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Rodney Frelinghuysen'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.

Rodney Frelinghuysen 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.

  • "To me, there could not be a worse time to raise federal taxes!" (
  • Signed a pledge stating to "[…] oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses […]." (
  • Despite exhaustive research, Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
  • "Rodney understands that we have to stop spending borrowed federal dollars like there is no tomorrow. He feels strongly that Congress should bring federal spending under control by returning unspent 'stimulus' funds to the U.S. Treasury, immediately freezing non-security spending and finding at least one penny that can be saved from every dollar of spending." (
  • "At a time when American families are being forced to do more with less, Washington continues to spend money. The result: a booming budget deficit that economists say is hurting families and hurting our economy." (
  • "Recognizing that an adequate transportation network is vital to our national and local economy, I continue to work to secure annual Federal funding for vital public transportation, rail, and road efforts. Northern New Jersey is our nation's most densely populated state. I understand the importance of reducing congestion, making travel more efficient, and protecting our environment." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.22 "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" (
  • "He said his focus would be on creating jobs and career opportunities, lowering taxes, fiscal responsibility, smaller government […]." (
  • "[…] I am committed to lowering our tax burden wherever and whenever I can." (
  • Cosponsored and voted in favor of H.R.1105 "Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015" (
  • "I believe the primary responsibility for educating our children lies closest to the home – in the hands of local school boards, teachers and, most importantly, parents." (
  • "To give our children a brighter future, the federal government – under the No Child Left Behind law – must work closely with our state and local education officials to reach the goal of providing every child with a quality education while holding schools, teachers and students to higher standards." (
  • "It's time that the administration put an end to its delaying tactics and let the construction of the Keystone pipeline move forward." (
  • Voted in favor of S.1. "A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline" (
  • "Since coming to Congress, I have supported: […] Greater investments in solar, wind power, and other renewable energy sources" (
  • "Frelinghuysen is aggressively supporting efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through extensive research and development of renewable energy and energy alternatives. Wind, solar power, hydrogen power, and other energy sources hold great promise for reliable and cleaner energy sources to fuel our cars, run our businesses, and heat our homes. To speed the transition to new energy sources, we need to accelerate the use and development of technologies and fuel alternatives Congress has already put in place." (
  • "[…] it will kill thousands of American jobs at a time at precisely the time we should be promoting growth and job creation." (
  • "With unemployment soaring, policies that impose a national energy tax will only make things worse by increasing energy costs for all Americans, crippling small businesses, and putting more people out of their jobs." (
  • Voted in favor of S.J.Res.23 "A Joint Resolution Providing for Congressional Disapproval Under Chapter 8 of Title 5, United States Code, of a Rule Submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency Relating to 'Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units' " (
  • Voted in favor of H Amdt 1098 "Prohibits District of Columbia from Implementing Certain Firearm Laws" (
  • "The president has put forward a broad agenda which has prompted a wide-ranging discussion. Diminishing violence is a goal everyone can support and I look forward to participating in the debate when specific proposals come before the House." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 596 "Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care-Related Provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010" (
  • "[...] repeal Obamacare so that we can replace it with reforms focused on lowering costs, protecting jobs, and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship." (
  • "[…] first and foremost, we need to enforce our existing immigration laws and take all necessary steps to secure our borders." (
  • "I am not prepared to support a general amnesty for possibly as many as 15 million undocumented aliens." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.5759 "Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2014" (
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 3396 "Defense of Marriage Act" (
  • Rated 0% by the Human Rights Campaign (
  • "Although he voted for and still supports the Defense of Marriage Act, which does not recognize same-sex marriage, he said each state should be able to decide for itself whether to allow such marriages." (
  • "Last night saw a critically important first step in the effort to destroy ISIS and its threat to America and the civilized world. We hope for the success of the mission and the safety of our military personnel as this long fight continues in the weeks and months ahead." (
  • "In Syria, the Obama Administration still insists its goal is to remove Assad, but we have done little to change conditions on the ground. In Iraq, we have sent a limited number of military advisers under constrained rules of engagement. The results have been predictably weak. Nothing we have done has stemmed the tide of fleeing men, women and children." (
  • "Reduced Washington spending, pro-growth tax reform and preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare are worthy goals, if acted upon." (
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.
X c) Abortions should always be legally available.
d) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
e) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
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.
X 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.
l) Other

