Representative Barbara Lee's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (CA) - District 13, Democratic
On The Ballot: Running, Democratic for U.S. House - District 13
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Barbara Lee is currently being tested through the 2016 Political Courage Test.

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

  • “Barbara Lee is an active member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, and is absolutely committed to a woman's right to reproductive choice.” (
  • “Madam Speaker, of course I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 36, which is nothing more than another ideological attack on women's reproductive rights. This bill would institute a nationwide ban on abortion after 20 weeks with no exceptions to protect women's health.” (
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “As budget negotiations move in the next Congress, I will keep fighting to increase revenue by closing tax loopholes, cutting the bloated Pentagon budget and ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.” (
  • “I agree that we need to extend tax cuts for 98 percent of working families and unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs, but we simply cannot afford another tax cut for the rich. Not now - not during this crisis." (
  • “The Republican majority is so busy trying to write a big check – $160,000 on average – to every millionaire in America, that it forgot to protect 13 million low wage families and nearly 26 million children from a massive tax increase.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “The Prosecution Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison Program allows prosecutors to choose to use drug treatment instead of imprisonment to cut the vicious cycle of crime with the help of Federal grants.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “By tripling the child care tax credit, making two years of community college tuition free and investing in early childhood education, the President's Budget Proposal fights for working families while ensuring a highly trained and educated 21st century workforce. It also ends senseless sequester austerity cuts, invests in our infrastructure and increases revenue by enacting comprehensive immigration reform.” (
  • “[...] the American people deserve a government that works for them, and that is willing to invest in them to ensure that they can get a good education, live healthy and productive lives, and obtain meaningful employment, and raise their children in a just and peaceful world. And now we can pass a budget that reflects those values.” (
  • “Today, more than 45 million of our fellow Americans are living in poverty. This agreement will push more people over the brink. With $300 billion in cuts to SNAP – that is our food assistance – $431 billion in cuts to Medicare, and a half trillion in cuts to Medicaid, struggling families will continue to fall further and further behind.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “The failure to extend vital expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would raise taxes for millions of struggling families. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these programs kept an estimated 1.6 million people out of poverty last year.” (
  • “We support extending tax cuts in full to 98 percent of American taxpayers, as the President initially proposed. He should not back down. Nor should we.” (
  • “While of course this bill is far from perfect, I am encouraged that the efforts of members of the Progressive and Congressional Black Caucus's led to the extension of the middle class tax cut, an extension of the child tax credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit and an extension of Emergency Unemployment Insurance.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “Through ERA, we will be rewarding states, districts, and non profit leaders that are dedicating themselves to moving forward in each of these areas of reform. The $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund rewards states that are making commitments to reforms so that they can push forward and provide an example for others.” (
  • “The Congresswoman's support of education revolves around several central goals: providing ample funding for public schools; ensuring equal access to education for every student; expanding support services for education; and ensuring lifetime learning – making early education (pre-school, Head Start) and higher education accessible for everyone.” (
  • “Early Head Start and Head Start Programs are critical to closing the achievement gap and breaking the cycle of poverty. By ensuring all children are prepared for success in Kindergarten, we are priming them for future academic achievement and to compete and thrive in tomorrow's economy.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “I strongly oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and today's unnecessary vote. I have consistently opposed all efforts to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and today's bill to automatically approve the pipeline is no different.” (
  • “Madam Speaker, approval of Keystone XL would worsen climate change by expanding the extraction of the dirtiest oil on the planet.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating “We are writing on behalf of the 80,000 Americans employed by the U.S. wind industry – representing jobs in all fifty states – to ask that you promptly extend the current law Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Wind now provides power to over 15 million American homes, as well as to many thousands of farms and businesses.” (
  • “[…] she is committed to investing in truly clean and renewable alternative energy sources that will create new jobs, reduce American dependence on oil and fossil fuels, and create a greener future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” (
  • “I applaud the President for the Climate Action Plan that he laid out today. His plan would encourage investment in renewable energy, spur innovation through competitive grants, and challenge our best and brightest to make each kilowatt do more and each car go further with less, saving Americans money on their electric bill and at the pump.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “[...] she is committed to investing in truly clean and renewable alternative energy sources that will create new jobs, reduce American dependence on oil and fossil fuels, and create a greener future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” (
  • “Strengthening the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act: Stewardship of the environment equals stewardship of our communities. Congresswoman Lee will continue to work to protect the quality of the air we breathe or the water we drink, and to ensure that any polluter damaging our environment is not let off the hook.” (
  • “The President's plan also recognizes the importance of conserving our grasslands, wetlands, and forests in the fight against carbon pollution.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “Madam Speaker, we need to take some serious action that includes gun safety by banning these high-capacity magazines, expanding the 24-hour gun background check, closing the gun show loophole, and reinstituting the assault weapons ban immediately.” (
  • “Mr. Speaker, we need to take some serious action that includes what we've heard today, and I'll reiterate, commonsense measures such as the Federal gun buyback programs, banning high-capacity magazines, expanding the 24-hour background check, closing gun show loopholes, and reinstating the assault weapons ban. We need to do this immediately.” (
  • Rated 100% by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “Every time Republicans vote to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act, they make it perfectly clear that charging women more for being a woman is okay, that denying victims of domestic violence coverage is okay, and allowing insurance companies to increase premiums to increase profits is okay.” (
  • “It's not enough that the Republicans already voted 45 times to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act. It's not enough that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and was upheld by the Supreme Court. Tea Party extremists now want to violate this law in a very sinister way.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating “We believe it is undeniable that detention in a secure facility is detrimental to mothers and children and is not reflective of our values as a Nation. Children require special protections and should not be laced in jail-like settings.” (
  • “According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 60 percent of these children qualify for international protections. While border security is important, this bill further militarizes the border. That is unacceptable. Nor does this bill address the root causes that contribute to these children being forced to flee violence and abuse.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by Human Rights Campaign (
  • “The right to marry is a fundamental issue of justice, and if we truly stand for equality, we must stand for equality for everyone. […] as a founding member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, I will continue to fight until equal rights are enjoyed by all.” (
  • “Tragically, generations of LGBT Americans have been forced to live in the shadows and denied the basic right to marry the person who they love. Today, that changed. Today, our nation moved one step closer to achieving equality for all.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • “We know full well there is no military solution in Iraq or Syria, for that matter, and that any lasting solution must be settled in the region among warring factions.” (
  • Signed a letter stating “The President has claimed legal authority for the strikes under the AUMF passed in 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Whatever the legal merits of that argument, the 2001 AUMF is at best an inexact fit for the threat posed by ISIL.” (
  • “She opposes wasteful spending and has worked to cut funds for the destabilizing missile defense system and to increase funding for programs to protect our nation's ports and to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists. Congresswoman Lee is the most senior Democratic woman on the House International Relations Committee, and she has a deep belief in the power of diplomacy.” (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating “Given the state of popular opinion and the impending retirement savings crisis facing this nation, we respectfully urge you to include proposals to expand Social Security benefits for million of Americans to your policy brief at the upcoming Conference.” (
  • “The false promise of private accounts is a recipe for disaster. American workers have paid into Social Security for years and deserve to benefit.” (


