Representative Richard Neal's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (MA) - District 1, Democratic
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Richard Neal 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

  • Rated 0% by National Right to Life Committee (
  • Rated 100% by Planned Parenthood (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "For the seventh time in a row, the Republicans in Washington have passed additional tax cuts geared to primarily benefit the wealthy. These tax cuts have done little, if anything, to reinvigorate our economy, or to benefit the poor or working class. Instead, the tax cuts have taken increasingly precious resources off the table and away from many of the domestic initiatives needed in America." (
  • "On the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts, he has his own plan: Let the tax cuts expire for those earning more than $500,000 a year (the Obama administration and Democratic leaders prefer $250,000), and dedicate the revenue from high-income earners to paying off the costs of the Iraq war." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.8 "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Neal, who joins several Massachusetts district attorneys and sheriffs in praising the Republican governor's proposals, told reporters that he's comfortable with the measures and believes Baker has 'taken the correct initiative' in pushing them. The governor's bill would expand the civil commitment law , allowing doctors to involuntarily hospitalize individuals with drug addictions for 72 hours without a court order if they pose a danger to themselves or others. The measure would also limit new opioid prescriptions to a 72-hour supply." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of HR 1 "Appropriations, Tax Law Amendments, and Unemployment Benefit Amendments ('Stimulus Bill')" (
  • Signed a letter stating "We renew our call to work on a bipartisan basis to provide a long-term funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund program. This program provides a federal source of funding for the nation's infrastructure and supports millions of American jobs." (
  • "The surest way to jumpstart our economy is investing in our infrastructure. Programs like these put Americans back to work immediately and make long-term investments in our future by updating our schools, roads, bridges, and hospitals. I was proud to support the Build America Bonds program then, and I continue to support this highly successively program now." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating "Let's not add delaying tax refunds to the list. We look forward to working with you to protect American taxpayers." (
  • "I have been an ardent supporter of tax simplification and repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), a tax whose burden falls disproportionately and unintentionally upon the middle class taxpayer." (
  • "U.S. Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Richard Neal (D-MA), and Tom Reed (R-NY) today introduced a bill that would make permanent a tax credit proven to create jobs and encourage community investment. The New Markets Tax Credit was established in 2000 and has proven to be a cost-effective incentive that spurs private investment in low-income rural communities and urban neighborhoods where access to capital is often limited. " (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.3630 "Extends Payroll Tax Cut" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown, together with the entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation today announced that Massachusetts has won the U.S. Department of Education's Race to the Top Competition. […] 'Massachusetts has always been a leader in providing a quality public education to children who live in the state. We have the best teachers and school administrators. That is why today's important announcement should come as no great surprise. These federal funds will help implement reforms that will ensure that our students remain the best and the brightest,' said Congressman Richard E. Neal." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted against S.1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Massachusetts Biotechnology Council "MassBio would like to thank Congressman Richard Neal for taking the lead in introducing H.R. 3390, bipartisan legislation that levels the playing field for renewable chemicals by providing renewable chemical producers access to production or investment tax credits currently available to other renewable energy producers. This bill will help stimulate the development of innovative renewable chemicals in the U.S. for the production of biobased products, which will support the growing life sciences industry, create jobs and impact a cleaner environment." (
  • Signed a letter stating "Today 88 members of the U.S. House of Representatives called for an extension of the successful 1603 Treasury Grant Program supporting renewable energy projects, urging in a letter to House leaders that such an extension will continue a proven track record of job creation and promote further growth in domestic clean energy industries." (
  • "If we are to become energy independent, ventures like First Wind's solar project in Warren need to be enthusiastically supported." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.Amdt.507 "Specifies the Authority of the Secretary of Interior on the Regulation of Methane Emissions" (
  • Voted in favor of HR 2454 "Energy and Environmental Law Amendments ('Cap and Trade')" (
  • Signed a letter stating "We were pleased to see your agency recently propose standards under the Clean Air Act for new power plants, and we applaud your commitment to develop standards for reducing emissions from existing power plants. As the federal representatives for the nine states that participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, we urge you to work with our states as you develop standards for existing power plants." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "There is no good reason why this issue should polarize America. And a good place to start is with universal background checks and closing the gun show loopholes." (
  • Rated 100% by Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence (
  • Signed a letter stating "Our nation has suffered at least 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook massacre. The factors allowing these rampages are no mystery: loopholes in the background check laws, straw purchases, restrictions on law enforcement, and gaps in our mental health system. Dozens of legislative proposals that address these factors have been introduced and await consideration. But despite wake-up call after wake-up call, a shameful tradition of Congressional inaction continues." (
  • "I believe President Obama offered many common sense proposals to reducing gun violence. For example, background checks is something we should all agree upon.[…] While I have no desire to take away rights from legitimate sportsmen or hunters, these measures are aimed at those who perpetuate violent crimes." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted against HR 596 "Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care-Related Provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010" (
  • "There will be opportunities to make changes. But not to miss the point, we are not going to change a ban on pre-existing conditions. We are not going to change capping out-of-pocket expenses, keeping 26-year-olds on their parents health care. Women's health care and preventive services are expanded dramatically, that's not going to change." (
  • "Madam Speaker, today I rise in opposition to the repeal of the Patients' Rights Act." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I believe Congress can act in a bipartisan manner and can pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. Our current immigration system is simply not working and it needs to be fixed. A legal path to citizenship must be created for these 11 million aspiring Americans, including the 50,000 undocumented Irish." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.5281 "DREAM Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a letter stating "DOMA imposes a sweeping and unjustifiable federal disability on married same-sex couples." (
  • Rated 100% by Human Rights Campaign Position on Marriage (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I think we need to be mindful of what would happen if you had a radical Islamic state in the Middle East. I don't think that you could suggest for one moment that it would be a friend to the United States." (
  • "I supported the surgical airstrikes – there were only two of us in Massachusetts – and I would continue to support surgical airstrikes. I'm not ready to commit troops to Syria, that's for sure." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 99% by Alliance for Retired Americans (
  • "I serve on the Social Security Subcommittee on Ways and Means and have been on the front lines in fighting the Republican's failed privatization plan." (


