare war, regulate commerce, and authorize the funds needed to keep and protect our Nation. The United States of America is strongest when the President and Congress work closely together – in war and in peace – to advance our common interests and ideals. By uniting our government and our citizens, our foreign policy will secure freedom, keep America safe, and ensure that we remain the “last best hope on Earth.”

Defending Marriage Against An Activist Judiciary

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.

A Sacred Contract: Defense of Marriage

That is why Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. The current Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle – in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts – makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath. We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.

Living Within Our Means: A Constitutional Budget

Republican Members of Congress have repeatedly tried to reform the budget process to make it more transparent and accountable, in particular by voting for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, following the lead of 33 States which have put that restraint into their own constitutions. We call for a Constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority for any tax increase with exceptions for only war and national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to the historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes.

Federalism and The Tenth Amendment

We support the review and examination of all federal agencies to eliminate wasteful spending, operational inefficiencies, or abuse of power to determine whether they are performing functions that are better performed by the States. These functions, as appropriate, should be returned to the States in accordance with the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. We affirm that all legislation, rules, and regulations must conform and public servants must adhere to the U.S. Constitution, as originally intended by the Framers. Whether such legislation is a State or federal matter must be determined in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, in conjunction with Article I, Section 8. When the Constitution is evaded, transgressed, or ignored, so are the freedoms it guarantees. In that context, the elections of 2012 will be much more than a contest between parties. They are a referendum on the future of liberty in America.

The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self-government. In establishing a federal system of government, the Framers viewed the States as laboratories of democracy and centers of innovation, as do we. To maintain the integrity of their system, they bequeathed to successive generations an instrument by which we might correct any misalignment of power between our States and the federal government, the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In fidelity to that principle, we condemn the current Administration’s continued assaults on State governments in matters ranging from voter ID laws to immigration, from healthcare programs to land use decisions. Our States are the laboratories of democracy from which the people propel our nation forward, solving local and State problems through local and State innovations. We pledge to restore the proper balance between the federal government and the governments closest to, and most reflective of, the American people. Scores of entrenched federal programs violate the constitutional mandates of federalism by taking money from the States, laundering it through various federal agencies, only to return to the States shrunken grants with mandates attached. We propose wherever feasible to leave resources where they originate: in the homes and neighborhoods of the taxpayers. We call on the federal government to do a systematic analysis of laws and regulations to eliminate costly bureaucratic mandates on the States and the people. With every right comes a responsibility. A few States and their political subdivisions are currently in dire fiscal situations, largely because of their spending, debt, and failure to rein in public employee unions. In the event those conditions worsen, the federal government must not assume the State governments’ or their political subdivisions’ financial responsibility or require the nation’s taxpayers to pay for the misrule of a few State governments. Nor shall the States assume the federal government’s financial responsibility.

The Continuing Importance of Protecting the Electoral College

We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact or any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College. We recognize that an unconstitutional effort to impose “national popular vote” would be a mortal threat to our federal system and a guarantee of corruption as every ballot box in every state would become a chance to steal the presidency.

Voter Integrity to Ensure Honest Elections

Honest elections are the foundation of representative government. We support State efforts to ensure ballot access for the elderly, the handicapped, military personnel, and all authorized voters. For the same reason, we applaud legislation to require photo identification for voting and to prevent election fraud, particularly with regard to registration and absentee ballots. We support State laws that require proof of citizenship at the time of voter registration to protect our electoral system against a significant and growing form of voter fraud. Every time that a fraudulent vote is cast, it effectively cancels out a vote of a legitimate voter.

Voter fraud is political poison. It strikes at the heart of representative government. We call on every citizen, elected official, and member of the judiciary to preserve the integrity of the vote. We call for vigorous prosecution of voter fraud at the State and federal level. To do less disenfranchises present and future generations. We recognize that having a physical verification of the vote is the best way to ensure a fair election. “Let ambition counter ambition,” as James Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly support the policy that all electronic voting systems have a voter verified paper audit trail.

States or political subdivisions that use all-mail elections cannot ensure the integrity of the ballot. When ballots are mailed to every registered voter, ballots can be stolen or fraudulently voted by unauthorized individuals because the system does not have a way to verify the identity of the voter. We call for States and political subdivisions to adopt voting systems that can verify the identity of the voter.

Military men and women must not be disenfranchised from the very freedom they defend. We affirm that our troops, wherever stationed, be allowed to vote and those votes be counted in the November election and in all elections. To that end, the entire chain of command, from President and the Secretary of Defense, to base and unit commanders – must ensure the timely receipt and return of all ballots and the utilization of electronic delivery of ballots where allowed by State law.

We support changing the way that the decennial census is conducted, so that citizens are distinguished from lawfully present aliens and illegal aliens. In order to preserve the principle of one-person, one-vote, the apportionment of representatives among the States should be according to the number of citizens.

The First Amendment: The Foresight of Our Founders to Protect Religious Freedom

The first provision of the First Amendment concerns freedom of religion. That guarantee reflected Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which declared that no one should “suffer on account of his religious opinion or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion….” That assurance has never been more needed than it is today, as liberal elites try to drive religious beliefs – and religious believers – out of the public square. The Founders of the American Republic universally agree that democracy presupposes a moral people and that, in the words of George Washington’s Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration’s attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion. This forcible secularization of religious and religiously affiliated organizations, including faith-based hospitals and colleges, has been in tandem with the current Administration’s audacity in declaring which faith-related activities are, or are not, protected by the First Amendment – an unprecedented aggression repudiated by a unanimous Supreme Court in its Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC decision. We pledge to respect the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard the independence of their institutions from government. We support the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage, and we affirm the right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools and to have equal access to public schools and other public facilities to accommodate religious freedom in the public square. We assert every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices. We oppose government discrimination against businesses due to religious views. We support the First Amendment right of freedom of association of the Boy Scouts of America and other service organizations whose values are under assault and condemn the State blacklisting of religious groups which decline to arrange adoptions by same-sex couples. We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.

The First Amendment: Speech that is Protected

The rights of citizenship do not stop at the ballot box. They include the free speech right to devote one’s resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional right to enter the political fray or limit their commitment to their ideals. As a result, we support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain- Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation designed to vitiate the Supreme Court’s recent decisions protecting political speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. We insist that there should be no regulation of political speech on the Internet. By the same token, we oppose governmental censorship of speech through the so-called Fairness Doctrine or by government enforcement of speech codes, free speech zones, or other forms of “political correctness” on campus.

The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense. We call for the protection of such fundamental individual rights recognized in the Supreme Court’s decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago affirming that right, and we recognize the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. This also includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. We support the fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be, and we support federal legislation that would expand the exercise of that right by allowing those with state-issued carry permits to carry firearms in any state that issues such permits to its own residents. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban. We condemn the reckless actions associated with the operation known as “Fast and Furious,” conducted by the Department of Justice, which resulted in the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent and others on both sides of the border. We applaud the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in holding the current Administration’s Attorney General in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with their investigation into that debacle. We oppose the improper collection of firearms sales information in the four southern border states, which was imposed without congressional authority.

The Fourth Amendment: Liberty and Privacy

Affirming “the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we support pending legislation to prevent unwarranted or unreasonable governmental intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance or flyovers on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders. All security measures and police actions should be viewed through the lens of the Fourth Amendment; for if we trade liberty for security, we shall have neither.

The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Private Property

The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment- “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation”-is a bulwark against tyranny; for without property rights, individual rights are diminished. That is why we deplore the Supreme Court’s Kelo v. New London decision, allowing local governments to seize a person’s home or land, not for vital public use, but for transfer to private developers. We call on State legislatures to moot the impact of the Kelo decision in their States by appropriate legislation or constitutional amendments. Equally important, we pledge to enforce the Takings Clause in the actions of federal agencies to ensure just compensation whenever private property is needed to achieve a compelling public use. This includes the taking of property in the form of water rights in the West and elsewhere and the taking of property by environmental regulations that destroy its value.

The Ninth Amendment: Affirming the People’s Rights

This speaks most eloquently for itself: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This provision codifies the concept that our government derives its power from the people and all powers not delegated to the government are retained by the people. This is an essential feature of our governmental system, and we therefore celebrate the grassroots rediscovery of this and other constitutional guarantees over the last four years and welcome to our ranks all our fellow citizens who are determined to reclaim the rights of the people that have been ignored or violated by government.

The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

Respect for Our Flag: Symbol of the Constitution

The symbol of our constitutional unity, to which we all pledge allegiance, is the flag of the United States of America. By whatever legislative method is most feasible, Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration. We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge. We condemn the actions of those who deny our children the means by which to show respect for our great country and the constitutional principles represented by our flag.

American Sovereignty in U.S. Courts

Subjecting American citizens to foreign laws is inimical to the spirit of the Constitution. It is one reason we oppose U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court. There must be no use of foreign law by U.S. courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws. Nor should foreign sources of law be used in State courts’ adjudication of criminal or civil matters.

The Lacey Act of 1900, designed to protect endangered wildlife in interstate commerce, is now applied worldwide, making it a crime to use, in our domestic industries, any product illegally obtained in the country of origin, whether or not the user had anything to do with its harvesting. This unreasonable extension of the Act not only hurts American businesses and American jobs, but also subordinates our own rule of law to the legal codes of 195 other governments. It must be changed.

Just as George Washington wisely warned America to avoid foreign entanglements and enter into only temporary alliances, we oppose the adoption or ratification of international treaties that weaken or encroach upon American sovereignty.

America’s Natural Resources: Energy, Agriculture and the Environment

We are the party of sustainable jobs and economic growth – through American energy, agriculture, and environmental policy. We are also the party of America’s growers and producers, farmers, ranchers, foresters, miners, and all those who bring from the earth the minerals and energy that are the lifeblood of our nation’s historically strong economy. We are as well the party of traditional conservation: the wise development of resources that keeps in mind both the sacrifices of past generations to secure that bounty and our responsibility to preserve it for future generations.

Domestic Energy Independence: An “All of the Above” Energy Policy

The Republican Party is committed to domestic energy independence. The United States and its neighbors to the North and South have been blessed with abundant energy resources, tapped and untapped, traditional and alternative, that are among the largest and most valuable on earth. Advancing technology has given us a more accurate understanding of the nation’s enormous reserves that are ours for the development. The role of public officials must be to encourage responsible development across the board. Unlike the current Administration, we will not pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace. Instead, we will let the free market and the public’s preferences determine the industry outcomes. In assessing the various sources of potential energy, Republicans advocate an all-of-the-above diversified approach, taking advantage of all our American God-given resources. That is the best way to advance North American energy independence.

Our policies aim at energy security to ensure an affordable, stable, and reliable energy supply for all parts of the country and all sectors of the economy. Energy security is intimately linked to national security both in terms of our current dependence upon foreign supplies and because some of the hundreds of billions of dollars we pay for foreign oil ends up in the hands of terrorist groups that wish to harm us. A growing, prosperous economy and our standard of living and quality of life, moreover, depend on affordable and abundant domestic energy supplies.

A strong and stable energy sector is a job generator and a catalyst of economic growth, not only in the labor-intensive energy industry but also in its secondary markets. The Republican Party will encourage and ensure diversified domestic sources of energy, from research and development, exploration, production, transportation, transmission, and consumption in a way that is economically viable and job-producing, as well as environmentally sound. When our energy industry is revitalized, millions more Americans will find work in manufacturing, food production, metals, minerals, packaging, transportation and other fields – because of the jobs that will be created in, and as a result of, the energy sector. We are determined to create jobs, spur economic growth, lower energy prices, and strengthen our energy industry.

Our Nation’s Energy Abundance

Coal is a low-cost and abundant energy source with hundreds of years of supply. We look toward the private sector’s development of new, state-of-the-art coal-fired plants that will be low-cost, environmentally responsible, and efficient. We also encourage research and development of advanced technologies in this sector, including coal-to-liquid, coal gasification, and related technologies for enhanced oil recovery.

The current Administration – with a President who publicly threatened to bankrupt anyone who builds a coal-powered plant – seems determined to shut down coal production in the United States, even though there is no cost-effective substitute for it or for the hundreds of thousands of jobs that go with it as the nation’s largest source of electricity generation. We will end the EPA’s war on coal and encourage the increased safe development in all regions of the nation’s coal resources, the jobs it produces, and the affordable, reliable energy that it provides for America. Further, we oppose any and all cap and trade legislation.

All estimates of America’s oil and natural gas reserves indicate an incredible bounty for the use of many generations to come. At a time when unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression, and some 23 million Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, or have given up on finding work, we should be pursuing our oil and gas resources both on and offshore. It is nonsensical to spurn real job creation by putting almost all of our coastal waters off limits to energy exploration, while urging other nations to explore their coasts. We call for a reasoned approach to all offshore energy development on the East Coast and other appropriate waters, and support the right of States to a reasonable share of the resulting revenue and royalties. We support opening the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for energy exploration and development and ending the current Administration’s moratorium on permitting; opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for exploration and production of oil and natural gas; and allowing for more oil and natural gas exploration on federally owned and controlled land. We support this development in accordance with applicable environmental, health and safety laws, and regulations.

The current President personally blocked one of the most important energy and jobs projects in years. The Keystone XL Pipeline – which would have brought much needed Canadian and American oil to U.S. refineries – would create thousands of jobs. The current President’s job-killing combination of extremism and ineptitude threatens to create a permanent energy shortage. We are committed to approving the Keystone XL Pipeline and to streamlining permitting for the development of other oil and natural gas pipelines. Nuclear energy, now generating about 20 percent of our electricity through 104 power plants, must be expanded. No new nuclear generating plants have been licensed and constructed for thirty years. We call for timely processing of new reactor applications currently pending at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The federal government’s failure to address the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel has left huge bills for States and taxpayers. Our country needs a more proactive approach to managing spent nuclear fuel, including through developing advanced reprocessing technologies.

