Democratic, Republican Platforms Reveal Stark Policy Differences

VOA News
Delegates at the Democratic National Convention in the state of North Carolina will vote on Tuesday to adopt their party platform - a sweeping, non-binding document that spells out the party's positions on domestic and international issues. 
 
Republicans put forward their own platform during their national convention in the state of Florida last week. 
 
Here is a look at key provisions in both platforms. 
 
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE 
 
Democrats:
-Support "marriage equality" and efforts to secure equal legal treatment for same-sex couples.
-Support full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 measure defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. 
 
Republicans:
-Support the Defense of Marriage Act.
-Back the rights of states and federal governments not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. 
 
ABORTION
 
Democrats: 
-Support Roe versus Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. 
 
Republicans: 
-Support a "human life amendment" to the Constitution.
-Oppose use of public revenue to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations that do so. 
 
HEALTHCARE
 
Democrats:
-Oppose any efforts to privatize or set up a voucher program for Medicare, the U.S. healthcare program for the elderly. 
-Seek to expand health benefits and reduce fraud.
 
Republicans:
-Vow to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health reform legislation dubbed "Obamacare" by critics. 
-Seek to modernize Medicare and say the program, in its current form, is unsustainable. 
 
IMMIGRATION
 
Democrats:
-Want comprehensive immigration reform that would bring undocumented immigrants "out of the shadows," requiring them to "get right with the law, learn English and pay taxes" to be considered for citizenship. 
 
Republicans:
-Oppose any form of "amnesty" for those who "by intentionally violating the law" when entering the United States "disadvantage those who have obeyed it."
 
ECONOMY
 
Democrats:
-Seek to extend tax cuts put in place under Republican President George W. Bush for Americans earning less than $250,000 a year.
-Support the expiration of tax cuts imposed at the same time for those earning more than $250,000.
 
Republicans:
-Seek to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, pending reform of the federal tax code.
-Want to rein in government spending and reduce regulations. 
 
SMALL BUSINESSES
 
Democrats:
-Call U.S. small businesses the "engine of job growth in America."
-Support tax cuts for small businesses enacted by President Barack Obama. 
 
Republicans:
-Call small businesses the "backbone of the U.S. economy."
-Seek to reform the tax code to allow businesses to "generate enough capital to grow and create jobs." 
 
ENERGY
 
Democrats:
-Seek to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil by developing domestic wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear and hydropower, biofuels, oil, clean coal and natural gas, as well as by increasing energy efficiency in buildings, industries and homes, and promoting "advanced" vehicles and fuel economy standards.
-Want to protect "sensitive" public lands, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, from exploration.
 
Republicans:
-Support opening the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for exploration.
-Seek allowances for more oil and natural gas exploration on federally owned and controlled land. 
 
MIDDLE EAST HOT SPOTS
 
Democrats:
-Iran: Support President Obama's commitment to "using all instruments of national power" to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
-Syria: Vow to work to end regime of President Bashar al-Assad and support a political transition.
 
Republicans:
-Iran: Say the threat of a nuclear Iran has grown under President Obama because of a "failed engagement policy." 
-Syria: Support a transition to a "post-Assad Syrian government" that would be "representative of its people."
 
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