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Scott DesJarlais' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (TN) - District 4, Republican
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Scott DesJarlais has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Scott DesJarlais is still welcome to submit the test at any time.

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 2014, 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

  • Scott DesJarlais. Issues. 11 January 2012. “Scott is pro-gun, pro-life and pro-marriage and PROUD OF IT.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Issue Position: Abortion. 1 January 2012. “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Video: Dr. Scott DesJarlais. 29 June 2010. “I'm the conservative, pro-life, Republican, doctor, Scott DesJarlais.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. HR 3. 112th Congress. Prohibiting Taxpayer Funding of Abortion. Scott DesJarlais voted Yea on 05/04/2011. (
  • Scott DesJarlais. H Amdt 95. 112th Congress. Prohibiting Use of Federal Funds For Planned Parenthood. Scott DesJarlais voted Yea on 02/18/2011. (
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

  • Scott DesJarlais signed Americans for Tax Reform: Taxpayer Protection Pledge. 1 December 2012. “I Scott DesJarlais. pledge to the taxpayers of the 4th district of the state of Tennessee 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.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. House Republicans Are Not Waiting to Create Jobs. 26 October 2011. “Clearly, we have shown that there are areas where we can work together, but what my colleagues and I won't do is give this president a second stimulus package or increase taxes for more wasteful government spending that will not produce jobs.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Issue Position: Taxes. 11 January 2012. “Scott believes Tennesseans are taxed too much already. As our next Congressman, Scott will oppose any and all efforts to raise federal taxes, fighting to stop higher income taxes, higher taxes on small businesses and family farms and new taxes on health insurance. This is the only way to ensure generational success for small businesses and farms. Scott will stand up against any legislation that punishes hard work and ingenuity in this country.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Letter to Representative Hensarling, Senator Murray, and Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. 17 November 2011. “It is evident that America has a fiscal crisis because Washington spends too much, not because it taxes too little. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, tax revenues will reach or exceed the historical average of 18 percent of economic output by the end of this decade, even as spending continues to increase at an unsustainable rate. 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.” (
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Scott DesJarlais. Blog: A Real Strategy for Creating Jobs. 12 July 2011. “One year after 'Recovery Summer', the general consensus is that the 'stimulus plan' has proven to be nothing more than another example of wasteful Washington spending that has only further increased our nation's debt --not the number of American jobs. In fact, since this bill was signed into law in 2009, approximately 1.5 million jobs have been lost and any jobs 'created' were reported to have cost taxpayers an average of $278,000 per job. President Obama and Congressional Democrats promised the American people that their 'stimulus plan' would prevent unemployment from exceeding 8% -- it's now at 9.2%.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Blog:The President's Plan for Creating Jobs. 1 September 2011. “On Thursday, I hope that the President outlines a plan that focuses on removing the many unnecessary government barriers to private-sector job creation. I'm also hopeful that the president has learned that the answer to long-term economic growth is less, not more, government spending. The last thing that our country needs is any additional 'stimulus' spending.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. DesJarlais Statement on Updated CBO Outlook. 22 August 2012. “For over forty months our nation's unemployment rate has been above eight percent and our economy is stuck in the worst recovery in seventy years. Unfortunately, today's report by the CBO cements the fact that President Obama's policies of higher taxes and out of control government spending has done little to reverse this economic slide. In fact, job creators I talk with say that these record deficits create a climate of uncertainty that leads them to keep capital on the sidelines.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. House Republicans Are Not Waiting to Create Jobs. 26 October 2011. “Clearly, we have shown that there are areas where we can work together, but what my colleagues and I won't do is give this president a second stimulus package or increase taxes for more wasteful government spending that will not produce jobs.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Rep. DesJarlais Votes Against Bill Adding $100 Billion to Nation's Deficit and Debt. 17 February 2012. “I am more than willing to sit down with the president and work with him in making the difficult budgetary decisions needed to get our nation back on the right economic track. More budgeting gimmicks, tax increases and government stimulus will not give businesses in my district the confidence to start creating badly needed jobs.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Representative DesJarlais Statement on October Jobs Report. 4 November 2011. "Today's jobs numbers are a grim reminder that President Obama's failed economic policies have done little to create jobs in this country. For over two years now our nation's unemployment rate has exceeded 9 percent despite the passage of the president's nearly trillion dollar stimulus package that he assured us would keep unemployment under 8 percent.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Representative DesJarlais Statement on the May Unemployment Report. 1 June 2012. “I have had an opportunity to meet with more than forty business owners in the Fourth district during my Tennessee Job Creators Tour. Their message is clear: the federal government is hurting their ability to hire more workers. In fact, the Small Business Administration has estimated that government regulations cost businesses with fewer than twenty employees $10,585 a year per employee. That is money that should be used to create jobs -- not pay for more wasteful Washington spending.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Why the Rush to Waste Taxpayer Dollars? 17 October 2011. “His lack of regret over wasting a half a billion of taxpayer dollars makes it clear that giving him an additional stimulus package is not in the best interests of my constituents.” (
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

