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Susan Collins' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. Senate (ME) - Sr, Republican

Key


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.

Susan Collins has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2014 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests.

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 2014.

  • This debate should not be about one particular method of abortion but, rather, about the larger question of under what circumstances should late-term or post-viability abortions be legally available. Let me be clear from the outset that I am strongly opposed not just to partial birth abortions, but to all late-term abortions. I agree they should be banned. Such a ban, however, must have an exception for those rare cases when it is necessary to save the life of the woman or to protect her physical health from grievous harm. Fortunately, late-term abortions are extremely rare. In my state, according to the Maine Department of Human Services, just five late term abortions have been performed in the last 20 years. (votesmart.org)
  • “I have said that multimillionaires and billionaires can pay more to help us deal with our dangerous deficit, and I have voted for surtaxes on the very wealthy in the past." (www.collins.senate.gov)
  • "As the ranking member for the Transportation and Housing Subcommittee, I worked with Chairman Murray to negotiate a bipartisan Transportation and Housing bill. While this bill makes prudent spending reductions--it is $3.2 billion below the original Senate bill and nearly $1 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level--it continues to invest in important transportation and housing programs." (votesmart.org)
  • "It is critical that Congress continue to work to bring spending under control. Our national debt now stands at an almost incomprehensible $17.2 trillion. This sum, along with rising interest payments, is our legacy to future generations and simply must be responsibly addressed. This agreement will save $23 billion over the next 10 years and help prevent government shutdowns over the next 2 years." (votesmart.org)
  • " Senator Collins commissioned the Maine No Child Left Behind task force to examine issues facing Maine under the NCLB law and Maine Learning Results. Based on the task force's recommendations, Senators Collins and Snowe co-authored the No Child Left Behind Flexibility and Improvements Act. The bill reforms NCLB by giving states, school districts, and schools greater control and flexibility in implementing and executing the law." (votesmart.org)
  • On March 22, 2012, you directed federal agencies to accelerate approval of vital energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline. We strongly urge you to direct the State Department to accelerate the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and quickly complete the National Interest Determination. (votesmart.org)
  • We are writing to request that you approve the Keystone XL Pipeline permit application without further delay. In 2011, Secretary Clinton said a decision would come before the end of 2011. On March 14, 2013, you told the Senate Republican caucus that you would make a decision on the Presidential Permit before the end of the year. We are still waiting on that decision. (votesmart.org)
  • "In 2011, Senator Collins voted against a significant attempt to roll back the Clean Air Act, which would have prohibited the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions forever..." (votesmart.org)
  • When buying from a federally licensed firearms dealer, it is prohibited to buy a firearm on behalf of or for another person. This is consistent with current law that requires a person buying from a dealer to certify that they are the ``actual buyer.'' It is important to note, however, that the bill also expressly exempts transactions like gifts and transfers that occur in raffles and auctions. The bill is supported by numerous organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the FBI Agents Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, the National District Attorneys Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum. The bill is supported by numerous organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the FBI Agents Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, the National District Attorneys Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum. (votesmart.org)
  • As a result of these extensive discussions, I have decided to support the bipartisan compromise authored by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey. Their bipartisan effort would strengthen the background check system without in any way infringing on our Second Amendment rights. I would note their proposal represents a vast improvement over the provisions currently in the bill. (votesmart.org)
  • Today Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) applauded the House's passage of the Save American Workers Act of 2014, legislation similar to their bill, the Forty Hours is Full Time Act of 2013, which would improve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Save American Workers Act of 2014 was introduced by Congressman Todd Young (IN-09) and passed the House with bipartisan support. (votesmart.org)
  • U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King this week introduced bipartisan legislation to help ensure volunteer firefighters and other first responders can continue protecting communities that rely on them. The Protect Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, which is also sponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Mark Begich (D-AK) would amend the Affordable Care Act to make it clear that volunteer emergency service workers are not required to be counted as full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) for purposes of healthcare coverage. (votesmart.org)
  • "There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States today...The presence of millions of people living here illegally is irrefutable evidence that our immigration and border security systems are broken and in need of substantial reform." (votesmart.org)
  • "DOMA was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, before I was elected to Congress. Since that time, in 2004 and 2006, I twice voted against amendments to the United States Constitution that would have banned same-sex marriages by pre-empting state laws. I did so because states have traditionally handled family law. I agree with the Court's decision that the Federal government should not discriminate against couples married in states that choose to legalize same-sex marriages." (votesmart.org)
  • The bicameral, bipartisan legislation would provide the same-sex domestic partners of federal employees access to all federal employee benefits current federal employee spouses receive, no matter what state they live in or whether or not they have access to legal marriagein their home state. (votesmart.org)
  • "ISIS has grown in size, strength, and sophistication and has demonstrated the ability to move quickly to seize territory in both Iraq and Syria, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Its brutal murders of two American journalists and its training of radicalized Islamists from our country and Western Europe demonstrate beyond any doubt that it will continue to seek to harm our citizens and disrupt our way of life. The President is correct that ISIS poses a growing threat to the United States, and I support many elements of his long overdue strategy to address this threat." (votesmart.org)
  • "The importance of Social Security to low-income retirees cannot be overstated. Social Security benefits represent 85 percent of the income of low-income retirees." (votesmart.org)
This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.
The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

