Card image cap

Jeb Bush'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.

Jeb Bush has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 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 2016.

  • CNN "Backed by a pliant Republican legislature, he vigorously sought restrictions on abortion while governor -- from a ban on late-term procedures to a constitutional amendment that would circumvent the courts, which had struck down a law requiring girls notify their parents before getting an abortion. Bush's abortion activism shocked some state officials who believed he was reaching beyond the powers of his office. In 2003, Bush unsuccessfully tried to get the courts to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a 22-year-old disabled woman with cerebral palsy and autism, who became pregnant after being raped by an operator of a state-supervised group home. In 2005, he intervened in the case of 13-year-old girl, known as L.G., who was a ward of the state and was 13½ weeks pregnant when she tried to get an abortion. Bush fought hard to prevent the procedure, but was overruled by a judge." (
  • PBS "'What does Jeb Bush believe? Where the candidate stands on 11 issues' [...]Ban most abortions after 20 weeks." (
  • Washington Post "'No," he said when asked whether he would sign Norquist's pledge. "But, I cut taxes every year, $19 billion. No one comes close to the record of tax cuts.'" (
  • "It's time for a flatter, fairer tax code. The labyrinth of rules and special interest carve outs need to go. One thing you can count on if I'm president is that it will finally be addressed. It's critical if we are going to ensure more people have a chance at earned success." (
  • MSNBC "Several leading Republicans have backed sentencing reform, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush." (
  • US News "Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Monday vowed to rein in federal spending and combat the "arrogance," ''sheer incompetence" and size of government if he's elected." (
  • "It's time for a flatter, fairer tax code. The labyrinth of rules and special interest carve outs need to go. One thing you can count on if I'm president is that it will finally be addressed. It's critical if we are going to ensure more people have a chance at earned success." (
  • Washington Post "Bush's called for simplification of the tax code, including lowering rates and "eliminating as many loopholes as possible.'" (
  • Washington Post "'No," he said when asked whether he would sign Norquist's pledge. "But, I cut taxes every year, $19 billion. No one comes close to the record of tax cuts.'" (
  • PBS "'What does Jeb Bush believe? Where the candidate stands on 11 issues' [?] The former Florida governor favors the state-initiated Common Core education standards. At the same time, he opposes using federal funds to motivate or force states to adopt Common Core. Bush also supported his brother's signature education initiative "No Child Left Behind" and pushed for the Obama administration to reauthorize the program." (
  • "There is no question we need higher academic standards and - at the local level - diverse, high-quality content and curricula, and in my view, the rigor of the Common Core State Standards must be the new minimum in classrooms. For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher . . . be bolder . . . raise standards and ask more of our students and the system." (
  • "When a school is just another dead end, every parent should have the right to send their child to a better school - public, private, or charter. Every school should have high standards, and the federal government should have nothing to do with setting them. Nationwide, if I am President, we will take the power of choice away from the unions and bureaucrats and give it back to parents." (
  • Washington Post "He also called for more energy exploration. Approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was "a no-brainer," he said, as is support for horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking." (
  • Washington Post " He regularly attacks Obama's foreign policy and his handling of domestic issues such as the economy and the Keystone XL pipeline. He calls the Affordable Care Act a "monstrosity" that should be overhauled." (
  • New York Times "Jeb Bush said Saturday that he wanted to phase out federal benefits for renewable fuels and wind energy [?] Mr. Bush said the industry's success would obviate the need for a subsidy. "Ultimately, whether it's ethanol or any other alternative fuel, renewable or otherwise, the markets are ultimately going to have to decide this," the former Florida governor said." (
  • New York Times ""The climate is changing, and I'm concerned about that," Mr. Bush said in New Hampshire in April, adding that "we need to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions."" (
  • "President Obama's carbon rule is irresponsible and overreaching [?] The rule runs over state governments, will throw countless people out of work, and increases everyone's energy prices." (
  • "The climate is changing. I don't think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It's convoluted, and for the people to say the science is decided on this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you. It's this intellectual arrogance that now you can't have a conversation about it even." (
  • PBS "'What does Jeb Bush believe? Where the candidate stands on 11 issues' [?] Expand gun owners' rights. In 2005, Governor Bush signed into law the controversial "stand your ground" legislation, which allows Florida residents to use deadly force when threatened in public. As governor, Bush approved numerous measures that expanded gun owners' rights, including concealed carry." (
  • "We are a peaceful people, because we choose to be. However, we will fight for our freedom and liberty, and we will fight for others who yearn to be free. The sound of our guns is the sound of freedom!" (
  • Washington Post " He regularly attacks Obama's foreign policy and his handling of domestic issues such as the economy and the Keystone XL pipeline. He calls the Affordable Care Act a "monstrosity" that should be overhauled." (
  • "We've created a monstrosity of consolidating power in Washington, D.C., suppressing wages, making it uncertain for investment. In fact, the greatest job suppressor in the so-called recovery that we've gone through is Obamacare. And I think replacing Obamacare with a market-oriented approach -- that is, where local and state input starts to drive the policies away from this top-down system" (
  • ""There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law," he added. "But the way I look at this -- and I'm going to say this, and it'll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn't come legally, they come to our country because their families -- the dad who loved their children -- was worried that their children didn't have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn't rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families."" (
  • "It's at the core of the Catholic faith, and to imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, a committed child-centered family system, is hard to imagine. So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling - because they are going to decide whatever they decide, I don't know what they are going to do - we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage." (
  • PBS "Bush told CBS' "Face the Nation" he would embed U.S. military trainers with Iraqi troops and that he believes the Islamic State group can be defeated without the use of American ground troops. At the same time, he has not ruled adding to the 3,000 to 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq now. The Republican hopeful said he would form a strategy with White House advisors and look to the "long haul." The former governor has endorsed the idea of adding a new U.S. base in Iraq's Anbar province. After a series of questions about his brother's decision to go to war, Jeb Bush said that in hindsight he would not have invaded Iraq in 2003." (
  • International Business Times "Jeb Bush thinks the next president will need to privatize Social Security, he said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday -- acknowledging that his brother attempted to do so and failed. It's a position sure to be attacked by both Republicans and Democrats." (
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 legally available.
b) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
X c) Abortions should be legal only when pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered.
d) Abortions should be legal only when the life of the woman is endangered.
e) Abortions should always be illegal.
X f) Abortions should be limited by waiting periods and parental notification requirements.
X g) Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as "partial-birth" abortion.
h) Support "buffer zones" by requiring demonstrators to stay at least 15 feet away from abortion clinic doorways and driveways.
i) Other
No j) Should Florida government funding be provided to clinics and medical facilities that provide abortion services?

