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Jim Cooper's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (TN) - District 5, Democratic
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Jim Cooper 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, Project 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

  • "Voting rights, marriage equality, and the rights of women to make their own health decisions are among the issues that are key to progress in our state and our country.” (
  • Rated 100% by NARAl Pro-Choice America in 2014 (
No 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

  • "As a Member of the Ways and Means Committee, I am proud to take their message with me to Washington as we continue to work towards a fairer, flatter, and simpler tax code." (
  • "Our efforts led former Chairman Dave Camp to introduce a draft proposal last year outlining our vision for a fairer, flatter, and simpler tax code.” (
No Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I've also supported a balanced budget amendment, voted for across-the-board spending cuts and worked to reinstate 'pay-as-you-go' rules into law.” (
  • "The Cooper-LaTourette budget would trim the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and replace the infamous, across-the-board sequestration cuts with a comprehensive, balanced plan for deficit reduction. It would put America's debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward trajectory, decreasing to 67.9 percent in 2022.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05) praised the passage of the Small Business Job Act (H.R. 5297), which he voted for today. The bill provides much needed access to capital for millions of small businesses and offers 8 new tax incentives to companies so that they may expand, hire, and fuel our economy.” (
  • “That can mean making sure you get the full income tax refund you earned, helping small businesses get their fair share of government contracts, or improving our tax system so that we encourage more Americans to save.” (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "TENNESSEE ONE OF ONLY TWO STATES TO WIN RACE TO THE TOP GRANT […] Our state legislature and the Congressional delegation stepped up to the plate and took full advantage of this opportunity to put our schools on the path of success.” (
  • "Unfortunately, many of these state-led innovations are undermined by the well-intentioned but now outmoded No Child Left Behind law. In Tennessee, despite significant progress, the constantly rising AYP standards required by the federal law are now firmly in the way of meaningful reform efforts.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of 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

  • "Cooper presented Murphey with a certificate and announced that he would co-sponsor the renewable energy bill she asked him to support in her letter. […] The bill would allow the federal government to lease public land for wind and solar development. Fifty percent of the money received by the federal government would go to states and counties where the project is located, 25 percent toward a conservation fund, 15 percent for permit processing and 10 percent to federal deficit reduction.” (
  • "Right here in Tennessee, we already know first-hand how alternative energy solutions can create jobs and boost local economies. Companies like Wacker Chemie AG, Shoals Technology Group, and Nissan have invested across the state in solar power technology, electric automobiles, and advanced batteries.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "My advocacy of cap-and-trade goes back to 1990, when I helped craft an amendment to the Clean Air Act that dramatically reduced acid rain.” (
  • "While not all policy riders are objectionable, many of those included this year are not only controversial but blatantly partisan. Included riders would block the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, roll back important clean air and clean water protections, and place new restrictions on women's access to a full range of medical and health services, among others.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Gun violence has affected constituents in every Congressional district, and as their representatives, Members of Congress deserve the opportunity to vote on bills that would address this epidemic.” (
  • "The President is generally on the right track. We need background checks and we need to keep weapons of war off our streets and out of our schools and workplaces. Armor-piercing bullets and large-capacity magazines are also deeply troubling. We also need to do more to improve mental health and reduce violence in the media. Bottom line: We are obligated to defend the right to bear arms, while also doing a better job of keeping our children and our families safe.” (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Jim teaches health policy at Vanderbilt, and voted for President Obama’s health care law. He believes that all Tennesseans should have the same access to health coverage that he and his family have.” (
  • “In 2010, I voted for a comprehensive health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, to provide better care and lower costs over time.” (
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

  • "To that end, the House acted this month by passing measures to ramp up border security efforts — including funding National Guard troops along our border — and to expedite the return of these undocumented children to their home countries. Our bill also freezes the Obama administration’s Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals — a government program that uses prosecutorial discretion to let select illegal immigrants obtain deportation deferrals and work authorizations.” (
  • "Any immigration reform legislation that earns my vote must send a clear message that the only path to citizenship is through legal means.” (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I'm proud of my good friend and law school classmate Bill Harbison and the other Tennessee lawyers who worked so hard to get this case to the Supreme Court. This is a historic day, and I’m confident that equality for all will prevail.” (
  • "Voting rights, marriage equality, and the rights of women to make their own health decisions are among the issues that are key to progress in our state and our country.” (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "At a time when our nation is at war, we need federal leaders who are committed to winning this global war on terror. I am committed to a foreign policy that fights and defeats the terrorists where they live and train before they can come to our nation to kill innocent Americans. We need to support our military with the tools, equipment, and strategy that it takes to defeat terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and wherever else they may be training and plotting against our nation.” (
  • "There are groups all over the world who wish to destroy the freedoms we enjoy and the values that make America great. As a result we must continue to be an example to other countries of freedom and prosperity. In order to do this, we must make sure that our commanders on the ground are not hindered from achieving our objective by arbitrary timelines.” (
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

  • ""However, we cannot lose sight of the end goal. Congress must work to make Social Security stronger and sustainable, instead of seeking short-term gratification at the expense of the program.” (


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.

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

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