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Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr.'s Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (WI) - District 5, Republican
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr. 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.

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

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I am proud of my pro-life voting record. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I shepherded through the partial-birth abortion ban and was honored to watch President Bush sign it into law and the Supreme Court uphold it." (
  • Rated 0% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (
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

  • "Nearly all taxpayers can find a tax hike among this list that will pinch their pocketbook. Throughout my Congressional tenure, I have sought to always keep the best interests of the Wisconsin economy and its residents in mind […] nonetheless, I, and my fiscal conservative-minded colleagues are not deterred in our mission – to protect taxpayers' money from the long reach of the Democratic Majority with each passing spending bill." (
  • "A Pledge to America reaffirms the commitment that House Republicans have to our country's founding principles. Less government, lower taxes, reduced wasteful spending, and a strong national defense have enabled Americans for generations to have their country work for them, and not the other way around." (
  • "An example of our flawed Internal Revenue Code is the federal estate tax, or more commonly referred to as the 'death tax. '[…] According to the Tax Foundation, repealing the death tax would create 139,000 jobs and gradually increase the U.S. capital stock by 2.2 percent. The United States has the fourth highest estate tax in the world, which hinders economic growth and international competition." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Too many Americans have fallen into the addiction trap. It must be addressed effectively and expeditiously. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to build on proven methods that enable law enforcement to respond to this epidemic and support long-term recovery." (
  • "Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today reintroduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which provides for a robust response to the twin epidemics of opioid and heroin addiction that includes prevention, law enforcement strategies, and the expansion of evidence-based treatment. CARA is the first piece of legislation introduced as part of Congressman Sensenbrenner's over-criminalization package." (
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We must curtail government spending, starting with irresponsible grant and 'stimulus' programs. Government agencies should be put under a microscope to uncover waste, duplication, and fraud." (
  • "I was extremely disappointed by President Obama's budget proposal – a plan that does not offer America a path toward fiscal responsibility or self-reliance. Our economy is struggling and raising taxes by over a trillion dollars on hardworking families, increasing spending by $964 billion and adding $8.2 trillion to our debt is not the answer." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a pledge stating "I, Frank Sensenbrenner, pledge to the taxpayers of the State of Wisconsin, and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO: oppose any net reduction or elimination of reductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (
  • "America is fighting a record-breaking 41 months of 8 percent-plus unemployment and measly 1.5 percent economic growth; why would we want to make it more difficult for small businesses to create jobs? It doesn't make sense to hit Americans with a bigger tax bill." (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "High standards, accountability for results, and increased involvement by local school boards, teachers, state legislatures, and parents are all essential to improving education. That's one of the reasons why I voted against President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation – it created too much bureaucracy and didn't give enough control to local individuals." (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The President has held up the Keystone XL Pipeline for far too long. This week, the Governor of Nebraska dismantled the last possible obstruction to this project that would spur the creation of thousands of jobs and improve our nation's energy security. It is time for the President to put politics aside and place our national interest first." (
  • "Similarly on climate change, we will not allow the President to unilaterally impose economy-crushing regulations on businesses. Instead, he should encourage the State Department to approve the Keystone XL pipeline – creating jobs and making America more energy independent." (
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

