Joe Biden on Welfare & Poverty

Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)


$880M for SNAP food stamps; let's increase to $3B

PROMISE MADE: (2020 campaign website JoeBiden.com): Biden called for the Trump Administration to support proposals to strengthen food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and ensure access to more nutritious offerings. If Biden was President today, he would increase SNAP benefits by 15% during the deepening recession, and temporarily provide low-income families with about $100 per month in extra nutritional support.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN March 6, 2021): The Senate and House plans both extend the 15% increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of having it expire at the end of June. They also contain $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, to help increase participation and temporarily improve benefits, among other measures. Biden called for investing $3 billion in the program.

Source: CNN "Senate stimulus" analysis of 2021 Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

$20 billion for moratorium on evictions and foreclosures

PROMISE MADE: (Annie Nova on CNBC, Jan 14, 2021): To stop a wave of evictions, Biden plans to ask lawmakers to approve $30 billion in rental assistance on top of the $25 billion in aid approved in the most recent $900 billion stimulus package. Another $5 billion would go toward finding those experiencing or at risk of homelessness secure housing, and a fund would help individuals facing eviction get legal assistance.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN March 6, 2021): Send roughly $20 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent, rent assistance and utility bills. About $10 billion would be authorized to help struggling homeowners pay their mortgages, utilities and property taxes. The bills would provide $5 billion to help states and localities assist those at risk of experiencing homelessness and another $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for those who are homeless.

Source: CNBC and CNN analysis of Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

Expand the earned income tax credit

PROMISE MADE: (Darla Mercado on CNBC Jan 14 2021): The president-elect sought a one-year expansion of the earned income tax credit, a refundable credit available to low-income workers. Biden wants to raise the maximum earned income tax credit for childless adults to close to $1,500. He also wants to raise the income limit for the credit to approximately $21,000 from about $16,000. Finally, the president-elect wants to make the credit available to older workers, so he's proposing the elimination of the 65-year age cap.

PROMISE KEPT: (CNN March 6, 2021): [In the Senate stimulus plan]: The bills also enhance the earned income tax credit for workers without children by nearly tripling the maximum credit and extending eligibility to more people. The minimum age to claim the childless credit would be reduced to 19, from 25, and the upper age limit would be eliminated.

Source: CNBC and CNN analysis of Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

Equalize home tax rates for red-lined minority neighborhoods

We're going to guarantee a $15,000 down payment for first term home buyers. If you and I were to buy us the same home, but my home was in a White neighborhood and yours is in a Black neighborhood, your home will start off being valued 29% less than my home. Yet your insurance for that home will be higher. You'll be taxed more for it. We've got to end this. That's what got me involved in politics in the first place, a thing called red lining.
Source: Second 2020 Presidential Debate/ABC Town Hall Philadelphia , Oct 15, 2020

Help minorities buy homes, start businesses, amass wealth

BIDEN: We're going to see that 23% of the money that goes into government contracts should go to minority firms. We're going to provide for a $15,000 tax credit for anyone buying the first term homebuyer, designed to allow African Americans and minorities to be able to get into the market to build wealth. We're going to provide for a significant increase in what Barack & I started for entrepreneurs and minority entrepreneurs. It's about putting people in a position where they can amass wealth.
Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention Biden/Harris Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

I fought red-lining and now I fight race-based home pricing

Q :How do you convince black voters that you can change years of inequities?

Sen. Elizabeth WARREN: It is not enough to talk about housing neutrally and just be race-blind. It is important to recognize the role that the federal government played for decades in discriminating against African-Americans having an opportunity to buy homes. I have a housing plan, and what it has in it specifically is a piece to deal with the effects of red-lining.

BIDEN: My first effort I had as a councilman was doing away with red-lining in the county. [In my current plan], I provide for the opportunity for first-time home buyers to be able to have a $15,000 tax credit so they can get the mortgage at the front end and be able to keep it. Look, right now if you live in a black neighborhood and you have the same exact house as the guy across the street in a white neighborhood has, your house is valued significantly less than the white, the same exact house. We've got to deal with the institutional racism.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

I first got involved in politics to fight red-lining

If you own a house in an all black neighborhood, same exact house in all white neighborhood, exact same shape, the house valued in the black neighborhood would be valued as worth less, making it difficult for you to accumulate wealth. That's what got me involved in politics, redlining, to stop it.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

2005 Bankruptcy bill was flawed, but my input made it better

In Elizabeth Warren's book "The Two-Income Trap," she castigated the [2005 bankruptcy] bill as exacerbating the middle-class squeeze and as being an example of a broken politics working for special interests. Warren singled-out Biden for criticism.

