Joe Biden on Families & Children

Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)


$2.3M in grants to help reduce domestic violence homicides

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced grants to target the urgent need to reduce domestic violence homicides. From 2009 to 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings--those with four or more victims killed--started with the shooter targeting their girlfriend, wife or ex-wife.

In total, the Department of Justice will award $2.3 million to twelve sites across the country as part of the new Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative (DVHP Initiative). "Every single day in America, three women die at the hands of their boyfriend, or their husband, or their ex-husband. Many of these women have been threatened or severely abused in the past. We know what risk factors put someone in greater danger of being killed by the person they love--and that also means we have the opportunity to step in and try to prevent these murders. That's why these grants are so important. They'll help stop violence before it turns deadly," said Vice President Biden.

Source: White House Press Release, "Grants on Domestic Violence" , Mar 13, 2013

1991: VAWA is about civil rights, not divorce law

Biden understood "the lack of control that is experienced not only by women who are themselves victims but by all the women who have to constrain their daily activities to avoid being a victim." He showed the basic insight of the civil rights provision-- that violence against women deprives women of equality."

In 1991 Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed a four-judge committee to appraise the push for a Violence Against Women Act. It challenged classifying such violence as a civil rights offense and warned that the federal caseload might be so increased as to cause "major state-federal jurisdictional problems and disruptions."

Biden angrily wrote to the committee: "The bill does not federalize divorce law or domestic relations cases any more than any other civil rights law does." But Rehnquist wrote that the bill "is so open-ended and the new private right of action so sweeping that the legislation would involve the federal courts in a host of domestic relations disputes."

Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.312-313 , Oct 5, 2010

I’ve been a single parent; I know the difficulties

PALIN: [McCain chose me also for] my connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills? We’ve been there also, as they sit around the kitchen table and try to figure it out.

BIDEN: I understand what it’s like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it’s like as a parent to wonder if your kid’s going to make it. I understand what it’s like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, “I’ve got to leave, champ, because there’s no jobs here. And when we get enough money, honey, we’ll bring you down.” The notion that somehow, because I’m a man, I don’t know what it’s like to raise 2 kids alone--I understand. I understand, as well as the governor or anybody else, what it’s like for those people sitting around that kitchen table. They’re looking for help. They’re not looking for more of the same.

Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Gov. Sarah Palin , Oct 2, 2008

Fought for Family and Medical Leave, up to 12 unpaid weeks

Helping In The Workplace And At Home: As a father who parented small children on his own, Joe Biden knows first-hand the challenges of balancing work and family. He recognizes that it can be especially difficult for women, who often make the health-care decisions, take the kids or elderly parents to see the doctor, or stay at home when someone is sick. Joe Biden believes we need to provide all workers, including women, with the flexibility they need to both take care of their families and remain working For this reason, he fought for the Family and Medical Leave Act that has given 50 million workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to look out for a sick family member. As there are many more workers who cannot afford unpaid leave, he is co-sponsoring the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide seven paid sick days to care for their own or their families’ medical needs.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.joebiden.com, “Issues” , Sep 1, 2007

1990: authored the Violence Against Women Act

In 1990, I wrote legislation called the Violence Against Women Act. I was convinced this might be the most important piece of legislation I had introduced and among the most difficult to turn into law. I was surprised at the resistance from inside-the-beltway women’s groups. I knew these groups didn’t entirely trust me because I wasn’t pure on the issue of abortion. But there were others things beyond the groups’ long-held suspicions of me. I got the sense that women’s advocacy groups were worried that the VAWA would be a distraction from their main issues. And there was also a certain amount of personal pride I sensed among women. VAWA failed to reach the Senate floor in 1990 and finally passed in 1994. Violence against women would no longer be written off as “she was asking for it” (rape), “sexual miscommunication” (date rape), or “a family matter” (domestic abuse). Once our criminal justice system recognized these as serious & inexcusable crimes, women could stop blaming themselves.
Source: Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden, p.240-245 , Jul 31, 2007

Voted NO on killing restrictions on violent videos to minors.

Vote to kill an amendment that would prohibit the distribution of violent video programming to the public during hours when children are reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience. Voting YES would kill the amendment proposing the new restrictions. Voting NO would suport the amendment proposing the new restrictions.
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-114 on May 13, 1999

Rated 16% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-Family-Value voting record.

Biden scores 16% by the Christian Coalition on family issues

The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by Dr. Pat Robertson to give Christians a voice in government. We represent millions of people of faith and enable them to have a strong, unified voice in the conversation we call democracy.

    Our Five-Fold Mission:
  1. Represent the pro-family point of view before local councils, school boards, state legislatures, and Congress
  2. Speak out in the public arena and in the media
  3. Train leaders for effective social and political action
  4. Inform pro-family voters about timely issues and legislation
  5. Protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the rights of people of faith.
Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: CC website 03n-CC on Dec 31, 2003

Permanent crime database for volunteers with kids.

Biden introduced creating permanent crime database for volunteers with kids

A bill to amend the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to establish a permanent background check system. Congress finds the following:

  1. In 2006, a total of 16,500,000 adults volunteered their service to education or youth programs.
  2. An estimated 6.6% of individuals in the United States will serve time in prison for a crime during their lifetime. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System of the FBI maintains fingerprints and criminal histories on more than 47,000,000 individuals, many of whom have been arrested or convicted multiple times.
  3. Of individuals released from prison, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years.
  4. Given the large number of individuals with criminal records and the vulnerability of the population they work with, human service organizations that work with children need an effective and reliable means of obtaining a complete criminal history in order to determine the suitability of a potential volunteer or employee.
  5. The large majority of Americans (88%) favor granting youth-serving organizations access to conviction records for screening volunteers and 59% favored allowing youth-serving organizations to consider arrest records when screening volunteers.
  6. Even when accessible, the cost of a criminal background check can be prohibitively expensive, between $21 and $99 for each volunteer or employee.
  7. The Child Safety Pilot Program demonstrates that timely and affordable background checks are possible, as background checks under that program are completed within 3 to 5 business days at a cost of $18.
    Source: Child Protection Improvements Act (S.2756/H.R.5606) 08-S2756 on Jul 28, 2008

    Fund 2,500 Boys and Girls Clubs in underserved areas.

    Biden co-sponsored a Bill to open 2,500 Boys and Girls Clubs

    Amends the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to make grants to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to establish and extend club facilities where needed, with particular emphasis on establishing clubs in and extending services to public housing projects and distressed areas. Redefines the term "distressed area" to include an Indian reservation with a population of high risk youth of sufficient size to warrant the establishment of a BGCA. Earmarks specified funds to provide a grant to BGCA for administrative, travel, and other costs associated with a national role-model speaking tour program.

    Corresponding House bill is H.R.1753. Became Public Law No: 105-133.

    Source: Bill sponsored by 10 Senators and 24 Reps 97-S476 on Mar 19, 1997

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    Page last updated: Jun 15, 2016