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Scott DesJarlais' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (TN) - District 4, Republican
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Scott DesJarlais 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

  • "Congressman DesJarlais believes that all life should be cherished and protected.” (
  • "A new study by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is an indescribable shame that America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, is leading the world in callous disregard for the most vulnerable among us.” (
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

  • "America’s tax system is broken and simply doesn't meet the needs of a 21st century economy. It is time for a simpler, fairer, flatter tax code.” (
  • "Entrepreneurs and hard-working Americans should be rewarded and not punished for their achievements.” (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Rather than continuing to tax and spend, the government needs to cut and prioritize.” (
  • "That is why I HAVE NEVER voted to raise the debt limit and I WILL NEVER support legislation allowing the federal government to borrow more money from the Chinese. We must cut spending. Period.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Scott has voted against any effort to raise our nation’s debt limit, against sending taxpayer dollars to Syria and Ukraine and against any proposal that would raise taxes on hardworking Tennesseans.” (
  • “The economy works best when people and businesses get to keep more of their money and government gets out of the way.” (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Last year, Congressman DesJarlais co-sponsored and helped pass legislation in the United States House of Representatives that would prevent the federal government from coercing states into adopting education standards like Common Core.” (
  • "All, if H.R. 5, the Student Success Act is brought up for a vote, I will be voting against it. We must defund Common Core and return education back to the states. Do you agree?” (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In an era where the passage of bipartisan legislation through the House and Senate is a rare occurrence, the president's decision to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline is truly disheartening.” (
  • "Approve the Keystone pipeline.” (
  • Voted in favor of S 1 - A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL 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

  • "In order to insulate ourselves from the volatility of the international energy market, we must take an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy that includes more American produced oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, along with alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal.” (
  • "Pass an 'All-of-the-Above' Energy Policy. Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs.” (
No Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In short, Madame Administrator, we believe this carbon dioxide regulation – whose implementation is legally questionable at best – would do untold harm to the American people and our economy for decades to come.” (
  • "Reject Cap & Trade. Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation's global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.” (
No Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Additionally, Congressman DesJarlais received an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for his defense of our Second Amendment Rights.” (
  • "The right to bear arms is a constitutionally protected right and we will fight to make sure those rights are not eroded.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “ObamaCare is not the answer to providing better medical care or reducing costs, but rather amplifies the problems with our current system.” (
  • “Conservatives have been warning that health care premiums would skyrocket under ObamaCare. Well, it looks like that is precisely what is going to happen. This is why it is so critical that Congress defunds this government takeover of health care.” (
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

  • “We must secure our border now and send back those who came here illegally.” (
  • "We must secure our border and devote resources to enforcing current immigration law, which includes partnering with state and local law enforcement organizations.” (
No Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Marriage is traditionally defined as being between a man and a woman and we feel this distinction is important to the wellbeing of the American family.” (
  • Signed a letter stating "We are writing to express our great concern and disapproval over your recent announcement to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).” (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • “U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais said Thursday he would vote against U.S. military involvement in the Syrian civil war next week when the question goes to the floor for a vote.” (
  • “Rep. Scott DesJarlais said Tuesday he does not support a military strike against Syria for apparently using chemical weapons against its own people.” (
Unknown Position Unknown 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

  • "We must phase in incremental solutions to give younger generations an opportunity to participate in these programs and to secure their futures, while keeping the promises made to our current seniors 55 and older.” (
  • "In order to save the program and provide complete benefits for our seniors, I firmly believe Washington's reckless spending must end. We can balance the budget, reduce the size and scope of government, and allow the private sector to create jobs once again all the while maintaining our promise to seniors.” (
  • “Social Security benefits can be protected without raising the retirement age on our seniors and without raising taxes. To make any change like these would be reckless and would destroy our commitment to seniors.” (


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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