Senator Patrick 'Pat' J. Toomey's Political Positions

Office: U.S. Senate (PA) - Jr, Republican
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Pat Toomey 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?

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

  • Pat Toomey. S 3. 108th Congress. A bill to prohibit the procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Project Vote Smart Summary: Patrick Toomey voted YES on 2 October 2003. (
  • Planned Parenthood. 2001. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. "Pat Toomey supported the interests of the Planned Parenthood 13 percent in 2001." (
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America. 2003. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. "Pat Toomey supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent in 2003." (
  • National Right to Life Committee. 2003-2004. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Pat Toomey supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 91 percent in 2003-2004. (
  • National Right to Life Committee. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 14 September 2010. National Right to Life Committee endorsed Pat Toomey in the 2010 general election. (
  • Pat Toomey. HR 3660. 106th Congress. To amend title 18, United States Code, to ban partial-birth abortions. Project Vote Smart Summary: Patrick Toomey voted YES on 4 May 2000. (
  • Pat Toomey. HR 760. 108th Congress. To prohibit the procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Project Vote Smart Summary: Patrick Toomey voted YES on 4 June 2003. (
  • Pat Toomey. ABC News' Pennsylvania Senate Debate - Transcript Part I. 20 October 2010. Responded "Well, you've put a lot on the table all at once. Let me start-- with the first issue. Abortion's a tough issue. And it's one-- there's good people on both sides of this. My views are consistent with that of a majority of the congressional delegation and the other Senator from Pennsylvania. I'm pro-life. And I would accept a ban on abortions, with the exceptions of rape and incest and the life of the mother. I think Roe versus Wade was mistakenly-- determined. And I would support its repeal [...]." to the question: "Is Roe v. Wade...or would you, if elected, work to further undermine it? Or knock it out completely?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Family and Marriage. "Pat is pro-life and believes that children should be welcomed into the world and protected by its laws." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Pat Toomey signed American Family Business Institute: Death Tax Repeal Pledge. (
  • National Taxpayers Union. 2003. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Pat Toomey supported the interests of the National Taxpayers Union 80 percent in 2003. (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Taxes. "When people work hard, they have a right to enjoy the money they have earned. But when the government imposes an unnecessarily heavy burden on our paychecks, our businesses, our investments, and our goods and services, it impinges upon our economic freedom." (
  • Pat Toomey. Times - Senate Hopeful Visits Biglerville. 25 August 2010. "I also want to repeal the death tax. When the patriarch dies, there's not enough cash and people have to sell the farm or business." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • The Club for Growth. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 14 September 2010. The Club for Growth endorsed Pat Toomey in the 2010 general election. (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Spending. "Washington politicians are on a dangerous spending spree. A combination of wasteful pork projects, multiple bailouts, the so-called stimulus, and new government programs have pushed the deficit for 2009 to a record-breaking $1.6 trillion dollars and the ten-year deficit to $9 trillion dollars." (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Bailouts. "Pat opposed the taxpayer-funded bailouts from the very beginning and will continue to oppose them. As a senator, Pat will fight to save taxpayer dollars from wasteful bailouts and to protect hardworking, responsible businesses and individuals." (
  • Pat Toomey. Patriot News - Commentary: Pat Toomey Rips 'Badly Flawed' Economic Policies. 24 August 2010. "Pat Toomey kicked off his talk about the nation's economy at the Pennsylvania Press Club by addressing what he called the dramatic lack of recovery. Specifically, he pointed to jobs. "There's a dramatic lack of job growth, compared to previous recessions," Toomey said Monday. A sharp speaker with a commanding arsenal of free-market ideology talking points, Toomey said the federal response to the economic meltdown has been abysmal. "It's abnormal to have this kind of performance, and that's due to the badly flawed policies" of several key people...Toomey says he would have let everything collapse and let the free market forces create new companies. "The serial bailouts ... were a huge misallocation of resources. It is unfair to taxpayers [and has] a chilling effect on business," Toomey said." (
  • Pat Toomey. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Toomey Defends Financial Positions During Campaign Stop. 26 August 2010. "There's no recovery. There's no real economic growth," Toomey said. In an interview later, he compared the stimulus to "taking a bucket of water out of one end of a pool, pouring it into the other end of the pool and thinking you're going to raise the water level." (
