Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals
McSally supports extending protections to DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers, but does not support a path to citizenship. McSally has said
she would support a DACA bill only if it was tied to providing funding for a border wall and more border security and closing “loopholes” for asylum-seeking families. This is a reversal
from previous stance when McSally did support a citizenship option and opposed defunding DACA in 2015. She voted
for the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 which would have allowed DACA children to be eligible to apply for a green card after 6 years of temporary legal status.
The majority of Mark Kelly's comments about immigration focus on his call to support protection for DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers. He has said
that any bill providing a pathway to citizenship to "Dreamers" should not be contingent on border security measures. Kelly supports
a path to citizenship and supports passing the DREAM Act. He states that "Even as the DACA program continues, it is well past time for Congress to do its part and pass an earned pathway to citizenship." Kelly held a town hall
to discuss DACA in June 2020.
Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Senator McSally voted
for the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 which would enable asylum seeker families to be held together indefinitely in border detention facilities rather than being released after 20 days. This bill would have also repealed the Diversity Visa Lottery program and required DNA testing as evidence to establish family connections for families seeking entry at the border. After President Trump's first Executive Order intended to stop refugee resettlement, McSally signed
a letter asking for an exemption for refugees who supported the US military and for children with extreme medical needs.
Mark Kelly has called the influx of asylum seekers at the southern border a "crisis"
and wants to improve the system that prevents illegal border crossings, while simultaneously improving the process for those seeking asylum. This would ensure that their cases are handled "fairly and expeditiously
." Kelly does not support abolishing ICE, rather calling for more immigration judges at the border to speed up the processing of asylum applications. He is against
the separation of children and parents in ICE custody, stating "we can't be taking children away from their parents and locking them in cages" and demanding more action from the Federal government to handle immigration issues.
Senator McSally is against
sanctuary cities and introduced
legislation to crack down on sanctuary cities by withholding funding for law enforcement and allowing individuals to sue sanctuary cities. McSally also voted
to pass a bill prohibiting funding to any state or local government that restricts law enforcement from being able to request an individual's immigration status.
Mark Kelly did not support
an initiative to make Tucson a sanctuary city in July 2019. Kelly stated that cities and states should follow federal laws, and this measure would go against federal laws. Kelly also stated he would not support extending healthcare coverage to undocumented immigrants.
Senator McSally supports President Trump's wall between Mexico and the United States as part of a solution for managing immigration across the southern border. McSally has called
for increased funding for a physical barrier, and increasing surveillance technology and CBP staffing. McSally supported
deploying troops to secure the border in 2018. She also introduced legislation to detect and deter illegal entry into the US through "BITMAP
," a program used by ICE to share data with law enforcement officers in other countries.
Mark Kelly supports
a southern border wall in some areas including Yuma, Nogales, and Douglas, while other parts of the border need more technology
and staffing, infrastructure improvements to ports of entry and securing border crossings from trafficking. Kelly is not in favor of decriminalizing
unauthorized border crossings. Kelly does not support stationing active-duty military
personnel. He also believes modernizing ports of entry will create jobs in Southern Arizona and ensure that workers from Mexico can continue coming to Arizona to work in the agricultural sector on H-2A visas
Mark Kelly believes small business are the backbone of Arizona
. To support them, he wants to reduce barriers to capital that they can receive. He also wants to make the Small Business Administration more accessible, highlighting the need for it to reach rural communities. To achieve this accessibility, Kelly is in support of community banks and Community Development Financial Institutions to help rural areas have access financing t for their businesses.
Other Economic Issues
Martha McSally vocalized concern over the US national debt
, and wants to work on decreasing it. She believes that the US needs to control its reckless spending and not pass on trillions of dollars financial burden. McSally is against stimulus spending, and is in support of a Balanced Budget Amendment. She is also supportive of paid leaves for working parents,
as she thinks people should not have to choose between family and career.
