Representative Pete Sessions's Political Positions

Office: U.S. House (TX) - District 32, Republican
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Pete Sessions 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 100% by the National Right to Life Committee (
  • "As a father, I have always strongly believed that every effort should be made to protect and honor the sanctity of life." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Congress should pass comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates on individuals and businesses and reconsiders the effectiveness of every deduction and exemption in the tax code." (
  • "Congress should pass comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates on individuals and businesses and reconsiders the effectiveness of every deduction and exemption in the tax code. Streamlining our tax code, reducing rates for individuals and businesses, and making it easier to invest money in American businesses are imperative to achieving economic growth." (
  • "Today the House acted to prevent burdensome tax increases on millions of families and businesses across America. This piece of legislation provides much needed certainty to taxpayers as they prepare to file their 2014 tax returns and eliminates provisions in the tax code that no longer serve a purpose." (

Vote Smart's Research

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

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Instead of sticking to the Democrats' plan of higher taxes, increased spending and more debt, House Republicans believe it is time to chart a new path. Chairman Price's budget provides for a sound fiscal future by balancing the budget in less than 10 years – without raising taxes – and cutting spending by $5.5 trillion, which is more than any previously adopted Republican budget." (
  • "Washington has a spending problem that has placed our nation on an unsustainable path of trillion dollar deficits and a $17 trillion national debt. That is why I have consistently voted to limit federal spending, reform entitlement programs, and am a co-sponsor of a bill that calls for the passage of the balanced budget amendment." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I believe that Congress should significantly lower the corporate tax rate in order to increase investment, create more jobs, and reassert America’s competitiveness across the globe." (
  • "Congress should pass comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates on individuals and businesses and reconsiders the effectiveness of every deduction and exemption in the tax code. Streamlining our tax code, reducing rates for individuals and businesses, and making it easier to invest money in American businesses are imperative to achieving economic growth." (
  • "I urge the Senate and President Obama to join our efforts to stop the job-destroying tax hike and reform the tax code to empower the free enterprise system and get struggling Americans back to work." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Reforming federal education policies to empower parents with choice and equal opportunity to seek great teachers and schools, and improve access to college and training, will better prepare students for tomorrow’s job market." (
  • "For too long, states and school districts have been inundated with federal intervention and bureaucratic red tape that has done little to improve student performance. It is time to eliminate wasteful and duplicative federal programs and grant states and local school districts the freedom to direct federal resources to the programs that best serve their students." (
  • "Members of the Texas Republican Congressional delegation, led by Congressman Michael C. Burgess (R-Lewisville), today introduced legislation to repeal language in last month's education funding bill that discriminates against only the state of Texas, and could prevent Texas from receiving its fair share of the federal education funding." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The Keystone pipeline is widely supported by the American people because it is an important infrastructure project that will create thousands of jobs, increase our energy security, and inject billions of dollars into the American economy." (
  • Voted in favor of S. 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone Pipeline" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I support a comprehensive 'all-of-the-above' energy policy that pursues expanding traditional American energy sources, investing in renewable sources such as wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass, in addition to focusing on energy efficiency, conservation and nuclear energy." (
  • "For energy price stability and long-term energy independence, Congressman Sessions believes that Congress must increase supply by opening American resources to energy production and decrease demand by prioritizing energy efficiency and alternative, renewable energy development." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The EPA has abused the lawmaking process to implement the administration's climate agenda, which kills jobs and hurts wallets. This so-called clean energy plan is nothing but another executive branch power grab, and its negative effects will only raise electricity rates." (
  • "The Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has constantly overreached into our economy in unprecedented and unconstitutional ways. The EPA's onslaught of expensive new rules and regulations drive up energy costs and destroy jobs." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 93% by the Gun Owners of America (
  • "As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), I am a strong supporter of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Throughout my 17 years in Congress, I have consistently voted against reckless gun control measures." (

