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Karen Bass' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (CA) - District 37, Democratic
Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Karen Bass 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?

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 issue positions, from the year 2016, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-choice Inferred Answer Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Though forty years have passed since the Roe vs. Wade ruling, the battle still rages on over women being able to make their own reproductive health choices. On the anniversary of this momentous decision, we must remain vigilant in protecting a woman's right to choose, particularly in the face of efforts at the state level to limit the ability of women to access the services they need in making the best decisions for their health and families." (
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (
Yes Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "After having far too long a life, Norquist's pledge died a slow death on January 1st, 2013 when 89 House Republicans joined a majority of GOP Senators to help pass the first major tax increases on the wealthiest Americans in two decades – effectively rendering the pledge irrelevant." (
  • "However, this budget is good for corporations and the wealthiest Americans; they would see their taxes cut while adding $5 trillion to the deficit. House Republicans today voted in lockstep to make it more difficult for working Americans to attain their college degrees and affordable health insurance in order give the richest Americans a tax cut." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.8 "Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012" (
No Inferred Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "If we are to make real action towards improving public health and in turn, the safety of our neighborhoods we must develop programs and policies that stop drug use and addiction at the onset of the problem and properly provide treatment and care for individuals who are suffering and recovering from addiction." (
  • "I commend the United States Sentencing Commission's decision today that will reduce the sentences of over 46,000 drug offenders in the federal prison system. This decision will mean that these offenders could have their sentences reduced by an average of 25 months. This decision builds on the commission's decision in April that will reduce sentences going forward for people convicted in drug offenses." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The Republican budget continues to push harsh and unnecessary budget cuts that eliminate the safety net for millions of middle class Americans. The American people don't want a budget that breaks our promises to seniors by turning Medicare into a voucher program or cuts investments that support job creation just for the sake of more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers and corporations." (
  • "Bass claims the government shutdown has hurt the middle class and our economy, and will get worse as it continues. Her office went on to say the shutdown was costing taxpayers up to $300 million a day, it has stopped critical loans to small businesses and slowed the processing of veterans disability claims." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.22 "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R.3630 "Extends Payroll Tax Cut" (
  • "In a united voice, Democrats offered a clear path to help small businesses succeed and expand their business through hiring, provide tax relief for workers and rebuild American schools and bridges." (
  • "So this (resistance to the president's agenda to raise taxes on the rich and lower them for the poor) is the same kind of thing, he's saying extend tax cuts for 98 percent of the U.S. population. So are they going to block that? This would mean that they're responsible for raising taxes on 98 percent of Americans." (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I am committed to strengthening our K-12 public school system, supporting our teachers, and ensuring all children receive a first-class education. Reforms to No Child Left Behind must be made to end the one size fits all approach to learning and heavy emphasis on testing under the current education law." (
No Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I am disappointed that Republicans in Congress decided to take up this divisive legislation that would bypass national environmental standards and state law to jam through the Keystone XL Pipeline." (
  • Voted against S. 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of A. B. 920 "Solar Power Energy Credit" (
  • "Representative Bass believes that investing in cleaner, more cost-effective energy will reduce the effects of global warming, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create clean energy jobs here in America." (
  • "Combating climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing both our nation and the entire international community. In order to address these issues, Congressmember Bass is committed to investing in new technology and renewable resources that meet America's increasing energy needs and protect both the environment and national security." (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

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" (
  • "Protecting the environment is a critical part of protecting the health of all Americans. Clean air and water and the preservation of natural resources are issues of utmost concern to protect both Americans today and of future generations." (
  • "Representative Bass believes that investing in cleaner, more cost-effective energy will reduce the effects of global warming, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create clean energy jobs here in America." (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of A.B.1810 "Expanded Firearm Registration" (
  • 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." (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "If the American people needed any more proof that House Republicans have absolutely no agenda for the future, then look no further than today's votes to try and delay key provisions of the Affordable Care Act." (
  • "Two years ago today, the Obama Administration helped millions of American families gain access to lifesaving medical care when the Affordable Care Act was passed into law. Now, our nation is finally able to give its citizens the basic human right of being healthy without spending every penny you earn." (
No Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The American government should do everything within its power to keep families together. I have met with constituents in my district who come from many countries across several continents. They have pleaded with me to fix our broken immigration system, but while these people suffer and families are separated from one another, Republicans in Congress have done nothing." (
  • "Karen strongly supports President Obama's executive actions to enable undocumented parents whose children are U.S. citizens to stay in the United States and his action to enable DREAMers to stay in the United States to attend college or serve America in the military." (
  • 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." (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of S.B.54 "Recognizing Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages" (
  • Rated 100% by Human Rights Campaign (
  • Signed a letter stating "As federal legislators who represent families across this nation, we believe that—like DOMA—state marriage bans deny our citizens the equal protection that the Constitution guarantees." (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I cannot imagine sending our troops back to Iraq. We should not answer previous blunders with additional missteps. Our nation has sacrificed too much already in Iraq, and it is time for Iraq's leaders to step up and diffuse the sectarian differences that are tearing the country apart." (
No Inferred Answer Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Social Security is one of the most effective programs in our country's history. It serves as a foundation for retirement security that keeps our seniors from living in poverty. Millions of Americans depend on Social Security benefits and the program must be protected and strengthened to ensure its continuation for future generations." (
  • "Democrats will never allow for Social Security to be privatized, under no circumstances." (
  • Rated 98% by the Alliance for Retired Americans (


