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Rob Portman's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (OH) - Jr, Republican
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Rob Portman refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2012 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These issue positions, from the year 2010, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-life Inferred Answer Abortion Issues: Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. HR 760. 108th Congress. To prohibit the procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted YES on 4 June 2003. (
  • Robert Portman. S 3 108th Congress. A bill to prohibit the procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted YES on 2 October 2003. (
  • Gonidakis, Mike. Ohio Right to Life: Ohio Right to Life PAC Endorses Statewide Candidates - Powerful Slate of Pro-Life Candidates Committed to a Culture of Life. 1 February 2010. "It is an absolute responsibility for the men and women of Ohio's Pro-Life movement to support Rob Portman, who supports, promotes and has defended a culture of life throughout his career," said Mike Gonidakis, on behalf of the Ohio Right to Life PAC." (
  • National Right to Life. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 28 October 2010. National Right to Life endorsed Robert Portman in the 2010 General Election. (
  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Abortion. "Rob Portman believes in the sanctity of life and has consistently voted to protect the unborn. Rob's record earned him a National Right to Life rating of 100 percent and the endorsement from the Ohio Right to Life PAC." (
Yes Inferred Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. H.R. 8. 107th Congress. Estate Tax Elimination Act of 2001. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted YES on 4 April 2001. (
  • Robert Portman. H.R. 8. 109th Congress. Death/Estate Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005. Project Vote Smart Summary: Voted YES on 13 April 2005. (
  • Robert Portman. HR 8. 108th Congress. To make the repeal of the estate tax permanent. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted YES on 13 April 2005. (
  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Taxes. "Rob Portman has always advocated a smaller, more responsive federal government that works for the people. During his sixteen years of public service, Rob has a record of fighting to reduce taxes, control government spending and create greater transparency for citizens [...] He co-sponsored legislation to permanently repeal the estate tax, commonly known as the Death Tax." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. 2010. 2010 Ohio Primary Election Candidate Survey. Responded: "I opposed the $800 billion stimulus package because it grew the size and scope of government more than private sector jobs. [...] But the stimulus that passed didn't work: 200,000 more private sector jobs have been lost in Ohio since it was enacted, while public sector jobs and government have grown. [?] They want help, not higher taxes, higher energy and health care costs, more regulations, and reckless spending and record deficits. That's why we should redirect the hundreds of billions of unspent stimulus dollars to an immediate one-year payroll tax suspension and targeted funding of shovel-ready infrastructure projects," to the question: "Were you against the federal stimulus bill (or, if you are not an incumbent, would you have been)? If so, would you try to refuse stimulus money for your district? Why or why not?" (
  • Robert Portman. Rob Portman Statement Regarding President Obama's Stimulus Rally in Columbus, Ohio. 18 June 2010. "While we can expect Lt. Gov. and Ohio Job Czar Lee Fisher to once again tout the $800 billion big government stimulus package enacted last year, I doubt we will hear him acknowledge the nearly 150,000 jobs lost since the program was enacted. Washington's current policies of higher spending, record deficits, big-government health care and new energy taxes are destroying our chances for real economic recovery. Washington's status quo that Lt. Gov. Fisher enthusiastically supports is not working. In fact, just the opposite is needed: we need to stand up against Washington's dangerous big-government agenda and start taking the steps necessary to put Ohio and our nation back on the path to prosperity." (
  • Robert Portman. Blog: Rob Portman on Dennis Prager's Radio Show: The Private Sector -- Not Government -- Creates Jobs. 11 August 2010. "I've kind of seen what works and what doesn't work-as have most Americans because most Americans are in the private sector. And you know, you can't keep spending what you don't have. You can't spend your way to prosperity. The government doesn't create jobs -- the private sector does. If you follow just those basic principles that I know you believe in and you talk about not just on your show but in your writings. I think we can turn this thing around because you know, we know from experience what works and what doesn't work. [...] "We're out there with a very specific jobs plan. Again, check it out on And we're talking about the way to get this economy moving again. Not Republican ideas or Democrat ideas, frankly, they're just common sense ideas-including taking the stimulus money and redirecting it in ways that will help get small businesses back on track right now." (