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 believe that ObamaCare must be stopped and have voted more than 50 times in the House to repeal, defund, and dismantle it." (
  • "I will continue to stand up for my constituents and to fully repeal ObamaCare and replace it with responsible reforms that actually lower costs and provide superior health care." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I have always adamantly opposed illegal immigration, blanket amnesty, or any other reward to those who have intentionally and knowingly broken our nation’s immigration laws." (
  • "Additionally, I am glad that the House approved a measure that would stop the President from using taxpayer dollars to expand the DACA program. As a Texan, I recognize the stress that the border crisis is placing on our cities, schools, and hospitals. While it is vital that we address the humanitarian issues that have come with this crisis, we must secure our borders and halt the flow of illegal immigrants into our country." (
  • "An effective immigration plan must first secure our borders, strengthen interior enforcement, protect our nation’s rule of law, and prosecute and deport criminal aliens in the United States." (
  • "Unilateral executive amnesty that circumvents this process is unwise and unconstitutional. By working within the boundaries of the Constitution, we can ultimately achieve more for the American people." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 0% by the Human Rights Campaign (
  • Voted in favor of H. Amdt 1416 "Prohibits Use of Funds in Contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Unfortunately, our enemies are committed to using every resource available at their disposal to harm Americans and disrupt our economy. It is imperative that we provide the men and women in our intelligence community with the resources and capabilities necessary to effectively assess potential threats and respond accordingly." (
  • "Our brave service members have done in Iraq what President Obama once maligned: keeping the fight and seeing the mission through. An early and documented critic of the successful 'surge' strategy, President Obama consistently promoted a strategy of defeat by demanding troop withdrawals, voting against troop funding, and rhetorically waving the white flag when times were toughest." (
  • Signed a letter stating "March 11, 2014 marks a year-and-a-half since the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. […] We ask that you act immediately and use whatever necessary resources to find, arrest and bring to justice those responsible for these attacks." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • "One of my main focuses in Congress is protecting, preserving, and reforming Social Security." (
  • Rated 4% by Alliance for Retired Americans (
  • "If we are to ensure the retirement benefits of current and future generations, we must fix Social Security. Social Security has been changed many times in the past in order to meet the changing demographic. With the next reform, we can maintain the safety net function of Social Security." (


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 2002 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.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legally available.
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.
Xf) Eliminate public funding for abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Other or expanded principles

Budgetary Priorities

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

Maintain Funding Statusa) Agricultural
Slightly Decrease Fundingb) Arts
Greatly Increase Fundingc) Defense
Maintain Funding Statusd) Education
Maintain Funding Statuse) Environmental
Maintain Funding Statusf) International Aid
Slightly Increase Fundingg) Law Enforcement
Greatly Increase Fundingh) Medical Research
Maintain Funding Statusi) National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA)
Slightly Increase Fundingj) National Parks
k) Public Health Services
Greatly Increase Fundingl) Scientific Research
Greatly Increase Fundingm) Terrorism Prevention
Maintain Funding Statusn) Transportation and Highway Infrastructure
Slightly Decrease Fundingo) Welfare
p) Other or expanded categories

Defense Spending

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

Greatly Increase Fundinga) Armed Forces personnel training
Greatly Increase Fundingb) Covert intelligence operations
Greatly Increase Fundingc) Military hardware
Greatly Increase Fundingd) Pay for active duty personnel
Greatly Increase Fundinge) National Missile Defense Program
Greatly Increase Fundingf) Programs to improve military retention rates
Greatly Increase Fundingg) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increase Fundingh) Troop and equipment readiness
i) Other or expanded categories


Using the key below, indicate what levels you support concerning taxes, deductions, and tax credits in the following categories. Select one number per tax.

