Card image cap

Al Franken's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)


Official Position: Candidate addressed this issue directly by taking the Political Courage Test.

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, but Vote Smart inferred this issue based on the candidate's public record, including statements, voting record, and special interest group endorsements.

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, or we could not infer an answer for this candidate despite exhaustive research of their public record.

Additional Information: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position, from their answers or Vote Smart's research.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as candidates submit them. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Al Franken has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests.

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 2014.

  • "Today the Congressional Budget Office announced that the bill actually saves billions of dollars and reduces the Federal deficit. That is because the refinancing proposal is fully paid for by implementing the Buffett rule, which limits the ability of millionaires and billionaires to exploit tax loopholes and pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families." (
  • "But Al knows that cuts and revenues alone won't fix the deficit--we need growth to get our economy going, help struggling businesses and families, and improve our fiscal outlook." (
  • "...while Al knows that teachers welcome accountability, he also knows that the current system doesn't accurately measure a teacher's contribution--we must move to a growth model of accountability." (
  • "The decision to permit the Keystone XL pipeline has to be based on careful evaluation of the risks and benefits of the project. And while I believe the process has taken too long, I don't believe we should simply approve the current plan without having the necessary analysis and information from the agencies reviewing it."There's no question the project would create jobs. And I believe that it could help address challenges associated with transporting oil on rail, which has been a major problem in Minnesota. But we also need to understand the full effects of the pipeline on the environment-along the route of the pipeline and on climate change."The Department of State has issued its environmental impact statement, but other federal agencies are still concluding their work. This issue is too important to play politics with, and the decision should be made with the complete information."
  • "The single most important action we can take to reform our energy policy and make the United States a leader in the global clean energy economy is to make polluters pay for the pollution they emit. President Obama has consistently called for establishing a price on carbon as part of any comprehensive clean energy legislation Congress passes. Putting an effective price on carbon will drive investment in clean energy technology and create the well-paid jobs that will revitalize our economy and sustain it for generations to come. A carbon price will also provide certainty in the energy market, and allow American businesses to make the investment decisions that will allow them to compete in and win the global race for clean energy technology leadership." (
  • "I believe Minnesota has struck the proper balance, for example, by requiring background checks and live firearms training for carry permits." (
  • "...I'm proud to have supported the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." (
  • "We urge you to use the resources at your disposal to personally make clear to those seeking entry to the U.S. illicitly that they will not receive special treatment when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws." (
  • "Al...couldn't have been prouder when Minnesota became the 13th state to enact marriage equality." (
  • "The government must give proper weight to both keeping America safe from terrorists and protecting Americans' privacy. But when Americans lack the most basic information about our domestic surveillance programs, they have no way of knowing whether we're getting that balance right. This lack of transparency is a big problem.Since I came to the Senate, I've been working to fix this. I've supported amendments to the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would have required greater public reporting on the use of surveillance authorities and greater disclosures about the legal opinions and safeguards that support them. When those amendments failed, I voted against renewing both of these laws.I want to be clear: I didn't vote "no" because I wanted to end these programs or because I thought they were unnecessary. Based on briefings, I believe these programs protect our country and have saved lives and have reasonable safeguards in place to protect Americans' privacy. I voted the way I did because I wanted to send a loud signal to my colleagues that transparency was critical and that there was too little of it in place. National security laws must protect national security. But they must also protect the public trust and preserve the ability of an informed electorate to hold its government to account" (
  • "In good times and in bad, Social Security has succeeded in keeping millions of senior citizens...out of extreme poverty." (

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