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Jeb Hensarling's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)


Official Position: Candidate addressed this issue directly by taking the Political Courage Test.

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, but Vote Smart inferred this issue based on the candidate's public record, including statements, voting record, and special interest group endorsements.

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue, or we could not infer an answer for this candidate despite exhaustive research of their public record.

Additional Information: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position, from their answers or Vote Smart's research.

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

Jeb Hensarling has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart and voters like you.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

For Presidential and Congressional candidates who refuse to provide voters with their positions, Vote Smart has researched their public records to determine their likely responses. These issue positions are from 2016.

  • "As a matter of morality, history, science, reason, and most of all faith, I can come to no other conclusion but that every human life begins at conception and every life is worthy of protection." (
  • "I believe that all unborn children have a right to life." (
  • "Today – on the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision – thousands of citizens took a stand for the rights of the unborn and celebrate the sanctity of life by participating in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. and at events across the country. I was proud to stand with them and with my fellow Representatives and vote to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion." (
  • Signed a pledge stating "[...] I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (
  • "Our tax code is not fair; it's too complicated; it contains too many loopholes and provisions for special interests; and taxes are still too high – forcing hardworking Americans to pay for a Washington government that is too big, too powerful, and too intrusive." (
  • Despite exhaustive research, Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
  • "Quite simply, our federal government taxes too much, borrows too much, and spends too much." (
  • "We have now witnessed both the greatest fiscal and monetary stimulus programs in our nation's history, and the results could not be more disappointing." (
  • Signed a pledge stating "ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." (
  • "The American people want and need fundamental tax reform, and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure we have a tax code that is fairer, flatter, simpler, and more competitive." (
  • "I believe that when it comes to our children's education, decisions should be made by parents, teachers, and school board members -- not Washington bureaucrats. Parents ought to have a choice for how they can improve the quality of education their kids receive." (
  • "Instead of embracing this opportunity, the President has used burdensome regulations to wage a war on coal, block the full development of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and waste taxpayer dollars on failed "green" energy projects such as Solyndra." (
  • "Even though he's tried to avoid it for years, President Obama finally has a choice to make regarding Keystone. He can sign this bipartisan bill into law and demonstrate he is willing to work with Congress to advance commonsense, pro-growth policies." (
  • Voted in favor of S.1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone Pipeline" (
  • "Instead of embracing this opportunity, the President has used burdensome regulations to wage a war on coal, block the full development of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and waste taxpayer dollars on failed 'green' energy projects such as Solyndra." (
  • "Proposals I have helped to author would allow greater exploration and production of American energy in both arctic Alaska and from our off-shore resources, promote alternative and renewable sources of energy, and encourage energy conservation." (
  • "I have cosponsored 'all-of-the-above' energy legislation to increase the production of all kinds of American energy, including conventional, nuclear, renewable, and alternative sources of energy." (
  • "The EPA has been relentlessly conducting a war on carbon-based energy, issuing regulation after regulation that will significantly impact our economy, destroy jobs, and raise energy prices for hardworking Americans already struggling to make ends meet – all while refusing to make public the scientific data it used in crafting its regulations." (
  • Signed a pledge stating "I, Jeb Hensarling pledge to the taxpayers of the state of Texas and to the American people that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in federal government revenue." (
  • "Whether one uses a firearm for hunting, sport shooting, personal protection, or another lawful reason, the Second Amendment clearly protects our individual right to keep and bear arms. As a gun owner, a hunter, and an advocate of our Constitutional rights, I will be vigilant in monitoring the process of bills that may be harmful to the rights of law-abiding gun owners." (
  • Rated 90% by the Gun Owners of America (
  • "As a life member of the National Rifle Association, Jeb is a firm believer in our right to bear arms." (
  • "The Supreme Court's disappointing and regrettable decision to uphold Obamacare does not change the fact that this law increases health care costs, cuts more than $500 billion from Medicare, forces people who like their current private insurance into exchanges, threatens quality of care, and assaults religious freedom while also making it harder for small businesses to create jobs." (
  • "[…] I believe that it's the will of the people in America [to repeal Obamacare]. I know it's certainly the will of the majority of people in the 5th Congressional district of Texas that I represent. It's not going to be the last time that we vote on this because the people's will must be done." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 596 "Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care-Related Provisions in the Health Care and Reconciliation Act of 2010" (
  • "Granting amnesty for illegal immigrants who entered the United States by breaking our laws is absolutely unacceptable. This will only encourage further illegal entry into our nation and is a slap in the face to immigrants who came to America legally and worked hard to earn their citizenship […]" (
  • "I oppose any form of amnesty, as there are people that have waited 5, 10, or even 15 years to come here legally." (
  • "I have always believed in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman." (
  • "As a matter of faith, I believe in traditional marriage between one man and one woman. As a matter of faith, I also believe that all men are created by God and worthy of love and respect, even when they disagree. In light of this decision, we must ensure that we protect religious freedom and conscience." (
  • "I have always believed in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. For the sake of our society, our children and our democracy, marriage must be protected from unelected, activist judges who seek to redefine it." (
  • "I have consistently supported our troops and their families, and I believe our nation must remain the strongest and the best equipped in the world. We must also stand by our global allies who fight the terrorist threat shared by freedom-loving nations." (
  • "While the president's plan for United States military intervention in Syria is not the answer, I remain hopeful for a peaceful resolution to the humanitarian tragedy there." (
  • Business Insider "As recently as February, Hensarling was publicly advocating partial privatization of and cuts to Social Security and Medicare." (
  • Rated 2% by Alliance for Retired Americans (
This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.
The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

