Rick Santorum's Political Views
Rick Santorum Biography
A lawyer and former United States Senator from Pennsylvania, Republican Rick Santorum was one of many candidates running for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016 before dropping out of the race. He also ran for President in 2012 and won several early primaries and caucuses, including Iowa, before losing to Mitt Romney, the eventual nominee. A socially conservative politician who was vocal about his views and such topics as gay marriage, abortion, and birth control, Santorum lagged behind many of his competitors in the polls in 2012 before unexpectedly winning the Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado caucuses, vaulting him, at least for a time, into a close race with Romney for the nomination. This hub will take an unbiased look at Rick Santorum's views on some of the key political issues that could impact the 2016 election - could he win the nomination (and potentially the White House) this time around?
Santorum on the Issues
1. Taxes and Budget Deficits: Like many of his fellow Republicans, Santorum has called for large cuts in federal spending in order to rein in persistent budget deficits and the growing U.S. national debt. Santorum has said that, if elected president, he would cut $5 trillion in government spending over the next 5 years. He proposes to do this by "immediately reducing federal non-discretionary defense spending" to 2008 levels, freezing defense spending for 5 years, and passing a balanced budget amendment capping government spending at 18% of GDP. Santorum also generally supports tax cuts, including making the Bush tax cuts that he voted for as a Senator permanent, eliminating the estate tax, and lowering tax rates on capital gains and dividends to encourage investment.
2. Jobs and Economic Growth: Santorum's plan for economic growth and job creation largely relies on tax cuts and the elimination of "job-killing regulations." Specifically, Santorum calls for cutting corporate tax rates fro 35% to 17.5% (and to 0% for manufacturing firms), increasing tax credits for research and development, and eliminating the alternate minimum tax.
3. Health Care: Santorum has promised to repeal the health care bill passed by Congress in 2010, stating in July 2011 that, if elected President, "my first executive order would be to repeal ObamaCare." Santorum's alternative to the health care bill passed by Congress is largely similar to the other Republicans running for the nomination, as he proposes to increase access to health care by encouraging the use of Health care Savings Accounts and reducing the costs of privately provided health plans through increased competition. As a Senator, Santorum repeatedly voted against increasing Medicare benefits, including voting against the prescription drug benefit signed by President Bush in 2003 and voting against allowing the increased importation of generic drugs from Canada in 2002.
4. Global Warming and Environmental issues: In a June 2011 interview with Glenn Beck, Santorum stated that he believed "there is no such thing as global warming." He proposed to "drill, drill everywhere" as a solution to high energy prices, and has called for repealing the federal ban on drilling in sensitive areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Santorum has also called for curbing the powers of the EPA to enforce federal regulations around pollution and air quality, calling them "job killing radical regulatory approaches," though he has not described specific regulations that he thinks should be cut.
5. Foreign Policy: While serving as a Senator, Santorum was largely supportive of President Bush's management of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and voted for the decision to invade Iraq in 2002. In recent years, Santorum has been critical of President Obama's decision to bring troops home from Iraq in late 2011, telling reporters that the President had "in many respects lost control and lost the war in Iraq" in October 2011. Santorum has pledged strong support for Israel, stating in December 2011 that "Israelis have the right to determine what happens in their land. And all of Israel, including the quote, you know, West Bank, is Israeli land." Santorum has also made some controversial statements about recent uprisings in the Middle East, telling the audience in a December 2011 GOP debate that Obama was wrong to support "a group of radicals, including the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood" in Egypt against "our ally Mubarak", which, at face value, is a call for supporting a military dictator over democratically oriented protesters. Santorum has also made strong statements regarding potential military intervention in Iran to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.
6. Social Issues: Santorum is extremely conservative socially, especially on issues related to gay rights and abortion. Santorum opposes abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, and has also criticized the right to the Supreme Court's decision in the 1965 case Griwswold vs. Connecticut that guaranteed a right to reproductive privacy (which paved the way for the wide availability of birth control). In 2003, Santorum stated that "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery, you have the right to anything", a quote which drew intense protest from civil rights activists as it compared consensual sex between adults of the same gender to bestiality. Santorum voted for the constitutional ban on same sex marriage in 2006 and told reporters in January 2012, if elected president, he would attempt to roll back gay marriages that had already occurred, telling reporters "Well, their marriage would be invalid. If the constitution says ‘Marriage is this’, then people whose marriages are not consistent with the constitution…"
7. Immigration Policy: Santorum has called for completing the border fence began under President Bush and has opposed state efforts to provide education for the children of illegal immigrants. Santorum did initially support the amnesty bill drafted by Senator John McCain in 2006 which would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who had been living in the U.S. for many years without any criminal history, but reversed that support when the bill came to a final floor vote.
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