Joe Biden on Crime

Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)


DOJ to name a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud

The previous Administration not only ballooned the deficit with tax cuts for the very wealthy and corporations, it undermined the watchdogs whose job was to keep pandemic relief funds from being wasted. But in my administration, the watchdogs have been welcomed back. We're going after the criminals who stole billions in relief money meant for small businesses and millions of Americans. And tonight, I'm announcing that the Justice Department will name a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud.
Source: 2022 State of the Union address , Mar 1, 2022

The same time for the same crime, for blacks and whites

Q: A lot of people were jailed for minor drug crimes after the Crime Bill.

BIDEN: Right.

Q:Was it a mistake to support it?

BIDEN: What we did federally was all about the same time for the same crime. We did a study: what happens if you're a Black man and it's the first time you've committed robbery, how long would you go to jail? If you're White man, how long? The Black man would go to jail on average 13 years. White man, two years. We set up a sentencing commission. We didn't set the time. What happened was it became the same time for the same crime.

Q: How do you prevent the kind of policing that results in police-on-civilian tragedies?

BIDEN: One of the things that has to change is so many cops get called into circumstances where somebody is mentally off. That's why we have to provide within police departments psychologists and social workers to go out with the cops on those calls, some of those 911 calls to de-escalate the circumstance, to deal with talking them down.

Source: Second 2020 Presidential Debate/ABC Town Hall Philadelphia , Oct 15, 2020

NYC stop-and-frisk was stopped by Obama observers

NYC Mayor Mike BLOOMBERG: Stop-and-frisk got out of control. And when I discovered that we were doing many, many, too many stop-and-frisks, we cut 95% of it out.

BIDEN: Let's get something straight. The reason that stop-and-frisk changed is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on. When we sent them there to say "this practice has to stop," the mayor thought it was a terrible idea we send them there. Let's get the order straight. And it's not whether he apologized or not. It's the policy. The policy was abhorrent. And it was a fact of violation of every right people have. Our administration sent in people to moderate. And the mayor argued against that. He figured out it was a bad idea after we sent in monitors and said it must stop.

BLOOMBERG: I've apologized. We stopped too many people. If we took off everybody that was wrong off this panel, everybody that was wrong on criminal justice at some time in their careers, there'd be nobody else up here.

Source: MSNBC's 9th Democrat primary debate, in Las Vegas , Feb 19, 2020

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

1994: Billions for state prisons but fewer billions than GOP

In a campaign speech, former Biden claimed that his record on the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act had been "grossly misrepresented." He distanced himself from some of the key provisions of the law, including its billions in funding for states to build prisons: "I didn't support more money to build state prisons. I was against it. We should be building rehab centers and not prisons," he said.

He was misrepresenting his own record. Biden expressed unequivocal support, in both 1994 and in the years following, for the law's billions in funding to build state prisons. He argued in 1994 that the law should include less money for prison construction than Republicans wanted to spend--but he emphasized that he too wanted to spend billions.

Biden's campaign did not dispute our conclusion that Biden did support this kind of spending. Biden "was referring to how Republicans wanted to provide more money for prison construction than he felt was right," said a campaign spokesperson.

Source: CNN FactCheck on 2020 Democratic primary , Jul 7, 2019

1992: pro-death penalty; 2019: congrats on ending it

Joe Biden said in a 1992 speech that criminal justice legislation he was pushing was so strict that "we do everything but hang people for jaywalking." Two years later, his signature crime bill made dozens of additional offenses punishable by death.

But in a little-noticed remark earlier this month in New Hampshire, Biden seemed to offer a decidedly different stance on the death penalty.

Fielding a question from a voter aligned with the ACLU about how he'd reduce the federal prison population, Biden gave a long and winding answer: He defended his crime bill, advocated for reforms to the criminal justice system involving nonviolent and drug offenders, and said he was proud of his work with Barack Obama to cut the federal prison population by 3,800.

