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Michael Bennet's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (CO) - Sr, Democratic
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Michael Bennet refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These issue positions, from the year 2010, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-choice Inferred Answer Abortion Issues: Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • NARAL Pro-Choice America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Michael Bennet supported the interests of NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent in 2009. (
  • National Right to Life Committee. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Michael Bennet supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 0 percent in 2009. (
  • Michael Bennet. Reproductive Choice. "As a father of three girls, I understand that decisions about when to start a family, whether or not to use contraception, and whether to terminate a pregnancy are some of the most personal an individual and her family can make. Roe v. Wade was correctly decided - there is a constitutional right of privacy that encompasses decisions like whether to use contraception and whether to choose an abortion. Because the U.S. Constitution firmly protects an individual's fundamental right to make her own choices with regard to her reproductive health, it would be unconstitutional for a state to outlaw or severely restrict reproductive rights. Reproductive choice is a sensitive issue that touches many of us on a personal, moral, and religious level. People on different sides of this issue often have difficulty coming to a consensus. I think advocates on both sides of the issue can agree that we should work together to make abortions rare, and to make all reproductive medical procedures as safe as possible. We should work towards a consensus by focusing on improving health outcomes - reducing the number of abortions and improving prenatal care, for instance - to ensure broad access to family planning and contraceptive services, to prevent unwanted pregnancies and involve medical professionals earlier in the reproductive process so as to avoid late-term abortions and unnecessary health problems during the course of a pregnancy. Beyond these practical medical steps, for me this issue comes down to making sure that our mothers, wives and daughters, and not the government, have the freedom to make the decisions that are best for them. I am serving in the U.S. Senate so that I can make sure that we leave this country in a better place for the next generation. I will work hard to defend the rights of my girls to govern their own reproductive health from government intrusion." (
  • Planned Parenthood. 2010. 27 September 2010. Planned Parenthood endorsed Michael Bennet in the 2010 General Election. (
No Inferred Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • National Taxpayers Union. 2009. Michael Bennet supported the interests of the National Taxpayers Union 10 percent in 2009. (
  • Michael Bennet. Bennet Votes Against Adjournment, Highlights Need to Extend Tax Cuts. 29 September 2010. "The Senate should have brought the extension of key tax cuts to the floor for up or down votes. Both parties have played political games with the extension of the Bush tax cuts and with the estate tax. It's past time for that to come to an end. "When we return, I will support a one-year extension of all tax cuts and will fight for a long-term extension of middle class tax cuts. I have said for weeks that I would support a compromise that moves tax cuts forward. I have laid down a concrete proposal and will work with any Democrat or Republican who is willing to move forward in a productive way to get this done." "We should also move on estate tax relief that focuses on small business owners, farmers and ranchers, to boost our economy. My plan to reform the estate tax would raise exemption levels to $5 million for single filers and $10 million for joint filers, hold the tax rate for the remaining estates at the 2009 level, and extend estate tax relief for farmers and ranchers whose kids want to keep using the family land for farming and ranching." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Michael Bennet. HR 1. 111th Congress. Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes. Project Vote Smart Summary: Michael Bennet voted YES on 13 February 2009. (
  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Building a 21st Century Economy. "Creating Jobs by Supporting Private Innovation: In the 21st Century, the jobs are going to be created in private industries that put a premium on innovation-from the new energy economy, to digital media, to new discoveries in bioscience. Our economy-our society -- depend on our ability to incentivise the growth of these industries and to create global competitors for these new jobs." (
  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Economy & Jobs. "Our nation is undergoing an economic upheaval the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. The number of unemployed Americans increased by 563,000 to 13.7 million in April 2009, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent overall. In Colorado, more than 58,000 workers have lost their jobs, and every day, more and more Coloradans fall behind in their mortgage payments. The road to economic recovery will be long and difficult, but Congress and the President have taken important steps to help working families stave off a prolonged recession. Specifically, we have: * Made the vigorous investments necessary to get our economy moving again. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L.111-5), we have made targeted investments in energy, health care, education, and transportation that will help create jobs and grow our economy. In Colorado, we estimate that the bill will save or create 60,000 jobs." (
