What You Need to Know About Joe Biden

Knowing who you are voting for is important. Here are some facts about and policy stances of the 2020 Democratic nominee: Joe Biden

COVID-19

    The Biden Administration has a seven-step plan in order to curb COVID-19 in the United States. Step one of this plan entails fixing issues with testing; with this, they will implement double the drive-through testing sites, create at-home tests to distribute to the population, and create a sector to deal with COVID-19 across the United States. Step two states that more PPE (personal protective equipment) will be distributed and produced at higher rates. Step three includes guidance from real scientists and the Centers for Disease Control in order to give guidelines and efforts on social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Steps four through seven all include mask mandates, protecting vulnerable and at-risk communities, revamping Trump’s pandemic response team and plans, and overall a proactive response. The administration also stated that paid COVID-19 leaves will be available to those impacted by the virus. As well as restoring America from COVID-19, the Biden administration states that they will prepare for future public health crises as well. For more information on Joe Biden and his COVID-19 plans, visit https://joebiden.com/covid19/

 

Healthcare

    Joe Biden stood alongside Barack Obama when the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2010. Because he helped to pioneer this Act, he will continue to stand by it if he is elected president in 2020. This act prevents people from getting denied by insurance companies for having pre-existing conditions, as well as letting those in the transition stage of college-to-real-job stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. He believes that the Affordable Care Act does just that - create affordable and accessible healthcare for all Americans. He opposes every act and law that is tried to pass to abolish Obamacare. 

    As well as upholding the Affordable Care Act, Biden wants to build on it. He wants to make sure every American has healthcare, and he wants to create a program like Medicare for all. He wants to work on increasing tax credits to lower premiums as well as serve low-income communities. Overall, Biden has a concrete plan to keep the Affordable Care Act running as well as making improvements to it.

 

The Economy       

    Joe Biden has an extensive plan to “save our economy” which explains what he would do now and what he will do if elected. His first task is figuring out a way to fix the extensive damage the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the U.S. economy. First, he says he will use several authorities, including the Defense Production Act, for inveting in public health initiatives to combat coronavirus. That way, more businesses can open up sooner. Secondly, he wants to build a task force to ensure aid for the unemployed and small businesses is sent out as quickly as possible. He also would place the responsibility of big business oversight on the task force, which would ensure large corporations are doing the most to help their employees during this time and in the recovery stages. Lastly, Biden wants to join with Congress to create a bill for more stimulus checks, at least $10,000 of student loan forgiveness, increased social security, free COVID-19 testing, and overall provide any financial relief needed to anyone on the front lines. Again, he would use any available authorities or funds to pay for this relief plan. Biden’s campaign’s main focus on their economic plan is the defeat and the recovery of the pandemic. 

 

College Debt

    Like Donald Trump, and unlike some of his competitors this year, Joe Biden does not support tuition-free college. However, he wants to make college more accessible to middle and lower class students. His plan is to invest more in community college and training, put more funding into Historically Black Colleges, and refine and strengthen colleges to be a pathway rather than an investment. As for the $1.6 trillion in student debt currently, Biden wants to forgive up to $10,000 debt for each borrower. Biden also would forgive debt of those making less than $125,000 a year and who went to public colleges. He also wants to make debt forgiveness tax-free, making it easier for those borrowing to pay off. He also has a plan to discharge all debt if one declares bankruptcy. These are very bold promises, so the question now is if Democrats have control of Congress in the coming years. Without them on his side, it will be difficult to execute this plan.  

 

Race Relations 

    Joe Biden states that he was inspired to run for office after the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, where a woman was murdered. With a focus on racial equality, his campaign plans include a huge slew of racial justice initiatives and race relations improvement, including: Racial Equity Across the American Economy, The Biden Plan for Black America and his Agenda for the Black Community, his Agenda for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community, his Agenda for the Indian American Community, his Agenda for the Arab American Community, and his Agenda for the Latino Community. With racial justice being a huge focus, it is important to understand what he plans on doing to advance racial equity in the United States. 

