Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (FL) - District 23, Democratic
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz 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?

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

  • "I applaud the Supreme Court's decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which reaffirms a woman's right to make her own decisions about her body and her health. In today's decision, the Court stated in no uncertain terms that a statute placing a roadblock in the path of a woman's right to choose is unconstitutional." (
  • Rated 100% by Planned Parenthood (
  • "Not only do I support a women's right to choose, but also her ability to obtain legal pharmaceuticals such as emergency contraception and birth control." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "People who believe that a senior needs Medicare more than a millionaire needs a tax cut. And people who believe our president's message to the middle class should be 'we're on your side,' not, 'you're on your own.' These are President Obama's priorities. They are our priorities." (
  • "What the Republicans want to do, under the Romney/Ryan budget, is ask the middle class to pay for more budget busting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. The Romney/Ryan budget actually adds $5 billion in tax breaks skewed to the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans. President Obama thinks that we need to make sure to ask everybody to pay the fair share, pay more if you're fortunate so everybody in America can have the chance to be successful, Wolf. Not just the people who already are." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.8 "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.

Vote Smart's Research

  • "And with the Recovery Act, the reason that you've got about six percent unemployment here in Iowa, much lower than the national average, is that you've got 34,000 jobs that were created here alone from the Recovery Act. So, Iowa has benefited, America has benefited from Barack Obama's leadership, and Rick Perry or any other presidential candidate can't hold a candle to him." (
  • "By the time President Obama took office in January of '09, we literally were at 700,000-plus jobs lost, and that continued all the way up until February of '09 with the passage of the American Economic Recovery Act. Now, I've heard a lot of malarkey in the news media out there, and particularly quite a lot from our friends on the other side of the aisle, about the supposed absence of job creation that the Recovery Act generated. Well, the numbers don't lie, Mr. Speaker." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.22 "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "My Republican colleagues who callously ignore the needs of middle class Americans by refusing to vote on the payroll tax extension and unemployment benefits are sending the message to millions of working families that despite their efforts to look for and find work in this delicate economy – they simply don't care." (
  • "If we do not pass this bill, 160 million Americans will face a $1,000 tax increase as we go into the new year. If we do not act, in my home State, 9 million Floridians will see this tax increase next year. If we do not act, 2.2 million unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment benefits." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.3630 "Extends Payroll Tax Cut" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In addition, Florida was awarded $700 million through the President’s Race to the Top fund. These investments in students will go toward the development of a state system that will accelerate the academic progress of our students, provide assistance to our low performing schools, and properly recognize and reward our hardest working teachers." (
  • "I urge Congress to diligently reauthorize this bill with meaningful reforms, and please be assured that I will continue to join the President in calling for higher standards, better assessments, and equity for all students, along with rewarding excellence, and supporting our teachers." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted against S.1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (
  • Voted against H.R.3 "Keystone XL Pipeline Act" (
  • "What, what is important to note is that we need to make sure that we strike the right balance in looking at the timetable for approval on Keystone, acknowledging that the Republican governor of Nebraska expressed concern and said we needed to slow down, and also realistically not looking at Keystone as the be all and end all. It would take 45 years to produce out of oil shale from the Keystone Pipeline as much oil as we save in the increase in fuel efficiency standards from President Obama's policy that would be implemented by the middle of the next decade." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I voted for H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The legislation, which passed the House in June of 2009, would create millions of new clean energy jobs here in America, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America's energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. While the Senate has yet to act on this legislation or a plan of its own, I will continue to support any legislation that meets these goals." (
  • "I support an energy policy that promotes clean, renewable, domestic sources of energy that will fuel an economy that is sustainable, while protecting our environment and promoting our national security." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R.2454 "Energy and Environmental Law Amendments ('Cap and Trade')" (
  • "I believe it is critical that energy policy works to prevent the worst effects of climate change by dramatically reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases over the next several decades." (