  • Michael Bennet. Reining in Washington Spending. 8 September 2010. "President Obama recently proposed new stimulus plans. I will not support additional spending to stimulate the economy. A public-private partnership that invests in our infrastructure is a good idea but new transportation projects should be fully paid for, not add a single dime to the deficit and paid for with unused Recovery Act dollars. I will support the research tax credit, clean energy tax credits, and tax incentives to purchase new equipment, because they will spur investment and job creation in Colorado, without more government spending. Colorado families and small businesses are tightening their belts, and Washington must do the same and make hard choices to pay down the debt." (
No Inferred Answer Business and Employment Issues: Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Seniors: Social Security. "Social Security is our most stable and most successful retirement program. The program is not susceptible to fluctuations in the market or the economy, and it provides a stable source of income for a majority of Americans over 65 years old. I am working hard in Congress to preserve the long-term survival of Social Security, so that is remains solvent decades from now. I strongly oppose privatizing Social Security or reducing Social Security benefits. We can work together to confront Social Security's solvency challenge without taking these drastic, ill-conceived measures. An important component for guaranteeing the long-term viability of Social Security is to get our nation's fiscal house in order, without raiding Social Security to do it." (
  • Michael Bennet. Bennet Statement on 75th Anniversary of Social Security. 13 August 2010. "For 75 years, Social Security has empowered retired Americans to live longer, more independently and with dignity," said Bennet. "It has provided seniors with stable, substantial means and vital economic security. Without Social Security, nearly half of Americans over 65 years old would live in poverty. This program is a sacred trust with our seniors, our parents and our grandparents, who have worked their entire lives and deserve to know that it will be there for them when they need it. Social Security, along with Medicare, has offered security and peace of mind to millions Americans for decades, and we must fight to preserve and strengthen it. We must protect it from those who want to destroy or privatize Social Security and risk the financial security of elderly Americans who have worked to earn and depend on its benefits. As the next generation enters the workforce, we need to ensure that a sustainable Social Security program will be there for them too." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime Issues: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Education Issues: Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Michael Bennet. New Colorado Senator Talks About Appointment. 23 January 2009. "NORRIS: One of the things that is certain to come up is the reauthorization for No Child Left Behind. For most senators, this is something that they understand largely through reading briefing books. This is something that you've actually lived. Do you agree with many of your Democrats that this is a program that needs to be ended, or is it possibly something that perhaps just needs to be mended? Are there some benefits to the No Child Left Behind program? Senator BENNET: I'm much more in the mended category than the ended category, and I'll tell you why. The best thing I can say about No Child Left Behind, and I believe this is true, is that it's called the nation's attention to the enormous gaps that exist in this country between kids that are poor and kids that are middle-class. Right now, I think it's too much of a blunt instrument that is focused very much on labeling schools but hasn't given people solutions to be able to make them better. And that's what I think the administration is committed to. NORRIS: Now, if we listen closely, you might hear the sighs of disappointment from educators all across the country who thought that maybe you, if anyone, would raise sharp questions about No Child Left Behind, people who've been complaining about this for years. Senator BENNET: I do have very sharp questions. I don't think people in our schools object to external accountability, and I think they see the purpose for it. They're just asking for something that makes sense. And most places across the country right now are comparing apples and oranges, they're asking this question: How did this year's fourth graders do compared to last year's fourth graders? The question we need to be asking is: How did this group of fifth graders do compared to how they did as fourth graders last year? It needs to be much more focused on growth, and I think educators are right to say that many of our kids start very far behind, and we need to find a way to acknowledge the growth that kids have. And it's only if you start to measure like that that we're going to start to see progress." (
  • Michael Bennet. The Atlantic -- First Draft of History: Klein and Bennet: "Teachers Are the Solution". 1 October 2009. "Regarding the controversial No Child Left Behind legislation, a frequent target of Democrats, Bennet defended the inherent value in the law in that it brought to light that schools are doing 'a horrible job' across the U.S. However, he called NCLB an 'enormously crude system of accountability,' and offered hope that its revision would measure student growth over time, offering a snapshot of student achievement. Right now, he said, there are too many standards being tested at every grade level, an approach he later characterized as being 'a mile wide and an inch deep.'" (
