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

Barbara Lee 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.

  • "Congresswoman Lee is a staunch defender of women's fundamental reproductive rights, and has helped lead the fight to overturn the global gag rule and fully fund the United Nations Family Planning fund." (
  • "Madam Speaker, of course I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 36, which is nothing more than another ideological attack on women's reproductive rights. This bill would institute a nationwide ban on abortion after 20 weeks with no exceptions to protect women's health." (
  • "The Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made it clear: women have the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions. Period. We should be pushing for comprehensive sex education and women-friendly policies, not abstinence-based programs that are completely ineffective at encouraging participants to abstain from sex. It doesn't work." (
  • "The simple truth is that millions of Americans will be devastated by the Republicans' billionaire-first tax plan. Republicans in Congress have rubber-stamped President Trump's greedy, un-American agenda - an agenda that does nothing but betray the American people." (
  • "House Republicans just passed the greatest tax scam in American history. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is not tax reform, it's a crooked scheme that steals from the hard-earned pay checks of low and middle income families just to line the pockets of millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations. Independent economic experts have weighed in and one thing is certain: this bill only benefits the rich." (
  • "In addition, Congresswoman Lee believes that targeted tax cuts for middle and low income Americans is a prudent investment." (
  • "Health care is a fundamental human right. I’m fighting for #MedicareForAll – because PATIENTS, not profits, should come first." (
  • "At a time when senior poverty is on the rise, median senior income is $24,500, and many of our older constituents are still struggling from the loss of retirement savings and the erosion of defined benefit plans, Congress should not pass a budget that includes the harmful cuts included in the Roadmap for America's Future and subsequent Republican budgets. We call on you to reverse course and work with us to adopt budget policies that provide security for today's seniors and for the generations of seniors to come." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "The irresponsible tax cuts you are pursuing will explode the federal deficit, violating the principle, enshrined in the 2010 Statutory PAYGO law, that tax cuts should be paid for. Under that law, your unpaid-for tax cuts, if enacted, will trigger automatic, across-the board cuts to Medicare, the farm safety net, and other programs. Given the lack of bipartisanship to date in your effort to provide massive tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class while adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit, it will be your responsibility to deal with these consequences." (
  • "The war on poverty in America is far from over, and success will continue to prove elusive as long as this President and his Republican allies in Congress insist on disinvesting from key anti-poverty programs and continue to threaten Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid." (
  • Rated 100% by Alliance for Retired Americans. (
  • "In Congress, Congresswoman Lee is dedicated to preserving and expanding Social Security and Medicare, programs that seniors have invested in over their entire lives." (
  • Voted in Favor of H.R. 1 - For the People Act of 2019. (
  • 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. As we know all too well, Americans trust in government is nearing an all-time low.[3] Driving this historic mistrust is the public's belief that concentrated money in politics has undue influence on our political system. In fact, a recent survey found that Americans -- from across the political spectrum -- identified money in politics as the number one cause for dysfunction in Washington, D.C. [4] In the face of this reality, it would be unconscionable to exploit the must-pass FY18 omnibus spending agreement to further erode our nation's campaign finance system." (
  • "Under the Trump administration and a Republican-led Congress, our democracy has been co-opted by special interests and corroded by foreign interference. H.R. 1 will restore Americans' faith in our democratic system by updating our voting laws, reigning in the influence of big money, and rooting out corruption in Washington." (
  • "We need to make sure that police officers are held accountable. No one is above the law. And as this video shows, that can`t -- we cannot have immunity as part of the case that would allow these officers to get off the hook." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. (
  • "Military expenditures currently represent over half of all discretionary monies in our federal budget, and this funding continues to increase each year. We must decrease the militarization of our budget, and increase investment in humanitarian priorities." (
  • "With such urgent needs at home, Congress should use its power to reign in military spending and use that for building ladders of opportunity here at home." (
  • "Today, more than 45 million of our fellow Americans are living in poverty. This agreement will push more people over the brink. With $300 billion in cuts to SNAP that is our food assistance $431 billion in cuts to Medicare, and a half trillion in cuts to Medicaid, struggling families will continue to fall further and further behind." (
  • "By tripling the child care tax credit, making two years of community college tuition free and investing in early childhood education, the President's Budget Proposal fights for working families while ensuring a highly trained and educated 21st century workforce. It also ends senseless sequester austerity cuts, invests in our infrastructure and increases revenue by enacting comprehensive immigration reform." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.22 "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" (
  • "Now that Republicans have passed their tax scam to line the pockets of the 1%, they're eyeing to take away critical safety nets like Medicare and Social Security to pay for the debt that they will cause." (
  • "At a time when everyday Americans are struggling to make ends meet, this bill would lead to 13 million more uninsured Americans, make it easier for wealthy corporations to ship jobs overseas, run up the federal deficit by $2.2 trillion and trigger spending cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans control the House and the Senate -- they could be using their majority to help the American people. Instead, they have chosen to rubber-stamp President Trump's greedy, un-American agenda and pass bills that do nothing except enrich corporate cronies and the billionaire donor class. This is a sad day for the American people." (
  • "Last night, Senate Republicans voted to pass the GOP's tax scam bill that gives trillions away to the top 1 percent. I reject this outright selfish attempt by Republicans to rob working people in this country." (
  • "With their tax bill passing the House and Senate, Republicans just gave the top 1% an extravagant early Christmas gift." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "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." (
