Senator Susan M. Collins's Political Positions

Biographical

Full Name: Susan M. Collins
Current Office: U.S. Senate - Sr, Republican
First Elected: 11/05/1996
Last Elected: 11/04/2008
Next Election: 2014
On The Ballot: Running, Republican for U.S. Senate
General Nov. 4, 2014
Primary June 10, 2014
Gender: Female
Family: Single
Birth Date: 12/07/1952
Birth Place: Caribou, ME
Home City: Bangor, ME
Religion: Roman Catholic
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Susan Collins's processing deadline has not passed. The result of Susan Collins's Political Courage Test will be released in upcoming weeks.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Maine Congressional Election 2008 Political Courage 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.

Key

Candidate Answer
Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.
Unknown Answer
Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Dilation and extraction or "partial-birth" abortion procedures should be legal.
g) Medicare, Medicaid, and federal subsidies should be prohibited from being used on abortion procedures.
h) Other or expanded principles.

I am pro-choice. I believe late-term abortions should be banned, except in those rare cases when it is necessary to save the life of a woman or to protect her physical health from grievous harm.

Indicate what federal funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category, you can use a number more than once.

1) Budget Priorities

Greatly Decreasea) Agriculture
Slightly Increaseb) Arts
Slightly Increasec) Defense
Greatly Increased) Education
Slightly Increasee) Environment
Slightly Increasef) FEMA
Slightly Increaseg) Homeland security
Maintain Statush) International aid
Slightly Increasei) Law enforcement (Federal)
Slightly Increasej) Law enforcement (State)
Greatly Increasek) Medical research
Greatly Increasel) National parks
Slightly Increasem) Public health services
Greatly Increasen) Scientific research
Maintain Statuso) Space exploration programs
Greatly Increasep) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Decreaseq) United Nations
Maintain Statusr) Welfare
s) Other or expanded categories

Welfare spending should rise or fall in accordance with need.

United Nations funding should be tied to reform.

Farm policy needs reform. Massive, wasteful subsidies for wealthy agribusinesses should be eliminated.

2) Defense Spending

Slightly Increasea) Armed forces personnel training
Slightly Increaseb) Intelligence operations
Slightly Increasec) Military hardware
Slightly Increased) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Maintain Statuse) National missile defense
Slightly Increasef) Pay for active duty personnel
Greatly Increaseg) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Slightly Increaseh) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increasei) Troop and equipment readiness
j) Other or expanded categories

We need to achieve the Chief of Naval Operations' goal of a 313-ship Navy to meet military requirements. We need to improve educational benefits and medical care for our toops and our veterans.

3) Taxes

Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category, you can use a number more than once.

Family Income Taxes

Eliminatea) Less than $12,000
Slightly Decreaseb) $12,001-$40,000
Slightly Decreasec) $40,001-$100,000
Maintain Statusd) $100,001-$180,000
Maintain Statuse) $180,001-$350,000
f) $350,001 and above
g) Other or expanded categories

There should be higher marginal income tax rates for taxpayers earning more than $1 million.

Other Taxes

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Capital gains taxes
Slightly Increasec) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusd) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Slightly Decreasef) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories

I have supported increases in the federal tobacco excise tax to fund expanded health care for children.

Deductions/Credits

Slightly Increasea) Charitable contribution deduction
Slightly Increaseb) Child tax credit
Slightly Increasec) Earned income tax credit
Slightly Increased) Medical expense deduction
Maintain Statuse) Mortgage deduction
Slightly Increasef) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories

I support greater refundability for the child tax credit.

4) Do you support the permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
5) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
6) Other or expanded principles

The estate tax is scheduled to be phased-out entirely by 2010, but reverts to previous rates as high as 55 percent in 2011. To avoid this, I support a proposal by Senator Kyl that would tie the estate tax to the capital gains rate (with a higher rate for large estates) and provide an exemption level of $5 million with full stepped-up basis.