  • Michael Bennet. Bennet: New Reports of Student Progress Show Colorado Public Schools Headed in the Right Direction. 4 February 2010. "Colorado isn't waiting on Washington to make progress in our public schools or to implement the kind of changes we need to help our kids get ahead - we're leading the way. And we're showing the rest of the country what we can do to fix a system of public education that is failing far too many kids. We still have a lot of work to do in Denver and across Colorado. But these results show that we're moving in the right direction. And they show that when we focus on the needs of our kids and on education strategies that have proven to work, we can create the kind of opportunity we want for every child in this country." (
  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Education. "21st Century Standards- Consult with business and labor to inform efforts about what skills are most marketable. * Update standards that reflect 21st Century skill-building. * Invite states to embrace voluntary national standards so the public can measure progress that students as a whole are making from year to year. * Polish a performance measurement system so we know when reforms work. * Give tests requiring students to think and produce, not just be good at test taking. Centers for Communities- Look beyond standardized tests to parent/community engagement and student retention. * Start learning earlier, be broader in scope, and engage entire communities. * Transform schools to centers where communities gather for skills and services. * Utilize schools' unique ability to deliver health and support services. * Integrate nutrition and physical health in schools." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Environment and Energy Issues: Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Michael Bennet. Bennet Statement on Senate Leadership's Decision to Move Forward with Scaled-Back Energy Bill. 22 July 2010. "I can't help but be underwhelmed by Washington today," said Bennet. "The country needs us to move forward on addressing climate change and creating a clean energy economy. Yet partisanship and gridlock have struck again. We need a comprehensive energy bill that puts a price on carbon pollution and incentivizes the investments in clean energy that will help create jobs and lessen our dependence on overseas oil. A good bill will also follow Colorado's lead in establishing an aggressive renewable electricity standard." (
  • Michael Bennet. Letter To President Barack Obama. 30 November 2009. "As you work with Congress to craft legislation that will spur job creation, we urge you to consider legislation that will not only create jobs but also set the stage for our long-term prosperity. To that end, we recently introduced the Solar Manufacturing Jobs Creation Act to encourage investment in America's solar energy manufacturing industry, which will create jobs, make us more energy secure, and reduce global warming pollution. We know that you share these goals, so we wish to work with you to include this legislation in any jobs or clean energy bill that Congress considers in the near future. The Solar Manufacturing Jobs Creation Act builds on the progress toward clean energy that was marked by the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The recovery package invested more than $45 billion in programs and more than $21 billion in tax incentives to initiate a transition to a clean energy economy. While the recovery package has been a good start, there is more we can do to create jobs while positioning the United States as the leader in the technology that will power the 21st century global economy. It is with considerable dismay that we note that the United States is falling behind other countries in this critical competition. For example, a decade ago the United States accounted for more than 40% of the world's solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, but in 2008 we produced just 5% of the world's PV cells. Countries like China, Germany, and Japan are leading the way in attracting private capital by establishing powerful incentives for investing in solar manufacturing. It is time for those technologies and the jobs that accompany them to be found right here in America. Our legislation would create jobs here at home while setting the stage for economic growth for decades to come. It would make investments in equipment used to manufacture solar energy technology eligible for the existing 30 percent tax credit for installation of residential and business solar energy systems. The tax credit will spur investment in solar energy, which creates more jobs per megawatt of energy produced than any other form of energy. What's more, the impact of the legislation would be immediate, with firms having an incentive to make their investments early in order to capitalize on the refundable credit. For these reasons, in 2010 alone our legislation is projected to create nearly 7,200 jobs in solar energy manufacturing and 2,700 construction jobs to build new plants, yielding nearly 9,990 direct jobs created. The figure increases to 12,000 jobs when indirect jobs at upstream suppliers are included. As solar firms create jobs and innovate, so will America move forward as the global leader in clean energy technology, improving our energy security while combating global warming." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Gun Issues: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Fighting for Colorado's Sportsmen. "Repeatedly voting to preserve the rights of Coloradans to own guns for legal purposes, Voting to allow sportsmen to carry firearms in national parks and bring consistency to state and federal laws and provided additional access to adjacent public lands that allow hunting;" (
  • Michael Bennet. S Amdt 1067 to S Amdt 1058 to HR 627. 111th Congress. To protect innocent Americans from violent crime in national parks and refuges. Project Vote Smart Summary: Michael Bennet voted YES on 12 May 2009. (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Issues: Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • American Public Health Association. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Michael Bennet supported the interests of the American Public Health Association 100 percent in 2009. (
