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Joe Courtney'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.

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Joe Courtney 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.

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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 2020.

  • Signed a letter stating: "Many people are fearful about how your presidency will affect women and girls. You have promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. You have also nominated officials with unabashedly anti-woman records to serve in cabinet posts with power to affect women's health and day-to-day lives. Because of their fears about what lies ahead, women are already taking action to protect themselves against possible negative outcomes, such as by rushing to their doctors to obtain long-acting birth control before your inauguration." (
  • Rated 0% by National Right to Life Committee. (
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America. (
  • "It's no surprise that the Republicans are introducing their massive tax overhaul late on a Friday because this entire process has been one secret, backroom deal after another," said Courtney. "They want to get this bill passed before the holiday break because they need to get it done before the American people know what hit them. This bill is one gigantic gift for corporations and the wealthiest Americans in exchange for next to nothing for average middle-class and working families. Passage of this bill will create a new structural deficit that is a prelude to an assault on Social Security and Medicare, which Speaker Ryan has brazenly promised." (
  • "This bill is an attack on Connecticut's middle-class. Connecticut is already among the top three donor states, contributing far more in taxes than we get back in federal spending. This flawed tax plan asks Connecticut's middle class taxpayers to pay even more in order to subsidize tax cuts for corporations, the wealthy, and taxpayers in other parts of the country. Many Connecticut families will see a tax increase under this plan because it would eliminate vital deductions like the personal exemption, the medical expense deduction, the student loan interest deduction, the property casualty loss deduction, the adoption expenses deduction, and it guts the state and local tax deduction, to name a few. This plan will add $1.5 trillion to our debt, and Republican leaders have already signaled that they will use cuts to vital programs like Medicare and Social Security to make up the difference, which would only add insult to injury for Connecticut residents. The bottom line is that the Republican tax bill is a direct assault on Connecticut's middle class and we are urging Republican leadership to stop this devastating plan from moving forward and to engage in an open, bipartisan process so that we can achieve tax reform that works for Connecticut families," (
  • "#SocialSecurity is a program paid into over the course of a beneficiary’s lifetime, not an entitlement. Cuts to this bedrock program would be robbing American taxpayers of income they have earned, & that is why I am proud to join @RepJohnLarson & the #ExpandSocialSecurity caucus." (
  • "Eastern Connecticut's seniors face a number of challenges today, from rising costs for health care and day-to-day costs of living, to threats to their retirement security and peace of mind. I am fighting every day in Congress to support our seniors and retirees through efforts to strengthen programs like Social Security and Medicare, reduce their costs, strengthen and protect their benefits, and ensure they have the support they need." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Each of these changes would have dramatic implications for our nation's campaign finance system, widening the channels of influence for wealthy and well-connected campaign donors and further exacerbating the flood of undisclosed and unaccountable "secret money" into our political system.[2] Yet, the 115th Congress has not held one hearing, commissioned a single study, nor investigated in any serious way the ramifications of these ill-conceived policy riders. Put simply, it is irresponsible for Congress to advance these campaign finance changes without due deliberation and public debate." (
  • "The political system has increasingly been focused on catering to the wealthy and the powerful--to special interests rather the public's interests -- and that has come at the great expense to American public," said Congressman Courtney. "There are a litany of concerns wearing away at Americans' confidence in the federal government, and it's critical that Congress take action to restore the promise of our nation's democracy. That's why the new House Majority made the For the People Act a top priority in this new session of Congress. H.R. 1 fights back against the dominance of dark money in politics, creates greater accountability for public officials, makes voting easier and more accessible, and makes long overdue investments to protect the integrity of our elections. The bill has gone through the appropriate legislative process and has been the subject of hearings at multiple committees, and has support from a host of labor, conservation, faith, and justice organizations across the country. Voting to advance this legislation was a vote for the American people and for the future of our democracy, and it's appropriate that this bill was made a top priority for this new Congress." (
  • "Now is not the time to be timid in our response to racial injustice. This week, the House voted and passed the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act, marking an important step towards a more just and equitable police presence across the country." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. (
  • "I was proud to join my colleagues yesterday in voting on the passage of a spending package that authorizes key investments in a range of priorities for our #Navy & armed forces, and for our region’s defense manufacturing sector. Read more:" (
  • "This year’s defense budget increase is great news for #Connecticut manufacturing!" (
  • "Connecticut's transportation infrastructure is among the oldest in the nation, and faces a number of challenges to meet the transportation needs of today and in the future. Improving the condition of our infrastructure is tied directly to our economy by investing in jobs, reducing congestion and ensuring that both people and goods can get to where they need to go." (
  • "Budget should reflect our vision for America’s future—Dem budget invests in infrastructure, education, financial security for families." (
  • Voted in favor of HR22 - Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. (
  • "#TaxDay is a hard reminder that the President's tax plan was geared towards benefiting CEOs & slashing corporate tax rates." (
