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Mark Udall'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.

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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.

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

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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 2014.

  • Mark respects Colorado women and trusts them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. Access to contraception and family planning services aren't election-year gimmicks, they're fundamental rights that we must protect. He will always stand up for a woman's right to choose and fight to expand access to contraception." (
  • "I believe that federal taxes should be as simple, low and fair as possible so that Colorado families and small-business owners can use their hard-earned money to save, invest and expand their opportunities." (
  • "Tax policy should help spur job growth, and the tax burden should be manageable for individual taxpayers and businesses." (
  • "Our future as a state and a nation rests on our ability to stay on the cutting edge and to remain the world leader in discovery and innovation. Among other things, that means investing in science and technology and training future generations for the jobs of tomorrow. " (
  • "These competitive, Race to the Top grant funds will help schools create innovative learning environments that improve education and keep Colorado on the cutting edge" (
  • Voted Nay - S Amdt 1537 - Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline Project - Key Vote - Vote to adopt an amendment to S 1813 that exempts the Keystone Pipeline project from further executive approval and authorizes the State of Nebraska to modify existing route plans through the state. (
  • "The United States also must lead international efforts to negotiate a comprehensive new treaty for stabilizing and then reducing global greenhouse gas emissions." (
  • "Mark Udall issued the following statement criticizing the U.S. Senate's failure to pass the bipartisan compromise Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) reached on expanding background checks to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms."I am disappointed that my colleagues could not come together and support this bipartisan background check legislation to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns. It's a sad day for our nation when a minority of the U.S. Senate has blocked common-sense legislation that is supported by 90 percent of Americans. And Colorado gun owners, hunters and sportsmen understand that part of responsible gun ownership is ensuring that if you sell your firearm to someone else, that person is legally allowed to own it."" (
  • "Mark Udall issued the following statement on his vote against a ban on assault weapons, including some common hunting weapons, proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.):"Coloradans, including sportsmen, hunters and responsible gun owners, agree that we need to keep dangerous military-style weapons off of our streets and out of places like our schools and movie theaters. In carefully studying the language of this specific assault weapons ban, it became clear that it went too far because it also would have banned certain hunting rifles and even some shotguns. And there was no opportunity to amend this legislation to make it work for Colorado sportsmen. While this legislation sought to keep the most dangerous weapons off of our streets, we needed a more tailored and measured approach that better respected our traditions of hunting, sport shooting and responsible gun ownership. More specifically, if this bill had been more carefully crafted to only ban weapons designed for the battlefield and keep them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, I would have supported it."Although I voted against this version of an assault weapons ban, I voted earlier today for strengthened background-check legislation. And I will vote for legislation that bans high-capacity magazines, because that more focused policy -- similar to what passed in Colorado at the state level -- achieves many of the same goals without unnecessarily infringing on Coloradans' Second Amendment rights."" (
  • "Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law two years ago today, it has helped thousands of Coloradans get coverage and receive the care they need. I fought hard to pass these improvements to our health care system because they will take insurance companies out of the driver's seat, instead empowering Coloradans and their families as they seek to maintain their health and well-being. While full implementation of the law will not be until 2014, nearly every Coloradan is already seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act: [...] " (
  • "While there may be no perfect solution, it is unrealistic to believe that 12-15 million undocumented people can be easily rounded up and shipped home" (
  • "When I came out in support of marriage equality in August 2011, I joined a small core of 18 senators who publicly stood for progress on that issue. Like many Americans, there was a point when I struggled with accepting the idea of marriage for gay and lesbian couples; I thought perhaps civil unions would be a workable compromise. But over my years in Congress, I have met more and more Coloradans who understand what this issue really boils down to: It is about love and commitment, about basic dignity and about being able to protect your families.Fairness and equality have always been cornerstones of the Colorado way of life. I went through my own evolution to come to this realization: Gay and lesbian couples should be able to make a long-term and public commitment to the person they love with the guarantee of equal rights under the law to protect and care for their families. These commitments -- public covenants -- strengthen our communities and affirm shared responsibilities. We all want to have the tools needed to build a life together, and when we dream of making a lifelong promise to the person we love, we don't call it a civil union or a domestic partnership --we call it a marriage. [...] Support Marriage EqualityOur society as a whole, our communities and our bonds with each other can only be strengthened by allowing all gay and lesbian couples to proclaim their shared commitments to their loved ones under the law, just as I have done with my own wife.We should continue working together in our states, with local governments, with our neighbors and with our elected officials to keep this momentum going." (
  • "I also believe that we must be careful not to sacrifice our civil liberties or undermine the Constitution even as we wage a struggle against Islamic extremism abroad and enhance our homeland security infrastructure at home. That is why I voted against the USA Patriot Act when it was hurriedly rushed through Congress right after 9-11. That is also why I have fought for improved homeland security measures, including our airports, harbors, ports and borders—consistent with the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission." (
  • "I have serious concerns about proposals to allow people to divert part of their Social Security taxes into individual accounts that would be invested separately." (
This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.
The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should be illegal when the fetus is viable, with or without life support.
c) Abortions should always be legally available.
d) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
X e) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
X f) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
g) Abortions should be limited by waiting periods and notification requirements as decided by each state government.
h) Prohibit the dilation and extraction procedure, also known as "partial birth" abortion.
i) Prohibit public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
X j) Support "buffer-zones" by requiring demonstrators to stay at least five feet from abortion clinic doorways and driveways.
X k) Provide funding for family planning programs as a means to decrease the number of abortions.
X l) Other
I stongly support ROE V. WADE