We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy, but the taxpayers should not serve as venture capitalists for risky endeavors. It is important to create a pathway toward a market-based approach for renewable energy sources and to aggressively develop alternative sources for electricity generation such as wind, hydro, solar, biomass, geothermal, and tidal energy. Partnerships between traditional energy industries and emerging renewable industries can be a central component in meeting the nation’s long-term needs. Alternative forms of energy are part of our action agenda to power the homes and workplaces of the nation.

Pulling the Plug on American Energy Independence: The Failure of the Current Administration

The current Administration has used taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers in the energy sector while publicly threatening to bankrupt anyone who builds a new coal-fired plant and has stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline. The current President has done nothing to disavow the scare campaign against hydraulic fracturing. Furthermore, he has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars by subsidizing favored companies like Solyndra, which generated bankruptcies rather than kilowatts.

Since the current President took office in 2009, consumers pay approximately twice as much for gas at the pump. Our common theme is to promote development of all forms of energy, enable consumer choice to keep energy costs low, and ensure that America remains competitive in the global marketplace. We will respect the States’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, continue development of oil and gas resources in places like the Bakken formation and Marcellus Shale, and review the environmental laws that often thwart new energy exploration and production. We salute the Republican Members of the House of Representatives for passing the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, a vital piece of pro-growth legislation now introduced by Republicans in the Senate.


Abundant Harvests: Protecting Our Farmers

Agricultural production and agricultural exports are a fundamental part of the U.S. economy, and the vigor of U.S. agriculture is central to our agenda for jobs, growth, and prosperity. Our farmers and ranchers are responsible for millions of jobs and for generating a trade surplus of more than $137 billion annually. Our producers provide America with abundant food, export food to hungry people around the world, and create a positive trade balance. Because of their care for the land, the United States does not depend on foreign imports for sustenance the way we depend on others for much of our energy. However, Americans are concerned about the increasing cost of their food under the current Administration policies that restrict energy production and raise costs for producers due to increased regulation. Our dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer could threaten our food supply, and we support the development of domestic production of fertilizer. The success of our system of risk management policies will enable farmers and ranchers to continue to feed and fuel the nation and much of the world.

Restoring Economic Stability for Our Farmers

Uncertainty is threatening the survival of our nation’s farmers. America’s growers and farmers are aging and much of America’s farmland will be passed to the next generation of farmers with families. Uncertainties in estate and capital gains tax laws threaten the survival of multigenerational family farms. The proposals for tax reforms contained elsewhere in this document will make certain that family farms will not be lost.

The Proper Federal Role in Agriculture

Agricultural producers and the jobs they generate throughout the entire food chain must confront volatility in both the weather and the markets. We support farm programs that enable them to manage the extraordinary risk they meet in the fields every year. These programs should be as cost-effective as they are functional, offering risk management tools that improve producers’ ability to operate when times are tough.

Just as all other federal programs must contribute to the deficit reduction necessary to put our country back on a sound fiscal footing, so must farm programs contribute to balancing the budget.

Programs like the Direct Payment program should end in favor of those, like crop insurance, that help manage risk and are counter-cyclical in nature. We support the historic role of the USDA in agricultural research that has transformed farming here and around the world. Because food safety is a major concern of the American people, we urge Congress to ensure adequate resources for the Department’s responsibilities in that regard.

The U. S. Forest Service controls about 193 million acres of land and employs 30,000 workers. The Forest Service should be charged to use these resources to the best economic potential for the nation. We must limit injunctions by activist judges regarding environmental management. In order to secure one of the country’s most important natural resources, we will review the way the Forest Service handles wildfires. This summer’s lack of rainfall over much of agricultural America highlights the importance of access to water for farmers and ranchers alike. We stand with growers and producers in defense of their water rights against attempts by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand jurisdiction over water, including water that is clearly not navigable.

The productivity of America’s farmers makes possible the generosity of U.S. food aid efforts around the world. These programs are fragmented between the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development. They should be streamlined into one agency with a concentration on reducing overhead to maximize delivery of the actual goods.

The food stamp program now accounts for nearly 80 percent of the entire USDA budget. In finding ways to fight fraud and abuse, the Congress should consider block-granting that program to the States, along with the other domestic nutrition programs.

Protecting Our Environment

The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways, as a whole, are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago. Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage recycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success. To ensure their continued support by the American people, however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of cooperation with producers, landowners, and the public. An important factor is full transparency in development of the data and modeling that drive regulations. Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best management practices among the States to reduce pollution.

Our Republican Party’s Commitment to Conservation

Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles. For example, we believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy protecting these objectives, however, must balance economic development and private property rights in the short run with conservation goals over the long run. Also, public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands.

Moreover, the advance of science and technology advances environmentalism as well. Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources. This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain. We must restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.

Private Stewardship of the Environment

Experience has shown that, in caring for the land and water, private ownership has been our best guarantee of conscientious stewardship, while the worst instances of environmental degradation have occurred under government control. By the same token, the most economically advanced countries – those that respect and protect private property rights – also have the strongest environmental protections, because their economic progress makes possible the conservation of natural resources. In this context, Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership. Timber is a renewable natural resource, which provides jobs to thousands of Americans. All efforts should be made to make federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service available for harvesting. The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.

It makes sense that those closest to a situation are best able to determine its remedy. That is why a site- and situation-specific approach to an environmental problem is more likely to solve it, instead of a national rule based on the ideological concerns of politicized central planning. We therefore endorse legislation to require congressional approval before any rule projected to cost in excess of $100 million to American consumers can go into effect.

The Republican Party supports appointing public officials to federal agencies who will properly and correctly apply environmental laws and regulations, always in support of economic development, job creation, and American prosperity and leadership. Federal agencies charged with enforcing environmental laws must stop regulating beyond their authority. There is no place in regulatory agencies for activist regulators.

Reining in the EPA

Since 2009, the EPA has moved forward with expansive regulations that will impose tens of billions of dollars in new costs on American businesses and consumers. Many of these new rules are creating regulatory uncertainty, preventing new projects from going forward, discouraging new investment, and stifling job creation.

We demand an end to the EPA’s participation in “sue and settle” lawsuits, sweetheart litigation brought by environmental groups to expand the Agency’s regulatory activities against the wishes of Congress and the public. We will require full transparency in litigation under the nation’s environmental laws, including advance notice to all State and local governments, tribes, businesses, landowners, and the public who could be adversely affected. We likewise support pending legislation to ensure cumulative analysis of EPA regulations, and to require full transparency in all EPA decisions, so that the public will know in advance their full impact on jobs and the economy. We oppose the EPA’s unwarranted revocation of existing permits. We also call on Congress to take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations that will harm the nation’s economy and threaten millions of jobs over the next quarter century. The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people. Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange. Liberty must remain the core energy behind America’s environmental improvement.

Reforming Government to Serve the People

We are the party of government reform. At a time when the federal government has become bloated, antiquated and unresponsive to taxpayers, it is our intention not only to improve management and provide better services, but also to rethink and restructure government to bring it into the twenty-first century. Government reform requires constant vigilance and effort because government by its nature tends to expand in both size and scope. Our goal is not just less spending in Washington but something far more important for the future of our nation: protecting the constitutional rights of citizens, sustainable prosperity, and strengthening the American family.

It isn’t enough to merely downsize government, having a smaller version of the same failed systems. We must do things in a dramatically different way by reversing the undermining of federalism and the centralizing of power in Washington. We look to the example set by Republican Governors and legislators all across the nation. Their leadership in reforming and reengineering government closest to the people vindicates the role of the States as the laboratories of democracy.

Our approach, like theirs, is two-fold. We look to government – local, State, and federal – for the things government must do, but we believe those duties can be carried out more efficiently and at less cost. For all other activities, we look to the private sector; for the American people’s resourcefulness, productivity, innovation, fiscal responsibility, and citizen-leadership have always been the true foundation of our national greatness.

For much of the last century, an opposing view has dominated public policy where we have witnessed the expansion, centralization, and bureaucracy in an entitlement society. Government has lumbered on, stifling innovation, with no incentive for fundamental change, through antiquated programs begun generations ago and now ill-suited to present needs and future requirements. As a result, today’s taxpayers – and future generations – face massive indebtedness, while Congressional Democrats and the current Administration block every attempt to turn things around. This man-made log-jam – the so-called stalemate in Washington – particularly affects the government’s three largest programs, which have become central to the lives of untold millions of Americans: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Saving Medicare for Future Generations

The Republican Party is committed to saving Medicare and Medicaid. Unless the programs’ fiscal ship is righted, the individuals hurt the first and the worst will be those who depend on them the most. We will save Medicare by modernizing it, by empowering its participants, and by putting it on a secure financial footing. This will be an enormous undertaking, and it should be a non-partisan one. We welcome to the effort all who sincerely want to ensure the future for our seniors and the poor. Republicans are determined to achieve that goal with a candid and honest presentation of the problem and its solutions to the American people.

Despite the enormous differences between Medicare and Medicaid, the two programs share the same fiscal outlook: their current courses cannot be sustained. Medicare has grown from more than 20 million enrolled in 1970 to more than 47 million enrolled today, with a projected total of 80 million in 2030. Medicaid counted almost 30 million enrollees in 1990, has about 54 million now, and under Obamacare would include an additional 11 million. Medicare spent more than $520 billion in 2010 and has close to $37 trillion in unfunded obligations, while total Medicaid spending will more than double by 2019. In many States, Medicaid’s mandates and inflexible bureaucracy have become a budgetary black hole, growing faster than most other budget lines and devouring funding for many other essential governmental functions.

The problem goes beyond finances. Poor quality healthcare is the most expensive type of care because it prolongs affliction and leads to ever more complications. Even expensive prevention is preferable to more costly treatment later on. When approximately 80 percent of healthcare costs are related to lifestyle -smoking, obesity, substance abuse-far greater emphasis has to be put upon personal responsibility for health maintenance. Our goal for both Medicare and Medicaid must be to assure that every participant receives the amount of care they need at the time they need it, whether for an expectant mother and her baby or for someone in the last moments of life. Absent reforms, these two programs are headed for bankruptcy that will endanger care for seniors and the poor.

The first step is to move the two programs away from their current unsustainable defined-benefit entitlement model to a fiscally sound defined-contribution model. This is the only way to limit costs and restore consumer choice for patients and introduce competition; for in healthcare, as in any other sector of the economy, genuine competition is the best guarantee of better care at lower cost. It is also the best guard against the fraud and abuse that have plagued Medicare in its isolation from free market forces, which in turn costs the taxpayers billions of dollars every year. We can do this without making any changes for those 55 and older. While retaining the option of traditional Medicare in competition with private plans, we call for a transition to a premium-support model for Medicare, with an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee’s choice. This model will include private health insurance plans that provide catastrophic protection, to ensure the continuation of doctor-patient relationships. Without disadvantaging retirees or those nearing retirement, the age eligibility for Medicare must be made more realistic in terms of today’s longer life span.

Strengthening Medicaid in the States

Medicaid, as the dominant payer in the health market in regards to long-term care, births, and individuals with mental illness, is the next frontier of welfare reform. It is simply too big and too flawed to be managed in its current condition from Washington. Republican Governors have taken the lead in proposing a host of regulatory changes that could make the program more flexible, innovative, and accountable. There should be alternatives to hospitalization for chronic health problems. Patients could be rewarded for participating in disease prevention activities. Excessive mandates on coverage should be eliminated. Patients with long-term care needs might fare better in a separately designed program.

As those and other specific proposals show, Republican Governors and State legislatures are ready to do the hard work of modernizing Medicaid for the twenty-first century. We propose to let them do all that and more by block-granting the program to the States, providing the States with the flexibility to design programs that meet the needs of their low income citizens. Such reforms could be achieved through premium supports or a refundable tax credit, allowing non-disabled adults and children to be moved into private health insurance of their choice, where their needs can be met on the same basis as those of more affluent Americans. For the aged and disabled under Medicaid, for whom monthly costs can be extremely high, States would have flexibility to improve the quality of care and to avoid the inappropriate institutional placing of patients who prefer to be cared for at home.

Security For Those Who Need It: Ensuring Retirement Security

While no changes should adversely affect any current or near-retiree, comprehensive reform should address our society’s remarkable medical advances in longevity and allow younger workers the option of creating their own personal investment accounts as supplements to the system. Younger Americans have lost all faith in the Social Security system, which is understandable when they read the non- partisan actuary’s reports about its future funding status. Born in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans, it is long overdue for major change, not just another legislative stopgap that postpones a day of reckoning. To restore public trust in the system, Republicans are committed to setting it on a sound fiscal basis that will give workers control over, and a sound return on, their investments. The sooner we act, the sooner those close to retirement can be reassured of their benefits and younger workers can take responsibility for planning their own retirement decades from now.

Unlike Social Security, the problems facing private pension plans are both demographic and ethical. While pension law may be complicated, the current bottom line is that many plans are increasingly underfunded by overestimating their rates of return on investments. This in turn endangers the integrity of the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corporation, which is itself seriously underfunded. In both cases, the taxpayers will be expected to pay for a bailout. As the first step toward possible corrective action, we call for a presidential panel to review the private pension system in this country of only those private pensions that are backed by the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corporation and to make public its findings.

The situation of public pension systems demands immediate remedial action. The irresponsible promises of politicians at every level of government have come back to haunt today’s taxpayers with enormous unfunded pension liabilities. Many cities face bankruptcy because of excessive outlays for early retirement, extravagant health plans, and overly generous pension benefits. We salute the Republican Governors and State legislators who have, in the face of abuse and threats of violence, reformed their State pension systems for the benefit of both taxpayers and retirees alike.

Regulatory Reform: The Key to Economic Growth

The proper purpose of regulation is to set forth clear rules of the road for the citizens, so that business owners and workers can understand in advance what they need to do, or not do, to augment the possibilities for success within the confines of the law. Regulations must be drafted and implemented to balance legitimate public safety or consumer protection goals and job creation. Constructive regulation should be a helpful guide, not a punitive threat. Worst of all, over-regulation is a stealth tax on everyone as the costs of compliance with the whims of federal agencies are passed along to the consumers at the cost of $1.75 trillion a year. Many regulations are necessary, like those which ensure the safety of food and medicine, especially from overseas. But no peril justifies the regulatory impact of Obamacare on the practice of medicine, the Dodd-Frank Act on financial services, or the EPA’s and OSHA’s overreaching regulation agenda. A Republican Congress and President will repeal the first and second, and rein in the third. We support a sunset requirement to force reconsideration of out-of-date regulations, and we endorse pending legislation to require congressional approval for all new major and costly regulations.

