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Heath Shuler's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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Heath Shuler 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?

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 2010, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-life Inferred Answer Abortion Issues: Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Heath Shuler. H Amdt 509 to HR 3962. 111th Congress. An amendment printed in Part C of House Report 111-330 to codify the Hyde Amendment in H.R. 3962. The amendment prohibits federal funds for abortion services in the public option. It also prohibits individuals who receive affordability credits from purchasing a plan that provides elective abortions. However, it allows individuals, both who receive affordability credits and who do not, to separately purchase with their own funds plans that cover elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans may still offer elective abortions. Project Vote Smart Summary: Joseph Shuler voted YES on 7 November 2009. (
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent in 2009. (
  • National Right to Life Committee. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 75 percent in 2009. (
  • Planned Parenthood. 2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 0 percent in 2008. (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Faith and Family Values. "I am a pro-life Democrat, and I believe that all life is sacred. I also believe that a commitment to life extends beyond the womb and means ensuring that all people have adequate health care, receive a strong education, and be given proper care in their later years." (
  • Heath Shuler. Letter to Nancy Pelosi, David Obey and Liouse Slaughter, House of Representatives Leaders. 25 February 2009. "U.S Representatives Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to leaders in the House of Representatives today requesting that all traditional pro-life protections be kept in the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bills. Pro-life 'riders' have been in appropriations bills since 1976, through both Democratic and Republican Congresses and Administrations. The riders prevent taxpayer funds from being used to perform or support abortions and the organizations that perform them." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • National Taxpayers Union. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of the National Taxpayers Union 25 percent in 2009. (
Yes Inferred Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Heath Shuler. 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: Heath Shuler voted NO on 13 February 2009. (
  • Heath Shuler. HR 1424. 111th Congress. To provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes. Project Vote Smart Summary: Heath Shuler voted NO on 10 March 2008. (
  • Club for Growth. 2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of the Club for Growth 22 percent in 2008. (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Statement on Conference Report of Stimulus Package. 13 February 2009. "We all agree that action must be taken to stimulate our economy. However, I continue to disagree with the course of action laid out in this bill. Its focus should have been solely on programs that offer an immediate economic impact -- like extending unemployment insurance -- and investments in our nation's infrastructure, which have a rate of return of 6 to 1. While this final bill does provide some funding in those areas I am remarkably concerned that only 3.4% of the funding in this package goes toward repairing our country's highways and bridges. More specifically, across the country there are currently transportation projects totaling $64 billion that could be under contract within 180 days, yet this bill provides only $27.5 billion for those projects. In the end, this bill simply contained entirely too much spending in areas that will not provide an immediate stimulative effect to our nation's economy. With our national debt approaching $11 trillion we should not be borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars without careful and deliberate consideration. Additionally, I am remarkably disappointed in House leadership for bringing a bill of this size and magnitude up for a vote without giving members adequate time to review it fully. We must have a greater respect for this institution and for its Members." (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Statement on Senate Version of Wall Street Bailout Plan. 3 October 2008. "Representative Heath Shuler released the following statement today on his vote against the Senate version of the Wall Street bailout plan which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 263 to 171. 'Today I once again voted against a plan to bail out Wall Street because it still does not address the root problems or make the fundamental reforms to the system needed to prevent this situation from arising again. There is still a crisis of confidence and lack of trust between banks causing this credit crunch. That said, now that my colleagues have passed this legislation and it has been signed into law I sincerely hope that it works and will do everything in my power to ensure that it does. I will continue pressing for greater oversight, accountability and transparency, and I will demand vigorous enforcement of existing laws through the Securities and Exchange Commission so we don't find ourselves in this situation again." (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Statement on Wall Street Bailout Plan. 29 September 2008. "The legislation would have guaranteed up to $700 billion in taxpayer funds to purchase and manage troubled assets. 'The American taxpayers should not be, cannot be, and will not be responsible for the bad business decisions made on Wall Street,' said Representative Shuler. 'Worse yet, there was no assurance that even this $700 billion bailout package would have solved the problem.' Representative Shuler also expressed concern regarding the lack of oversight and accountability for the financial markets. 