Political positions of Joe Biden

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Biden in October 2017

Joe Biden served as the Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. He served in the Senate from 1973 until 2009 and made his second run for President of the United States in the 2008 presidential election as a Democrat. Biden was announced as Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's running mate on August 23, 2008, and was elected Vice President on November 4, 2008.

Biden has been a strong proponent of free trade agreements throughout his career, being one of the few Democrats to vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement.[1] During the Obama administration, Biden was also a staunch advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.[2]

Biden voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act.[3]

Biden is opposed to Medicare For All, but announced his support for a Public health insurance option in April 2019.[4]

Joe Biden's ratings from advocacy organizations
Group Advocacy issue(s) Ratings
Lifetime Recent[5]
Rating Date
AFL-CIO labor unions 85%[6] 100% 2003
AUSCS church-state separation 100% 2006
APHA public health 100% 2003
CTJ progressive taxation 100% 2006
NAACP minorities & affirmative action 100% 2006
LCV environmental protection 83%[7] 95% 2003
NEA public education 91% 2003
ARA senior citizens 89% 2003
CAF energy security 83% 2006
PA peace and disarmament 80% 2003
HRC gay and lesbian rights 78% 2006
NARAL abortion rights ~72%[8] 75%[9] 2007
CURE criminal rehabilitation 71% 2000
ACLU civil and political rights 80%[10] 60% 2002
Cato free trade and libertarianism 42% 2002
US CoC corporate interests 32% 2003
CCA Fundamentalist Christian
family values
16% 2003
NTU lowering taxes 15% 2003
USBC immigration controls 8% 2006
NRLC restrictions on abortion 0% 2006
NRA gun ownership F 2003

Biden has supported campaign finance reform including the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and banning contributions of issue ads and gifts;[11] capital punishment as his 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act created several new capital offenses;[12] deficit spending on fiscal stimulus in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009;[13][14] tax credits for students;[15] carbon emissions cap and trade;[16] the increased infrastructure spending proposed by the Obama administration;[14] mass transit, supporting Amtrak, bus, and subway subsidies for decades;[17] renewable energy subsidies;[16] same-sex marriage;[18] student loan forgiveness;[19] increased taxation of the wealthy;[20] and universal health care.[21] He opposes marijuana legalization[22] and prefers the reduced military spending proposed in the Obama administration's fiscal year 2014 budget.[23][24]

The following are more detailed political positions of Joe Biden on an assortment of issues.

Social issues[edit]

Abortion, stem cell research, cloning[edit]

Biden believes that the decision handed down in Roe v. Wade should remain intact. He is quoted as saying, "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."[citation needed] In September 2008, Biden was barred by Joseph Francis Martino, the bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, from receiving Holy Communion in the diocese because of his support for abortion rights.[25]

He voted in favor of a 1999 bill to ban in most circumstances partial birth abortion[26] and on 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.[27] Biden has defended these votes as recently as April 2007.[28] He has also stated his opposition to federal funding of abortions.[28]

Joe Biden at Gallaudet University in Washington DC, USA

He has joined with Democrats in voting against parental notification and banning abortions on military bases. His abortion record includes a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America in four of the last five years, although he received a 36% rating in 2003. Biden pledged that he would appoint Supreme Court justices sharing his beliefs.[28] He has also stated his opposition to the Mexico City policy, and voted in favor of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994. Biden supports federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and voted to expand development and voted against banning human cloning in 1998.

Capital punishment[edit]

Biden supports capital punishment. He authored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which expanded the number of crimes subject to the federal death penalty. However, he voted against limiting appeals in capital cases and also opposed rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals.[citation needed]


Biden wrote the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which deployed more police officers, increased prison sentences, and built more prisons. The bill helped reduce the crime rate, but critics say that it "created a financial incentive for jailing people and keeping them there for longer periods of time" which had a disproportionate impact on minorities.[29]

Drug law[edit]

Joe Biden in New Hampshire

Biden favors diverting drug offenders out of the nation's prison system. He ostensibly opposes making stricter laws for drug offenses but helped in creating drug czar, a government official overseeing all anti-drug operations. According to his campaign website, he is for increased penalties against those caught selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools.[30] He was the drafter and chief sponsor of the RAVE Act, a law used to crack down on MDMA-fueled raves, but which critics called "too broad in scope."[31] Later renamed the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003, the law was additionally controversial as it was passed attached to an unrelated child protection bill, without public hearing or debate in Congress. Critics assert that the law has since been used by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents to intimidate those organizing rallies and fund-raisers to support drug-law reform.[32]