The bottom line on regulations is jobs. In listening to America, one constant we have heard is the job-crippling effect of even well-intentioned regulation. That makes it all the more important for federal agencies to be judicious about the impositions they create on businesses, especially small businesses. We call for a moratorium on the development of any new major and costly regulations until a Republican Administration reviews existing rules to ensure that they have a sound basis in science and will be cost-effective.

Protecting Internet Freedom

The Internet has unleashed innovation, enabled growth, and inspired freedom more rapidly and extensively than any other technological advance in human history. Its independence is its power. The Internet offers a communications system uniquely free from government intervention. We will remove regulatory barriers that protect outdated technologies and business plans from innovation and competition, while preventing legacy regulation from interfering with new and disruptive technologies such as mobile delivery of voice video data as they become crucial components of the Internet ecosystem. We will resist any effort to shift control away from the successful multi-stakeholder approach of Internet governance and toward governance by international or other intergovernmental organizations. We will ensure that personal data receives full constitutional protection from government overreach and that individuals retain the right to control the use of their data by third parties; the only way to safeguard or improve these systems is through the private sector.

A Vision for the Twenty-First Century: Technology, Telecommunications and the Internet

The most vibrant sector of the American economy, indeed, one-sixth of it, is regulated by the federal government on precedents from the nineteenth century. Today’s technology and telecommunications industries are overseen by the Federal Communications Commission, established in 1934 and given the jurisdiction over telecommunications formerly assigned to the Interstate Commerce Commission, which had been created in 1887 to regulate the railroads. This is not a good fit. Indeed, the development of telecommunications advances so rapidly that even the Telecom Act of 1996 is woefully out of date. An industry that invested $66 billion in 2011 alone needs, and deserves, a more modern relationship with the federal government for the benefit of consumers here and worldwide.

The current Administration has been frozen in the past. It has conducted no auction of spectrum, has offered no incentives for investment, and, through the FCC’s net neutrality rule, is trying to micromanage telecom as if it were a railroad network. It inherited from the previous Republican Administration 95 percent coverage of the nation with broadband. It will leave office with no progress toward the goal of universal coverage – after spending $7.2 billion more. That hurts rural America, where farmers, ranchers, and small business manufacturers need connectivity to expand their customer base and operate in real time with the world’s producers. We encourage public-private partnerships to provide predictable support for connecting rural areas so that every American can fully participate in the global economy.

We call for an inventory of federal agency spectrum to determine the surplus that could be auctioned for the taxpayers’ benefit. With special recognition of the role university technology centers are playing in attracting private investment to the field, we will replace the administration’s Luddite approach to technological progress with a regulatory partnership that will keep this country the world leader in technology and telecommunications.

Protecting the Taxpayers: No More “Too Big to Fail”

For more than a century, the U.S. was the world leader in financial services. The visionary management of capital was the lifeblood of the entire economy. By giving responsible access to credit, it helped small businesses grow, created jobs, and made Americans the best-housed people in history. By funding innovation, financial services underwrote our future. Then came the financial collapse of 2008 and a critical reassessment of the role and condition of financial institutions – most of which, it must be said, were responsible and healthy, especially those closest to their investors and borrowers.

In cases of malfeasance or other criminal behavior, the full force of the law should be used. But in all cases, this rule must apply: No financial institution is too big to fail. The taxpayers must never again be on the hook for the losses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The public must never again be left holding the bag for Wall Street giants, which is why we decry the current Administration’s record of over-regulation and selective intervention, which has already frozen investment and job creation and threatens to make financial institutions the coddled wards of government.

A far better approach – protecting consumers and taxpayers alike – is institutional transparency. Banks need to know that they could be at risk, and investors need clear rules that are not subject to political meddling. The same holds true for the equity market regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. We propose reasonable federal oversight of financial institutions, practical safeguards for consumers, and – what is crucial for this country’s economic rebound – sound spending, tax, and regulatory policies that will allow those institutions to once again become the builders of the next American century. We strongly support tax reform; in the event we do not achieve this, we must preserve the mortgage interest deduction.

Judicial Activism: A Threat to the U.S. Constitution

Despite improvements as a result of Republican nominations to the judiciary, some judges in the federal courts remain far afield from their constitutional limitations. The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. Judicial activism which includes reliance on foreign law or unratified treaties undermines American law. The sole solution, apart from impeachment, is the appointment of constitutionalist jurists, who will interpret the law as it was originally intended rather than make it. That is both a presidential responsibility, in selecting judicial candidates, and a senatorial responsibility, in confirming them. We urge Republican Senators to do all in their power to prevent the elevation of additional leftist ideologues to the courts, particularly in the waning days of the current Administration. In addition to appointing activist judges, the current Administration has included an activist and highly partisan Department of Justice. With a Republican Administration, the Department will stop suing States for exercising those powers reserved to the States, will stop abusing its preclearance authority to block photo-ID voting laws, and will fulfill its responsibility to defend all federal laws in court, including the Defense of Marriage Act.

Restructuring the U.S. Postal Service for the Twenty-First Century

The dire financial circumstances of the Postal Service require dramatic restructuring. In a world of rapidly advancing telecommunications, mail delivery from the era of the Pony Express cannot long survive. We call on Congress to restructure the Service to ensure the continuance of its essential function of delivering mail while preparing for the downsizing made inevitable by the advance of internet communication. In light of the Postal Service’s seriously underfunded pension system, Congress should explore a greater role for private enterprise in appropriate aspects of the mail-processing system.

Protecting Travelers and their Rights: Reforming the TSA for Security and Privacy

While the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks brought about a greater need for homeland security, the American people have already delivered their verdict on the Transportation Security Administration: its procedures – and much of its personnel – need to be changed. It is now a massive bureaucracy of 65,000 employees who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers. We call for the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible and look toward the development of security systems that can replace the personal violation of frisking.

The Rule of Law: Legal Immigration

The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker. Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of our national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world. Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects U.S. workers. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States. Our highest priority, therefore, is to secure the rule of law both at our borders and at ports of entry.

We recognize that for most of those seeking entry into this country, the lack of respect for the rule of law in their homelands has meant economic exploitation and political oppression by corrupt elites. In this country, the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more than one million immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year. That is why we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. Granting amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking. We support the mandatory use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E.) program – an internet-based system that verifies the lawful presence of applicants – prior to the granting of any State or federal government entitlements or IRS refunds. We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program – an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees – must be made mandatory nationwide. State enforcement efforts in the workplace must be welcomed, not attacked. When Americans need jobs, it is absolutely essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace. In addition, it is why we demand tough penalties for those who practice identity theft, deal in fraudulent documents, and traffic in human beings. It is why we support Republican legislation to give the Department of Homeland Security long-term detention authority to keep dangerous but undeportable aliens off our streets, expedite expulsion of criminal aliens, and make gang membership a deportable offense.

The current Administration’s approach to immigration has undermined the rule of law at every turn. It has lessened work-site enforcement – and even allows the illegal aliens it does uncover to walk down the street to the next employer – and challenged legitimate State efforts to keep communities safe, suing them for trying to enforce the law when the federal government refuses to do so. It has created a backdoor amnesty program unrecognized in law, granting worker authorization to illegal aliens, and shown little regard for the life-and-death situations facing the men and women of the border patrol.

Perhaps worst of all, the current Administration has failed to enforce the legal means for workers or employers who want to operate within the law. In contrast, a Republican Administration and Congress will partner with local governments through cooperative enforcement agreements in Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act to make communities safer for all and will consider, in light of both current needs and historic practice, the utility of a legal and reliable source of foreign labor where needed through a new guest worker program. We will create humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily, while enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas.

State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately. The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built. In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law.

We are grateful to the thousands of new immigrants, many of them not yet citizens, who are serving in the Armed Forces. Their patriotism should encourage us all to embrace the newcomers legally among us, assist their journey to full citizenship, and help their communities avoid isolation from the mainstream of society. To that end, while we encourage the retention and transmission of heritage tongues, we support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the educational and economic advancement of – not only immigrant communities – but also our nation as a whole.

Honoring Our Relationship with American Indians

Based on both treaty and other law, the federal government has a unique government-to-government relationship with and trust responsibility for Indian Tribal Governments and American Indians and Alaska Natives. These obligations have not been sufficiently honored. The social and economic problems that plague Indian country have grown worse over the last several decades; we must reverse that trend. Ineffective federal programs deprive American Indians of the services they need, and long-term failures threaten to undermine tribal sovereignty itself.

American Indians have established elected tribal governments to carry out the public policies of the tribe, administer services to its tribal member constituents, and manage relations with federal, State, and local governments. We respect the tribal governments as the voice of their communities and encourage federal, State, and local governments to heed those voices in developing programs and partnerships to improve the quality of life for American Indians and their neighbors in their communities.

Republicans believe that economic self-sufficiency is the ultimate answer to the challenges confronting Indian country. We believe that tribal governments and their communities, not Washington bureaucracies, are best situated to craft solutions that will end systemic problems that create poverty and disenfranchisement. Just as the federal government should not burden States with regulations, it should not stifle the development of resources within the reservations, which need federal assistance to advance their commerce nationally through roads and technology. Federal and State regulations that thwart job creation must be withdrawn or redrawn so that tribal governments acting on behalf of American Indians are not disadvantaged. It is especially egregious that the Democratic Party has persistently undermined tribal sovereignty in order to provide advantage to union bosses in the tribal workplace.

Republicans recognize that each tribe has the right of consultation before any new regulatory policy is implemented on tribal land. To the extent possible, such consultation should take place in Indian country with the tribal government and its members. Before promulgating and imposing any new laws or regulations affecting trust land or members, the federal government should encourage Indian tribes to develop their own policies to achieve program objectives, and should defer to tribes to develop their own standards, or standards in conjunction with State governments.

Republicans reject a one-size-fits-all approach to federal-tribal-State partnerships and will work to expand local autonomy where tribal governments seek it. Better partnerships will help us to expand economic opportunity, deliver top-flight education to future generations, modernize and improve the Indian Health Service to make it more responsive to local needs, and build essential infrastructure in Indian country in cooperation with tribal neighbors. Our approach is to empower American Indians, through tribal self-determination and self-governance policies, to develop their greatest assets, human resources and the rich natural resources on their lands, without undue federal interference.

Like all Americans, American Indians want safe communities for their families; but inadequate resources and neglect have, over time, allowed criminal activities to plague Indian country. To protect everyone – and especially the most vulnerable: children, women, and elders – the legal system in tribal communities must provide stability and protect property rights. Everyone’s due process and civil rights must be safeguarded.

We support efforts to ensure equitable participation in federal programs by American Indians, including Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and to preserve their culture and languages that we consider to be national treasures. Lastly, we recognize that American Indians have responded to the call for military service in percentage numbers far greater than have other groups of Americans. We honor that commitment, loyalty, and sacrifice of all American Indians serving in the military today and in years past and will ensure that all veterans and their families receive the care and respect they have earned through their loyal service to America.

Preserving the District of Columbia

The nation’s capital city, a special responsibility of the federal government, belongs both to its residents and to all Americans, millions of whom visit it every year. Congressional Republicans have taken the lead in efforts to foster homeownership and open access to higher education for Washington residents. Against the opposition of the current President and leaders of the Democratic Party, they have fought to establish, and now to expand, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, through which thousands of low-income children have been able to attend a school of their choice and receive a quality education.

D.C.’s Republicans have been in the forefront of exposing and combating the chronic corruption among the city’s top Democratic officials. We join their call for a non-partisan elected Attorney General to clean up the city’s political culture and for congressional action to enforce the spirit of the Home Rule Act assuring minority representation on the City Council. After decades of inept one-party rule, the city’s structural deficit demands congressional attention.

As the center of our government, the District contains many potential targets for terrorist attacks. Federal security agencies should work closely with local officials and regional administrations like the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority. A top priority must be ensuring that all public transportation, especially Metro rails, is functioning in the event of an emergency evacuation. Also, to ensure protection of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms, we call on the governing authority to pass laws consistent with the Supreme Court’s decisions in the District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago cases, which upheld the fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

We oppose statehood for the District of Columbia.

Modernizing the Federal Civil Service

The federal workforce bears great responsibilities and sometimes wields tremendous power, especially when Congress delegates to it the execution of complicated and far-reaching legislation. We recognize the dedication of federal workers and the difficulty of their thankless task of implementing poorly drafted or open-ended legislation.

Under the current Administration, the civil service has grown by at least 140,000 workers, while the number making at least $150,000 has doubled. At a time when the national debt has increased to over $15.9 trillion under the current Administration, this is grossly irresponsible. The American people work too hard and too long to support a bloated government. We call for a reduction, through attrition, in the federal payroll of at least 10 percent and the adjustment of pay scales and benefits to reflect those of the private sector. We must bring the 130-year old Civil Service System into the twenty-first century. The federal pay system should be sufficiently flexible to acknowledge and reward those who dare to innovate, reduce overhead, optimize processes, and expedite paperwork.

Delinquency in paying taxes and repaying student loans has been too common in some segments of the civil service. A Republican Administration will make enforcement among its own employees a priority and, unlike the current Administration, will name to public office no one who has failed to meet their financial obligations to the government and fellow taxpayers.

America’s Future in Space: Continuing this Quest

The exploration of space has been a key part of U.S. global leadership and has supported innovation and ownership of technology. Over the last half-century, in partnership with our aerospace industry, the work of NASA has helped define and strengthen our nation’s technological prowess. From building the world’s most powerful rockets to landing men on the Moon, sending robotic spacecraft throughout our solar system and beyond, building the International Space Station, and launching space-based telescopes that allow scientists to better understand our universe, NASA science and engineering have produced spectacular results. The technologies that emerged from those programs propelled our aerospace industrial base and directly benefit our national security, safety, economy, and quality of life. Through its achievements, NASA has inspired generations of Americans to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, leading to careers that drive our country’s technological and economic engines.

