Biden is running on the legacy of the eight years he served alongside President Barack Obama and has proposed advancing that legacy on key issues like health care and the climate crisis. Prior to his time as vice president, Biden represented Delaware in the US Senate for 36 years.
University of Delaware, B.A., 1965; Syracuse University Law School, J.D., 1968
November 20, 1942
Jill Biden; Neilia Biden (deceased)
Beau (deceased, son of Neilia), Naomi (deceased, daughter of Neilia), Hunter (son of Neilia) and Ashley (daughter of Jill)
Senator from Delaware, 1972-2009; New Castle County Council in Delaware, 1970-1972
Based on Federal Elections Commission data covering activity through 09/30/2019
BIDEN IN THE NEWS
Joe Biden is using Trump's impeachment attacks to show Democrats he 'can take a punch'
Updated 5:20 PM ET, Tue Jan 28, 2020
Joe Biden had a question for the crowd gathered to see him in Muscatine, Iowa, on Tuesday: "Did anyone see what your senator, Joni Ernst, did yesterday?" The former vice president was referring to comments made by Ernst, who told reporters on Monday that she was "really interested to see how" how the arguments made by President Donald Trump's legal team against Biden and his son, Hunter, "informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus-goers." "Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?" Ernst asked. For Biden, Ernst's comments serve to underscore one of the central arguments he has made to voters in the final days before the Iowa caucuses: that Trump and Republicans are attacking him because he's the candidate they fear the most in the general election. "She spilled the beans," Biden said Tuesday, before reading Ernst's comments and adding, "Pretty subtle, huh?" "You can ruin Donald Trump's night by caucusing for me and you could ruin Joni Ernst's night as well," Biden said. Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, his potential general election rival, are at the center of the President's impeachment trial. Trump has repeatedly made unfounded and false claims to allege that the Bidens acted improperly in Ukraine. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. Trump's attorneys in the Senate's impeachment trial have made Hunter and Joe Biden central to their arguments in recent days. At stop after stop on his final bus tour through Iowa, Biden has argued that attacks from Trump and his allies have made him stronger and demonstrated he can take incoming fire if he's the Democratic nominee. "As much as he's trying to destroy me and my family -- I hope I've demonstrated I can take a punch. And if I'm our nominee, he's going to understand what punches mean," Biden said in Cedar Falls on Monday. Later in the day Monday, he played up Trump's lawyers' efforts to accuse Biden and his son Hunter of corruption in Ukraine on Monday night in Iowa City -- emphasizing that he is clear-eyed about the political tactics he'd face in a general election while insisting he would remain committed to uniting the country afterward. He said the reporters covering his campaign "keep asking me, 'You know, they just brought up your son Hunter, and they're doing this and they're doing that and the other thing.'" "Well guess what?" Biden said. "I don't hold grudges because presidents can't hold grudges. Presidents have to be fighters, but they also have to be healers. They have to be healers." At Biden events, most voters have said they aren't worried about the efforts of Trump's lawyers and Republican lawmakers to paint Biden and his family as corrupt -- largely because they say there's no evidence to support the allegations. Pam Symmonds, a retired banker in Muscatine, said she's been watching the impeachment proceedings every day and is supporting Biden in spite of the GOP attacks. "I'm hoping that people are smarter than that and they will see through all of that," she said. But some Iowa voters said they are concerned about the potency of the GOP's attacks. Kari Blomberg, a 53-year-old university worker in Coralville, said after Biden's stop in Iowa City that she thinks Biden will be the Democratic nominee -- but she worries he might not be the party's most electable choice. "Biden and his son are a target for Trump, and I don't know how that'll play out," she said. "It's hard to tell. His electability seems high if I look at all the polls nationally, but I don't know how that's going to play out."