  • Michael Bennet. Health Care. "We have an urgent and moral obligation to change the health care system in this country so that every American has affordable access to quality health care and so that we can relieve our families, small businesses, and economy from the catastrophic impacts of high health care costs. We must face this problem head-on and start working towards solving it this year." (
  • Michael Bennet. 2010. The Denver Post: Q&A on health care reform with Colorado's congressional delegation. 9 September 2009. Responded: "Yes. In town halls and conversations I've had with people in every county of our state, I have heard from numerous Coloradans who year after year have paid for private insurance only to discover that when they needed coverage, it wasn't there. Many ... are understandably unhappy that somebody profited from that commercial transaction ... There is no reason why people shouldn't have as many options as possible to choose from, including a public option. A public option should be just that, an option, one of a number of choices - public, private and non profit - that families and small business can choose from." to the question: "Do you support health reform legislation that includes a so-called public option? Why or why not?" (
  • Michael Bennet. Include the Public Option. 17 February 2010. "The American people are demanding leadership from their elected leaders on health care reform. It's about time Washington stood up to insurance companies and stepped up for the American people. One of the ways Washington can do that is to enact meaningful reform - reform that includes a public health insurance option. Not only is a public option what most of the American people want, but it will also save taxpayer dollars. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that a public option could save at least $25 billion for taxpayers. Put simply, including a strong public option is one of the best, most fiscally-responsible ways to reform our health insurance system. But not only will the public option lead to greater savings for taxpayers, it will also provide more choice and more competition for working families. Choice and competition - two things we all can support. If you like your current coverage, you should be able to keep it. A public option would simply provide the American people with another option for quality, affordable care." (
  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Health Care. "Each day, Coloradans are denied insurance coverage for treatment their doctor recommends. Families and individuals are being charged higher premiums, losing benefits, and going into debt because of medical bills. There is no 'easy fix' solution to the problems in our health care system. But I support reform, and I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to provide quality, affordable health care to the people of Colorado and the nation. These are my principles: * You should be able to keep your current coverage. If you like your insurance and your doctor, there's no reason you should have to change. * We have to address rising health care costs. In the last decade, health insurance premiums have risen five times faster than wages. This contributes to the average Colorado family paying over $12,000 for employer-sponsored coverage. * Small businesses must have substantial relief from the growing cost of providing employer health care coverage. As health care becomes more costly, small and even large businesses are dropping employer-based coverage. * We need insurance security that covers people when they change jobs and never denies people coverage based on pre-existing conditions. * We must invest in cutting-edge medical research to save lives and bring biotechnology jobs to Colorado. We can lead in entrepreneurship and innovation. * Reform must result in every American having access to affordable health coverage and reasonable prescription drug costs." (
  • Michael Bennet. Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. 24 March 2010. "There are also some who are well intentioned and want to amend this bill to include a public option. I am and have been a strong proponent of a public option and, like a lot of people, have taken a lot of heat for it. I am not sure why because everywhere I went in Colorado people said to me: 'Michael, if you are going to require us to have insurance, we want as many choices as possible for our family. Please don't force us into this private insurance if there are other options out there.' A lot of us did all we could to convince the House to include it in this bill, and we were disappointed when they did not. We are going to continue to fight for it until we get a vote. We will have our vote on a public option. But I will not risk the well-being of Coloradans to do it, and I will not play into the hands of those who want to kill the bill." (
Yes Inferred Answer Immigration Issues: Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Michael Bennet. A Common-Sense Approach to Immigration Reform. "America's system of immigration is broken and in desperate need of a fix. For too long, partisan politics and heated rhetoric have prevented Washington from achieving the kind of reform we need to meet the realities of the new century. Michael believes our economy and national security depend on stopping the political gamesmanship and finally creating a system that works. It is time for practical, comprehensive reform that fixes our immigration system as a whole - enhancing border security and creating sound policy solutions for undocumented immigration. *American Reinvestment in Stronger, More Secure Borders- Michael supported passage of the Recovery Act, which provides nearly $400 million in funds to strengthen security and infrastructure for ports of entry on the Southwest border of the United States. *Providing Children of Undocumented Immigrants A Shot at the American Dream- Michael believes that all children in America should be able to think big about their future and have the opportunity to receive legal status, get an education and become productive members of the American workforce. That's why he co-sponsored the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented children who serve in the military or attend college the opportunity to obtain legal status." (
