Representative John Yarmuth's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (KY) - District 3, Democratic
On The Ballot: Running, Democratic for U.S. House - District 3
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John Yarmuth has provided voters with clear stances on key issues by responding to the 2016 Political Courage Test.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Kentucky Congressional Election 2016 Political Courage Test

Pro-choiceCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
YesIn order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
YesCandidate AnswerIn order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Other or expanded principles

More specifically, I support adding a new tax bracket on income $5 million and above.

YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles

I believe that until we get big money out of politics, Congress will never truly be able to responsibly address the major issues that hardworking American families face. That is why I introduced H.J. Res. 53, a Constitutional amendment that would overturn the disastrous Citizens United, McCutcheon, and SpeechNow decisions.

NoDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
YesDo you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesInferred Answer Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations
  • "I am proud to say that by expanding the EITC for all eligible workers earning less than $16,400, not only will this legislation instantly lift these workers out of poverty, it will dramatically lower the taxes of more than seven million Americans, 100,000 Kentuckians, and more than 20,000 hard working people right here in Louisville. Any economist will tell you, more money in workers' pockets increases buying power and benefits the economy." (
  • "I believe that in America we should be rewarding the hard work of these citizens, struggling to make ends meet; not taxing them into poverty. But that is exactly what we are doing to hundreds of thousands of Americans." (
YesDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Other or expanded principles

I support targeted tax incentives - not a reduction in income tax rates - as a means to promote economic growth.

YesInferred Answer Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations
  • "This is why the task force strongly supports the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, a piece of legislation that will expand our growing commitment to science and technological education, to innovative research and also to utilizing our manufacturing base to grow the economies of the future." (
  • "Over the next five years, this federal investment will create opportunities for thousands of young Louisvillians. By providing students who need help with a path to college and beyond, we're not just giving them a chance to succeed, we're also strengthening our economy and preparing our workforce for the jobs of the future." (
  • "After visiting dozens of schools, talking with students, parents, and teachers, and holding town hall events, I believe our country must reform the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) as soon as possible. We should replace the law's punitive structure with a positive system that provides the necessary resources and professional support to turn around struggling schools. We will not succeed if we continue to punish schools based on an often inaccurate one-time multiple choice test of a child's performance. Instead, we must develop a comprehensive system that evaluates the success of our children in many areas, while providing teachers with the resources and feedback to help students improve throughout the school year." (
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
YesDo you support increased regulations on the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
Other or expanded principles
YesDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you generally support gun-control legislation?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Other or expanded principles
NoInferred Answer Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations
  • Signed a letter stating "We hope that your actions will prevent the separation of undocumented family members of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and DACA beneficiaries and offer protection to others who have long worked in the United States and established strong ties with our communities." (
  • "I believe that we must pass comprehensive immigration reform which includes the best possible border security, tough employer accountability, and a guest-worker program that brings undocumented workers out of hiding, and requires them to maintain a job, pay taxes, obey the law, learn English, and clear criminal and terrorism background checks." (
  • "For the better part of 2013, I worked with a bipartisan group of House Members to craft an immigration reform bill that promotes humane enforcement, provides a path to citizenship, secures our borders, and keeps families together. Comprehensive immigration reform ensures that every individual working and living here is paying taxes and contributing fully to society, which will benefit our economy and all families – the same way immigrants have driven our economy for the past 300 years. And by implementing a strong employer-verification system, comprehensive reform protects American workers and wages." (
Other or expanded principles

I believe we must enact comprehensive immigration reform. In 2013, I joined a bipartisan group of House members, known as the Gang of Eight, to craft a comprehensive reform bill to address our nation's broken immigration system. This proposal promoted humane enforcement, provided a path to citizenship, secured our borders, and kept families together. This legislation had enough support to become law, but unfortunately, Republican House Leadership refused to allow a vote on our measure.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles
YesInferred Answer Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations
  • "The strength of our nation's defense system has never been as much a priority as it is today. Our military is engaged in the long-term fight in The War on Terror and we must continue to provide them with the resources they need to win this conflict." (
  • "In the aftermath of 9/11, our country is faced with a unique threat that has forced us to reconfigure our national defenses. The range of possible attacks has grown and our government must be agile and effective in both prevention and response. The threats are broad and varied, domestic and foreign; we must prepare extensively as a nation to ensure that we can go about our lives free from terror." (
  • "International terrorist networks remain a grave threat to the United States, as Al Qaeda affiliates now have a significant presence in countries like Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. But maintaining anywhere near 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is not an effective means of combating a global and decentralized enemy." (
YesShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent governments hostile to the United States from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

Should our intelligence community locate a high-level terrorist ready to carry out an imminent attack on U.S. targets and capture isn't feasible, it would be difficult to support inaction or alternative actions that would put more lives at risk. The decision should never fall to one person or one governmental agency. Just as important is ensuring strict and ongoing oversight. If we fail on either front, we compromise our commitment to civil liberties, national security, and our standing in the world.

In dealing with hostile nations, the use of force should be a last resort after all diplomatic efforts fail.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles


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

Slightly Decreasea) Agriculture
Slightly Increaseb) Arts
Slightly Decreasec) Defense
Slightly Increased) Education
Greatly Increasee) Environment
Maintain Statusf) Homeland Security
Maintain Statusg) International aid
Greatly Increaseh) Medical Research
Greatly Increasei) Scientific Research
Maintain Statusj) Space exploration
Maintain Statusk) United Nations
Greatly Increasel) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories


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.

Maintain Statusa) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusb) Corporate taxes
Slightly Decreasec) Small business taxes
Greatly Decreased) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Slightly Increasee) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Maintain Statusf) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Slightly Decreaseg) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Decreaseh) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increasei) Income taxes (high-income families)
Maintain Statusj) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusk) Payroll taxes
l) Other or expanded categories
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.

In the 115th Congress, I will continue my fight to reform our campaign finance laws, fix our broken immigration system, and enact legislation to prevent gun violence. Despite the refusal of the Republican Leadership to vote on their on proposal this year, Congress should approve a fair and responsible budget resolution that rejects authority and invests in our nation's future. All of these efforts have strong bipartisan support among the American people and I believe it is time to end the hyperpolarization that has plague our politics, and focus on the priorities of the people we represent.

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