'This bailout would have sent the message to those on Wall Street that they do not need to be concerned with the consequences of their actions because the taxpayers would clean up any mess they created.' The House is expected to reconvene later this week to consider additional legislation regarding the current financial situation. 'Today, Congress did its job,' said Representative Shuler. 'The world's greatest deliberative body has a solemn obligation to consider the long term implications of its actions, and in this case, a majority decided that this bailout was not the answer. I look forward to staying in session and working with my colleagues until we find the best solution.'" (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Statement on the Economic Stimulus Plan. 28 January 2009. "Today Congress passed H.R. 1 in an attempt to stimulate our nation's economy and prevent this current recession from worsening. It is my belief that Congress should use this opportunity to invest in America's infrastructure for the 21st Century, so that we can compete in this increasingly global economy. This investment should focus on green jobs, highways and bridges, railways, a modernized electrical grid, and broadband Internet: infrastructure projects that create jobs and make America more completive globally. In my opinion, the legislation before the House today contained too much additional spending in areas that will not offer immediate economic stimulus. As our nation faces an historic budget deficit and a national debt approaching $11 trillion, I cannot in good conscience borrow and spend $825 billion, further burdening future generations of Americans." (
  • Heath Shuler. Weekly Legislative Update From Rep. Heath Shuler. 19 April 2010. "This past week, several important steps were made to continue efforts to rein in government spending. As a proud member of the leadership team of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally-conservative Democrats, I am proud to see these strides being made to tackle our federal deficit and stop unnecessary and wasteful spending. The two bills that made progress last week are components of the 15 point Blue Dog Blueprint for Fiscal Reform." (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Economy and Job Creation. "As an entrepreneur and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship, Heath is working hard to bring new, high-paying jobs to Western North Carolina and help the businesses already here to expand. He has fought for small business tax cuts to encourage business owners to invest in new technology and equipment and to ensure that married couples who own a small business receive credit for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. Heath was proud to sponsor H.R. 2352, the Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009. This legislation passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support, by a vote of 406 to 15. H.R. 2352 expands entrepreneurial development (ED) programs within the Small Business Administration (SBA) to create jobs and provide entrepreneurs with the technical assistance and training necessary to manage a small business. This bill represents the first major overhaul of the SBA's entrepreneurial development programs in a decade. The bill increases entrepreneurial opportunity for Native Americans by reaching out to the community and expanding access to small business contracts, and it seeks to help gain resources for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. The Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act of 2009 will use today's technology to help small business entrepreneurs continue their education and increase networking opportunities by establishing access to distance-learning programs and establishing a nationwide peer-to-peer technical assistance network through the Small Business Administration. By using modern technology, entrepreneurs will be able to pursue their career goals with more ease than ever before. Heath is also committed to ensuring funds from The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 reach small businesses in Western North Carolina to assist them as they grow and prosper." (
No Inferred Answer Business and Employment Issues: Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Social Security. "Since its creation on August 14, 1935 under Franklin Roosevelt, Social Security has offered a defined and secure benefit that has kept millions of seniors out of poverty. This contract between the generations is inarguably the most successful social program ever implemented in the history of the United States of America. Yet the Bush Administration and many of his Republican colleagues in Congress want to dismantle Social Security by placing large portions of its funds in the hands of Wall Street executives. Estimates show that these financial services companies may gain up to $279 billion in fees from managing these accounts. They want to privatize Social Security and risk the retirement that millions of American seniors have earned and make billions of dollars for themselves while doing it. I will never support these dangerous and expensive giveaways to fat-cat lobbyists and their political puppets. Instead, I will fight to protect Social Security by using commonsense and balancing the budget without raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. Our seniors, and coming generations of Americans, have earned their Social Security benefit, and we need a Member of Congress willing to protect it." (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Social Security. "Since its creation in 1935, Social Security has lifted millions of seniors out of poverty, and continues to do so today. Close to half of all seniors living in America today would live below the poverty line without Social Security benefits. However, as the Baby Boomer generation begins to near retirement, Social Security will certainly face challenges and strains. These challenges are not impossible to overcome. In fact, the 2008 Trustee Report on the financial health of Social Security and Medicare predicts that Social Security will have sufficient funding for over thirty years. Heath will oppose any attempt to replace the guaranteed benefit of Social Security with the guaranteed risks of private accounts. Heath is committed to protecting Social Security for generations to come, and he looks forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make certain this defined benefit continues. Deficit Reduction and Social Security: As a leader of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition, Heath is committed to reducing our national deficit so that our children and grandchildren are not forced to pay tomorrow for the poor decisions of today. It is essential to the long-term viability of our economy that we reign in out-of-control spending while still ensuring that seniors have the guarantee of Social Security for generations to come." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime Issues: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