I support paygo rules that would help lead to a balanced budget.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.

a) Support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
b) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
c) Allow unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
d) Remove all contribution limits on federal campaigns and parties.
Xe) Support prohibiting ads containing candidates' name that are paid for by third parties from airing 60 days before a primary and 30 days before a general federal election.
f) Support instant run-off voting (IRV).
g) Support designating Election Day as a national holiday.
Xh) Support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations.
Xi) Support limiting the President's use of signing statements in order to prevent an alternative interpretation of the bill.
Xj) Support a federal shield law to protect reporter-source privilege.
k) Other or expanded principles

I support reform of the dysfunctional Presidential public financing system. I am a cosponsor of the Presidential Funding Act (S. 2412), which would update the public financing system for presidential candidates by creating new incentives for these candidates to opt in to the system and remain competitive even against candidates who forgo it.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.

a) Support the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xd) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
e) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
f) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
Xg) Support strict penalties for internet crime (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
Xh) Require that crimes based on sexual orientation be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
i) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.

a) Support the federal government funding universal pre-K programs.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xd) Allow teachers and professionals to receive federal funding to establish charter or magnet schools.
Xe) Increase funding for the Pell Grant program.
Xf) Decrease interest rates of Stafford Loans.
Xg) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
Xh) Ban university financial aid officers from owning stock in or accepting gifts from student loan lenders.
Xi) Require universities to disclose financial relationships with lenders.
j) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
k) Eliminate all federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
l) Other or expanded principles

While I support the worthy goals of No Child Left Behind, issues related to the current statute's burdensome requirements must be addressed. I believe that common sense reforms are need in order to provide greater local control to Maine and other states. For example, we must provide greater flexibility in the ways that schools can demonstrate student progress in meeting state education standards.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.

Xa) Increase funding for national job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today’s job market.
Xb) Reduce government regulation of the private sector.
Xc) Encourage employers to offer child care services, flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
Xd) Increase the federal minimum wage.
Xe) Support the right of workers to unionize.
f) Eliminate all federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
Xg) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
Xh) Include gender identity in federal anti-discrimination laws.
i) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.

Xa) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
Xb) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
Xc) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil).
Xd) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
Xe) Strengthen fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
f) Support domestic oil exploration in areas that are currently restricted.
Xg) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels.
h) Support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
i) Support research and development of nuclear reactors as an alternative energy source.
Xj) Allow energy producers to trade pollution credits under "cap and trade" laws.
Xk) Support international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming.
Xl) Support international voluntary emission targets to limit global warming.
m) Other or expanded principles

I support the development of traditional energy sources and nuclear reactors as an energy source if the local community supports it and the proper environmental protections are put into place to deal with safety and waste issues.

I support the use of celluosic ethanol, but not corn-based ethanol.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.

Xa) Allow individuals to carry concealed guns.
b) Ban the sale, ownership or possession of handguns except by law enforcement and other government officials.

On (c) and (d), indicate what levels (#1-6) you support for the following categories.

Maintain Statusc) Enforcement of existing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Maintain Statusd) Restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Other or expanded principles

I have consistently defended the Second Amendment and oppose legislation that would restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. I grew up in northern Maine where responsible gun ownership is a part of the heritage of most families. Denying the rights of law-abiding citizens will not change the behavior of those intent on using firearms for criminal purposes. Our laws should be directed toward those who misuse firearms, not at law-abiding citizens, and I will continue to support the rights of responsible gun owners.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.

Xa) Implement a universal healthcare program to guarantee coverage to all Americans, regardless of income.
Xb) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
Xc) Allow the importation of prescription drugs into the United States.
Xd) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
Xe) Offer tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of insurance coverage.
Xf) Support expanding child healthcare programs.
g) Providing healthcare is not a responsibility of the federal government.
h) Other or expanded principles

I believe that we must build on our current public programs and private health care system to achieve the goal of affordable, quality health coverage for every American.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding immigration.

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
Xb) Establish English as the official national language.
Xc) Support a temporary worker program.
Xd) Support harsher financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
e) Support amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in the United States.
Xf) Illegal immigrants should have to return to their countries of origin before being considered for citizenship.
g) Illegal immigrants should be given a pathway to citizenship.
Xh) Support merit-based visas over family-based visas.
i) Other or expanded principles

Re: h) Reunification of the immediate family should, however, be a priority.

International Aid

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international aid.