Mark Kelly is committed to fighting for middle and working class Americans
. He wants to be held accountable by his constituents, and therefore will not take corporate PAC funding from his campaign, only private donations. Overall, Kelly wants to stop tax breaks
often given to large corporations and wealthy individuals that are worsening the national debt. He also wants to invest in research and development and infrastructure-- things he believes will have long term benefits for the US economy. In addition, Kelly recognizes the importance for economic development of tourism, the military, and trade.
COVID-19 Relief Packages
As COVID relief funds continue to be negotiated, Martha McSally is in support of an expansion of unemployment benefits
. She wants to focus on aiding those who have been furloughed or lost their jobs due to the crisis. McSally would also like to see relief packages contain aid for research, testing, and production of vaccines, money for hospitals, and school resources, as well as for local services (e.g. first responders and law enforcement).
In June, McSally introduced a bill that would provide tax-breaks for AZ families who take vacations during the pandemic
, saying this would help support the tourism and hospitality industries.
In the wake of COVID-19, Mark Kelly urges the federal government to provide direct relief funds
to local governments, including areas like Tempe, Scottsdale, Payson and Page that are in danger of budget shortfalls for essential services. Kelly has prioritized having close contact with mayors of such cities and towns during this crisis, and also has spoken strongly for a need for both political parties to work together
to solve the issues caused by the pandemic.
Kelly specifically called out the federal government
for its delay in providing much needed funding for the Navajo Nation, calling it "inadequate and weeks-delayed." In an interview with AZ Family,
Kelly cited how the Native-American communities have so often been financially unsupported by the government, despite previous treaty agreements, and that it is time for those systems to be reformed.
Martha McSally believes that
the federal government should have limited involvement
in public education. However, she supports
diverting government funds towards education vouchers for private schools. In 2015, McSally voted for the "Every Student Succeeds Act
" which replaced "No Child Left Behind," reducing the federal government's influence on school standards. McSally also backed the budget proposed by then Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, that would have removed $3 billion
in public education funding.
Mark Kelly believes that the federal government should provide support for public education.
In a tweet from 2019
, Kelly stated that we should increase teacher's salaries and provide more resources for schools to better serve students. In an interview in August
he said, "I often worry here in the state of Arizona, when you consider per-pupil spending, we're very low, and teacher salaries are very low. So, we're not investing in the future of our state." Education is a primary issue on his campaign website
, where he stands with the recent Arizona teacher's push for better funding through the Red for Education movement. He also believes that we should emphasize STEM education and advanced placement courses.
that there are many careers available for people as long as they have the opportunity for education beyond high school. He would like to focus on investing in post-secondary education such as apprenticeships, career training, and professional certification. Kelly would make this more affordable by increasing Pell Grant awards and lowering federal interest rates so that education is more accessible.
Re-Opening of Schools
McSally has supported the reopening of Arizona public schools, but believes that it is not a "one-size fits all
." She also support Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell's refusal to pass the HEROES act, which would have provided $100 billion specifically for K-12 and higher education
along with $915 billion in state and local aid to address budget gaps that could be used to help public schools and college campuses.
Kelly says that those with pre-existing conditions should be covered with insurance they can afford and criticizes
McSally for voting for the AHCA, which eliminated protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
McSally opposed the Affordable Care Act (ACA)and voted to approve
the American Health Care Act of 2017
(AHCA) which repeals some parts of the ACA, including the individual and employer mandate penalties, and changes Medicaid to reduce federal spending. She has also supported a lawsuit that is going before the Supreme Court in November that proposes repeal of the ACA.
McSally has said she is committed to protecting those with pre-existing conditions
but has been criticized for voting
for the AHCA which eliminated that protection promised by the ACA.
Kelly has said that the pandemic
is a global problem that won't be solved by blaming foreign powers. Instead he advocates international collaboration. He has urged Congress to provide direct aid for Arizona’s local
governments to avoid furloughs and COVID-19 related budget shortfalls.
