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Jimmy Panetta'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.

Jimmy Panetta has failed to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2020 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 2020.

  • Do you generally support Pro-Choice or Pro-Life legislation? "Pro-Choice" (
  • "Jimmy is a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus and has a 100% rating from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund." (
  • "I voted against this tax bill because it would have a negative impact on too many families on the central coast of California and our nation. The bill lowers taxes for the wealthy, while raising taxes on many working and middle-class families. The bill would leave millions without health insurance or with increased premiums. It sets the stage for massive cuts to critical services and entitlements to my constituents and support for our communities. It will add $1.5 trillion to the national debt." (
  • In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? "No" (
  • "84 years ago today, FDR signed the landmark Social Security Act into law. We reaffirm our lasting commitment to safeguarding the promise of #SocialSecurity for generations to come. #SocSec84." (
  • "As an Outreach Coordinator for Legal Services for Seniors, Jimmy learned just how important it is to strengthen and protect Social Security and Medicare. Our seniors have earned a healthy and secure retirement, and no Washington special interests should be allowed to threaten their nest eggs -- and their peace of mind." (
  • Rated 100% by the Alliance for Retired Americans. (
  • "He supports Medicare for all and is committed to saving and shoring up the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has brought so much benefit to people on the Central Coast." (
  • Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions? "Yes" (
  • "The new House Majority is dedicated to passing pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms to support the American people. Empowerment, transparency, and accountability are bedrocks of democracy. Unfortunately, these foundational principles have been eroded. The For the People Act will restore our democracy, strengthen the electorate, and expose fraud and deceit." (
  • "Passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the first major action on police accountability and reform in decades. The legislation will improve accountability, focus on training with new federal use of force standards, combat racial profiling, and create national databases for better informed decisions about policing in America. I am proud to have been an original cosponsor of this bill and provided my insight as a former prosecutor and current representative of the Central Coast." (
  • "The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 will: Hold police accountable by: Reforming qualified immunity so that individuals are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights." (
  • "Just voted for the #FY20NDAA. I am proud to have successfully incorporated numerous provisions to the #NDAA that strengthen programs & priorities for Central Coast defense installations & entities, address military housing issues, and keep the US in #NATO." (
  • "Jimmy is also working to protect and strengthen the military installations in the central coast of California. Through his work on the House Armed Services Committee, he is promoting the groundbreaking work at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute. There, our service members are receiving critical education and training to ensure that they accomplish their missions successfully and return home safely. Not only do these facilities enhance our military, they are essential anchors for our local economy. Protecting and maintaining them is a top priority for Jimmy." (
  • "I also work to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the tools, resources, and training they need to accomplish their mission and return home. Strong Congressional oversight – focused on smarter military spending, clearly defined authorizations for the use of military force, and care for our military families – is the best way for Congress to support our troops and keep our country safe." (
  • "When it comes to balancing our nation's budget, everything needs to be on the table, including defense spending, entitlements, and taxes." (
  • Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? "Yes" (
  • "Our national infrastructure of roads and bridges is in dire need of updating and maintenance. The central coast of California is no different. Jimmy is working to ensure that critical federal resources and brought to the Central Coast to ensure that we have efficient, sustainable, and modern transportation networks and infrastructure throughout the district. This best ensures that our communities remain connected, our businesses can grow, and we endure less time in traffic and more time with our loved ones." (
  • Rated 5% by the National Tax Limitation Committee. (
  • Rated 15% by the Club for Growth. (
  • "Today @HouseBudgetDems held a hearing on the impact of the 2017 Tax Law. We cannot afford to add $3 trillion the deficit when just the highest income households benefit and America's working families continue to struggle to pay for basic needs and services." (
  • "Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) cosponsored the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act to significantly expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to ensure that every qualified small business is able to access the critical assistance they need to retain their workforce and cover basic operating costs for the full duration of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic." (
  • "Finally flying home after a whirlwind 30hour trip to DC to vote for the #CARESAct, an emergency funding coronavirus response bill. It's not the exact bill I would have written, but it's a start for our families, workers, small businesses. I’ll keep fighting for the Central Coast." (
  • "I've heard from many small business owners across the Central Coast that improvements must be made to PPP. Today, we in the House passed the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. I urge the Senate to swiftly act on this important bill." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "On March 27, the House passed the CARES Act (PL 116-136) to respond to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and the bill was then signed into law. Because the public health measures necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus are taking a particular toll on small businesses, including our nation's farmers, the CARES Act provides a broad range of assistance to help tide over small businesses that might otherwise not be able to survive the impact." (
  • Rated 100% by National Education Association. (
  • "Late last year, Congress finally scrapped the No Child Left Behind policy that burdened our schools with federal regulations but provided no funding to make our schools better. Jimmy is committed to making sure the Every School Succeeds Act (ESSA) achieves its goals of providing opportunity to every child, reducing the overreliance on standardized testing, and bringing educators into the decision-making process." (
  • "This executive order's intent to expand offshore oil drilling could threaten our and our children's way of life. Instead of endangering our pristine coastlines and healthy ocean, we should be supporting research for cleaner power and investing in renewable energy resources. I will be vigilantly monitoring the implementation of this executive order and I will continue to fight against any attempts to reopen California's coast to offshore oil drilling." (
  • Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? "Yes" (
  • Signed a letter stating: "We need to invest in projects that enhance climate resilience, while also reducing pollution and carbon emissions." (
  • "The United States must maintain its leadership in the research and development of clean energy technologies. The Clean Energy Production Party Act will spur investment in high efficiency, low emissions linear generators." (
  • "Gun violence impacts every community. As United States Representatives, we need to be committed to preventing it by passing effective reforms. Crime prevention and responsible gun ownership can be bolstered by reasonable, workable legislation like H.R. 8, which will expand background checks for sales and transfers of firearms. This bipartisan, commonsense legislation is a meaningful step toward helping prevent gun violence and making our communities safer." (
  • Do you generally support gun-control legislation? "Yes" (
  • "Now, today, Mr. Speaker, I commend you. We acted together to pass the STOP School Violence Act for school safety and security, but with all due respect, Mr. Speaker, that is not enough, and it is time we come together to pass commonsense reforms that have broad support across our Nation, from banning bump stocks to repealing the Dickey amendment, to fixing our system of background checks." (
  • "I know that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but the Senate bill is cruel and unacceptable. We need to work together, have open hearings, and hear from constituents to come up with solutions to make accessible, affordable health care a reality for all Americans." (
