IN THE NEWS #452 - Gore's Positions

By Caty Weaver

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

Last week we discussed the positions of Texas Governor George W. Bush, the Republican presidential candidate. This week we report on Vice President Al Gore, the candidate of the Democratic Party.

There has been much debate this year about the Social Security program for older Americans. Al Gore opposes reducing government control. He says this could lead to cuts in payments and an increase in the retirement age. George W. Bush would let people invest some of their money that now goes into Social Security.

On another issue, campaign finance reform, Mr. Gore says the link between money and political influence is too great. He supports a ban against soft money. This is money spent by interest groups but not given directly to candidates. The government restricts how much money candidates can receive. However, soft money is often used to support a candidate indirectly.

Still another campaign issue involves government spending. The vice president says he would continue to reduce the size of government. He rejects being called a big spender. This week, he promised not to add a single federal job as president.

Mr. Gore has a strong interest in environmental issues. He proposes tax credits for buying homes and vehicles that save energy and pollute less. He says he would not drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, as Mr. Bush proposes. However, some environmentalists say they will vote for Ralph Nader, the candidate of the Green Party.

On foreign policy, Al Gore calls his position one of "forward engagement."He says the peace and security of the United States depends on its leadership and involvement in the world. He says he would continue efforts to improve ties with former enemies like Russia. He also says he supports increasing China's involvement in international organizations that honor rules on weapons, trade, the environment and human rights.

Mr. Gore says the United States should develop technology for a limited missile defense system. But he says he would consider the effect such a system, if deployed, would have on national security, including arms control policy. George W. Bush says he would develop a defense system even if Russia refused to amend the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But he also says he would reduce America's nuclear supplies even if Russia did not reduce its own.

Al Gore proposes to increase defense spending by one-hundred-thousand-million dollars over ten years. Mr. Bush proposes to add twenty-thousand-million dollars for weapons research and development over five years. Both candidates support better pay for members of the military.

Next week, we report more on the elections that take place in the United States on Tuesday, November seventh.

This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS was written by Caty Weaver. This is Steve Ember.

Voice of America Special English