Today, America’s leadership in space is challenged by countries eager to emulate – and surpass – NASA’s accomplishments. To preserve our national security interests and foster innovation and competitiveness, we must sustain our preeminence in space, launching more science missions, guaranteeing unfettered access, and maintaining a source of high-value American jobs.

Honoring and Supporting Americans in the Territories

We honor the extraordinary sacrifices of the men and women of the territories who protect our freedom through their service in the U.S. Armed Forces. We welcome their greater participation in all aspects of the political process and affirm their right to seek the full extension of the Constitution, with all the rights and responsibilities it entails. U.S. territories face serious economic challenges as they struggle to retain existing industries and develop new ones. Development of local energy options is crucial to reduce their dependence on imported fuel and promote economic stability. The Pacific territories should have flexibility to determine the minimum wage, which has seriously restricted progress in the private sector. A stronger private sector can raise wages, reduce dependence on public sector employment, and lead toward local self-sufficiency. All unreasonable economic impediments must be removed, including unreasonable U.S. customs practices.

We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state if they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a State, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.

Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods

We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create – families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods – to advance their ideals and make real their dreams. Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of our society and the first level of self-government. Its daily lessons-cooperation, patience, mutual respect, responsibility, self-reliance – are fundamental to the order and progress of our Republic. Government can never replace the family. That is why we insist that public policy, from taxation to education, from healthcare to welfare, be formulated with attention to the needs and strengths of the family.

Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage

The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

Creating a Culture of Hope: Raising Families Beyond Poverty

The Republican-led welfare reforms enacted in 1996 marked a revolution in government’s approach to poverty. They changed the standard for policy success from the amount of income transferred to the poor to the number of poor who moved from welfare to economic independence. We took the belief of most Americans – that welfare should be a hand up, not a hand out – and made it law. Work requirements, though modest, were at the heart of this success. That is why so many are now outraged by the current Administration’s recent decision to permit waivers for work requirements for welfare benefits, in other words, to administratively repeal the most successful anti-poverty policy in memory. Instead of undermining the expectation that low-income parents and individuals should strive to support themselves, benefit programs like food stamps must ensure that those benefits are better targeted to those who need help the most.

For the sake of low-income families as well as the taxpayers, the federal government’s entire system of public assistance should be reformed to ensure that it promotes work. Each year, this system dispenses nearly $1 trillion in taxpayer funds across a maze of approximately 80 programs that are neither coordinated nor effective in solving poverty and lifting up families. For many individuals collecting benefits from multiple categorical programs, efforts to work or earn more actually result in less money in their pocket through the resulting loss of benefits. This poverty trap would ensnare even more Americans if Obamacare were implemented. Taking a part time job, working an extra shift, or even just marrying someone who works, would result in a loss of benefits, thereby discouraging the very acts necessary to achieve the American Dream.

Adoption and Foster Care

Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. We applaud the Republican legislative initiatives that led to a significant increase in adoptions in recent years, and we call upon the private sector to consider the needs of adoptive families on a par with others. Any restructuring of the federal tax code should recognize the financial impact of the adoption process and the commitment made by adoptive families. The nation’s foster care system remains a necessary fallback for youngsters from troubled families. Because of reforms initiated by many States, the number of foster children has declined to just over 400,000. A major problem of the system is its lack of support, financial and otherwise, for teens who age out of foster care and into a world in which many are not prepared to go it alone. We urge States to work with the faith-based and other community groups which reach out to these young people in need.

Making the Internet Family-Friendly

Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting. The Internet must be made safe for children. We call on service providers to exercise due care to ensure that the Internet cannot become a safe haven for predators while respecting First Amendment rights. We congratulate the social networking sites that bar known sex offenders from participation. We urge active prosecution against child pornography, which is closely linked to the horrors of human trafficking. Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.

Advancing Americans with Disabilities

We renew our commitment to the inclusion of Americans with disabilities in all aspects of our national life. In keeping with that commitment, we oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society. Because government should set a positive standard in hiring and contracting for the services of persons with disabilities, we need to update the statutory authority for the Ability One program, a major avenue by which those productive members of our society can offer high quality services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for many students, and we reaffirm our support for its goal of minimizing the separation of children with disabilities from their peers. We urge preventive efforts in early childhood, especially assistance in gaining pre-reading skills, to help many students move beyond the need for IDEA’s protections. We endorse the program of Employment First, developed by major disability rights groups, to replace dependency with jobs in the mainstream of the American workforce.

Repealing Obamacare

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – was never really about healthcare, though its impact upon the nation’s health is disastrous. From its start, it was about power, the expansion of government control over one sixth of our economy, and resulted in an attack on our Constitution, by requiring that U.S. citizens purchase health insurance. We agree with the four dissenting justices of the Supreme Court: “In our view the entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.” It was the high-water mark of an outdated liberalism, the latest attempt to impose upon Americans a euro-style bureaucracy to manage all aspects of their lives. Obamacare has been struck down in the court of public opinion and is falling by the weight of its own confusing, unworkable, budget-busting, and conflicting provisions. It would tremendously expand Medicaid without significant reform, leaving the States to assume unsustainable financial burdens. If fully implemented, it could not function; and Republican victories in the November elections will guarantee that it is never implemented. Congressional Republicans are committed to its repeal; and a Republican President, on the first day in office, will use his legitimate waiver authority under that law to halt its progress and then will sign its repeal. Then the American people, through the free market, can advance affordable and responsible healthcare reform that meets the needs and concerns of patients and providers. Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Our Prescription for American Healthcare: Improve Quality and Lower Costs

We believe that taking care of one’s health is an individual responsibility. Chronic diseases, many of them related to lifestyle, drive healthcare costs, accounting for more than 75 percent of the nation’s medical spending. To reduce demand, and thereby lower costs, we must foster personal responsibility while increasing preventive services to promote healthy lifestyles. We believe that all Americans should have improved access to affordable, coordinated, quality healthcare, including individuals struggling with mental illness.

Our goal is to encourage the development of a healthcare system that provides higher quality care at a lower cost to all Americans while protecting the patient-physician relationship based on mutual trust, informed consent, and privileged patient confidentiality. We seek to increase healthcare choice and options, contain costs and reduce mandates, simplify the system for patients and providers, restore cuts made to Medicare, and equalize the tax treatment of group and individual health insurance plans. For most Americans, those who are insured now or who seek insurance in the future, our practical, non-intrusive reforms will promote flexibility in State leadership in healthcare reform, promote a free-market based system, and empower consumer choice. All of which will return direction of the nation’s healthcare to the people and away from the federal government.

To return the States to their proper role of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the needy, we propose to block grant Medicaid and other payments to the States; limit federal requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid; assist all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, through reinsurance and risk adjustment; and promote non-litigation alternatives for dispute resolution. We call on State officials to carefully consider the increased costs of medical mandates, imposed under their laws, which may price many low-income families out of the insurance market. We call on the government to permanently ban all federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.

To achieve a free market in healthcare and ensure competition, we will promote price transparency so that consumers will know the actual cost of treatments before they undergo them. When patients are aware of costs, they are less likely to over-utilize services. We support legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of escalating medical bills. We will empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand coverage to the uninsured. Individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous insurance coverage should be protected from discrimination. We support technology enhancements for medical health records and data systems while affirming patient privacy and ownership of health information.

Ensuring Consumer Choice in Healthcare

Consumer choice is the most powerful factor in healthcare reform. Today’s highly mobile work force requires portability of insurance coverage that can go with them from job to job. The need to maintain coverage should not dictate where families have to live and work. Putting the patient at the center of policy decisions will increase choice and reduce costs while ensuring that services provide what Americans actually want. We must end tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance and allow consumers to purchase insurance across State lines. While promoting “co-insurance” products and alternatives to “fee for service,” government must promote Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts to be used for insurance premiums and should encourage the private sector to rate competing insurance plans. We will ensure that America’s aging population has access to safe and affordable care. Because seniors overwhelmingly desire to age at home, we will make home care a priority in public policy. We will champion the right of individual choice in senior care. We will aggressively implement programs to protect against elder abuse, and we will work to ensure that quality care is provided across the care continuum from home to nursing home to hospice.

Supporting Federal Healthcare Research and Development

We support federal investment in healthcare delivery systems and solutions creating innovative means to provide greater, more cost-effective access to high quality healthcare. We also support federal investment in basic and applied biomedical research, especially the neuroscience research that may hold great potential for dealing with diseases and disorders such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If we are to make significant headway against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers, research must consider the special needs of formerly neglected groups. We call for expanded support for the stem-cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions – with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells-without the destruction of embryonic human life. We urge a ban on human cloning and on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos. We support restoring the Drug Enforcement Administration ban on the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide. We oppose the FDA approval of Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486, and similar drugs that terminate innocent human life after conception.

Protecting Individual Conscience in Healthcare

No healthcare professional or organization should ever be required to perform, provide for, withhold, or refer for a medical service against their conscience. This is especially true of the religious organizations which deliver a major portion of America’s healthcare, a service rooted in the charity of faith communities. We do not believe, however, that healthcare providers should be allowed to withhold services because the healthcare provider believes the patient’s life is not worth living. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty. We likewise support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their children, including mental health treatment, drug treatment, and treatment involving pregnancy, contraceptives and abortion. We urge enactment of pending legislation that would require parental consent to transport girls across state lines for abortions.

Reforming the FDA

America’s leadership in life sciences R&D and medical innovation is being threatened. As a country, we must work together now or lose our leadership position in medical innovation, U.S. job creation, and access to life-saving treatments for U.S. patients. The United States has led the global medical device and pharmaceutical industries for decades. This leadership has made the U.S. the medical innovation capital of the world, bringing millions of high-paying jobs to our country and life-saving devices and drugs to our nation’s patients. But that leadership position is at risk; patients, innovators, and job creators point to the lack of predictability, consistency, transparency and efficiency at the Food and Drug Administration that is driving innovation overseas, benefiting foreign, not U.S., patients. We pledge to reform the FDA so we can ensure that the U.S. remains the world leader in medical innovation, that device and drug jobs stay in the U.S., that U.S. patients benefit first from new devices and drugs, and that the FDA no longer wastes U.S. taxpayer and innovators’ resources because of bureaucratic red tape and legal uncertainty.

Reducing Costs through Tort Reform

Frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits have ballooned the cost of healthcare for the average American. Physicians are increasingly practicing defensive medicine because of the looming threat of malpractice liability. Moreover, some medical practitioners are avoiding patients with complex and high-risk medical problems because of the high costs of medical malpractice lawsuits. Rural America is hurt especially hard as obstetricians, surgeons, and other healthcare providers are moving to urban settings or retiring, causing a significant healthcare workforce shortage and subsequently decreasing access to care for all patients. We are committed to aggressively pursuing tort reform legislation to help avoid the practice of defensive medicine, to keep healthcare costs low, and improve healthcare quality.

Education: A Chance for Every Child

Parents are responsible for the education of their children. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level. Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education, with high standards, in which all students can reach their potential. Today’s education reform movement calls for accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of State and local control of our schools, and it wisely sees consumer rights in education – choice – as the most important driving force for renewing our schools.

Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a personal and cultural identity. That is why education choice has expanded so vigorously. It is also why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have not succeeded, but they have done immense damage.

Attaining Academic Excellence for All

Since 1965 the federal government has spent $2 trillion on elementary and secondary education with no substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates (which currently are 59 percent for African-American students and 63 percent for Hispanics). The U.S. spends an average of more than $10,000 per pupil per year in public schools, for a total of more than $550 billion. That represents more than 4 percent of GDP devoted to K-12 education in 2010. Of that amount, federal spending was more than $47 billion. Clearly, if money were the solution, our schools would be problem-free.

More money alone does not necessarily equal better performance. After years of trial and error, we know what does work, what has actually made a difference in student advancement, and what is powering education reform at the local level all across America: accountability on the part of administrators, parents and teachers; higher academic standards; programs that support the development of character and financial literacy; periodic rigorous assessments on the fundamentals, especially math, science, reading, history, and geography; renewed focus on the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers, and an accurate account of American history that celebrates the birth of this great nation; transparency, so parents and the public can discover which schools best serve their pupils; flexibility and freedom to innovate, so schools can adapt to the special needs of their students and hold teachers and administrators responsible for student performance. We support the innovations in education reform occurring at the State level based upon proven results. Republican Governors have led in the effort to reform our country’s underperforming education system, and we applaud these advancements. We advocate the policies and methods that have proven effective: building on the basics, especially STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and phonics; ending social promotions; merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards. Because technology has become an essential tool of learning, proper implementation of technology is a key factor in providing every child equal access and opportunity.

Consumer Choice in Education

The Republican Party is the party of fresh and innovative ideas in education. We support options for learning, including home schooling and local innovations like single-sex classes, full-day school hours, and year-round schools. School choice – whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits – is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools. Getting those youngsters into decent learning environments and helping them to realize their full potential is the greatest civil rights challenge of our time. We support the promotion of local career and technical educational programs and entrepreneurial programs that have been supported by leaders in industry and will retrain and retool the American workforce, which is the best in the world. A young person’s ability to achieve in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, zip code, or economic status.

In sum, on the one hand enormous amounts of money are being spent for K-12 public education with overall results that do not justify that spending. On the other hand, the common experience of families, teachers, and administrators forms the basis of what does work in education. We believe the gap between those two realities can be successfully bridged, and Congressional Republicans are pointing a new way forward with major reform legislation. We support its concept of block grants and the repeal of numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools.

The bulk of the federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for disabled youngsters should follow the students to whatever school they choose so that eligible pupils, through open enrollment, can bring their share of the funding with them. The Republican-founded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program should be expanded as a model for the rest of the country. We deplore the efforts by Congressional Democrats and the current President to kill this successful program for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ unions. We support putting the needs of students before the special interests of unions when approaching elementary and secondary education reform.

