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Tom McClintock'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.

Tom McClintock 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.

  • Voted in favor of HR.36 "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" (
  • Rated 100% by National Right to Life Committee. (
  • Signed a letter stating "As you know, the House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 1797, with bipartisan support on June 18, 2013. We implore you in the name of humanity to permit our colleagues in the Senate to have the opportunity to vote on this important measure as well." (
  • "We elected Ronald Reagan, who [...] reduced the tax and regulatory burdens that were crushing the economy, and produced one of the most prosperous periods in our nation's history." (
  • "America's Small Business Tax Relief Act: YES. Makes permanent a variety of small business tax deductions involving equipment and property purchases. In recent years, these provisions have to be renewed in 'Tax Extender' bills, creating enormous uncertainty from year to year." (
  • Signed a letter stating: "Let's get some things straight. A family of four in California earning $60,000 or less a year will pay no federal income taxes. That same family earning $90,000 will see their federal income taxes fall by 22 percent, a tax cut of over $1,000. In our districts the median family of four will see a tax cut of up to $2,500 and the average single individual will see a tax cut of $1,400 to $1,900. But California is an expensive place, especially in our cities, which is why a family of four earning $200,000 will see a tax cut of over $1,500. If you notice a trend, you're right. Just about everybody is getting a tax cut -- single or married, kids or no kids, rich or poor. Not only that, but businesses across the country are giving bonuses and increasing retirement funding for their employees while utility companies throughout the U.S. are lowering rates for their customers." (
  • Voted in favor of HR1 - Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. (
  • "Obviously, the current budget system is not working. We need a balanced budget amendment to constrain borrowing, while restoring budget procedures that will allow Congress to regain control of the purse strings. The explosion of mandatory spending -- mainly entitlements over which Congress lacks direct control -- are the crux of the problem, and I believe that two simple reforms in the budget process can go a long way to fixing it: placing mandatory spending programs under the same annual review as discretionary spending and forbidding appropriations not authorized by law." (
  • Rated 10% by Alliance for Retired Americans. (
  • "The Citizens United case protects the First Amendment right of any group of Americans to pool its resources to participate in the public policy debate." (
  • "First, the doctrine of qualified immunity as currently applied has no place in a nation ruled by law. For every right there must be a remedy, and qualified immunity prevents a remedy for those whose rights have been violated by officials holding a public trust. This reform should apply as much to the rogue cop who targets people because of their race as it does to IRS or Justice Department officials who target people because of their politics. Reforming qualified immunity simply holds public officials to the same standards as any other citizen exercising the same powers." (
  • Rated 100% by Center for Security Policy. (
  • "Our total defense spending this year is roughly $675 billion. Every 1 percent increase in interest rates adds roughly $200 billion to our annual interest costs. If capital markets believe we have no plan and no inclination to control our spending, they could soon begin demanding higher rates to compensate their added risk." (
  • "Reagan rightly said that defense is not a budget issue, we spend what we must to defend our nation. But we should not spend in excess of what is required either, for it is equally true that we cannot provide for the common defense if we cannot pay for it. Nations that fail to maintain an adequate defense do not survive very long, but neither to those that maintain excessive forces, overextend their military and bankrupt themselves." (
  • "I have fought the High Speed Rail since its inception. The cost figures for this project were absurd from the start -- currently $68 billion (more than $5,000 for every family in California) for a train that goes from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours longer than it takes to fly. Energy consumption for the HSR is estimated at 16,000 kilowatts of electricity per trip at a time of sky-rocketing electricity prices and when we can't guarantee enough electricity to keep your refrigerator running this summer. The sad fact is that we could add about ten times the passenger mile capacity of our transportation system simply by investing the same money into expansion of California's chronically congested highway system. I opposed this project in the legislature and, 17 years later, oppose the squandering of any federal funds on it in Congress." (
  • "I believe that we need to restore our highway taxes for our highways, and undertake the long-overdue modernization of our once vaunted highway system." (
