Joe Biden in Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019


On Abortion: Fact-Check: opposes Hyde Amendment, after decades of support

Sen. Kamala HARRIS [to V.P. Biden]: You changed your position on the Hyde Amendment, where you made a decision for years to withhold resources to poor women to have access to reproductive healthcare.

BIDEN: The fact is that the senator knows that that's not my position. Everybody on this stage has been in the Congress and the Senate or House has voted for the Hyde Amendment at some point.

Fact-Check from Vice.com, 6/14/19: [Is that true? Yes.] The Hyde Amendment blocks federal funding for abortion. But Members of Congress don't vote directly on Hyde; rather, they vote for the package of spending bills that include Hyde. Every House or Senate member who's running for president has voted for bills that included Hyde language. Two days after declaring his support for the Hyde Amendment, Biden reversed his decades-long position on it. "If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's ZIP code," Biden said.

Source: FactCheck on 2020 contenders: July Democratic Primary debate Jul 31, 2019

On Abortion: Unequivocal support for abortion rights; Congress must act

BIDEN: I support a woman's right to choose. I support it's a constitutional right. I've supported it and I will continue to support it and I will, in fact, move as president to see to it that the Congress legislates that that is the laws as well.

Sen. Kamala HARRIS: Why did it take you so long to change your position in the Hyde Amendment?

BIDEN: Because there was not full federal funding for all reproductive services prior to this point.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Crime: In 1990s we released 38,000 inmates, changed police rules

We made sure we reduced the federal prison population by 38,000 people. We insisted that we change the rules that police engage in. We provided for body cameras. Everybody is talking about how terrible I am on these issues. Barack Obama knew exactly who I was. He had 10 lawyers do a background check on everything about me on civil rights and civil liberties, and he chose me, and he said it was the best decision he made. I'll take his judgment.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Drugs: People arrested for drugs should go to rehab, not prison

Q: Mr. Vice President, Senator Booker called your new criminal justice reform plan, "an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country." Why is Senator Booker wrong?

BIDEN: I think he is wrong. He has a similar plan. I think that we should change the way we look at prisons. Right now, we're in a situation where, when someone is convicted of a drug crime, they end up going to jail and to prison. They should be going to rehabilitation. They shouldn't be going to prison. When in prison, they should be learning to read and write and not just sit in there and learn how to be better criminals. And when they get out of prison, they should be in a situation where they have access to everything they would have had before, including Pell grants for education, and public housing.

BOOKER: This is a crisis in our country because we have treated issues of race and poverty, mental health and addiction with locking people up and not lifting them up.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Energy & Oil: Either we run world trade or China will

Q: Would you rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

BIDEN: I'd renegotiate. We make up 25% of the world's economy. Either China is going to write the rules of the road on trade or we are. We have to join with the 40% of the world we had with us, and this time make sure environmentalists and labor are there. I would not rejoin the TPP as it was initially put forward.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Energy & Oil: Rejoin and raise standards of Paris Climate Accord

Gov. Jay Inslee: Climate change is not a singular issue, it is all the issues that we Democrats care about. It is health. It is national security. It is our economy. And we know this; middle ground solutions, like the vice president has proposed, are not going to save us.

Biden: There is no middle ground about my plan. We're responsible for 15% of all the pollution in the country. 85% of it is something I helped negotiate; and that is the Paris Climate Accord. I would immediately rejoin that Paris Accord. I would make sure that we up the ante which it calls for. I would be able to bring those leaders together and I would raise the standard. I also invested $400 billion in research for new alternatives to deal with climate change.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Energy & Oil: 500,000 charging stations so we're all-electric by 2030

Jay Inslee [responding to Biden disagreeing with Inslee's climate plan] : Your argument is not with me, it's with science. Unfortunately, your plan is just too late. The science tells us we have to get off coal and fossil fuels in 10 to 15 years. Your plan does not do that.