Because parents are a child’s first teachers, we support family literacy programs, which improve the reading, language, and life skills of both parents and children from low-income families. To ensure that all students have access to the mainstream of American life, we support the English First approach and oppose divisive programs that limit students’ ability to advance in American society. We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS when transmitted sexually. It is effective, science-based, and empowers teens to achieve optimal health outcomes and avoid risks of sexual activity. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception. We support keeping federal funds from being used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio- emotional screening programs.

We applaud America’s great teachers, who should be protected against frivolous litigation and should be able to take reasonable actions to maintain discipline and order in the classroom. We support legislation that will correct the current law provision which defines a “Highly Qualified Teacher” merely by his or her credentials, not results in the classroom. We urge school districts to make use of teaching talent in business, STEM fields, and in the military, especially among our returning veterans. Rigid tenure systems based on the “last in, first out” policy should be replaced with a merit-based approach that can attract fresh talent and dedication to the classroom. All personnel who interact with school children should pass background checks and be held to the highest standards of personal conduct.

Improving Our Nation’s Classrooms

Higher education faces its own challenges, many of which stem from the poor preparation of students before they reach college. One consequence has been the multiplying number of remedial courses for freshmen. Even so, our universities, large and small, public or private, form the world’s greatest assemblage of learning. They drive much of the research that keeps America competitive and, by admitting large numbers of foreign students, convey our values and culture to the world.

Ideological bias is deeply entrenched within the current university system. Whatever the solution in private institutions may be, in State institutions the trustees have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination. We call on State officials to ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the Left.

Addressing Rising College Costs

College costs, however, are on an unsustainable trajectory, rising year by year far ahead of overall inflation. Nationwide, student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt, roughly $23,300 for each of the 35,000,000 debtors, taking years to pay off. Over 50 percent of recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed, working at jobs for which their expensive educations gave them no training. It is time to get back to basics and to higher education programs directly related to job opportunities.

The first step is to acknowledge the need for change when the status quo is not working. New systems of learning are needed to compete with traditional four-year colleges: expanded community colleges and technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector. New models for acquiring advanced skills will be ever more important in the rapidly changing economy of the twenty-first century, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. Public policy should advance the affordability, innovation, and transparency needed to address all these challenges and to make accessible to everyone the emerging alternatives, with their lower cost degrees, to traditional college attendance.

Federal student aid is on an unsustainable path, and efforts should be taken to provide families with greater transparency and the information they need to make prudent choices about a student’s future: completion rates, repayment rates, future earnings, and other factors that may affect their decisions. The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans; however, it should serve as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students. Private sector participation in student financing should be welcomed. Any regulation that drives tuition costs higher must be reevaluated to balance its worth against its negative impact on students and their parents.

Justice for All: Safe Neighborhoods and Prison Reform

The most effective forces in reducing crime and other social ills are strong families and caring communities supported by excellent law enforcement. Both reinforce constructive conduct and ethical standards by setting examples and providing safe havens from dangerous and destructive behaviors. But even under the best social circumstances, strong, well-trained law enforcement is necessary to protect us all, and especially the weak and vulnerable, from predators. Our national experience over the last several decades has shown that citizen vigilance, tough but fair prosecutors, meaningful sentences, protection of victims’ rights, and limits on judicial discretion can preserve public safety by keeping criminals off the streets.

Liberals do not understand this simple axiom: criminals behind bars cannot harm the general public. To that end, we support mandatory prison sentencing for gang crimes, violent or sexual offenses against children, repeat drug dealers, rape, robbery and murder. We support a national registry for convicted child murderers. We oppose parole for dangerous or repeat felons. Courts should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.

In solidarity with those who protect us, we call for mandatory prison time for all assaults involving serious injury to law enforcement officers. Criminals injured in the course of their crimes should not be able to seek monetary damages from their intended victims or from the public.

While getting criminals off the street is essential, more attention must be paid to the process of restoring those individuals to the community. Prisons should do more than punish; they should attempt to rehabilitate and institute proven prisoner reentry systems to reduce recidivism and future victimization. We endorse State and local initiatives that are trying new approaches, often called accountability courts.

Government at all levels should work with faith-based institutions that have proven track records in diverting young and first time, non-violent offenders from criminal careers, for which we salute them. Their emphasis on restorative justice, to make the victim whole and put the offender on the right path, can give law enforcement the flexibility it needs in dealing with different levels of criminal behavior. We endorse State and local initiatives that are trying new approaches to curbing drug abuse and diverting first-time offenders to rehabilitation.

Public authorities must regain control of their correctional institutions, for we cannot allow prisons to become ethnic or racial battlegrounds. Persons jailed for whatever cause should be protected against cruel or degrading treatment by other inmates. In some cases, the institution of family-friendly policies may curtail prison violence and reduce the rate of recidivism, thus reducing the enormous fiscal and social costs of incarceration. Breaking the cycle of crime begins with the children of those who are prisoners. Deprived of a parent through no fault of their own, these youngsters should be a special concern of our schools, social services, and religious institutions. Thirty years ago, President Reagan’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, calling the neglect of crime victims a “national disgrace,” proposed a Constitutional amendment to secure their formal rights. While some progress has been made to rectify that situation, the need for national action still persists in the unacceptable treatment of innocent victims. We call on the States to make it a bipartisan priority to protect the rights of crime victims, who should also be assured of access to social and legal services; and we call on the Congress to make the federal courts a model in this regard for the rest of the country.

The resources of the federal government’s law enforcement and judicial systems have been strained by two unfortunate expansions: the over-criminalization of behavior and the over-federalization of offenses. The number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code increased from 3,000 in the early 1980s to over 4,450 by 2008. Federal criminal law should focus on acts by federal employees or acts committed on federal property – and leave the rest to the States. Then Congress should withdraw from federal departments and agencies the power to criminalize behavior, a practice which, according to the Congressional Research Service, has created “tens of thousands” of criminal offenses. No one other than an elected representative should have the authority to define a criminal act and set criminal penalties. In the same way, Congress should reconsider the extent to which it has federalized offenses traditionally handled on the State or local level.

American Exceptionalism

We are the party of peace through strength. Professing American exceptionalism – the conviction that our country holds a unique place and role in human history – we proudly associate ourselves with those Americans of all political stripes who, more than three decades ago in a world as dangerous as today’s, came together to advance the cause of freedom. Repudiating the folly of an amateur foreign policy and defying a worldwide Marxist advance, they announced their strategy in the timeless slogan we repeat today: peace through strength – an enduring peace based on freedom and the will to defend it, and American democratic values and the will to promote them. While the twentieth century was undeniably an American century – with strong leadership, adherence to the principles of freedom and democracy our Founders’ enshrined in our nation’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and a continued reliance on Divine Providence – the twenty-first century will be one of American greatness as well.

Today’s adversaries are different, as are their weapons and their ideology, but this remains the same: the unity of Americans, beyond party, in gratitude to those who have defended our country, pursued its attackers to the ends of the earth, and today stand vigilant guard in our cities, on our coasts, and in alien lands. We pledge to our servicemen and women the authority and resources they need to protect the nation and defend America’s freedom. Continued vigilance, especially in travel and commerce, is necessary to prevent bioterrorism, cyber terrorism, and other asymmetric or non-traditional warfare attacks and to ensure that the horror of September 11, 2001 is never repeated on our soil.

Our country and its way of life have enemies both abroad and within our shores. We affirm the need for our military to protect the nation by finding and capturing our enemies and the necessity for the President to have the tools to deal with these threats. As history has sadly shown, even our fellow citizens may rarely become enemies of their country. Nevertheless, our government must continue to ensure the protections under our Constitution to all citizens, particularly the rights of habeas corpus and due process of law.

History proves that the best way to promote peace and prevent costly wars is to ensure that we constantly renew America’s economic strength. A healthy American economy is what underwrites and sustains American power. The current Administration is weakening America at home through anemic growth, high unemployment, and record-setting debt. We must therefore rebuild our economy and solve our fiscal crisis. In an American century, America will have the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world.

The Current Administration’s Failure: Leading From Behind

The Republican Party is the advocate for a strong national defense as the pathway to peace, economic prosperity, and the protection of those yearning to be free. Since the end of World War II, American military superiority has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our national security interests. In 1981, President Reagan came to office with an agenda of strong American leadership, beginning with a restoration of our country’s military strength. The rest is history, written in the rubble of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain.

We face a similar challenge today. The current Administration has responded with weakness to some of the gravest threats to our national security this country has faced, including the proliferation of transnational terrorism, continued belligerence by a nuclear-armed North Korea, an Iran in pursuit of nuclear weapons, rising Chinese hegemony in the Asia Pacific region, Russian activism, and threats from cyber espionage and terrorism. In response to these growing threats, President Obama has reduced the defense budget by over $487 billion over the next decade and fought Republican efforts to avoid another $500 billion in automatic budget cuts through a sequestration in early 2013 that will take a meat ax to all major defense programs.

The Dangers of A Hollow Force: The Looming Sequestration

Sequestration – which is severe, automatic, across-the-board cuts in defense spending over the next decade – of the nation’s military budget would be a disaster for national security, imperiling the safety of our servicemen and women, accelerating the decline of our nation’s defense industrial base, and resulting in the layoff of more than 1 million skilled workers. Opposition to sequester is bipartisan; even the current Secretary of Defense has said the cuts will be “devastating” to America’s military. Yet the current President supported sequestration, signed it into law, and has threatened to veto Republican efforts to prevent it. If he allows an additional half trillion dollars to be cut from the defense budget, America will be left with the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history – at a time when our Nation faces a growing range of threats to our national security and a struggling economy that can ill afford to lose 1.5 million defense-related jobs.

Leaks for Political Purposes

The current Administration’s leaks of classified information have imperiled intelligence assets which are vital to American security. This conduct is contemptible. It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel. Equally threatening to the long-term strength and safety of our Armed Forces are the current Administration’s efforts to sacrifice our national security for political gain and a partisan agenda. We give the current President credit for maintaining his predecessor’s quiet determination and planning to bring to justice the man behind the 9/11 attack on America, but he has tolerated publicizing the details of the operation to kill the leader of Al Qaeda; those leaks exposed the tactics and techniques of our Special Operations forces and denied our nation an unprecedented intelligence opportunity. Subsequent leaks by senior Administration officials regarding cyber warfare, the use of drones against Al Qaeda and its operatives, and the targeting of our enemies – unprecedented leaks that compromised key sources and methods and damaged our national security – served the single purpose of propping up the image of a weak President.

A Failed National Security Strategy

The current Administration’s most recent National Security Strategy reflects the extreme elements in its liberal domestic coalition. It is a budget-constrained blueprint that, if fully implemented, will diminish the capabilities of our Armed Forces. The strategy significantly increases the risk of future conflict by declaring to our adversaries that we will no longer maintain the forces necessary to fight and win more than one conflict at a time. It relies on the good intentions and capabilities of international organizations to justify constraining American military readiness. Finally, the strategy subordinates our national security interests to environmental, energy, and international health issues, and elevates “climate change” to the level of a “severe threat” equivalent to foreign aggression. The word “climate,” in fact, appears in the current President’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radical Islam, or weapons of mass destruction. The phrase “global war on terror” does not appear at all, and has been purposely avoided and changed by his Administration to “overseas contingency operations.”

Conventional Forces in Decline

More than a century ago, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt predicted that America’s future was in the Pacific. That future is here today, but it can develop peacefully only under the shield of American Naval and Air power. Yet the current Administration plans to significantly curtail production of our most advanced combat aircraft, decommission 6 of 60 Air Force tactical squadrons, and eliminate critical air mobility assets, including 27 giant C-5As and 65 C-130s, while divesting the nation of the brand new C-27.

The President plans to reduce our naval forces by retiring seven cruisers and slowing work on amphibious ships and attack submarines, further reducing the Navy that already has the smallest fleet since the early years of the twentieth century. And he will reduce ground forces by separating 100,000 soldiers and Marines – many of whom will be discharged after recently returning from combat – and another 100,000 under the sequester.

These plans limit our strategic flexibility in an increasingly dangerous world. The current President is repeating the disastrous cuts of the post-Vietnam war era, putting our nation in danger of returning to the “hollow force” of the Carter Administration, when the U.S. military was not respected in the world.

Nuclear Forces and Missile Defense Imperiled

We recognize that the gravest terror threat we face – a nuclear attack made possible by nuclear proliferation – requires a comprehensive strategy for reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles and preventing the spread of those armaments. But the U.S. can lead that effort only if it maintains an effective strategic arsenal at a level sufficient to fulfill its deterrent purposes, a notable failure of the current Administration.

The United States is the only nuclear power not modernizing its nuclear stockpile. It took the current Administration just one year to renege on the President’s commitment to modernize the neglected infrastructure of the nuclear weapons complex – a commitment made in exchange for approval of the New START treaty. In tandem with this, the current Administration has systematically undermined America’s missile defense, abandoning the missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, reducing the number of planned interceptors in Alaska, and cutting the budget for missile defense. In an embarrassing open microphone discussion with former Russian President Medvedev, the current President made clear that, if he wins a second term, he intends to exercise “more flexibility” to appease Russia, which means further undermining our missile defense capabilities. A Republican President will be honest and forthright with the American people about his policies and plans and not whisper promises to authoritarian leaders.

A strong and effective strategic arsenal is still necessary as a deterrent against competitors like Russia or China. But the danger in this age of asymmetric or non-traditional warfare comes from other quarters as well. With unstable regimes in Iran and North Korea determined to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the United States, with the possibility that a terrorist group could gain control of a nuclear weapon, it is folly to abandon a missile shield for the country.

A Twenty-First Century Threat: The Cybersecurity Danger

The frequency, sophistication, and intensity of cyber-related incidents within the United States have increased steadily over the past decade and will continue to do so until it is made clear that a cyber attack against the United States will not be tolerated. The current Administration’s cyber security policies have failed to curb malicious actions by our adversaries, and no wonder, for there is no active deterrence protocol. The current deterrence framework is overly reliant on the development of defensive capabilities and has been unsuccessful in dissuading cyber-related aggression. The U.S. cannot afford to risk the cyber-equivalent of Pearl Harbor.