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.

California Congressional Election 2014 Political Courage 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.

Pro-choiceCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles

I strongly support a women's constitutionally protected right to chose and Roe v. Wade.

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

I support fairness in taxation in order to help fund vital investments in our nation's future. We should close loop holes for Big Oil and ensure that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.

I have authored legislation to audit the Pentagon and believe there is substantial savings we could realize from eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at the Penatgon. There is also billions in savings that we could achieve with common sense cuts to outdated weapons and equipment - all without harming our national security.

YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles
NoDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
NoDo you support lowering taxes as a way of promoting growth in the economy?
YesDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
Other or expanded principles

This approach is flawed, and depends on the specifics.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
NoDo you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
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

I have supported cap and trade legislation and continue to do so.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
NoShould 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

Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is critical to U.S. national security and promotes a more peaceful Middle East. I strongly support the Administration's diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program and fully support efforts to deter the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

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
Greatly Decreasec) Defense
Greatly Increased) Education
Greatly Increasee) Environment
Slightly Increasef) Homeland Security
Greatly Increaseg) International aid
Greatly Increaseh) Medical Research
Greatly Increasei) Scientific Research
Slightly Increasej) Space exploration
Greatly Increasek) United Nations
Maintain Statusl) 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.

Slightly Increasea) Capital gains taxes
Slightly Increaseb) Corporate taxes
Greatly Increasec) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Greatly Increased) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Slightly Increasee) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Slightly Decreasef) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Decreaseg) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Greatly Increaseh) Income taxes (high-income families)
Slightly Increasei) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusj) Payroll taxes
k) 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.

Top priorities include: raising the minimum wage and creating jobs; tackling poverty and income inequality; enacting comprehensive immigration reform; addressing the real threat of climate change; working to help provide a world class education is available to all.

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.