Russ Feingold – Professor Marquette University Wisconsin –
Russ believes that if you work hard, it should pay off. That means we must enact policies that strengthen opportunity for Wisconsin’s middle-class and working families.
ENACT PAID FAMILY LEAVE
We must support new parents who are just starting their family; and it also means supporting families whose senior parents may need care themselves. It means making sure that parents have quality childcare options as they grow their careers. Paid leave allows families to plan for their future, and upholds our belief that caring for a family member is not just a priority, as it is in virtually all other industrial countries.
RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
Many people are struggling to pay their bills simply because wages are too low. Our federal minimum wage, $7.25, has not come close to matching inflation. Even raising the minimum wage to $12 would mean a raise for nearly 400,000 women in Wisconsin and help to close the gender wage gap. But a small raise is not enough. Americans who work full time deserve a living wage, so I believe we must aim to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15.
PRESERVE THE MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION
There’s probably no one policy more central to affording a home for your family than the ability to deduct your mortgage interest from your taxes. It was essential to Russ when he purchased his first home, and it remains an essential part of helping fulfill the American dream. In 2012, about 27% of tax filers in Wisconsin claimed the deduction. This has become part of the bedrock of the middle-class, and it absolutely must be protected. Making College Affordable Graduating students say their post-college plans aren’t always focused on starting a new life for themselves; more and more, post-college plans start and end with the question of how to pay off huge student loans.
REFINANCING EXISTING LOANS
For former students still carrying student loans, Congress could act now, by making student loans subject to refinancing, just like we do with mortgages. There’s already legislation sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would do just that.
GRADUATING WITHOUT CRUSHING DEBT
To build a strong economy in the 21 st century that works for everyone, a college education must be available to those students who study hard to get there, regardless of their economic status. We must build a system that allows future students to graduate without debt from our public institutions. Such a system must require hard work and accountability from students, schools, and even from states, who must be on the hook to support their institutes of higher education. Closing Special Interest Loopholes Washington can’t get in the way with special interest loopholes and partisan gridlock shutting down our budget process. Some of the worst inefficiencies in Washington happen when Congress “spends through the tax code,” often as giveaways to the very powerful and wealthy.
CLOSE THE CARRIED INTEREST LOOPHOLE
First, we need to close the carried interest loophole, which is nothing more than a sweetheart deal for hedge fund managers and wealthy professional investors – allowing them to pay lower tax rates on the income they earn from managing fees than other Americans because it is taxed at a lower rate.
END THE PRACTICE OF TAX INVERSIONS
We must also end the practice of tax inversions, which allow companies to claim for tax purposes that they’ve moved their headquarters to a low tax country, even when they still do most of their business in the United States. Everyone knows the cost of this corporate tax loophole is passed along to the rest of us.
END TAX PREFERENCES FOR GIANT OIL AND GAS COMPANIES
Next, we can end tax preferences for giant oil and gas companies, which cost taxpayers money, and slow progress to our clean energy future. Women’s Rights “We need to honor the contributions of women, and recognize that women’s rights aren’t just personal civil rights, women’s rights aren’t just the economic rights of a family, women’s rights are universal rights that make us all more free.” -Russ Feingold
PROTECTING WOMEN’S ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
Russ trusts women to make their own healthcare decisions with their doctors. He’s been a lifelong advocate for women’s health and access to care, and is proud to have the endorsements of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL, and Wisconsin’s chapter of the National Organization for Women. In the Senate, Russ voted to expand access to family planning services1 and to make emergency contraception more widely available. And Russ supported the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurance providers from denying coverage or charging more simply because of gender. We need to increase access to women’s health services, build on our Supreme Court victory in Whole Women’s Health to make sure that states never pass laws that do nothing to protect women’s health and are designed solely to prevent women from receiving health care.
ENACTING PAID FAMILY LEAVE
Congress must make paid family leave a reality because doing so would be good, not only for families but for the economy as a whole. Russ has worked to improve access to family and medical leave for decades. He sponsored a bill to give military spouses more flexibility to care for their children and loved ones,and he cosponsored legislation to provide paid sick leave for workers to care for themselves and their family members.
FIGHTING FOR PAY EQUITY AND EQUAL PROTECTION
Russ believes that all people should have an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace and that everyone should be paid fairly. Doing so is good for businesses, workers, and families. Russ supported the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and was a cosponsor on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would better protect women from workplace wage discrimination. And if elected, Russ would again strongly support passage of paycheck fairness legislation.