Kelly advocates federal COVID-19 relief money for the Navajo Nation
, which is one of the country’s COVID-19 hotspots, criticizing tribal relief funding
as delayed and inadequate. Kelly also advocates
wider use of the Defense Production Act
(DPA) to instruct companies to manufacture health care equipment and protective gear for medical professionals.
McSally has blamed
China and the World Health Organization for the outbreak of COVID-19 and introduced a bill to allow Americans to sue
China over COVID-19. She also co-wrote the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVES
) Act, which seeks to reduce U.S. dependence on China for medical supplies by amending the Defense Production Act.
McSally has advocated a second relief package
including more money for hospitals and schools, financial aid for testing and vaccine research and production, as well as more support for small businesses. She also introduced a bill that would provide income tax credits for people who take vacations
through 2022 in an effort to stimulate the economy.
Kelly, a veteran, believes we need to improve
our support systems for veterans, including providing better healthcare and reducing veteran homelessness by expanding
McSally, a veteran, has worked to improve veteran health care while in office. She introduced the Veterans Post-traumatic Growth Act
to expand mental health treatment options for veterans to seek innovative therapies to combat PTSD and other mental health issues. She also advocates
better veteran suicide data collection and legislation to reduce
Causes and Impacts
McSally has repeatedly denied human involvement in climate change, saying that a human element is only "likely
." McSally has voted against individual bills
to protect natural resources and against clean air acts
. She has recognized the need for Arizona to reduce and conserve water use, and supported the Farm Bill that will allow the state to use federal resources to invest in water storage solutions. She has advocated for Arizonians to receive a share of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help at-risk citizens receive funds to help with cooling and efficiency costs.
Kelly believes that left unchecked, climate change has the potential to drastically threaten economy and the well-being of citizens. As an astronaut for NASA, Kelly has witnessed the effects
of climate change from his view in space. Climate predictions
have the number of above-100 degree days in AZ rising, causing more intense droughts and increased health risks. As an astronaut, Kelly has seen the impacts of climate change first hand and views it as an opportunity to invest
in more renewable sources of energy, such as solar, which can create thousands of new jobs as well as have Arizona lead the rest of the country in technological innovation.
Recently McSally added her name to a letter
with other Republican Senators, urging Mitch McConnell to provide corona-virus relief funding to clean energy jobs. In 2019, she introduced legislation (Nuclear Energy Renewal Act)
to improve nuclear technologies and bolster the economic competitiveness of U.S. nuclear power. She also advocate
s for mining as a way to boost the state's clean energy goals. McSally does not support
the U.S. commitment to the Paris Accords and has repeatedly voted against allowing the government to consider climate change in policy decision-making.
Mark Kelly sees the challenge of confronting climate change as an opportunity for economic growth. The switch from fossil fuels towards investment in sustainable energy sources (such as solar) and advanced job training would provide thousands of new jobs, eventually lower energy costs and require investment
in technology development and research. Kelly is also a firm advocate for the US rejoining the Paris Agreement
, to help strengthen the economy as well as help protect the planet.
Martha McSally believes that the key to developing green technology is through further investment in mining
infrastructure, and on May 6, 2019, McSally introduced new legislation
that would strengthen mineral security. According to the Federal Election Commission, McSally has broadly defended
the mining industry and has received at least $31,500 from mineral extraction interests since 2018. McSally has remained surprisingly silent
about her stance
on the ban on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.
Kelly has also advocated against the the proposed mining of uranium near the Grand Canyon, stating
: "I certainly don’t think we should be mining uranium in the Grand Canyon. You know the Grand Canyon is a treasure not only for the state of Arizona but also for this planet.” He also recently spoke out against the confirmation of William Pendley's confirmation as the head of Bureau of Land Management, citing his desire to open up the Grand Canyon to uranium mining. Kelly stated: "Pendely's nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management is clearly a threat to the goal of protecting Arizona’s public lands and keeping them accessible for everyone."
