Their Biographies, Issue Positions, Voting Records, Public Statements, Ratings and their Funders.
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Chaka Fattah, Sr.'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.

Chaka Fattah, Sr. 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.

  • “Congressman Fattah is pro-choice and views abortion as a deeply personal decision that is entirely beyond the reach of the government.” (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-choice America (votesmart.org)
  • “The real issue is that we have a 70-year low in the amount of resources coming into the government because we've cut taxes. The gentleman says where can we borrow a trillion dollars from? Well, we can borrow it from the trillion dollars of tax expenditures we are going to provide this tax year, many to the wealthiest people of our country.” (votesmart.org)
  • "I draw the line, however, at extending tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Stuffing more cash in the pockets of the rich won't create jobs, it will buy yachts and fatten tax shelters. Let's eliminate the middle man and invest those revenues in smart growth. That means investing in the great economic engine of small business. The Warner Plan, with its package of focused tax credits, accomplishes that goal." (votesmart.org)
  • "Our criminal justice system is broken; hindered by out-of-date laws that have perpetuated an unnecessary cycle of incarceration--especially among youth and nonviolent offenders. By addressing many of the obstacles keeping these populations from successfully re-entering society, this bill takes best-practices in justice reinvestment and works towards a comprehensive reform of our justice system." (votesmart.org)
  • “I commend Attorney General Holder for taking a necessary step in announcing the Justice Department's resolve to change the way it prosecutes low-level drug offenders. Reducing the sentences of non-violent criminals who have no ties to organized crime or gangs will make our severe mandatory sentencing more just, provide a better chance of their rehabilitation and reduce the prison population.” (votesmart.org)
  • “Our economy continues to move in the right direction and we can point specifically to policies and initiatives put in place over the last several years that have accelerated this recovery. These include the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the instrumental passage of the Urban Jobs Act--which I sponsored in the House […]” (votesmart.org)
  • “After voting for the President's stimulus proposal--The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009--during his first term in office, we are now witnessing sustained economic growth, returning more people to work, and creating an impressive number of jobs since the recession.” (votesmart.org)
  • “The entire plan that goes to President Obama's desk earned my enthusiastic vote on New Year's night. It preserves numerous tax cuts for middle and low income American families so they can hold their own as our nation climbs out of economic hard times.” (votesmart.org)
  • "Professionals who have examined my transaction fee proposal estimate that taxpayers would pay less than one percent of their income in taxes. It would be a savings in both money and time." (votesmart.org)
  • "More importantly, however, there is plenty -- $238 billion worth of tax relief, basic benefits and job creation for the middle class, working families and the poor, as well as a two-year extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college students that I authored -- to help almost every struggling family in these hard times. I have consistently opposed extending the tax cuts for the top 2% and still believe that is not the right choice. The reality of the legislative process, and my commitment to working families, compels me to support the framework of this proposal in spite of its imperfections.” (votesmart.org)
  • "Make no mistake, we are in a global competition for economic growth and innovation and it is our young people who will lead us into the fray. As we ask our teachers to prepare the next generation to compete globally, it is only fair that we give them the tools they need." (votesmart.org)
  • “Race to the Top, the visionary reform initiative of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, won't be stopping here. We have just appropriated another $550 million to invest our young people and to continue the cutting edge agenda of our nation's Education President." (votesmart.org)
  • Voted against S 1 “A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline” (votesmart.org)
  • “Fully fund the Energy Block Grant Program: Local and state governments are uniquely positioned to foster a grass-roots approach to the development and deployment of energy efficiency and conservation projects. Government leaders understand that since metropolitan areas are big sources of the carbon emissions and big users of energy resources, they need to be on the forefront of efforts to encourage energy efficiency and independence (through the use of renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal, support the use of smart growth planning and zoning to reduce automobile usage, create more energy efficient buildings, and implement energy savings campaigns).” (votesmart.org)
