Representative Joe Barton's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (TX) - District 6, Republican
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Joe Barton 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

  • "It has been 38 years since Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal, and while pro-life Members of the House of Representatives can't yet overturn this deadly decision -- we are stronger in this Congress than the last one and we are ready to make an impact." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 7 "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2015" (
  • "I am pro-life because I believe that all life is precious and should be respected. My voting record reflects this belief." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I have joined my colleagues to support the Plan for America’s Job Creators. It is a pro-growth agenda that doesn’t raise taxes on working families or small business owners." (
  • "I supported President Bush's tax relief plan which centered on cutting marginal tax rates, marriage penalty relief, and the repeal of the estate or "death" tax. These tax cuts will expire after 2010, so I am working to make them permanent." (
  • Signed a pledge stating "[...] I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (

Vote Smart's Research

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

Vote Smart's Research

  • "It is time for the federal government to run its budget like you do. When you run out of money you stop spending. Instead of passing the buck, it is time to make cuts." (
  • "I believe Congress should treat the federal budget like an American family would treat their own budget, focusing on fiscal discipline and restraint. This is why I helped author the Deficit Reduction Act which reduced the federal budget deficit by more than $39 billion." (
  • "We can't keep cutting deals that ultimately spend more today, while promising to save money in 10 years. It is time to get serious about the nation's spending problem. I will continue to push for fiscal sanity and make sure Washington is responsible with your money." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Signed a pledge stating "[...] I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (
  • "Federal taxes are too high. In Congress, lowering taxes has always been one of my top priorities." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In Congress I would work for an overhaul of federally promoted programs such as No Child Left Behind. In addition, I would fight to get more federal funding with fewer strings attached to it, so that our schools can put the money where it is needed rather than where someone in Washington thinks it should go." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "More jobs, more energy, lower prices at the pump -- the Keystone pipeline is a winner for America." (
  • Voted in favor of S. 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (
  • "Rep. Joe Barton joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday to pass H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, with bipartisan support by a vote of 241 to 175." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The development of alternative and renewable energy sources is a vital part of our nation's energy future." (
  • "On the consumption side, we must focus on demand reduction, renewable energy and conservation, in order to reduce our dependence on foreign energy." (
  • "An All of the Above approach integrates traditional and alternative energy sources to create power that’s dependable and affordable." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "[…] I stand with Chairman Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Whitfield in support of denying bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the right to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act; and beginning to rebalance the power between the executive and the legislative branches." (
  • "It is also important to remember that CO2 is not a pollutant; it is an indispensable part of life. Your body creates and emits CO2 every time you take a breath." (
  • "The needless environmental assault on our energy production has reached a critical point. The EPA, following orders from the Obama Administration, is attacking all sectors of the energy industry and economy leading to higher gas prices and the growing possibility of brownouts." (
  • Signed a letter stating "As you know, the EPA's actions have far-reaching implications, and this proposed rule affects not only coal and natural gas companies but also energy-intensive industries like manufacturing and construction as well as average American families trying to pay their electric bills.Given that nearly forty percent of electricity in the United States is generated by coal, it is especially important to carefully consider both the short- and long-term ramifications of this proposal." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "My colleagues and I are passionately opposed to any measure that would curb our Second Amendment rights. The gun control proposals the president offered last week are a constitutional non-starter, and in fact, would have had zero impact in preventing the tragedy in Newtown." (
  • "It only makes sense that people should be able to defend themselves in their own homes. The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights states 'the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' It doesn't mention geographical boundaries. However, Chicago's handgun ban has been keeping firearms out of the homes of law abiding citizens for years." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R. 596 "Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care-Related Provisions in the Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010" (
  • "I continue to work to make sure we replace ObamaCare with common sense, market-based reforms that will actually lower costs for small businesses, expand access to affordable care, and protect jobs." (
  • "ObamaCare continues to hurt millions of the people that it was allegedly supposed to help. This law has negatively changed the landscape of healthcare in our country." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I am, however, convinced that we must work to end illegal immigration and not reward those who have broken our immigration laws. I am against amnesty." (
  • "I do not believe that amnesty in any fashion is an appropriate way to turn the tide of illegal immigration." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Across time and cultures, traditional marriage has served as the backbone of the family and the foundation of society, and it should not be manipulated. While passing a Constitutional amendment may not happen overnight, I will continue to support efforts in the House to protect marriage." (
  • Rated 0% by the Human Rights Campaign (
  • "Across time and cultures, traditional marriage has served as the backbone of the family and the foundation of society, and it should not be manipulated." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "These guys are dangerous. They hate the United States. We need to kill them. We need to track them down. We need to cut off their financial aid. We need to cut off their moral support. Whatever we need to do I`m ready to go do it and hopefully do it in a unified way for the security of the United States of America." (
  • "Congress’ primary responsibility is to keep Americans safe. At its core that means we must secure our border. Through physical barriers, drone technology and increased National Guard presence I will continue this push." (
  • "I fully supported the President when he came to the Congress and asked for the authority to do everything in his power to protect the American people, and I fully support that decision to this day. I believe that it is better for us to fight those who wish to do us harm where they live rather than in our own cities and towns." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Currently there are only 3 workers to every retiree, and that ratio will be further reduced to 2 workers to every retiree once the baby boomer generation leaves the workforce. This will cause an overwhelming burden on future generations unless we take action. Therefore, I support the creation of personalized retirement accounts within the Social Security system." (
  • "I believe that whatever shape the final reform takes, it must include an option for younger workers to set aside a portion of their payroll tax in a personal savings account." (


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.

Texas Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

Pro-lifeCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?
NoDo you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Other or expanded principles

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing the federal budget.

In order to balance the budget,

YesCandidate Answerdo you support reducing defense spending?
NoCandidate Answerdo you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Yesdo you support reducing Medicaid spending?
Yesdo you support reducing Medicare spending?
YesIs balancing the budget a legislative priority?
Other or expanded principles
NoDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles
YesDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
YesDo you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
NoDo you support the temporary extension of unemployment benefits?
YesDo you support the 2010 temporary extension of tax relief?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
Other or expanded principles
NoDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
NoShould individuals be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Do you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?
YesDo you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?
Other or expanded principles

Undecided on the Middle question

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
YesShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

We should use military force - only if necessary.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles


Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

a) Agriculture
b) Arts
c) Defense
d) Education
e) Environment
f) Homeland Security
g) International aid
h) Medical Research
i) Scientific Research
j) Space exploration
k) United Nations
l) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories


Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

a) Capital gains taxes
b) Corporate taxes
c) Excise taxes (alcohol)
d) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
e) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
f) Income taxes (low-income families)
g) Income taxes (middle-income families)
h) Income taxes (high-income families)
i) Inheritance taxes
j) Payroll taxes
k) Other or expanded categories
Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

I believe we must reign in federal spending. I have supported proposals that don't raise taxes, and instead simplify the tax code, end corporate welfare, preserve Medicare and Social Security, ban earmarks, eliminate hundreds of duplicative programs and drastically reduce the debt and the deficit. Doing all this would create more than a million new jobs and spur economic growth.

I also think we need to embrace an "all of the above" energy policy, one that integrates traditional (oil, gas, nuclear) and alternative (wind and solar) energy sources to create power that?s dependable and affordable.

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