Budgetary PrioritiesIndicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following general categories.

Slightly Increase Funding a) Agricultural
Slightly Increase Funding b) Arts
Maintain Funding Status c) Defense
Greatly Increase Funding d) Education
Greatly Increase Funding e) Environmental
Slightly Increase Funding f) International aid
Maintain Funding Status g) Law enforcement
Greatly Increase Funding h) Medical Research
Slightly Increase Funding i) National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA)
Slightly Increase Funding j) National Parks
Greatly Increase Funding k) Scientific Research
Slightly Increase Funding l) Transportation and Highway Infrastructure
Maintain Funding Status m) Welfare
n) Other
Undecided 2) Would you support enforcing the spending limits agreed to in 1997 by the President and Congress to balance the budget?

Defense SpendingIndicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following categories.

Slightly Increase Funding a) Armed Forces personnel training
Slightly Decrease Funding b) Covert intelligence operations
Maintain Funding Status c) Defense plant conversion
Slightly Decrease Funding d) Military hardware
Slightly Decrease Funding e) Military space shuttle missions
Slightly Increase Funding f) Pay for active duty personnel
Greatly Decrease Funding g) National Missile Defense Program
Maintain Funding Status h) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Slightly Increase Funding i) Programs to improve military retention rates
Maintain Funding Status j) Research and development of new weapons
Slightly Increase Funding k) Troop and equipment readiness
I do not support deployment of a NMD system if it hasn't been demonstrated to work or if it threatens to undermine our security by provoking arms race.

Budget SurplusIndicate your priorities for spending any anticipated federal budget surplus.

Lowest Priority a) Defense
High Priority b) Education
Highest Priority c) Federal debt reduction
Highest Priority d) Medicare
Highest Priority e) Social Security
Low Priority f) Tax cuts
g) Other

TaxesIndicate what levels you support concerning taxes, deductions, and tax credits in the following categories.Income Taxes - Family IncomeIncome Taxes - Retiree IncomeOther TaxesDeductions/Credits

a) Less than $25,000
b) $25,000 - $75,000
c) $75,000 - $150,000
d) Over $150,000
e) Other
f) Over $40, 000
g) Other
Maintain Status a) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Status b) Capital gains taxes
Slightly Increase c) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Status d) Corporate taxes
Maintain Status e) Gasoline taxes
Greatly Decrease f) Inheritance taxes
g) Other
Slightly Increase a) Charitable deductions
Maintain Status b) Medical expense deductions
Maintain Status c) Mortgage deductions
Maintain Status d) Child tax credit
Slightly Increase e) Earned income tax credit
Slightly Increase f) Student loan tax credit
g) Other


No 2) Do you support replacing the current U.S. income tax structure with a flat income tax?
Yes 3) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
Yes 4) Would you cut taxes if there were an operating surplus?
No 5) Would you cut taxes and use Social Security surpluses to supplement the difference?
I support ending the "marriage penalty" but the GOP bill was excessive

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance issues.

