Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Policy - Jon Ossoff for U.S. Senate
35

Policy

I am fighting for great health care for every American with a strong Public Option and strengthened Affordable Care Act, to defend Medicare and Social Security, for historic investment in clean energy and infrastructure, to lower taxes for working families and small businesses, to defend Roe v. Wade and the privacy of women’s health care, to enact major criminal justice reform, to get dark money out of politics and end Citizens United.

Jon Ossoff signature white

The Economy

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing enormous economic hardship. Tens of millions are losing jobs. Businesses are shuttered. Banks and landlords are threatening foreclosure and eviction. Essential workers are underpaid, underprotected, and underinsured.

This crisis is laying bare structural inequity and corruption in U.S. economic policy. Similar to the 2007-2008 financial crisis, while hardship is concentrated among working- and middle-class families and smaller businesses, the fastest and biggest emergency relief has gone straight to the top.

The government’s financial safety net for Wall Street is vast and instantaneous, while help for ordinary people and smaller firms has been meager and slow.

Rather than relying on subsidies for Wall Street as economic stimulus and hoping the benefits trickle down, I’ll support policies that help Georgia’s families make and save more money: fast and generous direct emergency relief during economic crises, lower taxes for all but the wealthiest Americans, debt-free public college, free vocational training, and health care guaranteed at an affordable price.

To create millions of jobs, revitalize our economy, and alleviate poverty, I’ll support the most ambitious infrastructure program in history. Upgraded infrastructure will serve as the foundation for decades of prosperity, sustainability, and health.

Georgia is a growing economic powerhouse in agriculture, logistics, aerospace, technology, clean energy, and media. Georgia’s businesses and entrepreneurs are the crucial engine of job and wealth creation in our state.

I’ll work to make tax and regulatory compliance simpler and more efficient for our businesses. I’ll expose and attack unfair and unethical trade, labor, and environmental practices by overseas competitors that disadvantage American workers and businesses. I’ll work to reduce our dependence on Chinese supply chains and strengthen domestic producers. I’ll support strong antitrust enforcement and I’ll attack anti-competitive special interest subsidies secured by dominant firms with lobbying power at the expense of smaller competitors and startups. These policies will support long-term prosperity, competitiveness, and strength.

The health of the banking system is vital, but public funds and loans shouldn’t subsidize speculative short-term trading on Wall Street. That’s why I’ll vote to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, so Federal economic policy serves the long-term prosperity, stability, and financial security of families and productive enterprises, not short-term gains for investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity firms.

Lobbying and political contributions should not buy bailout money, unfair subsidies, or impunity for labor and environmental abuses. But as long as money buys political influence, our government’s policies will favor the most powerful special interests, distorting the market to benefit the best connected people and businesses. That’s one of many reasons campaign finance reform is essential to our prosperity and competitiveness.

I’ve dedicated my career to fighting corruption. I run a business that investigates bribery and the abuse of power worldwide. I’m not taking contributions from corporate PACs or Congressional lobbyists. As Georgia’s Senator, I will be accountable exclusively to the people of our state.

Health Care

This pandemic should be a massive wake-up call for those who doubt the necessity of ensuring all Americans have health insurance.

The link between health and wealth must be broken. It is essential that every single American has great health care. And Georgia already faced a shocking health crisis, with among the highest rates of uninsurance and maternal mortality in the country.

In the U.S. Senate, I’ll work to make great health insurance a simple, affordable, reassuring reality for all of us. Other countries have achieved this. So can we.

Health insurance is too expensive and complex, and protections for women, young people, and pre-existing conditions are under attack. Few plans are available, premiums are high, surprise billing is frequent, and dealing with insurance companies can be a nightmare.

Even today, in the midst of a massive health crisis, the GOP, led by David Perdue, is still working to rip health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. The GOP and David Perdue have also long planned to cut Medicare, putting health care for seniors at risk.

I’ll vote to protect and strengthen Medicare, and I support offering all Americans a public health insurance option as an affordable alternative to private insurance.

The public plan’s premiums will be affordable for all and there will be no deductibles for necessary care. Its coverage will be comprehensive — including preventative care, prescription drugs, dental, vision, hearing, mental health, and neonatal and postnatal care. Medicaid expansion and auto-enrollment of the uninsured will ensure all Americans are covered regardless of wealth.

Your insurance will be your choice. Americans will be free to maintain exclusively private health insurance or to purchase supplemental private insurance on top of the public plan if they so choose.

For those with private insurance, I’ll vote to strengthen the Affordable Care Act’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, women, and young people. Those protections remain under attack by the health insurance industry and their allies in the GOP.

