Joe Biden
Answers Our Top Questions

Climate  |  Foreign Affairs  |  Healthcare  |  Immigration  |  Taxation  |  Voter Protection More about the candidate

Climate

The climate crisis is a significant contributing factor to many conflicts and refugee situations around the globe, putting Americans abroad - and all global citizens - at risk due to political insecurity. How will you ensure that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions below Paris Accord targets and lead the global effort to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown and the global insecurity it would cause? 

What do you think a U.S. President in early 2021 can do, independently of the cooperation of Congress or other countries, to respond to this crisis?

Beating Donald Trump won’t end climate change. But it’s the first and most urgent step. We know that the climate crisis poses an existential threat to our planet, our health, our economies, and global security; and that it disproportionately impacts less-developed countries and communities of color here at home. Tackling it won’t just require plans, it’ll require collaboration and leadership.

Joe Biden has been fighting climate change for decades, introducing the first climate bill in the Senate in 1986. Now, he is the only candidate with both a bold plan, and the deep foreign policy experience required to make that plan a reality. In his first days in office, he’ll immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, and use every tool of American foreign policy to rally the world to further increase its climate targets, too.

At home, Biden will invest $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years to build a 100 percent clean-energy economy, with net-zero emissions by 2050. Those investments include $400 billion for clean energy research and innovation, the largest outlay ever; and will create 10 million good-paying jobs, designed to benefit the communities most harmed by environmental injustice first. His plan will also double offshore wind energy, strengthen fuel economy standards, and invest in more resilient infrastructure. A Biden Administration will also take action against fossil fuel companies who put profits over people, holding polluters – and their executives – personally accountable for damage to the climate, clean air, and water.

Biden’s plan for a clean energy revolution and environmental justice is here.

Foreign Affairs

Americans abroad hear from our neighbors and colleagues that the standing of the U.S. in world affairs has plummeted over the past three years. What would you do to re-establish trust and re-build the confidence of the U.S. government in global institutions and with other countries?

Like everything about this election, the threat that Donald Trump poses to our national security, to our standing in the world, and to who we are as a country, is so extreme, we cannot ignore it. Trump’s erratic policies and failures to honor our word or uphold basic democratic principles have muddied our reputation, our place in the world, and our ability to lead. American foreign policy must be purposeful and inspiring, based on clear goals and driven by sound strategies – not Twitter-tantrums. Its overarching purpose must be to defend and advance the security, prosperity, and democratic values of the United States, and to make a dangerous world safer and more free.

Joe Biden will make winning back the world’s trust a top priority – and he has the decades of foreign policy experience, and existing ties to both allies and rivals, needed to make it happen from day one. Biden knows that our policies at home and abroad are deeply connected and will work to put our own house in order, so we can once again lead by the power of our example, not just by the example of our power. That means reforming our inhumane immigration system, investing in our workers, and recommitting to advancing human rights and democracy across the United States, as well overseas.

Biden will work to reinvigorate the coalition of democracies that stand with us – starting with a global Summit for Democracy in 2021 – to renew our shared spirit and purpose, strengthen our democratic institutions, and forge a common agenda. That path forward will include joint commitments to ending corruption, fighting authoritarianism and hate, and protecting election security. And it will require clear goals and sound strategies to together address the defining challenges of our time, from terrorism and nuclear war, to climate change and mass migration and the disruptive impact of new technologies.

Read Biden’s plan for restoring American leadership here.   

Healthcare

In a 2019 survey of Americans living abroad, Democrats Abroad found that 2.2% cited their reason for living abroad as “affordable healthcare.” These numbers include ‘healthcare refugees’ who cannot afford to return to live in the U.S. due to the high cost of healthcare and the threat of bankruptcy due to illness. Under your healthcare plan, will Americans currently abroad at all income levels and states of health be able to return to live in the U.S. and receive quality, affordable, accessible healthcare for their families at reasonable cost without threat of bankruptcy? 

Joe Biden will expand access to quality, affordable health care nationwide. The Affordable Care Act was – and still is – a big deal. It covered an additional 20 million Americans, and ensures that 100 million people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums. Donald Trump is on a mission to repeal it – and even some Democrats want to shred the law and start over. Biden won’t let that happen. Biden opposes every effort to get rid of Obamacare. As president, he will protect and build on the landmark law by giving everyone an affordable public option. Biden’s plan lets people choose whether to use a Medicare-like public plan or to keep their private coverage. It will lower premiums across the board, and slash drug costs, capping price hikes and allowing Medicare to negotiate more affordable prices. It will automatically cover the 5 million low-income Americans who would be eligible for Medicaid if their Republican state lawmakers hadn’t refused to expand it. It will double funding for the community health centers that so often provide care to undocumented immigrants, while also allowing those immigrants to buy in to the public option. And Biden will also restore funding to Planned Parenthood, which provides essential care and services to millions of women.

Read Biden’s plan to protect and build on Obamacare here.

Immigration

Executive orders such as the one exploiting the term "public charge" demonstrate that our current immigration system was founded in a shameful era of discrimination and bigotry, and that family members of Americans abroad are allowed entry to the U.S. due to a patchwork of fragile bandaids and weakly defended interpretations. Would you restore the principle of family reunification?   

Joe Biden knows that immigration makes this country strong. It’s the source of the energy, talent, and new ideas that power America’s constant renewal — the reason we’ve been able to remake ourselves as a nation and to serve as a beacon to the world.