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: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

California State Legislative Election 2004 National Political Awareness Test

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

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
Xb) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Eliminate public funding for abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Other or expanded principles
State Budget: Indicate the funding levels (#1-6) you will support for the following general categories. Select one level per category.
Greatly Increasea) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Greatly Increasec) Environment
Greatly Increased) Health care
Slightly Increasee) Law enforcement
Slightly Increasef) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Increaseg) Welfare
h) Other or expanded categories
State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels (#1-6) you will support. Select one level per tax.
Greatly Increasea) Alcohol taxes
Greatly Increaseb) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increasec) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Increased) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increasee) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statusf) Income taxes (incomes below $75,000)
Slightly Increaseg) Income taxes (incomes above $75,000)
Slightly Increaseh) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusi) Property taxes
Maintain Statusj) Sales taxes
Maintain Statusk) Vehicle taxes
Greatly Increasel) Other or expanded categories

oil severance fees

Yesm) Should Internet sales be taxed?
n) What are your proposals for balancing California's budget? (50 words or less. Please use an attached page if the space provided is not adequate.)

I believe it is essential that we keep public services in place. I will support creating new sources of revenue by taking such steps as closing corporate tax loopholes, putting in place and oil severance tax (as every other oil producing state does) and reinstating the top income tax bracket.

o) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Noa) Do you support the current two term, eight year term limit for California governors?
Nob) Do you support the current two term, eight year term limit for California state senators?
Noc) Do you support the current three term, six year term limit for California assembly members?
d) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative and gubernatorial candidates?
Yes1) Individual
Yes2) PAC
Yes3) Corporate
Yes4) Political Parties
Yese) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yesf) Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?
Yesg) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
Yesh) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?
Yesi) Do you support prohibiting the reporting of media exit polling results until all polling locations in California are closed?
Yesj) Do you support providing human services (medical care, education, etc.) for legal immigrants and their children?
Yesk) Should California recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Nol) Should California restrict marriage to a union only between a man and a woman?
m) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.
a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and for hiring of additional prison staff.
b) Support the use of the death penalty in California.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
d) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
Xe) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
f) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
g) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
Xh) Amend the three-strikes law so that it is applied only when the third offense is a serious or violent felony.
i) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
Xj) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
Xk) Other or expanded principles

expand community-based policing and include law enforcement in a broader range of prevention activities and community-based social programs

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xd) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
Xe) Increase state funds for hiring additional teachers.
f) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
g) Endorse voluntary prayer in public schools.
h) Require public schools to administer high school exit exams.
Xi) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
Xj) Increase funding for Head Start programs.
Xk) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
Xl) Support sexual education programs that teach about abstinence, contraceptives and HIV/STD prevention methods.
m) Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
Xn) Support funding for multilingual education.
Xo) Other or expanded principles

Increase parent and teacher involvement in decision making

Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
Xa) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector to encourage investment and economic expansion.
c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding or relocating businesses.
d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
Xe) Increase state funds to provide child care for children of low-income working families.
Xf) Include sexual orientation in California's anti-discrimination laws.
Xg) Create a 'living wage' standard for state employees and firms accepting state contracts.
h) Other or expanded principles
Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies' decisions on:
a) College and university admissions
b) Public employment
c) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles

Diversity is an asset. No one should be excluded because of ethnicity or gender, and it should be considered as one of many factors.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
Xa) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, and oil).
Xc) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused or abandoned.
Xd) Support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Xe) Ban drilling for oil and gas in waters off the California coast.
f) Support a bond for construction of a high-speed train linking the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles via the Central Valley.
Xg) Increase funding for open space preservation.
Xh) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
i) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
Xa) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
b) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
Xe) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
Xf) Require background checks on gun sales between citizens at gun shows.
Xg) Require a license for gun possession.
Xh) Establish a database of ballistic 'fingerprints' to track guns used in criminal activities.
i) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
Xa) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms or state-funded care where necessary.
b) Transfer more existing Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
c) Limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xd) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
Xe) Support patients' right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied by their HMO.
f) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
g) Legalize physician-assisted suicide in California.
Xh) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xi) Support stem cell research on existing lines of stem cells.
Xj) Allow laboratories to create new lines of stem cells for additional research.
k) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.
a) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
Xb) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
Xc) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
d) Limit benefits given to recipients if they have additional children while on welfare.
e) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
Xf) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to extend health and child care subsidies to the working poor.
g) Support marriage promotion programs for welfare recipients.
h) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
i) Maintain current spending levels for affordable housing.
Xj) Other or expanded principles

Expand funding for affordable housing

On an attached page, in a total of seventy-five (75) words or less, 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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