Nation

Chart: Republican presidential candidates on the issues

Where do the GOP's presidential candidates stand on the issues?
Republican presidential candidates
A look at the Republican party's presidential hopefuls on the issues. Gray text indicates that a candidate has withdrawn from the race.
Debt
  Opposed agreement worked out by Congress and White House to raise debt ceiling and avoid default. As House speaker in the 1990s, engineered passage of a seven-year balanced-budget plan, which was vetoed but helped form bipartisan balanced budget later. Only candidate to endorse deal that raised debt ceiling and averted default on U.S. debt payments. Wants to slash nearly half of federal government spending, shut five Cabinet-level agencies, end spending on existing conflicts and on foreign aid. Proposes capping federal spending at 18 percent of GDP; few specifics on spending except to raise Social Security and Medicare age in future. Defended financial sector bailout, criticized GM and Chrysler bailout. Cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP. Opposed financial-industry bailout and stimulus programs of Bush and Obama administrations.  
Economy
  Calls for repealing financial-industry regulations enacted in response to subprime housing crisis. Wants to repeal financial-industry regulations that followed Wall Street meltdown. Restrict Fed's power to set interest rates artificially low. Wants to end corporate subsidies, cut regulations, lower taxes, spur jobs through energy development, seek repeal of Obama's healthcare law. Favors return to gold standard, eliminating Federal Reserve, eliminating most federal regulations. Wants to repeal rafts of regulations, Obama's healthcare law and financial-industry regulations passed after Wall Street meltdown. Supports lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Wants to replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Repeal new financial-industry regulations. Wants to eliminate corporate taxes for manufacturers, drill for more oil and gas, and slash regulations.  
Education
  Abolish Education Department. Says federal government has no role in education; jurisdiction is with state and local governments. Shrink Education Department. But supported Obama administration's $4-billion Race to the Top grant competition for states. End No Child Left Behind. Favors more school choice. Abolish Education Department and end federal role in education. Opposed No Child Left Behind. Turned down federal education aid to Texas worth up to $700 million because he saw it as imposing national standards on Texas schools. Supported No Child Left Behind. Once favored shutting Education Department, later saw its value in "holding down the interests of the teachers' unions." Voted for No Child Left Behind. Wants "significantly" smaller Education Department but not its elimination.  
Energy
  Reduce regulatory impediments to drilling. Let oil and natural gas industries drill offshore reserves now blocked from development, end restrictions on Western oil shale development. Phase out energy subsidies and cut regulations. Subject fuel distribution network to federal review to "break oil's monopoly" and expand opportunities for natural gas. Remove restrictions on drilling, coal and nuclear power, eliminate gasoline tax, provide tax credits for alternative fuel technology. Proposes more development on federal lands and slashing regulations to spur drilling in restricted areas including Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Supports drilling in gulf, outer continental shelves, Western lands, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska; and exploitation of shale oil deposits. Favors drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and scaling back oppressive regulation hindering drilling elsewhere.  
Environment
  Advocates repealing "radical environmental laws that kill access to natural resources." Voted to bar EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. Opposes cap and trade. Wants to convert EPA into "environmental solutions agency" devoted to research and "more energy, more jobs and a better environment simultaneously." Previously backed tougher environmental regulation. Calls for ending EPA's "regulatory reign of terror." Yet acknowledges scientific evidence that humans contribute to global warming. Previously said human activity "probably does" contribute to global warming; now calls such science a "hoax." Says emission standards should be set by states or regions. Says EPA should be "research and advisory" agency with no enforcement powers except when states seek arbitration of regional disputes. Manmade global warming has "not been proven." Acknowledged that humans contribute to global warming, but later said "we didn't know what's causing climate change." Cap and trade would "rocket energy prices." Says that science establishing human activity as a likely contributor to global warming is "patently absurd" and "junk science."  
Gay marriage
  Supports constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Says that if Defense of Marriage Act fails, "you have no choice except a constitutional amendment" to ban gay marriage. Supports same-sex civil unions, with many of the rights of marriage, and says states should decide their own policies. Says decisions on legalizing or prohibiting gay marriage should be left to states. Now supports constitutional ban on gay marriage after saying states should choose their own courses. Favors constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, says policy should be set federally, not by states. Supports constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, not leaving decisions to states. "We can't have 50 marriage laws."  
Healthcare
  Wants to repeal Obama's 2010 healthcare law. Favors limits on medical lawsuits as a way to control healthcare costs. Voted against expanding Children's Healthcare Insurance Program. Wants to repeal Obama's 2010 healthcare law. Prohibit insurers from canceling or charging hefty increases to insurance holders who get sick. Offer "generous" tax credit to help buy insurance. Previously supported mandatory coverage. Wants to repeal Obama's 2010 healthcare law. "Let the states experiment." Open to restricting Medicare benefits for the wealthy. Wants to repeal Obama's 2010 healthcare law. Opposes compulsory insurance and all federal subsidies for coverage. Wants to repeal Obama's 2010 healthcare law. Raise eligibility age for Medicare benefits, limit benefits for the wealthy, offer federal aid to help elderly buy insurance instead of getting Medicare benefits. Wants to repeal Obama's 2010 healthcare law. Opposes federal mandate to obtain coverage; introduced mandate in Massachusetts. Proposes "generous" subsides to help future retirees buy private insurance instead of going on Medicare. Wants to starve Obama's healthcare law of money needed to implement it. Supported Bush administration's prescription drug program for the elderly.  