  • Pat Toomey. Times-Tribune - Toomey Rips Sestak for Backing 'Welfare State'. 24 August 2010. "In an interview later, Mr. Toomey dismissed economists who say the downturn would have been worse without the stimulus, citing other economists who think the stimulus accomplished nothing, he said. He also dismissed the turnaround of General Motors and Chrysler because of bailout funding, which President Barack Obama recently highlighted. "So taxpayers had to shovel a boatload of money into these companies and now, for the moment, they're profitable. That's not a viable model in my mind," he said. "I just don't think that's fair to the taxpayers." (
  • Pat Toomey. Williamsport Sun Gazette - Republican Candidate Visits Area Airport. 23 August 2010. "I would never support the job-killing agenda these guys are pushing on us," he said?Toomey was speaking of the multi-billion dollar stimulus package recently pushed through by the Obama administration." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • National Review. A GPO Surrender On Social Security? 18 September 2002. "Toomey talks about private Social Security accounts as a citizen-empowerment issue. He also touts private investment accounts as a civil-liberties issue for black and Latino voters who have the most to gain financially from establishing personal accounts." (
  • Pat Toomey. 2007. National Review Online: Personal Accounts or Bust. 27 April 2007. "I'm going to save you the trouble of reading all 218 pages of the Social Security Administration's "2007 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees" by summing up the dizzying details in six words: Social Security is still going broke. [...] Luckily, there is a fourth option, one that tackles insolvency and offers workers a greater rate of return on their contributions. That option is personal accounts. There has been a lot of debate about personal accounts, but very little of it productive. Instead of having a substantive discussion about which solution best serves retirees, Democrats prefer to demonize personal accounts, painting the proposal as a boogeyman that will lead, as Ted Kennedy put it, to "the destruction of Social Security." But there is nothing scary about personal accounts. Personal accounts simply give workers the freedom to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in a range of mutual funds, making them no different than the IRAs and 401(k)s that so many Americans use today. The benefits of personal accounts over the current system can be illustrated with a numerical example. Let's take a hypothetical 25-year-old male earning $32,000 a year with average wage growth. Under the current system, he will receive $2,780 per month when he retires, or a measly -0.72 percent return on his contributions (according to the handy calculations of the Heritage Foundation). Now imagine that our hypothetical worker invests the retirement portion of his payroll taxes in a bundle of stocks and bonds, earning a modest 4.9 percent return. When he retires at the ripe age of 67, he will have an account with his name on it worth $1.1 million, or $9,546 per month, ready to be spent on that cabin in the mountains he always wanted. So the debate over Social Security comes down to one simple question: Would you rather have $2,780 a month in your retirement or $9,546 a month? The funding crisis highlighted by the 2007 report presents us with an opportunity to fix our broken retirement system. But patching up Social Security with an old rag and a hastily sterilized needle will have us back in the same situation ten years down the line, and the worse for wear. Fixing Social Security means not only funding it, but creating the best retirement system possible given our limited resources. Of course, the Democrats will oppose personal accounts, and will no doubt resort to the same kind of demagoguery they used in 2005 to sink any attempt at reviving the proposal. If Republicans are serious about achieving real, market-based Social Security reform, they will have to effectively communicate to the American people that the only real solution is personal accounts, while the boogeymen are the politicians who don't trust the people enough to make their own decisions." (
  • Pat Toomey. ABC News' Pennsylvania Senate Debate - Transcript Part I. 20 October 2010. Responded "[...] First of all, my dad is 80 years old. My mom is of the same generation. They rely on Social Security and they have since they retired. I would never do anything that would jeopardize the benefits of people who are retired or close to retirement. And when I was a Member of the House, I sponsored legislation that would make it out of order for Congress to even consider legislation that would cut the benefits of retirees. Joe Sestak hasn't sponsored any such legislation. But I've also looked at the reality that we face as a nation. The fiscal challenges that we face. And the demographic reality that we face. And I want to make this program last for future generations. To do it, we're gonna have to make some changes. And we could offer young people some reforms within Social Security so that this program can be viable [...]" to the question "What is your stance on privatizing Social Security?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Toomey Defends Financial Positions During Campaign Stop. 26 August 2010. "Toomey, who told the Pennsylvania Press Club on Monday he never favored Social Security privatization, said yesterday he hadn't switched positions. He wants to allow young workers to save and invest a portion of their Social Security taxes, while leaving the system unchanged for older workers. "I object to that term (privatization). I think it's a misleading term. It's been used by the left to demagog the issue and to completely mislead people about the kind of reforms to Social Security that people like me have been advocating," Toomey said." (
