Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Patrick Leahy's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (VT) - Sr, Democratic
Patrick Leahy has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart and voters like you.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

For Presidential and Congressional candidates who refuse to provide voters with their positions, Vote Smart has researched their public records to determine their likely responses. These issue positions are from 2016.

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

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act would restore Congress' intent by prohibiting any company from denying their workers specific health coverage, including birth control, as required to be covered by Federal law." (
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (
  • "The easiest and best thing to do is to remove the Hyde restriction so survivors can make their own health care decisions." (
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

  • "Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the Paying a Fair Share Act, which would apply the so-called "Buffett Rule" to the U.S. Tax Code. This commonsense bill would ensure that taxpayers at the top of the economic ladder pay at least the same tax rate paid by hardworking middle-class families." (
  • "Over the past decade, multi-millionaires have benefited the most from the Bush-era tax cuts that I opposed. Today a large proportion of millionaires pay a smaller percentage of their income than do a large share of America’s working families." (
No Inferred Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In addition to driving up our prison population, mandatory minimum penalties can lead to terribly unjust results in individual cases. This is why a large majority of judges oppose mandatory minimum sentences." (
  • "Over the last several decades politicians have added more and more mandatory minimum sentences to our criminal laws because they make for a good 'tough on crime' message. But the truth is they do not make our communities safer and they are breaking the bank." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Investing in infrastructure improvements in a rural state like Vermont makes sense anytime, and it is doubly useful as we work to jumpstart our economy. Having robust and reliable transportation systems will go a long way towards attracting tourists and businesses to the state, which in turn fuels Vermont's economy." (
  • Voted in favor of S 782 "Economic Development Revitalization Act" (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Even more troubling, the Bush economic policies did not trickle down to help those most in need – especially during the recent downturn in our economy. Unfortunately, this Republican plan offered nothing but more of the same. That is why I supported the Democratic bill that ensures the typical middle-income family of four will not see their taxes raised by $2200 next year." (
  • Voted in favor of S 3412 "Middle Class Tax Cut Act" (
No Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Senator Leahy voted against final passage of the No Child Left Behind Act because he believed that this approach would have a negative impact on the state of Vermont. He recognized the high quality system of standards and assessments that Vermont had established prior to No Child Left Behind." (
  • "No Child Left Behind. Senator Leahy opposed then-President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation because he saw that its one-size-fits-all approach failed to meet the needs of Vermont's students and teachers." (
No Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "These facts are clear: The Keystone pipeline significantly worsens the problem of carbon pollution, and it is not in our national interest. The Presidential Permit should be denied, not fast-tracked by Congress here today." (
  • Voted against S 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone 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

  • "Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) have announced $629,966 in grants to support efficient and renewable energy initiatives in the Green Mountain State." (
  • "The benefits are clear: wind energy has propelled a sustainable and domestic energy source, increased jobs for Americans, and strengthened our domestic energy security." (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Vermont has a proud conservation legacy, yet we are still faced with environmental threats on a national level. Over the last few years, we have witnessed attempts in Congress and the Administration to roll back our environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act." (
  • "It is time to set a limit on carbon pollution that causes climate change and assaults the public health. The President's proposal will allow the United States to take further important steps toward the environmental quality and good jobs that will come with a cleaner and safer energy future." (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 0% by Gun Owners of America (
  • Rated 100% by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence (
  • "Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, 4 months after the horrific day in Newtown where 20 children and 6 educators were senselessly murdered, the Senate is posed to make further progress toward the goal of reducing gun violence. It is a goal that all Americans, regardless of political party or philosophy, should share." (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.R. 3590 "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (
  • "Today, millions of Americans have access to health care because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed into law by President Obama in 2010. With this law, Senator Leahy and Congress acted to bolster the nation's social safety net, protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens." (
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

  • "A meaningful reform plan must reduce family visa backlogs, define a path that undocumented immigrants must follow to come into lawful status, and address the need for immigrant workers in the future." (
  • "Mr. President, one, I wish to applaud the senior Senator from Illinois for his statement, and I will say publicly on the floor of the Senate what I have said to him privately, what I have said to him in our leadership meetings, and what I have said to him in our caucuses, that he is the champion of the DREAM Act. That act--when it finally passes, will give these DREAMers a better life […]." (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Mr. President, today I am particularly proud of my home State, as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the passage of Vermont's law guaranteeing marriage equality." (
  • "Vermont was the first state in the nation to fully recognize same-sex marriage. Vermonters understand the importance of marriage equality, and the right to have those commitments recognized by their government." (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Senator Leahy believes that we should refocus our military resources on a limited counter-terrorism strategy against international terrorist groups, and has continued to support the Obama administration's shift to this policy through the drawdown of the U.S. presence at every available opportunity." (
  • "There are times when the use of military force is necessary, but diplomacy and development can be a cost-effective investment to avoid the far more costly and dangerous deployment of U.S. troops." (
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

  • "'We will oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit reduction package,' the senators said in a letter circulated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the founder of the Senate Defending Social Security Caucus." (
  • "I said there is a problem. Of course, when he ran for the House of Representatives years ago, he said Social Security is about to go bankrupt in a few years. It didn't. […] He's said he wants privatization and very large cuts for the working middle class. I think that's the wrong way to start off." (
  • Signed a letter stating "Mr. President: These are tough times for our country. With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we urge you not to propose cuts in your budget to 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 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.

Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Thank You!

You are about to be redirected to a secure checkout page.

Please note:

The total order amount will read $0.01. This is a card processor fee. Please know that a recurring donation of the amount and frequency that you selected will be processed and initiated tomorrow. You may see a one-time charge of $0.01 on your statement.

Continue to secure page »

Back to top