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Joe Walsh's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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Joe Walsh refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2012 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 2012, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-life Inferred Answer Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: Family Issues. 4 November 2011. "I am strongly Pro-Life - without exception - and believe in the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death." (
  • Joe Walsh. Video: Joe Walsh Position on Abortion from Debate 01/10/10 @ Grayslake Central High School. 11 January 2010. "I believe life begins at conception, I'm pro-life without exception. Almost as equally disappointing, as disappointed as I was in Mellisa Bean's vote for health care, was her vote against the Stupak amendment. In essence she voted for public funding of abortion." (
  • Joe Walsh. HR 3. 112th Congress. Prohibiting Taxpayer Funding of Abortion. Joe Walsh voted Yea on 05/04/2011. (
  • Joe Walsh. H Amdt 95. 112th Congress. Prohibiting Use of Federal Funds For Planned Parenthood. Joe Walsh voted Yea on 02/18/2011. (
  • Carol Felsenthal. Joe Walsh on Abortion, Name-Calling, and His Family Life. 9 September 2011. "JW...The only difference was that in ˜96 and ˜98 I was pro-choice on abortion. CF: What happened to change your mind? JW: About five, six, seven years of long arduous thought, prayer, research. In about 2003, I became pro-life without exception. I've never looked back. Rape, incest and health of the mother. CF: You count those as exceptions? JW: No, there are no exceptions." (
  • Joe Walsh. Video: 8th Congress. Debate “ Is abortion a woman's "right"? 21 November 2009. "No theres no right to abortion but that almost begs the more important question. Abortion is murder. Why is there a right to murder? Life begins at conception. I fight my own catholic church on this often. I am pro life, there are no exceptions, the life of the mother “ and I gotta tell ya thats something Ive wrestled with for years, Ive battled my own catholic church on that - the only exception I'd make would be life of the mother, but its murder. Government has a role and has a step in and protect life." (
  • Joe Walsh. Illinois Federation For Right to Life: Pence Introduces Bill to De-Fund Planned Parenthood, Walsh Co-Sponsors. 11 January 2011. "This is one of the first pieces of legislation [HB 217] that I'm a co-sponsor on, and it's an honor. You know as well as I do that Planned Parenthood receives an idiotically high amount of funding from the government, and they continue to perform an unprecedented number of abortions. If there's anything like a common ground on this issue, it's that public money shouldn't be used to fund abortion. It's a privilege and an honor to co-sponsor this bill." (
No Inferred Answer Afghanistan: Do you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Chicago Sun-Times: U.S. House, Dist. 8: Joe Walsh. "I believe the President's fixed deadline for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan sends a mixed signal about the United States' commitment to success in that country. Achieving success in Afghanistan is not a short-term goal; our success will largely depend on the degree to which we are able to foster strong civilian-military partnerships and U.S.-Afghan partnerships. I do not have a fixed troop withdrawal date. In fact, I think having such a rigid deadline is dangerous because it sends a message - to both our enemies and our allies in the region - that we are not committed to seeing this through. If the Taliban merely has to wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar, fully knowing that U.S. troops will be out of their way then, I think we simultaneously risk losing our allies and putting them in harm's way, while also sending our enemies the clear message that they will again have control of the region. Winning in Afghanistan is not something that should be a half-hearted effort. Our strategy should be to firmly commit our resources to stabilizing that region." (
  • Mark Benjamin. “ Battleland Blog: GOP Gets Itchy to Leave Afghanistan, Independents Scratching. 13 May 2011. "I come from a swing district...a lot of blue-collar folks, and these are the most patriotic Americans in the world, and they're wondering what we're doing. There is a shift." (
  • Brain Slupski. Palatine Patch: Walsh: Time for U.S. To Get Out of Afghanistan. 9 August 2011. "I have moved on this issue...I think we need to come home right now....I said a lot during the campaign, 'we need to stay there,' 'we need to stick it out,' 'we need to win...And then it started to get a lot harder and harder to explain what winning meant." (
  • Joe Walsh. Politico's The Arena: Can Obama split the difference on Afghanistan? 22 June 2011. "We should be drawing down troops much faster, without announcing to the world and our enemies what we're doing." (
  • Joe Walsh. H Con Res 28. 112th Congress. Removing Troops from Afghanistan. Joe Walsh voted Nay on 03/17/2011. (
Yes Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. H Amdt 13. 112th Congress. Reducing Navy and Air Force Aircraft Procurement. Joe Walsh voted Nay on 02/15/2011. (
  • Joe Walsh. HR 1363. 112th Congress. 2011 Department of Defense Budget and Additional Continuing Appropriations. Joe Walsh voted Yea on 04/07/2011. (