Joe Biden during his first term as Vice President

Biden received a 91% voting record from the National Education Association (NEA) showing a pro-teacher union voting record. He supports comprehensive sex education, opposes student vouchers, and affirms the Constitutional right to voluntary prayer in school.[33] He voted in favor of Educational Savings Accounts. In regard to the No Child Left Behind Act, Biden stated,

Classrooms are too big; we need smaller classrooms, period. A lot of teachers are going to be retiring. We need a program where we attract the best and brightest students coming out of our colleges to be teachers, and pay them.[34]

He voted in favor of the act in 2001, but has subsequently called his vote a "mistake."[35] He has said that the program is "underfunding" the education system.


Biden has been credited with introducing the first climate change bill in Congress.[36] The 1986 bill was signed into law by President Reagan as an amendment to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act in December 1987.[36]

He co-sponsored the "Sense of the Senate" resolution calling on the U.S. to be a part of the United Nations climate negotiations and the "Boxer-Sanders Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act", the most stringent climate bill in the U.S. Senate.[37] He voted "Yes" on a $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas and "No" for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on national security grounds and defunding renewable and solar energy.[38]

Biden supports creating a new treaty on climate change requiring emissions reductions from developing countries, such as Brazil, India, China, and Mexico. He has also stated his support for investment in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as creating a "cap and trade" system. Biden supports the promotion of renewable energy, including biodiesel fuels but not ethanol.

Gun issues[edit]

Throughout his term in the Senate, Biden supported various gun control measures.[39]

  • In 1986, he voted for a bill that allowed the sale of firearms through the U.S. Postal Service and which restricted the ability of federal inspectors to scrutinize sales of firearms at gun shows.[40] At the time, the NRA described the legislation as "the law that saved gun rights" in the United States.[40]
  • In 1989 he sponsored a bill which would have banned the AR-15 and eight similar firearms. [41]
  • He voted for the 1993 Brady Bill which established five-day waiting periods for handgun purchases and background checks.[42]
  • In 1994 he argued in favor of banning assault-style weapons, and helped pass the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 which banned the manufacture, transfer, or possession of certain firearms, with the exception of those owned prior to its implementation. The bill expired in 2004.[43]
  • He voted for the Closing Gun Show Loophole act of 1999 that would have required people purchasing guns at gun shows to undergo a background check and a three-day waiting period.[39]
  • He voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 which protects firearm manufacturers from lawsuits due to crimes committed with firearms they manufactured.[39]

In 2003, Biden was given a failing grade by the National Rifle Association (NRA) "showing an anti-gun ownership voting record".[39][44]

Homeland security[edit]

After the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, a domestic terrorist bomb attack that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Biden drafted anti-terrorist legislation, which was ultimately defeated. He later claimed publicly on several occasions that the USA PATRIOT Act, which eased restrictions on the Executive branch in the surveillance and detention of those suspected of terrorism or facilitating it, was essentially a duplicate of the anti-terrorist legislation he had drafted years earlier.[45] Biden supported the PATRIOT Act but voted to limit wiretapping on the bill. He supports implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations to fight terrorists but voted to preserve habeas corpus rights to the alleged terror suspects serving in Guantanamo Bay. In the 1990s, he voted in favor of 36 vetoed military projects and supports efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. He was given a 60% approval rating from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reflecting a mixed voting record on civil rights issues. During a debate on November 15, 2007, Biden clarified the PATRIOT Act's effect and his continued support for it and his opposition to racial profiling.[46]


On September 29, 2006, Biden voted for the Secure Fence Act, which authorized and partially funded the construction of 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border.[47][48] Biden supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. He supports guest-worker visas. Biden also supports a path to citizenship.[49]

Internet privacy and file sharing[edit]