    His “Build Back Better Plan” for economic recovery after the pandemic aims at creating an economy that everyone can equally contribute to. This plan includes an up to $15,000 in tax credit for first time homebuyers and the plan to construct 1.5 million homes and public housing units while also eliminating housing regulations thought to continue discrimination. This plan also helps students whose families make less than $125,000 a year to receive free college for up to two years, with the aim of helping communities of color who are disproportionately lower income.

    Although Biden does have impressive policy plans for racial justice, he also has had his commitment to racial equality called into question quite a bit. He has faced criticism as he worked with segregationists when he was a US Senator in the 1970s, according to Reuters. In addition, “Jason Sokol, a historian of the civil rights movement at the University of New Hampshire, said Biden has more explaining to do. While Biden showed ‘halting support’ for using mandatory busing to integrate schools in 1972 during his first Senate campaign, he quickly became ‘one of the Senate’s leaders in terms of offering anti-busing legislation.’” 

Although Biden does have a questionable past from his time in the 1970s, he has a major focus on racial equality in his election campaign and has been largely favored among black voters, even in the primaries, as Obama’s Vice President. 

 

Criminal Justice

    According to NPR News, in his past role as a Senator, Biden sponsored the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This bill included a 10 year ban on assault style weapons and it included the Violence Against Women Act. However, the bill also included harsh penalties for drug-related crimes and some of the money went to build prisons. It also included funding to hire an additional 100,000 police officers. Now, Biden has backed away from some things included in this bill but also condemned calls to defund police departments by members of his party. In order to work towards criminal justice reform, he has proposed a ban on chokeholds, a new federal police oversight commission, new standards for when and how force is used by police officers and more mandatory data collection from local law enforcement.

    According to Reuters, Joe Biden has also “proposed eliminating prison sentences for drug use, decriminalizing marijuana and eliminating sentencing disparities for offenses involving crack and powder cocaine. He also would eliminate the death penalty. He promises to end mandatory sentencing that takes discretion away from judges, eliminate private prisons and end the federal system of cash bail, under which defendants who cannot afford to pay must await trial in jail. Biden also has pledged to reform the juvenile justice system, including keeping youths from being incarcerated with adults. He plans efforts to eliminate barriers for felons re-entering society from prison, including restrictions on allowing them to receive food stamps, educational Pell grants and housing support.”

    Joe Biden’s plans for criminal justice reform are widespread and on his website, he states that “Our criminal justice system must be focused on redemption and rehabilitation” as well as “No one should be profiteering off of our criminal justice system.” Joe Biden is calling for the immediate passage of the SAFE Justice Act. In addition, Joe Biden’s plan for Criminal Justice Reform acknowledges racial disparities in incarceration as well as the following: 80-90% of girls in the juvenile justice system have a history of physical or sexual abuse, 1 out of 4 kids from the foster care system will be involved with the criminal justice system within 2 years of leaving foster care, incarcerated individuals have lower literacy levels and many people with mental health and substance abuse disorders end up incarcerated. He believes that understanding the reason people become involved with the criminal justice system will help create preventative and rehabilitative measures rather than punishment as a reaction to crime.

 

Immigration 

According to Ballot Pedia, Joe Biden’s main goal is to reverse many of Trump’s policies on illegal immigration. Biden’s campaign website states that he is planning to embrace the following immigration enforcement policies in his first 100 days in office as summarized below: 

  • Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border. 

  • End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies. 

  • End the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border. Surge humanitarian resources to the border and foster public-private initiatives. 

  • End prolonged detention and reinvest in a case management program. 

  • Reverse Trump’s public charge rule. 

  • End the so-called National Emergency that siphons federal dollars from the Department of Defense to build a wall. 

  • Protect Dreamers and their families. 

  • Order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster.” 

 

To further investigate Biden’s stance on immigration, you can read more on the 2020 Presidential Voter Guide.

