Where Biden stands on the most important issues in 2020

  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly made misleading comments on where former Vice President Joe Biden stands on the issues.
  • Despite what Trump says, Biden is not a socialist. The former vice president is a centrist, though he has adopted progressive policy proposals in his various plans for the country.
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President Donald Trump has consistently made false claims about former Vice President Joe Biden's politics. 

Trump has erroneously asserted, for example, that Biden is a radical socialist. In reality, Biden is a centrist with a long record of working with Republican lawmakers on legislation. The former vice president was often at odds with the more left-leaning Democratic candidates during the primary season, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, due to his moderate stances on an array of issues. 

The president has also repeatedly and falsely claimed that Biden wants to defund police, but the former vice president has actually called for more funding to go toward law enforcement to bolster community policing initiatives. 

As Trump continues to spread disinformation, it can be difficult to know where Biden actually stands.

Here's a breakdown of Biden's positions on the top issues in 2020:

On healthcare and COVID-19:

  • Biden supports a healthcare plan that would build upon the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), including an expansion of the public option.
  • The plan would also not allow pharmaceutical corporations to avoid negotiating with Medicare over drug prices.
  • Consumers would be allowed to import drugs from other countries, which the Biden campaign says would promote fairness.
  • He opposes Medicare for All, a proposal that would make the government the main health insurance provider for Americans. 
  • Biden wants to lower the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 60.
  • Biden's website says his plan to tackle COVID-19 has five basic elements: "(1) test-and-trace, (2) sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for all, (3) science-based treatments and vaccines, (4) steps to reopen safely and effectively, and (5) protecting those at high-risk, including older Americans."
  • The former vice president wants to adopt nationwide testing and contact tracing, which would be backed by federal funding.
  • Biden introduced a proposal to allow families with children to receive a monthly federal payment of $250 to $300 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Biden supports a national mask mandate, but also said that he wouldn't have the legal authority to implement one. Instead, Biden would encourage governors to enact measures to help ensure people wear masks in public. 
  • Unlike Trump, the former vice president does not want to cut ties with the World Health Organization. 

On immigration:

  • Biden supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and has commited to a 100-day moratorium on deportations if he's elected. 
  • The former vice president has pledged to protect Dreamers, or people brought to the US illegally as children.
  • Biden has expressed opposition to decriminalizing illegal border crossings.
  • In January 2019, Biden said "We need border security but that's not the border security we need" in reference to the wall Trump demanded lawmakers give him the funds for to end the partial government shutdown.

On climate change:

  • Biden wants to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which Trump withdrew from.
  • In June 2019, Biden released a proposal to spend $1.7 trillion on green energy technologies over the next 10 years, with the ultimate goal of putting the US on track to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • Biden does not support banning fracking, but does support banning new drilling on public land.
  • The former vice president said he would permit 125,000 refugees to enter the US in his first year, and would subsequently seek to raise the limit "over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values and the unprecedented global need."

On abortion:

  • Biden is a practicing Catholic, but maintains that access to abortion should be legal.
  • He has said that "abortion is always wrong," but he is not willing to impose that belief onto others.
  • In regard to late-term abortions, Biden has consistently been against it.
  • Biden has also reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from providing for abortions. He now supports federal funding for abortions.

On LGBTQ rights: 

  • Like most politicians on both sides of the aisle, Biden had historically opposed same-sex marriage. Before it became legal in the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Obergfell vs. Hodges, Biden said he was "absolutely comfortable with" same-sex marriage. Biden's remarks came before Obama announced support for it as well.
  • Biden is also a supporter of allowing transgender Americans to serve in the military, an Obama-era policy the Trump administration has rescinded. 

On education:

  • Biden endorses making college tuition-free for families making less than $125,000.
  • He wants to expand student loan debt forgiveness eligibility. 
  • Biden supports universal preschool access.

On guns: 

  • Biden wants universal background checks, including on secondary, peer-to-peer sales.
  • He wants to renew the federal assault weapons ban, and is pushing for a federal program buy back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

On criminal justice reform and race:

  • Biden ushered in multiple bills that imposed mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses during his time as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1980s.
  • He has gone on record defending his role in shaping and passing the 1994 crime bill, which many Democrats now oppose.
  • Biden opposes legalizing marijuana because he said it might be a "gateway drug," despite the fact research does not support this perception.
  • Biden's campaign has said that as president he would "decriminalize marijuana use, automatically expunge prior possession convictions, support legalization of medical marijuana, and allow states to set their own rules about recreational use."
  • The former vice president does not support defunding police departments.
  • Biden wants to end the death penalty. 
  • He supports ending the federal use of private prisons.
  • Biden does not want to end qualified immunity, but does support reforming it.
  • Biden said his administration would support a study into reparations for descendants of slaves. 
  • The former vice president supports eliminating cash bail.

On trade and the economy:

  • Biden supports the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
  • Biden wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  • The former vice president has introduced proposals to ensure products are made in the US in order to boost manufacturing jobs. This includes a plan for the federal government to spend $400 billion over the course of four years on American goods.

On foreign policy:

  • Biden was an ardent supporter of the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran and has lambasted Trump for withdrawing from it. He supports returning to the deal if Iran is willing to once again comply with the 2015 agreement.
  • Biden has made repairing US relations with NATO allies a top priority. 
  • Though Biden has criticized Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, he has not indicated a plan to reverse the move. 
  • Biden supports the UAE-Israel peace deal. 
  • He has called for ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 
  • He has rejected inviting Russia back into the Group of Seven, saying that it "makes no sense."
  • Biden wants to bring home the vast majority of US troops from Afghanistan, and has expressed support for peace talks with the Taliban. 
  • Biden voted to authorize the Iraq War, but has since spoken out against the decision.
  • At the July 2019 Democratic presidential debate in Detroit, Biden said of his vote in favor of the Iraq War: "I did make a bad judgment."
  • Biden has vowed to "get tough" with China on an array of issues, including building a "united front of US allies and partners to confront China's abusive behaviors and human rights violations."

On taxes: 

  • Biden wants higher taxes on wealthy Americans.
  • Biden has said he won't increase taxes for anyone who earns less than $400,000 per year.
  • The former vice president wants to increase the corporate tax rate to 28%.
  • He has also argued for boosting tax relief for middle class families, including expansions of the Child Tax Credit.

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