Biden's camp, needless to say, has a different view--seeing the 2005 legislation as an admittedly flawed effort to tackle a real problem that was made better thanks to the participation of Biden and other Democrats. "Because it was a certainty that the Republican-controlled Congress and White House would turn the bankruptcy bill into law," a Biden spokesperson said, "then-Senator Biden fought for and won important concessions for middle class families in it, including protecting access to Chapter 7 forgiveness for working people, making child support and alimony the number one priority for debt payments--in front of big banks and credit card companies--and forcing credit card companies to warn borrowers about their interest rates."

Source: Vox.com on Elizabeth Warren's "The Two Income Trap" , May 6, 2019

Defining issue as Obama VP: restoring the middle class

[During Obama's vetting for selecting Biden for V.P.], I remember exactly when it became clear to me that this would be the right thing to do. I already knew from the presidential primary debates and from working with him on the Foreign Relations Committee that we did not have substantive differences on issues. What differences there were, were tactical. But I asked him in Minneapolis if he really meant what he said: that he wanted me to help him govern, especially in foreign policy matters. He said he did. And I asked him if he meant what he said about the restoration of the middle class being a defining issue of his presidency.

"Yes," he said. "I really mean it." I believed him. I was convinced he was an honest and thoroughly honorable man who kept his word. I was also convinced that he could be a really good president.

Source: Promise Me, Dad,by Joe Biden, p. 63-4 , Nov 14, 2017

Middle class makes us strong, give hope to poor

I know I'm called middle-class Joe and in Washington, that is not meant as a compliment. It means you are not sophisticated. I know why we are strong, I know why we are held together, I know why we are united, it is because there has always been a growing middle class. When the middle class does well, the rich do very well and the poor have hope. They have a way out.
Source: Speech at 2016 Democratic National Convention , Jul 27, 2016

Americans don't want handouts, just to be given a chance

Biden said members of the middle class are not defined by their wages, but by a values set:

"Middle class means you get to own your home. It means you get to send your kid to a decent school, that if they do well and they want to go to college, you can afford to send them to college. It means being able to take care of your parents if they get sick. It means maybe being able to save enough so you hope your kids never have to take care of you."

The vice president responded to "pollsters" who he said claim the middle class no longer cares about owning a home or sending their kids to college: "The American people have not stopped dreaming. The American people have not walked away from what they believe they are entitled to. Just give them a chance--no handout, just give them a chance," Biden said. "Once you give Americans a chance they have never, never, never, never ever let their country down."

Source: Huffington Post 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 1, 2014

It's not "culture of dependency"; it's acquiring skills

One thing that perplexed me the most at their [Republican] convention was this idea of a culture of dependency. They seem to think you create a culture of dependency when you provide a bright, qualified child from a working family a loan to get to college, or when you provide job training in a new industry, for a dad who lost his job, because it was outsourced.

Folks, that's not how we look at it. Americans have never looked at it that way. These men and women aren't looking for a handout. They're just looking for a chance to acquire the tools and the skills to provide for their families--so they can hold their heads high and lead independent lives with dignity.

The choice is stark. Two different visions. Two different value sets. And at its core, the difference is, we have incredible faith in the decency, and the hard work of the American people. And we know what has made this country great--its people.

Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 6, 2012

No faith-based initiative; it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it

Biden expressed reservations about President Bush’s faith-based initiative in 2001, commenting, “They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and I’m not sure we’re not going to break something that’s already fixed.” In 2004, Biden co-sponsored the Second Chance Act; the bill, which still hasn’t passed in the Senate, would, among other things, provide $15 million in federal grants to community and faith-based groups that help former prison inmates.
Source: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life , Oct 25, 2007

We’re no longer certain our kids will be better off than us

Parents cannot be certain their kids will be better off than they were, or if they will be able to retire with dignity. The gap between rich and poor is now as big as it was during the Great Depression, with the top one percent of all Americans getting 12 percent of all the income.
Source: Press release, “Minimum Wage Increase a Good Beginning” , Feb 13, 2007

Joe Biden on Voting Record

Gave up on $15 minimum wage in Congressional bills

PROMISE MADE: (Third Presidential Debate, Oct 22, 2020): "No one should work one job, be below poverty. People are making six, seven, eight bucks an hour. These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street because they've allowed us to make it. What's happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15. Anything below that puts you below the poverty level.