  • "Protecting the environment is vital to protect the health of all Americans, particularly our children. I will continue to fight for cleaner air, cleaner water, and preservation of our natural resources, understanding that what we do today has an impact on future generations of Americans." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We have a national epidemic of gun violence, and we know that college kids are still navigating life outside their home for the first time. We need more funding for security personnel and universal background checks on college campuses -- not carry permits." (
  • Rated 100% by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (
  • "While there is no one action we can take that will ever prevent all gun violence, I think that we simply must find some common ground in order to move forward on sensible measures that can help prevent future tragedies." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "With the second-highest rate of uninsured residents in the U.S., Floridians in particular have gained a lot from this law. In 2015, more than 1.6 million Floridians were re-enrolled or signed up for a health care plan through -- the highest enrollment of any state using a federally-facilitated marketplace." (
  • "A Supreme Court decision upholding subsidies for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act brought relief to more than a million Floridians who depend on them to save up to thousands of dollars on their policies each year." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.3590 "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R.5281 "DREAM Act" (
  • "The longer the vacancy on the Court goes unfilled, the longer we must face uncertainty on the most pressing issues facing our nation, and the longer our friends, neighbors, and coworkers must live in fear of deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) programs protect law-abiding members of our community who simply sought a better life. If the Supreme Court's failure to reach a real decision today doesn't make it clear, then I don't know what will: we need comprehensive, just and compassionate immigration reform, and we need it now." (
  • "Today's Fifth Circuit decision to maintain an injunction on the President's executive immigration actions aimed at keeping families together, is a step backwards that will continue to hurt families all across the nation and Florida." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by Human Rights Campaign (
  • "Love is love, and it is now only a matter of when, not if, same-sex marriage bans are struck down here at home and across the rest of the United States." (
  • "Today, our nation has taken a monumental step towards freedom and equality for all. The Supreme Court’s affirmation of same-sex couples’ right to marry is a long overdue step that codifies a universal truth: love is love, and love should carry the same legal weight in every corner of this nation." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The support our brave soldiers have already provided includes targeted airstrikes, strategic advice and intelligence, and humanitarian relief, resulting in the retaking of key facilities and infrastructure and the protection of thousands of innocent civilian lives. We must now bolster these efforts." (
  • "Yesterday, U.S. forces successfully completed a raid targeting Mohamed Emwazi, otherwise known as 'Jihadi John', who brutally slaughtered Western journalists and aid workers. His heinous murder of South Floridian Steven Sotloff, who bravely dedicated his life exposing the brutalities of ISIS and the suffering of the Syrian people, deeply impacted our local community. While nothing can bring Steven back, we must be firm in our resolve to fight against those who seek to destroy the values that he and we as a nation so deeply value: freedom, justice, and the right to live in peace." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 98% by Alliance for Retired Americans (
  • "Social Security should not be privatized, and I will never stop fighting to protect the basic concepts on which it was founded under the New Deal." (
  • "I am committed to strengthening Social Security because it provides an important guarantee of financial support for hardworking Americans in their golden years." (


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.

Congressional Election 2004 National Political Awareness 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.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
Xb) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Prohibit the dilation and extraction procedure, also known as "partial-birth" abortion.
g) Prohibit public funding of abortions and of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
Xh) Other or expanded principles

I support the Roe v. Wade decision.

Using the key, indicate what federal funding levels you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category.

Budget Priorities

a) Agriculture
b) Arts
c) Defense
Greatly Increased) Education
e) Environment
Greatly Increasef) Homeland security
g) International aid
h) Law enforcement
i) Medical research
j) National parks
Greatly Increasek) Public health services
Greatly Increasel) Scientific research
m) Space exploration programs
Greatly Increasen) Transportation and highway infrastructure
o) Welfare
p) Other or expanded categories

Defense Spending

a) Armed Forces personnel training
Greatly Increaseb) Intelligence operations
c) Military hardware
d) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
e) National missile defense
Greatly Increasef) Pay for active duty personnel
g) Programs to improve troop retention rates
h) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increasei) Troop and equipment readiness
j) Other or expanded categories

Using the key above, indicate what federal tax levels you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category.