  • “But I'm very interested, on one level, about the energy efficiency block grant. And I'm very pleased at what we've seen thus far in local communities across the country, as the department has moved very aggressively to get those dollars out the door.” (votesmart.org)
  • “Congressman Fattah is supportive of raising CAFE standards, as it will lead to greater fuel efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and overall improvements in the quality in our air and environment.” (votesmart.org)
  • “By moving toward energy conservation and investing in renewable and alternative energy sources such as biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells, ethanol, solar and wind we can eliminate our reliance on Middle East oil by 2020, and move away from polluting fossil fuels in general. For example, by increasing CAFE standards for cars to 45 miles per gallon and SUVs and light trucks to 34 miles per gallon over the next decade we could save consumers about $80 billion per year at the pump, 3 billion gallons of oil a year, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1.5 trillion pounds a year.” (votesmart.org)
  • “The most frequently discussed energy tax is a carbon tax that would be levied on the volume of carbon emitted. This tax is frequently recommended by economists, but the Obama Administration is attempting to implement a cap and trade system. One alternative would be higher gasoline taxes.” (votesmart.org)
  • "Nationally, I have been a strong advocate for gun control in the uphill fight against entrenched pro-gun interests.” (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by the National Rifle Association (votesmart.org)
  • "In its second year, open enrollment numbers continued to surpass our expectations. Across the country, we now have an additional 11.4 million people either signed-up for the first time or re-enrolled in affordable, quality healthcare plans." (votesmart.org)
  • “[…] the Affordable Care Act gives you better control of your own decisions about your health coverage. It makes insurance more affordable right away by providing small businesses with a tax credit to provide coverage, and in 2014, by providing tax credits to those who need help in buying insurance -- representing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.” (votesmart.org)
  • “Already this considered action has begun to enable thousands of young aspiring Americans to live without fear of deportation and to begin giving back to their communities and our country. A critical first step on the path to reforming our broken immigration system, DACA is dramatically improving the lives of these young people and their families.” (votesmart.org)
  • "In tonight's speech, President Obama laid out a clear set of actions that will make great strides towards fixing our nation's broken immigration system. I wholeheartedly support the President's use of his executive powers to move our country forward on this issue that has long been at a standstill in Congress.” (votesmart.org)
  • “ Today's Supreme Court rulings striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and rendering Proposition 8 unconstitutional, brings members of the LGBT community closer to realizing the fulfillment of that promise. Millions of Americans will now be able to fully enjoy the freedom to love and marry the person of their choice.” (votesmart.org)
  • “We write to urge the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take steps to ensure that same-sex couples receive the Social Security spousal and survivor benefits that they have earned.” (votesmart.org)
  • Signed a letter stating: “We write with urgency to request that you use the full authority of your office to convene international negotiations designed to stop the civil war in Syria, stabilize the country, effect the return to Syria of all refugees, provide for political change towards a popularly supported, accountable Syrian leadership, and develop a cohesive, international strategy for the defeat of ISIL.” (votesmart.org)
  • “The President kept his word pledging in 2007 to send American forces to hunt down this heinous terrorist wherever he was hiding even in Pakistan if need be. I join with all Americans in thanking the President for making the demise of Osama Bin Laden his number one priority in the war on terror." (votesmart.org)
  • “I also oppose any effort to privatize Social Security, in whole or in part.” (votesmart.org)
  • "I strongly oppose the strategy to privatize Social Security and will work vigorously with my colleagues to resist any attempt by the President and a Republican led Congress to impose a plan that attacks future benefits for recipients who have placed their financial confidence in a proven system.” (votesmart.org)
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) regarding abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
X b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Dilation and extraction or "partial-birth" abortion procedures should be legal.
g) Medicare, Medicaid, and federal subsidies should be prohibited from being used on abortion procedures.
h) Other or expanded principles.

