Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
|This is a profile of a former U.S. senator. (See all the Delaware portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)|
- See the main Congresspedia article on Joe Biden: U.S. presidential election, 2008.
Record and controversies
Biden voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.
Statements and action on Iraq war
Statements made by Joe Biden:
- December 18, 2005: "Next six months are going to tell the story." 
- November 27, 2006: "I think we have a six-month window here to get it right." 
Iraq War position
Biden agreed with the administration's assertion that Saddam Hussein needed to be eliminated. The Bush administration rejected an effort Biden undertook with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) to pass a resolution authorizing military action only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts. In October 2002, Biden supported the final resolution of support for War in Iraq. He continues to support the war effort and appropriations to pay for it, but has argued repeatedly that more soldiers are needed, the war should be internationalized, and the Bush administration should "level with the American people" about the cost and length of the conflict.
On December 26, 2006, Biden expressed opposition to President George W. Bush's reported plan for a "surge" in troop levels in Iraq. He urged Bush to follow proposals similar to those by himself, the Iraq Study Group and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), including a political settlement of a federal system and "equitably distribute the oil revenue." Biden, who would soon assume the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that he would be holding hearings beginning January 9, 2007 to try and build a bipartisan congressional consensus to influence White House policy:
"I want to make it clear that I totally oppose the surging of additional American troops into Baghdad... I think it is contrary to the overwhelming body of informed opinion... A surge of up to 30,000 American troops cannot have any positive effect except for only temporary... We have to make it clear to the Iraqis that in this quarter, we're going to begin to draw down American troops... The overwhelming reason for that is we must force a political settlement... They must understand that there is no prospect for us to be able to bring peace to Iraq if the Iraqis don't want peace as much as we do."
Assertion that Bush administration believes war is lost
On January 4, Biden said that he believed top officials in the Bush administration had privately concluded that the Iraq War was lost. He stated that they simply wished to postpone exiting the country so the next president would “be the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof." He continued, “They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy -- literally, not figuratively.” He said that both Vice-President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are, "really smart guys who made a very, very, very, very bad bet, and it blew up in their faces." He also suggested that they were among those who had accepted that the war was lost. 
Biden, at this point the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also announced that he would soon be holding four weeks of hearings focused on every aspect of U.S. policy in Iraq. The hearings planned to include top political, economic and intelligence experts; foreign diplomats; and former and current senior U.S. officials. Among those asked to testify were former Secreatries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, as well as former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. 
- Main article: Congressional actions on the Iraq War
Bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush's troop "surge"
On January 17, 2007, Biden introduced a resolution in opposition to a troop "surge." Specifically, it stated the following:
- It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Iraq.
- The primary objective of United States strategy in Iraq should be to have the Iraqi political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence in Iraq.
- Greater concerted regional, and international support would assist the Iraqis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation.
- Main elements of the mission of United States forces in Iraq should transition to helping ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq, conduct counterterrorism activities, reduce regional interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, and accelerate training of Iraqi troops.
- The United States should transfer, under an appropriately expedited timeline, responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Iraq to the Government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces.
- The United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally-sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Iraq.
Biden said the legislation was "not an attempt to embarrass the president...It's an attempt to save the president from making a significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq."
In regards to a binding resolution introduced by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) requiring congressional authority for the president to raise troop levels, whose panel had jurisdiction over the bill, said that it would be unconstitutional for Congress to cap troop levels or cut funding for specific items regarding a war that it approved.
First Senate bipartisan Iraq war consensus
On September 26, 2007 the Senate approved a non-binding resolution 75-23 which endorsed a political settlement in Iraq that would divide the country into three semi-autonomous regions. With 26 Republican votes it did not force President Bush to take any action, but represented a milestone in the Iraq debate. The plan envisioned a federal government system for Iraq, consisting of separate regions for Iraq’s Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish populations. One key Republican supporter was Senator John Warner (R-Va.), who had the previous week withdrawn his support for a proposal to extend home leaves for American troops. The resolution had a diverse group of co-sponsors ranging from Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) to Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) and Barbara Mikulski. 
For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal
Controversy helped derail Biden's candidacy for the U.S. presidency in the 1988 Presidential campaign. He was found to have plagiarized a speech from British Labour Party (UK) leader Neil Kinnock. The plagiarism was considered all the more serious, because it included details of Kinnock's life which were not true in Biden's case. After Biden withdrew from the race, it was learned that he had correctly credited Kinnock on other occasions but failed to do so in an Iowa speech that was recorded and distributed to reporters by aides to Michael Dukakis, the eventual nominee. Dukakis fired the senior aide responsible, but the damage had already been done to Biden.
Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans
Biden cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.
- Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007
Biden was born November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He grew up in suburban New Castle County, Delaware. He graduated from the University of Delaware in Newark in 1965. He then attended Syracuse University College of Law, graduating in 1968, and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969.
