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Bill Owens' 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.

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

Bill Owens refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2012 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

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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 2012.

  • Planned Parenthood. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. Planned Parenthood endorsed Bill Owens in the 2010 general election. (
  • National Right to Life Committee. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 33 percent in 2010." (
  • Family Research Council. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the Family Research Council 25 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. H Amdt 95. 112th Congress. Prohibiting Use of Federal Funds For Planned Parenthood. Bill Owens voted Nay on 02/18/2011. (
  • Bill Owens. HR 3. 112th Congress. Prohibiting Taxpayer Funding of Abortion. Bill Owens voted Nay on 05/04/2011. (
  • Planned Parenthood. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 100 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. H Amdt 509. 111th Congress. Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services. Bill Owens voted Nay on 11/07/2009. (
  • Mark Weiner. The Post-Standard: Meet the 23rd Congressional District candidates: Bill Owens. 12 October 2009. "Social issues: Supports civil unions, not same-sex marriage; supports abortion rights." (
  • NARAL Pro-Choice America. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent in 2010." (
  • Peace Action. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the Peace Action 25 percent in 2010." (
  • Peace Action West. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of Peace Action West 25 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. National Security Strategy. 25 May 2010. "After 8 years of failing to identify a clear plan in Afghanistan and provide the resources necessary for our troops to succeed, we are now taking the fight against the terrorists to their own turf, and we have them on the run. Democrats have worked with this President to successfully kill and capture hundreds of al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan." (
  • Bill Owens. Talking Points Memo - Three Candidates Debate In NY-23: A Moderate Democrat Versus Two Republicans. 29 October 2009. "On the subject of Afghanistan, Owens supported President Obama's deliberative process in deciding what policies to follow. 'This is a very complicated question. Personally I believe as a former military officer myself, that one has to get the real information, if you will, in order to make that decision. And if I had that opportunity, or when I have that opportunity as a congressman, I will take it, I will listen to what is provided to me, and I will make a recommendation if called upon by the president to consult.'" (
  • Bill Owens. H Con Res 28. 112th Congress. Removing Troops from Afghanistan. Bill Owens voted Nay on 03/17/2011. (
  • Bill Owens. HR 1363. 112th Congress. 2011 Department of Defense Budget and Additional Continuing Appropriations. Bill Owens voted Nay on 04/07/2011. (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Votes To Streamline Defense Spending, Reduce Waste. 29 April 2009. "For too long, we have seen unnecessary waste, fraud and abuse in the DOD's acquisition system spiral out of control, burdening both our soldiers and civilians. This bill will cut wasteful spending, and save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. This is a step in the right direction to cut irresponsible spending and to make sure we don't pass these deficits on to our children and grandchildren." (
  • Bill Owens. H Amdt 13. 112th Congress. Reducing Navy and Air Force Aircraft Procurement. Bill Owens voted Nay on 02/15/2011. (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Votes for Spending Cuts, Urges Further Compromise. 14 April 2011. "In the past four months, we have seen a small amount of compromise in extending tax cuts for the middle class, and again with this budget agreement. It is my hope that we can come together once again and incorporate the best ideas from President Obama and both sides of the aisle in Congress as Washington moves forward to craft a 2012 budget that focuses on job creation, deficit and debt reduction, and turning the nation's view to one of bipartisan problem solving, leading us to continued prosperity." (
  • Bill Owens. Congressman Owens Announces Support for Tax Cut Compromise. 29 September 2010. "Even before I was sent to Congress, I advocated for extending tax cuts for the middle-class, hard working families of Upstate New York. I believe this proposal strikes a fair compromise to keeping taxes low for middle class families and small businesses in our community while not increasing the national debt by hundreds of billions of dollars with tax cuts for millionaires our nation simply cannot afford. I have discussed this issue at length with constituents in Upstate communities across the district and I believe this strategy works for them as well as for our nation. We must work together, across party lines, to resolve the important issues facing the nation." (
  • Bill Owens. Extending Tax Cuts. 29 September 2010. "I was proud to join several of my colleagues, led by Mr. Pascrell and Mr. Capuano, in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Boehner advocating for a compromise on this issue. Our idea involves a 1-year extension of the higher tax rates for individuals and joint filers making under $500,000 annually, a 5-year extension of the middle class tax cuts for individuals making less than $200,000 and joint filers making less than $250,000 annually, and a 5-year extension of the current tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends." (