I’ll vote to crack down on price gouging by drug companies and make more generic medicine available.

I’ll work relentlessly to deliver federal funds to build more health clinics and hire more health care workers across Georgia, especially in rural and underserved communities, and to solve Georgia’s shocking and shameful maternal health crisis. Under my plan, the public option will include higher reimbursement rates for rural hospitals because they are vital assets in our communities. 

And I’ll introduce legislation to expand the U.S. Public Health Service so it can recruit, train, and deploy more medical teams to clinics across Georgia and the nation.

Click here to read my full plan to ensure affordable, accessible health care for every Georgian.

Infrastructure

I’ll push for an unprecedented American infrastructure program that includes big, overdue investments in transportation and transit, clean energy, energy efficiency, public health, communications, research and development, emergency response, and environmental cleanup.

These investments will create job training and employment opportunities for millions of American workers and demand for products made by American businesses. They will revitalize our economy and lay the foundations for decades of prosperity, environmental sustainability, and health.

Infrastructure is often taken for granted. It includes energy production and the grid, transit, roads, bridges, tunnels, rail, aviation, ports and waterways, communications, cybersecurity, water treatment and distribution, housing, and public health.

Upgraded infrastructure will make life safer and more convenient, support commerce, attract investment, protect our environment, and improve our health.

Strong, advanced infrastructure is also essential for resilient and effective emergency response – whether pandemic, natural disaster, national security, or the totally unexpected.

Money spent on infrastructure is truly an investment in America, with positive returns across the entire economy and dramatic improvements to our quality of life.

The Environment

The health of the environment is vital to our own health, prosperity, and security. In the Senate, I’ll make energy and environmental policy on the basis of scientific evidence — not lobbying by polluters.

We face an urgent environmental crisis as out-of-control pollution is fast changing the climate, destroying ecosystems, killing off species, and damaging human health.

The scientific consensus is unambiguous: if pollution from fossil fuel combustion is not controlled, the consequences will be dire.

We can meet our energy needs without destroying the environment — but only by rapidly transitioning to clean energy sources, dramatically reducing carbon emissions, and increasing energy efficiency.

That’s why I’ll support a historic infrastructure plan that includes massive investments in clean energy, energy efficiency, and environmental protection.

I’ll push for America to immediately re-enter the Paris Climate Accords — and then to lead negotiation of an even more ambitious climate treaty.

I’ll work to reverse the Trump Administration’s rollbacks of clean air, clean water, and fuel economy standards — and then to strengthen them.

I’ll push for fast advances in sustainability — including a rapidly phased-in ban on single-use plastics, strongly enforced treaties to protect oceans and fisheries, aggressive protection of endangered species and habitats, increased fines for spills and contamination, and stricter controls on toxic chemicals.

Criminal Justice Reform

Our criminal justice system should render justice and protect the public while upholding due process, civil rights and civil liberties, and equal protection under the law.

Yet in the United States today, deep race and class disparities persist in policing, prosecution, and sentencing. Racial profiling, arbitrary detention, brutality, and abuse in detention and incarceration are widespread. We incarcerate tens of thousands guilty of non-violent, victimless crimes, destroying lives and incurring massive costs.

The deck is stacked against defendants who lack money, while those with wealth and connections often secure special treatment or outright impunity.

Our approach to punishment must respect the human dignity of incarcerated people and recognize that except for the most dangerous violent criminals, successful re-entry to society after incarceration is crucial for both the convicted and the public.

Nevertheless, brutal and inhumane conditions prevail in our prisons and jails.

Mandatory minimum sentencing, the drug war, and the misguided use of criminal enforcement as a response to addiction, mental illness, and poverty have contributed to mass incarceration that is a blight on our country.

In the Senate, I will champion and fight tirelessly to pass a New Civil Rights Act that strengthens civil rights laws and advances comprehensive criminal justice reform. 

Race and class disparities in policing, prosecution, and sentencing must be ended nationwide. 

I will work to reverse the militarization of local police forces, enhance due process and human rights protections for all citizens, ban private prisons, end cash bail, reform prisons and raise conditions of incarceration to humane standards, abolish the death penalty, legalize cannabis, and end incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses.

I’ll also support more federal law enforcement resources to attack organized crime, human trafficking, racketeering, money laundering, fraud, espionage, and corruption.

Roe v. Wade

I am pro-choice. I believe that women, not the government, should control the private, personal, and complex decision whether to terminate a pregnancy.

