Senator Cornyn

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John’s Guiding Principles

John believes that all Americans have a right to know what their elected representatives are doing on their behalf. Below is an overview of some of the guiding principles that help John make decisions on behalf of the 30 million Texans he represents in the U.S. Senate.

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The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

John is a lifelong outdoorsman. He takes every available opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and to hunt, shoot, and fish. In Washington, John is a leading defender of the Second Amendment. As a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, he helps promote and defend America’s outdoor sporting traditions and commonsense wildlife conservation policies. John’s consistent defense of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms has earned him a perfect A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.

  • Cosponsored the Ammunition Supply Chain Act to require the Biden administration to submit a report to Congress about the current state of the domestic supply of necessary components for smokeless gun powder.
  • Introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to prevent the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule.
  • Cosponsored the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act, which would increase legal consequences for criminals who steal firearms from federally licensed dealers.
  • Introduced and helped pass the Fix NICS Act, now law, to strengthen the background check system following the tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs and better prevent criminals from obtaining firearms.
  • Sponsored the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that also has concealed carry laws.
  • Sponsored the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, substantial portions of which became law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, to provide greater Second Amendment protections and due process rights for veterans.
  • Opposed executive actions to impose additional gun control and strip away the Second Amendment rights of elderly Americans.
  • Opposed President Biden’s nomination of David Chipman, a prominent gun control advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The nomination was eventually withdrawn.
  • Cosponsored the Hearing Protection Act, which would remove sound suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and ensure that purchasing a firearm suppressor is treated the same as purchasing a long gun, and thus subject to the same background check process.
  • Cosponsored the Firearms Act, which would prohibit the federal government from requiring an individual to disclose their race or ethnicity when purchasing a firearm.
  • Actively supported the Second Amendment before the Supreme Court in the landmark cases District of Columbia v. Heller and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen and signed key amicus briefs backing Americans’ right to protect their homes and families.
  • Sponsored the Back the Blue Act, which would give law enforcement officers additional rights to carry self-defense weapons and intervene to stop crimes while off-duty.
  • Sponsored the Securing our Homeland from radical Islamists and Enhancing Law enforcement Detection (SHIELD) Act, which protects the due process rights of law-abiding citizens who have mistakenly been placed on a terror watch list while preventing actual terrorists from purchasing firearms and explosives.
  • Helped enact legislation allowing concealed carry holders to carry on federal parklands in Texas.
  • Cosponsored a resolution to challenge the U.N.’s unconstitutional Arms Trade Treaty, which would infringe on Texans’ Second Amendment rights.
  • Supported legislation blocking the EPA’s burdensome regulations on lead fishing tackle and ammunition. 
  • Voted against the assault weapons ban.
  • Voted against a ban on semi-automatic rifles and standard capacity magazines. 
  • Voted to protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans and their families.
  • Voted to allow Americans to lawfully carry firearms in national parks.
  • Voted to allow law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits to carry in other states that issue concealed carry permits.
  • Voted to restore Second Amendment rights to the District of Columbia.
  • Voted to exempt current and former law enforcement officers from state laws prohibiting them from carrying concealed handguns.
  • Voted to allow law-abiding Amtrak passengers to securely transport firearms in checked baggage. 
  • Voted to prohibit the confiscation of firearms during an emergency or major disaster if the possession of the firearm is not prohibited by law.

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Open Government

Open government is a prerequisite for a free society. As our Founding Fathers recognized, a truly democratic system depends on an informed citizenry. Accountability is only an empty promise without transparency.

Open government is one of the most basic requirements of any healthy democracy. It allows taxpayers to see where their money is going, it permits the honest exchange of information that ensures government accountability, and it upholds the ideal that government never rules without the consent of the people. Our government is based not on the need to know, but upon the fundamental right to know.

  • Authored the Sensible Classification Act, which would increase accountability and oversight of the classification system, limit overclassification, and direct federal agencies to justify security clearance requirements.
  • Introduced and led efforts to pass into law the Courthouse Ethics and Transparency Act, which requires online publication of financial disclosure reports for federal judges and mandates they submit periodic transaction reports for certain securities transactions.
  • Introduced the New HOPE Act, now law, which would enable and encourage state governors to use federal grant funding to identify and eliminate excessive and burdensome licensing programs in their state that act as a barrier to entry in a given industry.
  • Voted to repeal the mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations, eliminating some of the undue burden faced by Texas ranchers and farmers dealing with unnecessary and costly food labeling mandates.
  • Voted to advance a joint resolution of disapproval to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which would have negatively impacted production and agriculture through EPA overreach.
  • Introduced and led efforts to pass the FOIA Improvement Act, which requires federal agencies to operate under a “presumption of openness” when considering the release of government information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and aims to reduce the overuse of exemptions to keep information from the public.
  • Cosponsored and helped pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which established the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and increased protections for whistleblowers to improve the accountability of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Introduced the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act to encourage transparency in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing processes by requiring data used in the process to be made publically available.
  • Sponsored the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research (FASTR) Act, a bill designed to give the American people open access to taxpayer-funded federal research.
  • Cosponsored the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act to require that Congress approve every new major rule proposed by the Executive Branch before it can be enforced. Given the scope and magnitude of the EPA’s regulations and their impact on the economy, it is essential that the regulatory process remain transparent and accountable.
  • Cosponsored the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act, which would allow for greater transparency, judicial review, and public input in lawsuits involving settlements with government agencies that often result in exorbitant regulatory costs.
  • Cosponsored the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act, which would allow U.S. District and Appellate Court judges to allow the photography and electronic recording of court proceedings, except when it violates due process rights.
  • Supports the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System and Banks within one year and report its findings to Congress.
  • Supports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Accountability Act, which would change the funding source of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) from the Federal Reserve System to annual appropriations, giving Congress additional oversight and transparency.
  • Voted for the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which established the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and increased protections for whistleblowers to improve the accountability of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Voted for the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which prohibits Members of Congress and federal employees from profiting from non-public information they obtain via their official positions.

