Mass. Senate candidates on the issues

Associated Press Published: November 3, 2012
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A look at where GOP U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren stand on the issues:

TAXES/DEFICIT

The two would follow different paths they both hope would lead away from the so-called "fiscal cliff" that awaits the U.S. at the end of the year. One thing both agree on is a reexamination of corporate deductions, loopholes and tax credits, though neither has been very specific on the topic.

Brown: Favors extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, regardless of income. Would make no changes in capital gains or dividends. Opposes the so-called Buffett Rule, which would require those earning $1 million or more a year to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. Believes any tax increase while the economy remains fragile would ruin hopes for a strong recovery.

Warren: Supports extending Bush-era tax cuts for taxpayers who earn less than $250,000 a year. Supports a return to the Clinton-era tax rate of 20 percent for capital gains and treating dividends as ordinary income. Supports the so-called Buffett Rule, which would require those earning $1 million or more a year to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. Accuses Brown of holding middle-income taxpayers "hostage" by refusing to allow rates to rise for wealthier individuals.

HEALTH CARE

The two are fundamentally at odds over President Barack Obama's 2010 federal health care law. One point of agreement is that both favor repeal of a 2.3 percent federal tax on the sale of medical devices — a key Massachusetts industry.

Brown: Wants to repeal the federal health care law. As a state senator, voted for the Massachusetts law that served as a blueprint for "Obamacare." But he echoes then-Gov. Mitt Romney's criticism that the federal law raises taxes and that decisions on health care should be left to the states. Says a so-called "Cadillac tax" on high-end insurance plans, set to go into effect in 2018, would drive up costs for some union workers. Accuses Warren of wanting to gut Medicare by supporting $716 billion in cuts over the next decade.

Warren: Supports Obamacare, saying it will expand health insurance to millions of Americans while also providing benefits that are not contained in the Massachusetts law, such as reducing out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs for seniors, and allowing young people to remain on their parents' insurance policies until age 26. Says proposed Medicare cuts target waste and abuse in the system and will not harm benefits.

ENERGY/ENVIROMENT

Brown and Warren find some common ground on climate change, sharing a belief that the earth is warming and human activities contribute to that.

Brown: Says the country should create incentives to develop renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower, but nuclear energy and domestic fossil fuels must remain an important part of the mix. Says Warren's policies would drive up gas costs. Supports the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Sees the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada to Texas as a potential jobs creator and opposes the Cape Wind offshore wind project.

Warren: Believes U.S. policy must begin to shift from reliance on fossil fuels. Has criticized the incumbent for voting to continue tax subsidies to big oil. Cites concerns that fracking might cause environmental or health problems and opposes the Keystone XL pipeline. Supports Cape Wind.

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