Arlen Specter's Political Positions

Biographical

Full Name: Arlen Specter
Gender: Male
Family: Wife: Joan; 2 Children: Shanin, Stephen
Birth Date: 02/12/1930
Birth Place: Wichita, KS
Home City: Philadephia, PA
Religion: Jewish
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The 2010 Political Courage Test will be sent to all Congressional candidates who file with their election office and all Gubernatorial and State Legislative candidate who qualify for the General Election.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Congressional Election 2004 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.

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.
Xb) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
Xf) Prohibit the dilation and extraction procedure, also known as "partial-birth" abortion.
g) Prohibit public funding of abortions and of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
h) Other or expanded principles

Using the key, indicate what federal funding levels you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category.

Budget Priorities

Maintain Statusa) Agriculture
Slightly Increaseb) Arts
Slightly Increasec) Defense
Greatly Increased) Education
Slightly Increasee) Environment
Greatly Increasef) Homeland security
Maintain Statusg) International aid
Slightly Increaseh) Law enforcement
Greatly Increasei) Medical research
Maintain Statusj) National parks
Slightly Increasek) Public health services
Slightly Increasel) Scientific research
Slightly Decreasem) Space exploration programs
Slightly Increasen) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Increaseo) Welfare
p) Other or expanded categories

Defense Spending

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

Using the key above, indicate what federal tax levels you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category.

Taxes

Income Taxes:

Family Income

Eliminatea) Less than $25,000
Greatly Decreaseb) $25,000-$75,000
Slightly Decreasec) $75,000-$150,000
Maintain Statusd) Over $150,000
e) Other or expanded categories

Retiree Income

Greatly Decreasef) Over $40,000
g) Other or expanded categories

Other Taxes:

Slightly Increasea) Alcohol taxes
Eliminateb) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increasec) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusd) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Eliminatef) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories

Deductions/Credits:

Slightly Increasea) Charitable contributions
Slightly Increaseb) Child tax credit
Maintain Statusc) Earned income tax credit
Greatly Increased) Medical expense deduction
Slightly Increasee) Mortgage deduction
Slightly Increasef) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories
Yes4) Do you support permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
Yes5) Do you support eliminating taxes on dividends paid to individual investors?
Yes6) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
Yes7) Other or expanded principles

I introduced the first Senate flat tax bill to simplify the tax system.

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

a) Support public taxpayer funding for federal candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
Xb) Increase the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
c) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
d) Allow unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
e) Allow ads paid for by soft money that support or attack a candidate for federal office.
f) Allow issue advocacy commercials by corporations, labor unions, and non-profit groups which appear within 60 days of a general election and within 30 days of a primary election.
g) Remove all contribution limits on federal campaigns and parties.
Undecidedh) Do you support instant run-off voting (IRV)?
Undecidedi) Should Election Day be a national holiday?
Yesj) Should same-sex couples be allowed to form civil unions?
Yesk) Should marriage be restricted to a union only between a man and a woman?
Yesl) Other or expanded principles

Constitutional amendment to overturn Buckley v. Valeo.

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

Xa) Support the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
Xc) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
Xd) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xe) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
f) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
Xg) Support additional criminal penalties if a fetus is killed in the commission of a federal crime against a pregnant woman.
Xh) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
Xi) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
Xj) Impose stricter penalties for those convicted of white-collar crimes.
k) Enforcement of civil rights should primarily be the responsibility of the federal government.
Xl) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
m) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
Xb) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
c) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Xd) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xe) Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
f) Eliminate federal funding for programs associated with the "war on drugs."
Xg) Other or expanded principles

Increase funding for drug courts, for which I sponsored original legislation.

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

Xa) Support national standards for and testing of public school students.
Xb) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any public school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xd) Allow teachers and professionals to receive authorization and funding to establish charter schools.
e) Increase funding for block grants to states to aid in the hiring of additional teachers.
Xf) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
Xg) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings, infrastructure, technology).
h) Support granting states limited control over Head Start programs.
i) Support changing the mission of Head Start to emphasize improving the math and reading skills of disadvantaged children.
j) Providing education is not a responsibility of the federal government.
Xk) Support affirmative action in public college admissions.
Xl) Increase funding of programs such as Pell grants and Stafford loans to help students pay for college.
Xm) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
n) Other or expanded principles

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

Xa) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
Xb) Reduce government regulation of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
Xc) Provide tax credits or grants to businesses that offer child care services to employees.
Xd) Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
e) Eliminate all federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
Xf) Increase the federal minimum wage.
Xg) Support the right of workers to strike without fear of being permanently replaced.
h) Allow workers to sell company stock and to diversify their company retirement funds into other investment options.
i) Other or expanded principles

2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding affirmative action.

Xa) The federal government should consider race and gender in government contracting decisions.
b) The federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs.
Xc) The federal government should continue affirmative action programs.
Xd) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
Xe) Other or expanded principles

Engage in rigorous outreach to find qualified individuals in minority classifications.

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.
c) Require states to compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses of privately-owned land.
d) Relax logging restrictions on federal lands.
e) Relax standards on federal lands to allow increased recreational usage.
Xf) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil).
g) Strengthen emission controls and fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
Xh) Support opening a select portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.
Xi) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
Xj) Support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
Xk) Allow energy producers to trade pollution credits.
Xl) Support the U.S. re-entering the Kyoto treaty process to limit global warming.
Xm) Other or expanded principles

Support reducing U.S. oil use by 1 million barrels/day, as outlined in my energy bill amendments.