Biden in June 2019 proposed a plan that would spend $1.7 trillion to set the United States on track to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. His proposal embraces elements of the ambitious Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and seeks to go “well beyond” Obama’s climate goals. As part of the proposal, Biden is calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and a ban on new oil and gas permits on public lands. He would also reenter the Paris climate accord. The plan leaves it to Congress to decide what enforcement mechanism would be used to require corporations in the United States to meet the emissions goals Biden’s plan lays out – and penalize them if they fall short. More on Biden’s climate crisis policy
Boosting the middle class is one of the main pillars of Biden’s campaign. He often says the country needs to build an economy that “rewards work, not just wealth.” Biden wants to repeal the tax cuts enacted by the Trump administration and is pushing for a $15 minimum hourly wage, eliminating noncompete agreements for workers and expanding access to affordable education, including free community college. In an interview with CNN in July 2019, Biden said he would raise the top individual income tax rate to 39.5% and raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. More on Biden’s economic policy
Biden has proposed an education plan that would increase funding for schools in low-income areas, help teachers pay off student loans and double the number of health professionals working in schools. A core element involves tripling federal Title I funding for schools that serve low-income areas, closing what his campaign called a $23 billion funding gap between majority white and nonwhite school districts. In October 2019, Biden unveiled a plan that would cut student loan debt obligations, waiving $10,000 per year – for up to five years – for those in public service work, like teachers or members of the military. He would also guarantee that those earning less than $25,000 owe nothing on their undergraduate federal student loans, while everyone else’s payments would be capped at 5% of their discretionary income above $25,000 – halving the current 10% cap. His plans heavily emphasize executive action. Biden said at an American Federation of Teachers forum in Houston in May 2019 that “the bulk of” his education proposals can become law even if Republicans maintain control of the Senate after the 2020 elections. More on Biden’s education policy
Biden said in August 2019 that he will push to ban so-called assault weapons if elected. In a New York Times op-ed, Biden – who helped lead the effort to ban assault weapons in the 1990s – wrote that the United States has a “huge problem with guns,” and that assault weapons, which he defined as “military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly,” are a threat to US national security. He also told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he would push for a federal gun buyback program in an attempt to take more weapons off the streets. He supports universal background checks, and said assault weapons “should be illegal. Period.” In the first Democratic presidential debate, Biden called for “smart guns” – requiring manufacturers to include biometric measures that would block firearms from being used by those whose fingerprints aren’t registered for that specific gun. He has also focused further on gun manufacturers. “Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA. The gun manufacturers,” he said at the debate.
Biden in July 2019 unveiled a health care plan that would greatly expand Obamacare’s subsidies to make the private insurance policies available on the exchanges more affordable. The plan would also create a new “public option” similar to Medicare that people could buy into. “We’re going to add to it a public option. And the public option says whether you are having employer-based insurance or private insurance, or you’re in the exchange, you can join up for a Medicaid-Medicare-like provision in the law and not dump 300 million people on Medicare all of a sudden,” he said in July 2019. Biden added that those covered by employer-based health insurance plans could also choose the public plan if they prefer it. “You can sign up and get this other plan,” he said. “But if you like (your private insurance), you’re able to keep it.” More on Biden’s health care policy
Biden supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has also called on Congress to immediately grant citizenship to some undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children. At the first Democratic presidential debate in June, Biden said that undocumented immigrants with no criminal records “should not be the focus of deportation.” In an interview with CNN in July 2019, Biden said he opposes decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation, something other candidates in the field have supported. “I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they’re actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case,” Biden said. More on Biden’s immigration policy
LATEST POLITICAL NEWS
Trump in private: what really happens
Updated 12:00 AM ET, Wed Jan 29, 2020
