Senator Richard C. Shelby's Political Positions

Biographical

Full Name: Richard C. Shelby
Current Office: U.S. Senate - Sr, Republican
First Elected: 11/04/1986
Last Elected: 11/02/2010
Next Election: 2016
Gender: Male
Family: Wife: Annette; 2 Children: Richard Jr., Claude Nevin
Birth Date: 05/06/1934
Birth Place: Birmingham, AL
Home City: Tuscaloosa, AL
Religion: Presbyterian
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Richard Shelby refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

This candidate has demonstrated 0% courage during the test.

*Note: This percentage is calculated based on the number of issue areas addressed by the candidate on the Political Courage Test at the conclusion of the testing period. It does not indicate support or lack of support by Project Vote Smart.

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 are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Vote Smart's Research

  • NARAL Pro-Choice America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent in 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • National Right to Life Committee. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 100 percent in 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Planned Parenthood. 2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 0 percent in 2008. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S 3. 108th Congress. A bill to prohibit the procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted YES on 21 October 2003. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 2321 to S 1692. 106th Congress. To express the sense of Congress in support of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted NO on 21 October 1999. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 3330 to S Amdt 3325 to HR 3043. 110th Congress. To prohibit the provision of funds to grantees who perform abortions. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted YES on 18 October 2007. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 3896 to S Amdt 3899 to S 1200. 110th Congress. To modify a section relating to limitation on use of funds appropriated to the Service. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted YES on 26 February 2008. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Abortion. "Human life is a gift and we, as a nation, should work to preserve it, rather than take it. In 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman's right to have an abortion is constitutionally protected. I strongly disagree with this ruling and unfortunately, since that time, many innocent lives have been lost. While Congress cannot outlaw abortion, we can certainly try to make it rare -- an objective that most Americans support. As a United States Senator, I have worked on many fronts to reduce abortions and the unwanted pregnancies that make abortions so prevalent in our society. In addition, I have been a longstanding proponent of funding for abstinence education, because I feel that it is clearly the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • National Taxpayers Union. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the National Taxpayers Union 74 percent in 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Taxes - Death Tax Repeal. "Under provisions of the 2001 tax relief bill, the death tax will be completely phased out by January 1, 2010. However, because of a sunset provision in the Act, it will be reinstated after December 31, 2010. I have always supported repealing federal estate and gift taxes, and I will continue to support any and all efforts to do so. Taxpayers scrimp and save their entire lifetimes only to discover that their estate could be subject to taxes as high as 55%. This is simply unfair. During the 110th Congress, several amendments have been offered regarding this issue. On March 23, 2007, the Senate considered S.AMDT.578, which sought full repeal of the death tax. This amendment failed by a vote of 44-55. Then again, on March 13, 2008, the Senate considered S.AMDT.4191, which sought to protect small businesses, family ranches and farms from the death tax by providing a $5 million exemption, a low rate for smaller estates and a maximum rate no higher than 35 percent. This amendment failed as well. I supported these efforts and continue to support full repeal of death and gift taxes. I believe these efforts should be viewed as part of a larger effort to provide tax relief to the American people. Rest assured, I will keep your thoughts in mind should Congress consider relevant legislation in the future." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Richard Shelby. HR 1. 111th Congress. Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted NO on 13 February 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Club for Growth. 2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the Club for Growth 81 percent in 2008. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Taxes - Economic Stimulus. "On February 7, 2008, the Senate passed H.R. 5140, an economic stimulus package, the bulk of which is focused on income tax rebates that some say will boost our economy by encouraging consumer spending. However, this legislation is a political response to an economic problem. We would be better off investing in things that will truly make our economy stronger - like investment tax credits and accelerated depreciation. In the end, I decided that the cost of the package is too much to saddle our children with in additional debt, for a bill that will have a questionable effect on our economy. Therefore, I opposed this stimulus package because it is akin to trying to raise the level of the ocean by pouring in a glass of water. This legislation was signed into law by the President on February 13." (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Senator Shelby Opposes Stimulus. 10 February 2009. "This so-called stimulus package is a disgrace and represents a continuation of government's unfocused response to our economic problems. Until we resolve the challenges facing our financial system, our economy will not recover and we will continue to waste the taxpayer's money and steal from future generations. Getting credit flowing again will create and sustain more jobs than any stimulus package ever has or ever will, in my judgment. Simply 'doing something' is not a viable strategy and has not improved our situation thus far. We should focus instead on knowing what we are doing. Government's floundering only compounds our nation's difficulties." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Richard Shelby. Social Seccurity and Medicare. 4 August 2010. "For far too long, the federal government has used annual surpluses generated by the Social Security and Medicare programs to spend as part of the regular federal budget. Now, as more and more members of the baby boom generation reach retirement age, these funds must be dedicated to the programs for which they were raised instead of being spent for unrelated purposes. Under the existing systems, as Social Security and Medicare begin to pay out more than they take in through payroll taxes, any shortages will have to be made up by increasing taxes or cutting benefits. Senator Shelby finds both of these options to be unacceptable. America must maintain its commitment to our seniors who have paid into the programs all of their lives while also finding a way to make it solvent for future generations." (www.shelbyforsenate.com)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Social Security Reform. "Although President Bush has outlined a broad proposal for personal retirement accounts, the debate surrounding Social Security reform will continue to evolve, and we must remember that the devil is in the details. Reform of Social Security is a complex issue and I believe that we must heed the advice of Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan to proceed in a 'cautious and gradual way.' 