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Steve Cohen's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (TN) - District 9, Democratic
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Steve Cohen has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads. Steve Cohen 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 2016, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

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

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/24340/steve-cohen (votesmart.org)
  • “This bill isn’t about fetal pain, it’s about trying to subvert the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision protecting a woman’s right to choose. H.R. 36 endangers women’s health, shows utter disregard for the victims of rape and incest, and does not pass constitutional muster.” http://cohen.house.gov/press-release/cohen-defends-women%E2%80%99s-rights-unconstitutional-gop-abortion-ban-proposal (cohen.house.gov)
Yes 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

  • "It will spur further economic growth by making critical investments to improve our roads and bridges – creating jobs in Memphis and around the country – and boost take-home pay for the middle-class while closing tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest one percent to avoid paying their fair share." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/976075/cohen-statement-on-the-presidents-budget#.VY26RnUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "The Democratic proposal, which I will support and which I'm here for today, despite the fact that my election is tomorrow, will extend tax cuts to everybody and raise taxes somewhat on people who make over $200,000 individual and $250,000 married.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/734115/middle-class-tax-cuts#.VYyHMHUViko (votesmart.org)
No Inferred Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Sponsored Legislation in the 112th Congress. The 'Fresh Start Act' (H.R. 2449) would enable non-violent federal offenders who have served their time and lived a clean life ever since to have their convictions expunged from their records.” http://cohen.house.gov/issue/judiciary/crime (cohen.house.gov)
  • "This commutation of a Memphian's life prison sentence for a non-violent drug conviction is an encouraging sign that the President and Attorney General are taking positive steps, as I have long encouraged them to do, to implement a more rational, humane clemency system for Americans who are unfairly incarcerated.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/976005/cohen-reacts-to-presidential-commutation-of-non-violent-memphians-unjustly-long-prison-sentence#.VYyCBnUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Cohen Votes for Bipartisan 2014 Government Funding Bill. […] But this bipartisan agreement to fund the government through 2014 is a responsible compromise that reduces the threat of government by crisis, provides stability for our economy, alleviates some of the crippling effects of sequestration, and restores funding for our disabled veterans. http://cohen.house.gov/press-release/cohen-votes-bipartisan-2014-government-funding-bill (cohen.house.gov)
  • "I'm worried about health and also jobs, and a major driver of jobs is research and development, education, and infrastructure spending by the Federal Government. Most of our great advances, whether it's railroads or the Internet or health care, have come through Federal Government partnerships with the private sector.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/771669/invest-in-america-and-grow-our-economy#.VY2-bHUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "It will spur further economic growth by making critical investments to improve our roads and bridges – creating jobs in Memphis and around the country – and boost take-home pay for the middle-class while closing tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest one percent to avoid paying their fair share.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/976075/cohen-statement-on-the-presidents-budget#.VY26RnUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "The Democratic proposal, which I will support and which I'm here for today, despite the fact that my election is tomorrow, will extend tax cuts to everybody and raise taxes somewhat on people who make over $200,000 individual and $250,000 married.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/734115/middle-class-tax-cuts#.VYyHMHUViko (votesmart.org)
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We write in strong support of the request for a waiver of provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that the State of Tennessee submitted for your approval this week, consistent with the requirements of Section 9401 of the ESEA authorizing States to seek waivers of the law or regulations.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/628049/letter-to-secretary-duncan#.VY25JnUVikp (votesmart.org)
  • “As it stands now, No Child Left Behind is a collection of unfunded mandates that require standardized testing in the schools. It's bad from a funding standpoint, as the increase in funding brought on by No Child Left Behind is not even always enough to cover the cost of the standardized testing that the law requires. More importantly, it's bad from an educational standpoint, as it encourages teachers to simply teach what they know will be covered on the test rather than provide a comprehensive education for the students of the United States.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/366269/issue-position-education-no-child-left-behind#.VZ6DJXUVhHw (votesmart.org)
No Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Building a pipeline that carries the dirtiest of oils – tar sands – from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico on their way to China is exactly the opposite of addressing climate change in America. So, next week, I urge my colleagues to vote 'no' on H.R. 3 in the interest of preserving our Earth for generations to come.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/784065/keystone-xl-pipeline#.VYyD33UViko (votesmart.org)
  • Voted against S. 1 “A Bill to Approve the Keystone Pipeline” http://votesmart.org/bill/votes/51299 (votesmart.org)
  • "When you brush aside the studies funded by TransCanada and other oil companies and you analyze the pure scientific studies that have no political motivation, every analysis clearly demonstrates that the Keystone XL pipeline poses major threats at every turn, in extraction, in transportation, in refining, and in consumption.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/937531/providing-for-consideration-of-hr-5682-approval-of-the-keystone-xl-pipeline#.VYyE6XUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Throughout my career in public service, I have been a strong proponent of efforts to lower energy costs, invest in renewable energy resources, promote energy independence and create a stronger more secure economy.” http://cohen.house.gov/issue/energy (cohen.house.gov)
