Representative Nancy Pelosi's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (CA) - District 12, Democratic Minority Leader
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Nancy Pelosi 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 Vote Smart.

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 are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (
  • "[…] will continue to lead the effort to defend reproductive choice and work toward a comprehensive approach to reproductive health care, so we can reduce the number of unintended pregnancies at home and around the world. I hope to work with all of my colleagues to build on the legacy of Roe v. Wade and protect the rights of women across our country." (
  • "On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we rededicate ourselves to protecting a woman's right to make her own health care decisions." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R.8 "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012" (
  • "The bill is a victory for the middle class; permanently extending the middle class tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses and promoting economic growth, while asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share." (
  • "The wealthiest people in our country will receive a tax cut up to their income of $250,000. We're asking them to pay a little bit more for what they make over $250,000 a year to help reduce the deficit, to help grow the economy, grow the economy, that growth is what is essential. If you want to reduce the deficit, create jobs." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The Fair Sentencing Act strengthens the hand of law enforcement while bringing greater balance to our sentencing and criminal justice system." (
  • "Throughout my career in Congress, I have strongly opposed mandatory minimums, and I was proud to lead the Democratic Congress in enacting essential legislation to reduce disparities in cocaine sentencing in 2010; in addition, I have long supported alternatives such as drug courts and outreach programs to veterans that stress prevention and treatment." (
  • "The steps unveiled today focus on stemming the tide of widespread incarceration by seeking appropriate sentences for non-violent drug offenders and supporting diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We must have an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. By ending the sequester, by addressing the wage stagnation that hinders growth, by strengthening our national defense, by investing in innovation and education, the President's budget strengthens the financial security of working families who are the backbone of our country." (
  • "Now that the budget is set and the New Year is set to begin, we must act without further delay to extend unemployment investments that strengthen our families and our economy." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.22 "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R.3630 "Extends Payroll Tax Cut" (
  • "On New Year's Day, the House passed the Senate's bipartisan legislation to make tax cuts for the middle class permanent, extend critical tax credits for working families, and avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." (
  • "We'll extend permanent tax relief for the middle class--more than 98 percent of the American taxpayers, more than 97 percent of America's small businesses. We will support our middle class and strengthen it by supporting the child tax credits, tax credits for higher education, the American opportunity tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and the like." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "A robust ESEA will provide a pathway to help close the achievement gap for our children and prepare for the challenges of the 21st century. It empowers teachers, schools and districts to tailor to local needs and ensures states set high academic standards so students are career and college-ready." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today, President Obama stood up for our families, our economy and our environment: vetoing a bad bill that brazenly circumvents a longstanding and proven process already underway to ensure that the Keystone XL Pipeline is good for our country." (
  • Voted against S. 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "It is time to end tax breaks for Big Oil and continue to encourage responsible exploration and make investments in wind, solar, natural gas, and other sources that create jobs at home and reduce our reliance on foreign oil." (
  • "For Democrats in Congress, Earth Day must be a moment to build on our efforts to invest in clean energy jobs, to strengthen industries of innovation, to decrease harmful emissions, to cut energy costs for consumers, and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This must be an opportunity to act to keep America number one in science, technology, and renewable energy." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today, the Obama Administration took a strong step to address the devastating impacts of climate change. By creating new standards to limit carbon pollution from future power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency is acting to protect the health and well-being of our children, our communities, and our country." (
  • Signed a letter stating "Thank you for your leadership in responding to the serious challenge of climate change. We applaud and support your Climate Action Plan, the joint announcement with China establishing ambitious carbon pollution reduction targets, and the national commitment to the Green Climate Fund. These actions are critical to protect Americans from the most dangerous effects of climate change." (
  • Voted in favor of H.Amdt.507 "Specifies the Authority of the Secretary of Interior on the Regulation of Methane Emissions" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today, the Supreme Court affirmed commonsense gun violence prevention laws that save lives. Domestic abusers have no business buying deadly weapons, and we must act to expand and strengthen the background checks that keep guns out of the wrong hands." (
  • Rated 100% by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (
  • "The tragic and horrific shooting in Santa Barbara last week was the latest in a series of reminders of the urgent need to act. It is our responsibility as public servants to keep the public safe – and it is long past time for strong, concrete steps to reduce gun violence in our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and communities." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "It is also important to note that, with the success of the Affordable Care Act and the 9.5 million people who are signed up in marketplaces, including Medicaid expansion, 19 million uninsured Americans will be covered in 2015. In addition to that, the Affordable Care Act has pushed forth the solvency of Medicare for 13 years longer. That is what you want to repeal today." (
  • "For generations, Americans have fought to make health care a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Affordable Care Act stands alongside Social Security and Medicare as a fundamental pillar of security for the American people." (
  • Voted in favor for H.R.3590 "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Today, two Fifth Circuit judges decided to continue to block the President's Immigration Accountability Executive Actions and defer the dreams of hard-working immigrant families across America. Their decision represents a disappointing delay of a clear outcome." (
  • 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." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.5281 "DREAM Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by Human Rights Campaign (
  • "Today's action by the Supreme Court to decline challenges to marriage equality victories in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin represents progress for all Americans. As we celebrate the cascade of decisions in favor of marriage equality, we must renew our determination to sweep discriminatory laws into the dustbin of history." (
  • "Today, the Supreme Court unequivocally affirmed that equal justice under the law means marriage equality for LGBT Americans. This decision is about creating a future where loving, committed families are able to live with dignity. This is about freedom. This is about love. This is transformative, not only for LGBT families, but for America." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I commend the President for his strong leadership in building the broad coalition that joined U.S. forces in airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria last night. […] There will be no safe haven for ISIS's finances, facilities or fighters." (
  • "As our nation confronts the ISIS threat, the President has worked diligently to engage Congress in determining the U.S. strategy to degrade and destroy these brutal terrorists. […] Congress should act judiciously and promptly to craft and pass an AUMF narrowly-tailored to the war against ISIS. I look forward to constructive bipartisan debate on this matter immediately." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by the Alliance for Retired Americans (
  • "Together with Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, Social Security provides essential protection for the middle class. But there continue to be Congressional Republicans who put forward dangerous proposals to privatize or partially privatize Social Security, which would rob seniors of the economic security they count on." (
  • "Alongside Medicare, Medicaid, and now, the Affordable Care Act, it remains a cornerstone of economic security for the middle class. This is no time for a Republican budget that slashes Social Security or takes away seniors' hard-earned retirement protections." (