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

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should 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.
X f) Eliminate public funding for abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
X g) Other or expanded principles
I am a pro-life candidate. In my heart and in my head I believe that life begins at conception and deserves protection. I oppose partial birth abortions, abortions for sex selections and favor parental notification.

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

a) Agricultural
b) Arts
c) Defense
d) Education
e) Environmental
f) International Aid
g) Law Enforcement
h) Medical Research
i) National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA)
j) National Parks
k) Public Health Services
l) Scientific Research
m) Terrorism Prevention
n) Transportation and Highway Infrastructure
o) Welfare
The budget shouldn't be allowed to grow faster than the family budget. My priorities include national and homeland defense, law enforcement and keeping our promises to seniors (Social Security, Medicare).

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

a) Armed Forces personnel training
b) Covert intelligence operations
c) Military hardware
d) Pay for active duty personnel
e) National Missile Defense Program
f) Programs to improve military retention rates
g) Research and development of new weapons
h) Troop and equipment readiness
Relative to the historic norms of the Clinton era, I support greatly increasing defense spending where necessary to win the war on terrorism; thus I support the Bush defense budget.

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

a) Less than $25,000
b) $25,000 - $75,000
c) $75,000 - $150,000
d) Over $150,000
e) Other or expanded categories
f) Over $40, 000
g) Other or expanded categories
a) Alcohol taxes
b) Capital gains taxes
c) Cigarette taxes
d) Corporate taxes
e) Gasoline taxes
f) Inheritance taxes
g) Other or expanded categories
a) Charitable deductions
b) Medical expense deductions
c) Mortgage deductions
d) Child tax credit
e) Earned income tax credit
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?
Yes 4) Other or expanded principles
The Bush tax relief for families should be made permanant. We should then move to a flat tax that would be fair, promote economic growth and lower the tax burden on families

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

a) Support public taxpayer funding for congressional candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
X b) Increase the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns.
c) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
d) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
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.
g) Require full disclosure of funding sources of issue advocacy commercials which appear within 60 days of an election.
X 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.
X j) Require that unions give members the option of not having membership dues used for political purposes.
No 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?
No m) Do you support voting on-line?
X n) Other or expanded principles
I believe in full and instantaneous disclosure of all campaign contributions. Contribution limits should be removed since they provide an unfair advantage to self-funded candidates.

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.
g) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
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.
j) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
k) Support programs that provide job training and placement services for at-risk youth.
X l) Other or expanded principles
The best way to combat crime is to target resources against violent, repeat offenders and require them to serve their full sentences. We must then address the root causes of much of our crime: fatherlessness, faithlessness, and lack of educational opportunities.

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.
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."
X g) Other or expanded principles
You cannot have a free society and a chemically addicted society. We must be vigilant in waging the war on drugs.

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

a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any publicly-funded school.
c) Allow parents to use vouchers (equal opportunity scholarships) to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
d) Support charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
e) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
f) Support teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
g) Increase funding for computers and computer training in public schools.
h) Increase funding for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
X i) Eliminate restrictions on federal education funding, giving educators or local school districts more flexibility to design and implement their programs.
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.
X l) Other or expanded principles
Education decisions are best left to parents and local school boards. The federal government should provide no mandates, but instead promote accountability, highlight best practices and incent innovation.