Income Taxes:

Family Income

a) Less than $25,000
b) $25,000-$75,000
c) $75,000-$150,000
d) Over $150,000
e) Other or expanded categories

Retiree Income

f) Over $40,000
g) Other or expanded categories

Other Taxes:

a) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
c) Cigarette taxes
d) Corporate taxes
e) Gasoline taxes
f) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories


a) Charitable contributions
b) Child tax credit
c) Earned income tax credit
d) Medical expense deduction
e) Mortgage deduction
f) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories
4) Do you support permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
5) Do you support eliminating taxes on dividends paid to individual investors?
6) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
7) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.

Xa) Support public taxpayer funding for federal candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
b) Increase the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
c) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
d) Allow unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
e) Allow ads paid for by soft money that support or attack a candidate for federal office.
f) Allow issue advocacy commercials by corporations, labor unions, and non-profit groups which appear within 60 days of a general election and within 30 days of a primary election.
g) Remove all contribution limits on federal campaigns and parties.
h) Do you support instant run-off voting (IRV)?
Yesi) Should Election Day be a national holiday?
Yesj) Should same-sex couples be allowed to form civil unions?
k) Should marriage be restricted to a union only between a man and a woman?
l) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.

a) Support the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
c) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
Xd) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xe) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
f) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
g) Support additional criminal penalties if a fetus is killed in the commission of a federal crime against a pregnant woman.
Xh) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
Xi) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
Xj) Impose stricter penalties for those convicted of white-collar crimes.
k) Enforcement of civil rights should primarily be the responsibility of the federal government.
l) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
m) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding drugs.

a) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
Xb) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
c) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
d) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xe) Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
f) Eliminate federal funding for programs associated with the "war on drugs."
g) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.

Xa) Support national standards for and testing of public school students.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any public school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any private or religious school.
d) Allow teachers and professionals to receive authorization and funding to establish charter schools.
e) Increase funding for block grants to states to aid in the hiring of additional teachers.
f) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
Xg) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings, infrastructure, technology).
h) Support granting states limited control over Head Start programs.
i) Support changing the mission of Head Start to emphasize improving the math and reading skills of disadvantaged children.
j) Providing education is not a responsibility of the federal government.
Xk) Support affirmative action in public college admissions.
Xl) Increase funding of programs such as Pell grants and Stafford loans to help students pay for college.
Xm) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
n) Other or expanded principles

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.

Xa) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
b) Reduce government regulation of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
Xc) Provide tax credits or grants to businesses that offer child care services to employees.
Xd) Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
e) Eliminate all federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
Xf) Increase the federal minimum wage.
Xg) Support the right of workers to strike without fear of being permanently replaced.
h) Allow workers to sell company stock and to diversify their company retirement funds into other investment options.
i) Other or expanded principles

2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding affirmative action.

Xa) The federal government should consider race and gender in government contracting decisions.
b) The federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs.
Xc) The federal government should continue affirmative action programs.
Xd) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
e) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.

Xa) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
Xb) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
c) Require states to compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses of privately-owned land.
d) Relax logging restrictions on federal lands.
e) Relax standards on federal lands to allow increased recreational usage.
f) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil).
Xg) Strengthen emission controls and fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
h) Support opening a select portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.
Xi) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
j) Support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
k) Allow energy producers to trade pollution credits.
Xl) Support the U.S. re-entering the Kyoto treaty process to limit global warming.
m) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.

