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The editorial board of The Birmingham News has described Jones as a “moderate Democrat”. Former Alabama Democratic Party chair Giles Perkins described Jones as “a moderate, middle-of-the-road guy”. Describing his own views, Jones said: “If you look at the positions I’ve got on health care, if you look at the positions I got on jobsâ€”you should look at the support I have from the business communityâ€”I think I’m pretty mainstream.” Jones’s campaign has emphasized “kitchen-table” issues such as healthcare and the economy. He has called for bipartisan solutions to those issues and pledged to “find common ground” between both major parties. Jones said that people should not “expect [him] to vote solidly for Republicans or Democrats”. During his campaign, he had supporters from both parties, including Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, Jones has voted with President Trump’s position 35% of the time as of September 2019.
A July 2018 NBC News editorial stated that Jones had voted with Trump more often than all but three of his fellow Democratic senators while also taking liberal positions more in line with his party, including LGBT rights.
Jones supports the reversal of mandatory three-strikes laws for nonviolent offenses to give judges flexibility in giving sentences. He opposed both immigration bills proposed in the Senate since he took office.
Jones is pro-choice on abortion. In 2018, Planned Parenthood, which is pro-choice, gave him a 100% rating while the anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee gave him a 0% rating. Jones voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the pregnant woman’s health. He also pledged to support Planned Parenthood as a senator. In May 2019 he criticized the passage of an abortion ban in Alabama, calling it “shameful.”
In February 2019, Jones was one of three Senate Democrats to vote for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, legislation requiring health care practitioners present at the time of a birth “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
On December 11, 2018, Jones voted for the conference farm bill, which included his provisions for farmers, rural health, wastewater infrastructure, and high-speed internet. In May 2019, he co-sponsored the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Ben Sasse and Jon Tester intended to reform hours of service for livestock haulers by authorizing drivers to have the flexibility to rest at any point during their trip without it being counted against their hours of service and exempting loading and unloading times from the calculation of driving time.
In June 2019, Jones and Republican Senator Susan Collins cosponsored the American Broadband Buildout Act of 2019, a bill that requested $5 billion for a matching funds program that the Federal Communications Commission would administer to “give priority to qualifying projects” and mandated that at least 15% of funding go to high-cost and geographically challenged areas. The legislation also authorized recipients of the funding to form “public awareness” and “digital literacy” campaigns to further awareness of the “value and benefits of broadband internet access service” and served as a companion to the Broadband Data Improvement Act.
Criminal justice reform
In December 2018, Jones voted for the First Step Act, legislation aimed at reducing recidivism rates among federal prisoners by expanding job training and other programs in addition to expanding early-release programs and modifying sentencing laws such as mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, “to more equitably punish drug offenders.”
In June 2019, along with Democrat Mark Warner and Republicans Tom Cotton and Mike Rounds, Jones introduced the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act, a bill mandating that shell companies disclose their real owners to the United States Department of the Treasury and updating outdated federal anti-money laundering laws by bettering communications among law enforcement, regulatory agencies, the financial industry, and the industry and regulators of advanced technology. Jones said he was “all too familiar with criminals hiding behind shell corporations to enable their illegal behavior” from being an attorney.
Jones supports some gun control measures, including “tighter background checks for gun sales and to raise the age requirement to purchase a gun from 18 to 21”, but has said that he does not support an assault weapons ban and that such a ban could not pass Congress. Jones himself is a gun owner.
In March 2018, Jones was one of ten senators to sign a letter to Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Lamar Alexander and ranking Democrat Patty Murray requesting they schedule a hearing on the causes and remedies of mass shootings in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
In 2018, Jones co-sponsored the NICS Denial Notification Act, legislation developed in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that would require federal authorities to inform states within a day after a person failing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System attempts to buy a firearm.
