Senator Chris Coons's Political Positions

Office: U.S. Senate (DE) - Jr, Democratic
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Chris Coons has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests.

What is the Political Courage Test?

This candidate has demonstrated 0% courage during the test.

*Note: This percentage is calculated based on the number of issue areas addressed by the candidate on the Political Courage Test at the conclusion of the testing period. It does not indicate support or lack of support by Project Vote Smart.

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 are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Vote Smart's Research

Vote Smart's Research

  • "JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of the economy, one of the first things you're going to be asked to vote on when you take your seat is whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, as well as for the middle class.Do you think they should be extended for everyone, including the wealthy?CHRIS COONS: Well, Judy, I think we should extend tax relief for the vast majority of Americans, for the 98 percent of folks who earn less than $250,000 a year. And I think it's important for us to come to a bipartisan resolution of this question.I have said in the campaign -- and I intend to move in this direction as senator -- that I'm willing to compromise on extending those income tax cuts for a number of years to higher-income individuals, if we can also get an agreement that extends other tax relief or other tax cuts that I'm convinced have a real impact on job creation." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "He will continue to strengthen America's economy through strategic long-term investments in infrastructure, training and workforce development. Chris will use his position in the Senate to fight for trade agreements that contain good labor and environmental standards that will help to create new American jobs, not ship them overseas." (
  • "Responsibly cutting government spending while ensuring investments in American competitiveness. Responsible governance means approaching budget cuts with a scalpel instead of a hacksaw. Our spending cuts must be strategic and fit into a larger agenda to promote economic growth. While we maintain the crucial investments we need in American competitiveness, we must also be responsible with cuts to ensure that those who have struggled most in this recession are not faced with the elimination or reduction of critical programs that serve them." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Reauthorizing and reinvigorating ESEA. We must reform our education system and its challenges comprehensively. Congress should move to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in a way that reinvigorates federal programs that support student achievement and college preparedness. We need to hold our students to high standards while at the same time ensuring teachers have access to critical resources and support systems. Reauthorizing ESEA will give Congress a chance to focus on making key education policy decisions that lawmakers have put off for too long." (

Vote Smart's Research

Vote Smart's Research

  • ""To mitigate the impacts of climate change, we have to reduce the level of damaging carbon emissions we pump into the atmosphere. If enacted, the EPA's Clean Power Plan will ensure America's power plants -- our country's single largest source of carbon pollution -- move to responsibly curb harmful emissions. These guidelines set strong targets for reducing carbon pollution, while giving states the flexibility they need to achieve emissions goals in a cost-effective way. This critical effort will protect public health, strengthen the market for energy efficiency, and spur transition to affordable, homegrown clean energy." (
  • "Chris is...calling for a nationwide cap and trade program that will help establish a price on carbon and unleash the creativity of American ingenuity to help solve the increasing effects of Greenhouse gases on the environment." (

Vote Smart's Research

Vote Smart's Research

  • "While the Affordable Care Act is already doing a lot of good for a lot of people, it does need to be updated and implemented responsibly to make sure we minimize the potential harm to small and medium-sized businesses..." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In my two years here in the Senate, I've supported measures that create a path to citizenship for those already in the United States, as well as measures that would expand the opportunity for the world's best and brightest to come to the U.S. to pursue their ideas. There is a lot to like in this framework, including the creation of a path to citizenship and strengthened prohibitions against racial profiling." (
  • "U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and cosponsor of the DREAM Act and seven additional bills that would modernize the nation's immigration system, praised the Senate's passage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, a comprehensive immigration reform bill that makes important strides toward repairing America's broken immigration system. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 68 to 32."For a nation built by immigrants and the children of immigrants, this is an historic moment," Senator Coons said. "For too long, America's immigration system has fallen short of our shared values, failing to protect the basic rights of those seeking a fair opportunity to build a life here and contribute to our economy. The bill passed today will make our immigration system fairer and more humane. It will provide new opportunities for American-educated immigrants to pursue their ideas and innovations in the U.S. It will make extraordinary investments in the security of our borders. It is a balanced, bipartisan bill that will mean a more hopeful future for the next generation of Americans. I urge my colleagues in the House to take up this bill and seize this historic opportunity to build a modern immigration system that reflects America's values and makes our country stronger."The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act establishes a fair, earned pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already contributing to our country." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "...Senator Coons is working to ensure all loving couples can enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of marriage." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Defending U.S. security interests. Senator Coons believes we must use all tools at our disposal to defend Americans against global threats and protect U.S. security interests abroad. He supports strong U.S. leadership, working in partnerships with our allies, to combat terrorism and promote global security, stability, and peace." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We must be thankful for the numerous contributions that America's seniors have made to lay the groundwork for future generations and we must ensure support for them as they transition into retirement. Chris supports efforts to keep Social Security strong and solvent. He does not support the risky scheme of Social Security privatization, which if passed by Republicans years ago, would have wiped out seniors' retirement saving. In this tough economic time, he will stand firm against efforts to raise the retirement age or modify benefits in any other way that would harm Social Security retirees." (


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

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Delaware Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

