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Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Sanders Previews Debate Issues At 'No Labels' Event

Rick Scuteri
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, shown here at a campaign event on Oct. 9 in Tucson, Ariz., is focusing on issues like campaign finance reform and Social Security in the lead up to Tuesday's Democratic debate.

At a candidates forum in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders highlighted many of the issues that he's expected to raise during the first Democratic debate Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

The forum was part of “The Problem Solver Convention” put on by the political organization, No Labels.

No Labels calls for a bipartisan approach to solve the most challenging issues facing the country, including balancing the federal budget, strengthening Social Security and Medicare and adopting an energy policy that reduces the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

Throughout his four-month campaign, Sen. Sanders has refused to raise Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server problems as an issue. During Monday’s event, he said he plans to stick to that approach.

"Let's treat each other civilly," said Sen. Sanders. "Let's treat each other respectfully and let's not try to demonize people who may have disagreements with us."

Campaign Finance Reform

One issue Sanders is likely to raise Tuesday night is campaign finance reform.

"We now have a campaign system which, and I use the word advisably, is corrupt and is undermining American democracy," Sanders said during Monday’s event.

In the most recent-three month period, Sanders and Clinton both raised roughly $27 million. The difference is that Sanders received small donations from hundreds of thousands of people, while Clinton held numerous fundraising events with wealthy donors.

Social Security

Sanders also discussed his plan to raise the Social Security payroll tax on those who earn more than $250,000 a year.

"I would use this revenue, not just to extend the life of Social Security, and my proposal would extend the life of Social Security to the year 2061,” Sanders noted, “but I would also expand Social Security benefits."

Health Care

Sanders is also likely to discuss health care during the debate and make his pitch to implement a single-payer, government-financed system in the U.S. that will provide access to all people.

At Monday’s event, Sanders said that health care should be a guaranteed “right and not a privilege.”

“Now, those of us who live in New Hampshire, those of us who live in Vermont, we border on Canada. And Canada has managed to provide health care to every man, woman and child in their country in a much more cost effective way than we do," Sanders said.

Tax Reform

Sanders is also expected to outline a tax reform package that raises rates on wealthy people and closes a loophole that allows major corporations to avoid paying taxes on profits that are generated overseas.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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