  • "It's no surprise that the Republicans are introducing their massive tax overhaul late on a Friday because this entire process has been one secret, backroom deal after another," said Courtney. "They want to get this bill passed before the holiday break because they need to get it done before the American people know what hit them. This bill is one gigantic gift for corporations and the wealthiest Americans in exchange for next to nothing for average middle-class and working families. Passage of this bill will create a new structural deficit that is a prelude to an assault on Social Security and Medicare, which Speaker Ryan has brazenly promised." (
  • "We urge you to oppose such corporate tax breaks, which have little to do with pandemic relief and much to do with temporarily boosting the stock market and benefiting the wealthiest among us. Whether in the form of tax breaks, loans, or other federal support, any assistance to corporations must at the very least come with adequate guardrails to ensure workers benefit instead of executives and shareholders. However, our focus must be on advancing more efficient relief measures that put assistance directly into the hands of the families that need it most." (
  • "The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life for everyone, but people in eastern Connecticut need to know that more help is on the way," said Rep. Courtney. "In the past few days I've talked to hundreds of eastern Connecticut parents, workers, small business owners and sole proprietors, front-line health care workers, and others who have had their lives completely altered, and who need more resources to help weather this storm. These are the people who are going to win the battle against COVID-19 -- and it's Congress's job to get to work, and put more resources in their toolbox. The CARES Act will put critical resources where they're needed most right now -- with America's health care workers and hospitals, our local communities, and directly in the hands of American families, workers, and small businesses." (
  • "The Emergency Coronavirus package unveiled last night is a much improved plan that now directs critical resources to America's health care workers and hospitals, state governments, unemployed workers and small employers, who are feeling the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak. As soon as this revised agreement is drafted up for a vote in the Senate and House, both parties should cooperate to speed passage without any delay." (
  • "Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation. It has been 13 long years since ESEA was rewritten. As we have heard from prior speakers, there are many problems that have been identified with No Child Left Behind, which we have heard from across the board in terms of parents, educators, administrators, and in terms of the need to update and revise this legislation." (
  • "It has been 13 long years since ESEA has been rewritten, and I am proud to support this bipartisan effort to reform and update this law," Courtney said. "The world has changed dramatically since No Child Left Behind was passed, and the needs of our children, our educators, and our workforce have evolved significantly in this time. I am particularly pleased that measure will upgrade our efforts to align K-12 education with the in-demand skills in science, technology engineering and math that is needed to keep pace with the needs of our country." (
  • Rated 100% by the National Education Association. (
  • "Advance a comprehensive energy agenda that lowers prices and invests in the development of alternate and renewable energy technologies." (
  • "#EarthDay 2017 is more important than ever. Time for Congress to support science, Paris climate agreement and renewable energy." (
  • "Southeastern Connecticut has long been a center of our region's maritime economy, and today's announcement represents a commitment to realize the potential of the New London State Pier -- and the jobs and growth that will go along with it," said Congressman Courtney. "The positive and long lasting effects of an investment like this -- which will create new jobs and increase activity at the port -- will be felt across our entire state for years to come. Not only does this investment prepare the State Pier up for future success by upgrading its infrastructure and heavy-lift capabilities, it also creates jobs in the immediate future, and keeps our state on track towards expanding the use of renewable energy." (
  • "The United States is the second largest carbon emitter in the world, and the Paris Climate Accord proved that our nation, and the global community as a whole, has recognized that a zero-emissions, clean energy economy is the only path forward for a sustainable, sound future. In Connecticut, we've taken this to heart: over half of all electric power generation jobs are in the solar sector--more than natural gas or any other fuel. These jobs are not only going to dominate our economy in the future -- they are already a major part of our economy today. Turning our back on the Paris Climate Accord leaves our nation without a seat at the table as the world determines climate and clean energy policies, raises troubling questions about whether our nation stands by its commitments, and undermines states like Connecticut that have longstanding commitments to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Congress cannot afford to maintain the status quo. The IPCC report found that climate change is occurring earlier and more rapidly than expected and that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. If we maintain the status quo, we only have 12 years before we will reach a global warming of 1.5°C. According to the NCA, the dominant cause is human activities, particularly greenhouse gas emissions. We already see the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather events, deadly wildfires, rising sea levels, and diminishing Arctic sea ice. Inaction and underinvestment will increase the risk of long-lasting or irreversible change." (
  • "We have known for years that more than ninety-percent of Americans support common sense measures like a mandatory background check on all gun purchases. If you buy a gun at a Walmart, you receive a background check, but go online or walk into a gun show and all bets are off. Moreover, I cannot fathom what the rationale is for allowing people who are banned from flying on airplanes because they are suspected terrorists to continue buying firearms just like any other person." (