  • Pat Toomey. Wilkes-Barre Times Leader - Growing Economy Top Priority for Toomey. 8 October 2010. "Toomey also favors reform of Social Security, though he said he would not characterize the reforms he proposes as "privatization" of the system. 'What I've said is, let's give young workers a choice," Toomey said. "Those who want to participate in the current program as is, that's fine. But those who would like to, I would suggest that we give them a choice of taking a portion of the payroll taxes that they would otherwise pay and allow them to accumulate savings.' Toomey said Social Security has often been mischaracterized as a savings plan, when in fact it has always been a pay-as-you-go system which will eventually reach a critical mass of sustainability due to demographic changes. Under his system, savings accumulated could be placed in higher risk/return investments like stocks for younger workers, but diverted into more stable accounts like savings, CDs and treasuries. 'I think people who do that are probably going to end up doing much better than people who don't,' Toomey said, stressing that Americans approaching retirement age would not see changes in the amount of Social Security they were promised." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • The Morning Call. Death Penalty Needs Reforms For Fairness' Sake. 11 September 2001. "A conservative with credentials no less stalwart than those of U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Allentown, is supporting legislation intended to eliminate errors and to give capital-crime defendants better legal representation." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Home School Legal Defense Association. 1999-2000. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Pat Toomey supported the interests of the Home School Legal Defense Association 80 percent in 1999-2000. (
  • Pat Toomey. HR 1. 107th Congress. To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind. Project Vote Smart Summary: Patrick Toomey voted YES on 23 May 2001. (
  • Pat Toomey. ABC News' Pennsylvania Senate Debate - Transcript Part II. 20 October 2010. Responded "[...] Now, we're fort-- we're very fortunate. We can af-- afford the modest tuition of the parochial school that we send our kids to, and we're thrilled with the school. It really does a great job meeting the needs of our kids. What I think is absolutely tragic is that other parents who can't afford a private school tuition are trapped so often in schools that are failing their kids, and they have no option. They have no choice. We've got a staggering number of kids in schools in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and-- and in between who really don't have much of a chance in life because they're not getting the education they need. I really think that the money for funding education should follow the child, and parents should have a choice of any school, public or private, religious or nonreligious. More choice will be helpful for these kids. A child with a choice can't be worse off than a child with no choice. [...]" to the question: "The new documentary, Waiting for Superman, it argues-- pretty convincingly that the current school system is failing our children. And that to compete on the global stage, something is going to have to change. My question is, what could or-- what should the federal government do, if anything, about-- about this issue?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Philadelphia Tribune - Toomey says won't give up on Black vote. 2 August 2010. "Toomey also expounded on his desire to give parents more options with their children's education. 'I think school choice is one that I know many African Americans are interested in pursuing. I've long believed that parents ought to be able to choose the schools their child attends and that the funding for primary and secondary education should follow the child to the school that's chosen by the parent,' he said. 'That would, I think, open up many tremendously beneficial educational opportunities for African Americans and other Americans especially in urban areas where you have a sufficient density to create a number of meaningful choices.'" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Sargent, Greg. 2010. The Washington Post: Pat Toomey: Human activity might not be main cause of global warming. 11 October 2010. "QUESTIONER: I have a question about global warming and what Toomey's position is on that and what he believes is going on there. TOOMEY: My view is, I think the data is pretty clear. There has been an increase in the surface temperature of the planet over the course of the last 100 years or so. I think it's clear that that has happened. The extent to which that has been caused by human activity I think is not as clear. I think that is still very much disputed and has been debated [...]." (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Energy/Resources. "At the same time, Pat opposes policies that will make energy more expensive and cost Americans jobs. For this reason, he is against raising gas taxes and he opposes the recent cap-and-trade legislation that places an onerous tax on energy and, studies show, will cost thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania. As a U.S. senator, Pat will fight for legislation that expands America's energy independence without harming the environment, lowers the cost of energy, and protects American jobs and businesses." (