  • "Those who dismiss this as 'tax cuts for wealthy corporations' don't understand the dirty little secret of corporate taxation: corporations don't pay corporate taxes -- they only collect them. The only people who pay corporate taxes are consumers (through higher prices), employees (through lower wages) and investors (through lower earnings -- think pensions and 401(k)'s). Lowering the corporate tax rate not only means restoring America's global competitiveness, it invariably translates into lower prices, higher wages and greater returns on savings and investments." (
  • Voted in favor of the HR 1 "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" (
  • "The CARES Act will much more than double the current deficit, which is already unprecedented and unsustainable. It threatens to destabilize the fiscal structure of our federal government, suppress future economic growth and create fiscal pressures that will take decades to unravel. But in order to deal with the future problems this bill creates, we must first deal with the immediate crisis by arresting the damage caused by recent actions that have laid waste to our prosperity and plunged our nation into a sudden and deep recession." (
  • "I spoke in favor of the Cares Act on the House floor. The bill set up the Paycheck Protection Program to provide aid to small businesses & relief checks to families & individuals." (
  • "The ONLY answer to a liquidity crisis is liquidity – easy access to capital through discounted loans and loan guarantees. This bill provides $529 billion of capital in this manner so that businesses can meet obligations without facing insolvency. This is critical to prevent permanent destruction of businesses that just a month ago were thriving." (
  • Voted in favor of HR 5 - Student Success Act. (
  • Rated 0% by the National Education Association. (
  • "States desperate to escape the bureaucratic nightmare of this act have been required to adhere to the Obama Administration’s one-size-fits-all Common Core curriculum in order to receive waivers. This bill SHOULD repeal the whole program and return the money to local schools to administer as they (and the parents) see fit. It doesn’t. It sets up several new federal education programs (albeit desirable ones – STEM and Civics), continues failed pre-school programs and locks them in for another four years." (
  • "We don't know how much all of these mandates waste because, as the GAO reports, ``There is currently no comprehensive inventory of which Federal agencies are implementing renewable energy related initiatives and the types of initiatives they are implementing.'' But outside estimates are as much as $10 billion for the Department of Defense last year, a figure that continues to grow. We are told this program is necessary to maintain flexibility. Well, shouldn't flexibility free us to get cheaper and more plentiful fuels rather than more expensive and more exotic ones?" (
  • "If we are serious about an all-of-the-above energy policy, we have to stop using taxpayer money to pick winners and losers in the energy industry and require every energy technology and every energy company to compete on its own merits." (
  • Voted in favor of H Amdt 1040 "Prohibits Implementation of Certain Climate Assessments" (
  • "Whether we utterly destroy our economy passing measures like 'cap and trade' or not, I think the planet's going to continue to warm and cool as it has for billions of years." (
  • Signed a letter stating "More importantly, we believe that the authority to limit carbon emissions, even if that were actually a necessity, rests in neither the Constitution nor the Clean Air Act but in the true free market of individual choices made by the American people." (
  • Rated 92% by National Rifle Association. (
  • "As a practical matter, weapons in the hands of honest and law-abiding citizens makes us all safer. Simply knowing that there are responsible citizens among us capable of responding with force is itself a powerful deterrent to crime." (
  • "Gun control laws are extremely effective at disarming law-abiding citizens, but they are extremely ineffective at disarming criminals and madmen." (
  • Voted in favor of HR.38 "Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017" (
  • "There is no substitute for its complete repeal." (
  • "Obamacare has caused premiums to skyrocket for millions of Americans and, at the same time, denied them the health plans and doctors that they had, they liked, and they were promised they could keep. It has caused the equivalent of 2.5 million American lost jobs, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. It is, in short, an unmitigated disaster that I have opposed every step of the way. There is no substitute for its complete repeal." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.1628 "American Health Care Act of 2017" (
  • "Benjamin Franklin warned that "Passion governs, and she never governs wisely." Exhibit A is HR 6201, the so-called "Families First Recovery Act." The House passed this bill literally minutes after it was introduced, with no analysis, no cost estimates, virtually no debate and in a general state of political panic." (
  • Voted against HR 6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act. (