In 1969, Biden began practicing law in Wilmington and was soon elected to the New Castle County Council, on which he served from 1970 to 1972, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Biden took office on January 3, 1973, at age 30, becoming the fifth-youngest Senator in history. He won his sixth term in 2002, defeating Republican candidate Raymond J. Clatworthy with 58 percent of the vote to Clatworthy's 41 percent. Biden had previously faced Clatworthy in 1996 and won then by an even wider margin. Since 1991,
Biden has also been an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law.
Biden is a long-time member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which he chaired from 1987 until 1995 and served as ranking minority member from 1981 until 1987 and again from 1995 until 1997. In this capacity, he has become one of the most respected Senate voices on drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. While chairman, Biden presided over two of the more contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings ever, Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Biden has been instrumental in crafting significant federal crime laws over the last decade, including the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the Biden Crime Law. He also authored the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 2000, which contains a broad array of groundbreaking measures to combat domestic violence and provides billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender-based crimes; part of this legislation later was struck down as unconstitutional. He also introduced the controversial RAVE Act in April 2003.
As chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, Biden wrote the laws that created the nation's "Drug Czar," who oversees and coordinates national drug control policy. In this role, Biden continues to work to stop the spread of "date rape" drugs, such as Rohypnol, and drugs such as Ecstasy and Ketamine. In 2004 he worked to pass a bill outlawing steroids like androstenedione, the drug used by many baseball players.
Staunchly supportive of education, Biden's legislation has promoted college aid and loan programs and has allowed families to deduct on their annual income-tax returns up to $10,000 per year in higher-education expenses. His enacted Kids 2000 legislation which established a public/private partnership to help provide computer centers, teachers, Internet access, and technical training to young people across the nation, particularly to low-income and at-risk youth.
Biden's expertise in foreign policy, national security, and arms control issues has won him considerable bipartisan respect. In 1997, he became the ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and chaired the committee from June 2001 through 2003. His efforts to combat hostilities in the Balkans in the 1990s brought national attention and influenced presidential policy: traveling repeatedly to the region, he made one meeting famous by calling Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic a "war criminal." He consistently argued for lifting the arms embargo, training Bosnian Muslims, investigating war crimes and administering NATO air strikes. Biden's subsequent "lift and strike" resolution was instrumental in convincing President Bill Clinton to use military force in the face of systematic human rights violations.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Biden was supportive of the Bush administration efforts in Afghanistan but called for more troops there.
Biden ran unsuccessfully for President in 1998 and considered it again in 2003. In 2003 he decided otherwise, saying he did not have enough time to cultivate a sufficient fundraising base. Some thought Biden a possible running mate for presidential candidate John Kerry, but Biden urged Kerry to select Republican Senator John McCain. Biden also had been widely discussed as a possible Secretary of State in a Democratic administration.
Biden's name regularly appears on many short lists of fifteen possible democratic candidates for President in 2008. In December 2004, he said he would pursue the possibility, noting "I'm going to proceed as if I'm going to run." In June 2005, he announced that he would seek the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008 if he believes his message and vision for the country resonate with Americans. At that time, on Face the Nation, Biden said, "If, in fact, I think that I have a clear shot by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination."
Henry F. Themal, a columnist for the Delaware News Journal, reported in January 2006 that Biden had told him he would did not plan on making a "formal announcement until late 2007 or even early 2008."
On January 7, 2007 Biden announced on Meet the Press with Tim Russert that he would be filing for an exploratory committee. (video)
Biden's plans to run for the Democratic nomination for president were more clearly solidified with the announcement on January 10, 2007, that Luis Navarro planned to serve as Biden's campaign manager. At the time, his announcement was the most "public sign" of Biden's presidential intentions. 
On January 31, 2007, Biden officially announced his candidacy. 
Biden claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton's plan in Iraq would cause "nothing but disaster," that he doesn't "recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic," and that he doesn't think John Edwards "knows what the heck he is talking about" in an interview with The New York Observer. 
- See Congresspedia page on the 2008 presidential election
|This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the Delaware superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.|
Money in politics
This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00001669&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>
|Links to more campaign contribution information for Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
|Fundraising profile:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by organization/corporation:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
|Top contributors by industry:||2006 election cycle||Career totals|
- Revolving door profile for Joseph R. Biden, Jr. from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
- 2006 privately funded travel profile for Joseph R. Biden, Jr. from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
- Personal finance profile for Joseph R. Biden, Jr. from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org website.
Committees and affiliations
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations - Chairman
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights
- Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs
- Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
- Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees
- Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs- Ranking Minority Member
- Subcommittee on Immigration Border Security and Citizenship
- Subcommittee on Corrections and Rehabilitations
- Subcommittee on Antitrust Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
- Subcommittee on Technology Terrorism and Homeland Security
- Subcommittee on Intellectual Property
- Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Ranking Minority Member
- Subcommittee on European Affairs, Ranking Minority Member
- Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Subcommittee on International Operations and Terrorism
More background data
District Office - Milford:
24 Northwest Front Street
Windsor Building, Suite 101
Milford, DE 19963
District Office - Wilmington:
1105 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19801-1233
Articles and resources
- Interview with Jon Stewart, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, August 2, 2005. (Other Daily Show interviews with members of Congress.)
