The good news for today: We have a great candidate for president in Joe Biden! Biden has spent his career fighting for the wellbeing of all Americans and winning many important battles.
Below are twelve areas in which Biden has made many important accomplishments. This doesn’t include most of the amazing Obama accomplishments that Biden helped with, or all of the small acts he made as chair of the foreign policy committee that made us safer and the world a better place, or many of his other important accomplishments (after all, he sponsored or co-sponsored 4,445 bills in his time in the Senate).
But these areas show us that Joe Biden knows how to get things done; that he has just the right values; and that he will be able to get things done in the future.
Biden recognized that violence against women, including domestic violence, was a real problem well before many of his peers. This may seem obvious now, but Joe was ahead of his time in taking women’s lives seriously and wrote landmark legislation that protected women from violence for the first time.
Biden has called that law the legislation he is “proudest” of from his career in the Senate.
VAWA changed law enforcement practices, improved the criminal justice system, and created a network of services for victims. The bill established new federal crimes of interstate domestic violence and stalking, doubled penalties for repeat sex offenders, and sparked the passage of laws at the state level to protect victims.
It is easy from our place in history to underestimate what a giant deal this was. But this was a watershed event. Biden spent years holding hearings that led to this bill — hearings that were designed to increase understanding of the threat of violence against women.
This was at a time when some senators truly believed that it would be impossible for a man to rape his wife. That is what Biden was fighting against.
Biden pushed hard against this view of women and made a real difference with his legislation.
Biden consistently fought for the rights of women throughout his career.
In 1986, Biden introduced the Global Climate Protection Act, the first climate change bill in the Senate. The act directed the government to research and develop a strategy to deal with global warming.
Biden’s climate change bill died in the Senate. But he kept fighting and the following year a version of it survived as an amendment to a State Department funding bill. Reagan signed it into law.
Biden spoke about the bill on the Senate floor in January 1987 in terms that are pretty similar to what we talk about today. He talked about the threat to human habitat resulting from melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels.
Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate staff member who is now a strategic advisor at the Progressive Policy Institute, told Politifact that Biden deserves his due.
“Without question, Biden was among the earliest supporters of climate change action in Congress,” Bledsoe said. “His 1987 bill was focused on forcing the Reagan Administration to establish a wide-ranging White House Task Force on Climate Change, a critical action that in fact was not taken until the Clinton Administration, so it was both prescient and influential on long-term policy.”
Biden not only got legislation passed to protect the environment **with Reagan as president**, but he was one of the elected officials who put this issue on the table and got people talking about it.
When Biden says he takes climate change seriously, we can believe him.
“Biden was for civil rights when civil rights wasn’t cool” — state representative Fletcher Smith, a member of South Carolina’s Legislative Black Caucus.
Throughout his career, Biden supported black judges, rejected judges who were not progressive enough, and defended civil rights legislation.
His influence can be felt all over the country, in decisions large and small.
Biden worked with Obama to institute the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Towns had to make it possible for low-income minorities to choose suburban living and provide “adequate support to make their choices possible.”
As a senator, Biden was rated as a Rated 100% ally by the NAACP( Dec 2006). In addition, Biden:
• Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
• Voted YES on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
• Voted YES on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
• Voted YES on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
• Voted NO on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
• Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)
• Re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment. (Mar 2007)
Joe Biden has taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the national stage on many different occasions.
He won against this super powerful lobby in two huge ways. In 1993, he shepherded through Congress the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which established the background check system that has since kept more than 3 million firearms out of dangerous hands.
In 1994, Biden – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
There are only two of the times that Biden fought hard for common sense gun reform — but they are two of his biggest successes that saved countless lives.
Biden used the confirmation hearings to conduct a meticulous dissection of the nominee’s record as a scholar and judge. The hearings mobilized popular opinion against Bork, and the Judiciary Committee voted against him by nine to five, and the Senate rejected him, fifty-eight to forty-two.
In 1986, the year before Biden took over as committee chairman, Antonin Scalia was approved by the Senate in a vote of 98-0. The norm was to treat the senate as a “rubber stamp” for whomever the president wanted.
Then came Robert Bork.
And now Biden was in charge.