In 2006, in its Technology Issues Voter's Guide, CNET.com gave Biden a score of 37.5% on his Senate voting record.[50][51] They described him as "Pro-RIAA" and "Pro-FBI" in his file sharing and privacy stances. Biden sponsored a bill that would prohibit recording songs off of Satellite and Internet radio,[52] and signed a letter urging the Justice Department to prosecute file sharers.[citation needed]

Biden also sponsored two bills, the Comprehensive Counter Terrorism Act (SB 266) and the Violent Crime Control Act (SB 618), both of which contained language seen as effectively banning encryption.[53] Crypto notes Biden wrote that language into the text of SB 266.[54] Phil Zimmermann, the creator of Pretty Good Privacy, has said it was SB 266 that "led [him] to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups."[55] He later stated in a Slashdot article that he was not specifically criticizing Biden, that he would consider the Senator's "whole body of work" when considering whether to vote for him on the Democratic ticket in 2008, and that "considering the disastrous erosion in our privacy and civil liberties under the (Bush) administration, I feel positively nostalgic about Biden's quaint little non-binding resolution of 1991".[56]

LGBTQ issues[edit]

In 1993 as a United States Senator, Joe Biden voted in favor of the Homosexual Conduct Act (10 U.S.C. §654), an unconstitutional federal law categorically banning gay Americans from joining or serving in the United States armed forces in any capacity without exception.[57] That law was subsequently modified by President Clinton through the issuance of DOD Directive 1304.26 (subsequently nicknamed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or DADT) which accommodated "closeted" service to the extent that a servicemember's homosexual sexual orientation was neither discovered nor disclosed.[58] The Homosexual Conduct Act was defended by the Obama/Biden Administration, but held unconstitutional in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. The administration appealed its loss and was granted a stay on the trial court's injunction against the law's enforcement. Pending this appeal, the administration hastily ushered through a legislative repeal of 10 U.S.C. §654 on 18 December 2010 rendering the lower court's decision moot. Among its terms, the legislative repeal prohibited servicemembers injured by the enforcement of the unconstitutional law from bringing suit against the government.[59]

In 1996 as a United States Senator, Joe Biden voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act [60] (1 U.S.C. §7) an unconstitutional federal law categorically prohibiting the federal government from recognizing any same-sex marriage, barring individuals in such marriages from equal protection under federal law, and allowing states to do the same. DOMA was partially voided in 2013 by the landmark case of United States v. Windsor, then voided utterly in 2015 by the landmark case of Obergefell v Hodges.

In a 5 May 2012 Meet the Press interview Vice President Biden publicly reversed his previous position, stating 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." [61]

Religious faith[edit]

In response to a student's question about how his own religious faith affected his philosophy of government at the University of Pittsburgh in November 2011, Biden said,

I find it preposterous that in 2011 we're debating whether or not a man is qualified or worthy of your vote based on whether or not his religion ... is a disqualifying provision. It is not. It is embarrassing and we should be ashamed, anyone who thinks that way.[62]

Women's issues[edit]

In 1994, Biden drafted the Violence Against Women Act. This law provided $1.6 billion to enhance investigation and prosecution of the violent crime perpetrated against women, increased pre-trial detention of the accused, provided for automatic and mandatory restitution of those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the VAWA on Constitutional grounds in United States v. Morrison.

Biden has said, "I consider the Violence Against Women Act the single most significant legislation that I've crafted during my 35-year tenure in the Senate. Indeed, the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 was the beginning of a historic commitment to women and children victimized by domestic violence and sexual assault. Our nation has been rewarded for this commitment. Since the Act's passage in 1994, domestic violence has dropped by almost 50%."[63] He has also said that the Act "empower[s] women to make changes in their lives, and by training police and prosecutors to arrest and convict abusive husbands instead of telling them to take a walk around the block".[64]

There has been controversy regarding then-Senator Biden's actions during the Anita Hill hearings of 1991. At the time Biden was serving as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the nomination of Republican judge Clarence Thomas who was nominated by then-President George H. W. Bush. During the nomination process, Judge Thomas was accused of a consistent pattern of sexual harassment. [65] During the hearing, Biden referred to the accusations by Hill as being "he said, she said"[66] and as a "character assassination".[67] In 2017, Biden issued an apology to Anita Hill, stating: "Let’s get something straight here, I believed Anita Hill. I voted against Clarence Thomas... I am so sorry that she had to go through what she went through. Think of the courage that it took for her to come forward.”[68]

Economic issues[edit]


Senator Biden supported the Farm Bill and believes that it is a responsible compromise.

