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Fred Upton'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.

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Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as candidates submit them. Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Fred Upton has failed to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2020 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart and voters like you.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

For Presidential and Congressional candidates who refuse to provide voters with their positions, Vote Smart has researched their public records to determine their likely responses. These issue positions are from 2020.

  • Voted in favor of HR 4712 - Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. (
  • "As a pro-life Member of CongressI oppose the misuse of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion services and support the conscience rights of our nation's health care providers." (
  • "Fred championed the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act that reformed our broken and outdated tax code. The positive effects are being felt already, with more jobs, higher paychecks, and a stronger economy." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 1 - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (
  • Rated 0% by Alliance for Retired Americans. (
  • "Fred strongly believes that those who have done so much for our country deserve the safety and security of our programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Fred also knows that we need to work together to ensure the long-term solvency of these critical programs for future generations." (
  • "I have talked with a number of law enforcement officials across my district and share their real concerns about the qualified immunity provision, which would truly hinder their ability to train and recruit good officers. This provision – as is – cannot and should not become law." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. (
  • "Our military faces grave challenges on multiple fronts. This is why it is so important we support this bipartisan legislation that improves our military readiness, gives our men and women in uniform a well-deserved pay raise, increases Pentagon accountability, and more." (
  • "It's unacceptable that our Commander-in-Chief would choose partisan politics over doing the right thing for our military -- especially given the world is in such turmoil. The NDAA was a bipartisan process from the start, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on a bipartisan, bicameral basis to override the president's veto. Our troops deserve nothing less." (
  • Rated 95% by Center for Security Policy. (
  • "These Opportunity Zones have great potential to allow entrepreneurs and businesses here in Southwest Michigan to take advantage of a wider array of economic development tools," said Upton. "We've seen historic investment in our local businesses, tax cuts for the middle-class, and more money in worker paychecks as a result of tax reform. Now, we're seeing a greater range of possibilities to build more businesses and create more local jobs for and by residents of Southwest Michigan and throughout our great state." (
  • "I was a senior House negotiator on the 2012 Highway Bill, which reflects our commitment to jobs, safety, and smaller government. By eliminating bureaucratic red tape and focusing taxpayer dollars on high-priority projects, this agreement will support American jobs and infrastructure projects to improve the safety of our nation's roads and bridges. What's more, it includes commonsense reforms to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent and that critical infrastructure projects are not needlessly delayed by the regulatory process." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 22 - Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. (
  • Voted in favor of HR 1 - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (
  • "We lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent -- down from the highest rate in the industrialized world and eliminate incentives to move Michigan jobs overseas. We also deliver significant tax relief to small businesses." (
  • "Folks need help right now, and the CARES Act delivers that help." (
  • "The coronavirus stimulus bill will provide immediate relief to Michigan families, workers, hospitals, and businesses as we all work to overcome the coronavirus crisis. Not only does the legislation help protect job security in the short-term for small businesses, it also allows for direct financial assistance to individuals and enhances unemployment insurance. The American spirit remains strong - we will get through this crisis, just as we have always done." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 5 - Student Success Act. (
  • "This long overdue bipartisan bill puts parents, teachers, and students first [...] It provides our education system a certainty that has sorely been missing in recent years. I've heard from countless Southwest Michigan stakeholders that they wanted the federal government out of the classroom and more flexibility for our local educators -- that's exactly what this bill does." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 1119 - SENSE Act. (