Endorsements and Condemnations
The League of Conservation Voters has given McSally a lifetime score of 7
. They list her as a member of the 2018, "“Dirty Dozen” politicians: 12 members most friendly with polluter industries, such as oil and gas extraction. McSally has also voted to protect subsidies for Big Oil and overall neglected Arizona’s clean energy future, all while taking hundreds of thousands of dollars
from the fossil fuel industry
The League of Conservation Voters officially endorsed
Mark Kelly for senate in July 2019. They cite his career as an astronaut, engineer and veteran and his reputation for investing in climate solutions and advocating for under-represented and low-income communities. Mark Kelly has also received backing from Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter
, 314 Action Fund.
Martha McSally is a veteran, who served 26 years in the Air Force as the first female
fighter pilot in U.S history to fly in combat and to command a fighter squadron. She currently serves on the Armed Services Committee and has proposed several bills to help support armed service men and women. One of her recent proposals was the BRST Act
, which asks Dept. of Defense to provide more technologically advanced breast cancer screening options for female service members. McSally recently expressed support
to cut funds to veterans training programs to help reduce the federal budget, drawing criticism from Arizona veterans.
Mark Kelly is a veteran
of military service, having served in the U.S. Navy for over 25 years, done two deployments
to the Arabian Gulf and flew 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. As more than half a million Arizonians have served in the military, Kelly understands that existing veteran services must adapt to the changing population of military personnel, including providing quality healthcare, education and job services, and has publicly stated that he wants to support expansion of the G.I. Bill
. To that end, Kelly has received the endorsement of VoteVets
, the first and largest progressive group of veterans in the US.
McSally has shown indications that she is in favor of stricter control of gun access, such as tightening
background checks, while previously dismissing gun-control efforts as "un-constitutional," She is one of the top
congressional recipients of funds from gun advocacy groups, and has received strong support from the National Rifle Association (NRA)
. She has proposed one
bill that would make domestic terrorism a federal crime.
Mark Kelly is a gun-owner who has served in active combat. He understands the importance of committing to traditions, yet believes there is a way to ensure universal safety and prevent gun violence
. Together with his wife, Gabby Giffords, a victim herself of near-fatal gun violence, he has founded "Giffords
," a leading gun-safety organization, which has helped pass more than 290 new gun safety laws
in 45 states and Washington DC. Kelly is a firm advocate for stronger gun safety laws, including increased education and working to pass universal background checks, to help save lives.
McSally has consistently voted in favor of pro-life and anti-abortion legislation. She has sponsored
bills to both defund and block patients' access to Planned Parenthood resources. However, as a victim of rape herself, she does believe that exceptions
should be made in certain cases, most recently criticizing the Alabama abortion law for being too extreme.
Recently, McSally has promised that she will support President Trump's Supreme Court nomination of
Amy Coney Barrett, a strong "pro-life" advocate.
Kelly has stated that part of his campaign platform is to protect healthcare rights of all Arizonians, including women's right
to access reproductive health care services and choose what is best for their bodies and families. Kelly has received endorsements from Planned Parenthood
pro-choice advocacy groups, including NARAL
. Kelly has said he does not support Trump's Supreme Court nomination
, Amy Coney Barrett, a strong "pro-life" proponent, and believes the decision should be made after the November election is over.
McSally has earned a 48 (out of 100) on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard
in her first term and 0 in her second. She voted against repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, and against expanding anti-discrimination laws to include sex and gender identity, and supported
a bill allowing federal contractors to fire workers who identify as LGBTQ. McSally has supported
amendments to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage, as well as Trump's withdrawal
of resources for equal treatment of transgender students in public schools.
Mark Kelly believes that all Arizonians have a right to "equal protections under the law, and the right to work and raise their families without fear." In January and March 2020 respectively, Human Rights Campaign
and LGBTQ Nation
officially endorsed Mark Kelly for senate, both citing his consistent record of supporting LGBTQ protection legislation. He is a strong supporter of the Equality Act, which outlaws discrimination in housing and places of employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.