Then, unprompted, Biden added: "By the way, congratulations to ya'll ending the death penalty here." Biden's campaign would not comment on his answer, or shed light on whether he's changed his position on the death penalty.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary , Jun 20, 2019

Regrets supporting strict sentences, including on crack

Biden expressed regret for supporting tough-on-crime bills during his time in Congress, including a measure that established strict sentencing standards for crack and powder cocaine offenses, which experts say have led to an era of mass incarceration that disproportionately affected black Americans.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 25, 2019

Supreme Court wrong to deny federalization of wife-beating

Q: Are there Supreme Court decisions you disagree with?

A: You know, I’m the guy who wrote the Violence Against Women Act. And I said that every woman in America, if they are beaten and abused by a man, should be able to take that person to court--meaning you should be able to go to federal court and sue in federal court the man who abused you if you can prove that abuse. But they said, “No, for a woman, there’s no federal jurisdiction.” And I held, they acknowledged, I held about 1,000 hours of hearings proving that there’s an effect in interstate commerce.

Women who are abused and beaten and beaten are women who are not able to be in the work force. And the Supreme Court said, “Well, there is an impact on commerce, but this is federalizing a private crime and we’re not going to allow it.” I think the Supreme Court was wrong about that decision.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Oct 1, 2008

Bush is impediment to hate crimes legislation

OBAMA: [to Biden]: There is a consequence to the demagoguery [over immigration]--hate crimes against Latinos have gone way up. We’ve also seen this epidemic of nooses being hung all across the country since the events down in Jena. So, what can we do to strengthen the enforcement of hate crimes legislation? It is something that I will prioritize as president but I don’t want to have to wait until I am.

BIDEN: We can and we should move [the pending Hate Crimes legislation] forward. The impediment right now is the president. We need someone in the civil rights division who is aggressive in going after these hate crimes. I would not wait. Why did we not hear immediately from the justice department in the Jena 6? Why did we not hear immediately when the rash of burnings took place? Why did we not hear? The reason is that they are not committed. Hate crimes are just that. The vilest and filthiest of crimes. And when you let one celebrated hate crime go, you generate an attitude.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum , Dec 1, 2007

Authored the Clinton crime bill & 100,000 cops on the street

I do have a record of significant accomplishment. The crime bill, which became known as the Clinton crime bill, was written by Joe Biden, the Biden crime bill. That required me to cross over, get everyone together, and no one’s civil liberties were in any way jeopardized. We put 100,000 cops on the street. Violent crime came down. So I have a track record of being able to cross over and get things done.
Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

Separate juveniles from adults in jail

I authored that crime bill to put $10 billion in prevention and 100,000 cops on the street. The vast majority of gun crimes are almost all related to drugs. And what we do is we, instead of incarcerating our young blacks and other folks in the inner city who are arrested for a violent crime, instead of separating these juveniles, we put them in with adults. They go ahead and they learn the trade. They learn the trade and they come back out.
Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum , Jul 12, 2007

Joe Biden on Police Reform

We don't have to choose between safety and equal justice

Let's not abandon our streets. Or choose between safety and equal justice. Let's come together to protect our communities, restore trust, and hold law enforcement accountable. That's why the Justice Department required body cameras, banned chokeholds, and restricted no-knock warrants for its officers. We should all agree: The answer is not to Defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.
Source: 2022 State of the Union address , Mar 1, 2022

No police reform commission despite campaign promise

PROMISE MADE: (CNN Town Hall, Sep 17, 2020): I will bring together police chiefs, police officers, the civil rights leadership to [decide on] more rigorous background checks on those who apply to become police officers, teach people how to de-escalate.

PROMISE BROKEN: (Politico.com, 4/11/21): The White House is putting the creation of a national police oversight commission on hold, nixing a Biden campaign pledge to establish one within his first 100 days. "The administration made the considered judgment that a police commission, at this time, would not be the most effective way to deliver on our top priority in this area, which is to sign the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act into law," a spokesperson said.

