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Steny Hoyer's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (MD) - District 5, Democratic Majority Leader

On The Ballot: Running, Democratic for U.S. House (MD) - District 5


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.

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Issue Positions

For Presidential and Congressional candidates who refuse to provide voters with their positions, Vote Smart has researched their public records to determine their likely responses. These issue positions are from 2018.

  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (votesmart.org)
  • "I am deeply disappointed that Republicans once again spent time debating and voting on a bill to restrict women's access to health care […] This bill, which is unconstitutional, has no chance of being considered in the Senate or reaching the President's desk." (votesmart.org)
  • Rated 0% by National Right to Life Committee (votesmart.org)
  • "He supports a solution that puts all options on the table, including spending cuts, increasing revenues, cutting waste in defense spending, and strengthening entitlements while protecting seniors and the most vulnerable and preserving the Medicare guarantee." (www.hoyer.house.gov)
  • "Unfortunately, House Republicans, led by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, have voted multiple times for a budget that ends the Medicare guarantee and harms job creation, while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. The Republican budget is not balanced, and Congressman Hoyer believes it makes the wrong choices by placing the burden of deficit reduction onto seniors, the middle class, and the most vulnerable while refusing to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute." (www.hoyer.house.gov)
  • "Defense spending needs to be raised. It ought to be raised honestly and not pretend that some slush fund will pay for, not contingencies, which it is intended to do, but for regular defense investments, which we need to do." (votesmart.org)
  • "Thank you for being here & @StopBigMoney for hosting us. ECU is doing meaningful, important work & it’s an example of a membership org sustained by thousands rallying behind a cause they believe in. That’s how our democracy & campaign finance are supposed to work. #ForThePeople" (twitter.com)
  • "We need real, sustainable campaign finance reform, which @RepSarbanes is taking the lead on. #HoyeratGU" (twitter.com)
  • "Defense spending needs to be raised. It ought to be raised honestly and not pretend that some slush fund will pay for, not contingencies, which it is intended to do, but for regular defense investments, which we need to do." (votesmart.org)
  • ".@SpeakerRyan promised workers at Harley-Davidson the #GOPTaxScam would "keep jobs here in America." Instead, Harley-Davidson took their tax cut, enriched shareholders, laid off workers, & shipped their jobs overseas." (twitter.com)
  • "He worked to secure billions of dollars in tax cuts for small businesses, including those businesses that hire unemployed workers." (www.hoyerforcongress.com)
  • "The #GOPTaxScam added trillions to the deficit to give tax breaks to the wealthiest & corporations. Now, @HouseGOP is attempting to jam through another bill that explodes the deficit & sticks our children w the bill. RT if you oppose the #GOPTaxScam 2.0 " (bit.ly)
  • "He continues to support investments in education for disadvantaged students and students with disabilities, funding for teacher professional development, and Pell Grant awards for students pursuing higher education." (www.hoyerforcongress.com)
  • "Congressman Hoyer is strongly committed to public education and believes that we must continue to invest in Maryland schools so they remain among the best in the nation." (www.hoyerforcongress.com)
  • "Democrats are committed to investing in renewable energy, while addressing the harmful impact of climate change by reducing carbon pollution" (votesmart.org)
  • "By investing in renewable sources of energy and funding research on the next clean technology breakthroughs, Democrats are fighting to not only increase our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, but create jobs right here in America." (www.democraticwhip.gov)
  • "Congressman Hoyer strongly supports environmental standards that keep our land, air, and water clean. He has supported every major environmental bill since he was elected to Congress." (www.hoyerforcongress.com)
  • "That is why Democrats are advancing the Make It In America agenda, which includes among other clean energy jobs initiatives a bill to establish a Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Fund. This legislation will help American clean energy technology firms compete and create clean energy jobs." (www.democraticwhip.gov)
  • "Congress has a responsibility to do what it can to keep dangerous weapons, guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, and those suffering from mental illness. I support the legislation that Representative Esty and Senator Menendez are introducing today and others that will limit the kind of high-capacity ammunition magazines that have been used in the heinous attack in Newtown [and] so many other areas of the country." (www.democraticwhip.gov)
  • Rated 100% by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (votesmart.org)
  • "In 2011, when House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they included language that said they would replace it with something else; and I say to my friend, Mr. Pitts, Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding that, they have not done so. However, they still have failed to give us an alternative. I urge my colleagues to vote 'no.'" (votesmart.org)
  • "Today, the Affordable Care Act is making a significant difference for Maryland families. The law is slowing the growth of health care costs, has ended the practice of denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and banned annual and lifetime limits on health coverage benefits." (www.hoyerforcongress.com)
  • "1. The bill wastes $25 billion on @RealDonaldTrump’s ineffective border wall. Both Republicans in Congress and members of the Trump Administration have spoken out against the wall as an ineffective & wasteful measure." (twitter.com)
  • "At my weekly press conference I said Dems opposed the GOP’s anti-immigrant bill today because: -it does not #ProtectDREAMers -it does not solve the family separation crisis created by POTUS -it wastes 25 billion taxpayer $ on an ineffective border wall" (twitter.com)
  • "With millions of undocumented immigrants living in the shadows, waiting patiently for their opportunity to contribute fully to building a stronger future for our country, it is time for Congress to act. Pursing comprehensive immigration reform is not only a moral obligation, but it will also grow our economy, create jobs, and reduce the deficit by more than $900 billion over the next twenty years." (www.democraticwhip.gov)
  • "I stand in support of DC’s legal authority to implement its marijuana legalization initiative on Thursday" (twitter.com)
  • "Instead of injecting further uncertainty into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and manufacturing a crisis that will weaken our position, as today's announcement does, the President ought to be pursuing efforts to thwart Iran's aggressive activities. These include working in concert with our allies to develop a diplomatic strategy to extend substantially the JCPOA's sunset provisions; imposing further sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile testing alongside our European partners; and enforcing vigorously existing sanctions on Iran's dangerous and illegal activities." (votesmart.org)
  • "Committing U.S. air power, training, and equipment is only one aspect of this strategy, albeit a critical one. Defeating ISIL will require a strong international coalition, which the United States is already assembling. It also demands an inclusive Iraqi government that works across sectarian lines to reach political agreement. I hope the new government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi will work to achieve this goal." (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) concerning abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
X b) Abortions should always be legally available.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
X d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
X e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Eliminate public funding for abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Other or expanded principles