Biden: My plan calls for 500,000 charging stations around the country so by 2030 we're all electric vehicles. My plan calls for making sure that we have $400 billion invested in technologies to learn how to contain what we're doing, creating 10 million new jobs. We will double offshore wind. We will end any subsidies for coal or any other fossil fuel. But we have to also engage the world while we're doing it. We have to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Q: Would there be any place for fossil fuels, including coal and fracking, in a Biden administration?

Biden: No, we would work it out. We would make sure it's eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those, either -- any fossil fuel.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Families & Children: As single father, I get it; target childcare tax break

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: V.P. Biden wrote an op-ed that he believed that women working outside the home would, "create the deterioration of family."

Biden: That was a long time ago. It would have given people making $100,000 a year a tax break for childcare. I wanted the childcare to go to people making less than $100,000. As a single father who raised three children for five years by myself, I have some idea what it cost. I support making sure that every person needing childcare get an $8,000 tax credit now. That would put 700,000 women back to work. My deceased wife worked when we had children. My present wife has worked all the way through raising our children. I wrote the Violence against Women Act & Lilly Ledbetter. I came up with the It's On Us proposal to see to it that women were treated more decently on college campuses.

Gillibrand: You said women working outside the home would lead to the deterioration of family. Either he no longer believes it ...

Biden: I never believed it.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Free Trade: Labor should be involved in renegotiating NAFTA/USMCA

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio [to Biden]: Are you ready to say that you will oppose a new NAFTA and that what you believe in is trade treaties that empower organized labor across the world and give working people power, not just multinational corporations?

Biden: Yes.

Q: That's it?

Biden: He said, would I insist that labor be engaged? The answer is yes.

De Blasio: I consider that a victory.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Straightforward approach on healthcare, not ten year plans

Q [to Senator Harris]: This week you released a new health care plan which would preserve private insurance and take 10 years to phase in. Biden's campaign calls your plan "a have-it-every-which-way approach" and says it's part of a confusing pattern of equivocating about your health care stance. Your response?

HARRIS: I have been listening to American families, who said four years is just not enough to transition into this new plan, so I devised a plan where it's going to be 10 years of a transition. I listened to American families who said I want an option that will be under your Medicare system that allows a private plan.

BIDEN: Any time someone tells you you're going to get something good in 10 years, you should wonder why it takes 10 years. And the plan in 10 years will cost $3 trillion. You will lose your employer-based insurance. This is the single most important issue facing the public. And to be very straightforward, you can't beat President Trump with double-talk on this plan.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Public option under ObamaCare covers vast majority for $750B

BIDEN [critiquing Sen. Kamala Harris' plan]: You will lose your employer-based insurance [under Medicare-for-All].

NYC Mayor Bill DE BLASIO: I don't know what the vice president is talking about. There's this mythology that folks are in love with their insurance in America. The folks I talk to say that their health insurance isn't working for them.

BIDEN: ObamaCare is working. The way to get to [ten million uninsured Americans] immediately is to build on ObamaCare. Take back all the things that Trump took away, provide a public option, meaning every single person in America would be able to buy into that option if they didn't like their employer plan, or if they're on Medicaid, they'd automatically be in the plan. It would take place immediately. It would move quickly. And it would insure the vast, vast, vast majority of Americans. In the meantime, what happens? Did anybody tell you how much their plans cost? My plan costs $750 billion. [Medicare-for-All costs] $30 trillion.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Limit co-pays to $1,000; keep your own insurance

Sen. Kamala Harris: Your plan will keep and allow insurance companies to remain with status quo, doing business as usual.

Biden: My plan makes a limit of co-pay to be $1,000, because we further support the ability to buy into ObamaCare. No one has to keep their private insurance, but if they like their insurance, they should be able to keep it. Nothing is demanded in my plan that there be private insurance. If the 160 million who have it like their employer insurance, they should have a right to have it. If they don't, they can buy into the Biden plan.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Future of healthcare is biopharma; control those prices

Sen. Kamala Harris: By your own definition, as many as 10 million people will not have access to healthcare. For a Democrat to be running for president with a plan that does not cover everyone, I think is without excuse.