The government and private sector must work together to address the cyberthreats posed to the United States, help the free flow of information between network managers, and encourage innovation and investment in cybersecurity. The government must do a better job of protecting its own systems, which contain some of the most sensitive data and control some of our most important facilities. As such, we encourage an immediate update of the law that was drafted a decade ago to improve the security of government information systems. Additionally, we must invest in continuing research to develop cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies to protect the U.S. However, we acknowledge that the most effective way of combating potential cybersecurity threats is sharing cyberthreat information between the government and industry, as well as protecting the free flow of information within the private sector.

The current Administration’s laws and policies undermine what should be a collaborative relationship and put both the government and private entities at a severe disadvantage in proactively identifying potential cyberthreats. The costly and heavy-handed regulatory approach by the current Administration will increase the size and cost of the federal bureaucracy and harm innovation in cybersecurity. The government collects valuable information about potential threats that can and should be shared with private entities without compromising national security. We believe that companies should be free from legal and regulatory barriers that prevent or deter them from voluntarily sharing cyberthreat information with their government partners.

An America That Leads: The Republican National Security Strategy for the Future

We will honor President Reagan’s legacy of peace through strength by advancing the most cost-effective programs and policies crucial to our national security, including our economic security and fiscal solvency. To do that, we must honestly assess the threats facing this country, and we must be able to articulate candidly to the American people our priorities for the use of taxpayer dollars to address those threats.

We must deter any adversary who would attack us or use terror as a tool of government. Every potential enemy must have no doubt that our capabilities, our commitment, and our will to defeat them are clear, unwavering, and unequivocal. We must immediately employ a new blueprint for a National Military Strategy that is based on an informed and validated assessment of the potential threats we face, one that restores as a principal objective the deterrence using the full spectrum of our military capabilities. As Ronald Reagan proved by the victorious conclusion of the Cold War, only our capability to wield overwhelming military power can truly deter the enemies of the United States from threatening our people and our national interests.

In order to deter aggression from nation-states, we must maintain military and technical superiority through innovation while upgrading legacy systems including aircraft and armored vehicles. We must deter the threat posed by rogue aggressors with the assurance that justice will be served through state-of-the-art surveillance, enhanced special operations capabilities, and unmanned aerial systems.

We will employ the full range of military and intelligence options to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates who threaten not just the West but the community of nations. We will have a comprehensive and just detainee policy that treats those who would attack our nation as enemy combatants. We will accept no arms control agreement that limits our right to self-defense; and we will fully deploy a missile defense shield for the people of the United States and for our allies.

We will pursue an effective cybersecurity strategy, supported by the necessary resources, that recognizes the importance of offensive capabilities. Whether it is a nation-state actively probing our national security networks, a terror organization seeking to obtain destructive cyber capabilities, or a criminal network’s theft of intellectual property, more must be done to deter, defeat, and respond to cyberthreats.

We will restore the morale and advance the capabilities of our intelligence community to ensure that the President and our military leaders are fully informed in an uncertain and increasingly dangerous world. We will restore accountability to ensure that our nation’s most sensitive information and activities are protected appropriately.

The Department of Defense, like all government agencies, needs to be careful to spend taxpayers’ dollars wisely. We will implement sound management policies to ensure the timely, cost-effective delivery of the tools our troops need to fight. We reject Congressional earmarks that put personal and parochial interests ahead of military effectiveness and the best interests of the nation. We recognize the need for, and value of, competition within a robust industrial base to most effectively maximize quality and drive down costs in everything the Department buys.

Supporting our Troops, Standing By Our Heroes

The foundation of our military lies in the men and women who wear our country’s uniform, whether on active duty or in the Reserves and National Guard, and the families who support them. Under no circumstances will we reveal any secret or detail of a military operation that could put our people into additional harm’s way. The members of our military should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity. We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.

Consistent with this commitment, we believe compensation and conditions for our Armed Forces in place at the time military service is initiated should be sufficient to attract and retain quality men and women as we honor our promises and commitments to veterans, retirees, and their families. These shall continue and not be reduced or otherwise diminished while in service, or upon separation, or retirement. The combat readiness of our Armed Forces is the foundation of strength and deterrence. Readiness requires a consistent and sustained investment in the training and re-equipping of our military personnel. We will never assume the risk of reduced readiness, and we can never return to the “hollow” forces of the 1970s. Combat readiness also requires that we reserve troops for truly necessary operations by not overextending them around the world. We recognize that drastic cuts to our military’s end strength pose severe national security challenges. To avoid the overextension of our forces, we support a larger active force and oppose cuts to the National Guard and Reserves.

The all-volunteer force, begun on the watch of Republican Presidents, has carried America to victory from the Caribbean and Central America to the Balkans and Southwest Asia. We oppose the reinstatement of the draft whether directly or through compulsory national service. We support the advancement of women in the military, which has not only opened doors of opportunity for individuals but has also made possible the devoted, and often heroic, services of additional members of every branch of the Armed Forces. We support military women’s exemption from direct ground combat units and infantry battalions. We affirm the cultural values that encourage selfless service and superiority in battle, and we oppose anything which might divide or weaken team cohesion, including intra-military special interest demonstrations. We will support an objective and open-minded review of the current Administration’s management of military personnel policies and will correct problems with appropriate administrative, legal, or legislative action.

The National Guard and Reserves are a fully operational and battle-tested component of our Armed Forces. Many of them have heroically served for multiple deployments resulting in inadequate time between deployments, also known as dwell time. We pledge to maintain their manpower and equipment strength and to ensure their members receive the pay, benefits, and adequate training to continue their service and maintain mission readiness through Presidential leadership and Congressional budget support. Their historic and continuing role as citizen-soldiers is a proud tradition linking every community across America to the cause of freedom. We affirm service members’ legal right to return to their civilian jobs, whether in government or the private sector, and we urge greater transition assistance to and from employers as they return to the civilian world. Especially in light of the high unemployment rates faced by younger Reserve and Guard members, we salute those employers who have wisely decided that it is a smart and patriotic business decision to hire those who have served above and beyond the call of duty.

The spiritual welfare of our troops and retired service members should be a priority of our national leadership. With military suicides running at the rate of one a day, with post-service medical conditions, including addiction and mental illness, and with the financial stress and homelessness that is often related to these factors, there is an urgent need for the kind of counseling that faith-based institutions can best provide. We support rights of conscience and religious freedom for military chaplains and people of faith. A Republican Commander in Chief will protect religious independence of military chaplains and will not tolerate attempts to ban Bibles or religious symbols from military facilities. We will enforce and defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Armed Forces as well as in the civilian world.

We call upon the entire chain of command – from the President and the Secretary of Defense, to base and unit commanders – to ensure that our troops and retired service members, wherever stationed, have the opportunity to vote in the November elections, and that their ballots will be returned in time to be properly counted. Those who fight for and defend freedom around the world must not be disenfranchised.

Recognizing and Supporting Military Families

The families of our military personnel currently serving, retired service members, and veterans must also be assured of the pay, health care, housing, education, and overall support they have earned. We will ensure that the federal government keeps its commitments to those who signed on the dotted line of enlistment with the assurance that those promises would be kept. We must also do more to retain the services of those service members who have borne the fight since 2001.

We must acknowledge that as our troops have experienced repeated deployments, so have their families. We are committed to providing programs that offer readjustment information and counseling to our military families, and urge States to offer support for job programs, license reciprocity, one-stop service centers, and education programs to support these families. The nation must also recognize the ultimate sacrifice of survivors and protect their benefits. We will work to protect service members and their families by not overextending their deployments.

Honoring and Supporting Our Veterans: A Sacred Obligation

America has a sacred trust with our veterans, and we are committed to providing them and their families with care and dignity. This is particularly true because our nation’s warriors are volunteers, who served from a sense of duty. The work of the Department of Veterans Affairs – with a staff of 300,000 – is essential to meet our obligations to them: providing health, education, disability, survivor, and home loan benefit services and arranging memorial services upon death. All its branches in those various fields must be made more responsive, moving from an adversarial to an advocacy relationship with veterans. To that end we will consider a fundamental change in structure to make the regional directors of the Department presidential appointees rather than careerists.

Our wounded warriors, whether still in service or discharged, deserve the best medical care our country can provide. The nature of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has resulted in an unprecedented incidence of traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, and post-traumatic stress disorder which calls for a new commitment of resources and personnel for its treatment and care to promote recovery. We must make military and veterans’ medicine the gold standard for mental health care, advances in prosthetics, and treatment of trauma and eye injuries. We must heed Abraham Lincoln’s command “to care for him who bore the battle.” To care, as well, for the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who must be assured of meaningful financial assistance, remains our solemn duty.

Because the conditions of warfare have changed dramatically since the war on terror began, today’s veterans face new challenges. Asymmetrical or non-traditional warfare results in a high incidence of severe conditions that must receive high priority and call for continued research into prevention and treatment.

We are committed to ending homelessness for our veterans. One key is to assist their reentry into the job market as soon as possible after military service ends. A job for a veteran is more than a source of income. It is a new mission, with a new status, and the transition can be difficult. It is a national scandal that veterans are one of the groups with the highest unemployment rates. We urge the private sector to make hiring vets a company policy and commend the many organizations that have specific programs to accomplish this. But the federal government must take the lead by simplifying the paper work required for a tax break for hiring a veteran and by giving vets their assured place at the head of the training and employment line.

Every State has an office dealing with veterans. The federal Department needs to consider these as partners in assisting vets, recognizing that those closest to the individual can best diagnose a problem and apply a remedy. This is especially important with regard to the determination of veterans’ disability claims. If private insurance companies can deal with car wrecks and hurricanes within weeks or months, it is inexplicable that the federal government takes, on average, a year to process a veteran’s claim. We urge immediate action to review the automatic denial of gun ownership to returning members of our Armed Forces who have had representatives appointed to manage their financial affairs.

Sovereign American Leadership in International Organizations

Since the end of World War II, the United States, through the founding of the United Nations and NATO, has participated in a wide range of international organizations which can, but sometimes do not, serve the cause of peace and prosperity. While acting through them, our country must always reserve the right to go its own way. There can be no substitute for principled American leadership.

The United Nations remains in dire need of reform, starting with full transparency in the financial operations of its overpaid bureaucrats. As long as its scandal-ridden management continues, as long as some of the world’s worst tyrants hold seats on its Human Rights Council, and as long as Israel is treated as a pariah state, the U.N. cannot expect the full support of the American people.

The United Nations Population Fund has a shameful record of collaboration with China’s program of compulsory abortion. We affirm the Republican Party’s long-held position known as the Mexico City Policy, first announced by President Reagan in 1984, which prohibits the granting of federal monies to non-governmental organization that provide or promote abortion.

Under our Constitution, treaties become the law of the land. So it is all the more important that the Congress – the Senate through its ratifying power and the House through its appropriating power – shall reject agreements whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear. These include the U.N. Convention on Women’s Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty as well as the various declarations from the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. Because of our concern for American sovereignty, domestic management of our fisheries, and our country’s long-term energy needs, we have deep reservations about the regulatory, legal, and tax regimes inherent in the Law of the Sea Treaty and congratulate Senate Republicans for blocking its ratification. We strongly reject the U.N. Agenda 21 as erosive of American sovereignty, and we oppose any form of U.N. Global Tax. We oppose any diplomatic efforts that could result in giving the United Nations unprecedented control over the Internet. International regulatory control over the open and free Internet would have disastrous consequences for the United States and the world.

To shield members of our Armed Forces and others in service to America from ideological prosecutions overseas, the Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. We support statutory protection for U.S. personnel and officials as they act abroad to meet our global security requirements.

Protecting Human Rights

To those who stand in the darkness of tyranny, America has always been a beacon of hope, and so it must remain. That is why we strongly support the work of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, established by Congressional Republicans to advance the rights of persecuted peoples everywhere. It has been shunted aside by the current Administration at a time when its voice more than ever needs to be heard. Religious minorities across the Middle East are being driven from their ancient homelands, fanaticism leaves its bloody mark on both West and East Africa, and even among America’s Western friends and allies, pastors and families are penalized for their religious convictions. A Republican Administration will return the advocacy of religious liberty to a central place in our diplomacy.

America’s Generosity: International Assistance that Makes a Difference

Americans are the most generous people in the world. Apart from the taxpayer dollars our government donates abroad, our foundations, educational institutions, faith-based groups, and committed men and women of charity devote billions of dollars and volunteer hours every year to help the poor and needy around the world. This effort, along with commercial investment from the private sector, dwarfs the results from official development assistance, most of which is based on an outdated, statist, government-to-government model, the proven breeding ground for corruption and mismanagement by foreign kleptocrats. Limiting foreign aid spending helps keep taxes lower, which frees more resources in the private and charitable sectors, whose giving tends to be more effective and efficient.

Foreign aid should serve our national interest, an essential part of which is the peaceful development of less advanced and vulnerable societies in critical parts of the world. Assistance should be seen as an alternative means of keeping the peace, far less costly in both dollars and human lives than military engagement. The economic success and political progress of former aid recipients, from Latin America to East Asia, has justified our investment in their future. U.S. aid should be based on the model of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, for which foreign governments must, in effect, compete for the dollars by showing respect for the rule of law, free enterprise, and measurable results. In short, aid money should follow positive outcomes, not pleas for more cash in the same corrupt official pockets.

The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, legalized abortion and the homosexual rights agenda. At the same time, faith-based groups – the sector that has had the best track record in promoting lasting development – have been excluded from grants because they will not conform to the administration’s social agenda. We will reverse this tragic course, encourage more involvement by the most effective aid organizations, and trust developing peoples to build their future from the ground up.

Combating Human Trafficking

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln, we are reminded to be vigilant against human bondage in whatever form it appears. We will use the full force of the law against those who engage in modern-day forms of slavery, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children and the forced labor of men, women, and children. Building on the accomplishments of the last Republican Administration in implementing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, we call for increased diplomatic efforts with foreign governments to root out complicit public officials who facilitate or perpetrate this evil. We highlight the need for greater scrutiny of overseas labor contractors to prevent the imposition of usurious terms on temporary foreign workers brought to the United States. Our government must address the increasing role of vicious drug cartels and other gangs in controlling human smuggling across our southern border. The principle underlying our Megan’s Law – publicizing the identities of known offenders – should be extended to international travel in order to protect innocent children everywhere.