  • Joe Walsh. Rep. Walsh Statement on Support of Massive Spending Cuts in Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. 8 July 2011. "For the first time in 20 years, the House has passed a Department of Defense Appropriations bill that is significantly lower than the President's budget request. While I unconditionally support our troops, I thought it was imperative to cut some of the bloat out of the President's request. In fact, during the amendment process I also supported several amendments that would have made further cuts to defense spending, including one that would have made an additional 3 percent cut across the board. Unfortunately, these amendments did not pass, but as the appropriations process continues, I will continue to fulfill my campaign pledge and support hard spending cuts and fiscal responsibility." (
  • Catherine Dodge and Laura Litvan. Bloomberg: Defense Spending No Longer 'Sacred Cow' to Republicans Searching for Cuts. "There's a fairly aggressive group of us that wants us to take a close look at defense." (
No Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • FreedomWorks. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. FreedomWorks endorsed Joe Walsh in the 2012 general election. (
  • Joe Walsh signed Americans for Tax Reform: The Taxpayer Protection Pledge. "I pledge to the taxpayers of the state of Illinois and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Letter to President Obama. 13 September 2011. "Each $1 increase in government spending reduces private-sector investment by between $0.46 and $0.97 after two years and $0.74 and $0.96 over five years. To make matters worse, this government spending has built up over $14 trillion in national debt - nearly the same size as our entire annual economy. Massive government spending has not helped. You claimed in 2009 that the $787 billion stimulus package would lower unemployment and get Americans back to work. This did not happen. Unemployment is higher now than when you took office. More stimulus spending like you have proposed will only further decrease private investment and add to uncertainty that is scaring small business owners from investing in their ventures." (
  • Joe Walsh. Stimulus Failed America. 24 August 2010. "The stimulus has failed. According to the Obama Administration, this bill created fewer than 10 jobs per month in our district -- 80% of those were government jobs. Sadly, this stimulus is a bailout for state and local government that was never designed to help the private sector grow the economy and create jobs." (
  • Joe Walsh. Rep. Walsh Issues Statement on President Obama's Latest Tax Hike. 19 September 2011. "It doesn't make any sense to raise taxes on America's job creators to pay for another stimulus program that won't create any jobs." (
  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: Government Spending. 7 November 2011. "President Bush started the ball rolling with the TARP program and President Obama doubled down with his pork-laden omnibus spending bill and the wasteful stimulus package. All the while, our deficits mounted and we continue to pile on more and more debt. If something isn't done soon, we'll literally be bankrupting our kids and grandkids and robbing them of all the opportunities that this country has offered to us." (
  • Joe Walsh. Rep. Walsh Introduces Bill to Index Capital Gains Tax to Inflation. 16 September 2011. "Throwing more irresponsible stimulus money at the problem is not going to create jobs. Common-sense tax and regulatory reforms like my bill will enable American families and businesses to create jobs now and invest in the future." (
  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: Economy. 7 November 2011. "The $787 billion stimulus package passed by Congress hasn't stimulated the economy and our job losses mount...The fact is the financial meltdown and mortgage crisis that precipitated our current situation weren't caused by a lack of government involvement but by too much...If we want our economy to grow and produce jobs again, we must rely on a vibrant private sector to pull us out of the recession." (
  • Joe Walsh. Melissa Bean's Washington Math Doesn't Add Up for 8th District Families. 14 April 2010. "Runaway federal spending and ever-escalating tax burdens are strangling our economy...We will lose our country if we don't bring fiscal sanity to Washington." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Letter to Representative Hensarling, Senator Murray, and Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. 17 November 2011. "Increasing taxes on Americans would destroy jobs, erase all hope of an economic recovery, and simply serve to feed out-of-control spending in Washington. Thus, as you continue the important task to reach a deficit reduction agreement, we ask that any policies the Joint Select Committee prescribes not increase Americans' tax burden. With current levels of taxation already limiting economic growth, we believe that marginal rates must be maintained or lowered and that repeal of any tax credit or deduction be offset with an equal or greater tax cut. Although there are diverse beliefs toward specific policies that should be included in any deficit reduction plan, we must recognize that increasing the tax burden on American businesses and citizens, especially during a fragile recovery, is irresponsible and dangerous to the health of the United States." (
  • Joe Walsh. Hearing of the Economic House on Economic Growth Subcommittee, Tax and Capital Access of the House Committee on Small Business - Is Uncertainty Contributing to the Jobs Crisis: The View of Local Illinois Small Businesses? 12 December 2011. "If you're a business owner and need to hire another employee or buy some new equipment, but you're unsure about how Washington is going to change your taxes or how much a new regulation is going to cost your company, you will hold off on that purchase or that hire. Scenarios like that are playing out across the country. This policy uncertainty is preventing American small businesses from creating jobs and it is crushing economic growth." (
