Joe Biden: Record And Background

Learn more about the presumptive 2020 Democratic Nominee Joe Biden and his record as Vice President and US Senator from Delaware.
Former Vice President Joe Biden at a Hartford rally in Connecticut – October 26. 2018 (Source: United State Senate – the Office of Chris Murphy)

Former Vice President Joe Biden at a Hartford rally in Connecticut – October 26. 2018 (Source: United State Senate – the Office of Chris Murphy)

Who is Joe Biden?

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joe Biden is the longest-serving US senator from Delaware, a survivor of great personal tragedy, and President Obama’s co-star in one of our nation’s greatest bromances. An active Democrat since the 1970s, a 29-year old Biden unseated a popular Republican Senator in November of 1972, and lost his wife Neilia and baby daughter Naomi in a car accident a month later.

Known for his folksy manner, Biden was the primary sponsor on 42 enacted bills while in the Senate. His seminal bill, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), changed the way law enforcement handles domestic violence and sexual assault, leading to legislative changes across the country. Biden’s time in the Obama-Biden administration wasn’t all memes and fun buddy moments with Obama, either, as he oversaw the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, pushed for mental health reforms, for free and low-cost education, for gun control, and worked with other countries to get to the root causes of irregular migration.

What does Joe Biden stand for?

According to Joe Biden, “We’re in a battle for the soul of America.” With a focus on the middle class, equality, global leadership and an end to “the incredible abuses of power we’re seeing,” Biden proposes an optimistic future for America, promising “our best days still lie ahead.”

With his “Vision for America,” Biden offers robust plans for each of the following:

  • Essential workers in light of COVID 19;
  • Scaling up employment insurance through reform;
  • Bankruptcy reform;
  • Combating Coronavirus (COVID-19);
  • Working with Central America to end the issues causing irregular migration;
  • Immigration reform;
  • Infrastructure investment with a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Ensuring the well-being of our veterans;
  • Supporting military families;
  • Encouraging unions and empowering workers;
  • Campaign finance and government reform;
  • Education beyond high school;
  • Prevention of violence against women;
  • Empowerment of Americans with disabilities;
  • Criminal justice reform;
  • Older Americans and retirement;
  • Health care;
  • Restoring American leadership;
  • Climate Change;
  • K-12 education;
  • Housing;
  • Opioids and substance use disorders;
  • Ensuring access to the middle class for all;
  • An Agenda for Students
  • An Agenda for Women
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What is Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential record?

Though we mostly picture Joe Biden and his time in the White House in the form of memes of his bromance with President Obama, as Vice President in the Obama-Biden administration, Biden was busy, tackling issues ranging from immigration to infrastructure to essential personnel and veterans to violence against women to gun violence and beyond.

Biden aided the expansion of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Resources (SAFER) Act in 2009, which prevented layoffs of firefighters during the economic downturn. He advocated for veterans while vice president, and the Obama-Biden administration reduced veteran homelessness and unemployment by half, and also cut the disability case backlog by 90%. Funding for mental health increased by 76% as well.

Early on, critics derided the Obama-Biden administration for its high number of deportations, which later resulted in a drastic change in policy backed by Biden: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), and the Central American Minors Program, which allowed children to join their parents with legal status. He was also involved in the White House Task force for New Americans, which aided immigrants with transitioning to a new country. For the “Northern Triangle Countries,” El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, Biden secured $750 million in aid to help the root causes of irregular migration.

During the Obama-Biden Administration, Biden focused on mental health, expanding treatment and eliminating stigma, as well as treatment for drug addiction. He pushed for gun violence legislation and executive action which included providing funds to states to improve their reporting of individuals prohibited from owning firearms. Biden also launched “It’s On Us,” a program to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, and pushed for funding for the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which reduces the staggering backlog in DNA testing for sexual assault.

After the economy’s near-collapse in 2008 under Republican leadership, a Democratic-majority Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a stimulus and infrastructure bill, and Biden oversaw its $800 billion implementation. The Act also put more than $90 million into clean energy, increasing the production of parts for wind turbines and decreasing the cost of solar energy. Under Biden’s charge, funds were distributed on time as per congressional schedules, with military transportation projects so far under budget, 3000 additional projects were funded. The 0.2% rate of fraud investigations was well below government averages.

A champion of increasing the minimum wage, and getting rid of a tipped minimum wage, Biden worked with states to get legislation passed while remaining vocal in his support of organized labor. With an eye toward expansion of the middle class, he advanced the idea of 2 years of free community college and workforce training reform.

What is Joe Biden’s Senate record?

