Politics & Government

The specifics on Obama’s proposals

▪ TAX HIKES: Raise the top capital gains rate on couples with incomes above $500,000 to 28 percent, the rate under President Ronald Reagan. Impose a fee on roughly 100 massive financial firms with assets exceeding $50 billion. Eliminate a tax break on inheritances. The administration estimates these changes would generate $320 billion over a decade.

▪ TAX BREAKS: Create a $500 tax credit for families where both spouses work and have an annual income up to $210,000. Expand the child care credit to up to $3,000 per child under age 5. Offer the Earned Income Tax Credit to childless workers and noncustodial parents. Consolidate six overlapping education tax breaks into two.

▪ EDUCATION: Offer two years of free community or technical college. Students would need to go to school at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 grade point average and make progress toward a degree. The White House estimates that would cost $60 billion over a decade.

▪ PAID LEAVE: Call for federal and local laws allowing workers to earn up to a week of paid sick time a year. Urge Congress to give federal workers an additional six weeks of paid parental leave. Call for more than $2 billion from Congress for paid family and medical leave programs.

▪ HOME OWNERSHIP: Cut insurance premiums for government-backed mortgages by half a percentage point to .85 percent. The White House says the reduction would save new home buyers and those who refinance $900 a year compared to current rates.

▪ RETIREMENT SAVINGS: Boost retirement savings by automatically enrolling people without access to a workplace retirement plan in an Individual Retirement Account. Expand access to employer plans for certain part-time workers.

▪ MIDDLE EAST: Urge Congress to pass a new authorization for use of military force against the Islamic State group and militant extremists in the Mideast. Until now, Obama has been relying on 9/11-era war powers.

▪ CUBA: Seek support for normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba. Obama wants Congress to lift the economic embargo on Cuba, though the White House oesn’t expect Congress to take that step quickly.

▪ IRAN: Vow to veto new sanctions on Iran while world powers pursue nuclear talks.

▪ TRADE: Ask Congress for so-called “fast track” trade promotion authority to allow an up-or-down vote on trade pacts. Obama wants to secure two major trade agreements – one with the EU, and one with Asia-Pacific nations.

▪ CYBERSECURITY: Call for legislation enabling information-sharing between the private sector and U.S. agencies like the Homeland Security Department. Companies would qualify for targeted liability protection if they comply with certain privacy restrictions.

▪ NO GOING BACK: Threaten to veto congressional attempts to roll back Obama’s executive actions on climate change and immigration and existing laws on health care and financial reform.

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