“What I’ve learned is that real change is very, very hard. But I’ve also learned that change is possible – if you fight for it.”
A former academic, Elizabeth Warren has served as the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts since 2013.
Warren first forayed into public policy in 1995 when she worked to oppose what became a 2005 act restricting bankruptcy access for individuals. Her national profile grew during the late 2000s following her forceful public stances in favor of more stringent banking regulations after the 2007–08 financial crisis. She served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, of which she served as the first Special Advisor under President Obama.
In November 2012, Warren won the U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, defeating incumbent Republican Scott Brown and becoming the first female senator from Massachusetts. She was assigned to the Senate Special Committee on Aging; the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; and the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Warren won reelection by a wide margin in 2018.
Warren’s Policies, Plans & Commitments in Her Own Words:
Warren has promised to take the following actions to address Americans’ concerns about affordable healthcare coverage, access to care, prescription drug costs and improvement of the current system.
Medicare for All should be the law of the land. I’m fighting for it because I believe every person should be able to get the mental and physical healthcare they need. In the transition to Medicare for All, I will fight to hold health insurers accountable, provide communities with the support they need to combat the opioid crisis, and bring down drug prices.
- My bill, the Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act, would hold insurers accountable for providing adequate mental health benefits and ensure Americans receive the protections they are guaranteed by law during the transition to Medicare for All.
- My opioids legislation, the CARE Act, would invest $100 billion in federal funding over the next ten years in states and communities to fight this crisis, because that’s what’s needed to make sure every single person gets the treatment they need.
- Beyond coverage, prescription drug prices are crushing families. My Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to step in where the market has failed. HHS would manufacture generic drugs in cases in which no company is manufacturing a drug, when only one or two companies manufacture a drug and its price has spiked, when the drug is in shortage, or when a medicine listed as essential by the World Health Organization faces limited competition and high prices.
- I also believe Medicare should aggressively negotiate with drug companies and we should import drugs safely from other countries.
Warren said she would take the following steps to close the racial wealth gap and the pay gap for women and promote economic security for middle- and low-income Americans.
Over the years, America’s middle class has been deliberately hollowed out. And families of color have been systematically discriminated against and denied their chance to build some security. We need to make big structural changes to the economy so that it works better for everyone. Each of my economic plans aims in that direction:
- My Valuing the Work of Women of Color plan lays out the set of executive actions I will take on day one of the Warren Administration to boost wages for women of color and open up new pathways to the leadership positions they deserve.
- With my new ultra-millionaire tax on wealth above $50 million, we can bring in nearly $3 trillion in revenue over 10 years — enough to cancel student loan debt for 42 million Americans, provide universal, free two-year, four-year, and technical public college, and universal child care and early learning for every child ages 0 to 5.
- My housing plan builds or rehabs 3.2 million housing units, bringing down rents by 10% and creating 1.5 million good new jobs. It also creates a down-payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers who live in formerly redlined neighborhoods or communities that were segregated by law and are still currently low-income.
- My economic patriotism agenda would use every tool the government has to create and defend good American jobs — which means overhauling our approach to trade, manufacturing, and financial regulation.
- My green manufacturing plan alone would invest $2 trillion over ten years in clean energy technology made right here in America, creating more than a million good new jobs.
Criminal Justice Reform/Gun Violence/Judiciary
Warren would address criminal justice reforms, including over-policing, sentencing reforms and help with full and productive reentry into society by pursuing the following policies.
We need to reform our entire criminal justice system. We won’t achieve this by nibbling around the edges — we need to tackle the problem at its roots, reimagining how we think about public safety to include safe and affordable housing, healthcare, good jobs, and access to education and opportunity for all our children. It starts with what we choose to criminalize.
- I support repealing the 1994 crime bill and reducing and eliminating mandatory minimum sentences.
- We must address the legacy of the War on Drugs, including by legalizing marijuana and eliminating the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity.
- We should end the criminalization of poverty by eliminating cash bail and reducing fines and fees.
- We must also look at how law enforcement and prosecutors engage with our communities and the accused. We should expand resources for public defenders, rein in prosecutorial abuses, and appoint a more diverse judicial bench.
- We need real policing reform, including ending racially discriminatory policing and establishing a national standard for the use of force. We’ll provide training and resources to help police departments meet high federal standards.
- We should invest in programs that provide treatment and rehabilitation behind bars, eliminate solitary confinement, and ensure that those incarcerated are treated with dignity.
- We should remove barriers that too often prevent returning citizens from successfully reintegrating into their communities after they’ve served their time, including by reducing needlessly restrictive parole requirements and establishing a certificate of recovery for nonviolent offenders who maintain clean records.
Warren proposes to improve pre-K through 12 education and post-secondary education opportunities (including apprenticeships and trade training) through the following actions.
This is personal for me. I graduated from a commuter college that cost $50 a semester, and that opened a million doors for me. I worked as a public school teacher. Every kid deserves an equal shot at a good public education — no matter where they live, who their parents are, or how much money they have.
- A strong federal role in public education is necessary to make sure our public education system creates opportunity for all our kids. That means supporting wraparound services, so that students can receive the care – including dental services – they need to learn and thrive in school.
- I will increase support for community schools, high-quality afterschool programs, and expanded learning time programs.
- I will fully fund IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) so students with disabilities get a fair shot to succeed.
- We also need to make sure that students are receiving a well-rounded education that includes arts, music and physical education. And we should be focusing more attention on school climate and supporting a more diverse teaching force.
- My universal free public college plan includes public two-year colleges, which help supplement trade and apprenticeship programs. I will increase the amount we invest tenfold to make a $20 billion commitment to apprenticeship programs for the next ten years.
- Additionally, my plan to increase Social Security benefits lets workers elect to exclude up to three years of training or apprenticeship from their lifetime earnings calculation for Social Security benefits, increasing their benefits.