Issues

Opposing Trump
Jim has said the most important part of this year’s election is defeating Donald Trump. He has repeatedly said Trump is the worst President in U.S. history. Jim voted to impeach Donald Trump on December 18, 2019, making him only the third U.S. President ever to be formally impeached by the House of Representatives. Jim has spoken out against and opposed nearly all of the President’s policies including Trump’s: anti-immigrant agenda, rollbacks of Obama-era environmental policies, Planned Parenthood and Title X funding cuts, ban on transgender service members and removal of LGBTQ protections, crackdown on unions and collective bargaining, white nationalist agenda, SNAP cuts, attack on climate change, removal of oversight and Inspectors General, ignoring the rule of law, and more.

Economy & Jobs
We are fortunate to live in Nashville, which is brimming with creative people and opportunity and is home to one of the greatest immigrant communities in the nation. We need to keep our economy strong and continue investing in projects that create opportunities for everyone. Infrastructure is key to Nashville - and America’s - future. While Congress has been unable to agree on a long-term solution to properly fund our bridges and highways - many of which are in dire need of repair - Jim supports and has voted for funding of our critical infrastructure. Jim just voted for the largest infrastructure bill in America’s history - $1.5 trillion - which would fix our crumbling roads and bridges, modernize our schools, fund green new affordable housing, make water safer, and provide broadband to our neediest students. He also supports and voted to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. Nashville needs these jobs and investments.

Health Care
Jim believes health care is a fundamental human right and supports any solution that gets universal coverage. He taught health policy at Vanderbilt for more than two decades, and worked closely with President Obama in developing his Affordable Care Act. Jim proudly voted for the ACA - the largest expansion of health coverage in the U.S. in the last half century. Jim believes the fastest way to get universal health care right away is for Tennessee to expand Medicaid. Governor Lee has refused to implement a key part of the law that would further cover more than a quarter million Tennesseans and is rejecting $1 billion a year in free money in the process.  The U.S Supreme court has upheld the health care law, and Jim continues to ask: “Morally, is it right to oppose Tennesseans having access to life-saving medical care?” Jim has repeatedly voted to protect and improve the ACA, and just voted for a bill that would expand subsidies to make ACA insurance more affordable for more people. 

Environment
Jim believes in climate change and that human action is negatively impacting the environment. He was a leader on this issue well before others - he authored the 1990 cap-and-trade policy that regulated sulfur dioxide emissions and curbed acid rain. He has a strong environmental record with high lifetime ratings from major environmental organizations. Jim is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal, the 100% Clean Economy Act, which implements many of the Green New Deal’s initiatives, and the Climate Action Now Act. Jim opposes any new oil and gas leases in sensitive environmental areas. He has opposed every Trump rollback of Obama-era environmental protections. Jim supports a carbon tax, repealing tax breaks and subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry, and reinvesting in alternative energy development. 

Budget
Jim believes that taming the deficit is an important issue facing America. Offering and generating support for his own bipartisan budget, Jim has been called “brave” by USA Today, for taking on the tough choices that lay ahead. And when Congress still refuses to deal with our fiscal challenges, Jim thinks they should not get paid! His bill “No Budget No Pay” became the law of the land in 2013, it was temporary but it worked. Jim has voted for trillions of dollars in emergency relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic to help struggling families, businesses, musicians, independent and gig economy workers, schools, and state and local governments. 

Civil Rights
Jim believes that our cherished rights as Americans are for everyone. Voting rights, marriage equality, and the rights of women to make their own health decisions are among the issues that are key to progress in our state and our country.

Jim has been fighting for racial justice and equity throughout his tenure in Congress and has a 100% rating from the Leadership Council on Civil Rights and the NAACP. He is fighting to end systemic racism, which means not just changes in the criminal justice system and policing, but in things like health care, employment, education, and voting rights. Jim has said the Black Lives Matter Movement is one of those hinge moments in American history and the hinge is swinging in the right direction - toward more equality, more justice, and more fairness.
 
Jim believes policing must be restructured and reformed. He cosponsored and voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which mandates national standards on police departments across the country and bans chokeholds, no-knock warrants, qualified immunity for police, and police officers committing murder in one district then getting a job in another district.
 
Jim supports our four amazing HBCUs - Fisk, American Baptist, Meharry, and TSU - and has supported permanent HBCU funding, expanded Pell Grants, and student loan forgiveness to make it easier for kids to get an education.
 
Tennessee used to be one of the best but now is one of the worst, most anti-voting states in America. Jim has been leading the fight against our Secretary of State for years to stop voter disenfranchisement and make it easier to vote. 

One of Jim’s top priorities has been expanding Medicaid. The Tennessee legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, and get health care to more than a quarter million Tennesseans. This is one of the easiest things we can do to get to universal health coverage in Tennessee. We shouldn’t have needed any reminders that health outcomes, life expectancy, infant mortality vary drastically across our Nashville community, but COVID-19 has highlighted those. Jim has also been fighting to address these racial health disparities in our communities.

LGBTQ+ Rights
Jim supports the LGBTQ+ community and cosponsored and voted for the Equality Act. He was one of the first members of Congress to oppose President Trump’s ban on transgender service members. He has supported efforts to stop discrimination against LGBTQ people in housing and credit lending markets and prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity in adoption and foster care determinations. Jim has also joined his colleagues in several high profile court cases fighting for equal rights (Masterpiece Cakeshop, Gavin Grimm, and Obergefell). Jim also voted for the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Women’s Issues
Jim supports women and gender equality, as evidenced by his 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the American Association for University Women. Most importantly, Jim supports women's reproductive choice and believes that the dated Hyde Amendment should be repealed. He has fought against President Trump and Republicans' repeated efforts to cut funding from Planned Parenthood and the Title X program, which serves predominantly low-income women of color. Jim has a strong record of voting against the domestic and global gag rules, which are harmful to women's health both in the U.S. and abroad. He has long-supported VAWA, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Equal Rights Amendment, rights for pregnant women in the workplace, and expanded family leave. Jim also took a leading role in reforming sexual harassment policies in Congress and requested an investigation by the Government Accountability Office into the allegations of sexual assault and harassment at an NNSA facility in Nevada. 

Defense & Veterans
Respected for his knowledge and objectivity, Jim is regarded as a “defense intellectual” in Congress. Jim is currently Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which oversees our space assets and nuclear arsenal. Jim supports our veterans and has a long track record of cutting through the red tape to help veterans get the benefits they have earned. He was one of the first in Congress to call for an investigation of long waiting lists and rogue employees at veterans’ hospitals.