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

a) Renew the ban on the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
b) Maintain and strengthen the current level of enforcement of existing federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
g) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Establish a national database of ballistic "fingerprints" to track guns used in criminal activities.
Xj) Support legislation that would protect manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms from civil lawsuits by crime victims.
k) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Providing health care is not a responsibility of the federal government.
b) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
Xc) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes appeal mechanisms when claims are denied.
Xd) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to sue when claims are denied.
Xe) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
Xf) Establish limits on the amount of punitive damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xg) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
Xh) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under private managed care plans.
Xi) Offer tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of insurance coverage.
Xj) Support automatic enrollment of children in federal health care programs such as CHIP and Medicaid.
Xk) Allow 55-65 year-olds to buy into Medicare.
Xl) Support stem cell research on existing lines of stem cells.
m) Allow laboratories to create new lines of stem cells for additional research.
Xn) Other or expanded principles

Sponsored original legislation to provide healthcare insurance for 43 million uninsured Americans.

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

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Establish English as the official national language.
Xc) Increase the number of visas issued for agricultural workers.
Xd) Relax restrictions barring legal immigrants from using social programs (e.g. public housing, food stamps).
e) Support amnesty for certain illegal immigrants who already reside in the United States.
f) Support the detention of asylum seekers from countries known to sponsor terrorism.
g) Other or expanded principles

International Aid

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding United States economic assistance.

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

International Policy

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the Middle East.

Yesa) Should the United States continue to provide leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
Nob) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Noc) Should the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq?
d) Discuss your proposals for the reconstruction of Iraq. What funding sources would you use to implement these proposals? (75 words or less. Please use an attached page if the space below is not adequate.)

The reconstruction of Iraq should be directed by the Iraqi government with Iraqi oil funds and with U.S. consultation. The Iraqi democratic government should take over, as promptly as possible, the functions coalition forces' troops are currently performing. As Iraqis take more responsibility for rebuilding their country after years of dictatorship, the U.S. role there should be reduced and U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible.

e) Other or expanded principles

2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Central and East Asia.

Yesa) Should the United States use diplomatic and economic pressure to encourage North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program?
Nob) Should the United States use military force to destroy the North Korean nuclear weapons program?
Noc) Should the United States remove the North Korean government from power?
Yesd) Should the United States increase financial support to Afghanistan?
Yese) Should the United States increase military support to Afghanistan?
f) Other or expanded principles

3) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the United Nations.

Yesa) Should the United States maintain its financial support of the United Nations?
Nob) Should the United States decrease its financial support of the United Nations?
Yesc) Should the United States commit troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions?
d) Other or expanded principles
Yes4) Should the United States lift the travel ban to Cuba?
Yes5) Should the United States increase its financial support to Colombia to combat "the war on drugs"?
Yes6) Should aid to African nations for AIDS prevention programs fund distribution of contraceptives?
Yes7) Should aid to African nations for AIDS prevention fund abstinence education?
8) Other or expanded principles

International Trade

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

Yes1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Yes2) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes3) Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Yes4) Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations (most favored nation) status with the United States?
Yes5) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
Yes6) Should trade agreements include provisions to address environmental concerns and to protect workers' rights?
Yes7) Other or expanded principles

I support free trade, but only when fair and will work to strengthen the U.S. trading position. For example, I have taken action to address unfair trade practices by China.

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?
Yesb) Should the United States adopt stricter rules for student visa applications from nations known to sponsor terrorism?
Noc) Should the United States grant law enforcement agencies greater discretion to read mail and email, tap phones, and conduct random searches to prevent future terrorist attacks?
Yesd) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Yese) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
Yesf) Do you support a policy of pre-emptive strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to national security?
Yesg) Other or expanded principles

with regard to answer (f), provided the country constitutes a clear and present danger.

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

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves.
b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts managed by private firms contracted by the government.
c) Invest a portion of Social Security assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of United States Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to better finance Social Security in its current form.
e) Lower the annual cost-of-living increases.
f) Raise the retirement age for when individuals are eligible to receive full Social Security benefits.
g) Other of expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding technology and communication.

a) Collect taxes on commercial Internet transactions.
Xb) Continue the moratorium on Internet taxation.
c) Implement regulation of Internet content.
Xd) Support government mandates to curtail violent and sexual content on television.
Xe) Support strict penalties for Internet crimes (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
Xf) Support legislation to detail how personal information can be collected and used on the Internet.
g) Regulating the Internet is not a responsibility of the federal government.
Xh) Impose regulations on "spam" emails.
Xi) Other or expanded principles

with regard to answer (d), for juveniles.

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

a) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
Xb) Increase funding for child care programs.
Xc) Continue to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants.
d) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based, or other non-profit organizations.
e) Abolish all federal welfare programs.
Xf) Support housing assistance for low-income families.
g) Other or expanded principles
On an attached page, disk, or via email, please explain in a total of 75 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.

My top three priorities will be defense/terrorism protection, education, healthcare. As co-author of the Homeland Security legislation, I will continue to press for a national intelligence director to take charge of FBI counterterrorism, CIA, and DoD intelligence functions. Further, I will continue my work as LHHS/Ed. Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman to fund breakthrough medical advances at NIH and provide the necessary federal support for education and job training to improve the nation's employment prospects.