PROMISE BROKEN: (CNN March 6, 2021): The Senate bill does not include an increase in the federal minimum wage, which House Democrats proposed raising to $15 an hour. The parliamentarian ruled in late February that increasing the hourly threshold does not meet a strict set of guidelines needed to move forward in the reconciliation process.

OnTheIssues ANALYSIS: Progressives have said they will continue to fight for the increase, and the Biden White House continues to support a raise to $15/hour, including the "Raise the Wage Act" introduced in 2021.

Source: CNN "Senate stimulus" analysis of 2021 Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

Voted YES on welfare block grants.

Replacement of federal welfare guarantee with block grants to the states.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)78; N)21; NV)1
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 3734; Bill H.R. 3734 ; vote number 1996-262 on Aug 1, 1996

Voted YES on eliminating block grants for food stamps.

Vote to not allow states the option of getting food stamp funds as a block grant administered by the state, rather than as a federal program, if they meet certain criteria.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-218 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted NO on allowing state welfare waivers.

Vote on a procedural motion to allow consideration of an amendment to express the Sense of Congress that the president should approve the waivers requested by states that want to implement welfare reform.
Reference: Bill S.1956 ; vote number 1996-208 on Jul 19, 1996

Voted YES on welfare overhaul.

Approval of an overhaul on the federal welfare system.
Status: Bill Passed Y)87; N)12; NV)1
Reference: Contract w/ America (Welfare Refm); Bill H.R. 4 ; vote number 1995-443 on Sep 19, 1995

Fully fund AmeriCorps.

Biden signed a letter from 43 Senators to the President

To: President George W. Bush

Dear President Bush:

We write to express our strong support for AmeriCorps and recognize the leadership you have shown on this issue over the years. We know you agree that AmeriCorps is an outstanding program which has proven successful in addressing our homeland security needs, leveraging volunteers, and improving the quality of services available to a broad range of Americans.

Unfortunately, as you know, the Corporation for National Service officially announced yesterday unprecedented and drastic funding cuts, from 50 to 95 percent in every state. These cuts mean that under the State Competitive funding stream the Corporation will only fund 2,036 volunteers, compared with 11,236 last year. Many states will see their volunteer allocations under the competitive stream drop by as much as 90 percent and 16 states are shut out completely.

In your 2002 State of the Union address, you called for every American to dedicate 4,000 hours to community service throughout their lives. In your 2004 budget request, you proposed increasing the number of AmeriCorps volunteers from 50,000 to 75,000. Unfortunately, due to serious errors made by the Corporation, fewer than half this number of Americans will be allowed to serve their country through service.

We should support, not oppose, efforts to encourage more Americans to enter public service. We should do everything in our power to reward the American men and women who have chosen to serve the country and their communities in the hope of meeting the nation's critical education, safety, health, and homeland security needs.

We urge you to request additional funding in the supplemental appropriations bill to ensure that AmeriCorps remains a strong and vital program today and in the future.

Source: Letter from 43 Senators to the President 03-SEN5 on Jun 17, 2003

Develop a strategy to eliminate extreme global poverty.

Biden co-sponsored developing a strategy to eliminate extreme global poverty

A BILL to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.

    Congress makes the following findings:
  1. More than 1 billion people worldwide live on less than $1 per day, and another 1.6 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 per day.
  2. At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, the US joined more than 180 other countries in committing to work toward goals to improve life for the world's poorest people by 2015.
  3. The year 2007 marks the mid-point to the Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015.
  4. The UN Millennium Development Goals include the goal of reducing by 1/2 the proportion of people that live on less than $1 per day, & cutting in half the proportion of people suffering from hunger and unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation.
DECLARATION OF POLICY: It is the policy of the United States to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.

REQUIREMENT TO DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY: The US Government shall develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the US foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by 1/2 the proportion of people worldwide who live on less than $1 per day. The strategy shall include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables to achieve the objectives.

Source: Global Poverty Act (S.2433/H.R.1302) 2007-S2433 on Dec 7, 2007

Other candidates on Welfare & Poverty: Joe Biden on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

2020 GOP and Independent primary candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
CEO Howard Schultz (Independent-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (Green-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
Sen.Catherine Masto (D-NV)
Gov.Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
Amb.Susan Rice (D-ME)
Sen.Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
A.G.Sally Yates (D-GA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Joe Biden:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Mar 05, 2022