  • Robert Portman. Blog: Rob Portman on Radio: Every Time President Obama Has A New Spending Idea, He Calls It A "Jobs Bill." 19 August 2010. "You know, we've got ten-and-a-half percent unemployment here, and I'm delighted the President came to Ohio. I think it'd be great for him to see first-hand that what they're doing in Washington isn't working. You know, we have lost over 130,000 jobs here in Ohio since the stimulus package was signed into law. And today the President basically said, Stay the course. He said the big government approach, including the stimulus package is working, and I don't think many Ohioans agree with that. They don't see that what Washington is doing is helping. Those who are in small business, the manufacturer I was with today, see it as hurting because they see these new taxes, they see the healthcare costs going up, they see more regulations, they're concerned about the energy costs with the Cap and Trade proposal the President is supporting which kills Ohio jobs and they look at this record debt and deficit and say how is this helping to get us back on our feet here in Ohio. [...] Well the first thing I think we need to do is redirect the stimulus funding. It hasn't worked. It's not working. There's still hundreds of billions of dollars that have not been spent. Let's redirect it toward two things. One is tax relief for small businesses and for workers. I prefer a one-year suspension of the payroll tax. That's what I supported when the stimulus package was first talked about a year and a half ago. It's still the right thing to do. It will give business a shot in the arm-particularly small businesses to be able to get through this tough period. It will also let workers keep a little more of their take home pay because everyone pays payroll taxes and help get the economy moving again. Second, I would redirect it toward private sector jobs and infrastructure because that adds to economic development. There are shovel-ready jobs right here in Ohio, ready to go. We're not getting the stimulus funds because that stimulus package, as you know, has very little in it for roads and bridges-only about four percent." (
Yes Inferred Answer Business and Employment Issues: Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. Hearing of the House Budget Committee: Economic Outlook and Current Fiscal Issues. 2 March 2005. "I do believe there is a big distinction, as Mr. Spratt mentioned, between the Government investing directly and individuals directing that investment, even if it is within Social Security, which is very much what the President's personal account proposal includes. But with regard to adding to savings, do you also believe that we should in addition to having personal accounts, which I support, also encourage savings among employers, among individuals through 401(k)s?" (
  • Robert Portman. Reforming Social Security for Future Generations. 20 December 2004. "When Congress returns to Washington in January to begin its new session, I hope one of our top priorities will be to reform the Social Security program so that it will be there in the future. I think we have an historic opportunity to modernize this vital program while protecting the benefits seniors currently receive. [?] What is the right way to fix this problem? I do not believe that raising taxes or cutting benefits to the extent that would be necessary are the right answers. A better alternative that I have supported since my first election to Congress in 1993 is allowing workers to hold onto a small portion of their Social Security payroll taxes to build their own nest egg for retirement. These Social Security personal accounts help the individual because the rate of return is likely to be far higher than under traditional Social Security. But it also helps save the system over time. By saving money in personal accounts, that money builds up year after year, and a lot of pressure is taken off the Social Security system in the future. Critical to this proposal is that the Social Security personal accounts would be voluntary and there would be no changes in benefits for current retirees and near-retirees." (
  • Robert Portman. The State of Our Union is Strong. 7 February 2005. "One of our top priorities is working to fix the Social Security system before it is bankrupt. The President spent a lot of time in his address talking about Social Security because of its urgency. Now is the time to improve the system for our children and grandchildren. In my roles in Leadership and on the Ways & Means Committee, I am committed to working to find a common sense solution to the problem. The responsible thing is to act now, or we will face significant tax increases or benefit cuts in the future." (
Yes Inferred Answer Crime Issues: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. H Amdt 497 to HR 2181. 105th Congress. An amendment to add a new section which provides that in further consideration of death sentence recommendations, life imprisonment shall be imposed instead, if the court has any doubt that a defendant actually committed the offense. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted NO on 25 February 1998. (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Education Issues: Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. HR 1. 107th Congress. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Project Vote Smart Summary: Voted YES on 13 December 2001. (
  • Home School Legal Defense Association. 1999-2000. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Robert Portman supported the interests of the Home School Legal Defense Association 60 percent in 1999-2000. (