He has strongly supported efforts to combat the problem of invasive species—plants and animals improperly brought to U.S. shores. Biden feels that these non-native species have the potential to be among the largest economic and environmental threats in the 21st century. Non-native species alter vegetation, compete with native species, introduce new diseases, and interfere with maritime commerce. Aware of these dangers, Senator Biden continues supporting programs used to stop importing non-native plants and animals to the U.S.[69]

After learning that Russia will start banning chicken imports from 19 plants in the United States, Biden issued the following statement:

Russia is once again using non-tariff barriers as an excuse to close its markets to American poultry. I am concerned about the effect of this action on Mountaire, a major employer and integral part of our state's agricultural production. Other local poultry processing plants may be targeted! Russia has repeatedly shown that it is not ready to abide by the rules of international trade. Let's not forget this is part of a bigger picture in which Russia has failed to behave as a responsible member in the international community. Until Russia reverses their recent actions—both big and small—its application to join the World Trade Organization should remain on hold. The United States must take immediate and necessary steps—just like we did in 2002—to restore access to this market, which is critical to Delaware's farmers, Delaware's poultry industry and Delaware's economy, which relies heavily on the agricultural industry.[70]


During the 2000s, Biden sponsored bankruptcy legislation, which was sought by MBNA, one of Delaware's largest companies and Biden's largest contributor in the late 1990s,[29] and other credit card issuers.[71] He fought for certain amendments to the bill that would indirectly protect homeowners and forbid anti-abortion felons from using bankruptcy to discharge fines.[71] He also worked to defeat amendments which would have protected members of the military and those who are pushed into bankruptcy by medical debt. Critics expressed concern that the law would force those seeking bankruptcy protection to hire lawyers to process the required paperwork and would make it more difficult for students to execute education-related debt.[29] The overall bill was vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 2000, but then finally passed as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005, with Biden supporting it.[71]


Biden opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and supports governmental funding to find new energy sources as well as upping funding for alternative transportation like Amtrak and mass transit.[72]

While campaigning for president in 2007, Biden said that, if elected, his top priority would be "energy security." He has also been quoted as saying "If I could wave a wand, and the Lord said I could solve one problem, I would solve the energy crisis."[73]

Trade and globalization[edit]

Biden was among the Democrats to vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993.[74] His support for NAFTA and for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership has been identified by pollsters as a potential problem for him in the Midwest.[75] He opposed the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) but supports normalizing relations with China, Vietnam, and the Andean nations. He opposes free trade agreements with Oman, Singapore, and Chile.[citation needed]

Biden was given a 42% approval rating from the Cato Institute, showing a mixed record on free trade. He received a 32% approval rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He favors taking burdens off corporations to prevent outsourcing.[vague] He voted in favor of repealing tax subsidies for companies that outsource jobs.[citation needed]


In 2003 the American Public Health Association (APHA) gave Biden a 100% approval rating. He supports funding for health care to allow all people access.[76][citation needed] He opposes Medicare for All but, as of his campaign announcement in April 2019, had not set out the details of his own plan.[77]

Labor unions[edit]

Biden was given an 85% lifetime approval rating from AFL–CIO.[6]

Biden was a cosponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act.[78]


Biden is against the George W. Bush administration's tax cuts and would "take back one year of the tax cuts for Americans who make over a million dollars a year, and put this money in a dedicated Homeland Security and Public Safety Trust Fund to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations and invest in law enforcement."[79] Biden supports a balanced budget amendment.

Biden cites high health care and energy costs as two major threats to the prosperity of American businesses. He believes that addressing these issues will improve American economic competitiveness.[80]


Biden opposes the privatization of Social Security and was given an 89% approval rating from the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), reflecting a pro-senior citizen voting record. He voted in support of welfare block grants and supports welfare reform.[81][which?]

Foreign policy[edit]

Former rebel leader Hashim Thaçi and Biden with Declaration of Independence of Kosovo

The Council on Foreign Relations reported on Biden's political positions.[82]


Biden favored an American deployment of troops to Darfur.[83] In support of this, Biden said senior U.S. military officials in Europe told him that 2,500 U.S. troops could "radically change the situation on the ground now" (see War in Darfur.)