  • "I am proud to support this important bill, which will bring urgently needed relief to families and small businesses all across this country. During this time of stress and uncertainty, everyone needs to know that the government will support them without hesitation. This latest piece of legislation is an essential step in our ongoing effort to act decisively on behalf of the American people and ensure workers and families have the resources they need today and throughout this unprecedented crisis." (
  • "We need to help families and workers keep food on the table and roofs over their heads in this crisis. Proud to support @RepJayapal’s Paycheck Guarantee Act to do just that. If we can afford to bail out Wall Street and the 1%, we can help families." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Congress established PPP to ensure that small businesses and nonprofits could secure the financing they need to survive mandated closures and business reductions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic without laying off their employees. The successful and effective administration of this program is critical for the millions of impacted business owners and their workers." (
  • Rated 100% by National Education Association. (
  • "Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Conference Report for S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bill which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) through 2020 and replaces the misguided No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy." (
  • "In Congress, she is working to combat and prevent climate change and she has long opposed taxpayer-funded giveaways to Big Oil and other major polluters. Instead, she has advocated for increased investments in clean, renewable energy technologies. Congresswoman Lee is fighting to ensure that the good-paying jobs created by the growing green energy sector are open to all, especially people of color, women and veterans." (
  • "[...] she is committed to investing in truly clean and renewable alternative energy sources that will create new jobs, reduce American dependence on oil and fossil fuels, and create a greener future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (
  • Signed a letter stating "We are writing on behalf of the 80,000 Americans employed by the U.S. wind industry, representing jobs in all fifty states, to ask that you promptly extend the current law Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Wind now provides power to over 15 million American homes, as well as to many thousands of farms and businesses." (
  • "The president's reported decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement is yet another reckless abdication of American leadership on the global stage by this Administration. Over 150 countries have committed to combatting the effects of climate change in meaningful and unprecedented ways. This decision was no doubt informed by extremists in the White House like Steve Bannon whose lies about the Paris Agreement have been widely disproven and discredited by legal experts and scientists." (
  • "[...] she is committed to investing in truly clean and renewable alternative energy sources that will create new jobs, reduce American dependence on oil and fossil fuels, and create a greener future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions." (
  • "Strengthening the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act: Stewardship of the environment equals stewardship of our communities. Congresswoman Lee will continue to work to protect the quality of the air we breathe or the water we drink, and to ensure that any polluter damaging our environment is not let off the hook." (
  • Rated 100% by Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. (
  • "As we mourn this senseless tragedy, Congress must do more to prevent these horrific acts of gun violence. No one should have to fear walking into a place of worship, a school, a theater, or a workplace. Enough is enough -- we must get weapons of war off our streets and keep our communities safe." (
  • "We need action and we need it now. We need to pass, of course, the bipartisan King-Thompson legislation that strengthens background checks and keeps guns out of the wrong hands. And, yes, we need to reinstitute a ban on assault weapons to get these weapons of war out of our communities. We need to close the gun show loophole once and for all. Passing our assistant leader Congressman Clyburn's legislation to close the 3-day loophole to require background checks to be completed before you can buy a gun, that legislation is long overdue. That is common sense." (
  • "In addition to supporting the Affordable Care Act, Barbara Lee continues to champion a host of other health-related initiatives like education and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STD), preserving a woman's rights to choose and strengthening global health systems." (
  • "Today marks the one year anniversary of when Trump and House Republicans gleefully celebrated voting to strip away health care for millions of Americans and hike premiums. But thanks to your efforts, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act failed in the Senate. However, Republicans continue to sabotage it at every turn. I won’t give up fighting to ensure that health care is a human right." (
  • "Our families around the country need paid leave, nutrition assistance, unemployment insurance, and more as the #coronavirus crisis continues. Trump needs to sign this bill NOW and put #FamiliesFirst. #ForThePeople." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (
  • "Many of our country’s "essential" workers are often forced to work for low pay, without legal protections or benefits. If you're an essential worker, you should be earning a living wage and have access to paid leave. #PeopleOverProfits." (
  • "Thank you Oakland City Council for passing an ordinance that guarantees sick leave for many essential workers in Oakland. Paid sick leave should be the norm for all workers in the U.S., not just during crisis." (
  • "Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 4760. This is an anti-immigrant bill, plain and simple: It fails to provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers; it dismantles family immigration; it ends the important diversity visa lottery program; it funds $30 billion for Trump's border wall; and it fails to address the horrible zero- tolerance policy." (
  • "This bill will also prohibit misappropriation of funds for Trump's border wall, provides no additional funding for Border Patrol Agents, Border Patrol checkpoints, or border barriers and prohibits funding transfers to ICE from removing sponsors of unaccompanied children based on information provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as part of the sponsor's application to accept custody of the child." (
  • Signed a letter stating "We believe it is undeniable that detention in a secure facility is detrimental to mothers and children and is not reflective of our values as a Nation. Children require special protections and should not be laced in jail-like settings." (
  • "According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 60 percent of these children qualify for international protections. While border security is important, this bill further militarizes the border. That is unacceptable. Nor does this bill address the root causes that contribute to these children being forced to flee violence and abuse." (
