Joe Biden's Political Views
Joe Biden was the Vice President of the United States from 2008-2016, serving under the 44th President, Barack Obama. Before becoming Vice President he was a presidential candidate many times over and a longstanding Senator for Delaware who famously commuted home from Washington each day to be with his family. Indeed, this fact illustrates a key point about Biden - he is better known for his personality traits than he is for policies. Whether it is being lampooned by Saturday Night Live or The Onion or criticized for his tendency to make off-the-cuff remarks, a lot of the media coverage about Biden focuses more on his personality than on his actual political beliefs. This hub will attempt to take an unbiased look at Joe Biden's political views on a number of key issues in an attempt to get beyond the jokes to see what he really believes about the key policies under debate in Washington. How do his views stack up against other leading Democratic politicians, including Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton?
Biden on the Issues
1. Biden on Health Care: Biden is a strong supporter of the Health Care Bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2010, famously stating "this is a big f--ing deal" when joining President Obama at the press conference to announce the bill's signing. On the campaign trail in 2012, Biden repeatedly defended the health care bill against criticism: at one campaign stop, he told voters "It will help you dramatically....You'll "be able to get better healthcare than you had before at a lower cost."
2. Biden on Taxes and Fiscal Policy: As Vice President, he has generally been supportive of the Obama administration's policies to pursue economic stimulus as necessary to help save a struggling economy. Biden is quoted in author Jonathan Alter's book The Promise: Obama Year One as stating "TARP [the stimulus bill[ stuck in our throats," Joe Biden concluded months later, "but it worked." Biden has also consistently criticized the refusal of Republicans in Congress, including Paul Ryan, for their refusal to consider tax increases as part of a deficit reduction deal, telling reporters in September 2012: "they will not vote for a single solitary reduction in the debt if it includes one dollar in new taxes for millionaires. Not even one dollar. That’s a fact."
3. Biden on Foreign Policy: Biden has been a supporter of the Obama administration's foreign policy as Vice President, though he opposed the administration's decision to ultimately send more troops into Afghanistan in 2009-2010 as part of the surge, reportedly disagreeing with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton about the best course of action during internal deliberations. As a Senator, Biden voted to go to war with Iraq in 2003, a decision he later called "a mistake" because the war "has been mismanaged by the Bush administration."
4. Biden on Immigration: As a Senator, Biden supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill of 2007, which would have increased funding for border security, provided visas to illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. (which would have allowed them to remain in the U.S. provided they paid a fine and back taxes), and reformed other aspects of the immigration code. The bill ultimately failed despite the support of President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and many Democratic Senators.
5. Biden on Gun Control: Biden has generally supported gun control measures as a politician, as indicated by his F rating from the NRA for his time in Congress. Biden voted for the assault weapons ban and voted for closing the "gun show loophole", which allows dealers at gun shows to avoid performing background checks and does not require them to keep records about sales provided the sales are "occasional" in nature.
6. Biden on Social issues: In recent years, Biden has been a strong supporter of gay rights, telling reporters in May 2012 that he was "absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don't see much of a distinction -- beyond that." This quote is attributed by many with precipitating President Obama's decision to publicly support gay marriage soon after. Biden has also been a strong supporter of a woman's right to choose, stating The best policy for our country on the question of abortion is a policy of Government neutrality. Put another way: I do not believe that the government should be involved in making judgments on whether a woman can, or should have an abortion, or – if she chooses to do so – in paying for that abortion."