  • "I have also introduced legislation that would ensure accountability in the federal government's renewable energy loans. […] I introduced legislation to require an audit of all past loan guarantees and require outside, independent audits of all future applicants to ensure DOE is choosing only qualified applicants, not just political partners." (
  • "As the debate over energy and the environment continues on in Washington, we need real solutions. The Republicans have offered them – not through an energy tax increase or more government control – but through investments in renewable and alternative energy technologies, more domestic exploration for oil and natural gas, a renewed commitment to clean, emissions-free nuclear energy, and other incentives." (
No Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H. Amdt. 585 "Prohibits the Social Cost of Carbon from Being Included in Agency Determinations" (
  • "I have also led efforts in the House to stop the EPA from passing harmful regulations that raise the cost of producing energy with coal. Coal provides more than 60 percent of Wisconsin's electricity, and if the EPA is successful with its regulations then Wisconsin could lose nearly 12,000 manufacturing jobs." (
  • "As the former Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I am a leader in the fight against the national energy tax proposal some Congressional leaders are advocating. I call this bad idea "cap-and-tax" because of the damage it will do to jobs, manufacturing and our economy." (
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Hunting and the great outdoors are enjoyed by many Wisconsinites. All law-abiding citizens should have their Second Amendment right to 'keep and bear arms' honored. I remain committed to supporting legislation that ensures the long term health and vitality of our public lands, so that Wisconsinites will be able to continue to enjoy their Second Amendment rights and the many outdoor sports that make Wisconsin great." (
  • Rated 80% by Gun Owners of America (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Obamacare gives the federal government the tools to tax religiously-affiliated schools, hospitals, universities, and soup kitchens right out of existence. This is the question facing religious institutions and concerned employers today: will you violate your conscience and religious beliefs or pay a hefty tax to follow your faith?" (
  • "In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. This law shifts the power from patients, doctors, and businesses to the federal government. I do not support the ACA because it imposes excessive mandates, tax hikes, and subsidies that will significantly increase the cost of health care while reducing the quality of services." (
Yes 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 need to address the porousness of America's southern border that enables illegal-alien activity and increases the national security threat posed by terrorists and other vicious criminals. […] Most importantly, we must not provide amnesty for illegal immigrants, which would encourage future illegal immigration by retroactively rewarding illegal behavior and allowing those who have broken the law to receive billions in public benefits." (
  • "Today President Obama made a political calculation. In an effort to appeal to some voters, he issued a new immigration policy that is a radical departure from the laws we have on the books. […] The President's amnesty will have lasting effects. It is offensive to the millions of Americans still out of work. It rewards law-breaking. And it's deeply unfair to those who came to this country legally." (
No Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • CBS News "'Marriage is under attack,' said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., referring to the Massachusetts state court decision allowing same-sex marriages." (
  • Voted in favor of H Amdt 146 "Prohibits Use of Funds in Contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act" (
  • Rated 0% by the Human Rights Campaign (
Yes Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating "We are hopeful your two-track strategy will convince Iran to change course and abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. None of us desires military conflict, but as you yourself have acknowledged, we must keep all options on the table to prevent this dangerous regime from acquiring nuclear weapons." (
  • "Unless President Obama changes course, our porous borders provide ISIS the opportunity to infiltrate our country. I was glad to see the President finally commit to defeating ISIS, but I am afraid his plan doesn't go far enough. We must do everything in our power to protect Americans." (
Yes 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

  • " Several proposals are currently under discussion to address the issue, including increasing payroll taxes, lifting the tax cap on wages, increasing the retirement age and creating personal retirement accounts. No solution will be easy, but the sooner we act, the less traumatic the transition will be." (
  • "It is important to remember that if no changes are made to Social Security, the system will run out of money. […] In the meantime, the best way to preserve Social Security for future generations is to balance the budget, pay down the debt, and eliminate wasteful spending." (


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.

Congressional Election 1992 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.
1. Which of the following tax measures, if any, will you support if elected to the Congress in 1992?
XReducing the capital gains tax rate on profits from the sale of stocks, bonds and real estate.
XPermitting tax-free withdrawals from IRAs in limited circumstances.
XProviding some kind of middle-class tax break.
Increasing the income taxes of those with incomes over $100,000.
XProviding a tax credit for first-time home buyers.
XRepealing luxury taxes on limited items.
XProviding a temporary investment tax credit.

Don't support any kind of tax increase. Tax increases merely give Congress an incentive to spend money.

Please evaluate the following general program areas and indicate the level of federal funding that you will support if you are elected to Congress.
Keep Spending The SameHealth Care
Decrease SpendingUnemployment
Keep Spending The SameAIDS Research
Increase SpendingEnvironment
Decrease SpendingDefense
Increase SpendingEducation
Keep Spending The SameNational Debt Payments
Increase SpendingDrugs
If you are elected to Congress, how will you confront the issue of the national debt?
XReduce governmental defense spending.
XReduce governmental domestic spending.
Raise personal income taxes for all citizens.
Raise personal income taxes for citizens with incomes over $100,000.
Raise corporate taxes.
Do nothing at the present time.