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

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester.
d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Dilation and extraction or "partial-birth" abortion procedures should be legal.
g) Medicare, Medicaid, and federal subsidies should be prohibited from being used on abortion procedures.
I am pro-choice. I believe late-term abortions should be banned, except in those rare cases when it is necessary to save the life of a woman or to protect her physical health from grievous harm.

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

Greatly Decrease a) Agriculture
Slightly Increase b) Arts
Slightly Increase c) Defense
Greatly Increase d) Education
Slightly Increase e) Environment
Slightly Increase f) FEMA
Slightly Increase g) Homeland security
Maintain Status h) International aid
Slightly Increase i) Law enforcement (Federal)
Slightly Increase j) Law enforcement (State)
Greatly Increase k) Medical research
Greatly Increase l) National parks
Slightly Increase m) Public health services
Greatly Increase n) Scientific research
Maintain Status o) Space exploration programs
Greatly Increase p) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Slightly Decrease q) United Nations
Maintain Status r) Welfare
Slightly Increase a) Armed forces personnel training
Slightly Increase b) Intelligence operations
Slightly Increase c) Military hardware
Slightly Increase d) Modernization of weaponry and equipment
Maintain Status e) National missile defense
Slightly Increase f) Pay for active duty personnel
Greatly Increase g) Programs to improve troop retention rates
Slightly Increase h) Research and development of new weapons
Greatly Increase i) Troop and equipment readiness
Eliminate a) Less than $12,000
Slightly Decrease b) $12,001-$40,000
Slightly Decrease c) $40,001-$100,000
Maintain Status d) $100,001-$180,000
Maintain Status e) $180,001-$350,000
f) $350,001 and above
Maintain Status a) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Status b) Capital gains taxes
Slightly Increase c) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Status d) Corporate taxes
Maintain Status e) Gasoline taxes
Slightly Decrease f) Inheritance taxes
Slightly Increase a) Charitable contribution deduction
Slightly Increase b) Child tax credit
Slightly Increase c) Earned income tax credit
Slightly Increase d) Medical expense deduction
Maintain Status e) Mortgage deduction
Slightly Increase f) Student loan credit
4) Do you support the permanent repeal of the federal estate tax?
5) Do you support requiring the federal budget to be balanced each year?
The estate tax is scheduled to be phased-out entirely by 2010, but reverts to previous rates as high as 55 percent in 2011. To avoid this, I support a proposal by Senator Kyl that would tie the estate tax to the capital gains rate (with a higher rate for large estates) and provide an exemption level of $5 million with full stepped-up basis. I support paygo rules that would help lead to a balanced budget.

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

a) Support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
b) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
c) Allow unregulated soft money campaign contributions to political parties or committees.
d) Remove all contribution limits on federal campaigns and parties.
X e) Support prohibiting ads containing candidates' name that are paid for by third parties from airing 60 days before a primary and 30 days before a general federal election.
f) Support instant run-off voting (IRV).
g) Support designating Election Day as a national holiday.
X h) Support giving the President the power of the line item veto for items concerning appropriations.
X i) Support limiting the President's use of signing statements in order to prevent an alternative interpretation of the bill.
X j) Support a federal shield law to protect reporter-source privilege.
I support reform of the dysfunctional Presidential public financing system. I am a cosponsor of the Presidential Funding Act (S. 2412), which would update the public financing system for presidential candidates by creating new incentives for these candidates to opt in to the system and remain competitive even against candidates who forgo it.

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

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

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

a) Support the federal government funding universal pre-K programs.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
X d) Allow teachers and professionals to receive federal funding to establish charter or magnet schools.
X e) Increase funding for the Pell Grant program.
X f) Decrease interest rates of Stafford Loans.
X g) Support federal tax incentives to help families save for college.
X h) Ban university financial aid officers from owning stock in or accepting gifts from student loan lenders.
X i) Require universities to disclose financial relationships with lenders.
j) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
k) Eliminate all federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
While I support the worthy goals of No Child Left Behind, issues related to the current statute's burdensome requirements must be addressed. I believe that common sense reforms are need in order to provide greater local control to Maine and other states. For example, we must provide greater flexibility in the ways that schools can demonstrate student progress in meeting state education standards.