Indicate what federal funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category, you can use a number more than once.1) Budget Priorities2) Defense Spending3) 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.Family Income TaxesOther TaxesDeductions/Credits

Maintain Status a) Agriculture
Slightly Increase b) Arts
Slightly Decrease c) Defense
Greatly Increase d) Education
Greatly Increase e) Environment
Slightly Increase f) FEMA
Slightly Increase g) Homeland security
Greatly Increase h) International aid
Slightly Increase i) Law enforcement (Federal)
Greatly Increase j) Law enforcement (State)
Greatly Increase k) Medical research
Slightly Increase l) National parks
Greatly Increase m) Public health services
Slightly Increase n) Scientific research
Maintain Status o) Space exploration programs
Greatly Increase p) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Status q) United Nations
Slightly Increase r) Welfare
s) Other or expanded categories
Slightly Increase a) Armed forces personnel training
Maintain Status b) Intelligence operations
Slightly Decrease c) Military hardware
Slightly Decrease d) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Eliminate e) National missile defense
Greatly Increase f) Pay for active duty personnel
Greatly Increase g) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Greatly Decrease h) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increase i) Troop and equipment readiness
j) Other or expanded categories
Maintain Status a) Less than $12,000
Maintain Status b) $12,001-$40,000
Maintain Status c) $40,001-$100,000
Maintain Status d) $100,001-$180,000
Slightly Increase e) $180,001-$350,000
Slightly Increase f) $350,001 and above
Maintain Status a) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Increase b) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increase c) Cigarette taxes
Slightly Increase d) Corporate taxes
Maintain Status e) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Status f) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories
Maintain Status a) Charitable contribution deduction
Maintain Status b) Child tax credit
Greatly Increase c) Earned income tax credit
Maintain Status d) Medical expense deduction
Maintain Status e) Mortgage deduction
Slightly Increase f) Student loan credit
g) Other or expanded categories
No 4) Do you support the permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
5) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
Eliminate this tax system and supplement with a transaction tax; calling for 1% fee on all transactions of about $500. (see H.R. 1601)
My proposal for balancing the budget is completely embodied in the transaction fee tax model. A fee at one percent (1%) of all transactions above $500 that would generate enough revenue to meet our present needs to address other problems in the country and to pay off the national debt and eliminate all deficits.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.

a) Support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
b) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
c) Allow unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
d) Remove all contribution limits on federal campaigns and parties.
X e) Support prohibiting ads containing candidates' name that are paid for by third parties from airing 60 days before a primary and 30 days before a general federal election.
X f) Support instant run-off voting (IRV).
X g) Support designating Election Day as a national holiday.
h) Support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations.
i) Support limiting the President's use of signing statements in order to prevent an alternative interpretation of the bill.
X j) Support a federal shield law to protect reporter-source privilege.
k) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Support the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
X b) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
X c) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
X d) Support programs to provide prison inmates with drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
X e) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
f) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
X g) Support strict penalties for internet crime (e.g. hacking, identity theft, worms/viruses).
X h) Require that crimes based on sexual orientation be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
i) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Support the federal government funding universal pre-K programs.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
X d) Allow teachers and professionals to receive federal funding to establish charter or magnet schools.
X e) Increase funding for the Pell Grant program.
X f) Decrease interest rates of Stafford Loans.
X g) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
X h) Ban university financial aid officers from owning stock in or accepting gifts from student loan lenders.
X i) Require universities to disclose financial relationships with lenders.
j) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
k) Eliminate all federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
l) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Increase funding for national job-training programs that retrain displaced workers or teach skills needed in today’s job market.
b) Reduce government regulation of the private sector.
c) Encourage employers to offer child care services, flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
X d) Increase the federal minimum wage.
X e) Support the right of workers to unionize.
f) Eliminate all federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
X g) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
X h) Include gender identity in federal anti-discrimination laws.
i) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
X b) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
X c) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil).
X d) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
X e) Strengthen fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
f) Support domestic oil exploration in areas that are currently restricted.
X g) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels.
X h) Support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
X i) Support research and development of nuclear reactors as an alternative energy source.
X j) Allow energy producers to trade pollution credits under "cap and trade" laws.
X k) Support international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming.
l) Support international voluntary emission targets to limit global warming.
m) Other or expanded principles

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.On (c) and (d), indicate what levels (#1-6) you support for the following categories.

a) Allow individuals to carry concealed guns.
b) Ban the sale, ownership or possession of handguns except by law enforcement and other government officials.
Greatly Increase c) Enforcement of existing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Greatly Increase d) Restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Implement a universal healthcare program to guarantee coverage to all Americans, regardless of income.
X b) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
X c) Allow the importation of prescription drugs into the United States.
X d) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
X e) Offer tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of insurance coverage.
X f) Support expanding child healthcare programs.
g) Providing healthcare is not a responsibility of the federal government.
I support the importation of prescription drugs into the United States provided the accepted U.S. standard of safety and regulation is applied to these drugs.