In 2018, Jones participated in votes concerning immigration and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He voted in favor of the McCainâ€“Coons proposal to offer a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, which did not include funding for a border wall; voted against withholding federal funding from sanctuary cities; voted for Susan Collins’s bipartisan bill to offer a pathway to citizenship and federal funding for border security; and voted against Trump’s proposal to offer a pathway to citizenship while reducing overall legal immigration numbers and using federal funds for a border wall. He has also proposed reassessing the current quota system. He has agreed that improvements in border security are needed but does not believe it is a national emergency.
Jones supports same-sex marriage and said that his son Carson, who is gay, helped change his views. In 2017, he was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, which supports LGBT rights. Jones supports protections for transgender students and transgender troops.
In March 2018, Jones voted against Bernie Sanders’s and Chris Murphy’s resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.
In an interview with The Birmingham News, Jones said he favored increasing defense spending, saying it would boost Alabama’s local economy, particularly in the areas around NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, and protect the United States from foreign threats.
Jones voted to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, joining with Republicans and five other Democratic senators. He opposed Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA director.
In May 2019, Jones co-sponsored the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, a bipartisan bill reintroduced by Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin intended to disrupt China’s consolidation or expansion of its claims of jurisdiction over the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea.
In August 2019, after Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were denied entry into Israel due to their support for BDS, Jones said he was “concerned the relationship with Israel is beginning to see some cracks for political reasons” and that the US-Israel relationship was being “used as a political weapon to try to divide people for political gain” in both countries. He added that while he did not agree “with a lot of their views on Israel”, Tlaib and Omar were entitled to them, and cited the necessity of having to defend other members of Congress when they are barred from “the right to go and visit with other members”.
In October 2019, Jones was one of six senators to sign a bipartisan letter to President Trump calling on him to “urge Turkey to end their offensive and find a way to a peaceful resolution while supporting our Kurdish partners to ensure regional stability” and arguing that to leave Syria without installing protections for American allies would endanger both them and the US.
Newsweek has described Jones as an economic populist. He was one of five Democrats to vote for the Republican budget deal in January 2018 and one of 17 Democrats to vote with Republicans in favor of a bill to ease banking regulations. Jones opposes the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.
In February 2019, Jones was one of 20 senators to sponsor the Employer Participation in Repayment Act, enabling employers to contribute up to $5,250 to the student loans of their employees.
In July 2019, Jones and Tina Smith introduced the Addressing Teacher Shortages Act, a bill to allow school districts across the United States to apply for grants to aid the schools in attracting and retaining quality teachers. The bill also funded the Education Department’s efforts to help smaller and under-resourced districts apply for grants.
On September 19, 2019, Jones took to the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to pass legislation that would further the $255 million in federal funding for minority-serving colleges and universities ahead of its expiration date in weeks. The vote was shut down by Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, who instead called for support for the passage of “a long-term solution that will provide certainty to college presidents and their students” and “a few additional bipartisan higher education proposals.”
In March 2019, Jones was one of three Democrats to vote with all Senate Republicans against the Green New Deal when it came up for a procedural vote. All other Senate Democrats voted “present” on the legislation, a move anticipated as allowing them to avoid having a formal position.
In June 2019, Jones was one of 44 senators to introduce the International Climate Accountability Act, legislation that would prevent Trump from using funds in an attempt to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and directing the Trump administration to instead develop a strategic plan for the United States that would allow it to meet its commitment under the Paris Agreement.
Jones opposes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but he has called for changes to the U.S. health-care system, which he calls broken. He supports the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and during his senatorial campaign repeatedly criticized his opponent for lacking a clear stance on the program. Jones says he is open to the idea of a public option, but that he is “not there yet” on single-payer healthcare. In January 2018, Jones was one of six Democrats to join most Republicans in voting to confirm Alex Azar, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
In December 2018, Jones was one of 42 senators to sign a letter to Trump administration officials Alex Azar, Seema Verma, and Steve Mnuchin arguing that the administration was improperly using Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to authorize states to “increase health care costs for millions of consumers while weakening protections for individuals with preexisting conditions”. The senators requested the administration withdraw the policy and “re-engage with stakeholders, states, and Congress”.
In January 2019, Jones was one of six senators to cosponsor the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act, delaying the Health Insurance Tax for two years.