  • "Mr. Chairman, we need to redouble our efforts at this point on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the efforts by this amendment would save money – $5 million for the budget, energy deficit reduction – it would protect our environment by having more research on energy efficiency standards, save our consumers and constituents money, and protect our environment at the same time, and yet not have us invest needlessly in fossil fuels, which is the opposite direction we should be going.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/899685/energy-and-water-development-and-related-agencies-appropriations-act-2015#.VYyCe3UViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “In the 111th Congress, the U.S. House of Representative passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). This legislation includes provisions to lower greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.” http://cohen.house.gov/issue/environment (cohen.house.gov)
  • “Just as an example, walk-in coolers and freezers, the rules that have been proposed will yield $37 billion in savings, while cutting 159 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That is the equivalent of taking 30 million cars off the road.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/899685/energy-and-water-development-and-related-agencies-appropriations-act-2015#.VYyCe3UViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The NRA isn't going far enough to curb gun violence in America. I own a firearm – I support the 2nd Amendment – and I authored the concealed carry law in Tennessee. But I do not support having assault weapons or high-capacity magazines on our streets. We must do a better job of screening those who want to purchase firearms and also invest more in mental health to better prevent gun violence.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/764329/cohen-statement-on-nra-announcement#.VYx-93UViko (votesmart.org)
  • “We are writing in support of the executive actions President Obama recently announced as part of his effort to reduce gun violence in America. As you know, approximately 30,000 Americans are killed every year as a result of gun violence. An average of eight children and teens are killed by guns in our nation every single day. An epidemic of senseless shootings in Blacksburg, Aurora, Newtown, Oakland, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and many more have left families and communities devastated.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/817695/letter-to-todd-jones-director-bureau-of-alcohol-tobacco-firearms-and-explosives-we-support-obama-administration-firearm-policies#.VYx_THUViko (votesmart.org)
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I hope that this ruling will help the nation to see that the Affordable Care Act is a federal law that is keeping Americans healthy and alive, and that it is here to stay.” http://cohen.house.gov/press-release/congressman-cohen-reacts-supreme-court-upholding-affordable-care-act-subsidies (cohen.house.gov)
  • "I voted in favor of Congress’ health care reform legislation, H.R. 3590, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act , and H.R. 4872, The Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.” http://cohen.house.gov/issue/health (cohen.house.gov)
No Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We strongly support key reform elements that include: 1) broad and humane treatment of the 11 million aspiring Americans, including DREAMers, and an earned path to citizenship making it possible for them to fully integrate into the nation's social and economic fabric; and 2) policies that prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting foreign workers and reducing wages and job opportunities for U.S. workers, while directing enforcement resources in a smart and effective manner.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/818671/letter-to-speaker-john-boehner-and-leader-nancy-pelosi-comprehensive-immigration-reform-with-strong-labor-protections#.VY207nUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "Rather than taking a piecemeal approach, the House of Representatives should work on comprehensive legislation, like the Senate is considering, that would secure our borders, provide for the low-skilled and high-skilled workers that we need and create a path to citizenship for people who are currently undocumented.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/796730/newsletter-helping-local-businesses-grow#.VY21SnUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Based upon our examination of Social Security statutes and court precedent, we believe it is clear that same-sex couples joined in marriage, civil unions and registered domestic partnerships should be deemed eligible for spouse-based benefits, regardless of where they live.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/875796/letter-to-carolyn-colvin-social-security-administration-acting-commissioner-same-sex-spouses-deserve-equal-social-security-benefits#.VYx-j3UViko (votesmart.org)
  • "With today's ruling to overturn Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Supreme Court ruled against discrimination and in favor of equality.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/796726/cohens-response-to-supreme-court-decision-on-doma-scotus-ruled-against-discrimination-in-favor-of-equality-and-states-rights#.VYx9nXUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “We cannot just say 'never again' about the attacks, as more attacks are certainly possible. Those who would harm Americans can fail as many times as they need to, for they only need to succeed once. We must learn and better adapt so that more of the heroes that respond to an emergency get to watch their children grow up.” http://votesmart.org/public-statement/366256/issue-position-defense-homeland-security#.VZ6FtHUVhHw (votesmart.org)
  • "I stand with the President in the fight against global terrorism, and I plan on supporting him as he works with a broad international coalition to eliminate ISIS through military, economic, and other means.” http://cohen.house.gov/press-release/rep-cohen-statement-president-obama%E2%80%99s-isis-strategy (cohen.house.gov)
No Inferred 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

  • "I am proud to work in a Congress where, under Democratic leadership, ideas jeopardizing federal Social Security benefits through any sort of privatization effort are off the table.” http://cohen.house.gov/issue/social-security (cohen.house.gov)
  • "There is no need to fundamentally alter Social Security during fiscal cliff negotiations because the program is built soundly enough to pay full benefits through 2033 without changes.” http://cohen.house.gov/press-release/cohen-statement-protecting-social-security-benefits-fiscal-cliff-negotiations-0 (cohen.house.gov)

Key

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.