ANALYSIS: The White House said it consulted with national civil rights organizations and police unions. Both entities made clear to the administration that they thought a commission was not necessary and likely redundant.

Source: Politico.com on Biden Administration promises , Apr 11, 2021

Social & economic support services to deter violent behavior

PROMISE MADE:(2020 campaign website JoeBiden.com):There are proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities without turning to incarceration. Group Violence Intervention organizes community leaders to work with individuals most likely to commit acts of gun violence, express the community's demand that the gun violence stop, and connect individuals who may be likely perpetrators with social and economic support services that may deter violent behavior. Biden will create a $900 million, 8-year initiative to fund these evidence-based interventions.

PROMISE PARTLY KEPT: (White House press release, 4/7/21): The American Jobs Plan proposes a $5 billion investment over eight years to support community violence intervention programs. Health and Human Services is organizing a webinar and toolkit to educate states on how they can use Medicaid to reimburse certain community violence intervention programs, as we wait on Congress to appropriate additional funds.

Source: White House press release on Biden Administration promises , Apr 7, 2021

Rebuild trust between police & people they serve

[In support of H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Bass, D-CA, and 197 cosponsors]: To make our communities safer, we must begin by rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect. We cannot rebuild that trust if we do not hold police officers accountable for abuses of power and tackle systemic misconduct--and systemic racism--in police departments. President Biden has a long record of championing meaningful policing reform and previously called for the Congress to enact provisions like those in H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The Administration encourages the House to pass this legislation, and looks forward to working with the Congress to enact a landmark policing reform law. [See details of H.R.1280]
Source: Statement of 2021 Biden Administration Policy on H.R. 1280 , Mar 1, 2021

Institutional racism that only black parents give "the talk"

Q: Part of the way Black and Brown Americans experience race in this country is something called "the talk." Regardless of class and income, parents who feel they have no choice, but to prepare their children for the chance that they could be targeted by the police, for no reason other than the color of their skin. Do you understand why these parents fear for their children?

BIDEN: I do. I never had to tell my daughter, if she's pulled over for a traffic stop. "Put both hands on top of the wheel and don't reach for the glove box because someone may shoot you." But a Black parent, no matter how wealthy or how poor they are, has to teach their child, "Don't have a hoodie on when you go across the street." The fact of the matter is, there is institutional racism in America. We've always constantly been moving the needle further and further to inclusion, not exclusion. This is the first president to come along and says, that's the end of that. We're not going to do that anymore.

Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker , Oct 22, 2020

More community policing, but not as police jump-out squads

Q: The Crime bill funded 100,000 police back in 1994. You've often said that more cops clearly mean less crime. Do you still believe that?

BIDEN: Yes, if in fact they're involved in community policing, not jump-out squads [raids by police vehicles]. For example, when we had community policing, from the mid-'90s on until till Bush got elected, what happened? Violent crime actually went down precipitously. The cops didn't like the community policing, because you had to have two people in the vehicle, they had to get out of their cars, they had to introduce themselves to who own the local liquor store, who owned the local grocery store, who was the woman on the corner. And what they would do, they'd actually go and give people their phone numbers. A cop would give the phone number.

TRUMP: [I support the bill introduced by Senator] Tim Scott: that was strong in terms of law enforcement, and strong in terms of doing the proper thing by law enforcement. And the Democrats just wouldn't go for it.

Source: Second 2020 Presidential Debate/ABC Town Hall Philadelphia , Oct 15, 2020

FactCheck: Endorsed by 175 law enforcement officials

Trump said to Biden, "We just got the support of almost every law enforcement group in the United States. I don't think you have any law enforcement."

Is that true, that no law enforcement has endorsed Biden? We found this article dated Sept. 4 on Fox News, headlined "More than 175 current, former law enforcement officials endorse Joe Biden, slam Trump as 'lawless' president." Excerpts:

"Fox News first obtained the list of the Biden-supporting law enforcement officials, which includes former sheriffs and former police chiefs who touted the former vice president's experience 'keeping communities safe.'