  • "An "all of the above" energy plan also means the advancement of renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. In 2013, the Congress passed bipartisan Energy and Commerce legislation (H.R. 267) that eliminates some of the regulatory inefficiencies in the hydropower licensing process, allowing companies to reduce the amount of time and money wasted in navigating unnecessary administrative obstacles and instead focus on creating jobs and providing affordable electricity. Now law, this bipartisan legislation has great promise for increased hydropower development, including here in Michigan, which has significant potential for small hydro projects." (
  • Rated 100% by American Energy Alliance. (
  • "As the committee's oversight record shows, the previous administration's expansive and legally controversial interpretations of EPA's authorities under the Clean Air Act created federal influence over state electricity systems never considered by Congress. The Clean Power Plan and related rules inappropriately elevated EPA's influence in state energy decisions and threatened serious economic harms to the workers and consumers who benefited from a robust coal sector and reliable, affordable electric power," (
  • Signed a letter stating: "In the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, calls for Congress to step up and revise the nation’s existing gun laws have been renewed. To this end, we write today to respectfully request immediate consideration of H.R. 4477, the "Fix NICS Act of 2017," when Congress returns for legislative business next week. This bipartisan and bicameral, common-sense legislation would incentivize states as well as federal departments and agencies to accurately and promptly submit information and records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)." (
  • "In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas it's clear that we cannot with a straight face justify the legality of these tools that can so easily be manipulated to do unimaginable harm and are specifically designed to get around the automatic weapon ban. There is no place for them in a civil society. None." (
  • "This common-sense, bipartisan bill will help keep our communities safe from gun violence by expanding existing background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals," said Congressman Upton. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we continue to tackle unacceptable gun violence in a bipartisan manner." (
  • "Folks want a fresh, forward-looking approach that embraces innovation, puts patients first, and delivers on real health care solutions. We need to be looking to ideas like the Patient CARE Act to make these ideas for "replace' a reality." (
  • "I voted against the Affordable Care Act and support its full repeal." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (
  • "For these young men and women, the United States is their home. I've met with countless individuals and groups back home in Michigan impacted by DACA and from universities, restaurant and small business owners, as well as our farmer friends who all agree we must take care of these folks. It is the responsibility of Congress to work together on fair, rigorous, and bipartisan legislation that addresses the long-term uncertainty facing these young people. We should continue to work together towards those aims and will continue working with my Problem Solvers Caucus colleagues on a long-term solution." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 6 - American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. (
  • Rated 11% by NumbersUSA. (
  • "The United States and its allies must also contend with threats posed by hostile regimes like Iran, North Korea, and Syria. I have supported numerous efforts to impose sanctions against rogue states like these for their illegal weapons programs, support of terrorist organizations, and widespread human rights abuses." (
  • Rated 95% by Center for Security Policy. (
  • "I am pleased that our military engagement in Iraq has ended and our presence in Afghanistan is drawing to a close." (
  • Rated 95% by Center for Security Policy. (
  • "To bolster Michigan business, I supported the successful passage of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. By removing barriers to U.S. exports, we can grow our economy here in southwest Michigan. The three agreements are expected to increase Michigan agriculture exports by nearly $45 million per year. The medical device industry also stands to benefit from these agreements, which would be a huge boon to employers in our region." (
  • Rated 0% by Public Citizen. (
  • "We need to target tariffs to address specific unfair trading practices in a way that minimizes negative consequences for Michigan jobs, manufacturers, and consumers. Our allies want certainty and here in Michigan so many of our jobs are based on exports. As I've listened to our local manufacturers, farmers, and job creators here in Southwest Michigan they agree: A trade war hurts Michigan." (
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.
c) Abortions should be legal only when the 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 notification requirements as decided by each state government.
X g) Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as "partial-birth" abortion.
h) Prohibit public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
i) Other

1) Indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following categories. Select one number (level) only.2) Indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following defense-related categories. Select one number (level) only.4) Indicate how you would apply the expected federal budget surplus.

Maintain Status a) AIDS programs
Maintain Status b) Arts funding
Slightly Increase c) Education (K-12)
Slightly Increase d) Environmental programs
Slightly Decrease e) Foreign aid
Maintain Status f) Housing projects
Maintain Status g) Job training programs
Slightly Increase h) Law enforcement
Maintain Status i) Medicaid
Slightly Increase j) Medicare
Maintain Status k) NASA
Slightly Increase l) Student loan programs
Slightly Decrease m) Welfare
o) Other
p) Other
Slightly Increase a) Armed Forces personnel training
Maintain Status b) CIA appropriations
Maintain Status c) Defense plant conversion
Maintain Status d) Development of new weapons
Maintain Status e) Military hardware
Maintain Status f) Military space shuttle missions
Slightly Decrease g) National Missile Defense Program
Slightly Increase h) Pay for active duty personnel
i) Other
Yes 3) Do you support amending the U.S. Constitution to require an annual balanced federal budget?
X a) Social Security
X b) Medicare
X c) Tax cuts
X d) Federal debt reduction
e) Other
Health Research -- Greatly Increase

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

a) Remove all legislative limits on campaign financing.
b) Establish spending limits on congressional campaigns.
c) Provide public funding for federal candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
d) Support legislation that would increase the federal limits on individual contributions.
X e) Strengthen and enforce legislation that encourages full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information.
f) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
g) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
X h) Ban the unregulated campaign contributions known as soft money.
X i) Pass legislation banning issue advocacy commercials by outside groups within 60 days of an election.
X j) Prohibit non-U.S. citizens from making contributions to federal campaigns.
X k) Other
Require majority of funds raised to be from candidate's home state

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

a) Broaden 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) Fund programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
X e) Expand funding for community policing programs.
X f) Increase penalties for the possession of any illegal firearms.
g) Prosecute youths accused of a felony as adults.
X h) Increase funding for local Boys & Girls Clubs and other independent organizations in communities with at-risk youth.
i) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
X j) Deport all permanent resident aliens convicted of a felony.
k) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning illegal drugs.

X a) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
X b) Impose mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
X c) Impose capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.
X d) Strengthen current laws dealing with non-controlled substances, including inhalants and commercially available pills.
X e) Increase funding of federally-sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
f) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
X g) Increase funding for border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
h) Other

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the economy and employment.2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding affirmative action and discrimination.

X a) Provide tax credits for companies that move job-creating industries into areas with high unemployment.
X 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 regulations on 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 minimum wage.
X g) Pass legislation that encourages employers to offer their employees the options of flex-time scheduling, comp-time and unpaid leave to attend to their family responsibilities.
X h) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide on-site child care.
a) The federal government should consider race and sex in making government contracting decisions.
b) The federal government should continue affirmative action programs only if such programs do not include quotas.
c) The federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs.
X d) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the public sector.
X e) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the private sector.
f) The federal government should include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws.
g) Other

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

a) Support national standards and testing in reading and math.
X b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any publicly funded school.
X c) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
X 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 creation of more charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
X g) Give all federal education funding to states in the form of block grants and allow them to spend it as they see fit.
X h) Support voluntary teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
X i) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
j) Other
Yes 2) Do you support amending the U.S. Constitution to guarantee the right to religious expression and voluntary prayer in public places, including schools?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding America's environment and natural resources.

X a) Require the state to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses on privately owned land.
X b) Strengthen the Clean Water Act.
c) Change the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to limit the number of habitats eligible to be designated as endangered.
X d) Increase fees charged to ranchers who graze cattle on federal lands.
X e) Revise the 1872 mining law to increase the fees charged to mining companies using federal lands.
X f) Encourage development of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
g) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel powered engines, including cars and trucks.
h) Increase federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels to promote conservation and alternative fuel development.
i) Promote the selling of pollution credits between nations to encourage industries to decrease pollution levels.
j) Impose stricter national air quality standards.
k) Adhere to the United Nations treaty regarding global climate change.
X l) Strengthen the restrictions on clear-cutting on federal lands.
m) Other

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

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Bosnia/former Yugoslavia.2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the Middle East.3) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the United States-United Nations relationship.

X a) The U.S. should lift the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
X b) The U.S. should maintain a military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a certain deadline for withdrawal.
c) The U.S. should maintain a military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina without a certain deadline for withdrawal.
d) Other
a) The U.S. should resolve future disputes with Iraq through diplomatic means.
b) The U.S. should take unilateral military action if Iraq does not comply with all accepted UN resolutions.
X c) The U.S. should take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
d) The U.S. should not continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
e) Other
a) The U.S. should contribute more funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
b) The U.S. should contribute less funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
X c) The U.S. should participate in UN peacekeeping missions only when vital U.S. interests are involved.
d) The U.S. should not commit military troops to UN peacekeeping missions.
e) The U.S. should withdraw from the UN completely.
f) The U.S. should pay its debt to the United Nations.
g) Other
4) Should the U.S. have diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba?
5) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?

