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Richard Shelby's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (AL) - Sr, Republican
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Richard Shelby 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

  • "Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have and will continue to support efforts to preserve the lives of unborn children. I strongly believe that it is our moral and ethical duty to protect the dignity of human life, particularly when it comes to the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/legislativeissues?p=Abortion (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • Rated 100% by National Right to Life Committee http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/53266/richard-shelby#.VW3XiHUViko (votesmart.org)
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

  • "The Tax Simplification Act establishes a flat income tax of 17 percent on all income and places real spending limits on the federal government. My proposed flat tax would replace our current incomprehensible tax code with a flat tax rate of 17 percent on all income." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/340102/issue-position-taxes-flat-tax#.VW3YcnUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "The federal government must constrain itself to spend only what it takes in and not continue to saddle future generations with debt. This does not mean, however, that we should increase taxes. Senator Shelby adamantly opposes tax increases, as our budget shortfall is not the result of insufficient tax revenues, but rather excessive government spending."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/555290/issue-position-budget/?search=taxes#.VW3fOXUViko (votesmart.org)
No Inferred Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating "The excessive mandatory minimum sentences associated with drug offenses have led to an overrepresentation of people convicted of drug offenses in the federal criminal justice system. Restoring federal judicial discretion in drug cases by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences would allow people to receive punishments more proportional [...]" https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/letter_to_congress_re_bop_sequestration_cuts_march_2013.pdf (www.aclu.org)
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The federal government must constrain itself to spend only what it takes in and not continue to saddle future generations with debt. This does not mean, however, that we should increase taxes. Senator Shelby adamantly opposes tax increases, as our budget shortfall is not the result of insufficient tax revenues, but rather excessive government spending."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/555290/issue-position-budget/?search=taxes#.VW3fOXUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "In order to create a healthy economy and for the private sector to flourish, it is imperative that we cut wasteful government spending, simplify the tax code, and put an end to burdensome regulations." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/jobs-and-the-economy (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • Rated 76% by Club for Growth http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/53266/richard-shelby#.VW3d2XUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Senator Shelby adamantly opposes tax increases, as our budget shortfall is not the result of insufficient tax revenues, but rather excessive government spending."http://votesmart.org/public-statement/555290/issue-position-budget/?search=taxes#.VW3fOXUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "Higher corporate taxes will only lead to less capital for companies to invest into their businesses and make it more difficult for them to hire more workers. I oppose the President’s call for a higher corporate tax rate and will continue to push to lower taxes to allow for more opportunity and investment in America." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/taxes (www.shelby.senate.gov)
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I would be very wary of Common Core for the simple reason (that) sooner or later you’re going to have a federal mandate, probably enforced through the Department of Education all across the country." http://yellowhammernews.com/nationalpolitics/shelby-wary-common-core/ (yellowhammernews.com)
  • "Federal intervention into our nation’s education system will only lead to bureaucratic red-tape and will reduce the autonomy of parents and teachers. Rather than top-down federal mandates, I support efforts to send federal money directly to the classroom so that state and local officials can address the needs of their communities without needlessly diverting funding through layers of government bureaucracy." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/education (www.shelby.senate.gov)
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Cosponsored and voted in favor of S.1 "A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline http://votesmart.org/bill/votes/50943#.VXG7DXUVhHw (votesmart.org)
  • "Delivering on our promise, the Senate passed legislation today to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. [...] It's time for President Obama to stop obstructing this job-creating project." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/951165/shelby-on-keystone-xl-its-time-for-president-obama-to-stop-obstructing-this-job-creating-project#.VXG6knUVhHw (votesmart.org)
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Energy: Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We must also encourage diversification away from oil, with technology development that can compete in the market in its own right. The development of oil shale and coal-to-liquids technology are promising sources of domestic energy, as is hydrogen fuel and renewable energy resources such as solar, hydropower and biomass." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/579755/issue-position-energy/?search=Renewable%20Energy#.VW3heHUViko (votesmart.org)
  • "I believe that we should explore all economically viable potential energy sources and expand our use of domestic oil, natural gas, solar, wind, and geothermal power, among others. All of these policies must be a part of a comprehensive, market-based plan to move the United States toward energy independence." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/energy (www.shelby.senate.gov)
No Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "This past summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced sweeping new regulations in the Clean Air Act in a purported effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from existing power plants. These unilateral federal regulations from the EPA will lead to closures of coal units at three power plants in Alabama. […] These regulations are the face of executive overreach, and it is absolutely unacceptable that families and communities will suffer as a result of the EPA’s actions." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/energy (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • "I am adamantly opposed to the cap and trade legislation before Congress." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/579789/issue-position-energy-cap-and-trade/?search=Renewable%20Energy#.VW3iW3UViko (votesmart.org)
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "To address concerns of gun crimes and criminal possession of firearms, Senator Shelby does not believe that the answer is to create laws that deny law abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/555306/issue-position-second-amendment-rights#.VXG-_3UVhHw (votesmart.org)
  • "I believe that gun control legislation violates both the letter and the spirit of the United States Constitution."http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/guncontrol (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • Rated 0% by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/53266/richard-shelby/37#.VW3jEXUViko (votesmart.org)
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Opposition to ObamaCare is not responsible for its failures, and commitment to it will not negate its deep flaws. Mr. President, the only way to achieve the goals we all share is to begin by repealing this failed law so we can replace it with a plan that works." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2013/8/yellowhammer-shelby-says-obamacare-is-a-failure (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • "Obamacare is the largest social and spending legislation in recent American history. Instead of a massive government takeover of health care, I support repealing and replacing Obamacare with real reforms that cut costs and increase coverage – not expand the government's role in the lives of the American people. I have voted multiple times to repeal this deeply flawed law and I will continue to fight against it in the 114th Congress." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/health-care (www.shelby.senate.gov)
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