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

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Congressional Election 1998 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) concerning abortion.

Xa) Abortions should always be legally available.
b) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
c) Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered.
d) Abortions should be legal only when the life of the woman is endangered.
e) Abortions should always be illegal.
f) Abortions should be limited by waiting periods and notification requirements as decided by each state government.
g) Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as "partial-birth" abortion.
h) Prohibit public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
i) Other

1) Indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following categories. Select one number (level) only.

Greatly Increasea) AIDS programs
b) Arts funding
Greatly Increasec) Education (K-12)
d) Environmental programs
e) Foreign aid
Greatly Increasef) Housing projects
Greatly Increaseg) Job training programs
h) Law enforcement
Greatly Increasei) Medicaid
Greatly Increasej) Medicare
l) Student loan programs
Greatly Increasem) Welfare
n) Other
o) Other
p) Other

2) Indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following defense-related categories. Select one number (level) only.

a) Armed Forces personnel training
b) CIA appropriations
c) Defense plant conversion
d) Development of new weapons
e) Military hardware
f) Military space shuttle missions
g) National Missile Defense Program
h) Pay for active duty personnel
i) Other
No3) Do you support amending the U.S. Constitution to require an annual balanced federal budget?

4) Indicate how you would apply the expected federal budget surplus.

Xa) Social Security
Xb) Medicare
c) Tax cuts
d) Federal debt reduction
e) Other

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

a) Remove all legislative limits on campaign financing.
b) Establish spending limits on congressional campaigns.
c) Provide public funding for federal candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
d) Support legislation that would increase the federal limits on individual contributions.
Xe) Strengthen and enforce legislation that encourages full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information.
Xf) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
Xg) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
Xh) Ban the unregulated campaign contributions known as soft money.
Xi) Pass legislation banning issue advocacy commercials by outside groups within 60 days of an election.
j) Prohibit non-U.S. citizens from making contributions to federal campaigns.
k) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) to address crime.