 

Women’s Rights & Issues 

    According to Biden’s agenda for women, as president he will improve economic security for women, expand women’s healthcare, end violence against women, make childcare affordable, and overall empower all women. Specifically, Biden has proposed to fight for equal pay for women who are still, on average, earning $0.81 to a man’s dollar. Biden has shown his allyship to women, specifically women of color, by appointing Senator Kamala Harris as his vice president. If elected, Harris will be the first woman to be vice president, and she is already “the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party,” according to The New York Times

To uphold his allyship to all women, he claims he will reissue an executive order to promote inclusion and diversity in government. When Biden was vice president under the Obama-Biden Administration, he and Obama created the White House Council for Women and Girls, a council that prioritizes the needs of women and girls in drafted policies. Specific issues the council tackled were equal pay, paid family leave, and women’s poverty. Because the Trump Administration has since disbanded the council, Biden plans on reinstating the council and calling it the White House Council on Gender Equality. 

    Additionally, Biden claims he will work to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), “so women’s rights are once and for all explicitly enshrined in our Constitution.” As president, Biden says he will advocate to Congress to recognize that the majority of states have ratified the amendment. Because women continue to face discrimination, Biden claims he will put an end to discrimination against mothers and pregnant or nursing women in the workplace. 

    However, there have also been a number of sexual assault allegations against the former vice president. Recently, Tara Reade, a former staff assistant to Biden in 1993, came forward to describe Biden’s alleged assault against her. According to Reuters, Biden has denied the allegations and even asked the Senate to reveal any documents of Reade’s complaints from the time of the supposed assault if such documents should exist. Biden has since shown his support for women victims of sexual assault and violence. 

“Women have a right to be heard and the press should rigorously investigate claims they make. I’ll always uphold that principle,” he said, according to Reuters. “But in the end, in every case, the truth is what matters.” 

    To learn more about Biden’s plan for women, see The Biden Agenda for Women and The Biden Plan to End Violence Against Women

 

LBGTQ+ Issues 

    According to Biden’s plan to advance LGBTQ+ equality in America and around the world, if Biden becomes president, he will not only support and protect LGBTQ+ individuals from violence and discrimination, but he will also expand access to healthcare and ensure the fair treatment of LGBTQ+ people in the criminal justice system. Biden has proposed to enact the Equality Act, which guarantees the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people are protected, during his first 100 days as president. Transgender and non-binary individuals face employment discrimination, and as president, Biden promises to fund workforce training programs, which includes implicit bias training for federal workers to combat discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability. 

    One priority for Biden is to reverse the transgender military ban. The Obama-Biden Administration had previously revoked the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, but the Trump Administration reversed that policy. For transgender youth, Biden has proposed to guarantee that transgender students will have access to facilities based on their gender identity, not biological sex. Biden has also stated that he believes transgender and non-binary individuals should be given the option to have a gender-neutral identity marker on their government identifications. 

    Another major part of Biden’s plan for LGBTQ+ people is that he will support giving LGBTQ+ individuals the freedom to build their families. Previously, the Trump Administration allowed adoption agencies to discriminate against potential parents on the basis of sexual orientation due to religious beliefs. Biden plans to repeal this rule and ensure the safety and equality of all LGBTQ+ families. 

    According to The Hill, more than 300 leaders in the LGBTQ+ community have endorsed Biden because he has been standing alongside the community for decades. For example, he previously repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which required that military applicants could not ask about nor tell others what their sexual orientation was. 

    For more information, check out Biden’s webpage for LGBTQ+ policies

 

Climate Change

Joe Biden and his administration support the Green New Deal. With this, he wants to expand into the Biden Plan. This plan ensures that the United States will have completely clean and sustainable energy by 2050, and recommit the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement. Joe Biden is a huge advocate for preventing climate change, and was the first person to ever introduce a climate bill to Congress in 1986. For more information, visit https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/.