Indicate the principles you support (if any) concerning affirmative action. State government agencies should take race and sex into account in the following sectors:

Yes a) College and university admissions
Yes b) Public employment
Yes c) State contracting
I oppose guaranteed results through quotas and set asides. However, I believe it must be an important state goal to hire people who reflect the diversity of Florida and to provide opportunities that might not otherwise exist.

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

X a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and for hiring of additional prison staff.
X b) Support contracting with private sector firms to build and/or manage state prisons.
X c) End parole for repeat violent felons.
X d) Support the use of the death penalty.
e) Oppose the death penalty.
X f) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
X g) Inform communities when a convicted sex offender moves into the community.
X h) Increase state funds for programs which rehabilitate and educate inmates during and after their prison sentences.
i) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
X j) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
X k) Strengthen penalties and sentences for sex offenders.
l) Lower the blood-alcohol-content limit defining drunk driving.
X m) Prosecute juveniles who commit murder or other serious violent crimes as adults.
n) Allow recording devices in execution observation rooms.
o) Support "chemical castration" for convicted sexual offenders.
X p) Maintain electrocution as Florida's method of execution.
q) Adopt lethal injection as Florida's method of execution.
X r) Other
Yes s) Should violent sexual offenders who are eligible for parole be committed to mental hospitals until they are deemed safe to return to society?
I support stricter mandatory sentences for criminals who commit crimes with guns. (h) I support and have proposed additional funding to expand drug treatment programs for prisoners. (b) While I favor contracting with private firms to build state prisons, I do not support privatization efforts that would cause job losses among or reduce the pay or benefits of Florida's current corrections officers.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning the economy and employment.

a) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
X b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
X c) Support limits on cash damages in lawsuits against businesses and professionals for product liability or malpractice.
X d) Increase funding for state job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
e) Allow Native American tribes to operate gambling casinos on tribal land in Florida.
f) Other

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

X a) Increase state funds for professional development of public school teachers and administrators.
X b) Encourage private or corporate investment in public school programs.
X c) Provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any participating school (public, private, religious).
X d) Favor charter schools where independent groups receive state authorization and funding to establish new schools.
X e) Support sex education programs which stress abstinence.
f) Support sex education programs which stress safe sexual practices.
X g) Increase state funds for school construction and facility maintenance.
h) Increase state funds for hiring of additional teachers.
i) Endorse teacher-led voluntary prayer in public schools.
X j) Grant merit pay raises each year to teachers who excel.
X k) Other
Undecided l) Should Florida require that all new state school buses be equipped with passenger seat belts?
Undecided m) Do you support adding the Bible to high school literature or history curriculums in Florida public schools?
End social promotion, improve school safety and discipline. Our education proposal would allow vouchers for children in chronically failing schools so that they could attend another public or private school.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.

a) Require the use of cleaner burning fuels in order to prevent pollution.
X b) Support "self-audit" legislation which creates incentives for industries to audit themselves and clean up pollution.
c) Require a cost/benefit analysis to determine the economic impact of proposed environmental regulations before they are implemented.
X d) Require the state to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses on privately owned land.
X e) Provide funding for recycling programs in Florida.
X f) Request added flexibility from the federal government in enforcing and funding federal environmental regulations.
g) Suspend participation in unfunded, federally mandated environmental protection legislation.
h) Restructure the electric utility industry to allow consumers to choose their power company.
X i) Other
Undecided j) State environmental regulations should not be stricter than federal law.
Yes k) Do you support extending the Preservation 2000 program in Florida?
I oppose offshore drilling

Indicate which level of government that should have primary responsibility for the following services. Select one level only.