No Inferred Answer Education Issues: Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Heath Shuler. Congressional Candidates Tells Plans. 18 October 2007. "Local schools know how to teach our children. No Child Left Behind is $40 billion of unfunded mandates." (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Education. "Congress is currently working on the reauthorization and improvement of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). I applaud the goals of NCLB, however after speaking with school administrators, teachers, and students I believe that the law must be amended before it is reauthorized. First, NCLB must stop being an unfunded mandate passed down to our local schools from the federal government. When NCLB was originally passed local school districts were assured that full and proper funding would be provided to meet the new federal regulations and requirements. However, that funding was never appropriated. Our local school budgets are already strained, without this additional burden from the federal government. Second, we must introduce more fairness and flexibility into the law and reward schools when they succeed. It is important that success be measured by more than test scores in reading and math, so that the development of students and school performance can be determined on a more fair, comprehensive, and accurate basis. We must also adjust NCLB so that it fully takes into account the fact that students with disabilities and students learning English present unique challenges to schools and districts. NCLB should help schools address those challenges, while still holding schools accountable for the progress of all students." (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment and Energy Issues: Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Environment America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of Environment America 80 percent in 2009. (
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund. 2007. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Joseph Heath supported the interests of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund 100 percent in 2007. (
  • Heath Shuler. HR 2454. 111th Congress. To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy. Project Vote Smart Summary: Heath Shuler voted YES on 26 June 2009. (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Environment. "Ensuring America's energy independence is one of the most important and pressing issues facing our Nation. America must lead the world in the use, development, and production of renewable energies to reduce global warming and end our reliance on foreign oil. We can no longer afford to depend solely on fossil fuels, like petroleum, to drive our economy and generate our energy. Our Nation's energy policy must be focused on securing our long-term energy future and being good stewards of God's creation, not protecting the profits of Big Oil companies. Our path to energy independence is efficiency, innovation and ingenuity -- not more drilling. I have been working diligently with my colleagues in Congress to achieve that goal." (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Introduces Legislation to Sustain Forests and Reduce Emissions. 1 August 2008. "Representative Heath Shuler introduced legislation today to provide private landowners with an incentive to preserve forest land by expanding access to carbon trading and biomass markets?.The bill would track carbon and biomass projects on a regional basis, assist small forest landowners with quantifying their forest carbon and trading capabilities, and provide cost efficient mechanisms for ensuring that landowners use sustainable forest management practices." (
No Inferred Answer Gun Issues: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Heath Shuler. HR 6842. 111th Congress. To restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia. Project Vote Smart Summary: Heath Shuler voted YES on 17 September 2008. (
  • Gun Owners of America. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. In 2010 Gun Owners of America gave Heath Shuler a grade of C. (
  • National Rifle Association. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. 6 July 2010. "In 2010 National Rifle Association gave Representative Shuler a grade of A, in its scorecard for candidates seeking office in 2010." (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: 2nd Amendment. "The Second Amendment clearly gives every law-abiding American the right to keep and bear arms, and it is a right that Representative Shuler deeply respects. As a lifelong hunter and sportsman, he has a sincere appreciation for the lessons gained from responsible gun ownership and use. As a member of Congress, I will always defend your Second Amendment rights and oppose burdensome regulations that attempt to limit the Constitutional Rights of law-abiding Americans." (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Protects Consumers through the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights & Upholds 2nd Amendment. 21 May 2009. "I believe the Second Amendment provides for a fundamental personal right to keep and bear firearms, and I am committed to protecting this right from any intrusive legislation or action by the Federal government." (