  • Pat Toomey. The Times Leader - Tax on Energy Would Only Hike Costs, Hurt Taxpayers. 19 August 2010. "We can and must support common-sense policies that protect our environment; but that goal can be achieved without abandoning 70,000 or more Pennsylvania jobs and imposing higher gas and electricity prices on all Pennsylvanians. A focus on renewable energy, conservation, low-carbon energy such as natural gas, nuclear energy and cleaner-coal technology are all part of the solution. But as unemployment hovers above 9 percent, protecting our hardworking families must be our first priority. (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 2003. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Pat Toomey supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 0 percent from 1988 and 2003. (
  • Pat Toomey. HR 2122. 106th Congress. To require background checks at gun shows, and for other purposes. Project Vote Smart Summary: Patrick Toomey voted YES on 18 June 1999. (
  • Pat Toomey. ABC News' Pennsylvania Senate Debate - Transcript Part I. 20 October 2010. Responded "Well, I think we should make sure we have a very sophisticated and adequate background check mechanism to make sure that terrorists, certainly, and other dangerous people. And certainly criminals. Don't have access to guns. I would not support restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens however. [...]" to the question: "Should the law be changed so the people on the terrorist watch list cannot buy guns or explosives?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Second Amendment. "Whether for sportsmen and women or for self-protection from crime, Pat is a proud supporter of the Second Amendment, just as he supports all enumerated Constitutional rights. Like the First Amendment's right to free speech and a free press, the Second Amendment must be protected. As a member of Congress, Pat received top scores from organizations that are dedicated to gun ownership rights and policies. He would consistently support those policies in the Senate." (
  • Pat Toomey. Times - Senate Hopeful Visits Biglerville. 25 August 2010. "Just so you know, my idea of gun control is a steady hand," Toomey said to applause and laughter. (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Pat Toomey signed The Club for Growth: Repeal It! (
  • Pat Toomey. Extremism Watch: Toomey Praises Bipartisan Rejection of Public Option - Specter and Sestak are too extreme for PA. 2010. "U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey praised five Democrats for joining with Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee to reject an amendment offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) that would have inserted a government-run health care option into the Senate health care bill. "It is clear that there is a bipartisan consensus against a government-run health care option both in Congress and among the American taxpayers," said Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik." (
  • Pat Toomey. ABC News' Pennsylvania Senate Debate - Transcript Part II. 20 October 2010. Responded "You know, I mentioned earlier that my dad's 80 years old. I'm not going to disclose my mom's age, but she's about the same generation. And fortunately, they're both healthy, they're both sharp as a tack. But they've got serious ongoing health issues. The thing that worries me the most about this bill, 2,000 pages of all kinds of mandates, huge new government control of health care is that in time-- and it won't be much time, the government is going to intervene between patients and their doctor." to the question: "Mister Toomey, help here. You've railed against the-- Obama health care plan that's been passed. What are you against in there, and what would you change, and would you vote to repeal it if you're elected to the Senate?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Health Care. "All across the country citizens are rightly worried about the rising cost of health care in America. Over the past couple of decades, health insurance premiums have increased much faster than the general rate of inflation. But many politicians in Washington are pushing for a government-run healthcare system that does not make health care any cheaper, will push many people out of their private coverage, limits patient choice, restricts access to life-saving procedures, and puts government bureaucrats in charge of our health care." (