Over a Senate career spanning from 1973 to 2009, former Vice President Joe Biden was the primary sponsor of 42 enacted bills. His legislative issue areas break down as follows:

Biden’s most controversial act as a Senator was as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee when he presided over Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Critics decry his not calling corroborative witnesses who could back Hill’s testimony, and his not shielding Hill from brutal questioning from the Republican members of the committee, though those same critics do not seem to hold those Republicans accountable for their questions. The all-white, all-male panel included Senator Chuck Grassley, who still sits on the committee and recently retired senator Orrin Hatch. Biden voted “Nay” on Thomas’ confirmation, despite the public implication he supported the Justice, and Hill publicly stated that she would vote for Biden as the nominee.

Perhaps one of the most influential pieces of legislation ever passed, the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, introduced by Joe Biden on June 20, 1990, changed the very fabric of culture around domestic violence. Prior to the passage of the Act, violence against women, including spousal abuse, stalking, spousal rape, and acquaintance rape were not treated seriously, or, in some states, as crimes. It was also very difficult for abuse survivors to get support; VAWA created the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which connects domestic violence survivors with local help, provides information and support, including for people currently in an unsafe environment.

VAWA initially passed as part of the controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a bipartisan bill responding to a precipitous increase in violent crime in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Biden substantially contributed to the bill as head of the Judiciary Committee. The crime bill created the “three strikes” law, banned assault weapons, required convicted felons serve 85% of their sentence, funded community police and prisons, expanded the federal death penalty and allowed juveniles to be charged as adults, in addition to creating VAWA. Only two Democrats voted against the final legislation, and it was supported by a vast majority of Democrats in the House, as well as the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus. Mitch McConnell, along with most Republicans, voted against it, with McConnell rejecting for being too soft. While the crime bill increased policing, which is the most likely explanation for the subsequent decrease in violent crime, it also left in its wake the ravages of mass incarceration.

But its other legacy is VAWA, which not only changed how law enforcement handles abuse of women, it shaped public thinking. Under Republican leadership in the House and Senate, VAWA expired December 21, 2018, was briefly renewed in January 2019 but expired again in February 2019. Though the House reauthorized the Act with some changes in April 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate have ignored the bill. With shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19, there is a nationwide increase in domestic violence incidents, and the Hotline offers information on staying safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

What is Joe Biden’s background?

Former Vice President Joe Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and served as Senator for Delaware from 1973 until he was sworn in as President Barack Obama’s vice president in 2009. Biden is the son of Joseph Biden Sr., a furnace cleaner and used car salesman, and Eugenia Finnegan.he family moved from Scranton to Mayfield, Delaware when he was 13. The eldest of four siblings, Biden’s family is Irish on his mother’s side and French, English, and Irish on his father’s. A lifelong stutterer, for which he was mocked as a child and as recently as December 2019 by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Biden overcame the disability by practicing poetry in a mirror.

Biden attended the University of Delaware and Syracuse University Law School. He practiced law, became an active member of the Democratic Party, and in 1972 ran his first Senate race against popular incumbent Republican J. Caleb Boggs, He won, and Biden was the fifth-youngest Senator ever elected.

Along with his incredible victories, Biden has suffered incredible losses. Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden and daughter Naomi Biden, 1, were killed in a car accident in December 1972; his two sons, Beau, 3, and Hunter, 2, were also injured. To spend time with them after the family tragedy, Biden began his practice of commuting to Washington, D.C. by train from Wilmington Delaware. In 2015, his son Beau Biden, an Army veteran, died of brain cancer.

In 1977, Biden married Dr. Jill Biden, and they have a daughter, Ashley, born in 1981.

On the campaign trail, Biden famously offers private moments, calls or even his phone number to people also experiencing grief. Says Biden on his family tragedy, “One of the things that I found was, for me, I had to turn the loss into purpose. And for me, my two boys survived when I lost my wife and daughter and I realized that they were my purpose in life.”

Personal details and contact information.

  • Age: 77
  • Birthday: November 20, 1942
  • Religion: Catholic
  • Hometown: Scranton, PA
  • Education: University of Delaware (1965); Syracuse University Law School (1968)
  • Spouse: Dr. Jill Biden
  • Twitter: @JoeBiden
  • Contact: Contact Form

The Rantt Rundown

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden served two terms under President Barack Obama after 36 years as a Delaware senator. More than a presidential sidekick, Biden accomplished much in his vice-presidential tenure, including managing the implementation of economic recovery bills, improving gun control, advocating for veterans and expanding mental health and addiction coverage while lessening stigma. As a Senator, Biden introduced VAWA, a historic Act which shifted the entire American culture in regard to domestic violence. With a life punctuated by tragedy, Biden comforts others who are grieving, even out on the campaign trail, as he vies for the presidency.

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