Xa) Renew the ban on the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
Xb) Maintain and strengthen the current level of enforcement of existing federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
Xf) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
Xg) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Establish a national database of ballistic "fingerprints" to track guns used in criminal activities.
j) Support legislation that would protect manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms from civil lawsuits by crime victims.
k) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health care.

a) Providing health care is not a responsibility of the federal government.
Xb) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
Xc) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes appeal mechanisms when claims are denied.
d) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to sue when claims are denied.
e) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
f) Establish limits on the amount of punitive damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xg) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
Xh) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under private managed care plans.
Xi) Offer tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of insurance coverage.
Xj) Support automatic enrollment of children in federal health care programs such as CHIP and Medicaid.
k) Allow 55-65 year-olds to buy into Medicare.
Xl) Support stem cell research on existing lines of stem cells.
Xm) Allow laboratories to create new lines of stem cells for additional research.
n) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding immigration.

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Establish English as the official national language.
c) Increase the number of visas issued for agricultural workers.
d) Relax restrictions barring legal immigrants from using social programs (e.g. public housing, food stamps).
e) Support amnesty for certain illegal immigrants who already reside in the United States.
f) Support the detention of asylum seekers from countries known to sponsor terrorism.
g) Other or expanded principles

International Aid

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding United States economic assistance.

Xa) Aid should be granted to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives.
Xb) Aid should be granted to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States.
c) Aid should be eliminated for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
d) Aid programs should be scaled back and eventually eliminated.
e) Other or expanded principles

International Policy

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the Middle East.

Yesa) Should the United States continue to provide leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
b) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
c) Should the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq?
d) Discuss your proposals for the reconstruction of Iraq. What funding sources would you use to implement these proposals? (75 words or less. Please use an attached page if the space below is not adequate.)
e) Other or expanded principles

2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Central and East Asia.

Yesa) Should the United States use diplomatic and economic pressure to encourage North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program?
b) Should the United States use military force to destroy the North Korean nuclear weapons program?
c) Should the United States remove the North Korean government from power?
Yesd) Should the United States increase financial support to Afghanistan?
Yese) Should the United States increase military support to Afghanistan?
f) Other or expanded principles

3) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the United Nations.

Yesa) Should the United States maintain its financial support of the United Nations?
Nob) Should the United States decrease its financial support of the United Nations?
Yesc) Should the United States commit troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions?
d) Other or expanded principles
No4) Should the United States lift the travel ban to Cuba?
5) Should the United States increase its financial support to Colombia to combat "the war on drugs"?
Yes6) Should aid to African nations for AIDS prevention programs fund distribution of contraceptives?
7) Should aid to African nations for AIDS prevention fund abstinence education?
8) Other or expanded principles

International Trade

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international trade.

1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
2) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
3) Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
4) Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations (most favored nation) status with the United States?
Yes5) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
Yes6) Should trade agreements include provisions to address environmental concerns and to protect workers' rights?
7) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding national security.

a) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
b) Should the United States adopt stricter rules for student visa applications from nations known to sponsor terrorism?
c) Should the United States grant law enforcement agencies greater discretion to read mail and email, tap phones, and conduct random searches to prevent future terrorist attacks?
d) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Yese) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
f) Do you support a policy of pre-emptive strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to national security?
g) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Social Security.

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves.
b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts managed by private firms contracted by the government.
c) Invest a portion of Social Security assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of United States Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to better finance Social Security in its current form.
e) Lower the annual cost-of-living increases.
f) Raise the retirement age for when individuals are eligible to receive full Social Security benefits.
g) Other of expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding technology and communication.

a) Collect taxes on commercial Internet transactions.
b) Continue the moratorium on Internet taxation.
c) Implement regulation of Internet content.
d) Support government mandates to curtail violent and sexual content on television.
e) Support strict penalties for Internet crimes (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
f) Support legislation to detail how personal information can be collected and used on the Internet.
g) Regulating the Internet is not a responsibility of the federal government.
Xh) Impose regulations on "spam" emails.
i) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare and poverty.

a) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
Xb) Increase funding for child care programs.
c) Continue to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants.
d) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based, or other non-profit organizations.
e) Abolish all federal welfare programs.
f) Support housing assistance for low-income families.
g) Other or expanded principles
On an attached page, disk, or via email, please explain in a total of 75 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.

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.