Our broken immigration system no longer reflects that promise, and it’s past time to overhaul it. As Vice President, Biden backed reforms that would have established a roadmap to citizenship; and when Congress failed to pass them, the Obama-Biden Administration created the DACA program to give DREAMers a chance to pursue their lives free from fear of deportation. Biden also led the Administration’s work with Central America, securing $750 million for prosperity and security programs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, addressing the most urgent causes of migration at their root.

As president, Biden will continue that work, securing our borders in a way that is humane, and establishes rational rules for aspiring immigrants. No more babies in cages. No more families ripped apart. No more Americans abroad unable to bring their loved ones home.

Biden will prioritize a comprehensive immigration reform to finally give some 11 million undocumented immigrants a roadmap to citizenship, and to permanently protect DREAMers as the Americans we know they already are. Biden believes that any suitable immigration system must preserve the principle of family unification. He will invest in smart technology at our ports of entry and streamline the asylum system, hiring more immigration judges and asylum officers. He’ll ensure those seeking refuge in the United States are treated with dignity and get the fair hearing they’re legally entitled to. He will order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster, and extend TPS to Venezuelans who are seeking relief from that country’s humanitarian crisis. The Trump Administration’s politically-motivated decisions to rescind protected status for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing countries impacted by war and natural disasters — without regard for current country conditions — is a recipe for disaster. Biden will protect TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders from being returned to countries that are unsafe, and TPS/DED holders who have been in the country for an extended period of time and built lives in the U.S. will also be offered a path to citizenship through legislative immigration reform. He will also provide a path to legalization for agricultural workers who have worked for years on U.S. farms and continue to work in agriculture and increase the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions.

Biden’s full plan for immigration is here.

Taxation

Regulatory guidance from the Treasury Department could mitigate the harms of FATCA suffered by thousands of Americans living and working abroad. Will you commit to directing the Treasury Department to study and then implement, as a high priority, new guidance that will provide relief to ordinary Americans living abroad who are demonstrably not evading taxes?

Most Americans living abroad think that the time has come for Residency-Based Taxation, the principle guiding all other countries' tax systems and a fix for numerous unjust burdens on Americans living and working abroad. There are bi-partisan, revenue-neutral proposals to implement RBT that include robust provisions to protect the law from abuse by tax evaders.  All we need is a moment of leadership to get this done. Will you be that leader?

Joe Biden is running for president to rebuild the American middle class, so no one is left behind. He understands what the current president doesn’t: In America, no matter where you start in life, there should be no limit to what you can achieve. To do everything that we so need to do – to make health care a right, not a privilege; to make sure all kids get a good education, regardless of zip code, race, or their parents’ income; to fight climate change and invest in American workers – everyone has to pay their fair share.

That means rolling back Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and raising the corporate tax rate back to 28%, from 21%. It means eliminating special interest loopholes, including the capital gains tax break for multimillionaires – because billionaires shouldn’t pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries do. Just by eliminating those needless loopholes, we could provide universal pre-K and free community college to every single American. This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history; there is nothing we can’t do if we come together to do it.

Voter Protection

While federal legislation provides some protection for overseas voters, this legislation does not go far enough to counter the challenges that states, and recently the Trump administration, have set up to limit voting from abroad. 67% of abroad ballots are returned by mail, largely due to state requirements, yet postal delivery of ballots is fraught with problems, and during each election thousands of ballots do not arrive on time to be counted. To make matters worse, in less than a month the U.S. may withdraw from the Universal Postal Union, likely leading to serious delays and postal mail price increases. How will you help protect the rights of Americans abroad to vote while helping states ensure that ballots are returned safely?

Joe Biden has fought for voting rights since he first got involved in politics decades ago, and was instrumental in renewing and expanding the Voting Rights Act, including for a record 25 years in 2005.

But voter protections are now under new assault, across the U.S. and for Americans abroad. At home, the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby v. Holder ripped the heart out of protections in the states that needed them most – Ruth Bader Ginsburg compared it to throwing away the umbrella in the midst of a rainstorm. As a result, 24 states last year introduced or enacted at least 70 bills to curtail the right to vote for millions of people of color. It’s just as un-American now as it was during Jim Crow.

A Biden Administration will work to immediately restore the Voting Rights Act, challenging every one of those new Jim Crow laws. It will push for automatic and same-day voter registration in states across the country, and fight misinformation and other systematic efforts at voter suppression. It will also dedicate more resources to cybersecurity and other vital initiatives to defend election systems across the country, so that every vote is safe, protected, and counted, whether cast in person or absentee. That includes the more than 2 million important votes that can come from Americans abroad.

Biden furthermore is a strong believer in the United Nations system. In 1999, he led the fight to restore nearly $1 billion funding to the key global body, affirming the United States’ deep commitment to a stable system of international governance – which includes the international mail system. As president, he will draw on his decades of foreign policy experience to restore our role on the world stage, supporting U.N. efforts across regions and issues. In all areas, he will work to negotiate on behalf of U.S. interests, rather than to retreat from our responsibilities.

Biden is also offering an ambitious proposal to ensure that government works for the people, including by calling for a constitutional amendment to entirely eliminate the corrupting influence of private dollars from federal elections, and creating a new commission to enforce ethics laws and prohibit abuses of power and financial conflicts of interest.

Biden’s full plan for a government that works for the people is here.

Climate  |  Foreign Affairs  |  Healthcare  |  Immigration  |  Taxation  |  Voter Protection