  • "For the next few weeks, new cases of Covid-19 are expected to increase. But at some point, the infection rate will peak and decline. As it does, factories will reopen, employees will get back to work and life will return to normal. Once the public health crisis is passed, the House bill threatens to postpone the economic recovery by guaranteeing employees up to three months of paid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. In theory, the purpose is to self-quarantine, recuperate or care for family members who are idled or afflicted, but in reality, it opens the door for anyone who wants to game the system." (
  • "First, the reform must include measures to restore complete integrity to our legal immigration system. This includes full funding for construction of the border wall, mandatory use of e-verify for employment with strengthened penalties to employers who violate federal employment law, strengthening penalties for those illegally entering or staying in the country, strong sanctions against local and state sanctuary jurisdictions and implementation of entry/exit monitoring of visa stays." (
  • "I favor the strict enforcement of our current immigration law as a prerequisite for any other reform." (
  • "The principal problem with our immigration laws is that they are not being enforced. We already have a "pathway to citizenship" that is taken by millions of LEGAL immigrants who have obeyed our laws, respected our nation's sovereignty, waited patiently in line and done everything our nation has asked of them, while 15 million ILLEGAL immigrants attempt to cut in line in front of them." (
  • "I favor the strict enforcement of our current immigration law as a prerequisite for any other reform." (
  • "Second, DACA must not be made a permanent and open-ended policy, or we will encourage more parents to illegally bring their children to the United States. DACA should be ended immediately. Those currently enrolled in the program should be granted legal residency if they have no criminal convictions in their background, if they are not affiliated with criminal gangs and if they have not previously been subject to a deportation order. DACA residents who wish subsequently to apply for citizenship should not displace the applications of legal immigrants." (
  • Voted in favor of H.R.5759 "Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act of 2014" (
  • "Traditionally, America has not attacked another country unless it has attacked us first. When we have faced hostile powers in the past, we instead have surrounded them with superior force and waited them out. Usually, this has proven sufficient, and when it hasn't we have been prepared. When we have had war forced upon us and have placed our military in harm's way, Congress has declared war, as the Constitution requires, and we have backed our troops with the full might and fury of the nation and gotten it over with as quickly as possible." (
  • "I believe that the only way to stop them short of war is for that regime to collapse from within -- something that almost happened in 2009 and 2015 -- until Barack Obama blundered onto the scene first with his embrace of "Arab Spring" and then with his nuclear agreement with Iran." (
  • Rated 100% by Center for Security Policy. (
  • "I believe history will look to the Iran nuclear agreement as a mistake as significant as the Munich Accords were to World War II. It gave Iran’s Islamic-Fascist dictators $150 billion in frozen assets with which to pursue their military and terrorist activities and to finance their nuclear arms program." (
  • "Traditionally, America has not attacked another country unless it has attacked us first. When we have faced hostile powers in the past, we instead have surrounded them with superior force and waited them out. Usually, this has proven sufficient, and when it hasn't we have been prepared. When we have had war forced upon us and have placed our military in harm's way, Congress has declared war, as the Constitution requires, and we have backed our troops with the full might and fury of the nation and gotten it over with as quickly as possible." (
  • "[...] committing insufficient force in any conflict is self-defeating, and air strikes alone cannot win a war." (
  • "If it can be proven that the recent use of gas against the civilian population was initiated by the Assad regime, well, then supplying arms and material to the Syrian opposition, economic sanctions, and other nonmilitary responses are appropriate, but any military action against Syria first requires a congressional declaration, period." (
  • "Until we are prepared to put the full might and resources of our Nation behind a war against the Islamic State, we can at least act to contain IS advances, protect our people, and restore the martial strength and national will that will certainly be needed in the years ahead." (
  • "By that same token, President Trump has set the stage for rapid economic expansion by reducing the tax and regulatory burdens that were crushing our economy, and the economy is responding. What sense does it make to ruin that progress by replacing the taxes and regulations we have shed, with new ones?" (
  • Voted in favor of HR 702 - To Adapt to Changing Crude Oil Market Conditions. (
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.