Biden: My plan will cover everyone. Number two, the fact is that my plan also calls for controlling drug prices. Biopharma is now where things are going to go. It's no longer chemicals. It's about all these breakthroughs that we have with the immune system. What we have to do is have a form that says, as you develop a drug, you got to come to us and decide what you can sell it for. We will set the price. And secondly, you cannot raise that price beyond the cost of inflation from this point on.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Biden plan has public option; thinking otherwise is malarkey

ObamaCare took care of 20 million people right off the bat, 100 million people with pre-existing conditions. What we got is [building onto ObamaCare with a] public option that, in fact, would allow anybody to buy in. No one has to keep their private insurance. They can buy into this plan with $1,000 deductible & never have to pay more than 8.5% of their income when they do it. And if they don't have any money, they'll get in free. So this idea [that I oppose a public option] is a bunch of malarkey.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: I have only plan limiting insurance companies

Sen. Kamala Harris: Under your plan, you do nothing to hold the insurance companies to task for what they have been doing to American families.

Biden: I have the only plan that limits the ability of insurance companies to charge unreasonable prices, flat out, number one. Number two, we should put some of these insurance executives who totally oppose my plan in jail for the $9 billion opioids they sell out there.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Immigration: We are strong & great BECAUSE of diversity, not despite it

I'm running for president to restore the soul of this country. You know, we have a president, as everybody has acknowledged here, every day is ripping at the social fabric of this country, but no one man has the capacity to rip that apart. It's too strong. We're too good.

Just look at this stage, made up of very diverse people from diverse backgrounds, went on to be mayors, senators, governors, congresswomen, members of the cabinet, and, yes, even a vice president.

Mr. President, this is America. And we are stronger and great because of this diversity, Mr. President, not in spite of it, Mr. President.

So, Mr. President, let's get something straight: We love it. We are not leaving it. We are here to stay. And we're certainly not going to leave it to you.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Immigration: We are strong & great BECAUSE of diversity, not despite it

I'm running for president to restore the soul of this country. You know, we have a president, as everybody has acknowledged here, every day is ripping at the social fabric of this country, but no one man has the capacity to rip that apart. It's too strong. We're too good.

Just look at this stage, made up of very diverse people from diverse backgrounds, went on to be mayors, senators, governors, congresswomen, members of the cabinet, and, yes, even a vice president.

Mr. President, this is America. And we are stronger and great because of this diversity, Mr. President, not in spite of it, Mr. President.

So, Mr. President, let's get something straight: We love it. We are not leaving it. We are here to stay. And we're certainly not going to leave it to you.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Immigration: Problem is Trump, not criminalizing illegal border crossings

Julian Castro: What we need are politicians that actually have some guts on this issue.

Biden: I have guts enough to say his plan [to decriminalize the border] doesn't make sense. When people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they're seeking asylum. People should have to get in line. That's the problem. And the only reason this particular part of the law is being abused is because of Donald Trump. We should defeat Donald Trump and end this practice.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Immigration: We've been able to cherry pick the best of every culture

This country can tolerate a heck of a lot more people. And the reason we're the country we are is we've been able to cherry pick from the best of every culture. Immigrants built this country. That's why we're so special. It took courage. It took resilience. It took, absolutely, confidence for them to come. And we should be encouraging these people. And by the way, anybody that crosses the [border] with a PhD, you should get a green card for seven years. We should keep them here.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Immigration: Seeking asylum isn't an illegal border crossing; assist them

Q: In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly 800,000 immigrants were deported, far more than during President Trump's first two years. Would the higher deportation rates resume if you were president?

Biden: Absolutely not. Seeking asylum is not crossing the border illegally. What we should do is flood the zone [with extra staff to deal with the large number of border crossers] to make sure we have people to make those decisions quickly.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Technology: In battle for America's soul we choose science over fiction

Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. We have to let them know who we are. We choose science over fiction. We choose hope over fear. We choose unity over division. We choose the idea that we can as Americans, when we act together, do anything. This is the United States of America. We've acted together. We have never, never, never been unable to overcome whatever the problem was.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

The above quotations are from Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019.
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