Biden is opposed to American financing of abstinence-only programs to combat HIV-AIDS in Africa. In 2007, he cosponsored the HIV Prevention Act which would end President George W. Bush's mandate that one third of all funds be earmarked to abstinence-only programs.[83]

In 2011 Biden said NATO got it right in Libya.[84]



As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Biden has been a prominent voice calling for "hard-headed diplomacy" with Iran. In July 2008, Biden should first engage directly with Iran in the context of talks with the Permanent Five Members of the UN Security Council and Germany, and "ultimately country-to-country, just as we did with North Korea." He also has called for the implementation of "coordinated international sanctions" on Iran, adding "we should complement this pressure by presenting a detailed, positive vision for U.S.–Iran relations if Iran does the right thing."[83]

In 2007, Biden voted against a measure to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. He wrote in December 2007 that "War with Iran is not just a bad option. It would be a disaster." Biden threatened to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush if he had started a war with Iran without Congressional approval.[83] In an interview in September 2008, Biden stated that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was a terrorist organization and that the Bush administration already had the power to designate it as one. He stated that he voted against the measure out of concern that the Bush administration would misuse the measure to justify a military attack against Iran.[85]

In early April 2009, Biden told CNN that he believed that Israel would not launch a unilateral strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Biden stated that "I think (Israel) would be ill-advised to do that. And so my level of concern is no different than it was a year ago."[86]


Joe Biden speaking

In 1990, after Iraq under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Biden voted against the first Gulf War, asking: "What vital interests of the United States justify sending Americans to their deaths in the sands of Saudi Arabia?"[87] In 1998, Biden expressed support for the use of force against Iraq and urged a sustained effort to "dethrone" Saddam Hussein over the long haul.[88] In 2002, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he stated that Saddam Hussein was "a long-term threat and a short term threat to our national security" and that the United States has "no choice but to eliminate the threat".[89] He also said, "I think Saddam either has to be separated from his weapons or taken out of power."[90] Biden also supported a failed resolution authorizing military action in Iraq only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts,[91] Biden argued that Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons and is seeking nuclear weapons.[92]

Biden subsequently voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Biden has since said that he believes it was a mistake to support the Iraq War because it has been mismanaged by the Bush Administration. In 2005, Biden said, "We can call it quits and withdraw from Iraq (but) I think that would be a gigantic mistake, or we can set a deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out—equally a mistake."[93]

Regarding his belief that Iraq maintained stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Biden said in 2007 that inspectors had seen and cataloged the existence of the materials required to make such weapons prior to their expulsion from Iraq and pondered why Saddam Hussein didn't tell the international community that he had disposed of them.[89] He stated in July 2002 that most chemical and biological agents produced by Iraq would have been neutralized or degraded in storage, encouraging the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee to convene hearings to reassess the threat. When the committee scheduled hearings for the beginning of August 2002, Scott Ritter, the chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, stated that "Sen. Joe Biden is running a sham hearing. It is clear that Biden and most of the Congressional leadership have pre-ordained a conclusion that seeks to remove Saddam Hussein from power regardless of the facts, and are using these hearings to provide political cover for a massive military attack on Iraq."[94]

Biden supported a "five-step plan" towards removing troops from Iraq. In November 2006, Biden and Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, released a comprehensive strategy to end sectarian violence in Iraq. Rather than continuing the present approach or withdrawing, the plan called for federalizing Iraq with separate regions for Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis.[95] The key points include:

  1. Giving Iraq's major groups a measure of autonomy in their own regions. A central government would be left in charge of interests such as defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
  2. Guaranteeing Sunnis—who have no oil rights—a proportionate share of oil revenue and reintegrating those who have not fought against Coalition forces.
  3. Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that Arab states of the Persian Gulf fund it and tie it to the creation of a jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
  4. Initiate a diplomatic offensive to enlist the support of the major powers and neighboring countries for a political settlement in Iraq and create an Oversight Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
  5. Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces in 2007 and withdraw most of them by 2008, leaving a small follow-on force for security and policing actions.

