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Mark DeSaulnier's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (CA) - District 11, Democratic
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Mark DeSaulnier 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

  • Rated 100% by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (
  • Signed a letter stating "As defenders of women's health, we urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use its existing authority to issue new guidance requiring insurance companies to cover, without cost-sharing, a one-year supply of birth control." (
  • Voted in favor of A. B. 154 "Authorizes Certain Individuals to Perform Aspiration Abortion Procedures" (
Unknown Position Unknown 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

  • "We must continue on this path by coming together to restore the middle class. Working families should be guaranteed a livable wage and paychecks should go farther." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I have seen firsthand as Democratic legislators have voted to make tough cuts to restore fiscal order. With our budget deficit closed, it is time to begin reinvesting in the most vital programs in our state, paying down our debt, and continuing to rebuild a stronger post-recession California." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.22 "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" (
  • "Education should be more affordable and accessible for students in California and across the country, and investments in job training are necessary to keep good paying jobs here at home." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Yes Inferred Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "The Every Student Succeeds Act improves national education standards to ensure that all students receive a quality education. […] I am proud to have successfully included measures to protect students both in and out of the classroom by streamlining Head Start programs, protecting student athletes from concussions, and providing students with academic and extracurricular support beyond the normal school day." (
No Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • 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

  • "We stand ready to help you seize this opportunity to strengthen the global response to climate change. Your Administration has made significant progress in reducing U.S. emissions, including through improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency standards and other areas that are saving consumers and businesses money, reducing air pollution, creating jobs, and putting America back in control of our energy security." (
  • "I am honored to receive the CLCV endorsement, and proud to be counted on as someone who stands up for environmental protection. I have always put environmental protection at the center of my work. In the Senate, I will continue the fight for strong laws that protect our environment and our health." (
  • Voted in favor of S.B. 2 "Increasing Renewable Energy" (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of S.B.359 "Appropriates Funds for Hybrid and Zero Emission Vehicle Use" (
  • "Thank you for your leadership in responding to the serious challenge of climate change. We applaud and support your Climate Action Plan, the joint announcement with China establishing ambitious carbon pollution reduction targets, and the national commitment to the Green Climate Fund. These actions are critical to protect Americans from the most dangerous effects of climate change." (
  • "During his ten years on the California Air Resources Board, Mark helped move California further into a position of leadership on climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gases." (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 7% by National Rifle Association (
  • "Over the last 11 yrs, 2,000+ suspects on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist bought weapons in the U.S. Congress must close this #TerroristLoophole" (
  • Voted in favor of S.B. 374 "Prohibits Semiautomatic Rifles with Detachable Magazines" (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor for S.B.1-1 "Expands Eligibility for Medi-Cal Program" (
  • "Additionally, Mr. Speaker, under the Affordable Care Act, almost 8 million seniors have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs, and under the Affordable Care Act, many people paid less for their insurance in 2014 than in 2013." (
  • "Thanks to the new health care law, sometimes called Obamacare, she can never again be denied coverage for her disorder as a pre-existing condition. […] And every family deserves to know they won't be kicked off their insurance for a pre-existing condition or be subjected to lifetime caps that take away their benefits when they're needed most." (
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

  • 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." (
  • Voted in favor of A.B. 4 "Prohibits Law Enforcement from Detaining Individuals Solely Based on Immigration Status" (
  • Signed a letter stating "We have an opportunity to do the right thing and are confident that DHS has the capacity to honor our Nation's longstanding commitment both to the protection and well-being of refugee families and to law enforcement and public safety." (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by Equality California (
  • "Our nation is stronger today because of this historic ruling. Both society and the law must value the lives of others and treat every person with respect and dignity regardless of who they are, what they look like, or who they love. I celebrate this victory with the LGBT community and with members of my own family whose love now knows no boundaries." (
No Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "We must be tough and smart while maintaining our principles, which means targeting and eliminating ISIS and other terrorist threats without engaging in another civil war on foreign soil." (
  • Signed a letter stating, "In fact, with the introduction of Russian military equipment and personnel, and with increasing Western military efforts directed at both ISIL and Assad-regime forces, there is every possibility that violence will escalate. This would continue the devastation of the Syrian populace, worsen the refugee crisis, and risk an increasing probability of expanded military conflict in the region. For these reasons, it is time to devote ourselves to a negotiated peace, and work with allies, including surrounding Arab states that have a vested interest in the security and stability of the region, moving forward with both a peace plan and a coordinated assault against ISIL." (
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

  • Signed a letter stating "As Social Security is affordable, universal, efficient, secure, portable, distributionally fair, and popular, expanding its modest benefits should be the number one retirement security of the White House Conference on Aging." (
  • "Social Security and Medicare represent our promise to seniors of a secure retirement. Mark is committed to promoting policies that seek to protect these programs." (
  • Rated 100% by the Congress of California Seniors (


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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