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Blake Farenthold's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (TX) - District 27, Republican
Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Blake Farenthold has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads.

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 2016, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

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

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by National Right to Life Committee (
  • "I’m proud to be pro-life." (
  • "I am pleased to get the endorsement of the Texas Alliance for Life, one of our country's staunches advocates on pro life issues […]" (
  • "I am strongly pro-life, and have been my entire life." (
No 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

  • Signed a pledge stating "I, ___, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of ____, and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (
  • "I am actively working to find solutions that put more money back into the pockets of Americans and our communities, rather than growing Washington." (
Yes Inferred Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Cosponsored H.R.920 "Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015" (
  • "We’ve got to have tough criminal laws to punish criminals, but what’s happened in the federal system is we’ve taken the discretion away from our judges, especially with our sentencing guidelines." (
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The budget shows no realistic effort to cut down on even the most excessive and wasteful government spending programs, and instead increases each American household's share of the debt to nearly $70,000. It takes money away from you and your family, and sends it to Washington, D.C., where the President and his bureaucrats think they can spend it better. I could not disagree more." (
  • "While I am committed to making sure America doesn't default on our debts, I strongly believe we must cut up the credit card and find ways to grow our economy first. We are 17 trillion dollars in debt. We have got to find a way to fix this crisis. We must attack the debt on two fronts, by cutting spending and growing the economy." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Here's what works: Low, easy to understand taxes [...]" (
  • "Families should be able to pass on a business that has been built from the ground up without the government coming in and making a profit. By eliminating these taxes, family businesses, farms, and ranches will be better able to stay in business and not have to be liquidated to pay yet another tax." (
  • "Middle Class Tax Cut: I support across the board tax cuts immediately and will support both flat tax and fair tax initiatives." (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The Student Success Act is a good start. It will do away with the one size fits all approach to education and allow states to enhance accountability in our schools." (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today, I voted for the Keystone Pipeline because passing this legislation will put America back on the path to prosperity by creating good-paying jobs in Texas and throughout the country." (
  • Voted in favor of S. 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone Pipeline" (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "America not only has a rich abundance of natural resources but also has the skilled labor force necessary to be energy self reliant. In South Texas, we have the Ports of Brownsville and Corpus Christi to construct and refurbish off shore oil rigs, and refine and as well as wind farms. In addition, located under the ground's surface sits natural gas, which is a clean burning, affordable, and abundant energy source." (
  • "We must open up as much domestic land (and water) as possible for oil & gas exploration. Additionally, we should pursue all other options for energy independence including wind, solar, and nuclear." (
No Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Global warming is scare tactic used by groups with a political agenda. While I support protecting the environment, the green agenda pushes it way beyond common sense, with ideas like cap and trade which would destroy American industry." (
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 90% by the Gun Owners of America (
  • "I am a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. As a Texas Conservative, I believe gun control is hitting what you aim at and nothing else. I have an A+ rating from and am endorsed by the National Rifle Association." (
  • "I oppose gun control and agree with the NRA 22 of 25 issues." (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I support a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare with common sense solutions to lower the cost of healthcare while ensuring decisions are made between you and your doctor." (
  • "House Republicans have a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare with common sense solutions to lower the cost of health care while ensuring decisions are made between you and your doctor." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 596 "Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care-Related Provisions in the Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010" (
Yes Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The President's executive amnesty plan is unconstitutional […] The president has admitted 22 times that he doesn't have the authority, Congress agrees, and now the courts are telling him to stop too." (
  • "We cannot give amnesty. We tried that and it didn't work. In fact, I think it encouraged more illegal immigration with people counting on us just doing it again." (
No Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 0% by the Human Rights Campaign (
  • "I support equal rights for same sex couples under a different name, as I believe that 'marriage' is a biblically defined term between one man and one woman." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "After attending today's classified briefing and listening to the people I represent, I have decided to vote against U.S. military intervention in Syria's civil war. Our involvement could further destabilize an unstable region, and there is no clear mission or desired outcome that has been articulated to Congress or the American people." (
  • "As the Arab spring continues, America must be prepared to deal with times of transition like those occurring in Libya and Egypt. We must also be prepared for regime changes that may result in new governments hostile to American interests like what happened in Iran under President Carter. The only way to deal with these changes is from a position of strength." (
Yes 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

  • "The approaching retirement of baby boomers will cause Social Security spending to sky rocket. People under the age of 55 years may need to see changes to the current system in order to keep the program working for future generations." (
  • Rated 3% by Alliance for Retired Americans (
  • "We have to put Social Security on sound financial footing so that our children and grandchildren will have the same access to Social Security. I am committed to helping senior citizens keep their Social Security benefits. Seniors who worked their whole life to pay into the system should keep their retirement benefits." (


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.