Debt is caused by Congress spending too much money, rather than the lack of tax revenue. Cut expenses before thinking of raising taxes.

Which of the following measures designed to address the issue of unemployment do you support or oppose?
SupportExtending unemployment compensation further.
SupportFederal support of job retraining programs.
SupportFederal grants to states for creating jobs in inner cities.
Strongly SupportMandating workfare for welfare recipients.
Don't KnowMinimizing governmental intervention and letting the market take a more natural course.
SupportFederal investment in America's infrastructure.
Which of the following policies, if any, should be pursued by the federal government in the area of the United States/Japenese trade?
Restricting the overall volume of goods entering the United States from Japan.
XImposing tariffs on goods entering the United States from Japan.
XRequiring Japan to eliminate its trade surplus with the United States over a period of five years.
XRequiring reciprocal trade agreements between the United States and Japan based on equal dollar values.
Imposing no restrictions on trade between the United States and Japan.

Federal government must pursue a rigorous export policy; exports create jobs for Americans.

Which of the following defense proposals do you support or oppose?
SupportReduction of the number of American military troops.
Don't KnowContinued funding of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
Do you consider the fact that many Americans do not have health insurance to be a problem, and if so, please note which of the following proposals you favor?
Elimination of private insurance in favor of a program administered and paid for by the federal government and run by the states, similar to the health care system in Canada.
XOffering tax incentives to all small employers in return for guaranteed health insurance coverage of all employees and their families.
Implementation of a "play or pay" program where employers must enroll their employees and families in a basic health plan or contribute to a public fund that will provide health care for everyone without coverage.
Creation of a fund designed to provide health insurance to the unemployed and supported by additional tax levies on large employers.
XA system of tax credits and vouchers to provide health insurance for the working poor and people of moderate income.
No reform necessary at this time.
If elected to Congress, which of the following proposals designed to change our nations' public education system will you support?
Increased federal funding.
XIncreased state and local funding.
XImproved teacher recruitment and training.
National curricula and standards.
XSmaller classes.
XIncreased national testing.
A "choice" or "vouchers" program.
No major changes are necessary at this time.
If elected to Congress, how will you confront the War on Drugs?"
XProvide federal funds to educate people about the dangers of drugs.
XProvide federal funds to help drug addicts overcome their addictions.
XWork with foreign governments to stop the export of drugs to this country.
XImpose mandatory federal jail sentences for drug dealers.
Impose mandatory federal jail sentences for drug users.
Legalize the possession and use of drugs.
What is your opinion on the following environmental proposals?
OpposeOpening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.
SupportAmending the Clean Water Act's section on wetlands to provide landowners with greater rights.
SupportReauthorization of The Endangered Species Act in its current form.
Please indicate which of the following positions you support or oppose.
Strongly SupportParental or spousal notification prior to permitting an abortion.
Don't KnowAbortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
Strongly OpposeFederally funded abortions should be permitted.
Strongly OpposeWomen should be able to get abortions if they want no matter what the reason.
SupportAbortion should be legal only in limited circumstances, for example, when the life of the mother is endangered or in the case of rape or incest.
Which of the following anti-crime measures do you support or oppose?
Strongly SupportExpansion of the number of federal crimes punishable by death.
Strongly SupportA mandatory waiting period before the purchase of a handgun.
OpposeIncreased federal spending for state and local police programs.
OpposeA ban on the sale and possession of assault-style semiautomatic weapons.
Strongly SupportA limitation on habeas corpus appeals for death row inmates.
Whare are your two top priorities if elected to the Congress?
a. What will you do about each priority?

Pass the Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment so the Congress no longer puts succeeding generations into debt for paying the bills of the current generation.

b. How will you finance (when necessary) each priority?

Secondly, I support using the federal criminal justice system to provide mandatory jail terms for those who are convicted of a crime while armed with a firearm. We have a rash of violence in our streets. The murder rate is the highest in history, and it seems to me that anybody who uses a firearm and who is convicted by a jury of their peers ought to go to jail without possibility of probation, without possibility of parole for a long period of time.

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