a) Broaden use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Increase spending to build more federal prisons.
c) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
Xd) Fund programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xe) Expand funding for community policing programs.
Xf) Increase penalties for the possession of any illegal firearms.
g) Prosecute youths accused of a felony as adults.
Xh) Increase funding for local Boys & Girls Clubs and other independent organizations in communities with at-risk youth.
i) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
j) Deport all permanent resident aliens convicted of a felony.
k) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning illegal drugs.

a) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
b) Impose mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
c) Impose capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.
d) Strengthen current laws dealing with non-controlled substances, including inhalants and commercially available pills.
Xe) Increase funding of federally-sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
Xf) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
g) Increase funding for border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
h) Other

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

Xa) Provide tax credits for companies that move job-creating industries into areas with high unemployment.
Xb) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
c) Reduce government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
Xd) Establish empowerment zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
e) Eliminate any federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
Xf) Increase the minimum wage.
Xg) Pass legislation that encourages employers to offer their employees the options of flex-time scheduling, comp-time and unpaid leave to attend to their family responsibilities.
Xh) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide on-site child care.

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

a) The federal government should consider race and sex in making government contracting decisions.
b) The federal government should continue affirmative action programs only if such programs do not include quotas.
c) The federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs.
Xd) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the public sector.
Xe) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the private sector.
Xf) The federal government should include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws.
g) Other

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning education.

Xa) Support national standards and testing in reading and math.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any publicly funded school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
d) Allow parents to use tax-free savings accounts to send their children to any publicly funded school.
e) Allow parents to use tax-free savings accounts to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
Xf) Support creation of more charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
g) Give all federal education funding to states in the form of block grants and allow them to spend it as they see fit.
h) Support voluntary teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
i) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
j) Other
No2) Do you support amending the U.S. Constitution to guarantee the right to religious expression and voluntary prayer in public places, including schools?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding America's environment and natural resources.

Xa) Require the state to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses on privately owned land.
Xb) Strengthen the Clean Water Act.
c) Change the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to limit the number of habitats eligible to be designated as endangered.
Xd) Increase fees charged to ranchers who graze cattle on federal lands.
Xe) Revise the 1872 mining law to increase the fees charged to mining companies using federal lands.
Xf) Encourage development of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
Xg) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel powered engines, including cars and trucks.
h) Increase federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels to promote conservation and alternative fuel development.
i) Promote the selling of pollution credits between nations to encourage industries to decrease pollution levels.
Xj) Impose stricter national air quality standards.
Xk) Adhere to the United Nations treaty regarding global climate change.
Xl) Strengthen the restrictions on clear-cutting on federal lands.
m) Other

Indicate which level of government that should have primary responsibility for the following services. Select one level only.

Federala) Border security
Federalb) Civil rights enforcement
Localc) Education
Federald) Environmental cleanup
Locale) Job training
Localf) Law enforcement
Localg) Low-income housing
Stateh) Medicaid
Federali) Medicare
Statej) Transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges)
Statek) Welfare
l) Other

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Bosnia/former Yugoslavia.

a) The U.S. should lift the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
b) The U.S. should maintain a military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a certain deadline for withdrawal.
c) The U.S. should maintain a military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina without a certain deadline for withdrawal.
Xd) Other

Maintain military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina as long as necessary to foster climate of peace

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

Xa) The U.S. should resolve future disputes with Iraq through diplomatic means.
b) The U.S. should take unilateral military action if Iraq does not comply with all accepted UN resolutions.
c) The U.S. should take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
d) The U.S. should not continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
e) Other

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

a) The U.S. should contribute more funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
b) The U.S. should contribute less funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
c) The U.S. should participate in UN peacekeeping missions only when vital U.S. interests are involved.
d) The U.S. should not commit military troops to UN peacekeeping missions.
e) The U.S. should withdraw from the UN completely.
Xf) The U.S. should pay its debt to the United Nations.
g) Other
Yes4) Should the U.S. have diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba?
5) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues.