Texas Congressional Election 2010 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-lifeCandidate Answera) Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?
Nob) Should abortion be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy?
Noc) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesd) Should abortion be legal when the life of the woman is endangered?
Yese) Should federal subsidies be prohibited from being used for abortion procedures?
f) Other or expanded principles

I oppose abortion in all instances except when the life of the mother is in imamate danger, at which time the mother must make a prayerful decision. It is my belief that life begins at conception and must be protected from that point forward.

1) Spending
Indicate what federal funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category- you can use a number more than once.
Greatly Decreasea) Agriculture
Slightly Decreaseb) Arts
Maintain Statusc) Defense
Greatly Increase1) Intelligence operations
Maintain Status2) Military hardware
Maintain Status3) National missile defense
Maintain Status4) Salary and benefits for active duty personnel
Maintain Status5) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Maintain Status6) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Decreased) Education
Greatly Decreasee) Environment
Slightly Increasef) Homeland security
Eliminateg) International aid
Greatly Decreaseh) Medical research
Greatly Decreasei) Scientific research
Slightly Decreasej) Space exploration
Greatly Decreasek) United Nations
Greatly Decreasel) Welfare
Greatly Decreasem) Other or expanded categories

Our social safety net has become a hammock. It is much too easy to stay at home, collect unemployment, and sip pina coladas than go out and get a job. Our welfare programs must be focused on getting people back to work. While America is a compassionate nation, sometimes it is necessary for a person to hit bottom before they start pulling their life together. We need to offer a hand-up, not a hand out, in a manner that encourages families to stay together and people to seek meaningful employment.

2) Taxes
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) Alcohol taxes
Eliminateb) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusc) Cigarette taxes
Greatly Decreased) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Slightly Decreasef) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Decreaseg) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Decreaseh) Income taxes (high-income families)
Slightly Decreasei) Other or expanded categories

Taxes are too high and must be lowered. Our existing income tax system has become too complicated and burdensome. It must be simplified. I believe a flat tax or fair tax (national sales tax) would be better for America and would support either as a replacement of the current system. If we maintain the current system, it must be simplified and rates lowered to encourage economic growth.

YesCandidate Answer3) Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax?
Yes4) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
NoCandidate Answer5) Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy?
6) Other or expanded principles

I support a balanced budget amendment.

I oppose federal stimulus funds, but favor tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

YesCandidate Answera) Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security?
Yesb) Do you support reducing government regulations on the private sector?
Noc) Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage?
Yesd) Do you support the ability of workers to unionize?
Noe) Do you support federal funding for job-training programs that retrain displaced workers?
f) Other or expanded principles

While I support the right of workers to unionize, I believe Texas, a right to work state, has it right, you should not be required to join a union in order to work.

I support retraining displaced workers, but think it should be done by the states, not the federal government.

Yesa) Do you support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns?
Nob) Should Congress regulate indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Noc) Do you support removing all contribution limits on federal campaigns?
Yesd) Should candidates for federal office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?
Noe) Do you support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations?
Yesf) Do you support limiting the President's ability to define how legislation is applied through the use of signing statements?
g) Other or expanded principles

Current campaign finance law strongly favors incumbents. While individuals can only contribute $2,400 per election, PACs, which almost exclusively contribute to incumbents, have higher limits.

Over regulation of indirect campaigning by corporations and unions violates the first amendment.

A line item veto is a tempting way to address pork barrel spending and to balance the budget. Unfortunately, I think that would give the president too much authority and interfere with the balance of power laid in the constitution.

Executive orders limiting or changing laws enacted by congress are another violation of the separation of powers doctrine and are unconstitutional.

YesCandidate Answera) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related training and job-placement assistance when released?
Yesc) Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with substance abuse treatment?
Nod) Do you support reduced prison sentences for non-violent offenders?
Yese) Do you support mandatory prison sentences for selling illegal drugs?
f) Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate Answera) Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students?
Nob) Do you support federal funding for universal pre-K programs?
Noc) Do you support federal funding for charter schools?
Nod) Do you support federal funding for K-12 school vouchers?
Yese) Do you support the federal government providing college students with financial aid?
f) Other or expanded principles

I believe the government has an obligation to keep its promises to citizens. Though not a specific promise, many families have counted on federal financial aid for college to educate their children and have not saved properly for this huge expense. For that reason I would not support the immediate elimination of federal financial aid for students, despite its shaky constitutional foundation. I believe that financial aid should be primarily in the form of loans not giveaways, except in the case of benefits promised our veterans.