  • National Taxpayers Union. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported reasonable tax and spending policies as defined by the National Taxpayers Union 17 percent of the time in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Renews Call for Compromise, "Shared Pain" in Remaining FY11 Spending Cuts. 7 April 2010. "Many of my constituents have told me that they understand the need to cut spending and are prepared to share the pain, but current proposals will stifle job growth and the economy of Upstate New York. In December, both parties came together in a compromise to protect the middle class by extending the Bush-era tax cuts. It is time for leadership in both parties to reach a compromise that reduces spending responsibly and demonstrates to the American public that we can work together to solve our nation's problems." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Votes Against Debt Hike. 1 June 2001. "We cannot pay down the debt and deficit with spending cuts alone. It is critical to the long term fiscal health of the nation that we begin to shift the tax burden away from small business owners and middle-class families while allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the highest earners." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Tax Relief. 1 November 2011. "At the end of the day, my priority is shifting the tax burden away from small businesses and family farmers to encourage job growth and market expansion that will benefit our local economy. Additionally, I supported the bipartisan extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, which delivers several key victories for American families and small businesses in addition to preventing a middle class tax increase by extending current tax rates across all income levels for two years." (
  • Bill Owens. Statement on Deficit Reduction Compromise. 1 August 2011. "That is why I have consistently supported streamlining the tax code and allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the wealthy. We had a unique opportunity during these negotiations to reform our tax code, and I am disappointed that because so many of my colleagues refused to abandon politics and ideology this compromise contains no revenue." (
  • Bill Owens. HR 5297. 112th Congress. Small Business Lending Fund and Tax Law Amendments. Bill Owens voted Yea on 09/23/2010. (
  • Americans for Prosperity. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the Americans for Prosperity 15 percent in 2010." (
  • The Club for Growth. 04/18/2012. "On the votes used to calculate its ratings, The Club for Growth attaches more value to those votes it considers more important. For 2010, The Club for Growth gave Bill Owens a rating of 15 percent." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Small Business. 1 November 2011. "Upstate New York small business owners are the main drivers of our local economy. As your Congressman, it is important to ensure that Washington is doing what it should to provide every opportunity for our community entrepreneurs to create jobs right here at home. Please find below a list of news releases and local articles regarding the legislation I have introduced and the votes I have cast to foster an environment where small businesses can continue to grow and create more jobs." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Outlines Health Reform Tax Credits for Upstate Small Businesses. 20 May 2010. "This is great news for thousands of small businesses in our community. Under the recently passed legislation, our business owners qualify for tax credits to cover 35% of their premium costs this year, and 50% beginning in 2014. Affordable coverage for small business owners is a top priority and I am committed to make sure reform is working for them." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Touts New Tax Cuts and Credit for Upstate Small Businesses. 24 September 2010. "As I travel around the 11 counties that make up our district, job creation is always the top concern on everyone's mind. This legislation encourages economic growth in the private sector by opening up a wider flow of credit to our small business owners while offering eight new tax incentives that will motivate them to hire and expand [¦] Our small business owners are the main engine of the Upstate economy. The more we work together to support our local entrepreneurs with tax incentives, the faster we will work our way out of the recession. This bill moves New York forward, and it moves America forward." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Named to Small Business Committee. 7 February 2011. "Congressman Bill Owens announced today his appointment to serve on a third committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Owens will sit on the House Committee on Small Business, continuing his work to ease regulations on small business owners and to assist them in creating jobs. 'The most important work Congress has is to create jobs and get the economy back on the right track. With this third committee, Upstate New York will have a louder voice when it comes to giving local small business owners the tools they need to succeed and put the unemployed back to work.'" (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Small Business. 1 November 2011. "Small businesses, from family farms to green energy firms, are the backbone of the Upstate New York economy. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I am working in Washington to provide every opportunity for our community's entrepreneurs to create jobs and grow the local economy. The House Small Business Committee was established to protect and assist small businesses, and has oversight and legislative authority over the Small Business Administration (SBA) and its programs. My work on this committee focuses on examining the impact of proposed and existing federal regulations on small businesses, ensuring access to federal contracts and improving access to capital for small business owners." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Economy and Jobs. 1 November 2011. "We can only turn the economy around for small businesses and middle class families by putting Americans back to work. This means targeted tax credits that encourage small businesses to create jobs and provide access to affordable health care for their employees. My first piece of legislation was the Rural Jobs Tax Credit Act of 2010, a bill that would extend tax breaks to businesses that hire new employees in rural areas in the next two years." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Supports Patent Reform, Job Creation. 24 June 2011. Last night, Congressman Bill Owens voted in favor of H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, as the latest in a series of actions to spur economic development and create jobs. The legislation would help to push through a backlog of more than 700,000 currently pending patent applications, making it easier for American inventors to create products, start a small business, and hire employees. 'The creation of quality jobs for unemployed Americans should remain the top priority of Congress. This encourages American innovation to thrive, and lends to an enhanced exchange of ideas that will lead to more jobs for Upstate New York. The bill also helps to save jobs that have already been created by fostering an environment that is attractive for companies who operate within our borders to continue to do so.'" (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Continues Fight to Create Upstate Jobs, Strengthen Small Business. 18 June 2010. "Our small business owners are the largest drivers of our economy and it is important during tough economic times that we give our small businesses the tools they need to succeed. The more we invest in our local businesses, the more our communities will benefit from new quality jobs and progress toward economic recovery. Last year, many Upstate New York small businesses seeking loans were not able to meet their credit needs. At a time when we should be supporting our entrepreneurs so that they can hire and expand their business, this unavailability of financial assistance is unacceptable. This bill helps to change that." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Education. 1 January 2011. "During my first year in Congress, I have taken steps to ensure that children in New York's 23rd Congressional District will be provided with a strong education foundation. I supported New York's Race to the Top application, which resulted in more than $4 million in immediate assistance to area schools, and I have urged New York State's Education Commissioner to engage with local teachers, parents, principals, school boards and community stakeholders as the State moves forward with implementation these funds. I believe a bottom-up approach that incorporates the views of local communities is critical to ensuring that both educators and parents have a voice in the process." (
  • Bill Owens. HR 1230. 112th Congress. Offshore Leasing Act. Bill Owens voted Yea on 05/05/2011. (
  • Bill Owens. HR 3534. 112th Congress. Offshore Drilling Regulations and Other Energy Law Amendments. Bill Owens voted Yea on 07/30/2010. (
  • Bill Owens. H Amdt 773. 112th Congress. Ending Moratorium on Deepwater Drilling Rigs that Meet Certain Safety Standards. Bill Owens voted Yea on 07/30/2010. (
  • Sierra Club. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. Sierra Club endorsed Bill Owens in the 2010 general election. (
  • League of Conservation Voters. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the League of Conservation Voters 60 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. HR 910. 112th Congress. Energy Tax Prevention Act. Bill Owens voted Nay on 04/07/2011. (
  • Bill Owens. Energy and Environment. 4 October 2012. "Ultimately, I believe the movement from fossil fuels to clean energy will help us address growing concerns that carbon, mercury, and other emissions are harming the environment. Despite the ongoing debate over global climate change, objective science is clear that allowing increased emissions from traditional fuel sources will have long term implications not only for public health, but also for New York's robust tourism industry. Small businesses in the region rely on a clean environment to encourage the hunting, fishing, skiing, and other outdoor activities that bring visitors to the region and for which the Adirondacks are known around the world. Through an investment in sound science that leads the region to a cleaner and energy-independent future, we will decrease the threat of global warming and protect thousands of jobs in New York's vital tourism industry." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Praises Supreme Court Decision to Protect Gun Rights. 28 June 2010. "I applaud this decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the federally protected right of every American to keep and bear arms. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I am glad to see that it cannot be infringed upon by state and local governments." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Second Amendment. 1 November 2011. "I am a firm supporter of Second Amendment rights, and I have taken action in Congress to protect northern and central New Yorkers from any infringement on their right to bear arms. I support legislation to establish a national standard for the carrying of concealed firearms, to reform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and to ensure that gun owner rights are protected in bankruptcy proceedings." (
  • National Rifle Association. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Endorsements. 04/18/2012. National Rifle Association endorsed Bill Owens in the 2010 general election. (
  • American Public Health Association. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the American Public Health Association 100 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Introduces Bill to Repeal 1099 Reporting Requirement from Health Reform Law. 26 January 2011. "Key provisions of the health care law have already brought critical benefits to thousands of Upstate New Yorkers. However, as with any broad piece of legislation, we need to revisit some of the policy and fine-tune the parts of the law that do not work. I am hopeful that the broad bipartisan support for repeal of the 1099 provision will allow us to address this issue quickly and provide small business the certainty they need to operate." (