No Inferred Answer Environment and Energy Issues: Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Energy. "Rather than levy a job-killing tax on the kind of energy Ohio depends on, which is being proposed in Washington, we should encourage the use of all our natural resources, renewable energy, nuclear power, technology, and conservation in a way that breaks our dependence on foreign oil and leads to a cleaner environment." (
  • Robert Portman. Portman: Democratic Spending Programs Failing Ohio. 18 May 2010. "Knowing V&M Star's future is tied to a vibrant domestic energy industry, I particularly urge President Obama and Lt. Governor Lee Fisher to end their plans for the onerous and heavy-handed Cap and Trade energy tax, which will not only harm Ohio's energy producers, but will drive up energy costs for Ohio's businesses and families." (
  • Robert Portman. Rising Gas Prices Reinforce Need for Energy Legislation. 5 April 2004. "If our nation is to meet the growing demand for affordable energy in the coming decades, we must use our existing energy supplies more efficiently and explore new alternative and renewable energy sources through research and development. Renewable and alternative energy supplies not only make us less dependent on foreign oil, they protect the environment. [?] In addition to finding renewable energy sources, conservation is another way to reduce demand and improve our energy security. The bill requires a 20 percent reduction in federal building energy use by 2013 and establishes new energy efficiency standards for many new commercial and consumer products that use large amounts of energy." (
  • Robert Portman. Rob Portman Statement Regarding New Job-Killing Environmental Regulations. 14 May 2010. "Ohio jobs are threatened by the Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision this week to issue climate change regulations without Congressional approval. EPA is unleashing a chain of regulations that will result in higher electricity and gasoline prices, putting Ohio families and workers at a clear disadvantage, and stifling Ohio's chances of economic recovery [?] This is the wrong policy for Ohio [?]" (
  • Robert Portman. Statement of Rob Portman on Senator Murkowski's Resolution to Block EPA Power Grab. 10 June 2010. "U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman issued the following statement today regarding the impending Senate vote on Senator Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) resolution that would restrict the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gases: "Just like they did with the healthcare bill, Democrats in Washington are attempting an end-run around the American people. There is still a better way to protect the environment and get us away from our dependence on foreign oil without increasing taxes and furthering burdening a struggling economy. I hope Congress continues its work to pass meaningful energy legislation, but resists the EPA's attempted power grab and fights efforts to impose job-killing climate regulations harmful to Ohio workers and Ohio families." (
  • Robert Portman. Rob Portman Asks Lee Fisher to Sign Letter to Former VP Gore Denouncing Cap-and-Trade Energy Tax. 15 October 2010. "Ohio cannot afford to lose one more job. Ohio families cannot afford another month of wondering whether their local businesses will be among the next to close, heading for a state that won't be as dramatically affected by the Cap and Trade energy tax, and that they too, will be among the unemployed. Asking Congress to discontinue its pursuit of the job-killing Cap and Trade energy tax bill and instead pursue a pro-growth energy policy is a first step towards turning Ohio's economy around." (
No Inferred Answer Gun Issues: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 2003. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Robert Portman supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 13 percent from 1988 and 2003. (
  • National Rifle Association. 2004. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. 22 June 2010. "Based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionnaire sent to all Congressional candidates in 2004, the National Rifle Association assigned Portman a grade of A (with grades ranging from a high of A+ to a low of F)." (
  • Robert Portman. HR 1025. 103rd Congress. To provide for a waiting period before the purchase of a handgun, and for the establishment of a national instant criminal background check system to be contacted by firearms dealers before the transfer of any firearm. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted NO on 10 November 1993. (
  • Robert Portman. HR 4296. 103rd Congress. To make unlawful the transfer or possession of assault weapons. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted NO on 5 May 1994. (
  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Second Amendment Rights. "Rob Portman is a conservationist and an avid outdoorsman. He is a lifelong hunter and fisherman, and a gun owner who believes in the right to bear arms in defense of self, family and property. During his 12 years serving in Congress, the National Rifle Association gave him an A rating for his votes to defend our Constitutional Rights. As Ohio's next Senator Rob will continue to protect our Constitutional freedoms and will be a strong advocate for preserving these rights and traditions for future generations." (