I run a business that investigates organized crime and corruption for news organizations worldwide. Our teams have gone undercover to expose how dangerous, unqualified, and unregulated abortion providers kill thousands of women in places where safe abortion services are not available legally.

In the Senate, I will only vote to confirm federal judges who pledge to uphold Roe v. Wade.

COVID-19

To contain this outbreak and prevent an economic depression, the Trump Administration’s gross incompetence must end.

It didn’t have to be this way. The White House ignored the warnings and dismissed the threat. But accountability will have to wait for November. 

The immediate solutions are clear, but they must be implemented with the speed, competence, and focus demanded by a great challenge such as this.

Congress and the Administration should focus on boosting the health response, shoring up Americans’ finances, and speeding up containment and adaptation so Americans can return to work and normal life as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we must intensify short-term efforts to crack down on the spread.

First, every effort must be made to boost hospitals and the health response. The key immediate vulnerabilities are inadequate ICU capacity, insufficient testing capacity, a shortage of medical equipment for respiratory critical care, and lack of protective gear for doctors and nurses. The lack of protective equipment is personal for me — my wife Alisha is a doctor here at an Atlanta hospital — but we’re all at risk when medical teams fall sick.

The federal government should spend whatever it takes and cut through all the red tape to fill these gaps. (This effort should have begun in January.)

Use the Army Corps of Engineers, military logistical and medical units, and the Defense Production Act as necessary to build hospital capacity and properly equip medical teams. Give governors whatever they need. Be transparent about how many additional beds, respiratory critical care units, and isolation wards will be built, where, and by when. Go fast!

Second, shore up Americans’ finances. Millions are losing jobs. Families are staring over a financial cliff. This isn’t the time for partisan bickering and gridlock. Congress must immediately send generous emergency cash to tide over people and businesses.

The fastest and most generous help should go to those who need it the most. And no secret slush funds or special favors for powerful corporations. We need complete transparency and rigorous accountability. The president’s dismissal of the Inspector General for the $2 trillion relief program just days after it was enacted is outrageous. A repeat of the bank bailout debacle would destroy what little public trust in government remains.

Third, speed up containment and adaptation so we can find a “new normal” quickly and get back to work. Study countries that are seeing success. Equip medical experts to track the virus, defending privacy and civil liberties along the way. We have to know where the virus is and isn’t. That means widespread testing and free COVID-19 treatment (so no one is afraid to get tested).

Isolate the virus. Establish clear policies for the self-quarantine of infected Americans until they are healthy. Tighten and enforce regulations to protect seniors from exposure.

Reinforce strong hygiene. Implement widespread temperature checks. Mandate the routine disinfection of public spaces and surfaces.

Finally, intensify short-term efforts to crack down on the spread. Our highest hopes are that these efforts are swiftly effective and the virus is less lethal than suspected. But severe illness is still spreading exponentially, and many hospitals are warning they’ll soon be overwhelmed. Governors and mayors should listen to them and slow down the virus by implementing strong distancing policies now, not later, including shelter-in-place orders where necessary.

This buys time to build health care capacity and to develop therapies and vaccines.

Social distancing at such scale cannot continue indefinitely. That is precisely why we must boost the health response and speed up containment and adaptation — so we can return to our lives without overloading hospitals and causing unnecessary deaths.

We can do these things and defeat the virus together. This won’t last forever. But at minimum, the next few months are going to be hard.

It is vital that the federal response become more effective and coherent. In 2014, my company investigated the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, where government mistakes cost lives. We can’t afford any more mistakes here.

I truly don’t know if our elected officials in Washington realize how selfish and incompetent they look. The President has been negligent and erratic. Senators were briefed and adjusted their stock portfolios instead of preparing the public. They all have to get real now, and I pray for all our sakes they are successful.

We’re still America. We have huge resources and brilliant people.

Consider what we’ve achieved together when we‘ve brought to bear all that we must: the miraculous industrial mobilization of World War II, the New Deal, the Apollo program.

We’re still Americans. This is what we do. Let’s get to work!

Education

We all want and we all deserve the basics in life: a steady job that pays a living wage and helps us save for retirement, good health care, a nice home, and a great education for ourselves and for our kids.

But in America today, equality of opportunity isn’t a reality — and in so many ways that inequality starts in our educational system.

To improve the quality of primary and secondary education, I support increasing teacher pay and breaking the link between a community’s wealth and the funding available for its public schools.

When discussing higher education, the national political debate tends to focus on four-year college degrees. We need greater emphasis on vocational training. For someone currently making $10 an hour without benefits, a commercial driver’s license or a welding certificate can be life-changing.