"The endorsements come after a number of high-profile law enforcement organizations threw their support behind Trump. In July, the National Association of Police Organizations endorsed Trump, praising his 'steadfast and very public support' for law enforcement. NAPO did not endorse a candidate in the 2016 election but endorsed Barack Obama and Biden in both the 2008 and 2012 elections."

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on First 2020 Presidential Debate , Sep 29, 2020

Violent protestors should be prosecuted

Q: What about ongoing violent BLM protests?

BIDEN: There's systemic injustice in this country. [But] violence in response is never appropriate. Peaceful protest is; violence is never appropriate.

Q: Protests have turned violent in Portland, Oregon, especially. You talk about peaceful protests. Many of those turned into riots. You say that people who commit crimes should be held accountable. Have you ever called the Mayor of Portland or the Governor of Oregon and said, "Hey, you got to stop this, bring in the National Guard, do whatever it takes, but you'd stop the days and months of violence in Portland?"

BIDEN: I don't hold public office. But I've made it clear in my public statements that the violence should be prosecuted. It should be prosecuted and anyone who committed it should be prosecuted.

Q: But you've never called the leaders in Portland and in Oregon?

BIDEN: They can in fact take care of it if [Trump would] just stay out of the way.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020

Reimagine policing: I totally oppose defunding police

Q: You talked about "re-imagining policing." What does that mean, and do you support the Black Lives Matter call for community control of policing?

BIDEN: We have to have community policing like we had before where the officers get to know the people in the communities. That's when crime went down.

TRUMP: That's not what it is about. He's talking about defunding the police.

BIDEN: I'm totally opposed to defunding the police offices. [Trump's] budget calls for a $400 million cut in local law enforcement assistance. They need more assistance; when they show up for a 9-11 call to have someone with them as a psychologist to keep them from having to use force.

TRUMP: He doesn't have any law support. He has no law enforcement.

BIDEN: That's not true.

TRUMP: He has almost nothing.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020

Violence is never appropriate response to police violence

BIDEN: Cops aren't happy to see what happened to George Floyd. Cops aren't happy to see what happened to Breonna Taylor. Most don't like it. We have to have a system where people are held accountable. Violence in response is never appropriate. Peaceful protest is, violence is never appropriate.

TRUMP: What is peaceful protest? When they run through town and burn down your stores and kill people all over the place--

BIDEN: That is not peaceful protest.

TRUMP: No, it's not, but you say it is.

Source: First 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Chris Wallace , Sep 29, 2020

Bring stakeholders together to agree on police reforms

I will bring together police chiefs, police officers, the union people, the African-American leadership, the communities, brown communities, the civil rights leadership to sit at the table and agree on basic fundamental things that are have to be done, including more rigorous background checks on those who apply to become police officers, teach people how to de-escalate, making sure you have psychologists and psychiatrists available.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper , Sep 17, 2020

Vast majority of police are ashamed of what they've seen

Q: Trump says that you want to defund the police. Do you?

BIDEN: No, I don't. There has to be national standards that apply to every police department. The other side is that we have in the African American community the desire to have police who will protect them and know them, community policing. I don't want to defund police departments. I think they need more help, The vast majority of the police, they're ashamed of what they saw. You have to take action, and it has to be national.

Source: ABC This Week 2020 National Convention Biden/Harris Q&A , Aug 23, 2020

1994 Crime bill had community policing and crime went down

It provided for community policing, not community policing--go out and arresting people and throwing them up against walls. Community policing where you put two policemen in a car, the cops didn't want to do it, and they had to get out of the cars and go and understand the neighborhoods. They had to leave their cell phone numbers with the local grocer, with the local church, with the local--if you have a problem, call me. And so crime went down. Violent crime was cut in half.

