Tim’s Opportunity Blueprint
Everybody who works deserves a place in the middle class. As House Democratic Leader, I successfully fought to increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation—a first in the history of our state. In Congress, I will support raising the federal minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.
Healthcare costs nearly doubled between 1999 and 2009, and they’re putting the squeeze on working families. In Lansing, I fought against Republicans and special interests like the Koch Brothers and the DeVos family and successfully expanded Medicaid—providing health insurance to 650,000 Michiganders. In Congress, I will work to improve the ACA by allowing anyone, regardless of age, to buy into Medicare.
A four year degree isn’t for everyone, but an education is. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are 6 million jobs that are unfilled because employers can’t find people with the right skills to fill them. In Congress, I will support career and technical education so we can close the skills gap and put more Americans to work.
The horrendous shape of Michigan’s roads costs the average Michigan driver $700 per year in automobile repairs, but the roads are just the most visible example of Republican malfeasance. The underground infrastructure in Flint and elsewhere has poisoned our children and endangered our communities. In Lansing, I introduced legislation to refund Michigan drivers with a tax credit for car damage from our roads, and I was the ONLY legislator to call on Governor Snyder to resign after the tragedy in Flint. In Congress, I will fight for infrastructure investments that fix the roads, upgrade our water lines and sewers, expand access to broadband, and bring regional transit to Southeast Michigan.
Over the last 40 years, union membership has declined, leaving us with decades of wage stagnation. In order to grow the middle class, we must protect employees’ rights to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages and benefits. In Lansing, I’ve stood up to Republican attacks on workers’ rights. In Congress, I will support the Employee Free Choice Act so that men and women can more easily collectively bargain for better pay and benefits.
Americans owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. The impact of the high cost of a college degree goes beyond limiting access—the crippling debt reduces small business start-ups among young people and stifles the housing market. We must give our students a path to debt-free higher education, and that starts with tuition-free community college. In Congress, I will work for tuition-free community college and debt-free four-year college, so that all young people have a shot at the American Dream regardless of their income or zip code.
Social Security cut poverty among retirees from 40% in the 1930s to under 10% today. Together, Social Security and Medicare are vital programs for tens of millions of American seniors. In Lansing, I fought back against Governor Snyder’s pension tax, because we shouldn’t balance budgets on the backs of seniors on a fixed income. In Congress, I will oppose any effort to privatize Medicare or reduce Social Security benefits for retirees.
I refuse to let our government kick anyone out of the only country they’ve ever known. Politicians in both parties tell us DREAMers need a path to citizenship but won’t take action, leaving thousands of our neighbors, who came here as children due to the decisions of others, with uncertainty instead of rights. I will push to pass the DREAM Act so 800,000 Americans—college students, workers, and military service members—get the legal recognition they deserve.
I strongly support the Second Amendment and citizens’ right to own guns for hunting and self-defense, but we need to enact common sense gun safety policies. We need to make sure we check the background of every gun buyer, keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and other criminals, limit clip size, and outlaw bump stocks that make rifles into machine guns.
If we want everyone to have a chance to be what they want to be when they grow up, we need to give all kids a great educational foundation. In Lansing, I fought to make our state recognize literacy as a fundamental human right. In Congress, I will support increasing early childhood education.
The only thing worse than getting sick is losing your income at the same time. In Congress, I will support efforts to make earned paid sick leave a guarantee for all workers.
Congress should promote the adoption of standardized Prescription Drug Monitoring Program systems, just as we did in Michigan, that would allow for interstate collaboration and data sharing through financial incentives to states and providers. Congress should also increase federal funding for DEA enforcement actions on doctors and pharmacies that far over prescribe and over dispense.
Congress must increase access to Naloxone. In Michigan, we took the important step of requiring first responders to carry Naloxone. This should be done at the federal level as well as mandating it be prescribed whenever an opioid is prescribed. Congress should also increase federal investment in effective drug treatment programs.
Drug companies must be held accountable. Congress should join cities and states that’ve already begun the process of seeking punitive damages from the drug companies who created, produced, and deceptively marketed opioid drugs. And, at the state level, we should repeal Michigan’s drug maker immunity law that denies victims access to justice.
The Great Lakes are a national treasure, and we must take affirmative action to protect them. This includes common sense pipeline regulations and preserving federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In Congress, I will hold the EPA accountable and ensure it’s enforcing important environmental regulations like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. As the Democratic Leader in Michigan’s state House of Representatives, I won the fight to pass an energy reform package that increased Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, and I’ll work to similarly increase investments in clean energy at the federal level.