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Patrick Leahy'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.

Patrick Leahy 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.

  • "The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act would restore Congress' intent by prohibiting any company from denying their workers specific health coverage, including birth control, as required to be covered by Federal law." (
  • Rated 100% by NARAL Pro-Choice America (
  • "The easiest and best thing to do is to remove the Hyde restriction so survivors can make their own health care decisions." (
  • "Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the Paying a Fair Share Act, which would apply the so-called "Buffett Rule" to the U.S. Tax Code. This commonsense bill would ensure that taxpayers at the top of the economic ladder pay at least the same tax rate paid by hardworking middle-class families." (
  • "Over the past decade, multi-millionaires have benefited the most from the Bush-era tax cuts that I opposed. Today a large proportion of millionaires pay a smaller percentage of their income than do a large share of America’s working families." (
  • "In addition to driving up our prison population, mandatory minimum penalties can lead to terribly unjust results in individual cases. This is why a large majority of judges oppose mandatory minimum sentences." (
  • "Over the last several decades politicians have added more and more mandatory minimum sentences to our criminal laws because they make for a good 'tough on crime' message. But the truth is they do not make our communities safer and they are breaking the bank." (
  • "Investing in infrastructure improvements in a rural state like Vermont makes sense anytime, and it is doubly useful as we work to jumpstart our economy. Having robust and reliable transportation systems will go a long way towards attracting tourists and businesses to the state, which in turn fuels Vermont's economy." (
  • Voted in favor of S 782 "Economic Development Revitalization Act" (
  • "Even more troubling, the Bush economic policies did not trickle down to help those most in need – especially during the recent downturn in our economy. Unfortunately, this Republican plan offered nothing but more of the same. That is why I supported the Democratic bill that ensures the typical middle-income family of four will not see their taxes raised by $2200 next year." (
  • Voted in favor of S 3412 "Middle Class Tax Cut Act" (
  • "Senator Leahy voted against final passage of the No Child Left Behind Act because he believed that this approach would have a negative impact on the state of Vermont. He recognized the high quality system of standards and assessments that Vermont had established prior to No Child Left Behind." (
  • "No Child Left Behind. Senator Leahy opposed then-President Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation because he saw that its one-size-fits-all approach failed to meet the needs of Vermont's students and teachers." (
  • "These facts are clear: The Keystone pipeline significantly worsens the problem of carbon pollution, and it is not in our national interest. The Presidential Permit should be denied, not fast-tracked by Congress here today." (
  • Voted against S 1 "A Bill to Approve the Keystone Pipeline" (
  • "Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) have announced $629,966 in grants to support efficient and renewable energy initiatives in the Green Mountain State." (
  • "The benefits are clear: wind energy has propelled a sustainable and domestic energy source, increased jobs for Americans, and strengthened our domestic energy security." (
  • "Vermont has a proud conservation legacy, yet we are still faced with environmental threats on a national level. Over the last few years, we have witnessed attempts in Congress and the Administration to roll back our environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act." (
  • "It is time to set a limit on carbon pollution that causes climate change and assaults the public health. The President's proposal will allow the United States to take further important steps toward the environmental quality and good jobs that will come with a cleaner and safer energy future." (
  • Rated 0% by Gun Owners of America (
  • Rated 100% by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence (
  • "Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, 4 months after the horrific day in Newtown where 20 children and 6 educators were senselessly murdered, the Senate is posed to make further progress toward the goal of reducing gun violence. It is a goal that all Americans, regardless of political party or philosophy, should share." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 3590 "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (
  • "Today, millions of Americans have access to health care because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed into law by President Obama in 2010. With this law, Senator Leahy and Congress acted to bolster the nation's social safety net, protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens." (
  • "A meaningful reform plan must reduce family visa backlogs, define a path that undocumented immigrants must follow to come into lawful status, and address the need for immigrant workers in the future." (
  • "Mr. President, one, I wish to applaud the senior Senator from Illinois for his statement, and I will say publicly on the floor of the Senate what I have said to him privately, what I have said to him in our leadership meetings, and what I have said to him in our caucuses, that he is the champion of the DREAM Act. That act--when it finally passes, will give these DREAMers a better life […]." (
  • "Mr. President, today I am particularly proud of my home State, as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the passage of Vermont's law guaranteeing marriage equality." (
  • "Vermont was the first state in the nation to fully recognize same-sex marriage. Vermonters understand the importance of marriage equality, and the right to have those commitments recognized by their government." (
  • "Senator Leahy believes that we should refocus our military resources on a limited counter-terrorism strategy against international terrorist groups, and has continued to support the Obama administration's shift to this policy through the drawdown of the U.S. presence at every available opportunity." (
  • "There are times when the use of military force is necessary, but diplomacy and development can be a cost-effective investment to avoid the far more costly and dangerous deployment of U.S. troops." (
  • "'We will oppose including Social Security cuts for future or current beneficiaries in any deficit reduction package,' the senators said in a letter circulated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the founder of the Senate Defending Social Security Caucus." (
  • "I said there is a problem. Of course, when he ran for the House of Representatives years ago, he said Social Security is about to go bankrupt in a few years. It didn't. […] He's said he wants privatization and very large cuts for the working middle class. I think that's the wrong way to start off." (
  • Signed a letter stating "Mr. President: These are tough times for our country. With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we urge you not to propose cuts in your budget to Social Security […]." (

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