  • Pat Toomey. Toomey Stumps in Fredericksburg. 23 August 2010. "Toomey cited...government-run health care as a few of the policies he opposes." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Pat Toomey. Pennsylvania Catholic: 2010 Pennsylvania Primary Election. 7 June 2010. Pat Toomey responded "I support higher levels of legal immigration but oppose granting legal status to those who have broken our laws," to the question: "Do you support or oppose legislation that would permit undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for a number of years, have worked and built equities in our country, and who do not have criminal records to register with the government and take steps to earn legal status?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Glenn Beck: Pat Toomey Interview. 28 April 2010. "GLENN: What about the illegals that are already here?" "TOOMEY: Well, you know, we can't grant an amnesty. I mean, if we do that, we are simply reinforcing and creating an incentive for more first of all, it rewards lawlessness. It rewards law breaking and punishes the people who are waiting to come to this country legally, and it encourages future waves of illegal immigration." (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Immigration. "America is a country built on a common respect for the rule of law, and we must make sure we do not allow politicians in Washington to undermine this fundamental value. For this reason, Pat opposes amnesty. While he believes legal immigrants should be given a chance to live the American dream, he does not believe people who break the law should be rewarded. Such a policy is unfair to those who come to this country legally and is harmful to the country's national security." (
  • Pat Toomey. Bucks County Courier Times - Toomey Speaks Before a Packed House. 28 July 2010. "Illegal immigration: Toomey said the "fundamental problem with immigration is that the federal government has failed us terribly." Noting that he was the grandson of immigrants, Toomey said immigrants should be welcomed, but the immigration process "must be controlled and legal." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • The Daily Review. U.S. Senate Candidate Pat Toomey Visits Wysox. 30 April 2010. "I supported the president's decision to increase our troop level and adopt a classic counter-insurgency approach in Afghanistan," Toomey said. "[?] If the enemy knows we're leaving on a date certain then it creates a huge incentive for them to just lie low until that day comes. And it creates an equally huge incentive for the local population not to cooperate with Americans by identifying the insurgents and the dangerous elements in their midst, because they know we're not going to be around for long, but the bad guys are. I look forward to American troops coming out of Afghanistan as much as anybody, but I think we need to have some benchmark accomplishments on the ground as the guide to when we do that (withdraw), rather than have an artificial timeline." (
  • The Morning Call. Obama Should Act On Iran To Spare Us Next Afghanistan. 4 December 2009. "President Obama's decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan is indeed unpopular, but it would be wrong to oppose it just to score political points. The president made a good case for our national security interests, and his proposal to enhance our efforts in Afghanistan should be supported by Republicans as well as members of his own party. I do not agree with all aspects of the approach, including his arbitrary deadline for withdrawal. However, in vital national security matters, there is value in muting partisan differences that do not go to the core of the policy, and in having America speak with a unified voice to both allies and adversaries." (
  • Pat Toomey. ABC News' Pennsylvania Senate Debate - Transcript Part II. 20 October 2010. Responded "Well, first of all, let me say-- I supported President Obama's decision to increase our troop level, and to adopt a classic counterinsurgency approach in Afghanistan. I thought that was the right decision. It's a very difficult set of circumstances. But my view is that it's extremely dangerous for us to leave precipitously the danger that the Taliban would take over, perhaps host Al Qaeda once again, destabilize Pakistan, which is, after all, a nuclear power. It's a great risk." to the question: "But my question is-- would it be safe for U.S. forces to withdraw from Afghanistan if the Taliban is in positions of power, and would you consider that a victory?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: National Security. "Pat believes that our country must have the strongest defensive capabilities in the world. We should not hesitate to take action in defense of our freedom and our American way of life. But we must also make sure that American military action is guided first and foremost by the country's national interest." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Pat Toomey. Pennsylvania Catholic: 2010 Pennsylvania Primary Election. 7 June 2010. Pat Toomey responded OPPOSE to: "Do you support or oppose overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)?" (
  • Pat Toomey. Issue Position: Family and Marriage. "Pat also believes the tradition of marriage is sacred and is best defined as between a man and a woman. As a congressman, Pat voted to protect the institution of marriage in many ways. For example, Pat voted to reduce the tax penalty on married couples and will support similar policies as a U.S. senator. Throughout his time in Congress, Pat voted for legislation to protect innocent life, strengthen marriage, and protect the traditional values upon which this country was founded." (


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