We affirm our country’s historic tradition of welcoming refugees from troubled lands. In some cases, they are people who stood with us during dangerous times, and they have first call on our hospitality.

Promoting a Free Marketplace of Ideas: Public Diplomacy

International broadcasting of free and impartial information during the Cold War kept truth and hope alive in the Captive Nations. Today, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio/TV Marti do the same in other lands where freedom is unknown or endangered. We support these essential extensions of American values and culture and urge their expansion in the Middle East. Recognizing the vital role of social media in recent efforts to promote democracy, we support unrestricted access to the Internet throughout the world to advance the free marketplace of ideas.

Strengthening Ties in the Americas

We will resist foreign influence in our hemisphere. We thereby seek not only to provide for our own security, but also to create a climate for democracy and self-determination throughout the Americas.

The current Administration has turned its back on Latin America, with predictable results. Rather than supporting our democratic allies in the region, the President has prioritized engagement with our enemies in the region. Venezuela represents an increasing threat to U.S. security, a threat which has grown much worse on the current President’s watch. In the last three years, Venezuela has become a narco-terrorist state, turning it into an Iranian outpost in the Western hemisphere. The current regime issues Venezuelan passports or visas to thousands of Middle Eastern terrorists offering safe haven to Hezbollah trainers, operatives, recruiters and fundraisers.

Alternatively, we will stand with the true democracies of the region against both Marxist subversion and the drug lords, helping them to become prosperous alternatives to the collapsing model of Venezuela and Cuba.

We affirm our friendship with the People of Cuba and look toward their reunion with the rest of our hemispheric family. The anachronistic regime in Havana which rules them is a mummified relic of the age of totalitarianism, a state-sponsor of terrorism. We reject any dynastic succession of power within the Castro family and affirm the principles codified in U.S. law as conditions for the lifting of trade, travel, and financial sanctions: the legalization of political parties, an independent media, and free and fair internationally-supervised elections. We renew our commitment to Cuba’s courageous pro-democracy movement as the protagonists of Cuba’s inevitable liberation and democratic future. We call for a dedicated platform for the transmission of Radio and TV Marti and for the promotion of Internet access and circumvention technology as tools to strengthen the pro-democracy movement. We support the work of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba and affirm the principles of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, recognizing the rights of Cubans fleeing Communism.

The war on drugs and the war on terror have become a single enterprise. We salute our allies in this fight, especially the people of Mexico and Colombia. We propose a unified effort on crime and terrorism to coordinate intelligence and enforcement among our regional allies, as well as military-to-military training and intelligence sharing with Mexico, whose people are bearing the brunt of the drug cartels’ savage assault.

Our Canadian neighbors can count on our close cooperation and respect. As soon as possible, we will reverse the current Administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline so that both our countries can profit from this vital venture and there will no need for hemispheric oil to be shipped to China.

Advancing Hope and Prosperity in Africa

PEPFAR, President George W. Bush’s Plan for AIDS Relief, is one of the most successful global health programs in history. It has saved literally millions of lives. Along with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, another initiative of President Bush, it represents America’s humanitarian commitment to the peoples of Africa, though these are only one aspect of our assistance to the nations of that continent. From Peace Corps volunteers teaching in one-room schools to U.S. Seabees building village projects, we will continue to strengthen the personal and commercial ties between our country and African nations.

We stand in solidarity with those African countries now under assault by the forces of radical Islam and urge other governments throughout the continent to recognize this threat to them as well. We support closer cooperation in both military and economic matters with those who are under attack by forces which seek our destruction.

U.S. Leadership in the Asian-Pacific Community

We are a Pacific nation with economic, military, and cultural ties to all the countries of the oceanic rim, from Australia, the Philippines, and our Freely Associated States in the Pacific Islands to Japan and the Republic of Korea. With them, we look toward the restoration of human rights to the suffering people of North Korea and the fulfillment of their wish to be one in peace and freedom. The U.S. will continue to demand the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs with a full accounting of its proliferation activities.

We celebrate the political and economic development of most of the nations of Southeast Asia. Their example of material progress through hard work and free enterprise, in tandem with greater democracy should encourage their less fortunate neighbors to set aside crippling ideologies and embrace a more humane future. While our relations with Vietnam have improved, and U.S. investment is welcomed, we need unceasing efforts to obtain an accounting for, and repatriation of the remains of, Americans who gave their lives in the cause of Vietnamese freedom. We cannot overlook the continued repression of human rights and religious freedom, as well as retribution against ethnic minorities and others who assisted U.S. forces during the conflict there.

South Asia

We welcome a stronger relationship with the world’s largest democracy, India, both economic and cultural, as well as in terms of national security. We hereby affirm and declare that India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. We encourage India to permit greater foreign investment and trade. We urge protection for adherents of all India’s religions. Both as Republicans and as Americans, we note with pride the contributions to this country that are being made by our fellow citizens of Indian ancestry. The aftermath of the last decade’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has put enormous pressure on the political and military infrastructure of Pakistan, which faces both internal terrorism and external dangers. The working relationship between our two countries is a necessary, though sometimes difficult, benefit to both, and we look toward the renewal of historic ties that have frayed under the weight of international conflict.

The imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan of the 30,000 “surge” troops sent there two years ago comes weeks before this year’s presidential election and against the advice of the current President’s top military commanders. Future decisions by a Republican President will never subordinate military necessity to domestic politics or an artificial timetable. Afghans, Pakistanis, and Americans have a common interest in ridding the region of the Taliban and other insurgent groups, but we cannot expect others to remain resolute unless we show the same determination ourselves. We will expect the Afghan government to crackdown on corruption, respect free elections, and assist our fight against the narcotic trade that fuels the insurgency. We must likewise expect the Pakistan government to sever any connection between its security and intelligence forces and the insurgents. No Pakistani citizen should be punished for helping the United States against the terrorists.


We salute the people of Taiwan, a sound democracy and economic model for mainland China. Our relations must continue to be based upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act. America and Taiwan are united in our shared belief in fair elections, personal liberty, and free enterprise. We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate those principles, the U.S., in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself. We praise steps taken by both sides of the Taiwan Strait to reduce tension and strengthen economic ties. As a loyal friend of America, Taiwan has merited our strong support, including free trade agreements status, as well as the timely sale of defensive arms and full participation in the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, and other multilateral institutions.


We will welcome the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous China, and we will welcome even more the development of a democratic China. Its rulers have discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth. The next lesson is that political and religious freedom leads to national greatness. The exposure of the Chinese people to our way of life can be the greatest force for change in their country. We should make it easier for the people of China to experience our vibrant democracy and to see for themselves how freedom works. We welcome the increase in trade and education alliances with the U.S. and the opening of Chinese markets to American companies.

The Chinese government has engaged in a number of activities that we condemn: China’s pursuit of advanced military capabilities without any apparent need; suppression of human rights in Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas; religious persecution; a barbaric one-child policy involving forced abortion; the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong; and its destabilizing claims in the South China Sea. Our serious trade disputes, especially China’s failure to enforce international standards for the protection of intellectual property and copyrights, as well as its manipulation of its currency, call for a firm response from a new Republican Administration.


The West has been the bulwark of democracy and freedom, providing hope and faith to the oppressed around the globe. Our historic ties to the peoples of Europe have been based on shared culture and values, common interests and goals. Their endurance cannot be taken for granted, especially in light of the continent’s economic upheaval and demographic changes. Ensuring the continued vitality of our political alliance with Europe through NATO will require effort and understanding on both sides of the Atlantic. We honor our special relationship with the United Kingdom and appreciate its staunch support for our fight against terrorism worldwide. We thank the several other nations of Europe which have contributed to a united effort in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Their sacrifice will not soon be forgotten. We are heartened by the ongoing reconciliation in Northern Ireland and hopeful that its success might be replicated in Cyprus.


The heroism – and the suffering – of the people of Russia over the last century demand the world’s respect. As our allies in their Great Patriotic War, they lost 28 million fighting Nazism. As our allies in spirit, they ended the Soviet terror that had consumed so many millions more. They deserve our admiration and support as they now seek to reestablish their rich national identity. We do have common imperatives: ending terrorism, combating nuclear proliferation, promoting trade, and more. To advance those causes, we urge the leaders of their government to reconsider the path they have been following: suppression of opposition parties, the press, and institutions of civil society; unprovoked invasion of the Republic of Georgia, alignment with tyrants in the Middle East; and bullying their neighbors while protecting the last Stalinist regime in Belarus. The Russian people deserve better, as we look to their full participation in the ranks of modern democracies.

Russia should be granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations, but not without sanctions on Russian officials who have used the government to violate human rights. We support enactment of the Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act as a condition of expanded trade relations with Russia.

Our Unequivocal Support of Israel

Israel and the United States are part of the great fellowship of democracies who speak the same language of freedom and justice, and the right of every person to live in peace. The security of Israel is in the vital national security interest of the United States; our alliance is based not only on shared interests, but also shared values. We affirm our unequivocal commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that it maintains a qualitative edge in military technology over any potential adversaries. We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states – Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security. For that to happen, the Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law. We call on Arab governments throughout the region to help advance that goal. Israel should not be expected to negotiate with entities pledged to her destruction. We call on the new government in Egypt to fully uphold its peace treaty with Israel.

The U.S. seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, negotiated between the parties themselves with the assistance of the U.S., without the imposition of an artificial timetable. Essential to that process will be a just, fair, and realistic framework for dealing with the issues that can be settled on the basis of mutually agreed changes reflecting today’s realities as well as tomorrow’s hopes.

The Challenges of a Changing Middle East

We recognize the historic nature of the events of the past two years – the Arab Spring – that have unleashed democratic movements leading to the overthrow of dictators who have been menaces to global security for decades. In a season of upheaval, it is necessary to be prepared for anything. That is true on the ground in the Middle East, and it will be equally true in the next Administration, particularly with a new President unbound by the failures of the past. We welcome the aspirations of the Arab peoples and others for greater freedom, and we hope that greater liberty – and with it, a greater chance for peace – will result from the recent turmoil. Many governments in the region have given substantial assistance to the U.S. over the last decade because they understood that our struggle against terror is not an ethnic or religious fight, and that violent extremists are abusers of their faith, not its champions.

On the other hand, radical elements like Hamas and Hezbollah must be isolated because they do not meet the standards of peace and diplomacy of the international community. We call for the restoration of Lebanon’s independence, which those groups have virtually destroyed. We support the transition to a post-Assad Syrian government that is representative of its people, protects the rights of all minorities and religions, respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors, and contributes to peace and stability in the region. We offer a continuing partnership with the people of Iraq, who have endured extremist terror to now have a chance to build their own security and democracy. We urge special efforts to preserve and protect the ethnic and religious diversity of their nation.

Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability threatens America, Israel, and the world. That threat has only become worse during the current Administration. A continuation of its failed engagement policy with Iran will lead to nuclear cascade. In solidarity with the international community, America must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We express our respect for the people of Iran, who seek peace and aspire to freedom. Their current regime is unworthy of them. It exports terror and provided weapons that killed our troops in Iraq. We affirm the unanimous resolution of the U.S. Senate calling for “elections that are free, fair, and meet international standards” and “a representative and responsive democratic government that respects human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.” We urge the next Republican President to unequivocally assert his support for the Iranian people as they protest their despotic regime. We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the safety of our friends.

The Platform Committee

Republican National Committee Chairman
Reince Priebus

Governor Bob McDonnell

Senator John Hoeven Congressman Marsha Blackburn

Subcommittee Chairs

Restoring the American Dream: Rebuilding the Economy and Creating Jobs
Co-Chairman Jonathan Barnett Co-Chairman Lynn Fitch Co-Chairman Andy Puzder

We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government
Co-Chairman Jim Bopp Co-Chairman Jane Timken

America’s Natural Resources:
Energy,Agriculture and the Environment Co-Chairman Mary Dye Co-Chairman Ed Whitfield

Reforming Government to Serve the People
Co-Chairman Jim Cawley Co-Chairman Rachel Kemp

Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families,Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods
Co-Chairman Tom Luna Co-Chairman Carolyn McLarty Co-Chairman Sam Olens

American Exceptionalism
Co-Chairman Donna Cain Co-Chairman Jim Talent

Committee Members

Jacqueline Curtiss
Cam Ward

Ric Davidge
Debbie Joslin

American Samoa:
Salote Schuster
Brandon Smart

Kip Kempton
Heather Sandstrom

Jonathan Barnett
Julie Harris

Andrew Puzder
Audra Strickland

Suzanne Sharkey
Guy Short

L. Scott Frantz
Themis Klarides

Ruth Briggs King
John Sigler

District of Columbia:
Teri Galvez
Edward Newton

Allen Bense
Remedios Diaz

Sue Everhart
Sam Olens

Arthur Boyd Clark
Telo Taitague

Lynne Hansen
Philip Hellreich

Gayann DeMordaunt
Tom Luna

Steve Kim
Sharee Langenstein

James Bopp Jr.
Deborah Fleming

Gopal T.K. Krishna
Kimberly Lehman

Beverly Caley
Kris Kobach

Ed Whitfield
Shirley Wiseman

Ambia Baker
Tony Perkins

Linda Bean
Mike Wallace

Christian Cavey
Kathy Szeliga

Jay Barrows
Rachel Kemp

Krista Haroutunian
Norm Shinkle

Kevin Erickson
Juliette Jordal

Lynn Fitch
Delbert Hosemann

Phyllis Schlafly
Jim Talent

Mark Baker
Tamara Hall

Brian Buescher
Darlene Starman

Cynthia Kennedy
Pat Kerby

New Hampshire:
David Boutin
Beverly Bruce

New Jersey:
Aubrey Fenton
Lynda Pagliughi

New Mexico:
James Damron
Rocky Galassini

New York:
John Cahill
Adele Malpass

North Carolina:
Wayne King
Mary Summa

North Dakota:
Kyle Handegard
Paul Henderson

Northern Mariana Islands:
Ellsbeth Alepuyo
Juan Diego Blanco

Clarence Mingo
Jane Timken

Anthony Lauinger
Carolyn McLarty

Donna Cain
Russ Walker

Jim Cawley
Joyce Haas

Puerto Rico:
Jorge San Miguel
Vanessa Viera

Rhode Island:
Barbara Ann Fenton
Richard Ford

South Carolina:
Randy Page
LaDonna Ryggs

South Dakota:
Mary Jean Jensen
Dana Randall

Marsha Blackburn
Chris Devaney

David Barton
Denise McNamara

Margaret Dayton
Brad Dee

Rick Cochran
Darcie Johnston

Chris Stearns
Kathy Terry

Virgin Islands:
April Newland
Herbert Schoenbohm

Mary Dye
Lew Moore

West Virginia:
Conrad Lucas II

Daniel Feyen
Susan Lynch

Cynthia Cloud
Dan Dockstader

Platform Staff

Ben Key, Executive Director
Elise Stefanik, Policy Director
Bill Gribbin, Editor
Gracey Roskam, Executive Assistant
Bob Dove, Parliamentarian
Laura Dove, Clerk
Jeff Rosen, Counsel
Tim Flanigan, Counsel
Kirsten Kukowski, Press Secretary
Gary Howard, Press Secretary
Leslie Rutledge, RNC Associate Counsel
Jon Waclawski, RNC Advisor and Associate Counsel
Karen Portik, Graphic Designer
Marcia Brown, Production