Xa) Support the United States granting aid to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives.
Xb) Support the United States granting aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States.
c) Eliminate United States aid for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
d) Aid granted by the United States should be scaled back and eventually eliminated.
e) Other or expanded principles

Limiting U.S. foreign assistance for direct aid to citizens of nations whose governments commit human rights abuses could serve to hurt those who are oppressed and victimized.

International Policy

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international policy.

Yesa) Should the United States continue to provide leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
Yesb) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Yesc) Should the United States impose greater international sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates?
Yesd) Should the United States support the Lebanese government against insurgent forces?
Noe) Should the United States maintain its troop levels in Iraq?
f) Should the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq?
g) Discuss your proposals for Iraq.

I have authored a bipartisan proposal that would require the President to immediately transition the mission of our troops away from combat operations and instead focus on counter-terrorism operations, border security, and the training of Iraqi forces. I have also authored legislation included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Defense Authorization Act that prohibits American tax dollars from being spent on major reconstruction projects in Iraq; requires the Iraqis to assume the responsibility of paying for the salaries, training and equipping of Iraqi security forces; and initiates a process to have Iraqis reimburse the U.S. for fuel costs.

Yesh) Should the United States apply greater economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea if it fails to abide by its agreement to suspend its nuclear program?
Yesi) Should the United States increase financial support for Afghanistan?
j) Should the United States increase military support for Afghanistan?
Undecidedk) Should the United States trade nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes?
Nol) Should the United States decrease financial support for Pakistan?
Nom) Should the United States decrease military support for Pakistan?
Yesn) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in Darfur, Sudan?
Yeso) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Yesp) Should the United States provide economic and military support to the Transitional Government of Somalia?
Yesq) Should the United States use sanctions to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to end its human rights abuses?
r) Should the United States support the creation of an independent nation of Kosovo?
s) Other or expanded principles

In the cases of questions j), n), o); p), and q) other nations should be taking a greater role in providing military support in these international situations.

International Trade

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international trade.

a) Do you support the United States imposing economic sanctions on China?
b) Do you support the United States imposing trade sanctions on Venezuela?
c) Do you support the United States involvement in free trade agreements?
d) Do you support the United States involvement in intergovernmental organizations dedicated to trade?
e) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding national security.

Yesa) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
b) Should law enforcement agencies have greater discretion to monitor domestic communications, to prevent future terrorist attacks?
c) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Yesd) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
e) Do you support pre-emptive military strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to United States national security?
Nof) Do you support the creation of a federal identification card system?
Nog) Do you support long-term use of National Guard troops to supplement the armed forces in assignments overseas?
Yesh) Should the United States expand its missile defense shield?
i) Other or expanded principles

Whether or not to use a pre-emptive military strike against another country would have to depend on the circumstances of the threat being posed against the United States and whether that threat is imminent.

The National Guard is a vital part of the total force, but they should not be used for long deployments.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.

a) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Nob) Do you support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman?
Yesc) Do you support federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines?
Yesd) Do you support federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos?
Yese) Should the federal government consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?
Yesf) Should the federal government continue affirmative action programs?
Undecidedg) Should the federal government regulate internet gambling?
h) Other or expanded principles

It is my belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Principles of federalism dictate, however, that the responsibility to define marriage belongs to the states.

I support affirmative action prgrams to provide greater opportunities, but do not support numerical quotas.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Social Security.

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts that they manage themselves.
b) Ensure the viability of Social Security by increasing the payroll tax.
c) Decrease benefits paid to retirees.
d) Support proportional increases of Social Security benefits based on the cost of living index.
e) Raise the retirement age for individual eligibility to receive full Social Security benefits.
f) Other or expanded principles

I am a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill to create a task force to study solutions to the Medicare and Social Security problems facing our country.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare and poverty.

Xa) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
Xb) Continue to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants.
Xc) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
d) Abolish all federal welfare programs.
e) Other or expanded principles
Please explain in a total of 100 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.

There is far too much partisan gridlock in Congress. We need to put parisanship aside and get back to governing.

My legislative priorities include: energy independence and cost; access to affordable healthcare; improving education; strengthening homeland and national security; reforming government; and protecting the environment.