We should change the whole prison system from one of punishment to rehabilitation. Nobody should go to jail for drug use. They should be put in rehabilitation. Mandatory rehabilitation. Secondly, anybody in prison, anybody in prison should be learning a trade, should be being taught something. If you can't read, write, add and subtract, you should be able to learn that in prison. And when you get out you should be able to qualify for every federal program across the board.

Source: CNN S.C. Town Hall on eve of 2020 primary , Feb 26, 2020

1984: Passed Comprehensive Crime Control Act

In 1984 he managed to get the Comprehensive Crime Control Act passed. It focused on:
Source: The Democrats, by Alexander Moore, p. 17-18 , Jul 9, 2019

1990s: Supported tough-on-crime; 2019:considers those racist

At an event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, Biden repeated earlier statements of regret for supporting tough-on-crime measures in the 1990s, which included provisions now widely considered racially discriminatory and at least partly responsible for current incarceration rates, in which African Americans are significantly over-represented.

"The bottom line is we have a lot to root out, but most of all the systematic racism that most of us whites don't like to acknowledge even exists," Biden said during a breakfast held by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. "We don't even consciously acknowledge it. But it's been built into every aspect of our system."

Source: Washington Post, "Desegregation," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 7, 2019

1993: Don't care why "predators" act; put them in jail

Joe Biden in a 1993 speech warned of "predators on our streets" who were "beyond the pale" and said they must be cordoned off from the rest of society because the justice system did not know how to rehabilitate them. Biden, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the comments on the Senate floor a day before a vote was scheduled on the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Biden said he did not care what led someone to commit crimes. "I don't care why someone is a malefactor in society. I don't care why someone is antisocial. I don't care why they've become a sociopath," Biden said. "We have an obligation to cordon them off from the rest of society, try to help them, try to change the behavior. That's what we do in this bill. We have drug treatment and we have other treatments to try to deal with it, but they are in jail."

Source: CNN KFile, "Predators," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 7, 2019

1980s community policing worked to reduce crime rate

In the eighties, when the crime rate exploded, I began to pursue a new--but in fact a very old--concept of policing. That was getting cops back walking the street so they'll know the shopkeepers, know the neighborhood. And getting the neighborhood kids to know the cops and to trust them. We had moved away from that concept--the new model was a lone cop riding around in a police cruiser instead of walking the beat--and the best criminologists were advocating the old idea with a new name: community policing. I finally got real funding written into the crime bill in 1994 that provided an additional 100,000 local cops. And it worked.

Violent crime dropped precipitously, from almost 2 million incidents in 1994 to 1.4 million in 2000. The murder rate was cut nearly in half. Relations between the police and the black community, while far from perfect, were very much improved. But community policing became a victim of its own success. As crime went down, so too did public pressure to focus on policing.

Source: Promise Me, Dad,by Joe Biden, p. 37-40 , Nov 14, 2017

Police and communities must respect each other

Does the danger the police face prevent the police in your neighborhood from seeing the people they serve? I served in these communities as a public defender, and for 36 years as Delaware's senator. I know, and I see, the goodness and decency in communities across the country. And I have also worked with thousands of honorable and decent police officers.

It is the responsibility of every community to recognize the humanity of the men and women who volunteer to put themselves in harm's way, to answer the urgent call in the night, to do the best that they can. And it is the responsibility of every officer who takes an oath to protect and serve to respect the dignity of every person that officer encounters, young or old, male or female, black, white, Hispanic, or Asian. We need to agree as a nation on two basic statements of truth. Number one, cops have a right to make it home to their families tonight. And number two, all minorities have a right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 4-5 , Apr 28, 2015

Community policing is expensive, but it works

I helped institutionalize community policing, in the 1994 Biden Crime Bill. When it started, it worked. But it's really expensive. It takes a lot of cops. In the beginning we had adequate resources. The 1994 Biden Crime Bill at the time was a pretty expensive operation. It put another 100,000 cops on the street, and it cost $1 billion. But because crime was rampant, everybody signed on. And it worked.