In January 2019, Jones was one of six Democratic senators to introduce the American Miners Act of 2019, a bill that would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to swap funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the 1974 Pension Plan as part of an effort to prevent its insolvency as a result of coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. It also increased the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund tax and ensured that miners affected by the 2018 coal company bankruptcies would not lose their health care.
In January 2019, during the 2018â€“19 United States federal government shutdown, Jones was one of 34 senators to sign a letter to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb recognizing the efforts of the FDA to address the effect of the government shutdown on public health and employees while remaining alarmed “that the continued shutdown will result in increasingly harmful effects on the agency’s employees and the safety and security of the nation’s food and medical products”.
In February 2019, Jones was one of 11 senators to sign a letter to insulin manufactures Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi over increased insulin prices and charging that the price increases caused patients to lack “access to the life-saving medications they need”.
In September 2019, amid discussions to prevent a government shutdown, Jones was one of six Democratic senators to sign a letter to congressional leadership advocating the passage of legislation to permanently fund health care and pension benefits for retired coal miners as “families in Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Alabama, Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico” would start to receive notifications of health care termination by the end of the following month.
In October 2019 Jones was one of 27 senators to sign a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer advocating the passage of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, which was set to expire the following month. The senators warned that if the funding for the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) was allowed to expire, it “would cause an estimated 2,400 site closures, 47,000 lost jobs, and threaten the health care of approximately 9 million Americans.”
United States Postal Service
In March 2019, Jones co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution led by Gary Peters and Jerry Moran that opposed privatization of the United States Postal Service (USPS), citing the USPS as a self-sustaining establishment and noting concerns that privatization could cause higher prices and reduced services for USPS customers, especially in rural communities.
Jones has not called for tax increases and has instead called for reductions in corporate taxes “to try to get reinvestment back into this country”. He opposed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, calling it fiscally irresponsible and skewed to benefit the wealthy while ignoring or hurting the middle class.
In 2019, along with fellow Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Pat Toomey and Bill Cassidy, Jones was a lead sponsor of the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act, a bill to undo a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that raised the tax on the benefit children receive from a parent’s Department of Defense survivor benefits plan to 37% from an average of 12% to 15%. The bill passed in the Senate in May 2019.
In 2018, along with Joni Ernst and Rob Portman, Jones introduced the Trade Security Act, a bill that would modify Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to require that the Defense Department justify the national-security basis for new tariffs under Section 232 and implement an increase of congressional oversight of the process. Jones said the process currently led by the Commerce Department to investigate whether a trading partner is undermining U.S. national security had “been misused to target important job-creating industries in Alabama like auto manufacturing” and that the bill would refocus “efforts on punishing bad actors, rather than hurting American manufacturers, workers, and consumers.”
In December 2018, Jones stated that automakers and soybean farmers were fearful of the Trump administration’s trade policy and added that his constituents in Alabama were questioning Trump’s success.
In February 2019, amid a report by the Commerce Department that ZTE had been caught illegally shipping goods of American origin to Iran and North Korea, Jones was one of seven senators to sponsor a bill reimposing sanctions on ZTE in the event that ZTE did not honor both American laws and its agreement with the Trump administration.
In a July 2019 committee hearing, Jones predicted that tariffs would eventually directly hit the consumer and they would witness “tariffs that are going to cause a depletion in supply of things like Bibles and artificial fishing lures, which are fairly standard staples in Alabama.”
Addressing the North Alabama International Trade Association in September 2019, Jones said Alabama had a fairly robust economy that was also “pretty fragile and it could go completely bust if we don’t get this trade war with China and other trade issues resolved and resolved soon”, and that uncertainty about tariffs was affecting business confidence.
In December 2018, Jones was one of 21 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie calling it “appalling that the VA is not conducting oversight of its own outreach efforts” in spite of suicide prevention being the VA’s highest clinical priority and requesting that Wilkie “consult with experts with proven track records of successful public and mental health outreach campaigns with a particular emphasis on how those individuals measure success”.