Beto O'Rourke's economic, business views

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke joined the growing list of contenders for the Democratic presidential bid in 2020.

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O'Rourke formally announced Thursday that he'll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, ending months of intense speculation over whether he'd try to translate his newfound political celebrity into a White House bid.

Meanwhile, a conservative group is preparing to launch an ad in the state, claiming the former representative an example of “white male privilege,” according to Politico.

O’Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz last year in a closely watched Senate race.

Here’s a look at some of O’Rourke’s views on key economic issues:

On business

During his six-year congressional tenure, O’Rourke voted for several GOP bills that were perceived to reinforce Republican values – including weakening Wall Street regulations like the Volcker Rule, as reported by The Guardian. However, in other instances he voted with Democrats to protect existing regulations.

He was a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a centrist caucus that supports economic growth and responsible fiscal policies.

He called unions “the backbone of our workforce” in a July Twitter post, saying the labor organizations are “critical to bringing more Texans into better, higher paying jobs.”

O’Rourke has also voiced support for antitrust legislation. Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren – a declared 2020 contender – recently unveiled a plan aimed at breaking up big technology companies – including Google and Amazon.

O’Rourke has advocated for a $15 minimum wage.

On healthcare

O’Rourke voiced support for a single-payer system, but received flak during the 2018 race for failing to fully support expansion of the Medicare program.

The Medicare-for-all platform, which would expand coverage under the government-run program to all Americans – not just the elderly – is gaining traction among progressive Democrats, including a number of declared 2020 candidates like California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Many found O’Rourke’s position on Medicare-for-all unclear, where he instead used phrases like “universal” and “guaranteed” coverage for all, as noted by The Washington Post. His campaign website did not mention the policy.

He also didn’t co-sponsor a House bill for the program, explaining that it would limit choices for Americans.

The former lawmaker did call for expanding Medicaid.

On trade

O’Rourke has said tariffs implemented by the Trump administration on $250 billion worth of goods from China – amid an ongoing trade war – will “devastate” the economy, thought those comments appeared to focus specifically on small- and medium-sized businesses in Texas.

O’Rourke spoke out against the tariffs on steel and aluminum products, since Texas imports more of the two materials than any other state.

During his campaign in Texas, he also said prices were rising for everything from washing machines to refrigerators and barbecues, adding that the agricultural, auto and energy industries were all feeling the pain.

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O’Rourke did admit during a debate that the U.S. had problems with trade partners, saying he wanted to make sure that we “stand up to China.”

He criticized President Trump, however, for leading the U.S. toward a trade war “without any allies.”