- Views & Opinions
With Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her candidacy Sunday for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, a look at where she stands on some issues.
ECONOMY: Clinton sees growing income inequality and wage stagnation as a major problem, and has made this topic a prominent theme in many of her public remarks this year. As a senator and then as a presidential candidate in the 2008 race, she called for equal pay for women, increasing the minimum wage, expanding tax credits for poorer families, overhauling corporate tax provisions, expanding paid family leave and universal prekindergarten. Clinton has been careful to avoid a divisive message, shying away from the more populist rhetoric that many in her party believe is necessary. The paid speeches she has given since leaving the State Department and her lament in an interview last summer about once being “dead broke” led to criticism that she does not understand the concerns of working Americans.
FINANCIAL REGULATION: Clinton is under pressure from liberals to back plans raising taxes on the wealthiest and increase regulation of Wall Street, in part by reinstating Depression-era law repealed by her husband’s administration that separated commercial from investment banking. Clinton has not taken a position on that law, though in 2007, she proposed raising taxes on income made by many investment managers. That income is taxed at the 15 percent capital gains rate. She has been supportive of policies increasing taxes on higher income families, saying in a 2010 speech that the “rich are not paying their fair share.” Liberals are also critical of her 2001 vote for a bankruptcy overhaul – backed by banks – that would have made it more difficult for consumers to get relief from debts. She later said she regretted her vote. She has accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions from U.S. companies, including Wall Street banks, for her political campaigns and philanthropic foundation, donations that make some in her party skeptical of her.
TRADE: As first lady, Clinton backed the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying in 1996 that the pact was “proving its worth.” But as a presidential candidate in 2007, she called the deal “a mistake,” calling for a “trade timeout” and the selection of a prosecutor to enforce current deals before entering into any new agreements. Labor unions and liberal activists are pushing Clinton to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now being negotiated by the Obama administration. While Clinton has not expressed a clear opinion on the deal, she cast the agreement in more favorable terms in her memoir, “Hard Choices,” writing that while it “won’t be perfect” the pact “should benefit American businesses and workers.”
FOREIGN POLICY: Foreign policy is one of Clinton’s few areas of disagreement with the Obama administration. She has criticized President Barack Obama for taking a cautious approach to global crises, dismissing his doctrine of “don’t do stupid stuff” as “not an organizing principle.” As secretary of state, Clinton advocated for arming Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad, a suggestion that was not followed by the White House. While acknowledging in an August interview that she could not definitively say that her recommendations would have changed the situation, she said “the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
ISRAEL & IRAN: In recent weeks Clinton has avoided commenting publicly on U.S.-Israeli relations, which became strained after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress and re-election. While supportive of Israel as a New York senator, she described her role as secretary of state as the “designated yeller,” who angered Netanyahu by demanding a total freeze on settlement expansion. She called her position misguided in her memoir. She’s expressed cautious support for Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, though remarked the “devil was in the details.” Previously, she said she was skeptical that Iran would abide by any deal struck with the U.S.
SOCIAL ISSUES: Clinton now supports same-sex marriage, saying that she has “evolved” from her opposition as first lady, senator and secretary of state. She denounced an Indiana law that would give increased protections to businesses and religious groups that object to providing services to gay customers. She supports abortion rights and frequently cites the Democratic line that the procedure should be “safe, legal, and rare.”
CLIMATE CHANGE: Clinton has described climate change as the most “consequential, urgent, sweeping” problem facing the world, telling college students in March she hopes for a “mass movement” on the issue. She has promised to protect “at all costs” regulations put in place by the Obama administration that set federal limits on carbon pollution from existing and future power plants. But Clinton has remained silent on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from western Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast, saying she would not express an opinion on a pending international issue.