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. I believe significant reforms to a program as large and critically important as Social Security must be cautious and deliberative, and I intend to take such an approach as Congress debates this matter." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants. 2005-2006. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants 20 percent in 2005-2006. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Gun Control. "Individuals who commit crimes with firearms should be dealt with quickly and effectively. I support the death penalty and imprisonment without parole. We must ensure that criminals are held accountable for their actions, that they receive swift and certain punishment commensurate with their crimes, and the protection of innocent citizens takes priority over other objectives." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Richard Shelby. HR 1. 107th Congress. To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted YES on 18 December 2001. (votesmart.org)
  • Home School Legal Defense Association. 1999-2000. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the Home School Legal Defense Association 60 percent in 1999-2000. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Education. "The Act also included incentives for schools that do meet performance benchmarks, and it mandates that each classroom have a 'highly qualified' teacher by 2006. The NCLBA provided a fair degree of latitude for the Department of Education to develop guidelines on several issues: defining 'qualified teachers'; determining what constitutes acceptable state tests; and deciding how strictly to enforce sanctions on schools whose students fail to meet testing standards. Many constituents have contacted me with concerns about the enforcement of those provisions, including the issue of teacher standards. I have also heard from constituents who believe that it is impossible to judge all students by the same testing standards. The NCLBA seeks to ensure that instructors have an academic background in the subjects they teach and are qualified to do so. I firmly believe that all teachers must have the requisite knowledge and qualifications to successfully educate and mentor our nation's children. However, I realize that it is difficult to devise a uniform standard to evaluate all teachers." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Environment America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of Environment America 0 percent in 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 4825 to S 3036. 110th Congress. In the nature of a substitute. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted NO for cloture on 6 June 2008. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Letter to The Honorable Stephen L. Johnson, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency. 1 December 2008. "Agriculture is Alabama's largest industry and it is critical that the EPA consider the economic and regulatory impact that any proposed rule aimed at the agriculture industry will have on our state's producers. Unfortunately, the EPA's proposed approach to regulate natural agriculture emissions does not account for the significant costs, burdens, and adverse consequences on the agriculture industry in Alabama and throughout the nation. For this reason, I urge the EPA to reexamine the approach outlined in its proposal." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Gun Owners of America. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. In 2010 Gun Owners of America gave Richard Shelby a grade of A. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 362 to S 254. 106th Congress. To regulate the sale of firearms at guns shows. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted NO on 05/20/99. (votesmart.org)
  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 2003. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 0 percent from 1988 and 2003. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. 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: Richard Shelby voted NO on 11/20/93. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 1067 to S Amdt 1058 to HR 627. 111th Congress. To protect innocent Americans from violent crime in national parks and refuges. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted YES on 12 May 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 1152 to S Amdt 1151 to S 1607. 103rd Congress. To restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted NO on 17 November 1993. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Gun Control. "I believe that gun control legislation is violative of both the letter and the spirit of the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment of the Constitution reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. To combat crime in our communities, we need stronger penalties. I will vote against all attempts to infringe upon the rights of law abiding citizens. It is a foremost right of all American citizens to be free from the fear of violent crime in our homes, our streets and our communities. We cannot demonstrate any tolerance for crime in our society. Individuals who commit crimes with firearms should be dealt with quickly and effectively. I support the death penalty and imprisonment without parole. We must ensure that criminals are held accountable for their actions, that they receive swift and certain punishment commensurate with their crimes, and the protection of innocent citizens takes priority over other objectives." (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Shelby Votes No on Sotomayor. 6 August 2009. "I remain very concerned with the ruling Judge Sotomayor joined in Maloney v. Cuomo, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stated that the Second Amendment does not apply to the states. While the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet had occasion to rule on this question, history and common understanding are very clear that the Second Amendment guarantees the fundamental right of the people to keep and bear arms." (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Today's Ruling is a Great Victory for the American People. 26 June 2008. "The right to keep and bear arms belongs to every law-abiding American and I applaud this landmark decision. I have always been a firm believer in an individual's right to own firearms and today's ruling is a great victory for the American people and the Second Amendment." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • American Public Health Association. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the American Public Health Association 14 percent in 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Shelby Slams Health Care Reform Legislation. "After weeks behind closed doors, the Majority has produced a bill that raises taxes, makes drastic cuts in Medicare, and increases premiums to create a new government program: the public option. I believe the public option is nothing more than socialized medicine and expanded government disguised as greater choice and thus, I am adamantly opposed to this bill. Any legislation seeking to effectively address health care reform should have as its dual aims cutting costs and increasing access to quality care. Amazingly, this bill does just the opposite on both counts. This proposed legislation is not going to solve our nation's health care problems and will likely exacerbate them. Yet the Administration seems determined to force the health care bill on the American people - which the majority of citizens do not want or need." (shelby.senate.gov)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Shelby Statement On President's Joint Session Speech. 9 September 2009. "The President tonight expressed his continued support for a public option, but still provided few specifics as to how it would be paid for. He also failed to explain how a public option would not lead to a government takeover and rationing of health care. There are sensible and positive reforms that we can pursue to build on the strengths of our current system, but as long as the President continues to pursue a government-run plan I remain in strong opposition." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Federation for American Immigration Reform. 2007-2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 75 percent in 2007-2008. (votesmart.org)
  • National Latino Congreso. 2007-2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of the National Latino Congreso 7 percent in 2007-2010. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard Shelby. S Amdt 4087 to S 2611. 109th Congress. To modify the conditions under which aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States are granted legal status. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted NO on 23 May 2006. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Immigration - Border Fence. "You may rest assured that I will continue to support provisions that strengthen our borders, tighten our immigration laws and punish - not reward - illegal immigration. I will also continue to oppose any proposal that endorses, supports or includes amnesty for illegal immigrants." (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Newsletter: Listening to Alabamians. 14 March 2007. "The exploding problem of immigration is an issue that troubles many Alabamians, and I share their concerns. Our nation must have strong controls on the influx of illegal immigrants. I believe that the President's immigration proposal is headed in the wrong direction. I will not vote for any plan that grants amnesty to illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. Ours is a nation of laws. The President's proposal sends the wrong message to legal immigrants and those who are waiting patiently and following the law to come to the United States. The number of illegal immigrants crossing our borders unchecked each year is proof that our current system is broken and must be fixed. Unfortunately, it appears the majority in Congress and the President believe amnesty must be a part of any so called immigration 'reform' package. I disagree and will do everything I can to prevent any attempt to roll back our immigration laws." (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. The Associated Press. Senators Reject Immigration Bill As Sessions Leads Charge. 29 June 2007. "Among other things, the bill would have allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the country by stepping forward, paying fines and applying for temporary work visas. The bill also included a workplace verification system to bar undocumented workers from getting jobs. Shelby and Sessions argued that the bill amounted to amnesty for illegal immigrants, saying they should not be given legal rights so easily." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Peace Action West. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Richard Shelby supported the interests of Peace Action West 10 percent in 2009. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Shelby Comments on Obama's Troop Announcement. 1 December 2009. "The terrorists seeking safe haven in Afghanistan have one goal -- to terrorize Americans and disrupt our way of life. They hate us not because of what we do, but because of who we are. As long as al Qaeda continues to use Afghanistan as a sanctuary to stage, prepare, and launch attacks against our nation and our people, we must continue to root out these terrorists where they are. To achieve that aim, we must act decisively on the requests of our commanders on the ground and not unduly delay or retract their resources. While President Obama will temporarily increase troop levels, he also plans an accelerated exit strategy of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. I remain open to a reduction of forces in Afghanistan if recommended by our military commanders. Such withdrawals, however, are not part of the current strategy of our top military leader in Afghanistan -- General McChrystal. I remain deeply concerned about the Afghans meeting their own security responsibilities and I firmly believe the Afghan government must do more to strengthen its police force and military presence. We cannot, however, set arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal or accelerate an exit strategy without giving our armed forces the chance to accomplish the mission. This war is a test of wills and resolve. I believe we must give our warfighters the opportunity to succeed." (votesmart.org)

Vote Smart's Research

  • Richard Shelby. HR 3396. 103rd Congress. To define and protect the institution of marriage. Project Vote Smart Summary: Richard Shelby voted YES on 10 September 1996. (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Issue Position: Federal Marriage Amendment. "I am opposed to expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions. Accordingly, I am a cosponsor of S.J.Res. 1, which would amend the Constitution to state that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. The amendment would also prohibit the Constitution or any state constitution, or state or federal law, from being construed to require that marital status or its legal incidents be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups. On June 7, 2006, I voted in favor of a procedural measure that would have allowed the Federal Marriage Amendment to be debated by the United States Senate. While the U.S. Senate was unable to proceed to this measure, I continue to believe that a constitutional amendment is necessary to combat the activist judges who have attempted to redefine marriage in the United States." (votesmart.org)
  • Richard C. Shelby. Shelby Statement on Federal Marriage Amendment. 7 June 2006. "I believe that the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman. Activist judges should not be permitted to redefine the sacred bond of marriage. For generations, humanity has defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman upon which families are built. While the U.S. Senate was unable to proceed to this important measure, I continue to believe that a constitutional amendment is necessary to combat the activist courts who have attempted to redefine marriage in the United States." (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

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