a) Support public taxpayer funding for Congressional candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
b) Increase the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
c) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
X d) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
X e) Ban unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
X f) Prohibit non-U.S. citizens from making soft money contributions to national parties or party committees.
X g) Require full disclosure of funding sources of issue advocacy commercials which appear within 60 days of an election.
h) Make campaign spending limits mandatory for all federal candidates.
i) Remove all contribution limits on federal candidates and parties, but require complete and immediate disclosure via the Internet.
j) Require Congressional candidates to raise over half of their campaign money from their home state.
k) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) to address crime.

a) Broaden the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Increase spending to build more federal prisons.
c) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
X d) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
X e) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
f) Increase penalties for crimes committed on school grounds.
X g) Increase funding for community policing programs.
h) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
X i) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
j) Enforcement of civil rights should primarily be the responsibility of the federal government.
k) Prosecute as adults, youths accused of a felony.
l) Provide block grants to states for implementation of programs to combat juvenile crime.
m) Impose harsher penalties for youths convicted of violent offenses.
X n) Support the use of "boot camps" as alternative sentencing for juvenile offenders.
X o) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
p) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning illegal drugs.

a) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
b) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
c) Support capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.
X d) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
e) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
f) Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
g) Eliminate federal funding for programs associated with the "war on drugs."
h) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning education (K-12).

a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any publicly-funded school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
d) Allow parents to use tax-free savings accounts to send their children to any publicly-funded school.
e) Allow parents to use tax-free savings accounts to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
X f) Support charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
g) Promote education flexibility by giving federal funds, in the form of block grants, to the states to spend it as they see fit.
h) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
X i) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
X j) Increase funding for computers and computer training in public schools.
X k) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
l) Eliminate restrictions on federal education funding, giving educators or local school districts more flexibility to design and implement their programs.
X m) Support affirmative action in public college admissions.
n) Eliminate federal financial aid for individuals convicted of drug offenses.
X o) Increase funding of programs such as Pell grants and Stafford loans to help students pay for college.
X p) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
q) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment and affirmative action.

X a) Provide tax credits for companies that move job-creating industries into areas with high unemployment.
X b) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
c) Reduce government regulation of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
d) Establish empowerment zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
e) Eliminate any federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
X f) Increase the federal minimum wage.
X g) Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
X h) Provide tax credits for businesses that offer on-site child care.
i) The federal government should consider race and sex in making government contracting decisions.
X j) The federal government should continue affirmative action programs.
k) The federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs.
X l) The federal government should utilize merit and qualifications in making government contracting decisions.
m) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding America's environment and natural resources.

X a) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
X b) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
c) Waive environmental review requirements for grazing permits.
X d) Revise the 1872 mining law to increase the fees charged to mining companies using federal lands.
e) Require states to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses of privately owned land.
X f) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
X g) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
X h) Promote the selling of pollution credits between nations to encourage industries to decrease pollution levels.
X i) Strengthen logging restrictions on federal lands.
j) Reduce current federal regulations on the environment.
k) Give states added flexibility from the federal government in enforcing and funding federal environment regulations.
l) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues.

a) Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
X b) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
X f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
X g) Increase penalties for the possession of any illegal guns.
h) Hold gun owners responsible for crimes committed with their guns by children age 16 and under.
i) Raise the minimum age for ownership of handguns from 18 to 21.
X j) Require background checks of gun buyers at gun shows.
k) Require a license for gun possession.
l) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health issues.

a) Providing health care is not a responsibility of the federal government.
b) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
X c) Support health care strategies focused on prevention, including health education, and natural medicines and remedies.
X d) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights to define and enforce the rights of insured patients, including greater access to specialists and emergency rooms, wider choice of health care providers, and appeal mechanisms when claims are denied.
X e) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to sue when claims are denied.
X f) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied.
X g) Provide tax incentives to small businesses that provide health care to their employees.
h) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts, which would be taxed if used for purposes other than medical costs.
i) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
X j) Allow states and local communities to use federal funds for needle-exchange programs to combat the spread of HIV.
k) Provide citizens age 55-65 the option of purchasing Medicare health coverage.
X l) Support legislation to provide prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
X m) Increase funding for AIDS programs.
n) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding immigration.

a) Decrease the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
X b) Increase the eligibility of legal immigrants for certain social programs (e.g. public housing, food stamps).
c) Require the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to reduce the time between applying for citizenship and taking the oath of allegiance to six months.
d) Provide extra federal aid to states with higher numbers of immigrants for necessary medical and social services.
e) Prohibit states from passing laws that deny human services (medical care, education) to illegal immigrants or their children.
f) Grant U.S. citizenship to children born in the US only if their parents immigrated legally.
X g) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
h) Establish English as the official national language.
i) Support the separation of the INS into two bureaus: one administering naturalization and one administering border patrol.
j) Increase state autonomy in handling immigration issues.
k) Reimburse states for providing services to illegal aliens.
l) Other

International AidIndicate which principles (if any) you support regarding U.S. International Aid.

