Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren made headlines when she announced her student debt forgiveness plan. While her student loan policy might have people talking, there’s a lot more to the Massachusetts Senator than her plan to forgive 42 million students for going to college.
In addition to canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt and instituting free universal college for everyone, Warren also has plans for improving military housing, banning drilling on public lands, protecting small-town farmers, abolishing the electoral college, prioritizing affordable housing, fixing the maternal mortality rate, and more.
Ready to deep-dive into some of Elizabeth Warren’s lesser-known policies? Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Create More Affordable Housing
Warren believes all Americans deserve a safe and affordable place to live. She plans to bring rents down by 10%, create 1.5 million new jobs, and make moves to close the racial wealth gap. Warren believes years of racism and discrimination have negatively affected many Americans’ abilities to become homeowners.
By attacking increasing rent rates in America, Warren hopes to turn these statistics around.
“Many state and local governments have layered on needless rules that drive up construction costs and lock families out of neighborhoods with better schools and job opportunities. Meanwhile, homeownership is out of reach for too many families — especially Black families. Decades of outright discrimination by the federal government denied Black families the same kinds of homeownership subsidies available to white families.”
Warren’s plan seeks to bring rental costs down by 10% by investing $500 billion into creating, maintaining, and rehabilitating affordable housing units over the next decade. With the bill’s focus on new construction and rehabilitation, Warren estimates it will create 1.5 million new jobs for Americans.
So where does the money come from? The wealthy, according to Warren.
Warren wants heirs of fortunes more than $7 million to pay estate taxes. (Currently, heirs don’t pay estate taxes until they inherit $22 million or more). By lowering the threshold, Warren expects to cover the costs of her affordable housing plan.
2. Lower Maternal Mortality Rates
The maternal mortality rate in America is quickly becoming an epidemic and it particularly affects black mothers. According to the CDC, roughly 700 women per year die due to pregnancy or childbirth complications and black moms are three to four times more likely to die from these complications, But the majority of these deaths are preventable.
Warren’s plan is simple: She wants to track the care hospitals are providing and reward health systems that keep moms healthy.
“Outcomes could be tracked for a significant length of time after birth, to ensure that women and babies stay healthy during the postpartum period, and health systems could be pushed toward greater workforce diversity so care teams look more like the communities they serve.”
3. Improve Military Housing
Elizabeth Warren says the military deserves better housing. Military housing have alarming rates of toxic mold, walls, and furniture painted with lead paint, mice infestations, and questionable wiring that could potentially lead to a fire
As the privatization deal that the Department of Defense cut back in the 1990s currently enforces, the government focuses on short-term pay-offs that don’t incentivize private developers to invest and maintain their properties. This has led us to where we are now: mold, mice, and lead.
Warren’s new plan will hold developers accountable by withholding bonuses and other incentives if properties are not habitable. The Secretary of Defense will standardize leases and review all existing housing contracts to ensure that military families are given what they’re owed.
The proposal also introduces a housing office for every base: staff that specifically advocates for the military personnel. The offices would be separate from the private developers to prevent any bias and would have the independent authority to inspect housing to make sure it’s up to par.
In addition, Warren’s plan calls for the Pentagon to produce an annual financial report regarding its housing management contracts; private developers would also be required to publish financial statements annually.
The proposal also makes it illegal for senior defense officials to benefit from investing in military housing development.
4. Protect Public Lands
If elected into office, Elizabeth Warren promises to sign an executive order to abolish drilling on public lands on her first day in office. This promise comes with the goal of providing 10% of the U.S.’s overall electricity generation from renewable sources.
“America’s public lands are one of our greatest treasures. They provide us with clean air and water, sustain our fish and wildlife, and offer a place where millions of Americans go every year to experience the beauty of our natural environment. At 25% of America’s total land, they are also an irreplaceable resource.”
“I will sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands. I’d also reinstate the methane pollution rule to limit existing oil and gas projects from releasing harmful gases that poison our air, and reinstitute the clean water rule to protect our lakes, rivers, and streams, and the drinking water they provide.”
5. Protect Family Farmers
Warren’s farming policy strives to protect family farmers and make sure they don’t get run over by big agricultural companies. According to the National Farmer’s Union, farmers’ share of the retail food dollar hit an all-time low last year with farmers seeing only 14.8 cents of every dollar consumers spent on food.
As part of her plan to favor family farmers, Warren wants to address consolidation in the agricultural sector, which means focusing on multinational companies that have merged. Federal regulators let this happen, which has resulted in these big agricultural companies monopolizing the competition and controlling important markets that family farmers can barely make a mark in.
To combat this, Warren wants to appoint trustbusters to review and reverse competitive mergers.
Warren’s farming policy will also try to revise the Department of Justice’s guidelines on vertical mergers, which have not been adjusted in 35 years. By regulating — AKA decreasing — big agribusiness, Warren hopes to restore the competitive market in farming, repair individual sectors (like the chicken sector), and prevent sectors from becoming as monopolized as the chicken sector. (Warren’s looking over at you, Tyson.)
6. Abolish the Electoral College
Warren wants the electoral college gone. In its place, Warren suggests a national popular vote.
“Everyone’s vote should count equally — in every election — no matter where they live. I believe presidential candidates should have to ask every American in every part of the country for their vote, not just a few random states that happen to be close.”
Warren says the electoral college forces presidential candidates to hyper-focus on “just a few battleground states,” when instead candidates should be focusing on everyone.
The National Popular Vote would guarantee the presidency to whichever candidate receives the most popular votes across all 50 states (and the District of Columbia). The National Popular Vote would be an agreement amongst all states that all electoral votes go to the presidential candidate with the popular vote.
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Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in health and wellness content. Her words have appeared in Seventeen, Life & Style, Darling Magazine, and more. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton and writing a memoir.