Xa) Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
Xb) Increase federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
c) Maintain federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
d) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
e) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens.
f) Favor allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms.
Xg) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.
h) Other

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health issues in America.

a) The federal government has no responsibility in providing health care.
Xb) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
Xc) Implement a government-financed, single-payer national health care system similar to that of Canada.
Xd) Support health care strategies focused on prevention, including health education and natural medicines and remedies.
Xe) Support legislation to define and enforce the rights of insured patients, including greater access to specialists and emergency rooms, wider choice of health care providers, and appeal mechanisms when claims are denied.
Xf) Allow small business owners, the self-employed and workers whose employers do not provide health insurance to have the same deductibility for health costs as corporations and large employers.
g) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts, which would be taxed if used for any purpose other than medical costs.
h) Establish limits on the amount of damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xi) Allow states and local communities to use federal funds for needle-exchange programs to combat the spread of HIV.
j) Classify nicotine as a drug and cigarettes as drug delivery devices, which should be regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
Xk) Provide citizens age 55-65 the option of purchasing Medicare health coverage.

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

a) Decrease the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
Xb) Increase the eligibility of legal immigrants for certain social programs (i.e. HUD housing, food stamps).
Xc) Require the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reduce to six months the time between applying for citizenship and taking the oath of allegiance.
Xd) Provide extra federal aid to states with higher numbers of immigrants for necessary medical and social services.
Xe) Prohibit states from passing laws that deny human services (medical care, education) to illegal immigrants or their children.
f) Children of illegal immigrants, born in the United States, should not automatically receive U.S. citizenship.
g) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
h) Establish English as the official and recognized language of the United States government.
i) Other
The American people have consistently mentioned the decline of morals and ethics in America as a major problem facing the country. On an attached page, in fifty words or less, explain what you will do as a member of Congress to address this concern.

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.
b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which are managed by the government.
c) Invest Social Security's assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of U.S. Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to finance the program in its current form.
Xe) Invest a portion of the budget surplus into the Social Security trust fund.
f) Increase the minimum age that determines when retirees are able to receive full Social Security benefits.
g) Lower Social Security's annual cost-of-living increases.
h) Limit Social Security benefits based on recipients' other income and assets.
i) Require individuals to pay the Social Security tax on income above $68,400, which is currently exempt.
j) Other

1) Indicate the levels you support concerning taxes in the following categories. Select one number (level) only.

Income Taxes:

a) Retiree income over $40,000
b) Family income less than $25,000
c) Family income $25-75,000
d) Family income $75-150,000
e) Family income over $150,000

Other Tax Issues:

f) Alcohol taxes
g) Capital gains taxes
h) Charitable deductions
i) Child tax credit
Greatly Increasej) Cigarette taxes
k) Corporate income taxes
Greatly Increasel) Earned Income Tax Credit
m) Estate taxes
n) Medical expense deductions
o) Mortgage deductions
p) Other
q) Other
No2) Do you support replacing the U.S. income tax structure with a flat income tax?
No3) Do you support eliminating the Internal Revenue Service?
No4) Do you support instituting a national sales tax?
No5) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
No6) Do you support requiring a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise taxes?
7) Other
No1) Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms which members of Congress can serve?

If you support term limits, how many terms should each serve?

Senator (# of 6 yr. terms)
Representatives (# of 2 yr. terms)
Yes1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
2) Do you support broadening NAFTA to include other countries in the western hemisphere?
Yes3) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes4) Do you support the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
5) Do you support imposing tariffs on products imported from nations that maintain restrictive trade barriers on American products?
Yes6) Should a nation's human rights record affect its "most favored nation" trading status with the United States?
No7) Do you support granting the President "fast-track" authority?

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

Xa) Provide tax incentives for companies to hire and train homeless people who want to work.
Xb) Increase funding of homeless shelters and low income housing projects.
Xc) Increase funds for housing assistance for welfare recipients who need housing to get or keep a job.
Xd) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to supplement the cost of an apartment.
e) Continue to give states and local governments responsibility for welfare programs through block grants.
f) Eliminate federal funds for welfare programs at the federal, state or local levels.
g) Maintain current welfare-to-work requirements in order for states to qualify for block grants.
h) Convert government-funded low-income housing projects into private housing, managed and owned by the residents.
i) Require that unwed teenage mothers live with a parent or guardian (if possible) and attend school to receive benefits.
j) Other
Please explain what your two main legislative priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional government funding needed to implement these priorities.

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