Bork’s defeat had immense consequences because Reagan ultimately nominated Anthony Kennedy to fill that seat.
Reagan realized that Biden would stand in the way of any far right candidate so he brought him into the oval office and showed him a list of five possible new nominees. Biden said, of the men suggested, he most preferred Kennedy.
if Biden hadn’t defeated Bork then we would have had Bork instead of Kennedy and we wouldn’t have had Planned Parenthood v. Casey which upheld the right to abortion. Or Roper v. Simmons (2005) which banned the death penalty for juveniles or, of course, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) which legalized gay marriage.
Biden has worked to protect the men and women who serve our country as a Senator, as VP, and as a private citizen.
As a senator, he co-sponsored legislation that would have increased access to mental health care and medical care for active-duty service members; strengthened regulations on mammograms at VA facilities to ensure they met quality standards; and expedited payment of hospital benefits for disabled veterans.
As vice president, his work with Obama led to a dramatic decrease in veterans’ homelessness, reduced an enormous backlog of veterans’ disability claims by more than 80% in just over three years, and significantly increased funding for the VA.
Finally, as a private citizen, the Biden Foundation has sought to drive economic opportunity for military spouses, create supportive educational environments for military-connected children, and change the conversation around mental health for service members, veterans, and their families.
Biden believes helping those who risk their lives for us us a sacred oath.
Biden put a great deal of time and energy during his 36 years in the Senate pushing various forms of campaign finance reform. He has always hated money in politics. Biden said in 2016 , “If you want to change overnight, instantaneously, the electoral process in America and the way we handle issues, have public financing. I guarantee you it would change overnight.”
Biden began by voting for 1974’s post-Watergate campaign finance reforms, which established public funding for presidential campaigns and limited contributions to and expenditures by all candidates for federal office.
In 1977, he introduced legislation to prohibit a practice so brazenly, blatantly corrupt — letting politicians who lost or retired simply pocket any leftover campaign money — that it’s hard to believe that it was ever legal….The last remaining loopholes in this area were finally closed in 1989 with the Ethics Reform Act.)
In the early 1990s Biden worked with John Kerry and Bill Bradley, then senators from Massachusetts and New Jersey, respectively, to create a system of public funding for congressional elections similar to the one for presidential candidates.
Biden was also one of four Senate co-sponsors of the Clean Money, Clean Elections Act in 1997.
In 2007, the Senator Joe Biden was responsible for getting Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for our troops in Iraq.
This was essential because road-side bombs were responsible for 70% of the casualties in Iraq and MRAPS were needed to protect the troops.
Biden said “When our commanders in the field tell us that these Mine Resistant Vehicles will reduce casualties by sixty-seven to eighty percent, I cannot understand why the Administration’s wartime budget request falls far below the stated needs of our folks on the ground. Providing our troops with the best possible protection should be a shared top priority. When American lives and limbs are on the line, giving anything less that 100% is not enough. As long as we have a single soldier on the front lines in Iraq, or anywhere else, it is this country’s most sacred responsibility to protect them,”
Biden spent six months arguing about this with the Bush administration, writing this amendment, and rustling up support from both sides of the aisle so he could get it passed. In the end, he was able to get Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Robert Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to co-sponsor his amendment, increasing the likelihood that it would pass.
It passed and it saved lives.
On September 10th 2001, then-Senator Biden spoke at the National Press Club in DC and issued a stern warning. He was frustrated that the Bush administration was moving away from long-standing arms control agreements for a “go it alone” attitude that emphasized “star wars” technology for detecting and eliminating nuclear missiles over more nuanced approaches that saw other risks as important.
Biden noted that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had said “a strategic nuclear attack is less likely than a regional conflict, a major theater of war, terrorist attacks at home or aboard, or any number of real worries.” Biden raised concerns that money was being diverted away for less likely outcomes while ”the real threat comes to this country in the hold of a ship, the belly of plane, or smuggled into a city in the middle of the night in the vial of a backpack.” He returned to Delaware that night.
The next morning, on his Amtrak to DC, he heard about the attacks on the towers.