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

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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.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
Xf) 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.
h) Other or expanded principles

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

Budget Priorities

Maintain Statusa) Agriculture
Maintain Statusb) Arts
Slightly Increasec) Defense
Slightly Increased) Education
Maintain Statuse) Environment
Slightly Increasef) Homeland security
Maintain Statusg) International aid
Slightly Increaseh) Law enforcement
Greatly Increasei) Medical research
Maintain Statusj) National parks
Slightly Increasek) Public health services
Greatly Increasel) Scientific research
Maintain Statusm) Space exploration programs
Maintain Statusn) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Statuso) Welfare
p) Other or expanded categories

Defense Spending

Maintain Statusa) Armed Forces personnel training
Slightly Increaseb) Intelligence operations
Maintain Statusc) Military hardware
Maintain Statusd) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Maintain Statuse) National missile defense
Slightly Increasef) Pay for active duty personnel
Slightly Increaseg) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Maintain Statush) Research and development of new weapons
Slightly 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

Maintain Statusa) Less than $25,000
Maintain Statusb) $25,000-$75,000
Maintain Statusc) $75,000-$150,000
Slightly Increased) Over $150,000
e) Other or expanded categories

Retiree Income

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

Other Taxes:

Maintain Statusa) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Increaseb) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusc) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Increased) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statusf) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories


Maintain Statusa) Charitable contributions
Maintain Statusb) Child tax credit
Slightly Increasec) Earned income tax credit
Maintain Statusd) Medical expense deduction
Maintain Statuse) Mortgage deduction
Maintain Statusf) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories
No4) Do you support permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
No5) Do you support eliminating taxes on dividends paid to individual investors?
Yes6) 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.

a) 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.
Noh) Do you support instant run-off voting (IRV)?
Noi) Should Election Day be a national holiday?
Yesj) Should same-sex couples be allowed to form civil unions?
Yesk) Should marriage be restricted to a union only between a man and a woman?
l) Other or expanded principles

I do not think we need to amend the Constitution to define marriage.

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

Xa) 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.
Xg) 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.

Xa) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
Xb) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
Xc) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Xd) 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.
Xd) Allow teachers and professionals to receive authorization and funding to establish charter schools.
Xe) 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).
Xh) 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.
Xh) 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.
Xf) 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.
Xk) 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.
Xh) Require a license for gun possession.
Xi) 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.
Xd) 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).
Xe) 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?
Yesb) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Noc) 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.)

We need more international support to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq. We must better train Iraqi soldiers in this reconstruction effort.

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?
Undecidedb) Should the United States use military force to destroy the North Korean nuclear weapons program?
Noc) Should the United States remove the North Korean government from power?
Yesd) Should the United States increase financial support to Afghanistan?
Undecidede) 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
Yes4) Should the United States lift the travel ban to Cuba?
Yes5) 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?
Yes7) 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.

No1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Yes2) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes3) Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Yes4) Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations (most favored nation) status with the United States?
No5) 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.

Yesa) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
Yesb) Should the United States adopt stricter rules for student visa applications from nations known to sponsor terrorism?
Yesc) 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?
Yesd) 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.
Xc) Implement regulation of Internet content.
Xd) Support government mandates to curtail violent and sexual content on television.
Xe) Support strict penalties for Internet crimes (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
Xf) 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.

Xa) 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.
Xf) 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.

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