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

a) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
X 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.
d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for their employees.
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.
g) Increase the federal minimum wage.
h) Considering race and gender in government contracting decisions is appropriate for the federal government.
i) Include sexual orientation in federal anti-discrimination laws.
j) Continue federal affirmative action programs.
k) Discontinue federal affirmative action programs.
X l) Other or expanded principles
To promote full employment, the government must provide lower tax rates and far fewer regulations. I favor affirmative action programs that root out discrimination and promote equal opportunity. I oppose programs that treat people based on skin color and gender rather than by character.

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

a) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
b) Strengthen the regulation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.
X 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.
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.
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.
X j) Provide states and local communities with more flexibility to address their respective environmental problems.
X k) Other or expanded principles
In a dangerous world, we must become less dependant upon foreign oil. Environmental protection is best promoted through development of new technologies, ensuring pollutors pay, using objective science, respecting private property and promoting economic growth.

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

a) Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.
X b) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
e) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
f) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks on guns.
g) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
h) Require a license for gun possession.
i) Raise the minimum age for ownership of handguns from 18 to 21.
X j) Other or expanded principles
I support 2nd Amendment rights as guaranteed in the Constitution. I believe with over 20,000 gun control laws on the books, we should concentrate on enforcement, not the creation of new laws. We should focus resources on crime prevention and allow every woman and man to protect themselves.

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.
d) Support a Patient's Bill of Rights which includes the right to sue when claims are denied.
X 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.
X 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.
X i) Prohibit the procedure of cloning human embryos.
X j) Other or expanded principles
I support the promotion of Medical Savings Accounts for all Americans to help ensure affordability, choice, portability, privacy and quality in health care. I am also dedicated to saving and preserving Medicare.

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

a) Decrease the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country.
X 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.
d) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
e) Establish English as the official U.S. language.
X f) Collect fingerprint data from all U.S. visa applicants which would be accessible to all federal immigration-related agencies.
g) Allow legalization for certain illegal immigrants working in the U.S.
X h) Other or expanded principles
We must gain control of our borders immediately and crack down on illegal immigration. I favor legal immigration for those who love freedom and who want to work.

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.
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
International aid should be granted sparingly and only if it serves a vital U.S. interest.

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.
d) The U.S. should support the formation of a Palestinian state.
X e) Other or expanded principles
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?
Yes 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
Yes 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
I believe that Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders and it is a vital U.S. interest to help ensure this right.
We should never surrender one iota of national soverignty to the U.N., nor fund the activity of the U.N. that does not serve our national interests.

International Trade

Yes 1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Yes 2) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes 3) Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Yes 4) Do you support China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization?
Yes 5) 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?
Undecided 7) Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?
X 8) Other or expanded principles
I support free trade, i.e. the right of all Americans to buy and sell in international markets. The trade embargo on Cuba will depend on Castro's cooperation in our war against terrorism.

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
I believe our law enforcement officers and intelligence agents will need additional funding, training and tools to effectively pursue the war on terror. The federal government must take the lead in funding these efforts.

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

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage themselves.
X b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts managed by private firms contracted by the government.
c) 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.
X g) Other or expanded principles
I support guaranteeing Seniors all the benefits promised to them by Social Security. To do this, the rate of return must be increased through the power of investments.

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.
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.
X 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.
e) Restore food stamp programs to legal immigrants.
X 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.
X i) Direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based, or other non-profit organizations.
j) Provide states with additional funding for Medicaid programs to alleviate increasing state budget deficits.
X k) Other or expanded principles
Congress should strengthen welfare-to-work requirements. Since major welfare reforms were instituted in 1996, welfare claims have plummeted. Many welfare programs could be better - administered by non-gov't organizations. Our greatest welfare program is a growing economy, world-class education, and a virtuous citizenry.
My priorities in Congress will be to 1) support President Bush in the war on terrorism by strengthening our national defense and homeland security; 2) to get our economy moving again by making the Bush tax relief permanent and controlling federal spending and excess regulation; 3) to guarantee that our Seniors receive all of the benefits promised under Social Security and Medicare; and 4) to improve our nation's health care system.

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