  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: Economy, Taxes & Jobs. 1 January 2012. "No, Mr. President -- the private sector is not "doing fine." The unemployment rate in Illinois is still at 8%, and over half a million residents are still out of work. Washington's answers, however, have only made the situation worse. We don't need more regulation that stifle free markets; Illinois needs responsible behavior by those entrusted with oversight [¦] Did you know that even the IRS' Taxpayer Advocate says that our tax code has grown so long that they find it challenging to figure out how long it actually is? What's worse is if Congress allows the Bush Tax Cuts to expire at the end of this year, marginal tax rates will increase almost 5% [¦] Some of my accomplishments to get America's economy back track include: [¦] Cosponsoring over a dozen bills that rolled back onerous government regulations handed down through [¦] Tax policies [¦] Hearings in Washington on how the Death Tax -- the 35% tax families must pay the federal government when a loved one dies and a family member inherits the family business that is rightfully theirs -- that is crippling Illinois entrepreneurs and job creators." (
  • Joe Walsh. Rep. Walsh Introduces Bill to Index Capital Gains Tax to Inflation. 16 September 2011. "Throwing more irresponsible stimulus money at the problem is not going to create jobs. Common-sense tax and regulatory reforms like my bill will enable American families and businesses to create jobs now and invest in the future." (
  • Joe Walsh. U.S. House, Dist. 8: Joe Walsh. "I will work in Washington to lower taxes, eliminate burdensome regulations and encourage policies that let small businesses thrive and grow. Lowering taxes will send an immediate message to the financial markets, encouraging them to invest and expand. Small businesses create 75% of all new jobs in America. We must free those businesses from the impediments imposed by government to restart the engine of job-creation in this country." (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Video: Joe Walsh, Melissa Bean Debate. 21 October 2010. "You can't show me one statistical analysis that anything at the federal level or the department of education has done any good for our schools. Our schools are state and local issues. To improve our public schools we need to cajole and encourage competition into the system." (
  • Joe Walsh. Chicago Sun-Times: U.S. House, Dist. 8: Joe Walsh. 7 November 2011. "I have worked in education since the beginning of my career, and I am a staunch supporter of competition, vouchers, and charter schools. I believe teachers must be accountable for their students' performance. And I believe parents - not teachers' unions - should be able to select the appropriate school for their child. Unfortunately, the President's Race to the Top education initiative has failed to achieve meaningful reform and has displayed a bias against charter schools. The program spent 4.35 billion dollars, and, rather than measure successful reform, the competition studied whether or not the reforms were supported by the teachers' unions. (This was particularly noticeable in March when the Secretary of Education announced its "reform winners" based on how supportive the teachers' unions were of those reform efforts.)" (
  • Joe Walsh. Video: 8th Congress. Debate “ What are the biggest problems facing Education in America? 23 November 2009. "If we had a lot of money to throw at education, I still wouldn't throw it at education. Money's not the problem...It's simple, we know the answer: there is an absolute lack of competition in the American education system." (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. HR 1230. 112th Congress. Offshore Leasing Act. Joe Walsh voted Yea on 05/05/2011. (
No Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. HR 910. 112th Congress. Energy Tax Prevention Act. Joe Walsh voted Yea on 04/07/2011. (
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Rep. Walsh Responds to the Brady Campaign on Illinois's Restrictive Gun Laws. 3 October 2011. "We need not forget that freedom was gained and will always be maintained by a strict interpretation of our Constitution and this certainly includes the Second Amendment. While I respect the mission of the Brady Campaign to reduce crime and violence, we strongly disagree on how this should be done. It should not be done through the slow dismantling of our right to bear arms, and by disarming law abiding Americans. Gun rights advocates are on the front lines in defending our freedoms. I stand with them in this noble mission and will always be an outspoken advocate for Second Amendment rights and particularly, a repeal of Illinois laws preventing the right-to-carry." (
  • Jen Sabella. The Huffington Post: Joe Walsh Vows To Fight For Gun Rights, Says Obama Administration Should Be Investigated. 29 September 2011. "The most important amendment in that Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment...It protects every other amendment. It is the last line of defense between us and our government." (
  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: 2nd Amendment. 7 November 2011. "I am a strong supporter of our constitutionally provided right to bear arms including our rights to own hand guns to protect our homes and to carry concealed weapons. Private citizens are constitutionally guaranteed the right to own firearms. The 2nd Amendment is not at all ambiguous - this right 'shall not be infringed.' Guns laws across the country infringe this right, day after day. It is my position that we do not need any more anti-gun laws. Private citizens must have the right to defend themselves, their families, their homes. This right must not be violated by federal, state and/or local government." (