Compassionate Conservatism

I strongly believe in core Texas values - encouraging personal responsibility, compassion for others, and supporting family values. Strong families are the foundation for a prosperous and civilized society, and a compassionate government recognizes their importance in fostering successful communities, happier homes, and healthier lives.

Senator Cornyn strongly believes that every life is worthy of respect. Senator Cornyn supports providing opportunity for all by removing government limitations on freedom so every citizen has the chance to realize the American Dream. Government must provide a “hand-up” for citizens, not merely a “hand-out.”

  • Serves on the bipartisan Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, which works to address issues impacting foster youth and improve child welfare.
  • Cosponsored a bill to prohibit Federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
  • Introduced and led efforts to pass the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which passed the Senate unanimously and was signed into law in 2015.  This legislation cracks down on human trafficking and provides help for victims by creating new law enforcement tools to fight human traffickers and the criminal networks that support them.
  • Helped lead efforts to pass the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform law aimed at reducing recidivism rates and rehabilitating low-risk offenders that also includes provisions from Senator Cornyn’s prison reform legislation.
  • Introduced the CORRECTIONS Act, which would improve public safety and save taxpayer money by encouraging federal prisoners to participate in faith-based and job training programs that have been shown to reduce recidivism and help end the revolving door in federal prisons.    
  • Cosponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
  • Cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion across all federal programs. Additionally, it would require any health plan that provides abortion coverage to disclose that information to enrollees at the time of enrollment.
  • Cosponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion across all federal programs.
  • Cosponsored the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the Senate passed in 2003 and was signed into law by President Bush. 
  • Cosponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires health care practitioners who are present at a live birth after an attempted abortion to exercise skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child—the same degree of care that would be offered to any other born-alive child of the same gestational age.
  • Supported the Federal Marriage Amendment to protect traditional marriage.
  • Supported the Child Support Improvement and Work Promotion Act, which takes significant steps to increase the reliability of child support for children by streamlining the child support enforcement (CSE) programs.
  • Voted to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.
  • Voted to defund Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
  • Supported an amendment to ensure that federal funds aren’t used to purchase health care plans on the Obamacare exchanges that cover abortions.
  • Voted to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.

Fixing a Broken System

Obamacare is bad for everyone in the country, which is why I have fought it at every turn.

John believes our health care system is broken, but Obamacare, with its prohibitive costs and job-killing policies, isn’t the answer. Rather than waste any more time propping up a costly and unworkable system, he is focused on health reform that brings down costs, increases the quality of and access to care, and preserves the patient-doctor relationship.

John has supported legislation that would help Texans cover out-of-pocket costs, lower the price of prescriptions at the pharmacy counter, and increase the options for lower-premium insurance plans, all while protecting Texans with pre-existing conditions. 

  • Cosponsored the PROTECT Act to protect Texans with pre-existing conditions and ensure they will never be denied health care coverage or be charged more because of a pre-existing condition. 
  • Sponsored the Substance Abuse Prevention Act, now law, to reauthorize critical programs to reduce demand for narcotics, provide assistance to various agencies so they can better combat opioid addiction, and support those recovering from substance use disorders.
  • Supported an amendment to provide affordable insulin for uninsured patients at federally qualified health centers.  
  • Supported the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which addresses the failing status quo of Obamacare by helping to stabilize collapsing insurance markets, free Texans from the mandates requiring them to purchase insurance they don’t want and can’t afford, and lower average premiums over time. Importantly, it preserves access to care for people with pre-existing conditions and allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans through age 26.
  • Voted for the Health Care Freedom Act, which eliminates the so-called individual mandate forcing Texans to purchase insurance they can’t afford or can’t use, repeals the employer mandate that has forced companies to cut workers’ hours and take-home pay, gives flexibility to states, and expands the contribution limits for health savings accounts.