The brief video portion at the start of a cell phone recording made public Friday by the formerly pro-Trump schemer Lev Parnas shows a posh dining room at the Trump International Hotel -- heavy drapes, massive molding, thick carpet. You might describe it as country club classic, a motif that seems to cling to Trump properties. Once Trump arrives and the phone is set down, the audio reveals a President who can speak with more coherence than we hear from him in public, but whose talking points and jokes don't vary much from his greatest hits. The moment that has made news finds President Donald Trump ordering that America's ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, be fired because Parnas tells him she dissed the President. However, the recording also offers not only a new window into a world of sycophants and operators, but also disturbing proof that the President is just as narcissistic, erratic and ill-informed in private as he is in public. In this April 30, 2018 audio you can hear him: still bragging about his election win, even though it's 18 months in the past; offering an inflated estimate of America's trade deficit with China; and speaking with such optimism about his effort to bring North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to heel that he seems, in retrospect, delusional. He's even wrong when offering small talk about golf, saying the US plays the British in the Ryder Cup when, in fact, it's a European team. And he echoes nutty conspiracy theories about the so-called "Deep State" hiding vast amounts of negative information about his political opponents. The private Trump also seems as obsessed as the public one when it comes to powerful women who oppose him, as he insults both Hillary Clinton and Rep. Maxine Waters ("I said 'she's a very low IQ person' ... you don't hear from her anymore. It's the craziest thing; since I've said that I don't hear from her anymore.") Like the public Trump, the private one also lies about America's share of the NATO budget, pegging it at 90% when it's really 22%. He also babbles about drug dealers who would somehow hurl 100-pound bags of drugs over border walls and might, like the Roadrunner wielding an anvil against Wylie Coyote, kill border agents on the others side. ("Can you imagine that you get hit with 100 pounds of drugs?" he asks, as the room breaks up.) Indeed, the talk at the dinner, which was held for high-roller donors to a pro-Trump political action group, was punctuated with the kind of loaded, strained laughter you hear from people nervously responding to a boss's lame jokes. Everyone worked hard to agree with Trump, even when he wasn't seeking agreement. The commentary was quieter but no less bonkers than what you might hear at one of the President's rallies or from a fact-challenged right-wing media panel. The main difference can be heard in the special pleadings of businesspeople who seem to think that their donations, which got them invited to sit at the table, entitle them to offer advice or insights. One by one the businesspeople asked whether Trump might, for example, schedule a North Korea summit at a particular locale or do something about steel prices or trucking costs. The problems of the industry that supplies compressed natural gas for vehicles are discussed at length, as are the difficulties of the marijuana business in states where it is legal to grow, sell and use it. Business has long sought favors from presidents but to hear how it's done here is a lesson in how money provides access to power in the Trump administration. The recording reveals that Parnas — the indicted associate of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — complained that his effort to get into the notoriously corrupt energy business in Ukraine was being hampered by America's ambassador in Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch. As he put it, "the biggest problem there I think, where you need to start, is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She's still left over from the Clinton administration." "The ambassador to Ukraine?" asked Trump. "Yeah," answered Parnas. "She's basically walking around telling everybody, 'wait, he's going to get impeached, just wait.'" With his complaint, which he deftly attached to a comment that would inflame a thin-skinned Trump, Parnas seemed to light a fuse. Although the President didn't promise to take action on behalf of the others at the dinner, after Parnas talked, Trump said, "Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Ok? Do it." As he said this someone in the room clapped as if applauding the decisive way Trump appeared to give Parnas what he wanted. Parnas has said that when Trump issued his dinner-party order he was addressing a White House aide named John DeStefano. If true, this would mean that the President wasn't just speaking to entertain those at the table. In Parnas' version of events, DeStefano seemed to take Trump seriously, as he noted that leadership at the State Department was in transition, with the departure of Secretary Rex Tillerson and the arrival of his replacement Mike Pompeo. As the world knows by now, Parnas and Giuliani would work tirelessly to get rid of Yovanovitch, but the mission would not be accomplished for another year. Her dismissal would become part of a larger scandal in which Trump pressured the government of Ukraine to announce an investigation of his political rivals and applied pressure on Ukraine by holding up funding for its war against Russian proxies. The President's impeachment, for which he is on trial in the Senate, hinged on these events. In releasing the recording, and in making public other evidence that seems to incriminate Trump, Parnas seems to be attempting to gain credit as he, himself, faces criminal charges for alleged campaign finance violations related to the overall scandal (he has pleaded not guilty). He has also apologized for bad mouthing Yovanovitch. However in these acts, he had not erased his past performance as someone who seemed hellbent on helping Trump and himself, through activities that included paying big money for a place at Trump's table where he could ask for help. The implications of the recording are worse for Trump, who denies knowing the man today, even as photos and other evidence emerge to show he was with him a number of times. (At the dinner Parnas shows he's familiar with Trump's appetite for flattery when he is heard apparently bestowing a gift ("from the head rabbi in Ukraine," he says). "It's like messiah is the person that's come to save the whole world," he says. "So it's like you're the savior of the Ukraine." It's bad enough if, as it seems, Trump was willing to fire the ambassador to help out someone he knows well. It's worse if he was willing to do it for someone he doesn't know, but who just happened to buy himself a spot at the dinner table.