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Democratic Presidential Candidates Make Pitches In South Florida Ahead Of Debates

MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidates are either already in South Florida or making their way down in advance of this week's primary debates.

Candidate Jay Inslee on Monday laid out a plan to end fossil fuel subsidies, rolling out his latest proposal to combat the climate crisis.

The Washington governor's plan outlines five policy prescriptions that aim to end the country's reliance of fossil fuels, including eliminating roughly $20 billion in yearly subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies, banning the federal government from granting new fossil fuel leases on public lands or offshore waters, and imposing a new Climate Pollution Fee that aims to charge corporations for polluting.

"To build a clean energy economy, we must transition off of fossil fuels, and we will need a President who is willing to stand up to the fossil fuel corporations," Inslee said in a statement about the plan. "They have polluted our air, our water, with impunity, raking in huge profits, all while taking huge subsidies from our federal government. The gravy train is over."

Inslee added that his plan would "finally hold these corporations accountable for their pollution, wind down their production, and take away their sweetheart deals. It is time to confront the fossil fuel industry, and take on their corporate power. I'm ready to do that."

Inslee's so-called "Freedom from Fossil Fuels" plan calls government subsidies "the gravy train of government largesse for fossil fuel companies that for too long has padded corporate profit at the expense of the public good" and pledged the plan would impose "meaningful safeguards for public health and the environment, and finally hold polluters liable for the climate, health, and environmental damages they are causing."

Inslee's rollout comes at a critical time in the Democratic primary. On Wednesday and Thursday, 20 of the 23 Democratic candidates will attend the first series of Democratic debates in Miami.

Inslee is basing his entire campaign on his pledge to combat the climate crisis, making the issue central to his entire bid.

To date, the Washington governor has unveiled three other policy proposals rooted in the issue.

In May, Inslee rolled out a plan that pledged to make wholesale changes to the way the United States builds buildings, manufactures cars and supplies the power grid and includes a proposal to cut US coal production by 2030. Later that month, Inslee announced a jobs plan that projected the creation of 8 million jobs over the next 10 years by combating climate change. And in June, Inslee released a plan that looks to reimagine American foreign policy to combat climate change.

Inslee wasn't the only Democratic candidate to make an early appearance.

Standing before reporters in Miami former San Antonio Mayor, and former HUD secretary, Julian Castro who has been in town since Sunday.

"Good health care should be treated like a right in the United States," he said.

Castro laid out his "Medicare for all" plan which would allow people to keep private health insurance too.

"I would strengthen Medicare for the people that are on it and then I would make sure that everybody who wants Medicare can get it. I also believe that if somebody has private health insurance and they want to hold on to that they should be able to do that," he said.

He also touched on immigration.

"If I were president, day one, the first thing I would do is start working with Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador so that people can find safety and opportunity over there instead of having to come here," he said.

Also in town, California Congressman Eric Swalwell who met with immigration activists outside the facility in Homestead where unaccompanied children are being held.

(©2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)

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