Community policing costs a lot of money. It's more expensive to have individuals patrolling the neighborhood than relying on technology . But since 1998, states, as well as the federal government, in large part because crime dropped, have started to slash budgets. We acted like the problem was solved. Crime was not at the top of the country's agenda anymore. As a result, since 1998, funding for community policing has been cut by 87%. That means fewer cops on the streets and in neighborhoods, building recognition and trust.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 5-6 , Apr 28, 2015

1970: DE Public not receiving needed police protection

Joe also set himself up early as a crime fighter and defender of the police. In August 1970, when the New Castle County police released the latest statistics showing a 35 percent increase in major crime in the first six months of the year, candidate Biden accused the Republican-led county officials of "a deplorable lack of leadership," saying the public was "not receiving the police protection to which they are entitled" despite a 17 percent increase in the budget for that purpose. He proposed a four-point program that included an expanded police criminal division and the hiring of a full-time police director to achieve better cooperation between county and state police.
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p. 58 , Oct 5, 2010

1990 crime bill: more police & tougher penalties

Biden championed more community policing and spent long hours and days immersing himself in law enforcement culture, frequently attending and addressing police organization meetings. And in a pending crime bill in 1990, Biden fought for more money for police departments, for a ban on assault weapons, and for tougher penalties for drug offenders, the bill was watered down by Republican opposition. Finally, in 1994 Congress passed a $30.2 billion Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, sometimes known simply as the Biden Crime bill, which called for one hundreg thousand more police in the nation's city streets over six years. The measure won strong political support for the Democrats and President Clinton from a police community that earlier had considered the Republicans as the law-and-order party. Biden ballyhooed the Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program as reducing crime for eight straight years, from 1993 through 2001.
Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.306-307 , Oct 5, 2010

Supports sentencing guidelines to put away violent criminals

Since the mid-1970s I’d been working on crime issues in the Judiciary Committee, and since the mid-1980s I had been the Democrats’ point man in the Senate on crime legislation. While I have always been a defender of robust civil liberties for the accused, I have worked hard to give police the tools to fight crime--more cops on the street, better equipment, sentencing guidelines that put people away for committing violent crimes. There have been times when my Democratic colleagues have thought I’ve gone too far over to the side of the police in law-and-order issues, but I have always felt that public safety and security is the first duty of government. A government must ensure safe homes, streets, schools, and public places before it can fulfill any other promises.
Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.239 , Jul 31, 2007

Joe Biden on Voting Record

1994 Crime Bill got help for first time offenders, not jail

A spokesman for Biden said high violent crime rates at the time was key context to understanding the bill, adding that the 1994 crime bill included funding "to keep individuals who committed first-time offenses and non-violent crimes out of prison and instead in treatment and supervision," and that Biden advocated for prevention funding. Two provisions of the bill that led to Biden's strong support of its passage: bans on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons and the Violence Against Women Act.
Source: CNN KFile, "Predators," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 7, 2019

Biden Law of 1994 created several new capital offenses

Biden is credited for authoring several significant pieces of legislation in the area of federal law enforcement, including The Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act of 1994, widely known as the Biden Law, which:The law was passed shortly before the Oklahoma City bombing, and its provisions were applied to execute Timothy McVeigh. The legislation received bipartisan support, but was reviled by death penalty opponents and civil libertarians. Some believe it broke ground for the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.179 , Nov 11, 2007

Voted YES on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program.