No Inferred Answer Health Issues: Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Morris, Brad. Circleville Herald (Circleville, OH): Senate candidate: 'We need some change'. 31 June 2009. "On health care, Portman expressed concerns about the projected $1 trillion in cost for a public option, and the possibility that citizens could be forced into the government program." (
  • Robert Portman. 2010. 2010 Ohio Primary Election Candidate Survey. Responded: "Although our health care system needs reform, the 2700-page Congressional bill is the wrong prescription. It increases the unacceptably high costs of health care and creates a new entitlement we cannot afford. Through more government mandates, taxes and regulations, it will raise premiums, hurt jobs and cost taxpayers over $2 trillion in the first 10 years. [?]," to the question: "How would you vote on health reform, and if you would vote no, what would you support?" (
  • Robert Portman. Blog: A Clear Contrast On Health Care Reform. 15 June 2010. "The GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, former Congressman Rob Portman, wants to repeal the new health-care law. [?] I believe we missed an opportunity for real reform and relied too much on government control, my opponent Lt Gov. Lee Fisher thinks the law did not go far enough in terms of government-run healthcare. He supported a "robust public option." [?] I believed it relied too much on big government [?]" (
  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Health Care. "Unfortunately, the health care proposals the Democratic leadership is trying to rush through Congress do not address the basic cost and access challenges Ohio faces. In fact, the government-run plans being proposed will result in higher health care costs, large tax increases on small businesses, and many Ohioans losing their current private health care coverage. [?] Patients and their doctors, and other health providers, should be making personal and sensitive medical decisions, not government bureaucrats." (
No Inferred Answer Immigration Issues: Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. 2010. League of Women Voters: Smart Voter. Responded "The first priority of our immigration policy must be to enforce our immigration laws at the border and in the interior. This means adequate resources for border enforcement, but also doing more inside our own borders to ensure that those in our country illegally are not filling jobs that should be available to Americans. We must create a precise database for the mandatory verification of authorized workers and impose tougher sanctions on employers who break the rules. But we must never forget that the United States owes its solid foundation to the hard work of generations of immigrants. We are strengthened by being a nation of immigrants. This means that we should keep the doors of America open to those who come legally and enrich our society and contribute to our economic prosperity while doing a better job enforcing our laws." to the question "4. How will you address the challenges and opportunities to the United States posed by unauthorized immigrants?" (
  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Immigrants. "America is a nation of immigrants, and legal immigrants have enriched and continue to enrich the United States. But we are also a nation of laws, and those laws must be enforced. Amnesty, failing to impose sanctions or penalties on immigrants who have entered our country illegally, is the wrong approach and would encourage more illegal entry. It is also unfair to the generations of legal immigrants who have followed the law." (
  • Robert Portman. Issue Position: Immigration. "American citizenship is earned, by following the rules and passing the tests, and receiving permission to enter our country. Citizenship is bestowed by our nation and must not come cheaply or easily; becoming an American citizen is an earned privilege." (
Yes Inferred Answer International Policy Issues: Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. Rob Portman Statement on President's Decision to Increase Troop Levels in Afghanistan. 2 December 2009. "I agree with President Obama's decision to follow the advice of his military commanders and deploy 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan.  Our national security is at stake, as Afghanistan remains the central front in the Global War on Terror. However, I disagree with an exit strategy that includes arbitrary withdrawal dates that will embolden our enemies." (
  • Robert Portman. The State of Our Union is Strong. 7 February 2005. "Freedom is on the march in places like Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and most recently in Iraq-and we are safer here at home because of it. While these are successes of historical proportions, the path to democracy is a long one and we have more work to do. The President made it clear that he is steadfast in his commitment to our troops, and to the spread of freedom and democracy around the world." (
Yes Inferred Answer Social Issues: Should marriage only be between one man and one woman? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Robert Portman. HR 3396. 103rd Congress. To define and protect the institution of marriage. Project Vote Smart Summary: Robert Portman voted YES on 12 July 1996. (
  • Robert Portman. H.J. Res. 106. 108th Congress. Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage. Voted YES on 30 September 2004. (


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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