Beto O'Rourke

Read Beto O’Rourke’s positions on all 11 planks of the Pledge Agenda.
Scroll down – or click a plank in the outline below to jump to specific positions.

I. Jobs for All – by Investing in Rebuilding America and a Green New Deal
1. Jobs for All – Created by Rebuilding America
2. Invest in a Green Economy
II. Fight Inequality
3. Empower Workers to Reduce Inequality
4. Opportunity and Justice for All – With Focus on Communities Harmed by Racism
5. Guarantee Women’s Economic Equality
III. A New Social Contract – for Income and Retirement Security – and Healthcare and Education for All

6. High Quality Public Education – Pre-K to University
7. Medicare for All – And Shared Economic Security
IV. Stop Corporations, Banks, and the Wealthy from Controlling Our Economy and Our Democracy
8. Make Corporations and the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share
9. Close Wall Street’s Casino
10. Rescue Democracy from Special Interests
V. A Global Strategy for Working Americans

11. A Global Strategy for Working Americans

I. Jobs for All – by Investing in Rebuilding America and a Green New Deal
1. Jobs for All – Created by Rebuilding America
2. Invest in a Green Economy

II. Fight Inequality
3. Empower Workers to Reduce Inequality

  • O’Rourke supports increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Axios, 04/01/19)
  • “Let’s strengthen unions and ensure a path to apprenticeships and careers. Guarantee that one job is enough by paying every working American a true living wage.” (Beto website, 01/01/19)

4. Opportunity and Justice for All – With a Focus on Communities Harmed by Racism

  • He believes the border is secure, and would give legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants in the country now. He has said he would like so-called “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, to get citizenship “today.” O’Rourke says he is “open” to the idea of abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, so long as there is a plan to transfer the agency’s core responsibilities elsewhere  (CNBC, 03/14/19)
  • “In a country where the wealth is disproportionately concentrated in white families, in a country where the prison population, the largest on the face of the planet, is disproportionately black and brown, in a country that has never–never fully accounted for the cost of slavery, of segregation, of suppression of voters, of participation in our economy, we have a lot of work to do,” he said. “And where we can ensure that those who have the opportunity to hold positions of power and public trust look like and reflect the country, we should make every effort to do so.” (CBS interview, 03/15/19)
  • O’Rourke believes the nation must address racial disparities in education, and he would begin with universal pre-kindergarten education. He would also make the first two years at public or community colleges debt free, a plan he would pay for by raising the corporate tax rate. (PBS, 03/14/19)

5. Guarantee Women’s Economic Equality

  • An abortion-rights supporter, O’Rourke co-sponsored a bill that would have prohibited states from adding any limits to abortions before a fetus is considered viable, and placed no limits on abortions after viability if a doctor concludes the life or health of the mother is at risk. He has voted against efforts to limit abortions to 20 weeks of pregnancy or less. (CNBC, 03/14/19)

III. A New Social Contract – for Income and Retirement Security – and Healthcare and Education for All
6. High Quality Public Education – Pre-K to University

  • O’Rourke believes the nation must address racial disparities in education, and he would begin with universal pre-kindergarten education. He would also make the first two years at public or community colleges debt free, a plan he would pay for by raising the corporate tax rate. (PBS, 03/14/19)
  • Education in general was not a top priority for O’Rourke on the Texas campaign trail, nor did he have a robust record of tackling education issues during his three terms in Congress. Voters had a general sense of where he stood on K-12 education issues: He supported a rollback of standardized testing; he opposed the advent of private school vouchers and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; he believed teachers should be paid more and that the federal government should fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Act. (The Intercept, 03/27/19)
  • “If we believe in an economy that works for all, then let us invest in a world-class Pre-k through 12 public education system and ensure that we are paying our educators a living wage so that they don’t have to work a second or third job…Let’s graduate young women and men from high school who are career ready as well as college ready, able to pursue debt-free higher education or a job that provides purpose and a real paycheck.” (Beto kickoff remarks, 01/01/19)