Administrative Team:
Gregg Edgar, Brian O’Malley, Mallory Loring

Court Reporter:
Raymond Heer III, Alderson Court Reporting

Policy Staff

Economy Subcommittee
Andrew Olmem
Matt Weidinger

Restoring Constitutional Government
Ed Corrigan
William Henderson
Billy Gribbin

Energy Subcommittee
Tony Eberhard
Mary Neumayr

Government Reform Subcommittee
George Fishman
Jonathan Slemrod

Health, Education & Crime
Cynthia Herrle
Mike O’Rielly
Keith Studdard

National Security Subcommittee
Neil Bradley
Robert Wilkie

Special thanks to the following for their valuable insights:

Former Executive Directors:
Ambassador John Bolton, 1984; William Martin, 1992; Judy VanRest, 1996;
Mitch Bainwol, 2000; Anne Phelps, 2004; Steven Duffield, 2008

Former Policy Director:
Candi Wolff, 2000

Senior Advisors:
Tony Feather, James Tobin, Brian Noyes

Special thanks to:

Betsy Ankney, Sara Armstrong, Julia Biebighauser, Tyler Brown, Britt Carter, Brittany Cohan, Cesar deGuzman, Sharon Day, Dirk Eyman, Mike Gilding, Wells Griffith, Bill Harris, Anne Hathaway, Rebecca Heilig, Aly Higgins, Colleen House, Mark Isaacson, Bettina Inclain, Jeff Larson, Jeremy Kenney, Tom Kise, Tory Maguire, James Min, Johanna Persing, Joe Pounder, Ryan Price, Matt Sauvage, Tim Schigel, Sean Spicer, Elizabeth Steil, Bill Steiner, Christine Samuelian, Matt Terrill, Jennifer Voldness, Rick Wiley, Larissa Ziemann and all our volunteers

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2012 Democratic Party Platform – Not officially released but now publicly available!

The 2012 Democratic Party platform is now publicly available!

The Democratic Party’s platform became publicly available today and we just got a hold of it!  We’re excited to finally have both platforms in our hands and are currently studying the Democratic platform now!

Both platforms on

Join our discussion on the release of both platforms!  We’ve created a forum topic linking to the PDFs of both platforms, for the debate and discussion of the platforms.

We hope you all read, join and discuss!  This is very exciting it us, America has available what both parties are running on!  Now the true political debate and discussion can start!

We are currently reading through the Democratic Platform and will summarize both here shortly.

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Google Announces Their Politics and Elections Site

Google announces their Politics and Elections site – Google news announcements on the candidates, conventions and other topics, a live-feed of the convention as well as embedded YouTube channels of their partners and a wealth of voter and survey information.  Check out Vote-pedia’s complete review of Google’s Politics and Elections site.

Quoted from the Google Blog:

Making it easier to cast your ballot

August 28, 2012
The first presidential nominating conventionheld in 1832, was meant to give Americans a voice in the selection of the presidential nominee. Fast forward to 2012 and these conventions still represent a major moment in American politics—and we’re helping the conventions reach a larger audience by being the official live stream provider and social networking platform for the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.In conjunction with our on-the-ground efforts, we’re making a number of online tools available to help you get organized and informed as Election Day approaches.

Get informed
Our Google Politics & Elections site enables you to see the latest Google News, YouTube videos, search and video trends, and Google+ content about the election in one place. You can also visit our live Elections Hub to watch the national political conventions, debates and even election night LIVE right from your mobile phone or laptop.

Register to vote 
To make it easy to navigate the rules and deadlines about registering to vote and how to vote by mail, we put together an online voter guide. We’ve also added a special section to make it easier for military and overseas voters to find information about their different rules and deadlines.

As we approach the final days of the election, we’ll continue to develop useful ways for voters and campaigns to engage one another around the important issues in 2012.

We hope these tools will help you stay informed and participate in the election!

Posted by Eric Hysen, Google Politics & Elections Team

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Mitt Romney – FIRST, This one matters



I have a plan to turn around America, and I’m ready to get to work, but first I need your vote. This is going to be a historically tight race — and every vote counts.

Please vote today, and remind your friends and family to do the same.

Your vote matters. It matters for your kids and their kids. It matters for 23 million Americans struggling for work. And it matters for the future of our nation and the strength of our economy. Paul Ryan and I have a plan to lead America to a real recovery, to prosperity and opportunity.

After you’ve voted, we still need your help to turn out our supporters. Find out how to help us get out the vote.

We’re all in this together. A better future for America can begin today.


Mitt Romney

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Jeremy Bird – Nathan, we need 26 more volunteers from Durango right away

Obama - Biden
Hey, <FIRST>: Got to have you out there today.

This election’s a nail-biter — it’s going to be as close as it can possibly be.

And in Durango, we urgently need some more hands on deck:


Additional volunteers from Durango needed today:

Number of times you’ve committed to volunteer using this email address:
None on record yet


This is our very last chance, right here.

Help get out the vote today — and let’s re-elect President Obama.

What: Get out the vote today

Meet at: 1000 Rim Drive
Durango, CO 81301

When: Shifts available all day today

Yes, I'm in

Sorry, I can't make it

Or find other events near you.

If you show up today, Nathan, I know we can do this.

Altogether, 2,165,060 folks like you have signed up to volunteer. We’ve reached millions of voters, who in turn have reached other voters, who reached others — we can’t even track how much of an impact we’ve had.

That work continues right up to the very last minute. That’s the only way we’ll win.

So rearrange a thing or two in your schedule. Take some time off of work or school. Find someone to walk your dog.

And sign up for your get-out-the-vote shift right now:

Come on out and let’s finish this together, just like we started it.

Thank you — for everything,


Jeremy Bird
National Field Director
Obama for America

If you made it out to a volunteer shift that isn’t reflected above, don’t worry — it might be because you signed up with another email address or offline, or you came but didn’t RSVP. You’ve still had a big impact in this election — thank you.


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Paul Ryan – Today we need your vote


Election Day is finally upon us, and we need your vote. I’m honored to have spent the past several months traveling the country, meeting incredible people who are ready to say goodbye to the failed policies of the last four years.

Americans deserve better than that. They deserve someone who will wake up every morning thinking about how to save the country — not whom to blame. Mitt Romney will take responsibility as a leader and face the tough issues head-on.

There is a clear choice in this election, and today Mitt and I ask for your vote. 

Please vote, and make sure your friends and family do too.

Today is the day we decide what kind of country we are going to give our kids and grandkids.

This is the most important election of our lifetime — and every vote counts. If you have any questions about where to vote, please visit our website.


Paul Ryan

P.S. Help us get out the vote.

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Obama for America – If you forward one thing…

Obama - Biden
25 reasons from 25 people who are voting Obama:

1. “The Affordable Care Act is saving my daughter’s life.”
Stacey, Arizona

2. “Obama is for the vets. He helped us wind down in Iraq, he’s improved mental health policy with VA benefits.”
Joel, Minnesota

3. “Obama stuck his neck out for us, the auto industry. He wasn’t going to let it just die, and I’m driving in this morning because of that, because of him.”
Brian, Ohio

4. “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”
Joe Biden, Delaware

5. “Supreme Court Supreme Court Supreme Court.”
Andrew, California

6. “Arithmetic.”
Bill Clinton, New York

7. “He cares for the 100 percent.”
Shana, Texas

8. “When Obama came into office, he successfully renewed our country’s place in the community of nations, making cooperation in tackling the world’s challenges possible.”
Willis, North Carolina

9. “The actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid.”
Colin Powell, Virginia

10. “I was really very grateful to him for standing up for those kids who are having a really rough time out there because of their orientation.”
Jane Lynch, California

11. “For me, President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together.”
Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey

12. “He has a real plan for rescuing the economy that passes the ‘math’ test.”
Teresa, Virginia

13. “Having someone in office who understands how powerful our voice can be is very important.”
Jay Z, New York

14. “I am voting for Barack Obama and Joe Biden because I can trust them to care for the middle class and restore the American dream.”
Steven, Florida

15. “The first measure he signed into law after becoming president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — so a female high school counselor or physical education teacher can fight for equal pay for equal work.”
Connie Britton, California

16. “I believe in the America he wants for my grandchildren.”
Nancy, Michigan

17. “We need four more years of repair, of helping the middle class achieve a sustainable economy.”
James Taylor, North Carolina

18. “I’ve watched him fight for our country, stand by the middle class, the working class, the military, the education of our children, universal health care, women, the environment, and matters of national and domestic security.”
Susan, Virginia

19. “The gifted 12-year-old I taught, whose parents were deported and left her here with her grandmother, will be allowed to stay and finish her education. She’s been in the U.S. since age one.”
Jamie, North Carolina

20. “I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.”
Michael Bloomberg, New York

21. “I have four children who are under 26 and able to stay on my health care plan. That’s been huge.”
Amy, Pennsylvania

22. “He’s fighting to defend and better Social Security and Medicare — because millions of Latino seniors rely on them.”
Cristina Saralegui, Florida

23. “Thanks to the President’s efforts to keep student loan rates low, I can expect to save nearly $1000 as I work to repay my student loans. And I don’t have too many of those, thanks to the Federal Pell Grant program.”
Sam, Minnesota

24. “It’s been wonderful to have President Obama as a champion for access to health care for all women in this country.”
Cecile Richards, New York

25. “Re-electing Barack Obama would lead to a stronger economic recovery than would be the case were Mitt Romney to win on November 6th.”
Jared Bernstein, Washington, D.C.

What is this?

Something that makes the case for voting for Barack Obama.

What can I do?

If you like it, we ask that you share it with any friends, family members, and neighbors you know who are still making up their mind about who to vote for (and everyone knows some). All you have to do is pass it on — forward it, share on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Done. What else?

If you spot something that’s especially persuasive or inspiring, or if you want to share your own graphic, essay, or personal story, send it on to and we’ll pass the best ones along. Click here to check out all of our “Forward this” posts.

With one day to go in this election, and millions of voters still making up their minds, it’s the job of everyone who supports President Obama to let everyone else know who they’re voting for this year — and why.

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Barack Obama – Go vote – and forward this


We know what we believe. We know the stakes.

Now we need to win.

Here are two things you should do right away:

First: Confirm your polling place and hours. And know that as long as you’re at your polling place before it closes, you’ll be able to vote. Make sure everyone you know has this link to confirm their polling place, too:

Second: We can’t afford to step back and hope others will make the difference. So once you vote today, keep going. Get on the phone, get online — all day long, there will be something you can do to help. It’s all right here:

We are capable of so much when we are all in this together.

Please come through today.

Thank you,


Already voted? Let us know.


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Joe Biden – Tomorrow

Always be doing something - 5 ways you can help win this

I’ve been through many Election Days — every one is a rush of nerves, excitement, anxiety, and exhaustion all at once.

The secret to getting through: Always be doing something.

So here’s a resource you can keep coming back to until the polls close.

Obviously, the most important thing you need to do is vote. Confirm your polling location and hours.

Make sure you ask some neighbors to go with you when you head over.

But when you’re done with that, don’t wait around for the news. Make the news — do something:

You don’t even have to wait for Election Day to start. You can do something right now.

See you when it’s all over.



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Rachel Haltom-Irwin – ☎ Time is running out – can you make some calls?

Obama - Biden
President Obama needs you on the phone, Nathan.

It’s simple: In a race as close as this one, we win by getting enough people to the polls. But we’ll only get it done if everyone who cares about this election steps up and helps out.

That’s where you come in. For a lot of voters out there, the difference between casting a ballot or not comes down to a single conversation with someone like you.

So don’t waste another minute — start reaching out to voters using our online call tool right now:

Yes, I'm in

I can't now, but I'll make calls later

This couldn’t be more urgent. You know firsthand that other voters in key states like yours are seeing negative ad after negative ad attacking our progress and distorting President Obama’s record, practically every time they turn on the TV.

That’s the other side’s strategy. And while Mitt Romney and the Republicans are outspending us on the air, we can still win if we outnumber them in a major way at the doors and on the phones.

We’ve been doing just that, but we have a whole lot more voters to reach, and not a whole lot of time to do it. That’s exactly what the call tool is for — but it’ll only make the difference we need if people like you take advantage of it.

Start making calls right now:

And sign up for your get-out-the-vote call shifts, too:

Thanks, and have fun with it!


Rachel Haltom-Irwin
National Get Out the Vote Director
Obama for America

P.S. — For some extra inspiration, check out this video featuring one of our best callers: Walter, a 91-year-old World War II veteran from Maryland, and why he’s using the call tool to make a difference for President Obama.

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