  • "I am committed to working towards continued access to health care and improving, not repealing, the Affordable Care Act." (
  • "Jimmy believes that everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care. California is helping lead the nation by enrolling eligible individuals and families through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Jimmy is committed to making the ACA even better by lowering drug costs, improving access to care, and making sure the system works for every family and small business throughout the Central Coast." (
  • "This package provides emergency paid leave, the stabilization of our unemployment insurance system, and free coronavirus testing, even for the uninsured. Other important measures increase federal funds for Medicaid, strengthen food security programs, and improve protections for health workers at the frontlines of the emergency. I urge the Senate to pass this critical legislation without delay so that the President can quickly sign it into law." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (
  • "I am voting for the #FamiliesFirst #Coronavirus Response Act, which: Guarantees free testing. Provides paid leave. Supports strong unemployment benefits. Expands food assistance." (
  • "The Administration's new 'zero-tolerance' policy purposefully separates mothers, fathers, and children without any reunification plan. This disheartening policy demeans what we stand for and who we are as a nation. Intentionally separating children from their parents to deter immigration, punish asylum seekers, or leverage resources for a border wall is vindictive and wrong." (
  • "The policies proposed by the administration slam the door on children fleeing violence, gangs, and drugs, establish an insensitive merit-based system for green cards, and mandate an impractical e-verify system for employers. Moreover, the administration is attempting to use Dreamers as bargaining chips to fulfill a campaign promise to build a wall that is opposed by both Democrats and Republicans." (
  • "Jimmy believes that the noncitizen children of immigrants who came to this country through no choice of their own– the "Dreamers" – should have the chance to earn their way to citizenship in this country. In Congress, Jimmy has supported numerous pieces of legislation to ensure that these Dreamers can continue to contribute to our communities, economy, and country." (
  • "By working in our communities, succeeding in our schools, and serving in our military, Dreamers and TPS recipients on the central coast of California are Americans in every way but on paper. The majority is presenting the Dream and Promise Act as a comprehensive, workable solution so that these individuals are no longer stuck in limbo, and have an earned pathway to citizenship. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give our neighbors the opportunity to remain in and continue to contribute to this country." (
  • "Understanding the important role that immigrant communities have in our justice system, Jimmy introduced the Immigrant Witness and Victim Protection Act of 2018. This bill prevents the deportation of undocumented individuals who cooperate with law enforcement, who are waiting the processing of their visa. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security to issue work permits to visa applicants to reduce the likelihood of victimization and establish economic security." (
  • "I just voted in support of a War Powers Resolution limiting the President’s military action against Iran. Congress must assert its constitutional responsibility and not allow our nation to get into another war in the Middle East." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Absent credible and accurate information confirming a material breach, we are concerned that withholding certification of Iran's compliance or walking away from the JCPOA would harm our alliances, embolden Iran, and threaten U.S. national security. We are further concerned that non-certification based on justificiations beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement would threaten global non-proliferation efforts and send exactly the wrong message to North Korea at the moment we are trying to diplomatically defuse that crisis." (
  • "As a former naval intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, I believe that using military force without a comprehensive strategy and clearly defined goals threatens the safety of U.S. personnel and their families and endangers our national security interests. Congress must assert its constitutional responsibility and not allow our nation to get into another war in the Middle East." (
  • "@POTUS decision not to certify the Iran deal is dangerous, isolates US, alienates allies and cedes our leadership role in the world." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Working with our allies and partners, we urge you to maintain and increase pressure on Iran and Russia to constrain their destabilizing activities. America must continue economic and diplomatic efforts to counter Iran's support for Hezbollah and other terrorist groups as well as Russia's support for the brutal Assad regime. We encourage full implementation of sanctions authorized in the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a broadly supported bipartisan bill that you signed into law. Clear and sustained American action and close coordination with our allies and partners can send an important message of resolve to malign actors in the region." (
  • Voted in favor of H J Res 37 - Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Farmers are the bedrock of our rural economy, representing one of our nation's top industries. They are navigating declining commodity prices and unstable trade markets all the while net farm income continues to fall. Our farmers deserve predictability in national trade policies, especially given the impact of trade deals on the agricultural economy. As these trade negotiations and tariff issues persist, it is important to ensure the needs of fruit, vegetable and tree nut producers are heard and reflected in these policies." (
  • "Many of our nation's industries, including the $5 billion agriculture sector on the central coast of California, benefit greatly from fair and reliable international markets. Unfortunately, those markets and industries are experiencing a great amount of unpredictability and uncertainty due to this administration's unilateral imposition of tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act based on alleged threats to our national security. The bipartisan Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act seeks to put guardrails on the administration's broad authority by requiring it to provide evidence of such national security threats and subsequent Congressional approval for Section 232 tariffs. As a separate but equal branch of government, it is the responsibility of Congress to ensure that these tariffs are legitimate and supportive of our nation's security and economic interests." (
  • "The domestic agriculture industry is facing unprecedented trade uncertainty due to retaliatory tariffs and ongoing renegotiations of major trade deals. This farm bill provides certainty for producers by combining existing trade programs and establishing mandatory funding for programs like Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC)." (
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.
Pro-choice Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Yes In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
No In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
When it comes to balancing our nation's budget, everything needs to be on the table, including defense spending, entitlements, and taxes. I do support an income tax increase on top level tax brackets.
Yes Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yes Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
Yes Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?
As a prosecutor, I must uphold the laws only after a thorough review of all facts, but ultimately that decision is up to the people.
Yes Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Yes Do you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Unknown Position Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
No Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
No Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
Yes Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
Yes Do you support increased regulations on the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
Yes Do you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
Yes Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Yes Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
As an owner of a firearm, I support the Second Amendment. However, I also support limiting certain people from possessing certain firearms.
No Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
No Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Yes Do you support same-sex marriage?
Should the U.S use military force in order to prevent governments hostile to the United States from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Unknown Position Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support?
The answer to the second question would depend on the type of hostility and the particular government involved.
No Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?

SpendingIndicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.TaxesIndicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

Greatly Increase a) Agriculture
Slightly Increase b) Arts
Slightly Decrease c) Defense
Greatly Increase d) Education
Greatly Increase e) Environment
Greatly Increase f) Homeland Security
Slightly Increase g) International aid
Slightly Increase h) Medical Research
Slightly Decrease i) Scientific Research
Slightly Decrease j) Space exploration
Slightly Decrease k) United Nations
Slightly Increase l) Welfare
Greatly Increase a) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increase b) Corporate taxes
Greatly Decrease c) Small business taxes
Slightly Increase d) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Greatly Increase e) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Slightly Increase f) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Greatly Decrease g) Income taxes (low-income families)
Greatly Decrease h) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increase i) Income taxes (high-income families)
Greatly Increase j) Inheritance taxes
Slightly Increase k) Payroll taxes
Unfortunately, most of these categories are too general to answer with the answers provided above. We must look at the specifics within each category.
Together, we must do something to find solutions for the issues of our time. Our nation must remain strong and secure. The economy needs to grow in a way that creates jobs, raises wages, and returns the focus to small businesses. We must finally get serious about immigration reform and address climate change by promoting the fundamentals of a clean energy economy that creates reliable new jobs. Every American deserves access to a quality affordable education and equal justice under the law. I will do everything in my power to renew the collaborative spirit that is necessary to get things

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