Income Taxes - Family Income

Eliminatea) Less than $25,000
Greatly Decreaseb) $25,000 - $75,000
Greatly Decreasec) $75,000 - $150,000
Greatly Decreased) Over $150,000
e) Other or expanded categories

Income Taxes - Retiree Income

Greatly Decreasef) Over $40, 000
g) Other or expanded categories

Other Taxes

Slightly Decreasea) Alcohol taxes
Eliminateb) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusc) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusd) Corporate taxes
Slightly Decreasee) Gasoline taxes
Eliminatef) Inheritance taxes
Eliminateg) Other or expanded categories

MARRIAGE penalty


Slightly Increasea) Charitable deductions
Greatly Increaseb) Medical expense deductions
Maintain Statusc) Mortgage deductions
Slightly Increased) Child tax credit
Maintain Statuse) Earned income tax credit
Maintain Statusf) Student loan tax credit
g) Other or expanded categories


Yes2) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
No3) Would you use Social Security surpluses to balance the budget?
4) Other or expanded principles


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

a) Support public taxpayer funding for congressional candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
Xb) Increase the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
c) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
d) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
e) Ban unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
Xf) Prohibit non-U.S. citizens from making soft money contributions to national parties or party committees.
g) Require full disclosure of funding sources of issue advocacy commercials which appear within 60 days of an election.
h) Remove all contribution limits to federal candidates and parties.
Xi) Require congressional candidates to raise over half of their campaign money from their home state.
Xj) Require that unions give members the option of not having membership dues used for political purposes.
k) Support the federal government mandate that creates national voting system standards.
l) Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms that members of Congress can serve?
m) Do you support voting on-line?
n) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
Xb) Increase spending to build more federal prisons.
Xc) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
d) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
e) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
Xf) Increase funding for community policing programs.
g) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
h) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
i) Enforcement of civil rights should primarily be the responsibility of the federal government.
Xj) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
Xk) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
l) Other or expanded principles

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

Xa) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
Xb) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
c) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
d) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Xe) Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
f) Eliminate federal funding for programs associated with the "war on drugs."
g) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any publicly-funded school.
Xc) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
Xd) Support charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
Xe) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
Xf) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
g) Increase funding for computers and computer training in public schools.
h) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
Xi) Eliminate restrictions on federal education funding, giving educators or local school districts more flexibility to design and implement their programs.
Xj) Increase funding of programs such as Pell grants and Stafford loans to help students pay for college.
Xk) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
l) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
Xb) Reduce government regulation of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
Xc) Establish empowerment zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
Xe) Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
f) Eliminate any federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
g) Increase the federal minimum wage.
h) Considering race and gender in government contracting decisions is appropriate for the federal government.
i) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
j) Continue federal affirmative action programs.
Xk) Discontinue federal affirmative action programs.
l) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
b) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
Xc) Support opening a select portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.
d) Support the U.S. re-entering the current Kyoto treaty process to limit global warming.
Xe) Require states to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses of privately owned land.
Xf) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
g) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
h) Provide tax credits for state and local bonds to preserve open spaces, build parks, improve water quality and redevelop brownfields.
i) Support the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act prohibiting commercial logging in our national forests.
Xj) Provide states and local communities with more flexibility to address their respective environmental problems.
k) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
b) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Xc) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Xe) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
g) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Raise the minimum age for ownership of handguns from 18 to 21.
Xj) Other or expanded principles


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

a) Providing health care is not a responsibility of the federal government.
b) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
Xc) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights 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.
Xd) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to sue when claims are denied.
Xe) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied.
Xf) Support legislation to provide prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
g) Increase research funding of the human genome to find cures for diseases such as cancer, AIDS/HIV, Alzheimer's, and heart disease.
h) Increase federal funding for training health workers to recognize and respond to the release of biological agents.
i) Prohibit the procedure of cloning human embryos.
Xj) Other or expanded principles


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

Xa) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Provide extra federal aid to states with higher numbers of immigrants for necessary medical and social services.
c) Prohibit states from passing laws that deny human services (medical care, education) to illegal immigrants or their children.
Xd) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
Xe) Establish English as the official U.S. language.
Xf) Collect fingerprint data from all U.S. visa applicants which would be accessible to all federal immigration-related agencies.
g) Allow legalization for certain illegal immigrants working in the U.S.
h) Other or expanded principles