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

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

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

X a) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
X b) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
X c) Support increased development of traditional energy resources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil).
X d) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
X e) Strengthen fuel efficiency standards on all gasoline and diesel-powered engines, including cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles.
f) Support domestic oil exploration in areas that are currently restricted.
X g) Encourage further development and use of alternative fuels.
h) Support the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
i) Support research and development of nuclear reactors as an alternative energy source.
X j) Allow energy producers to trade pollution credits under "cap and trade" laws.
X k) Support international mandatory emission targets to limit global warming.
X l) Support international voluntary emission targets to limit global warming.
I support the development of traditional energy sources and nuclear reactors as an energy source if the local community supports it and the proper environmental protections are put into place to deal with safety and waste issues. I support the use of celluosic ethanol, but not corn-based ethanol.

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

X a) Allow individuals to carry concealed guns.
b) Ban the sale, ownership or possession of handguns except by law enforcement and other government officials.
Maintain Status c) Enforcement of existing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
Maintain Status d) Restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
I have consistently defended the Second Amendment and oppose legislation that would restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. I grew up in northern Maine where responsible gun ownership is a part of the heritage of most families. Denying the rights of law-abiding citizens will not change the behavior of those intent on using firearms for criminal purposes. Our laws should be directed toward those who misuse firearms, not at law-abiding citizens, and I will continue to support the rights of responsible gun owners.

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

X a) Implement a universal healthcare program to guarantee coverage to all Americans, regardless of income.
X b) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts.
X c) Allow the importation of prescription drugs into the United States.
X d) Support expanding prescription drug coverage under Medicare.
X e) Offer tax credits to individuals and small businesses to offset the cost of insurance coverage.
X f) Support expanding child healthcare programs.
g) Providing healthcare is not a responsibility of the federal government.
I believe that we must build on our current public programs and private health care system to achieve the goal of affordable, quality health coverage for every American.

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

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

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

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

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

Yes a) Do you support using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists when ordinary civilian courts are deemed inappropriate or impractical?
b) Should law enforcement agencies have greater discretion to monitor domestic communications, to prevent future terrorist attacks?
c) Should the United States hold foreign states accountable for terrorists who operate in their country?
Yes d) Should the federal government increase funding to states and cities for homeland security?
e) Do you support pre-emptive military strikes against countries deemed to be a threat to United States national security?
No f) Do you support the creation of a federal identification card system?
No g) Do you support long-term use of National Guard troops to supplement the armed forces in assignments overseas?
Yes h) Should the United States expand its missile defense shield?
Whether or not to use a pre-emptive military strike against another country would have to depend on the circumstances of the threat being posed against the United States and whether that threat is imminent. The National Guard is a vital part of the total force, but they should not be used for long deployments.

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

a) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
No b) Do you support a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman?
Yes c) Do you support federal funding for research on existing embryonic stem cell lines?
Yes d) Do you support federal funding to create lines of stem cells from new embryos?
Yes e) Should the federal government consider race and gender in government contracting decisions?
Yes f) Should the federal government continue affirmative action programs?
Undecided g) Should the federal government regulate internet gambling?
It is my belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Principles of federalism dictate, however, that the responsibility to define marriage belongs to the states. I support affirmative action prgrams to provide greater opportunities, but do not support numerical quotas.

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

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts that they manage themselves.
b) Ensure the viability of Social Security by increasing the payroll tax.
c) Decrease benefits paid to retirees.
d) Support proportional increases of Social Security benefits based on the cost of living index.
e) Raise the retirement age for individual eligibility to receive full Social Security benefits.
I am a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill to create a task force to study solutions to the Medicare and Social Security problems facing our country.

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

X a) Require welfare recipients to spend at least 40 hours a week in a combination of work and training programs.
X b) Continue to give states and local governments flexibility in and responsibility for welfare programs through federal block grants.
X c) Support housing assistance for welfare recipients.
d) Abolish all federal welfare programs.
e) Other or expanded principles
There is far too much partisan gridlock in Congress. We need to put parisanship aside and get back to governing. My legislative priorities include: energy independence and cost; access to affordable healthcare; improving education; strengthening homeland and national security; reforming government; and protecting the environment.

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