NoCandidate Answera) Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
Nob) Do you support international emissions targets aimed at reducing the effects of climate change?
Noc) Do you support allowing energy producers to trade carbon credits under a "cap and trade" system?
Nod) Do you support strengthening fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles?
Yese) Do you support domestic oil exploration in federally-protected areas?
Nof) Do you support federal funding for the development of alternative energy?
Yesg) Do you support the development of nuclear reactors?
h) Other or expanded principles

I support keeping off shore areas open to oil and gas exploration.

I support tax incentives for domestic oil and gas exploration and maintaining the deductibility of indirect drilling costs.

Energy independence is no longer just about fufilling our energy needs, it is now a matter of national security. We must stop buying oil from nations that don't like us.

NoCandidate Answera) Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Yesb) Do you believe that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual citizens to own guns?
Yesc) Do you support allowing individuals to carry concealed guns?
Nod) Do you support a ban on assault rifles?
e) Other or expanded principles

The second amendment is pretty clear, "... the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

NoCandidate Answera) Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option?
Yesb) Do you support expanding access to health care through commercial health insurance reform?
Yesc) Should the federal government expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts?
Yesd) Do you support monetary limits on damages that can be collected in malpractice lawsuits?
Yese) Do you support relaxing regulations on the importation of prescription drugs?
f) Other or expanded principles

I'm not in favor of sweeping or comprehensive changes to the pre Obama system.

Healthcare is broken because we have taken personal responsibility out of it. Employers pay for insurance, doctors bill insurance companies, and the consumer is out of the loop. There is no incentive for anyone to keep costs down.

I support deregulation and opening insurance markets across state lines.

Give consumers an incentive to keep costs down like a combination health savings account and high deductable policies. Once the savings account exceeds the deductable, the consumer gets the extra money at the end of the year.

NoCandidate Answera) Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants?
Nob) Do you support decreasing the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country?
Yesc) Do you support establishing English as the official national language?
Yesd) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
e) Other or expanded principles

It's not fair to people in line to enter this country legally to grant amnesty. Illegal aliens must line-up with other applicants and re-enter legally.

Most immigrants don't want to exploit our welfare system, they want to work. It should be easy for people with jobs to enter legally and make a better life for themselves. Once we adopt a realistic policy with realistic numbers, we must use technology and personnel to seal the boarder to keep out drug runners and terrorists.

The existing look the other way system leaves people exploited and afraid to seek help from police.

YesCandidate Answera) Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan?
Yesb) Do you support increasing military assistance for Afghanistan?
Yesc) Do you support increasing economic development assistance for Afghanistan?
Yesd) Should the United States continue to strike suspected terrorist targets in Pakistan?
Noe) Do you support granting aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States?
Yesf) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Yesg) Do you support increasing sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates?
Noh) Do you support the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq?
Yesi) Do you support the United States' involvement in free trade agreements?
j) Other or expanded principles

I generally oppose foreign aid because I believe you can't buy friends. In countries, like Afghanistan, where we have conducted military operations, we have an obligation to help them stabilize with military and economic aid.

I only support the formation of a Palestinian state if it furthers the interests of lasting peace in the Middle East and Palestine recognizes Israel's right to exist.

I believe we must finish the job in Iraq and then turn Iraq back to the Iraqis. I am troubled by how long this has taken but am unwilling to withdraw before the situation is stable.

YesCandidate Answera) Should marriage only be between one man and one woman?
Nob) Do you support allowing openly-gay men and women to serve in the United States military?
Noc) Do you support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?
Yesd) Should the federal government end affirmative action programs?
e) Other or expanded principles

I believe marriage is an institution created by God to be between one man and one woman. I do, however, support a form of union with rights similar to marriage for gays and lesbians, but it must be called something else. Marriage is a biblically defined term.

There are many gays in the military who have served this country honorable. Though perhaps not the best solution, the don't ask, don't tell policy of the past seems to have been a reasonable compromise for people on both sides of this issue.

Affirmative action, like other race based distinctions, are devisive.

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.

Lower taxes and decrease federal regulations to create a climate where businesses flourish and create good paying jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs. This economic growth will increase tax revenue and lower the debt.

Vigorously defend this country by supporting the military and intelligence agencies.

Create an immigration system that takes into account America?s traditional reliance on hard working immigrants who share our American dream of making a better life and then secure our boarder to keep evildoers out.

Repeal ObamaCare.

Balance the budget through economic growth.

Return power to the states and respect the constitutional limits on federal authority.

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