  • BIll Owens. Issue Position: Health Care. 1 November 2011. "I voted for health care reform because it was a step in the right direction. We need reform for the millions of Americans who don't have affordable health care coverage, as well as for those who have inadequate care or live in fear that their coverage may not be there when they really need it. I also know that skyrocketing health care costs are crippling our budget, and hurting economic growth at a time when we need it most." (
  • Bill Owens. Dispelling Myths About Real Health Care Reform. 25 March 2010. "Recently Congress passed a health care reform package, the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, with my support. I decided that it was in the best interest of upstate New York to enact this reform in order to lower health care costs and create jobs." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: Health Care. 1 November 2011. "Bill Owens is committed to health care reform. He understands that we need reform for the millions of Americans who don't have affordable health care, as well as for those who have inadequate care or live in fear that their coverage may not be there when they really need it. As a Member of Congress, Bill Owens will fight for health care reform that responsibly fixes our broken system for us and for future generations." (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Votes to Protect Medicare and TRICARE. 10 December 2010. "The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports that H.R. 4994 will reduce the deficit by $2.8 billion over the next 10 years. The legislation does this by changing policy in the Affordable Care Act that fixes over payments of tax credits provided in state exchanges. The change involves the way an individual pays back over payments when they have received a larger tax credit than they are eligible for because their income ended up being higher than expected in a given year." (
  • Bill Owens. HR 2. 112th Congress. Repealing the Health Care Bill. Bill Owens voted Nay on 01/19/2011. (
  • Federation for American Immigration Reform. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 50 percent in 2010." (
  • National Latino Congreso/William C. Velásquez Institute. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of National Latino Congreso/William C. Velásquez Institute 100 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. HR 5281. 112th Congress. DREAM Act. Bill Owens voted Nay on 12/08/2010. (
  • Jimmy Vielkind. The New York Observer: Meet Bill Owens, a DCCC-Approved Non-Democrat for the House. 11 August 2009. "On the wedge issue of same-sex marriage, Owens [¦] does not support full marriage“he opposes any federal action on the 'states rights issue'“telling me, 'I fully support equal rights for everybody, and certainly civil unions are in that mix. For religious reasons, I have difficulty with the use of the word marriage in that process.' (
  • American Family Association. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the American Family Association 18 percent in 2010." (
  • Human Rights Campaign. 04/18/2012. "Bill Owens supported the interests of the Human Rights Campaign 67 percent in 2010." (
  • Bill Owens. Pelosi, Nadler, 143 House Members File New Amicus Brief on Federal Case Against DOMA. 7 September 2012. "In 1996 when DOMA was enacted, lesbians and gay men could not marry anywhere in the world. At that time, Congress acted with regrettable haste and without respect for its longstanding practice of respecting state marriages for purposes of federal law. That practice had served Congress's interests in promoting stability and security for American families; it was a mistake to abandon it. Congress has no legitimate federal interest that is rationally served by treating married gay and lesbian couples as unmarried for all federal purposes. Section 3 is unconstitutional and should be struck down." (
  • Bill Owens. HR 2965. 112th Congress. Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act. Bill Owens voted Yea on 12/15/2010. (
  • Bill Owens. Owens Introduces Legislation Honoring U.S. Forces Who Led Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden. 4 May 2011. "This historic victory in the War on Terror is a reminder to the world that attacks on American citizens will not go unanswered. At the same time, these events remind us all that we must remain vigilant in providing American troops with the resources they need to complete the mission and return home as soon as possible." (
  • Bill Owens. Issue Position: War on Terror. 1 January 2011. "September 11th serves as an ever-present reminder that we must ensure our Armed Forces and Homeland Security Department have the resources they need to get the job done. We must remain vigilant in the war on terror to ensure that America never faces such tragedy ever again. This means remaining resilient in the fight against those who mean to harm our country and dedicating our forces to hunting down terrorists and bringing them to justice." (
  • Bill Owens. National Security Strategy. 25 May 2010. "Democrats have worked with this President to successfully kill and capture hundreds of al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan." (
  • Bill Owens signed the Progressive Change Campaign Committee: Social Security Protectors. "Social Security belongs to the people who have worked hard all their lives and contributed to it. Social Security is a promise that must not be broken. We need to strengthen Social Security, not cut it. That is why I oppose any cuts to Social Security benefits, including increasing the retirement age. I also oppose any effort to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part." (

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