As the train arrived, Biden could see a brown haze of smoke beyond the capital dome. He began running towards the steps of the Senate. “I was really insistent on getting in” he said later “because I thought it was awfully important that the Senate be in session. That people see us. That they could turn on their TV and see where we were.”
Although Biden could not get into the Senate building due to concerns about another plane, he gave a television reporter a brief interview calling for calm from outside the building. He said congress would be going back into session soon and he had heard that the president was coming back to Washington.
Later, Bush called Biden and thanked him for saying just the right things on TV.
Although he couldn’t get back into the Senate, Biden didn’t want to wait to push back against the growing public animosity towards Muslims. Biden went to a Muslim mosque in Newark where he spoke to a packed house and said “whoever is guilty of these terrible crimes, whether it is Osama bin Laden or somebody else, one thing is certain: by his very actions, by killing thousands of innocent people he proved that he is no true Muslim.”
Biden did a great deal to calm Americans, get the government back to work, and keep hatred and fear from taking over.
10. Biden got the votes for many of Obama’s signature accomplishments by knowing how to work with Republicans
Biden played a huge role in getting all of Obama’s signature programs through congress. It would not have worked without him.
For example, to get the ACA through, they needed an R vote. At first people in the WH were sure it would be easy to get. but it wasn’t. Biden knew it wouldn’t be. He knew the kind of partisanship they were up against.
But Biden knew how to get a vote. He met with Arlen Specter six times in person and called him an additional eight times.
They got the vote. ACA passed.
When the Rs threatened to not raise the debt ceiling, Biden knew just how to push McConnell. He huddled with a gang of R senators late into the night. They had a second session. And a third. These meetings lasted for months — with Biden leading the way.
When the deal finally happened, Obama and Boehner got all the credit, but, as Politico reported, it was Biden’s hard work that got it done.
Biden got *a lot* of the important Obama initiatives through congress.
During an appearance on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, as host David Gregory quizzed Biden on the subject, the Vice President made some news:
Gregory: You’re comfortable with same-sex marriage now?
Biden: Look, I am Vice President of the United States of America. The President sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. All the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly I don’t see much of a distinction beyond that.
“People didn’t think we were going to win,” Emily Hecht-McGowan — a Marylander who led LGBTQ fight for marriage equality…. “I personally believe that the turning point in 2012, at least in Maryland, was the vice president coming out on Meet the Press and talking about how he was in favor of marriage equality.”
“We are in a period of time right now where it seems to feel as though we are moving backwards, and in some cases we are moving backwards, given where this current administration is,” Hecht-McGowan said. “But I don’t think you can dilute or erase the impact that Vice President Biden has had on this issue — on marriage, in particular, but also on the quest, so to speak, for LGBTQ equality for the community. He is an unwavering champion.”
Biden has advanced rights for LGBTQ individuals throughout his entire career. He has made a real difference.
Obama and Biden inherited a giant economic mess from George W Bush.
Obama put Biden in charge of the recovery effort.
Biden had ever led a nearly $800 billion government-spending program that rescued the country from the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. It involved more than 100,000 projects—275 programs within 28 federal agencies.
His effort is now seen as an effective and remarkably fraud-free response to the financial crisis, even if it won little praise or political credit at the time.
It was the kind of close work that’s required for good management and Biden seemed to take to it with an enthusiasm that those who were there in the trenches with him recall with pride.
So next time someone says that Biden didn’t accomplish anything in his long life in public service, share this good news with them: Biden has made a huge difference in America and he is going to keep that up as president.
VOTE and get everyone you know (who votes Blue) to vote.
Volunteer with Common Cause’s old school Protect the Vote effort.
donate to fight gerrymandering. You can donate to take the senate. You can donate to VerySmart™ legal teams to track and battle any possible voter suppression efforts across all communities in their states. You can Donate money to the ACLU — they have filed 20 lawsuits and counting to ensure every eligible voter can vote by mail.
Indivisible has phone bank events for all over America. You can drive people to the polls with carpool vote. Voteriders has opportunities to GOTV and help people vote. Chefs For The Polls is bringing food to people waiting in line to vote.
Lots of opportunities out there to be involved in these last days.
We are going to win this together.
I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with all of you ❤️ ✊ ❤️
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.