Joe Biden in June Democratic candidates debate in Miami FL

On Budget & Economy: I got GOP Senators to vote for stimulus & other funding

Just since we were vice president, we needed three votes to pass an $800 billion Recovery Act that kept us from going into depression. I got three votes changed. We needed to be able to keep the government from shutting down and going bankrupt. I got Mitch McConnell to raise taxes $600 billion by raising the top rate. And as recently as after president got elected, I was able to put together a coalition of the Cures Act to have billions of dollars go into cancer research, bipartisan.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Civil Rights: I didn't praise racists; pro-civil rights as public defender

Sen. Kamala HARRIS: Vice President Biden, I do not believe you are a racist, but it was hurtful to hear you talk about two senators who built their reputations on segregation. You also worked with them to oppose busing [in the 1970s].

Joe BIDEN: It's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true. I was a public defender. I didn't become a prosecutor. I came out and I left a good law firm to become a public defender, when my city was in flames because of the assassination of Dr. King. In terms of busing, you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That's fine. That's one of the things I argued for. Everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights, I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights, and those civil rights include not only African-Americans, but the LGBT community.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Civil Rights: I didn't oppose busing; I opposed DOE ordering it

Sen. Kamala HARRIS: Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then [in the 1970s]?

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I did not oppose bussing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.

HARRIS: There was a failure of states to integrate public schools. I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley public schools.

BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision.

HARRIS: That's where the federal government must step in. That's why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. That's why we need to pass the Equality Act. That's why we need to pass the ERA, because there are moments in history where states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Corporations: Wall Street didn't build America; the middle class did

Q: Recently, as you were speaking about problem of income inequality in this country, you said we shouldn't "demonize the rich." You said, "Nobody has to be punished. No one's standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change." What did you mean by that?

BIDEN: What I meant by that is, look, [that] Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America. Ordinary, middle-class Americans built America. Too many people who are at the middle class and poor have had the bottom fall out under this proposal. We have to make sure the middle class have insurance that they can afford; where there's continuing education and they're able to pay for it; that they're able to breathe air that is clean. Look, Donald Trump has put us in a horrible situation. We do have enormous income inequality. And the one thing I agree on is we can make massive cuts in the $1.6 trillion in tax loopholes out there, and I would be going about eliminating Donald Trump's tax cut for the wealthy.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Education: 3X money for Title I schools; free community college tuition

We should triple the amount of money we spend for Title I schools. We should have universal pre-K. There should be free community college, cutting in half the cost of college. We should not have anyone have to pay back a student debt if they are making less than $25,000 a year. Their debt is frozen, no interest payment until they get beyond that. We have to make continuing education available for everyone so that everyone can compete in the 21st Century. We are not doing that now.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Gun Control: I'm the guy who got the Brady Bill passed

Joe Biden: I'm the only person that has beaten the NRA nationally. I'm the guy that got the Brady Bill passed, the background checks. We increased that background check during the Obama-Biden administration. I'm also the only guy that got assault weapons banned, and the number of clips in a gun banned. Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA, the gun manufacturers.

Rep. Eric Swalwell: But the NRA is taking orders from the gun manufacturers, that's the problem.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Health Care: Build on ObamaCare, with Medicare buy-in

When my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident, my two boys were badly injured. I couldn't imagine what it would be like if I'd not had adequate health care. When my son came home from Iraq, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given months to live. I can't fathom what would have happened if they said the last six months of your life, you're on your own. The quickest way to do it is build on ObamaCare and make sure everyone does have an option to a Medicare-like plan.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Health Care: Cover undocumented immigrants to reduce overall cost of care

You cannot let people who are sick, no matter where they come from, no matter what their status, go uncovered. It's the humane thing to do. They've increased the lifespan of Social Security because they have a job, they're paying a Social Security tax. They do the same thing in terms of reducing the overall cost of health care by being able to be treated and not wait until they are in extremis.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Immigration: Reunite families; end outrageous treatment

Q: Raise your hand if you think it should be a civil offense rather than a crime to cross the border without documentation?

[8 out of 10 participants raised their hands].

BIDEN: The first thing I would do is unite families. I'd surge immediately billions of dollars' worth of help to the region immediately. Second thing, the law now requires the reuniting of those families. We would reunite those families, period. And lastly, saying children in cages do not need a bed, do not need a blanket, do not need a toothbrush, that is outrageous.

Q: If an individual is living in the US without documents, and that is his only offense, should that person be deported?

BIDEN: If they committed a major crime, they should be deported. But we should not be locking people up. We should be making sure we change the circumstance, why they would leave in the first place. Those who come seeking asylum, we should immediately have the capacity to absorb them, keep them safe until they can be heard.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Principles & Values: A united America can move forward

I think it's important we restore the soul of this nation. This president has ripped it out. It's the only president in our history who has equated racists and white supremacists with ordinary and decent people. He's the only president who has, in fact, engaged and embraced dictators and thumbed their nose at our allies. We have to restore the backbone of America, the poor and hardworking middle class people. There's not a single thing the American people can't do if we're together.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On Technology: Full electric vehicle future by 2030

We built the largest wind farm in the world, the largest solar energy facility in the world. We drove down the price of both of those renewable energy sources. I would immediately insist that we build 500,000 recharging stations throughout America, so that we can go to a full electric vehicle future by the year 2030. I would make sure that we invested $400 million in new science and technology, to be the exporter of the green economy that can create millions of jobs.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

On War & Peace: I got 150,000 troops out of Iraq; do same in Afghanistan

Q: You voted for the Iraq war. You have said you regret that vote. Why should voters trust your judgment when it comes to making a decision about war the next time?

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I was responsible for getting 150,000 combat troops out of Iraq, and my son was one of them. I also think we should not have combat troops in Afghanistan. It's long overdue. It should end. We cannot go it alone in terms of dealing with terrorism. I would eliminate the act that allowed us to go into war. That's why we have to repair our alliances. We put together 65 countries to make sure we dealt with ISIS in Iraq and other places. That's what I would do. That's what I have done.

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: Joe voted for that war;I helped lead the oppositio

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) Jun 27, 2019

The above quotations are from NBC News, "Decision 2020," the Democratic candidates debate,
live from the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center in Miami, Florida, June 26-27, 2019..
Click here for main summary page.
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Page last updated: Jul 19, 2019