  • "This budget allocates outrageous amounts of money for defense spending and does nothing to assure the 800,000 Dreamers awaiting an answer that they will be protected from the Trump Administration's attempts to deport them. There is no more time to wait, we need to pass the Dream Act immediately." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Absent credible and accurate information confirming a material breach, we are concerned that withholding certification of Iran's compliance or walking away from the JCPOA would harm our alliances, embolden Iran, and threaten U.S. national security. We are further concerned that non-certification based on justificiations beyond the scope of the nuclear agreement would threaten global non-proliferation efforts and send exactly the wrong message to North Korea at the moment we are trying to diplomatically defuse that crisis." (
  • "As someone who played a key role in building Congressional support for the JCPOA, it is disappointing to find ourselves dangerously close to a military confrontation with Iran because of the administration's disastrous decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran deal on May 8, 2018. We need serious and sustained diplomatic engagement to remove us from the path to war and on to a path of peace and diplomacy, and that's what this critical resolution calls for." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "As the previous administrations dating back to that of Richard Nixon determined, any military option could precipitate an unacceptable counter-reaction from Pyongyang, which today could immediately threaten the lives of as many as a third of the South Korean population, put nearly 30,000 U.S. service members and over 100,000 other U.S. citizens residing in South Korea in grave danger, and also threaten our other regional allies such as Japan. Moreover, the Pentagon reported this year that only through a costly, bloody ground invasion would the United States be able to secure all of North Korea's nuclear weapons." (
  • "The path forward is clear: We have to come back to Congress, debate, and vote on an authorization for continued involvement in Syria. It's our constitutional duty." (
  • "As the sole vote against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001, I continue to stand against granting any president a blank check for war without congressional approval. As Trump and Pompeo continue to provoke a war with Iran, it's more important than ever that Congress re-assert its Constitutional authority on war and peace and make clear that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFS cannot be used as the legal basis for the use of force against Iran." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a "quick" and "easy" military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq." (
  • "We cannot afford another costly and destabilizing war in the Middle East, and this language prevents any funds from being used for military force against Iran unless Congress passes a specific authorization." (
  • "Currently, Congresswoman Lee is co-leading The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act (H.R. 664) to lift the travel ban and Free Trade with Cuba Act (H.R. 403) to end the failed embargo." (
  • "I am proud to have worked with my colleagues these past five years to oppose the TPP and the disproportionate impact it would have on communities of color. Rest assured, we will continue to hold President Trump accountable for fair trade deals that create good-paying jobs, uphold strong environmental protections, and ensure continued access to life-saving drugs." (
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.
Pro-choice Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
I strongly support a women's constitutionally protected right to chose and Roe v. Wade.
Yes In order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
Yes In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
I support fairness in taxation in order to help fund vital investments in our nation's future. We should close loop holes for Big Oil and ensure that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. I have authored legislation to audit the Pentagon and believe there is substantial savings we could realize from eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at the Penatgon. There is also billions in savings that we could achieve with common sense cuts to outdated weapons and equipment - all without harming our national security.
Yes Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
No Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yes Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
No Do you support lowering taxes as a way of promoting growth in the economy?
Yes Do you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Yes Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
This approach is flawed, and depends on the specifics.
No Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
No Do you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
Yes Do you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
Yes Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
I have supported cap and trade legislation and continue to do so.
Yes Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
No Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
No Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
Yes Do you support same-sex marriage?
No Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
No Should the U.S use military force in order to prevent governments hostile to the United States from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is critical to U.S. national security and promotes a more peaceful Middle East. I strongly support the Administration's diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program and fully support efforts to deter the pursuit of nuclear weapons.
No Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?

SpendingIndicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.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.

Slightly Decrease a) Agriculture
Slightly Increase b) Arts
Greatly Decrease c) Defense
Greatly Increase d) Education
Greatly Increase e) Environment
Slightly Increase f) Homeland Security
Greatly Increase g) International aid
Greatly Increase h) Medical Research
Greatly Increase i) Scientific Research
Slightly Increase j) Space exploration
Greatly Increase k) United Nations
Maintain Status l) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories
Slightly Increase a) Capital gains taxes
Slightly Increase b) Corporate taxes
Greatly Increase c) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Greatly Increase d) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Slightly Increase e) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Slightly Decrease f) Income taxes (low-income families)
Slightly Decrease g) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Greatly Increase h) Income taxes (high-income families)
Slightly Increase i) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Status j) Payroll taxes
k) Other or expanded categories
Top priorities include: raising the minimum wage and creating jobs; tackling poverty and income inequality; enacting comprehensive immigration reform; addressing the real threat of climate change; working to help provide a world class education is available to all.

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