Federal a) Border security
Federal b) Civil rights enforcement
Local c) Education
d) Environmental cleanup
e) Job training
Local f) Law enforcement
Federal g) Low-income housing
Federal h) Medicaid
Federal i) Medicare
State j) Transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges)
State k) Welfare
l) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding government reform.a) Do you support limits on the number of terms of the following Florida officials?b) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?

Yes 1) State Senators and Representatives
Yes 2) Governor
Yes 3) Members of the Cabinet
1) Individual
2) PAC
3) Corporate
Yes c) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
No d) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
No e) Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?
Yes f) Would you support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget?
No g) Do you support providing immunity from civil liability to persons who are participating in the process of government?
Undecided h) Should using payroll deductions for political contributions from union members be illegal?
i) Other

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

a) Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
b) Increase state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
X c) Maintain state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
d) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
e) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens.
X f) Favor allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms.
g) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.
h) Require a waiting period and criminal records check for weapons bought at gun shows.
X i) Other
Yes j) Should Florida visitors be permitted to carry concealed weapons if they have permits from other states?
I support an instant background check for all guns purchased at a gun show.

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

a) Provide tax incentives to small businesses that provide health care to their employees.
X b) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care, through managed care, insurance reforms, or state funded care where necessary.
X c) Provide health care to uninsured children by designing a children's health insurance program.
d) Transfer more existing Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
X e) Use state funds to continue some Medicaid coverage for legal immigrants.
f) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
g) Guaranteeing medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
h) Require HMOs to provide access to mental health care.
i) Other

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

a) Increase state funding for programs to prevent teen pregnancy.
X b) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
X c) Increase state funds to provide child care to children in low-income working families.
X d) Deny or suspend state-issued permits and licenses to parents who are delinquent in paying court-ordered child support.
e) Favor banning smoking in public places.
f) Allow local municipalities in Florida to ban smoking in public places.
g) Increase state funding for Head Start in order to serve additional children and/or increase services from a half to a full day.
h) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
i) Support state funding of programs for at-risk youth such as guaranteed college loans and job training and placement.
j) Require a waiting period between the time a mother consents to adoption and the time the adoption is finalized.
k) Other
No l) Do you believe that the Florida government should include sexual orientation in Florida's anti-discrimination laws?
No m) Do you believe that the Florida government should recognize same-sex marriages?
No n) Should physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients be legal in Florida?

Indicate the funding levels you will support for the following general categories. Select one level only.

a) Agriculture
b) Economic development
Greatly Increase c) Education (K-12)
Greatly Increase d) Education (Higher)
e) Environment
f) Health care
Greatly Increase g) Law enforcement
h) Tourism
i) Transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges)
j) Welfare
k) Other
Undecided l) Do you support using state money to fund a proposed bullet train between Miami, Orlando and Tampa?

Indicate the tax levels you will support. Select one level only.

a) Alcohol taxes
Greatly Decrease b) Capital gains taxes
c) Cigarette taxes
d) Corporate taxes
e) Gas taxes
Slightly Decrease f) Property taxes
g) Sales taxes
h) Other
No i) Do you support implementing a state income tax?

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

X a) Maintain the four-year limit on welfare benefits.
X b) Require that able-bodied recipients participate in work-related activities in order to receive benefits.
X c) Increase employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
X d) Provide tax incentives to businesses that hire welfare recipients.
X e) Provide child care for welfare recipients who work.
X f) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
g) Allow welfare recipients to remain eligible for benefits while saving money for education, starting a business, or buying a home.
X h) Limit benefits given to recipients if they have additional children while on welfare.
i) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
j) Other
Undecided k) Do you support establishing a relocation assistance program for WAGES participants who relocate within the state, as long as the relocation contributes to attaining self-sufficiency?
As governor, I would work to restore public education and public safety as the two most important priorities of state government. Our education plan would fully fund education, create financial incentives for all public schools that show improvement, improve accountability through higher standards and strengthen school safety. On the crime front, we have a comprehensive strategy for reducing the prevalence of drugs in Florida and would implement strict mandatory sentences for criminals who use guns.

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