X a) Aid should be granted to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives.
X b) Aid should be granted to countries when it is in the security interests of the U. S.
X c) Aid should be granted to countries that are close allies of the U. S. and in need of financial/military assistance.
d) Aid should be eliminated for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
e) Aid programs should be scaled back and eventually eliminated except for extraordinary circumstances.
X f) Other
A country's human rights practices should be a major consideration in decisions on aid

International PolicyIndicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the Middle East.Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the United States-United Nations relationship.

a) The U.S. should resolve future disputes with Iraq only through diplomatic means.
b) The U.S. should take unilateral military action if Iraq does not comply with all accepted United Nations resolutions.
c) The U.S. should take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
X d) The U.S. should end the economic embargo against Iraq.
e) The U.S. should not continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and the Palestine Authority.
X f) The U.S. should continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and the Palestine Authority.
g) Other
a) The U.S. should participate in United Nations peacekeeping missions only when vital U.S. interests are involved.
b) The U.S. should not commit military troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
c) The U.S. should withdraw completely from the United Nations.
X d) The U.S. should pay its debt to the United Nations.
e) Other
Undecided 3) Should the U.S. have full diplomatic relations with Cuba?
Yes 4) Should the U.S. have full diplomatic relations with China?
No 5) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?
Yes 6) Should the US maintain ground troops in Kosovo?
Yes 7) Do you support the cooperative threat reduction programs with Russia to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to unfriendly nations?
8) Do you support modifying the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in order to deploy the National Missile Defense System?

International Trade

Yes 1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Yes 2) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes 3) Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
No 4) Do you support China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization?
Yes 5) Do you support imposing tariffs on products imported from nations that maintain restrictive trade barriers on American products?
Yes 6) Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations (most favored nation status) with the United States?
Yes 7) Do you support normal trade relations (most favored nation status) with Vietnam?
Undecided 8) Do you support granting the President "fast-track" authority in trade negotiations?
No 9) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
Undecided Do you believe there has been a decline in moral and ethical standards in America over the last four decades?
If Yes, please explain what you would do as a member of Congress to address this concern.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Social Security.

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves.
b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts managed by private firms contracted by the government.
c) Invest a portion of Social Security's assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of U.S. Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to better finance Social Security in its current form.
e) Lower Social Security's annual cost-of-living increases.
f) Limit Social Security benefits based on recipients' other income and assets.
g) Require individuals to pay the Social Security tax on incomes above $68,400 (which is currently exempt).
X h) Support a lock box measure, limiting Congress's ability to spend Social Security and Medicare surpluses on any other federal programs except Social Security and Medicare, until each program's long-term solvency is guaranteed.
i) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding technology.

X a) Continuing the moratorium on Internet sales taxes.
b) Implement regulation of Internet content by the federal government.
c) Support on-line voter registration.
d) Support voting on-line.
e) Support government mandates to curtail violent and sexual content on television.
f) Support strict penalties for Internet crimes such as hacking and Internet violence.
X g) Support strong Internet privacy laws.
h) Regulating the Internet should not in any way be controlled by the federal government.
X i) Other
I support a permanent r&d tax credit and workforce development initiative
No Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms which members of Congress can serve?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding poverty and the welfare system.

X a) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
b) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to supplement the cost of an apartment.
X c) Continue to give states and local governments responsibility for welfare programs through TANF block grants.
X d) Maintain current welfare-to-work requirements in order for states to qualify for block grants.
X e) Restore food stamp programs to legal immigrants.
f) Transfer homeless housing programs to states through block grants.
g) Provide continued Medicaid benefits for those welfare recipients who have moved from welfare to work.
h) Require states to return any unused welfare block grant funding to the federal government.
i) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based or other non-profit organizations.
j) Other
Please explain what your top two or three priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional government funding needed to implement these priorities.

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