The plan, named The Biden-Brownback Resolution, passed the Senate 75–23 in a nonbinding vote on September 25, 2007, including 26 Republican votes. Iraq's political leadership united in denouncing the resolution, while the Embassy of the United States in Baghdad issued a statement distancing itself.[95]


Biden is a self-described Zionist.[83] During the interview conducted by the U.S. Jewish television cable network Shalom TV, Biden said, "I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist."[96]

He is highly supportive of the state of Israel and views Israel as a strategic ally in the Middle East.[97] He stated that "the Arab nations have known that there is no daylight between us and Israel."[98] Regarding support for Israel within the Democratic Party, Biden has stated that the Democrats' support for Israel "comes from our gut, moves through our heart, and ends up in our head. It's almost genetic."[99] In September 2008, Biden stated "A strong America is a strong Israel. I have a 35-year record of supporting Israel, and Israel's security is enhanced the stronger America is."[100]

Joe Biden at the World Economic Forum in Jordan in 2003

In a speech to several hundred older American Jews at a Florida retirement community, Biden stressed that he and Barack Obama are strongly pro-Israel. Biden stated "I am chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. I give you my word as a Biden, I would not have given up that job to be Barack Obama's vice president if I didn't in my gut and in my heart and in my head know that Barack Obama is exactly where I am on Israel. And he is ... I promise you ... we will make [Israel] more secure." Biden also criticized the presidency of George W. Bush, stating that "By any objective fact, Israel is less secure today in the world than it was eight years ago."[101][102]

During a conference call to members of the Jewish media on September 3, 2008, Biden stated, in regard to a potential Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, that it "is not a question for us to tell the Israelis what they can and cannot do, I have faith in the democracy of Israel. They will arrive at the right decision that they view as being in their own interests." However, Biden stated that additional diplomatic efforts should be made to help avert the potential need for military action.[85]

In September 2008, Biden spoke at the Washington Conference of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). Biden stated that "I've spent 35 years of my career dealing with issues relating to Israel. My support for Israel begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head." Regarding Barack Obama's stance on Israel, Biden stated that "I guarantee you, I would not have joined Barack Obama as his vice president if I had any doubt, even the slightest doubt, that he shares the same commitment to Israel I share." Biden also harshly denied a claim by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) that he once attempted to cut off aid to Israel.[103] NJDC director Ira Forman has praised Biden, stating that "There is no one you could possibly pick who knows the issues, who is committed to Israel's security and knows Israeli leaders, as much as Joe Biden."[104]

During the 2008 vice-presidential debate, Biden stated "no one in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden. I would have never, ever joined this ticket were I not absolutely sure Barack Obama shared my passion."[105]

In November 2010, Biden served as the keynote speaker at the General Assembly (GA) of Jewish Federations of North America, where he stated that "This government will stand with Israel. It's in our own self-interest, beyond it being an absolute moral necessity." He also renewed his support for peace talks with the Palestinians, stating that "There is no substitute for direct face-to-face negotiations leading eventually to states for two people secured—the Jewish State of Israel and the viable independent state of Palestine. That is the only path to the Israeli people's decades-long quest for security, and the only path to the Palestinian people's legitimate aspirations for nationhood."[106]

Alleged statement on Iranian nuclear arms[edit]

In early September 2008, Haaretz quoting an un-sourced report from Israel Army Radio which stated that Biden had reportedly told Israeli officials in private that Israel "will have to reconcile itself with the nuclearization of Iran." Biden denied he had ever made this statement or any similar statements. David Wade, a Biden spokesman, stated that "This is a lie peddled by partisan opponents of Senators Obama and Biden and we will not tolerate anyone questioning Senator Biden's 35-year record of standing up for the security of Israel." Wade also stated that Biden' views a nuclear Iran as a "grave threat to Israel and the United States." Israeli officials later reported that the original story appeared "dubious."[107][108]

American Israel Public Affairs Committee[edit]

Regarding the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Biden defended his right to oppose some AIPAC-backed measures. Biden stated that "AIPAC does not speak for the entire American Jewish community. There's other organizations as strong and as consequential." Biden further stated that AIPAC does not speak for Israel. However, Biden added that "I've never disagreed with AIPAC on the objective. Whenever I've had disagreement with AIPAC it has always been a tactical disagreement, not a substantive disagreement." Following this interview, an AIPAC spokesman praised Biden's leadership efforts on several fronts and stated that "We look forward to continuing to work with him in the Senate or in the White House." [85][109]

