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Joe Biden on Welfare & Poverty

Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)


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

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:
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Page last updated: Jan 05, 2014