- Official website.
- Compare Joe Biden's opinions to yours
- Nicolle Vandeputte, "Joe Biden Wants Report On Suspected Civilian Massacre In Haditha," WMDT47 ABC (DelMarVa), June 1, 2006.
- "Sen. Joe Biden Wants Direct Talks With Iran," Associated Press (UPN21 WBOC.com), June 4, 2006.
- "Sen. Joe Biden on Bush's Surprise Visit to Iraq," Fox News, June 14, 2006. ("This is a partial transcript of 'The Big Story With John Gibson,' June 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.")
- Anne Saunders, "Biden: 'Security and faith' keys to win presidency," Associated Press (Boston Globe), June 17, 2006.
- Jennifer Brooks, "Leaving on a jet plane -- Del. delegation loves to fly, and it shows," The News Journal/Delaware Online, June 17, 2006.
- "Bayh Watch. Senators' spouses share wealth," IndyStar.com (Indiana), June 18, 2006.
- Beth Montagne, "Joe Biden: Call me 'policy guy'," Portsmouth Herald (NH), June 19, 2006.
- Jennifer Brooks, "Biden's quip on Indian accents drawing scrutiny," Gannett News Service (The News Journal/DelawareOnline.com) and DelMarVaNow.com, July 6/7, 2006.
- "Biden Say What?" The Hotline Blog/National Journal, July 6, 2006. See National Journal video.
- Michelle Malkin, "Democrats and Indian jokes," michellemalkin.com, July 6, 2006.
- Chuck Todd, "Race Rankings: White House 2008. Summer Stasis?" National Journal, July 26, 2006.
- Jason Zengerle, "Quote of the Day," The Plank Blog/New Republic Online, August 28, 2006: "You don't know my state. . . . My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state."—Delaware Senator (and avowed Democratic presidential candidate) Joseph Biden explaining to Fox News why he thinks he can win in the South."
- Ed O'Keefe, "Biden Fires Back at Republicans on Iraq. Senator Faults Bush, Rumsfeld for Favoring Attacks Over Solutions," ABC News, September 3, 2006.
- Faiz Shakir, "Biden: 12-14 Conservatives Would Vote To Change Course In Iraq If Senate Changes Hands," Think Progress, October 22, 2006. re stay the course
- Jim Davenport, "Biden: Blame immigration woes on Mexico," Associated Press (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), November 27, 2006.
- Michael Hirsh, "Get Ready for the 'Biden Report'. The incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has his own answer to Baker-Hamilton on Iraq," Newsweek (MSNBC), November 27, 2006.
- Walter Pincus, "Biden to Fight Iraq Troop Buildup. Senator Plans Hearings That He Hopes Will Influence U.S. Strategy," Washington Post, December 27, 2006.
- Monisha Bansal, "Troop Surge Is 'Absolutely Wrong Strategy,' Biden Says," Cybercast News Service, December 27, 2006.
- Chris Woods, "2008: Biden rejects the McCain Doctrine," Political Forecast, December 29, 2006.
- Glenn Kessler, "White House Postponing Loss of Iraq, Biden Says," Washington Post, January 5, 2007.
- Chris Cillizza, "Biden '08: Not Just All Talk," Washington Post, January 11, 2007.
- Jake Tapper, "Biden Set to Enter Presidential Race," ABC News, January 27, 2007.
- Hope Yen, "Biden: 'Failed Policy' Emboldens Enemy," Associated Press (Forbes), January 28, 2007.
- Klaus Marre, "Biden makes it official," The Hill, January 31, 2007.
- Greg Sargent, "BREAKING: Biden Unloads On Clinton, Obama, Edwards," TPM Cafe, January 31, 2007.
- Beth Fouhy, "Biden's Web Site Looks at Iraq Positions," Associated Press (Forbes), April 2, 2007.
- kos, "Biden's and Celinda Lake's propaganda poll," The Daily Kos, September 24, 2007.
- Dave Wedge, "Lobbyist$ paid off for Joe Biden," Boston Herald, August 28, 2008.
Articles by Joseph Biden
- Sen. Joseph Biden and Leslie H. Gelb, "The Bosnia solution to Iraq. We can maintain united country by decentralizing it," Houston Chronicle, May 6, 2006. re civil war in Iraq and ethnic cleansing
- Sen. Joseph Biden, Jr., "A Plan to Hold Iraq Together," Washington Post, August 23, 2006.
Local blogs and discussion sites
Related Congresspedia/SourceWatch articles
|Current Office: U.S. Vice-President|
Ranking Member On:
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Ranking Member On:
|Committees: Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Antitrust Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Immigration Border Security and Citizenship, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Technology Terrorism and Homeland Security|
|First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 2008
|First Took Current Office:
January 20, 2009
November 6, 2012
|Previous Political Work?
U.S. Senate, New Castle County (Delaware) Council 1970-1972
|Other Party Membership:|
|Zip Code Affiliations:|
Date of Birth: November 20, 1942
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