Pro-choiceCandidate Answera) Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
Nob) Should abortion be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy?
Yesc) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Noe) Should federal subsidies be prohibited from being used for abortion procedures?
f) Other or expanded principles

1) Spending

Indicate what federal funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category- you can use a number more than once.

a) Agriculture
b) Arts
c) Defense
1) Intelligence operations
2) Military hardware
3) National missile defense
4) Salary and benefits for active duty personnel
5) Programs to improve troop retention rates
6) Research and development of new weapons
d) Education
e) Environment
f) Homeland security
g) International aid
h) Medical research
i) Scientific research
j) Space exploration
k) United Nations
l) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories

2) Taxes

Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category- you can use a number more than once.

a) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
c) Cigarette taxes
d) Corporate taxes
e) Gasoline taxes
f) Income taxes (low-income families)
g) Income taxes (middle-income families)
h) Income taxes (high-income families)
i) Other or expanded categories
Unknown PositionInferred Answer 3) Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax? View Citations
4) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
YesInferred Answer 5) Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy? View Citations
6) Other or expanded principles

Chris understands the importance and challenges of balancing a budget. As County Executive, he inherited a mess of corruption and out-of-control government spending. He cut $100 million in spending and balanced six budgets by demanding more accountability and cracking down on wasteful spending. Chris will continue this leadership in the United States Senate.

NoCandidate Answera) Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security?
b) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Yesc) Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage?
Yesd) Do you support the ability of workers to unionize?
Yese) Do you support federal funding for job-training programs that retrain displaced workers?
f) Other or expanded principles
a) Do you support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns?
b) Should Congress regulate indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
c) Do you support removing all contribution limits on federal campaigns?
d) Should candidates for federal office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
e) Do you support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations?
f) Do you support limiting the President's ability to define how legislation is applied through the use of signing statements?
g) Other or expanded principles

Chris opposes the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case. He believes we must reform our campaign finance laws but that true reform will only come once the judicial system finds that campaign spending is not a form of speech. Chris believes that Senators should never become lobbyists.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer a) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes? View Citations
b) Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related training and job-placement assistance when released?
c) Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with substance abuse treatment?
d) Do you support reduced prison sentences for non-violent offenders?
e) Do you support mandatory prison sentences for selling illegal drugs?
f) Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate Answera) Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students?
Yesb) Do you support federal funding for universal pre-K programs?
Yesc) Do you support federal funding for charter schools?
Nod) Do you support federal funding for K-12 school vouchers?
Yese) Do you support the federal government providing college students with financial aid?
f) Other or expanded principles
YesInferred Answer a) Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change? View Citations
b) Do you support international emissions targets aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
c) Do you support allowing energy producers to trade carbon credits under a "cap and trade" system?
d) Do you support strengthening fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles?
e) Do you support domestic oil exploration in federally-protected areas?
f) Do you support federal funding for the development of alternative energy?
g) Do you support the development of nuclear reactors?
h) Other or expanded principles

Chris believes we should be doing more to be good environmental stewards. We should work to reduce our emissions and supports a cap and trade program that will unleash the creativity of American ingenuity to help solve the increasing effects of greenhouse gases on the environment. Chris believes our dependence on foreign oil is a national security concern. Chris has long supported innovation and research in alternative energy sources, and although transitioning from oil to alternative energies will not be quick or easy, now is the time to forge ahead with serious commitments to wind, solar, biofuels, and other options.

YesCandidate Answera) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Yesb) Do you believe that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual citizens to own guns?
c) Do you support allowing individuals to carry concealed guns?
d) Do you support a ban on assault rifles?
e) Other or expanded principles

Chris respects that the 2nd Amendment guarantees a person's right to keep and bear arms, subject to a few common sense limitations. Government should focus on strictly enforcing existing laws to protect public safety, rather than expanding gun regulations.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer a) Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option? View Citations
b) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
c) Should the federal government expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts?
d) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
e) Do you support relaxing regulations on the importation of prescription drugs?
f) Other or expanded principles

While not perfect, Chris supports the Affordable Care Act that will guarantee quality, affordable health care to all, and he looks forward to working with members of the Senate and House to implement, defend and sustain it.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer a) Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants? View Citations
b) Do you support decreasing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country?
c) Do you support establishing English as the official national language?
d) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
e) Other or expanded principles

Chris strongly believes in the need for comprehensive federal immigration reform.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer a) Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan? View Citations
b) Do you support increasing military assistance for Afghanistan?
c) Do you support increasing economic development assistance for Afghanistan?
Yesd) Should the United States continue to strike suspected terrorist targets in Pakistan?
Yese) Do you support granting aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States?
f) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Yesg) Do you support increasing sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates?
Yesh) Do you support the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq?
i) Do you support the United States' involvement in free trade agreements?
j) Other or expanded principles

Chris supports international free and fair trade agreements that include labor and other environmental protections and enforcement.

NoCandidate Answera) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
Yesb) Do you support allowing openly-gay men and women to serve in the United States military?
Yesc) Do you support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?
d) Should the federal government end affirmative action programs?
e) Other or expanded principles
Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

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