That’s why in the Senate I’ll work to make trade school and vocational training free for every American.

And I’ll work to make four-year degrees at our public colleges 100% debt-free.

So many Americans today are held back by student debt — can’t start a business, start a family, or buy a home — because they can’t keep up with student loan payments.

But the cost of education shouldn’t hold us back. Education should expand our opportunities.

I support a generous forgiveness program for those struggling to pay off their student loans, caps on interest rates to relieve financial stress for all borrowers, and a program that links Federal student loan payments to income so paying off student loans is never a financial hardship.

Gun Safety Reforms

A clear majority of Georgians support reforms to reduce injuries and deaths from gun violence while protecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

I support the Second Amendment and I respect the overwhelming majority of gun owners who recognize that guns aren’t toys; they are lethal and dangerous tools.

Firearms possession comes with great responsibilities for safe ownership, storage, and use.

The shocking level of gun violence in America today makes plain the need for gun safety reforms, which will not preclude any responsible and qualified American from owning firearms for home defense, hunting, marksmanship, collection, or recreation.

I support universal criminal history checks for gun purchases, red flag laws to protect family members and domestic partners concerned about the mental health of their loved ones, and closing the gun show loophole.

I support a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles (“assault weapons”) and high-capacity magazines to the general public. 

Americans who would purchase high-powered weapons derived from modern military technology should be required to demonstrate high qualification and compelling specific needs.

Most gun owners are responsible, qualified, and own weapons in good faith. However, the only objective of the firearms industry lobbyists is to drive up gun sales and enrich shareholders — even at the expense of public safety and common sense.

I’m not taking a dime from the gun lobby, and I’ll fight to end their corrupt influence in Washington.

Immigration

My mother is an immigrant. She came to this country when she was 23 because she believed in the American Dream, and she’s lived it. She became a successful entrepreneur, a U.S. citizen, and an active participant in our democracy.

Our country, like any country, must know and control who crosses our borders, and strong border security doesn’t require us to sacrifice our moral principles, our commitment to human rights, or our American identity as a haven for people fleeing persecution and striving for opportunity.

Ripping children from their parents and disappearing them into federal custody is an atrocity.

I’ll support an immigration policy that strengthens our borders, puts American workers first, respects human rights, and creates a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants who are already here and otherwise follow the law, especially those brought here as children.

We must reform the horrifically dysfunctional Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that these agencies carry out their duties with competence and humanity.

And instead of making life hell for migrants, immigration enforcement should crack down on the employers of undocumented immigrants, like The Trump Organization.

LGBTQ Equality

In the Senate, I’ll fight for equal rights and equal protection under the law for all Americans, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

I will defend marriage equality and the right of gay couples to adopt children.

I will support the Equality Act and vote to expand Federal anti-discrimination statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.

I will oppose efforts to re-impose the ban on military service by openly gay Americans. Any American’s desire to serve and defend their country should be honored without discrimination.

I’ll support strengthening anti-bullying programs for LGBTQ youth, and I will defend and support the safety and human rights of transgender Americans.

The LGBTQ community will be able to count on me to stand with them as a strong and outspoken ally.

Strengthening HBCU's

In the Senate I will champion HBCUs to strengthen these gems of America’s higher education system.

Georgia is home to ten HBCUs and the Atlanta University Center (“AUC”) Consortium, making Georgia a national HBCU headquarters.

Georgia’s HBCUs are: Albany State University, Fort Valley State University, Savannah State University, Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine, Morris Brown College, Paine College, and Spelman College.

HBCUs are vital ladders to opportunity for Black Americans — and these institutions train leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, theologians, and academics who make vital contributions to American society.

HBCUs face devastating hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These vital institutions need immediate support to avoid long-lasting damage.

At the strategic level, HBCUs need and deserve deepened long-term public investment. Following a series of meetings with HBCU administrators, faculty, and alumni leaders this summer, it is clear these long-term policy priorities must include:

  • Tuition affordability 
  • Facilities & technology 
  • Endowment growth
  • Morris Brown accreditation 
  • Program expansion in vital fields to train STEM professionals, health care workers, and educators.
To develop this plan I convened a series of meetings with Presidents, Vice Presidents, staff, and alumni leaders from Albany State University, Fort Valley State University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and the Atlanta University Center Consortium to listen and understand the immediate and long-term needs of these institutions.

This paper will serve as a framework for my legislative approach to supporting Georgia’s HBCUs and HBCUs nationwide when I represent Georgia in the United States Senate.