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

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Establish English as the official national language.
c) Support a temporary worker program.
d) Support harsher financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.
e) Support amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in the United States.
X f) Illegal immigrants should have to return to their countries of origin before being considered for citizenship.
g) Illegal immigrants should be given a pathway to citizenship.
h) Support merit-based visas over family-based visas.
i) Other or expanded principles

International AidIndicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international aid.International PolicyIndicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international policy.International TradeIndicate which principles you support (if any) regarding international trade.

X a) Support the United States granting aid to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives.
X b) Support the United States granting aid to countries when it is in the security interests of the United States.
X c) Eliminate United States aid for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
d) Aid granted by the United States should be scaled back and eventually eliminated.
e) Other or expanded principles
Yes a) Should the United States continue to provide leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?
Yes b) Should the United States support the creation of a Palestinian state?
Yes c) Should the United States impose greater international sanctions on Iran if it continues to defy United Nations mandates?
Yes d) Should the United States support the Lebanese government against insurgent forces?
No e) Should the United States maintain its troop levels in Iraq?
Yes f) Should the United States withdraw its troops from Iraq?
Yes h) Should the United States apply greater economic and diplomatic sanctions against North Korea if it fails to abide by its agreement to suspend its nuclear program?
No i) Should the United States increase financial support for Afghanistan?
No j) Should the United States increase military support for Afghanistan?
Yes k) Should the United States trade nuclear fuel to India for civilian purposes?
Yes l) Should the United States decrease financial support for Pakistan?
Yes m) Should the United States decrease military support for Pakistan?
Yes n) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in Darfur, Sudan?
Yes o) Should the United States be involved in bringing an end to the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
p) Should the United States provide economic and military support to the Transitional Government of Somalia?
Yes q) Should the United States use sanctions to encourage the government of Zimbabwe to end its human rights abuses?
Yes r) Should the United States support the creation of an independent nation of Kosovo?
s) Other or expanded principles
No a) Do you support the United States imposing economic sanctions on China?
No b) Do you support the United States imposing trade sanctions on Venezuela?
Yes c) Do you support the United States involvement in free trade agreements?
Yes d) Do you support the United States involvement in intergovernmental organizations dedicated to trade?
I opposed the War in Iraq from its inception; Out of Iraq strategy is explained in detail on my congressional website.
I support the United States involvement in free trade agreements as long as it includes labor and environmental protections.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding national security.

No a) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
No b) Should law enforcement agencies have greater discretion to monitor domestic communications, to prevent future terrorist attacks?
c) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Yes d) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
No e) Do you support pre-emptive military strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to United States national security?
No f) Do you support the creation of a federal identification card system?
No g) Do you support long-term use of National Guard troops to supplement the armed forces in assignments overseas?
No h) Should the United States expand its missile defense shield?
The United States should hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country when it is clear that terrorist activity if known and supported by that government.

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

Yes a) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
No b) Do you support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman?
Yes c) Do you support federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines?
Yes d) Do you support federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos?
Yes e) Should the federal government consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?
Yes f) Should the federal government continue affirmative action programs?
Yes g) Should the federal government regulate internet gambling?
h) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts that they manage themselves.
X b) Ensure the viability of Social Security by increasing the payroll tax.
c) Decrease benefits paid to retirees.
X d) Support proportional increases of Social Security benefits based on the cost of living index.
e) Raise the retirement age for individual eligibility to receive full Social Security benefits.
I am willing to work for comprehensive reform of Social Security that maintains a fiscally sound universal benefit.

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

a) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
b) Continue to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants.
X c) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
d) Abolish all federal welfare programs.
e) Other or expanded principles
H.R. 2373 Student Bill of Rights - The legislation calls for the Secretary of Education to make annual determinations as to whether each state's public school system provides all its students with educational resources to succeed. H.R. 2130 Transaction Tax Study - Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct an in-depth study on the implementation of a transaction fee in the United States to replace all existing federal taxes. H.R. 3317 GEAR UP Enhancement Act Amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve and enhance the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).

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