  • "The omnibus fails to properly address President Obama’s action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants through executive fiat. I remain firmly opposed to providing amnesty to those who have broken our laws and I stand ready to fight against the President’s executive overreach [...]" http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/inthenews?ID=09180d0d-99df-4182-96f2-51a940f6dae4 (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • "Please know that as the Senate considers immigration legislation, I will continue to oppose any proposal that endorses, supports, or includes amnesty for illegal immigrants." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/immigration (www.shelby.senate.gov)
No Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I've always believed and still believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I voted on that in the U.S. Senate." http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/alabama_sen_richard_shelby_say.html (www.al.com)
  • "I believe that marriage was created as a sacred union between one man and one woman, and we must do all within our power to protect this union. To that end, I support an amendment to the Constitution that would strictly define marriage as a union between a man and a woman throughout the country." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/marriage (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • Rated 0% by Human Rights Campaign http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/53266/richard-shelby/76#.V3U6TnVTQfI (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

  • "While I appreciate President Obama's efforts to utilize airstrikes and provide assistance to Kurdish and Iraqi ground forces, his strategy has failed to destroy ISIS's capacity to wreak havoc in the region, as evidenced by Russia's intervention to fill the void. I firmly believe that the United States must be a leader in the fight to stop ISIS's barbaric acts of violence and ensure that they do not continue with their destructive territorial ambitions." http://votesmart.org/public-statement/1031777/issue-position-foreign-policy/?search=Syria#.V3U6sXVTQfI (votesmart.org)
  • "I continue to believe that it is in our national interest to promote order and stability in the world and to starve the vicious forces of extremism and terror. We cannot allow the tragic events of September 11, 2001, to be forgotten. [...] I believe that we must continue to fight terrorism and root out its practitioners throughout the world in order to advance our own national security." http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/foreign-policy (www.shelby.senate.gov)
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

  • "While I support the underlying principle of personal retirement accounts, I am skeptical of any plan that places a significant burden on future generations and could endanger the economic well-being of our country. " http://www.shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/socialsecurityreform (www.shelby.senate.gov)
  • Rated 11% by Alliance for Retired Americans http://votesmart.org/candidate/evaluations/53266/richard-shelby/53 (votesmart.org)

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.

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