  • "Reps. Joe Courtney (CT-2), Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), John B. Larson (CT-1),) Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), and Jim Himes (CT-4) today called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to hold a vote this week on legislation to prevent terrorists from purchasing guns and to expand background checks to all commercial gun sales. The delegation released the following statement: "Congress's inaction on protecting Americans and preventing gun violence is shameful, heartless, and irresponsible. The American people overwhelmingly support keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists and other dangerous individuals, yet the House has not held a single vote on gun violence prevention legislation. "The House cannot remain silent. Speaker Ryan must hold a vote this week on these commonsense reforms, and we should not adjourn for recess until he does. At the very least, a vote will force lawmakers who oppose these bipartisan bills to go on the record and explain to the American people why they won't take action to stop terrorists from buying guns." (
  • Rated 0% by the National Rifle Association. (
  • "With the demise of "repeal" which was structured from day 1 as a hyper partisan Republican exercise, it is time Congress listens to what the American people have been saying loud and clear for several years. We need to work together to fix the weaknesses in the ACA rather than butcher it." (
  • "I've heard loud and clear from people across eastern Connecticut," said Congressman Courtney, "from patient advocacy groups, to healthcare professionals, to individuals who rely on the Affordable Care Act for coverage -- and they do not want to turn the clock back on access to healthcare for folks with pre-existing conditions. Families from every corner of the District oppose this lawsuit that would put them back in the world of medical bankruptcy. Today's resolution, which I voted in favor of, affirms the House Counsel's authority to step in where the Trump Administration has failed to defend the law against this existential threat. Congress has a responsibility uphold the law, and to stand up for Americans and their health care -- and I am proud to do so today." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (
  • "I will stand up for the @USCoastGuard to protect their budget from cuts to pay for @POTUS Trump's border wall." (
  • "The decision to risk the futures of these immigrants in order to gain leverage for a border wall was a callous one and certainly isn't demonstrative of fair and effective leadership. #DACA" (
  • "President Trump's move to rescind DACA is a misguided attempt at punishing children for the actions of their parents," said Courtney. "The president's decision to remove temporary protection for DREAMers will lead to the indiscriminate deportation of some of the brightest and most talented students in our country. The vast majority of the people covered by DACA have lived in the United States since they were in grade school and have earned their place in this country the same way as any other American. As an original cosponsor of the American Hope Act that will codify DACA and protect these young people, I will work to reverse this harmful decision by the president." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "We respectfully request that you continue Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and engage in a vigorous legal defense of DACA in light of the renewed threat of litigation. Along with continuing to accept requests for DACA, we ask that you direct your administration to: (a) oppose any efforts to challenge DACA in the ongoing Texas v. United States litigation;' (b) ask the court to dismiss the complaint in United States v. Texas; and (c) refuse any settlement that would end DACA." (
  • "Despite repeated confirmation that Iran is following the nuclear deal from UN weapons inspectors on the ground, to the President's own Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and our closest allies, President Trump has recklessly decided to pull the U.S. out of the agreement," said Courtney. "This isolates our nation at the very moment we should be rallying international support to denuclearize North Korea. I will support every option possible in Congress to reconstruct and strengthen the progress we have already made toward keeping nuclear weapons out of Iran's hands. Unfortunately, the President has seriously undermined that effort today." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Increase Economic Pressure on North Korea Through the Imposition and Effective Enforcement of Sanctions ... Enhance U.S. Diplomatic Efforsts, Especially Crisis Management Channels" (
  • "Sadly, it appears that none of the efforts the U.S. and Europe have made so far in Syria have produced the desired results: a transition away from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and the return of peace and stability. In fact, with the introduction of Russian military equipment and personnel, and with increasing Western military efforts directed at both ISIL and Assad-regime forces, there is every possibility that violence will escalate. This would continue the devastation of the Syrian populace, worsen the refugee crisis, and risk an increasing probability of expanded military conflict in the region. For these reasons, it is time to devote ourselves to a negotiated peace, and work with allies, including surrounding Arab states that have a vested interest in the security and stability of the region, moving forward with both a peace plan and a coordinated assault against ISIL." (
  • "In my opinion, any future Defense Secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined, as General MacArthur so delicately put it." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 5430 - United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act. (
  • ".@POTUS’s trade war is hurting US ag, and dairy farmers have already lost over $1 billion as a result. This week I sent a letter to @USDA urging more compensation for our farmers who have seen staggering losses as a result of this administration’s actions." (
  • Rated 100% by Public Citizen. (
  • "This is not simply a trade issue, it has now morphed into an existential issue," said Julius Angelini, co-owner of Angelini Wine, Ltd. "I have been an importer and wholesaler for over 30 years and, like many, these proposed tariffs could put me out of business. It has been proven that tariffs hit the American consumer, American businesses and the American economy far more than the country whose items tariffed. It's time for the adults in the room to reach a workable solution." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "American auto workers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, vehicle service providers, and millions of consumers depend on a healthy and competitive U.S. auto industry. As you know, this vital sector employs nearly four percent of our total private sector workforce and is a key engine that powers our economy. However, if tariffs were to be implemented, new vehicle prices will likely increase, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs." (

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