In September 2008, Biden spoke with AIPAC leaders in a conference call. Following the meeting, an AIPAC spokesman stated that "We had a very warm conversation with Senator Biden today, as we have many times throughout the years, about the importance of the U.S–Israel relationship, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in the future. We had an opportunity to express our appreciation for his strong leadership in support of the U.S.–Israel relationship, and we were pleased to hear Senator Biden reaffirm his desire to maintain his close relationship with AIPAC as we work together to strengthen the special friendship between the two democracies over many years to come." An adviser to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama stated that "Senator Biden expressed his appreciation for AIPAC's important work supporting Israel's security and the U.S.–Israel relationship, and that he looks forward to continuing to work with them as partners on these issues in the future as he has in the past."[110]

Israeli-Palestinian conflict[edit]
Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, January 2014

Biden has stated he supports a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Biden cosponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 which expressed U.S. support for a two-state solution.[83][111] During the 2008 vice-presidential debate, Biden stated that the Bush administration's policy with regard to the Middle East has been "an abject failure" and pledged that, if elected, Barack Obama and himself "will change this policy with thoughtful, real, live diplomacy that understands that you must back Israel in letting them negotiate, support their negotiation, and stand with them, not insist on policies like this administration has."[105]

In a March 2007 interview, Biden was asked about the failure to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Biden stated that "Israel's a democracy and they make mistakes. But the notion that somehow if Israel just did the right thing, [the peace process] would work ... give me a break." He also stated that "The responsibility rests on those who will not acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, will not play fair, will not deal, will not renounce terror."[104]

In May 2009, Biden spoke at an AIPAC conference where he stated that Israel "has to work towards a two-state solution" and called on Israel to "dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement." He also called on the Palestinians to "combat terror and incitement against Israel."[112]

North Korea[edit]

Biden favors open dialogue with North Korea and describes them as a "paper tiger", unable to directly cause harm to America. However, in a June 2007 Democratic debate, he called the situation one of "the three most important things that the next president is going to have to deal with", along with Iran and Iraq.[83]



Biden shakes hands with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, June 7, 2014

In 1999, Biden cosponsored a draft resolution condemning Russia's 1999 Invasion of Chechnya, the use of indiscriminate force by the Russian army against civilians and violations of the Geneva Convention, and urged a peaceful resolution of the conflict.[113][114]

In 2005, Biden cosponsored a Senate resolution criticizing Russia for failing to uphold its commitments at the 1999 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Summit, which included agreements on a completed Russian military withdrawal from Moldova. That resolution also expressed disapproval of Russia's demand for the closure of the OSCE Border Monitoring Operation (BMO), which served to observe border crossings between Georgia and the Russian republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia. That bill passed in the Senate.[83]

Biden introduced legislation in July 2008 urging members of the Group of Eight to "work toward a more constructive relationship with Russia," and encouraging Russia to behave according to the G-8's "objectives of protecting global security, economic stability, and democracy." The resolution also called on Russian and U.S. leaders to increase cooperation and funding for the Nunn-Lugar program and other nonproliferation initiatives. It also emphasized the need for a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty. The resolution passed.[83]

Biden has voiced concerns about Russia alleged backsliding on democratic reforms. In August 2008, Biden criticized Russia's military action in Georgia. "By acting disproportionately with a full-scale attack on Georgia and seeking the ouster of Georgia's democratically elected President Mikheil Saakashvili, Moscow is jeopardizing its standing in Europe and the broader international community—and risking very real practical and political consequences," Biden wrote in a Financial Times op-ed. Biden urged Russia to abide by the negotiated cease-fire.[83]

North America[edit]


Prior to the Cuban thaw, Biden strongly opposed the Fidel Castro and Raul Castro government in Cuba and supported the continuation of the trade embargo, as well as the democratization of the island in the post-Castro era. In 2006, Biden stated, "We should be putting together a plan as to how we are going to play a positive role in moving that country, after the Castros are gone, to—more toward democratization and liberalization in their society."[83] However, Joe Biden's support for the trade embargo ended on December 17, 2014, when then President Barack Obama announced reestablishment of United States–Cuba relations.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]