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Al Franken's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (MN) - Jr, Democratic
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Al Franken has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, 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 2014, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-choice Inferred Answer Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

Yes Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today the Congressional Budget Office announced that the bill actually saves billions of dollars and reduces the Federal deficit. That is because the refinancing proposal is fully paid for by implementing the Buffett rule, which limits the ability of millionaires and billionaires to exploit tax loopholes and pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "But Al knows that cuts and revenues alone won't fix the deficit--we need growth to get our economy going, help struggling businesses and families, and improve our fiscal outlook." (
Yes Inferred Answer Education: Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "...while Al knows that teachers welcome accountability, he also knows that the current system doesn't accurately measure a teacher's contribution--we must move to a growth model of accountability." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The decision to permit the Keystone XL pipeline has to be based on careful evaluation of the risks and benefits of the project. And while I believe the process has taken too long, I don't believe we should simply approve the current plan without having the necessary analysis and information from the agencies reviewing it."There's no question the project would create jobs. And I believe that it could help address challenges associated with transporting oil on rail, which has been a major problem in Minnesota. But we also need to understand the full effects of the pipeline on the environment-along the route of the pipeline and on climate change."The Department of State has issued its environmental impact statement, but other federal agencies are still concluding their work. This issue is too important to play politics with, and the decision should be made with the complete information."
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The single most important action we can take to reform our energy policy and make the United States a leader in the global clean energy economy is to make polluters pay for the pollution they emit. President Obama has consistently called for establishing a price on carbon as part of any comprehensive clean energy legislation Congress passes. Putting an effective price on carbon will drive investment in clean energy technology and create the well-paid jobs that will revitalize our economy and sustain it for generations to come. A carbon price will also provide certainty in the energy market, and allow American businesses to make the investment decisions that will allow them to compete in and win the global race for clean energy technology leadership." (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I believe Minnesota has struck the proper balance, for example, by requiring background checks and live firearms training for carry permits." (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "...I'm proud to have supported the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." (
Yes Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We urge you to use the resources at your disposal to personally make clear to those seeking entry to the U.S. illicitly that they will not receive special treatment when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws." (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Al...couldn't have been prouder when Minnesota became the 13th state to enact marriage equality." (
Yes Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The government must give proper weight to both keeping America safe from terrorists and protecting Americans' privacy. But when Americans lack the most basic information about our domestic surveillance programs, they have no way of knowing whether we're getting that balance right. This lack of transparency is a big problem.Since I came to the Senate, I've been working to fix this. I've supported amendments to the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would have required greater public reporting on the use of surveillance authorities and greater disclosures about the legal opinions and safeguards that support them. When those amendments failed, I voted against renewing both of these laws.I want to be clear: I didn't vote "no" because I wanted to end these programs or because I thought they were unnecessary. Based on briefings, I believe these programs protect our country and have saved lives and have reasonable safeguards in place to protect Americans' privacy. I voted the way I did because I wanted to send a loud signal to my colleagues that transparency was critical and that there was too little of it in place. National security laws must protect national security. But they must also protect the public trust and preserve the ability of an informed electorate to hold its government to account" (
No Inferred Answer Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In good times and in bad, Social Security has succeeded in keeping millions of senior citizens...out of extreme poverty." (


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 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.

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. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

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