Education is the most important predictor of individual financial success. It’s also the key to America’s long-term success in a 21st-century economy. Yet too many American families worry that they won’t be able to afford to invest in the opportunity higher education provides. It doesn’t have to be that way. As a former teacher and life-long educator, John is proud to have helped pass the largest investment in student aid in history – at no expense to taxpayers. By ending costly subsidies to banks, those savings have been invested into making higher education more affordable through increased Pell Grants and lower interest rates for student loans. John also championed the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help over 9 million families afford to send their children to college. John believes that our nation must invest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to ensure that our students have the skills necessary to meet the future needs of our workforce. STEM skills are necessary for jobs in the fastest growing sectors of our economy and will help ensure America’s global competitiveness. John has fought to secure STEM resources for students in Connecticut and ensure it is a priority nationwide.
John’s top priority is to rebuild our economy and invest in a strong economic foundation for our future that works for all Americans. After eight years of failed leadership under the Bush Administration, our country was at a crisis point. The Great Recession threw our economy into a tailspin – losing 800,000 jobs a month at the end of 2008 – while Bush-era policies made it harder for the middle class and those seeking to join it to achieve the American dream. Since then, through the hard work of many in government and in the private sector our national and state economies have improved. Today, the unemployment rate sits at a three-year low and we have had over 25 months of consecutive private sector job growth. Although we have seen modest improvement, change has not happened fast enough. That is why we must reignite the American Dream – so that any American who works hard and plays by the rules can make it. John is proud to have introduced President Obama’s American Jobs Act and will continue to seek innovative ways to create jobs – like the Connecticut Manufacturing Jobs Match.
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing corporations to spend unlimited secret money in elections. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of Super PACs and unprecedented amounts of corporate money in elections. John is working to change that by leading the effort to ensure that candidates are responsive to the American people – not to Washington lobbyists and special interests. The Fair Elections Now Act, which John introduced with Republican Congressman Walter Jones, will do just that. It provides a grassroots low donor focus and matching election funds to qualifying candidates to ensure that more time is spent working for constituents, and not on fundraising. The American government must work for the American people and it works best when there is transparency and bipartisanship. That’s why John has fought for government accountability legislation to ensure that the events that caused the 2008 financial crisis can be avoided in the future.
America’s veterans deserve the same level of commitment that they have given to our country. John voted to increase funding for veterans’ medical care, provide a pay-raise for our troops, support military family housing programs, and restore the promise of a full college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. With the VA reporting that one million active duty service members will join the ranks of America’s 22 million veterans over the next five years, John is in full support of the President’s budget request for $140 billion for the Veterans Administration. From medical care, disability payments, homelessness prevention, vocational rehab, education assistance and pensions, America owes a debt of gratitude to our veterans that we must honor to the fullest. This past year John introduced President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which includes a provision that gives employers tax incentives to hire veterans. This program will work to alleviate our high unemployment rate among veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. John was glad to see Congress come together in a bipartisan fashion to get this provision passed into law for our veterans and military families.
Our dependence on foreign oil puts our national security and economy at risk. We see this risk each time instability in the Middle East hits our pocketbooks at the pump. We need to invest in an energy future that’s abundant, affordable and American, while finding ways to keep energy prices down as we transition. One way to keep energy prices down is to fight unnecessary speculation in oil markets. Exxon/Mobile and the investment bank Goldman Sachs have reported that speculation accounts for roughly ⅕ of the price of a barrel of oil. John has fought for stronger oversight of the commodities market to be included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. Now, thanks to Wall Street reform, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission has the authority to crack down on excessive and abusive oil speculation that adds to the price of gas and home heating oil.
For the past two years Congressional Republicans have proposed a radical plan to end Medicare as we know it. Instead of extending the Medicare guarantee for future generations, the Republican plan would “voucherize” Medicare and reopen the Medicare Part D “donut hole”. John believes this is wrong and will continue fighting to protect and strengthen this critical program along with Social Security. Two years after the historic passage of the Affordable Care Act, Connecticut and the United States continue to see positive results. Thanks to the law, over 2.5 million young adults have been able to stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26 and millions of seniors have saved billions of dollars in prescription drug costs thanks to the law closing a gap in coverage, known as the Medicare Part D “donut hole.” The law will also end the injustice of Americans with pre-existing health conditions being denied or charged more for health insurance and will make sure that all Americans have access to affordable coverage.
President Obama’s stark rebuttal of the Bush Doctrine has kept the United States on the offensive in the War on Terrorism, while making our country safer. His gutsy decision-making and the hard work of our armed forces and intelligence services brought Osama Bin Laden to justice. Additionally, President Obama has kept his promise to bring American combat troops home from Iraq - ending a near decade-long occupation. Over ten years after the 9/11 attacks, American troops are still engaged in fierce combat in Afghanistan. While leaving a stable and secure country behind is in the best interest of our country and the entire region, John believes that Congress must continue to work with President Obama to wind down the war. John has been a strong supporter of bringing our troops home and he is glad that President Obama has kept this promise. As John has said numerous times, Israel remains the U.S.'s strongest ally in the Middle East. He supports protecting security through the use of sanctions on Iran and Syria while working with our international partners towards peace in the region.