International Aid

Indicate which principles (if any) you support regarding U. S. economic assistance.

a) 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 U. S.
Xc) Aid should be granted to countries that are close allies of the U. S. and in need of financial/military assistance.
d) Aid should be eliminated for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
e) Aid programs should be scaled back and eventually eliminated except for extraordinary circumstances.
f) Other or expanded principles

International Policy

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

a) The U.S. should take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
b) The U.S. should end the economic embargo against Iraq.
c) The U.S. should not continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and the Palestine Authority.
d) The U.S. should support the formation of a Palestinian state.
Xe) Other or expanded principles

The U.S. should take military action against Iraq.

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

Xa) The U.S. should participate in United Nations peacekeeping missions only when vital U.S. interests are involved.
b) The U.S. should not commit military troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Xc) The U.S. should withdraw completely from the United Nations.
d) Other or expanded principles
3) Should the U.S. have full diplomatic relations with Cuba?
Yes4) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?
Yes5) Should the U.S. increase its financial support to Colombia for the "war on drugs?"
Yes6) Do you support the cooperative threat reduction programs with Russia to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons? ___ Yes ___ No ___ Undecided
Yes7) Do you support the recent withdrawal of the U.S. from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in order to deploy a national missile defense system?
Yes8) Should the U.S. hold nations accountable for terrorists who operate from their country?
9) Other or expanded principles

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)?
Yes3) Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Yes4) Do you support China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization?
Yes5) Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations (most favored nation) trading status with the United States? ___ Yes ___ No ___ Undecided
Yes6) Should the President have "fast-track" authority to negotiate trade agreements?
7) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
8) Other or expanded principles

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

Yes1. Do you support the President using military tribunals to try terrorist suspects when the President deems ordinary civil courts to be inappropriate or impractical?
Yes2. Should the U.S. adopt higher qualification rules for student visa applications from nations known to sponsor terrorism?
Yes3. Should law enforcement agencies be granted greater discretion to read mail and email, tap phones, and conduct random searches to prevent future terrorist attacks?
Yes4. Should federal law enforcement agencies share intelligence data with local law enforcement agencies?
Yes5. Should the federal government provide states with funding for homeland security?
6. Other or expanded principles

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

Xa) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves.
Xb) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts managed by private firms contracted by the government.
c) The federal government should invest a portion of Social Security's assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of U.S. Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to better finance Social Security in its current form.
e) Lower Social Security's annual cost-of-living increases.
Xf) Support a "lock box" measure, limiting Congress's ability to spend Social Security and Medicare surpluses on any other federal programs except Social Security and Medicare, until each program's long-term solvency is guaranteed.
g) Other or expanded principles

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

Xa) Continue the moratorium on Internet sales taxes.
b) Implement regulation of Internet content by the federal government.
c) Regulation of the Internet should not be controlled by the federal government.
d) Support government mandates to curtail violent and sexual content on television.
e) Other or expanded principles

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

Xa) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
Xb) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to defray the cost of an apartment.
Xc) Continue to give states and local governments responsibility for welfare programs through TANF block grants.
Xd) Maintain current welfare-to-work requirements in order for states to qualify for block grants.
e) Restore food stamp programs to legal immigrants.
Xf) Transfer homeless housing programs to states through block grants.
Xg) Provide continued Medicaid benefits for those welfare recipients who have moved from welfare to work.
h) Require states to return any unused welfare block grant funding to the federal government.
Xi) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based, or other non-profit organizations.
j) Provide states with additional funding for Medicaid programs to alleviate increasing state budget deficits.
Xk) Other or expanded principles

Also allow families of disabled children to stay employed & accept raises without losing access to Medicaid services.

In a total of seventy-five (75) words or less, please explain what your top two or three priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional funding needed to implement these priorities.

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