Budgetary PrioritiesUsing the key below, indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category.

Slightly Increase Funding a) Agricultural
Slightly Increase Funding b) Arts
Greatly Increase Funding c) Defense
Greatly Increase Funding d) Education
Slightly Increase Funding e) Environmental
Slightly Increase Funding f) International Aid
Slightly Increase Funding g) Law Enforcement
Greatly Increase Funding h) Medical Research
Slightly Increase Funding i) National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA)
Slightly Increase Funding j) National Parks
Greatly Increase Funding k) Public Health Services
Slightly Increase Funding l) Scientific Research
Greatly Increase Funding m) Terrorism Prevention
Slightly Increase Funding n) Transportation and Highway Infrastructure
Slightly Increase Funding o) Welfare
p) Other or expanded categories

Defense SpendingUsing the key below, indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following categories. Select one number per category.

Greatly Increase Funding a) Armed Forces personnel training
Greatly Increase Funding b) Covert intelligence operations
Greatly Increase Funding c) Military hardware
Greatly Increase Funding d) Pay for active duty personnel
Greatly Increase Funding e) National Missile Defense Program
Greatly Increase Funding f) Programs to improve military retention rates
Greatly Increase Funding g) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increase Funding h) Troop and equipment readiness
Greatly Increase Funding i) Other or expanded categories
I believe the fiscal year 2003 Defense Approprations bill provides substantial increases in each of these areas, and I was proud to support it in the Appropriations Committe and on the House floor.

TaxesUsing the key below, indicate what levels you support concerning taxes, deductions, and tax credits in the following categories. Select one number per tax.Income Taxes - Family IncomeIncome Taxes - Retiree IncomeOther TaxesDeductions/Credits

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


Yes 2) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
No 3) Would you use Social Security surpluses to balance the budget?
4) Other or expanded principles

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

X 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.
X d) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
X e) Ban unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
X f) Prohibit non-U.S. citizens from making soft money contributions to national parties or party committees.
X g) Require full disclosure of funding sources of issue advocacy commercials which appear within 60 days of an election.
h) Remove all contribution limits to federal candidates and parties.
i) Require congressional candidates to raise over half of their campaign money from their home state.
j) Require that unions give members the option of not having membership dues used for political purposes.
Yes k) Support the federal government mandate that creates national voting system standards.
No l) Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms that members of Congress can serve?
Undecided m) Do you support voting on-line?
n) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Eliminate the use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
X 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 funding for community policing programs.
X g) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
X h) Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes.
X i) Enforcement of civil rights should primarily be the responsibility of the federal government.
X j) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
X k) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
l) Other or expanded principles

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) Expand federally sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
d) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
X e) Increase border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
f) Eliminate federal funding for programs associated with the "war on drugs."
g) Other or expanded principles

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

X 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.
X d) Support charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
X e) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
X f) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
X g) Increase funding for computers and computer training in public schools.
X h) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
i) Eliminate restrictions on federal education funding, giving educators or local school districts more flexibility to design and implement their programs.
X j) Increase funding of programs such as Pell grants and Stafford loans to help students pay for college.
X k) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
l) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
b) Reduce government regulation of the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
X c) Establish empowerment zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
X d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
X e) Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time, and unpaid leave for family emergencies.
f) Eliminate any federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
X g) Increase the federal minimum wage.
X h) Considering race and gender in government contracting decisions is appropriate for the federal government.
X i) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
X j) Continue federal affirmative action programs.
k) Discontinue federal affirmative action programs.
l) Other or expanded principles

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) Support opening a select portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration.
d) Support the U.S. re-entering the current Kyoto treaty process to limit global warming.
X e) Require states to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses of privately owned land.
X f) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
g) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
X h) Provide tax credits for state and local bonds to preserve open spaces, build parks, improve water quality and redevelop brownfields.
i) Support the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act prohibiting commercial logging in our national forests.
j) Provide states and local communities with more flexibility to address their respective environmental problems.
k) Other or expanded principles