  • Matt Lasio. ‘No Child’ law may be left behind. 22 June 2011. “'The one-size-fits-all government […] mentality tends to fail again and again,' said Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., who sits on the House Education and Workforce Committee, which is charged with reauthorizing the legislation. He argues that a better approach than a national proficiency standard could be to track individual student improvement rates, instead of blocks of students. 'We want to judge students’ progress against themselves instead of against the whole system,' DesJarlais said.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Committee Leaders Voice Support for K-12 Education Reform Bills. 15 February 2012. “The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will encourage greater state and local control, support effective teachers in the classroom, and enhance flexibility. Read why committee members believe these proposals represent the best way forward for students and schools: […] Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) "It is critical that we give states and local school districts the flexibility they need to create the sort of innovative education programs required to bring both our schools and students into the 21st century. For this reason, I am proud to cosponsor these important pieces of legislation that will help to ensure our children are on a path to success in the classroom.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Letter to Secretary Duncan. 29 July 2011. “We request that you review Tennessee's waiver request in an expedited manner, especially as the 2011-2012 school year rapidly approaches and decisions about the future of Tennessee schools cannot wait. We share your concern about the need and opportunity for Washington to support state-led innovation, rather than present a barrier or seek to codify a single 'right' answer for education reform, and hope that you will consider Tennessee's waiver request in that light.” (
  • Scott Desjarlais. Congressman DesJarlais Questions Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Concerns of Teachers. 17 January 2012. “Maybe one of the biggest impediments to learning is the politicians and the federal government. […] They seem to be lacking a little bit in terms of pride in their profession and I think that is because of the bureaucracy and regulations” (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

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No Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Scott DesJarlais. HR 910. 112th Congress. Energy Tax Prevention Act. Scott DesJarlais voted Yea on 04/07/2011. (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Addressing Our Energy Needs. 25 March 2011. “During the last congress, House Democrats and the President tried to pass the job-killing Cap and Trade bill, which would increase the cost of energy for everyday Americans and stifle job growth. Further, since this bill failed even to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, the Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now attempting to impose many of the bill's job-destroying provisions with new burdensome regulations under the Clean Air Act. I find it unconscionable that the Administration would impose regulations making gas and electricity even more expensive at a time when Tennesseans are already struggling.” (
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Scott DesJarlais. Issues. 11 January 2012. “Scott is pro-gun, pro-life and pro-marriage and PROUD OF IT.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Representative DesJarlais Votes for National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. 16 November 2011. "Certainly, I'm proud to have supported today's legislation, but I do think it is a shame that a legislative fix is even required for something that is so clearly stated as a right in our Constitution. Be that as it may, I'll continue my efforts in strengthening our Second Amendment rights through the legislative branch." (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Scott DesJarlais. Repeal of Obamacare Act. 10 July 2012. “My opposition to ObamaCare is clear. That aside, having a President act without Congress to change law sets a dangerous precedent, one that violates the principles of our Constitution and the separation of power, principles that are the pillars of our democracy.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. 19 January 2011. “By voting to repeal this unnecessary health care bill we will effectively put a stop to the creation of a massive entitlement program that we did not want, we do not need, and we cannot afford.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. HR 2. 112th Congress. Repealing the Health Care Bill. Scott DesJarlais voted Yea on 01/19/2011. (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Congressman DesJarlais Delivers Remarks on the Need to Repeal Health Care Bill. 7 February 2011. "As a practicing physician for nearly two decades in Tennessee, I stand before you as an expert witness to the failures of a government run health care model. ObamaCare takes the problems I've seen in my home state and expands them to a national level. This bill raises taxes, increases spending and will add 701 billion dollars to the federal deficit. Most importantly, ObamaCare will ultimately end up restricting patient's access to quality health care by placing a Washington bureaucrat between patients and their doctors” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Blog: Welcome to my Blog. 9 February 2011. “I'm particularly proud that the House successfully voted to repeal the massive entitlement program known as ObamaCare. Like I've said before, this is a bill that Americans did not ask for, do not need and cannot afford, and I'm glad that I had an opportunity to vote on repealing it.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. GOP Doctor Caucus. 31 May 2011. “So I think it's important that the people stay engaged and speak out and acknowledge that they want the relationship to be between themselves and their doctors, and not between Washington bureaucrats such as what the IPAB is proposing. That's exactly what we're going to see. And we need to stand firm. The American people don't need to forget why they were opposed to the ObamaCare bill in the first place.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Government vs. Job Growth. 3 April 2011. “Some stated specifically that Obama-Care socialized medicine would keep them from taking on more workers. ObamaCare will require certain businesses either to provide costly, Washington-approved medical insurance plans or to pay $2,000 penalties per worker. It is absurd to think either of those options will not harm job creation.” (
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