Tennessee State Legislative Election 2004 National Political Awareness 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.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
Xb) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Prohibit public funding of abortions and of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Other or expanded principles
State Budget: Indicate the funding levels (#1-6) you will support for the following general categories. Select one level per category.
Greatly Increasea) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Greatly Increasec) Environment
Slightly Increased) Health care
Slightly Increasee) Law enforcement
Maintain Statusf) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Statusg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories
State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels (#1-6) you will support. Select one level per tax.
Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increasec) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Decreased) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Eliminatef) Inheritance taxes
g) Property taxes
Greatly Decreaseh) Sales taxes
Maintain Statusi) Vehicle taxes
j) Other or expanded categories
Yesk) Should Internet sales be taxed?
l) Should Tennessee implement a flat tax on income?
m) Should Tennessee implement a graduated income tax?
n) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Yesa) Do you support the current limit of two consecutive four-year terms for Tennessee governors?
Nob) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Tennessee state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative and gubernatorial candidates?
Yes1) Individual
Yes2) PAC
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Parties
Yesd) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yese) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
Yesf) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying, and ensuring accuracy of votes?
Yesg) Do you support prohibiting the reporting of media exit polling results until all polling locations in Tennessee are closed?
Yesh) Should Tennessee provide property tax relief for seniors?
Yesi) Should Tennessee recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Noj) Should Tennessee restrict marriage to a union only between a man and a woman?
k) Other or expanded principles

Be tolerant, don't discriminate, don't hate, be bipartisan.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.
a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and for hiring of additional prison staff.
Xb) Support the death penalty in Tennessee.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xd) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
Xe) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
Xf) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
Xg) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
h) Increase funding for state and local emergency agencies to prevent and to respond to terrorist attacks.
Xi) Other or expanded principles

g) 16 years of age
No mandatory minimum; Re-categorize offenses so violent spend more time and victimless less.

Drug Issues: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding drugs.
Xa) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
b) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
Xc) Create a separate crime of "severe child abuse" for parents who make methamphetamine with their children present.
Xd) Limit purchases of over-the-counter ingredients that are used to make methamphetamine.
Xe) Quarantine all methamphetamine labs until they are cleaned up by state-approved contractors.
Xf) Other or expanded principles

No mandatory minimum; Re-categorize offenses so violent spend more time and victimless less.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
d) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
e) Increase state funds for hiring additional teachers.
f) Support teacher testing and reward with merit pay.
g) Endorse voluntary prayer in public schools.
Xh) Require public schools to administer high school exit exams.
Xi) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
Xj) Increase funding for Head Start programs.
Xk) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
Xl) Support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods.
m) Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
Xn) Other or expanded principles

Lottery Scholarship Standards should be high so there is excess money for pre-K and after school programs.

Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
Xa) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers and teach skills needed in today’s job market.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
Xc) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
Xd) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xe) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xf) Include sexual orientation in Tennessee’s anti-discrimination laws.
g) Increase the state minimum wage.
h) Other or expanded principles
Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity, or gender be taken into account in state agencies’ decisions on:
a) Public employment
b) State college and university admissions
c) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
Xa) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, and oil).
Xc) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
Xd) Support funding for open space preservation.
Xe) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
Xf) Other or expanded principles

Protect our parkland-especially Shelby Farms and Overton and Audubon Park

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
a) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
b) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Xd) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
e) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
f) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
g) Require a license for gun possession.
Xh) Other or expanded principles

Sponsored (Passed) original carry bill which has been very successful.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
Xa) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.
Xb) Transfer more existing Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
c) Limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xd) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
Xe) Support patients' right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied.
f) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
Xg) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Tennessee.
Xh) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xi) Other or expanded principles

Maintain Tenn Care - but eliminate fraud & administrative expenses.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare and poverty.
Xa) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
Xb) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
Xc) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
Xd) Support current limits on benefits given to recipients if they have additional children while on welfare.
e) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
Xf) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to extend health and child care subsidies to the working poor.
g) Support marriage promotion programs for welfare recipients.
h) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
Xi) Other or expanded principles

Co-sponsored Families First Law - Welfare to Work.

Please explain in a total of 75 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.

1) Vigilant oversight of lottery; maintain standards for scholarships and provide for pre-K funding and after school funding - allow scholarships for transfer students.
2) Protect arts funding by keeping special license plates.

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