  • National Latino Congreso. 2007-2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Michael Bennet supported the interests of the National Latino Congreso 100 percent in 2007-2010. (
  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: Immigration. "A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, especially for deserving undocumented students who were brought here as children." (
  • Michael Bennet. Bennet Delivers Keynote Address at U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Convention Luncheon. 18 September 2009. "Finally, immigration is an issue where our fears and misconceptions distract us from the values that have made our nation great. It is unacceptable to have 12 million people in our country living in the shadow of our legal system. Of course, we must secure the border, and require the undocumented to register and become legal, pay a fine, pay their taxes, learn English and pass criminal background checks. Those who have serious criminal records should be sent back to their country of origin. Many of you come from families who have been here for generations. Others are new immigrants striving to achieve the American dream. There are nearly 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States that add 400 billion dollars each year to our economy. Your innovation and hard work sustain America's values; your successes shape its future." (
  • Michael Bennet. Bennet: Washington Can No Longer Afford to Delay Comprehensive Immigration Reform. 1 July 2010. "Washington can no longer afford to delay comprehensive immigration reform. It is time for action on a comprehensive plan that secures the border and requires undocumented immigrants to become legal, pay a fine and appropriate taxes and learn English. This is the only way to fully address the pressing problems in our immigration system. I look forward to working with anyone, from any party, who shows a genuine commitment to restoring common sense to our immigration system." (
Yes Inferred Answer International Policy Issues: Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joey Bunch. 2010. The Denver Post: Colo. congressional delegation wary of Obama's Afghanistan surge plan. 2 December 2009. "Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Denver, called the surge 'a step in the right direction.' 'We need a strategy that stops terrorists from using Afghanistan and Pakistan as a base for their activities, protects the border between the two countries, and allows us to bring our troops home as quickly as possible,' he stated."
  • Peace Action West. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Michael Bennet supported the interests of Peace Action West 80 percent in 2009. (
  • Michael Bennet. Issue Position: National Security. "We must provide the military, diplomatic, and economic resources necessary to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists once again. One of the most serious threats to regional security in Asia is on the Pakistan border. The nations of the region and the world must collectively prevent a Taliban-dominated government from getting control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal." (
  • Michael Bennet. Priority in Afghanistan Must Remain Our Commitment to Troops, National Security. 23 June 2010. "Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, released the following statement following President Obama's decision to remove Gen. Stanley McChrystal from command in Afghanistan and install Gen. David Petraeus: "President Obama has made the decision that he believes puts our troops, our mission in Afghanistan and our national security first. Our priority must remain our commitment to our troops and to ensuring that they have the equipment and support they need to carry out their mission. "The men and women of our armed forced make incredible sacrifices in service to our country and we must support them to the fullest extent."" (
  • Michael Bennett. Bennet Applauds Bipartisan Vote on Funding for Troops. 28 May 2010. "In my short time here I have learned that Washington certainly has its problems, and there is great need for reform. But last night the Senate moved past the partisan squabbling and political bickering to pass a bill that funds our troops during war time," said Bennet. "As we approach Memorial Day, and are reminded of the sacrifices our men and women in the armed forces make, it is good to know that we're able to join together--Democrats and Republicans--to make sure we are giving our troops the resources they need to protect our nation." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Social Issues: Should marriage only be between one man and one woman? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joseph Boven. 2010. The Colorado Independent: Romanoff champions gay rights, says he's most progressive candidate. 21 June 2010. "Bennet campaign spokesman Trevor Kincaid said the senator supports the right of states to decide on gay marriage but that he also supports the full repeal of the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. 'Bennet has said that as a private citizen, if a ballot measure were to come up in Colorado [providing for gay marriage], he would support it,' Kincaid said." (


Candidate Answer

Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.

Inferred Answer

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.

Unknown Answer

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.

Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Project Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

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