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 federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
c) Maintain federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
d) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
e) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens.
f) Favor allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms.
g) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.
h) Other

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

a) The federal government has no responsibility in providing health care.
b) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
c) Implement a government-financed, single-payer national health care system similar to that of Canada.
X d) Support health care strategies focused on prevention, including health education and natural medicines and remedies.
X e) Support legislation 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 f) Allow small business owners, the self-employed and workers whose employers do not provide health insurance to have the same deductibility for health costs as corporations and large employers.
X g) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts, which would be taxed if used for any purpose other than medical costs.
X h) Establish limits on the amount of damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
i) Allow states and local communities to use federal funds for needle-exchange programs to combat the spread of HIV.
X j) Classify nicotine as a drug and cigarettes as drug delivery devices, which should be regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
X k) Provide citizens age 55-65 the option of purchasing Medicare health coverage.

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

a) Decrease the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Increase the eligibility of legal immigrants for certain social programs (i.e. HUD housing, food stamps).
c) Require the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reduce to six months the time between applying for citizenship and taking the oath of allegiance.
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.
X f) Children of illegal immigrants, born in the United States, should not automatically receive U.S. citizenship.
X g) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
X h) Establish English as the official and recognized language of the United States government.
i) Other
The American people have consistently mentioned the decline of morals and ethics in America as a major problem facing the country. On an attached page, in fifty words or less, explain what you will do as a member of Congress to address this concern.

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

X a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage.
X b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which are managed by the government.
X c) Invest Social Security's assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of U.S. Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to finance the program in its current form.
X e) Invest a portion of the budget surplus into the Social Security trust fund.
f) Increase the minimum age that determines when retirees are able to receive full Social Security benefits.
g) Lower Social Security's annual cost-of-living increases.
h) Limit Social Security benefits based on recipients' other income and assets.
i) Require individuals to pay the Social Security tax on income above $68,400, which is currently exempt.
j) Other

1) Indicate the levels you support concerning taxes in the following categories. Select one number (level) only.Income Taxes:Other Tax Issues:

a) Retiree income over $40,000
b) Family income less than $25,000
c) Family income $25-75,000
d) Family income $75-150,000
e) Family income over $150,000
f) Alcohol taxes
g) Capital gains taxes
h) Charitable deductions
i) Child tax credit
j) Cigarette taxes
k) Corporate income taxes
l) Earned Income Tax Credit
m) Estate taxes
n) Medical expense deductions
o) Mortgage deductions
p) Other
q) Other
2) Do you support replacing the U.S. income tax structure with a flat income tax?
3) Do you support eliminating the Internal Revenue Service?
4) Do you support instituting a national sales tax?
Yes 5) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
Yes 6) Do you support requiring a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise taxes?
7) Other

If you support term limits, how many terms should each serve?

1) Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms which members of Congress can serve?
Senator (# of 6 yr. terms)
Representatives (# of 2 yr. terms)
Yes 1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Yes 2) Do you support broadening NAFTA to include other countries in the western hemisphere?
Yes 3) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
4) Do you support the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
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 "most favored nation" trading status with the United States?
Yes 7) Do you support granting the President "fast-track" authority?

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

X a) Provide tax incentives for companies to hire and train homeless people who want to work.
b) Increase funding of homeless shelters and low income housing projects.
X c) Increase funds for housing assistance for welfare recipients who need housing to get or keep a job.
X d) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to supplement the cost of an apartment.
X e) Continue to give states and local governments responsibility for welfare programs through block grants.
f) Eliminate federal funds for welfare programs at the federal, state or local levels.
X g) Maintain current welfare-to-work requirements in order for states to qualify for block grants.
h) Convert government-funded low-income housing projects into private housing, managed and owned by the residents.
X i) Require that unwed teenage mothers live with a parent or guardian (if possible) and attend school to receive benefits.
j) Other
Please explain what your two main legislative priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional government funding needed to implement these priorities.

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