Amendment would increase funding for the COPS Program to $1.15 billion for FY 2008 to provide state and local law enforcement with critical resources. The funding is offset by an unallocated reduction to non-defense discretionary spending.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

This amendment reinstates the COPS Program. I remind everyone, when the COPS Program was functioning, violent crime in America reduced 8.5% a year for 7 years in a row. Throughout the 1990s, we funded the COPS Program at roughly $1.2 billion, and it drove down crime. Now crime is rising again. The COPS Program in the crime bill worked, and the Government Accounting Office found a statistical link between the COPS grants and a reduction in crime. The Brookings Institution reported the COPS Program is one of the most cost-effective programs we have ever had in this country. Local officials urgently need this support.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The COPS Program has some history. It was started by President Clinton. He asked for 100,000 police officers. He said that when we got to 100,000, the program would stop. We got to 110,000 police officers and the program continues on and on and on.

This program should have ended 5 years ago or 6 years ago, but it continues. It is similar to so many Federal programs that get constituencies that go on well past what their original purpose was. It may be well intentioned, but we cannot afford it and we shouldn't continue it. It was never thought it would be continued this long.

Reference: Biden Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.529 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-110 on Mar 23, 2007

Voted YES on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program.

Vote on an amendment to authorize $1.15 billion per year from 2000 through 2005 to continue and expand the Community Oriented Policing Services program. $600 million of the annual funding is marked for hiring additional officers [up to 50,000]
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-139 on May 20, 1999

Voted NO on limiting death penalty appeals.

Vote to table, or kill, a motion to send the bill back to the joint House-Senate conference committee with instructions to delete the provisions in the bill that would make it harder for prisoners given the death penalty in state courts to appeal.
Reference: Bill S.735 ; vote number 1996-66 on Apr 17, 1996

Voted NO on limiting product liability punitive damage awards.

Approval of a limit on punitive damages in product liability cases.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)40; NV)1
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 956; Bill H. R. 956 ; vote number 1996-46 on Mar 21, 1996

Voted NO on restricting class-action lawsuits.

Restriction of class-action security lawsuits.
Status: Veto Overridden Y)68; N)30; P)1
Reference: H.R. 1058 passage over veto; Bill H.R. 1058 ; vote number 1995-612 on Dec 22, 1995

Voted NO on repealing federal speed limits.

Repeal federal speeding limits.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)64; N)36
Reference: Motion to table Lautenberg Amdt #1428; Bill S. 440 ; vote number 1995-270 on Jun 20, 1995

Voted NO on mandatory prison terms for crimes involving firearms.

Vote on the motion to instruct conferees on the bill to insist that the conference report include Mandatory prison terms for the use, possession, or carrying of a firearm or destructive device during a state crime of violence or drug trafficking
Reference: Bill HR.3355 ; vote number 1994-126 on May 19, 1994

Voted NO on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals.

Vote to express that the Omnibus Crime bill [H.R. 3355] should reject the Racial Justice Act provisions, which would enable prisoners appealing death penalty sentences to argue racial discrimination using sentencing statistics as part of their appeal.
Reference: Bill S 1935 ; vote number 1994-106 on May 11, 1994

Rated 71% by CURE, indicating pro-rehabilitation crime votes.

Biden scores 71% by CURE on rehabilitation issues

CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are

  1. to use prisons only for those who have to be in them; and
  2. for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.
The ratings indicate the legislator’s percentage score on CURE’s preferred votes.
Source: CURE website 00n-CURE on Dec 31, 2000

More funding and stricter sentencing for hate crimes.

Biden co-sponsored the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

Title: To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.

Summary: Provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any violent crime that is motivated by prejudice based on the race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim or is a violation of hate crime laws.

  1. Award grants to assist State and local law enforcement officials with extraordinary expenses for interstate hate crimes.

  2. Award grants to State and local programs designed to combat hate crimes committed by juveniles.

  3. Prohibit specified offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

  4. Increase criminal sentencing for adult recruitment of juveniles to commit hate crimes.

  5. Collect and publish data about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on gender.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1343 on Apr 3, 2001

Establish a domestic violence volunteer attorney network.

Biden introduced establishing a domestic violence volunteer attorney network

National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act - Authorizes grants to the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence to work in collaboration with the American Bar Association Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and other organizations to create, recruit lawyers for, and provide training, mentoring, and technical assistance for a National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network.