  • Scott DesJarlais. 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.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Issue Position: Illegal Immigration. 11 January 2012. “Scott does not support amnesty. Dr. D's plan for illegal immigrants is a one way ticket out of the United States.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Issue Position: Immigration. 1 January 2012. “Illegal immigration burdens taxpayers, compromises national security, increases criminal activity, and erodes the significance of being an American citizen. We must secure our border and devote resources to enforcing current immigration law, which includes partnering with state and local law enforcement organizations.” (
No Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Scott DesJarlais. Letter to the Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States. 22 March 2011. "We are writing to express our great concern and disapproval over your recent announcement to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Your decision casts doubt on the trust the American people place in our government as a whole, and in the authority of the Constitution specifically." (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Issue Position: Marriage. 1 January 2012. “Marriage is traditionally defined as being between a man and a woman and we feel this distinction is important to the wellbeing of the American family.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Issues. 11 January 2012. “Scott is pro-gun, pro-life and pro-marriage and PROUD OF IT.” (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer National Security: Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Scott DesJarlais. Issue Position: National Security and Veterans. “Scott supports a strong military and stands behind our troops as they selflessly fight to protect our country in the Global War on Terror.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. Statement on Death of Osama bin Laden. 2 May 2011. “Last night, we achieved a significant victory against global terrorism and further strengthened the security of our nation. I'm incredibly proud of the brave men and women of our military and intelligence services who put their lives on the line to defend us from evil, and whose hard work ultimately led to the success of this mission.” (
  • Scott DesJarlais. We Will Prevail in the War on Terror. 2 May 2011. “We owe a great deal of gratitude to our brave men and women serving in uniform, as well as our intelligence officers, for successfully bringing down Osama bin Laden and scoring a major victory in the fight against terrorism […] Yesterday should send a clear message to those that engage in terrorist activities that we will find you and you will pay for your crimes. We are America, a Nation built by and defended by heroes, and we will prevail in the war on terror.” (
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

  • Scott DesJarlais. Issues. 5 September 2012. “People and organizations of every political background and persuasion agree on the fiscal reality that Medicare will be broke in ten years. Social Security funds, which were originally designated to be untouchable except for beneficiaries, have been raided year after year by short-sighted politicians of every description. If these programs are not reformed, our present day leadership will have irresponsibly failed to address one of the most crucial challenges faced in our lifetime for our country’s peace and prosperity. We must phase in incremental solutions to give younger generations an opportunity to participate in these programs and to secure their futures, while keeping the promises made to our current seniors 55 and older.” (
  • James Harrison. Fleischmann, DesJarlais not impressed with Obama jobs plan. 19 September 2011. "'Payroll tax cuts sound good, until you see that he's cutting social security payroll tax cuts,' DesJarlais said during a phone interview. 'I'm usually for cutting taxes, but he's cutting the wrong taxes.'" (
  • Scott DesJarlais. DesJarlais: Social Security Must be Saved. 1 August 2010. "In order to save the program and provide complete benefits for our seniors, I firmly believe Washington's reckless spending must end. We can balance the budget, reduce the size and scope of government and allow the private sector to create jobs once again all the while maintaining our promise to seniors. This is a common sense solution that Democrats refuse to discuss.” (


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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