John Delaney declared his 2020 presidential run before any other candidate did. It happened just six months into President Trump's term. Delaney is a former Democratic Congressman from Maryland’s 6th Congressional district (2013 to 2019).
"I believe I'm the right person for the job, and I have the right vision for the country. But my issue was not enough people knew who I was, and it was my view that the best way to solve that is to get in early, and just work harder than everyone else," he tells Press Play.
How is Delaney trying to stand out from the dizzying array of candidates? He says, "I'm not just kind of running on compromise for compromise sake. And I think that's what makes me different, whether it's on climate, whether it's on a whole range of issues. I fundamentally have new ideas as to how to deal with these issues. I think my ideas are more workable. I tell people how I'm going to pay for them, and I tell people how I'm going to get it done, which tends to lead people to conclude that I'm moderate. But fundamentally, my campaign is full of a bunch of new ideas."
Delaney's top issue: universal health care
Delaney says he wants to give every American -- from birth to age 65 -- a free federal health care package, which covers primary care and specialty care. "If they don't want that, they can opt out, get a tax credit, use the tax credit to buy their own plan, or turn that tax credit into their employer or to their labor union to help pay for the cost of the plan. Or they could buy private supplemental plans."
He assures that he would leave Medicare and private insurance alone.
He estimates his plan would cost $5 trillion, and there'd be two ways to pay for it: "There's about a trillion dollars of subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, which we wouldn't need anymore if this plan were in place, and then the other $4 trillion comes from eliminating the corporate deductibility of health care."
Resolving the housing crisis
Rents are soaring across the U.S., and especially in Los Angeles County, where nearly 59,000 people are experiencing homelessness. So what is Delaney's plan to make housing more affordable?
"We have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and all these big mortgage companies. What I propose is to put a small fee on effectively every mortgage that's made in this country," he explains. "And the fee would be anywhere from one-tenth to one-fifth of 1%. And that fee would go into something called the Housing Trust Fund, which exists but is never really funded. And that would create $125 billion of affordable housing funds that would be granted to communities around the country to build more affordable housing -- provided that they also make some changes to some of their zoning laws."
However, many cities don't want to change their zoning, and people like their neighborhoods as they currently are. Delaney says the "not in my backyard" attitude simply has to stop.
Delaney's main message to the country
Delaney says his message is about getting America working again, which means having a functioning federal government.
"We need to restore a sense of common purpose to who we are as a people. We need to focus on some of the things we agree with each other on, and find common ground, and we actually have to put forth real plans for some of the urgent issues facing this country, and not just a bunch of impossible promises," he says.
--Written by Amy Ta, produced by Brian Hardzinski