The groomsman is now the groom.
Sen. Tim Kaine, just named by Hillary Clinton as her running mate, was reported to have been President Obama’s second choice for veep behind Joe Biden in 2008.
Over the next week you’ll likely learn a lot more about Kaine, a former Virginia governor and current senator. Among other attributes, he’s fluent in Spanish (and made history in 2013 when he delivered remarks on immigration in that language, the first time a senator delivered a full speech in a language other than English). He’s Catholic, plays the harmonica, and graduated from the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School, where he met his wife. Politico reported that he accepted $160,000 in gifts while he was Virginia’s governor and lieutenant governor, though the gifts were legal under Virginia law.
He’s worth $1.45 million, slightly less than half as much as the average U.S. senator.
But where does he stand on the issues that affect your finances? Here’s what you need to know.
Kaine has signaled on his website that he could favor some changes to Social Security as a means of dealing with larger budgetary issues.
“As we negotiate a solution to our budget challenges, everything must be on the table, including spending cuts, revenues and entitlement reforms,” he wrote.
Those reforms, though, would not include privatization. According to ontheissues.com, Kaine proclaimed that he would “oppose efforts to privatize Social Security because they would leave our seniors vulnerable to volatile markets, and many such proposals would also directly remove funding from Social Security.”
He did indicate that he could support other efforts to change the program, which would presumably include long-debated topics such as raising the Social Security retirement age.
Kaine supports making higher education more affordable, although like Hillary Clinton, he is ambivalent about free tuition at public colleges for everyone.
“We need to give careful consideration, particularly on the fiscal front, to whether there should be some type of income test with respect to free access to college,” he said during a Q&A on Huffingtonpost.com. “By making all public university education free, we’d be giving away college education to richer Americans who don’t need the assistance paying for it.”
He supports greater access to community colleges for career and technical education and co-chairs the Senate’s Career and Technical Education Caucus.
Kaine supports cutting taxes for most Americans except for the very wealthy. During his 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, he supported keeping rates unchanged for those earning less than $500,000 a year while allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire for those making more than that.
He also said that he would be in favor of a minimum federal income tax for everyone, in response to a question about Mitt Romney’s controversial statement regarding the 47% of Americans who don’t pay such taxes, a comment that landed him in hot water during the campaign.
Along with other Democrats, Kaine recently signed a letter asking regulators to ease up on banking rules. Liberal groups were irate about the letter, which asked banking regulators to loosen the amount of capital large regional banks, like Virginia-based Capital One, have to hold in order to reduce risk. A second letter, also signed by Kaine, asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect community banks and credit unions from “unintended consequences that negatively impact” their businesses as a result of CFPB rules.
Kaine also received a good deal of campaign support from Wall Street.
Liberal Democrats, and Trump Republicans, will also take issue with Kaine’s trade policies. The senator is in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)
In 2007 Kaine described his support of global trade deals as “passionate.”
Of course, how much direct influence Kaine will have on any of these issues from an office famously described by John Nance Garner as “not worth a bucket of warm spit” remains to be seen.