7. Medicare for All – And Shared Economic Security

  • Beto O’Rourke has retracted his support for single-payer Medicare-for-all, instead putting his weight behind a separate health care plan, called Medicare for America, which – according to Vox – is the “Democratic establishment’s alternative to the single-payer approach favored by Bernie Sanders and the democratic socialist left.” This would create a health care “public option”. That would offer all Americans a government-run insurance plan as a potential choice. It would leave employer-sponsored private health insurance and other core elements of the current system intact. (Vox)
  • On the more moderate Medicare for America bill, O’Rourke has said that, “it responds to the fact that so many Americans have said, ‘I like my employer-based insurance. I want to keep it…it complements what already exists with the need that we have for millions of Americans who do not have insurance and ensures that each of them can enroll in Medicare.” (The Washington Post)
  • Beto has not indicated whether or not he believes all undocumented immigrants should be covered under a government-run health care program. (The Washington Post)
  • Beto does support expanding Medicare buy allowing people ages 50-64 to buy into the program. He also supports the government’s ability to negotiate drug prices as well as import drugs from other countries. He has not indicated whether or not he supports having the federal government produce and sell drugs to lower consumer prices. (The Washington Post)
  • In 2015, he supported HR3761 that would tie social security benefits to the consumer price index (i.e. the actual cost of living) for the elderly, which would give – on average – an estimated 3% increase to each person on Social Security, according to Beto. (Beto Facebook post, 2015)
  • When O’Rourke got to Congress, he co-sponsored legislation that would increase Social Security benefits—without raising the retirement age. (Politico) Nonetheless, the Wall Street journal reports that he called for raising the Social Security eligibility age and means-testing federal entitlements as late as 2012. (Wall Street Journal)

IV. Stop Corporations, Banks, and the Wealthy from Controlling Our Economy and Our Democracy
8. Make Corporations and the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share

  • “I think corporations should be asked to pay a greater share into the success of this country. I think the wealthiest at a time of historic income inequality should be asked to pay a greater share. I don’t know what the levels should be at. But I know that the tax cuts from nearly two years ago of $2 trillion at a time that we had $21 trillion in debt, at a moment of extraordinary need across this country was one of the most irresponsible things that the country has ever done.” (CBS Interview, 03/15/19)

9. Close Wall Street’s Casino

  • Last year, Beto voted to weaken a the Volker Rule, “a key Wall Street Regulation…which forbids banks fr om making speculative investments with people’s money (with some exceptions). (Splinter 04/13/18)
  • O’Rourke has said he supports eliminating the electoral college, and is open to doing away with the Senate filibuster. He also supports adding justices to “pack” the Supreme Court, and is open to implementing term limits. (Washington Post, 04/11/19)
  • O’Rourke supports automatic voter registration, granting voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, making Election Day a national holiday, and statehood for Washington DC (all in accordance with the rest of the Democratic candidates). He supports granting statehood to Puerto Rico as well, and is open to lowering the voting age to 16. (Washington Post, 04/11/19)

10. Rescue Democracy from Special Interests

  • O’Rourke has joined other candidates in criticizing the unfairness of the electoral college. When prompted on the campaign trail, he said that the Electoral College “puts some states out of play all together. They don’t feel like their votes really count.” O’Rourke added that “if we really want every person to vote,” the system has to “make sure their votes count and go to the candidate of their choosing.” (Making Every Vote Count, 03/19/19)
  • On Supreme Court reform: “What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10. I think that’s an idea we should explore.” He floated the idea of term limits.  (The Hill, 03/14/19)
  • “Unrestrained, money and influence have warped this country’s priorities and its very democracy. It has invited cynicism, distrust and disengagement from Americans who see a government in thrall to those who can pay for access and outcomes…But when the safeguards of our democracy are manipulated by those in power — when members of congress choose their own voters, when the supreme court says that corporations are people and money is speech, when special interests and PACs can purchase elections and legislation, when voting rights are withdrawn — then we risk becoming a democracy in name only, where the idea that this country holds that we are all born equal to equal opportunity is justifiably seen as a lie by those who experience gross differences in justice, in education, in health, in economic advancement.” (Beto website, 01/01/19)

V. A Global Strategy for Working Americans
11. A Global Strategy for Working Americans

  • In his 2017 Senate campaign, O’Rourke emphasized the general importance of NAFTA, while noting that “there are certainly improvements to be made in the agreement, but the idea that we would somehow walk away from our most important trading partner…makes no sense at all.” He also said he would like to see better wage standards for Mexican workers. (Star Telegram, 09/07/17)
  • “I don’t think we had to threaten to leave NAFTA to improve NAFTA.” (Dallas News, 09/17)
  • O’Rourke voted to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the House.
  • It is not clear where O’Rourke stands on President Donald Trump’s proposed withdrawal from Afghanistan and Syria. (PBS, 03/14/19)
  • “It was us becoming a participant in yet another war,” O’Rourke said listing the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus U.S. roles in conflicts in Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. “I don’t know that deepening U.S. military involvement in Ukraine is going to solve that country’s problems. I’m not down with more war for the United States.” (Beto in 2018 debate with Ted Cruz, Chron, 10/30/18)