Requires the Office on Violence Against Women of the Department of Justice to designate five states in which to implement the pilot program of a National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Referral Project and distribute funds under this Act.

Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report to Congress on the scope and quality of legal representation and advocacy for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, including the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Source: Domestic Violence Attorney Network Act (S.1515/H.R.6088) 07-S1515 on May 24, 2007

Increase funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program.

Biden introduced increasing funding for "COPS ON THE BEAT" program

COPS Improvements Act of 2007 - Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to make grants for public safety and community policing programs (COPS ON THE BEAT or COPS program). Revises grant purposes to provide for:

  1. the hiring or training of law enforcement officers for intelligence, antiterror, and homeland security duties;
  2. the hiring of school resource officers;
  3. school-based partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and local school systems to combat crime, gangs, drug activities, and other problems facing elementary and secondary schools;
  4. innovative programs to reduce and prevent illegal drug (including methamphetamine) manufacturing, distribution, and use; and
  5. enhanced community policing and crime prevention grants that meet emerging law enforcement needs.
    Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to:
  1. assign community prosecutors to handle cases from specific geographic areas and address counterterrorism problems, specific violent crime problems, and localized violent and other crime problems; and
  2. develop new technologies to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in crime prevention.
Source: COPS Improvements Act (S.368/H.R.1700) 07-S368 on Jan 23, 2007

Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance.

Biden introduced reducing recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance

Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 110-199.
Source: Second Chance Act (S.1060/H.R.1593) 08-S1060 on Mar 29, 2007

Sponsored bill to abolish federal death penalty.

Justice Biden wrote the concurrence on Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act on Dec 15, 2020:

Legislative summary of H.R.4052: This bill prohibits the imposition of a death penalty sentence for a violation of federal law. A person sentenced to death before enactment of this bill must be resentenced.

Press release and letter on Connolly.House.gov: Capital punishment is unjust, racist and defective. The United States stands alone among its peers in executing its own citizens, a barbaric punishment that denies the dignity and humanity of all people and is disproportionately applied to people who are Black, Latinx, and poor. In their letter, the lawmakers called on President-Elect Biden to affirm his commitment to eliminating the death penalty--as laid out in his criminal justice reform plan--by ending it through executive action on Day 1 of his administration. The lawmakers also made clear that in the 117th Congress, they will continue to work to advance H.R. 4052, legislation to permanently abolish the death penalty.

ProPublica summary by Isaac Arnsdorf 12/23/20: Throughout the campaign, Trump highlighted executions as a contrast to Joe Biden's opposition to the death penalty, reinforcing Trump's "law and order" message. The Justice Department has killed 10 people since July, with three more executions scheduled before Biden's inauguration. "Death penalty all the way," Trump said at a February 2016 campaign event. "I've always supported the death penalty. I don't even understand people that don't."

Until this year, the Justice Department hadn't executed anyone since 2003. A drug that most states and the federal government used in lethal injections, a sedative called sodium pentothal, became unavailable because the sole American manufacturer stopped making it. Shortly after Trump's presidency began, his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, [pushed] to resolve these issues so that the federal Bureau of Prisons could resume executions.

Source: Supreme Court case 20-HR4052 argued on Jul 25, 2019

Establish an FBI registry of sexual offendors.

Biden co-sponsored the Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act

Corresponding House bill is H.R.3456. Became Public Law No: 104-236.
Source: Bill sponsored by 15 Senators and 3 Reps 96-S1675 on Apr 16, 1996

Other candidates on Crime: Joe Biden on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

2020 GOP and Independent primary candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
CEO Howard Schultz (Independent-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (Green-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
Sen.Catherine Masto (D-NV)
Gov.Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
Amb.Susan Rice (D-ME)
Sen.Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
A.G.Sally Yates (D-GA)
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External Links about Joe Biden:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Mar 05, 2022