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

X 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) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
X h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Raise the minimum age for ownership of handguns from 18 to 21.
j) Other or expanded principles

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 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 d) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to sue when claims are denied.
e) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to appeal to an administrative board of specialists when services are denied.
X f) Support legislation to provide prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
g) Increase research funding of the human genome to find cures for diseases such as cancer, AIDS/HIV, Alzheimer's, and heart disease.
X h) Increase federal funding for training health workers to recognize and respond to the release of biological agents.
i) Prohibit the procedure of cloning human embryos.
j) Other or expanded principles

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

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Provide extra federal aid to states with higher numbers of immigrants for necessary medical and social services.
c) Prohibit states from passing laws that deny human services (medical care, education) to illegal immigrants or their children.
X d) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
e) Establish English as the official U.S. language.
f) Collect fingerprint data from all U.S. visa applicants which would be accessible to all federal immigration-related agencies.
X g) Allow legalization for certain illegal immigrants working in the U.S.
h) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Aid should be granted to countries when extraordinary circumstances cause disaster and threaten civilian lives.
X b) Aid should be granted to countries when it is in the security interests of the U. S.
X c) Aid should be granted to countries that are close allies of the U. S. and in need of financial/military assistance.
d) Aid should be eliminated for any nation with documented human rights abuses.
e) Aid programs should be scaled back and eventually eliminated except for extraordinary circumstances.
X f) Other or expanded principles
A country's respect for human rights, and adherence to other international laws, should be one of the factors taken into account when decisions about providing foreign assistance are made by the United States.

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 take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
b) The U.S. should end the economic embargo against Iraq.
c) The U.S. should not continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and the Palestine Authority.
X d) The U.S. should support the formation of a Palestinian state.
e) Other or expanded principles
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) Other or expanded principles
No 3) Should the U.S. have full diplomatic relations with Cuba?
No 4) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?
Yes 5) Should the U.S. increase its financial support to Colombia for the "war on drugs?"
Yes 6) Do you support the cooperative threat reduction programs with Russia to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons? ___ Yes ___ No ___ Undecided
No 7) Do you support the recent withdrawal of the U.S. from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in order to deploy a national missile defense system?
Yes 8) Should the U.S. hold nations accountable for terrorists who operate from their country?
9) Other or expanded principles

International Trade

No 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)?
4) Do you support China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization?
Yes 5) Should a nation's human rights record affect its normal trade relations (most favored nation) trading status with the United States? ___ Yes ___ No ___ Undecided
Yes 6) Should the President have "fast-track" authority to negotiate trade agreements?
No 7) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
X 8) Other or expanded principles
The benefits of trade with the United States should be used as an incentive to effect positive changes in the policies and behavior of our trading partners. Additionally, trade negotiating authority provided to the president must at the very least protect existing U.S. laws, and also encourage improved labor and environmental standards for our trading partners.

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

Yes 1. Do you support the President using military tribunals to try terrorist suspects when the President deems ordinary civil courts to be inappropriate or impractical?
Yes 2. Should the U.S. adopt higher qualification rules for student visa applications from nations known to sponsor terrorism?
Yes 3. Should law enforcement agencies be granted greater discretion to read mail and email, tap phones, and conduct random searches to prevent future terrorist attacks?
Yes 4. Should federal law enforcement agencies share intelligence data with local law enforcement agencies?
Yes 5. Should the federal government provide states with funding for homeland security?
X 6. Other or expanded principles
While the need to take steps to enhance the security of our homeland is without questions, we must at the same time continue to ensure that the civil rights of all Americans are protected.

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

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves.
b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts managed by private firms contracted by the government.
c) The federal government should 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.
X f) 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.
g) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Continue the moratorium on Internet sales taxes.
b) Implement regulation of Internet content by the federal government.
X c) Regulation of the Internet should not be controlled by the federal government.
X d) Support government mandates to curtail violent and sexual content on television.
e) Other or expanded principles

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

X a) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
b) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to defray the cost of an apartment.
X c) Continue to give states and local governments responsibility for welfare programs through TANF block grants.
X d) Maintain current welfare-to-work requirements in order for states to qualify for block grants.
X e) Restore food stamp programs to legal immigrants.
f) Transfer homeless housing programs to states through block grants.
X g) Provide continued Medicaid benefits for those welfare recipients who have moved from welfare to work.
h) Require states to return any unused welfare block grant funding to the federal government.
i) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based, or other non-profit organizations.
X j) Provide states with additional funding for Medicaid programs to alleviate increasing state budget deficits.
X k) Other or expanded principles
I was proud to support welfare reform legislation in 1996, and believe it has succesfully moved many Americans into the workplace. However, we must also provide adequate financial resources to assist individuals making that transition.
I will work to defend America from terrorist attack and eliminate global sources of terror; fight to protect jobs, keep our state's economy strong, and protect the 5th District's defense installations; ensure quality education for all students; improve access to health care for all Americans; and work for fair pay and benefits for all federal employees. I will continue to use my seat on the Appropriations Committee to obtain funding for these goals.

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