Following is an overview of Kucinich’s policy positions and his voting record on key pieces of legislation during his years in Congress:
Abortion and the Rights of the Unborn: As a Roman Catholic, Kucinich was a longtime abortion foe -- a stance that distinguished him from his fellow Progressive Caucus members and most Democrats. During his first six years in Congress, he consistently voted for anti-abortion legislation sponsored by conservative Republicans. In February 2003, however, he announced that he was changing his position to pro-choice. When some analysts speculated that this shift was motivated by political expediency -- a desire to make himself more electable in the eyes of Democrats -- Kucinich explained his new position as a mere "expansion" of his earlier one. He attributed the shift to his fear that the Bush administration and the Republican Congress were moving toward overturning the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling.
In March 1997, July 1998, and April 2000, Kucinich voted in favor of legislation to ban (except where the mother’s safety might require it) the late-term abortion procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. In June 2003 and October 2003, he voted against such bans.
In September 1999 he voted in favor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which proposed to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman. In February 2004 he abstained from voting on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
In April 2005 he voted against a bill prohibiting the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without the consent of a parent or legal guardian. In December 2006 he voted NO on the Abortion Pain Bill, which sought to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child.
Marriage: In July 2006 Kucinich voted against a bill defining marriage strictly as a legal union between one man and one woman.
Education: In April 1998, Kucinich voted NO to the implementation of a voucher program designed to help low-income families send their children to private schools if they wished.
Illegal Immigration: In May 2004 Kucinich voted against a bill that would require hospitals to provide information on illegal aliens seeking emergency medical care. In February 2005 he voted against funding for “Real ID” legislation mandating higher standards for State drivers’ licenses and identification documents. In September 2006 he voted against a bill authorizing the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.
Kucinich is rated 0% by the U.S. Border Control, Americans for Immigration Control, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, signifying that his voting record reflects an open-borders stance.
Fossil Fuels: In February 2001, August 2001, November 2007, and July 2008 Kucinich voted to keep Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) closed to oil drilling. In October 2005 and June 2006, he voted against the construction of new oil refineries in the U.S.
Taxes: In March 2000 Kucinich voted NO on $46 billion in tax cuts for small businesses. In April 2001 he voted NO on eliminating the “death tax.” The following month, he voted against a tax-cut package of $958 billion over 10 years. In October 2001 he voted NO on a $99 billion economic stimulus package. In April 2002 he voted against making President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts permanent. In May 2004 he voted against making permanent an increase in the child tax credit. In December 2005 he voted against retaining reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends.
Patriot Act: In October 2001 Kucinich voted to pass the Patriot Act anti-terrorism legislation. However, in July 2005, December 2005, and March 2006, he voted against bills reauthorizing and extending the Act.
Medical Care: In September 2003 Kucinich said: “The pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies control our health care system. I've introduced legislation that provides for a totally new change; that has health care for people, not for profit. It's called Medicare For All. It's a single-payer program. And it's financed by a 7.7% tax paid by employers.”
Military Affairs: Consistent with his view that military actions are virtually never appropriate, Kucinich advocates deep cuts in defense spending. “The defense budget,” he says, “grows with more money for weapons systems to fight a cold war which ended, weapon systems in search of new enemies to create new wars. This has nothing to do with fighting terror. This has everything to do with fueling a military industrial machine with the treasure of our nation.”
Kucinich accused the Bush administration of seeking, through deployment of a space-based missile-defense system, “hegemony in space,... almost some kind of a 21st-century parody of the Spanish Armada, of yesteryear, seeking to rule the seas. Now it’s the United States trying to seize the highest ground in the universe, space. It is not our business to do so, [to use] space as the next junkyard for military contractors.” In 2002 Kucinich introduced a bill to ban all space-based defensive systems “capable of damaging or destroying an object [like a ballistic missile], whether in outer space, in the atmosphere, or on earth.”
In October 2002 Kucinich voted against the joint congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
In 2005 Kucinich joined the newly formed Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus (OICC), an entity dedicated to agitating for a swift withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Iraqi theater of war -- alleging that the American invasion in 2003 had been launched on a pretext of lies and deliberately manipulated intelligence.
In November 2006 he formally introduced articles of impeachment against Vice-President Dick Cheney that narrowly missed receiving a full House vote. Kucinich’s 18-page resolution charged that Cheney had “purposefully manipulated [pre-Iraq War] intelligence” and had “fabricated a threat of weapons of mass destruction.” The resolution attracted 21 Democratic cosponsors, including: Tammy Baldwin, Robert Brady, Yvette Clarke, William Lacy Clay, Steve Cohen, Keith Ellison, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Sheila Jackson Lee, Henry Johnson, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, James Moran, Donald Payne, Jan Schakowsky, Edolphus Towns, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Lynn Woolsey, and Albert Wynn.
On September 13, 2007, Kucinich spoke at the University of Hawaii, where he called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and their replacement by "peacekeepers" from Syria and Iran.
Military Commissions: In September 2006 Kucinich voted against a bill authorizing the President to establish military commissions to try detained enemy combatants in the war on terror.
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