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

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

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

Maintain Funding Status a) Armed Forces personnel training
Maintain Funding Status b) Covert intelligence operations
Maintain Funding Status c) Defense plant conversion
Maintain Funding Status d) Military hardware
Maintain Funding Status e) Military space shuttle missions
Greatly Increase Funding f) Pay for active duty personnel
Maintain Funding Status g) National Missile Defense Program
Greatly Increase Funding h) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Greatly Increase Funding i) Programs to improve military retention rates
Greatly Increase Funding j) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increase Funding k) Troop and equipment readiness
l) Other

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

a) Defense
b) Education
Highest Priority c) Federal debt reduction
d) Medicare
Highest Priority e) Social Security
Highest 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

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


Undecided 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?
6) Other

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.
X b) Increase the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
c) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
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.
X k) Other
Shay's-Meehan/McCain Feingold bills

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

X a) Broaden the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
b) Increase spending to build more federal prisons.
X 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.
X 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.
i) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
X j) Enforcement of civil rights should primarily be the responsibility of the federal government.
k) Prosecute as adults, youths accused of a felony.
X l) Provide block grants to states for implementation of programs to combat juvenile crime.
m) Impose harsher penalties for youths convicted of violent offenses.
n) Support the use of "boot camps" as alternative sentencing for juvenile offenders.
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.

X a) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
X b) Support mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
X c) Support capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.
d) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
e) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
X 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.
X 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.
X g) Promote education flexibility by giving federal funds, in the form of block grants, to the states to spend it as they see fit.
X h) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
i) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
j) Increase funding for computers and computer training in public schools.
k) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
X l) Eliminate restrictions on federal education funding, giving educators or local school districts more flexibility to design and implement their programs.
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.

a) Provide tax credits for companies that move job-creating industries into areas with high unemployment.
b) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
X c) Reduce government regulation of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
X d) Establish empowerment zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
e) Eliminate any federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
f) Increase the federal minimum wage.
X g) Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
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.
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.
X 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.
X 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.
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.
X h) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts, which would be taxed if used for purposes other than medical costs.
X i) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
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.
m) Increase funding for AIDS programs.
X n) Other
Inc funding for all health related research

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

X a) Decrease the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
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.
g) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
X 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.
X 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.
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.
f) Other

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.
X c) The U.S. should take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
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
X 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
No 3) Should the U.S. have full diplomatic relations with Cuba?
Yes 4) Should the U.S. have full diplomatic relations with China?
Yes 5) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?
No 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?
Undecided 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)?
Yes 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?
Yes 8) Do you support granting the President "fast-track" authority in trade negotiations?
Yes 9) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
Yes Do you believe there has been a decline in moral and ethical standards in America over the last four decades?
While you cannot legislate morality, elected leaders can and must lead by example. It is especially important to inspire young people, as well as adults, to participate in our democracy and to be responsible and caring members of their community. That is why I spend a great deal of time with students, visiting their classrooms and having them participate in my Congressional Youth Advisory Council.

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.
X 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.
X 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
Support v chip
Yes 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.

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.
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.
X i) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based or other non-profit organizations.
j) Other
Since being elected to Congress, I have worked hard to balance the federal budget, begin paying down the national debt, preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security, and provide tax relief for all Americans. With the budget now in balance and in surplus, we have an historic opportunity to pay off the national debt in its entirety, to preserve Social Security and Medicare for future generations and to provide real tax relief for all hard working Americans.

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