  • Heath Shuler. Rep. Shuler Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on D.C Gun Ban and 2nd Amendment Rights. 26 June 2008. "The right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment, and I pleased with the Supreme Court's affirmation of that fundamental right today. Law-abiding Americans have a right to own firearms, whether it is for the protection of themselves and their families, hunting, or collecting, or any other legal activity." (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: "Heath is a lifelong hunter and sportsman who supports every Americans' right to keep and bear arms. In Congress, he has always defended our rights and opposed attempts to place burdensome regulations on law-abiding Americans. He has received an "A" grade from the National Rifle Association for his commitment to protecting the Second Amendment. In 2009, Heath joined 65 other pro-gun Democrats in opposing the renewal of the ban on assault weapons by the Obama administration." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Health Issues: Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • American Public Health Association. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of the American Public Health Association 44 percent in 2009. (
  • Heath Shuler. HR 3962. 111th Congress. To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes. Project Vote Smart Summary: Heath Shuler voted NO on 7 November 2009. (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Health Care. "Every American deserves affordable access to health care. It is immoral that over 47 million Americans, nearly 9 million of whom are children, are living without health insurance. What is even more shocking is that over 80 percent of people without health insurance come from working families. Heath is committed to addressing this health care crisis....Heath has also worked to make insurance more affordable for small businesses. Oftentimes the cost of offering insurance to their employees is too high for small employers. In fact, nearly one out of three American companies do not offer health insurance to their employees. Far too often this lack of coverage prevents people from seeking preventive care. This lack of care commonly results in a trip to the emergency room as their first and last resort for health care at a much higher cost. Lowering the cost of health care will also reduce the cost of health insurance. That is why Heath is committed to expanding the use of information technology through the health care system. He has secured federal funding to improve the Western North Carolina DataLink, which connects the regions' hospitals electronically and allows for the easy transfer of patient records and test results. This transfer of information reduces the need for repetitive testing and improves patient care." (
No Inferred Answer Immigration Issues: Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Federation for American Immigration Reform. 2007-2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 92 percent in 2007-2008. (
  • National Latino Congreso. 2007-2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of the National Latino Congreso 0 percent in 2007-2010. (
  • Heath Shuler. Congressman Heath Shuler to Senate: No Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants. 8 May 2007. "Representative Heath Shuler joined with several fellow members of Congress today to urge the Senate to resist attempts to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. 'This is an issue that Democrats and Republicans should stand together on,' said Rep. Shuler. 'We should stand for the rule of law and what is right. We cannot, we must not, and we should not reward those who have broken the law. It is unfair to those who have gone through and are continuing to go through the process of legal immigration to grant amnesty and citizenship to those who have entered our country illegally,' Rep. Shuler continued." (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: Immigration. "I believe that to correctly address illegal immigration we must revamp our current system. True immigration reform must be more than just protecting the borders. America needs comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, eliminates the backlog of INS, and stops illegal immigration. We must increase the resources and funding available to the Border Patrol so more agents can be hired and more patrols conducted to keep people from illegally entering our country. We must also hold companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants responsible for their actions. By offering employment to those who have illegally entered the country, these companies are only encouraging more illegal immigration. While I understand the reasons that prompt some to illegally enter the United States and that America is a nation built by immigrants, I do not support granting amnesty to people who have broken the law." (
Yes Inferred Answer International Policy Issues: Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Heath Shuler. HR 4899. 111th Congress. Supplemental Appropriations Act. Project Vote Smart Summary: Heath Shuler voted NO on Limiting Afghanistan Military Funding to Withdrawal and Other Specified Purposes on 1 July 2010. (
  • Heath Shuler. HR 4899. 111th Congress. Supplemental Appropriations Act. Project Vote Smart Summary: Heath Shuler voted YES on Requiring Timetable for Withdrawal from Afghanistan on 1 July 2010. (
  • Peace Action West. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Heath Shuler supported the interests of Peace Action West 38 percent in 2009. (
  • Heath Shuler. Issue Position: National Security. "The United States must remain vigilant in seeking out and destroying terrorist organizations, like Al Qaeda, that seek to do our Nation harm. Working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I am committed to providing all the necessary resources to our military and taking all the necessary steps to eliminate these terrorist organizations. I believe we must refocus our attention on Afghanistan and make certain that the Taliban is not allowed to regain power." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Social Issues: Should marriage only be between one man and one woman? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.


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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