Immigration
  Favors fence all along 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border, not just 650 miles built. Opposes government benefits for illegal immigrants and their children. Wants to make English the official language. Divert more Homeland Security assets to fighting illegal immigration at Mexican border. Allow long-present immigrants with deep community ties and clean records to stay, without granting citizenship. Says it's unrealistic to deport all illegal immigrants. In Utah, threatened to veto a bill to repeat cheaper in-state college tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants. Wants to do "whatever it takes" to secure border, end right to citizenship of U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, no social services for illegal immigrants, aggressive deportation. Opposes complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, which he calls "idiocy," instead wants more border agents. Supports continued U.S. citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Favors complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, opposes education benefits to illegal immigrants. Supports complete border fence, opposes education benefits to illegal immigrants.  
Social Security
  Wants to keep Social Security for older workers, "wean everybody else off." "Very likely" age for retirement benefits will have to go up for new workers. Supports giving younger workers option of diverting Social Security taxes to private retirement accounts. Open to raising retirement age to qualify for full benefits and to restricting benefits for the wealthy. Says younger workers should be able to opt out of Social Security taxes and retirement benefits. Proposes raising retirement age and restricting increases for the wealthy. Previously branded Social Security a "disease," now says it should be saved. Supports private accounts. Says raising age for benefits and reducing inflation adjustments for rich retirees are among options that should be considered. Supports option of private retirement accounts instead of Social Security taxes and benefits for younger workers.  
Taxes
  Wants to eliminate estate tax. Keep Bush-era tax cuts. Supports tax holiday followed by low tax rate, 5 percent, for U.S. companies operating overseas that repatriate their profits. Wants to eliminate estate tax. Keep Bush-era tax cuts. Advoicates choice of filing under current system or paying 15 percent tax, preserving mortgage interest and charitable deductions. Cut corporate tax to 12.5 percent. Wants to eliminate estate tax. Keep Bush-era tax cuts. Favors lower income tax rates coupled with elimination of deductions and loopholes. Cut corporate tax to 25 percent. Wants to eliminate federal income tax and IRS, and defund close to half government. Wants to eliminate estate tax. Keep Bush-era tax cuts. Supports choice between current system and 20 percent tax on income, preserving mortgage interest and charitable deductions. For each individual or dependent, exempt $12,500 in income. Wants to eliminate estate tax. Keep Bush-era tax cuts. No one with adjusted gross income under $200,000 should be taxed on interest, dividends or capital gains. Cut corporate tax rate to 25 percent. Wants to eliminate estate tax. Keep Bush-era tax cuts. Proposes zero corporate tax. "If you manufacture in America, you aren't going to pay any taxes." Opposes any national sales tax.  
Terrorism
  Wants to expand Guantanamo, opposes Miranda or constitutional rights for foreign terrorist suspects. Supports use of Guantanamo Bay detention for suspected terrorists. Supported creation of Homeland Security apparatus because "we need some capacity to respond to massive events." Said Homeland Security Department has been heavy-handed, conveying a "fortress security mentality that is not American." Opposes search and surveillance powers of Patriot Act. Says terrorists would not be motivated to attack America if U.S. ended military presence abroad. Said it was "unprincipled" for Republicans to vote for creation of Homeland Security Department. Supports continued use of Guantanamo Bay detention for suspected terrorists. Believes in no constitutional rights for foreign terrorism suspects. Defends creation of Homeland Security Department as an attempt to fix a "complete mess" in domestic security apparatus. Voted to reauthorize Patriot Act.  
War
  Opposed intervention in Libya; said that might help terrorists there. Called Afghanistan a war "we must and can win" with sufficient troops and money. Supported Iraq war and opposed early withdrawal. Said U.S. forces should not have been used in Libya campaign, after calling for such intervention. Proposes reducing U.S. involvement in conflicts and, unlike most rivals, says Pentagon budget should be cut. Opposes U.S. military assistance of new Libyan government. Wants to bring most or all troops home from foreign posts "as quick as the ships could get there." Opposed U.S. intervention in Libya. Cut Pentagon budget. Criticized planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq this year and Afghanistan next year; has not said how many troops should stay or for how long. Has not specified troop numbers behind pledge to ensure "force level necessary to secure our gains and complete our mission successfully" in Afghanistan. Said in September that 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops should remain in Iraq. Believes troops should withdraw from Afghanistan "a little slower" than Obama is planning.  
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