1. Which of the following tax measures, if any, will you support if elected to the Congress in 1992?

X Reducing the capital gains tax rate on profits from the sale of stocks, bonds and real estate.
X Permitting tax-free withdrawals from IRAs in limited circumstances.
X Providing some kind of middle-class tax break.
Increasing the income taxes of those with incomes over $100,000.
X Providing a tax credit for first-time home buyers.
X Repealing luxury taxes on limited items.
X Providing a temporary investment tax credit.

Please evaluate the following general program areas and indicate the level of federal funding that you will support if you are elected to Congress.

Decrease Spending Health Care
Decrease Spending Unemployment
Decrease Spending AIDS Research
Decrease Spending Environment
Keep Spending The Same Defense
Keep Spending The Same Education
National Debt Payments
Keep Spending The Same Drugs

If you are elected to Congress, how will you confront the issue of the national debt?

X Reduce governmental defense spending.
X Reduce governmental domestic spending.
Raise personal income taxes for all citizens.
Raise personal income taxes for citizens with incomes over $100,000.
Raise corporate taxes.
Do nothing at the present time.

Which of the following measures designed to address the issue of unemployment do you support or oppose?

Strongly Oppose Extending unemployment compensation further.
Oppose Federal support of job retraining programs.
Oppose Federal grants to states for creating jobs in inner cities.
Strongly Support Mandating workfare for welfare recipients.
Strongly Support Minimizing governmental intervention and letting the market take a more natural course.
Support Federal investment in America's infrastructure.

Which of the following policies, if any, should be pursued by the federal government in the area of the United States/Japenese trade?

Restricting the overall volume of goods entering the United States from Japan.
Imposing tariffs on goods entering the United States from Japan.
Requiring Japan to eliminate its trade surplus with the United States over a period of five years.
Requiring reciprocal trade agreements between the United States and Japan based on equal dollar values.
X Imposing no restrictions on trade between the United States and Japan.

Which of the following defense proposals do you support or oppose?

Strongly Support Reduction of the number of American military troops.
Support Continued funding of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

Do you consider the fact that many Americans do not have health insurance to be a problem, and if so, please note which of the following proposals you favor?

Elimination of private insurance in favor of a program administered and paid for by the federal government and run by the states, similar to the health care system in Canada.
X Offering tax incentives to all small employers in return for guaranteed health insurance coverage of all employees and their families.
Implementation of a "play or pay" program where employers must enroll their employees and families in a basic health plan or contribute to a public fund that will provide health care for everyone without coverage.
Creation of a fund designed to provide health insurance to the unemployed and supported by additional tax levies on large employers.
X A system of tax credits and vouchers to provide health insurance for the working poor and people of moderate income.
No reform necessary at this time.

If elected to Congress, which of the following proposals designed to change our nations' public education system will you support?

Increased federal funding.
Increased state and local funding.
Improved teacher recruitment and training.
National curricula and standards.
Smaller classes.
Increased national testing.
X A "choice" or "vouchers" program.
No major changes are necessary at this time.

If elected to Congress, how will you confront the War on Drugs?"

Provide federal funds to educate people about the dangers of drugs.
Provide federal funds to help drug addicts overcome their addictions.
Work with foreign governments to stop the export of drugs to this country.
X Impose mandatory federal jail sentences for drug dealers.
Impose mandatory federal jail sentences for drug users.
Legalize the possession and use of drugs.

What is your opinion on the following environmental proposals?

Support Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.
Strongly Support Amending the Clean Water Act's section on wetlands to provide landowners with greater rights.
Oppose Reauthorization of The Endangered Species Act in its current form.

Please indicate which of the following positions you support or oppose.

Strongly Support Parental or spousal notification prior to permitting an abortion.
Oppose Abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
Oppose Federally funded abortions should be permitted.
Oppose Women should be able to get abortions if they want no matter what the reason.
Support Abortion should be legal only in limited circumstances, for example, when the life of the mother is endangered or in the case of rape or incest.

Which of the following anti-crime measures do you support or oppose?

Strongly Support Expansion of the number of federal crimes punishable by death.
Strongly Oppose A mandatory waiting period before the purchase of a handgun.
Oppose Increased federal spending for state and local police programs.
Strongly Oppose A ban on the sale and possession of assault-style semiautomatic weapons.
Strongly Support A limitation on habeas corpus appeals for death row inmates.

['Whare are your two top priorities if elected to the Congress?']

b. How will you finance (when necessary) each priority?
1. TAX AND SPENDING CUTS. The federal government is now consuming the largest percentage of family income since World War II, and has amassed a debt for which the interest alone consumes half of all income taxes. In Sacramento, I have led the fight for a dramatic reduction in state government expenditures, and intend to undertake the same effort in Washington. 2. REGULATORY RELEIF. In addition to the enormous drain on family and business incomes created by the federal government, oppressive regulations have sapped the productivity of the business secotr and destroyed our competitiveness as a nation. I want to see a freeze on all new regulations, and the elimination of existing restrictions which have proven to be uneconmical.

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