  • Joe Walsh. NRA News: Rep. Joe Walsh Responds to the Brady Campaign on Illinois's Restrictive Gun Laws “ Phone Transcript. 6 October 2011. "Look I represent a district in Illinois and I'm not bashful in saying that when it comes to 2nd Amendment rights my state is an embarrassment. Were the last state standing without concealed-carry. Its something we've gotta do something about as quickly as we can in Illinois....So you spell out the facts and it always slays me “ cause you and I know the facts “ we know what concealed-carry does we know that it brings down crime rates we know it brings down violent crime rates...But it always bother me a little bit when I get into that argument because it's not fair, how come its only the 2nd Amendment that we have to defend via a factual argument. To me its a matter of freedom, its there in the constitution why do we have to use details to defend it...To me this is a civil rights issue, and the federal government I think needs to be more active with this issue." (
  • Gun Owners of America. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. Gun Owners of America endorsed Joe Walsh in the 2012 general election. (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. HR 2. 112th Congress. Repealing the Health Care Bill. Joe Walsh voted Yea on 01/19/2011. (
Yes Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Joe Walsh. Video: 8th Congress. Debate “ Illegal Aliens? 22 November 2009. "This is an issue to me that is just very simple. Illegal aliens “ theres a law. Enforce the laws. Start there, enforce the laws: secure the borders...We need to enforce the laws." (
  • Joe Walsh. Rep. Walsh Statement on President Obama's Backdoor Amnesty Plan. 19 August 2011. "Illegal immigrants are here illegally -- this is a fact that should not take a government bureaucrat to figure out. Instead, however, the President is granting authority to federal workers to choose who gets to stay and who gets to go. This sounds a lot like amnesty to me. This new policy encourages breaking our sovereign laws and creates uncertainty for those seeking to become U.S. citizens." (
  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: Illegal Immigration. 7 November 2011. "We should streamline our immigration procedures to process legal immigrants more quickly and efficiently but we should not offer amnesty to anyone here illegally. There are millions of potential citizens around the world waiting for their chance to become Americans and who are playing by the rules we've established for legal immigration. Those people should be given first preference over anyone who's come here illegally or overstayed a visa. At the same time, we must ramp up the security screening and cross-checking with law-enforcement personnel." (
  • Joe Walsh. Letter to President Obama. 9 September 2011. "Members of the bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus along with member of the House vehemently oppose your August 18 2011 announcement to bypass Congress and use prosecutorial discretion to achieve amnesty to individuals who are illegally residing in the US. The manner with which your administration has introduced this policy not only robs the public of a thorough betting, but it also fails to appreciate the negative consequences of this policy shift. Over the last several years, with the support of the American public, Congress has consistently defeated amnesty proposals for illegal aliens. This recent effort appears to be nothing more than an attempt to avoid public review and unilaterally impose amnesty by picking and choosing which laws to enforce; or in this case, not to enforce, thereby enabling illegal aliens to remain in the country." (
  • Americans for Legal Immigration. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. Americans for Legal Immigration endorsed Joe Walsh in the 2012 general election. (
  • Americans for Legal Immigration. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. Americans for Legal Immigration endorsed Joe Walsh in the 2010 general election. (
  • Joe Walsh. Chicago Tribune: Editorial Board Questionnaire. 7 November 2011. "We should enforce the laws that are already on the books. Anyone who is here illegally and working has broken laws other than the immigration laws. They have had to commit Social Security fraud or identity theft to obtain a job. This theft has implications on the victims whose identity is stolen." (
No Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Abdon M. Pallasch. Chicago Sun-Times: Rep. Walsh lauded by group for being pro-family, though accused of owing child support. 3 November 2011. "I am proud and honored to be recognized by the Family Research Council as the only member from Illinois with a 100 percent pro-family voting record," Walsh said in a news release. "Defending American values have always been one of my top priorities, and this reward reaffirms my dedication to that fight." (
  • Joe Walsh. Issue Position: Family Issues. 4 November 2011. "I'm a strong supporter of traditional marriage and believe that a marriage can only exist between one man and one woman." (
  • Joe Walsh. Chicago Sun-Times: U.S. House, Dist. 8: Joe Walsh. 7 November 2011. "I support the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted in a bipartisan manner and signed into law by President Clinton. I believe that DOMA is Constitutional and that society and government should protect marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer National Security: Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict? 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 Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.


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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