A snapshot of key issues in Mass. US Senate race

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm •  Published: June 24, 2013
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Republican Gabriel Gomez and Democrat Edward Markey have staked out positions on a range of issues throughout the state's special U.S. Senate campaign, offering different views on many topics while essentially agreeing on others.

Here's a snapshot of the candidates' positions on key issues in the race to fill the seat formerly held by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The election is Tuesday.

GUNS

Gomez — Supports expanded background checks, but opposes a federal assault weapons ban or a ban on sale of high-capacity magazines.

Markey — Has called for a federal ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines along with expanded background checks for gun buyers.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Markey — Opposes any changes to Social Security that would reduce benefits to seniors. Opposes a proposed change in the formula for calculating cost-of-living benefits for Social Security recipients known as chained CPI. Opposes any increase in retirement age.

Gomez — Believes reform is needed to prevent Social Security and other entitlements from falling into insolvency. Has said he would support chained CPI and is open to an increase in retirement age for those not currently near retirement.

HEALTH CARE

Gomez — Says he supports Massachusetts' 2006 health care law, but believes health care overhauls should be decided state-by-state instead of through federal mandates.

Markey — Has called his vote for President Barack Obama's 2010 federal health care overhaul the proudest of his congressional career.

TAX REFORM

Markey — Has called for an end to tax breaks for oil companies and other large corporations. Would be open to lowering corporate tax rate as part of broader tax reform package.

Gomez — Has called for closing some corporate and personal tax loopholes. Supports lowering the corporate tax rate to below 30 percent to encourage more businesses to bring money back into the U.S. to be taxed.

INTERNET SALES TAX

Gomez — Opposes federal law to apply sales tax to purchases on the Internet, saying it would raise costs for consumers and impose burdensome regulation on businesses.

Markey — Supports sales tax on Internet purchases, saying it will level the playing field for traditional brick and mortar companies and provide needed revenue for state governments.

HOME MORTGAGE DEDUCTION

Markey — Has said home mortgage interest deduction should be off the table in congressional budget negotiations.

Gomez — Does not rule elimination of the home mortgage interest deduction as part of a comprehensive federal budget deal, though adds it would be at the bottom of his list of potential actions.

MEDICAL DEVICE TAX

Gomez — Supports immediate repeal of tax on medical device companies that was part of federal health care overhaul, saying it hurts key industry in Massachusetts.

Markey — Would also support repeal of medical device tax, but only if revenue from tax can be replaced, perhaps by elimination of subsidies for big oil.

BUFFETT RULE

Markey — Backs so-called Buffett rule, which would require those earning $1 million a year or more to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

Gomez — Opposes Buffett rule.

ABORTION

Gomez — Says he is personally opposed to abortion but would not vote to change current law or try to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal. He would not impose a litmus test requiring that a nominee to the Supreme Court support abortion rights.

Markey — Describes himself as a strong supporter of abortion rights and would defend Roe v. Wade. He said he would have a litmus test requiring that a nominee to the Supreme Court support abortion rights before he could vote for the person.

GAY MARRIAGE

Markey — Supports gay marriage and would require the federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages. Also opposes the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Gomez — Supports gay marriage, but says the decision to legalize same-sex marriages should be decided state by state. Opposes the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

MINUMUM WAGE

Gomez — Supports a $10 federal minimum wage.

Markey — Supports a $10 federal minimum wage.

EQUAL PAY

Markey — Supports Paycheck Fairness Act that seeks to provide protections against pay inequities based on gender.

Gomez — Supports Paycheck Fairness Act.

IMMIGRATION REFORM

Gomez — Says he supports "serious immigration reform," starting with securing our borders, deporting immigrants living in the United States illegally with criminal records, but also increasing legal immigration.

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