Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for President, in a statement addressing the allegations of sexual assault by a former congressional staffer from 27 years ago, denied the allegations while affirming the woman’s right to be heard and her complaints properly investigated. Biden, who has a distinguished career championing women’s rights, in fact securing passage of the Violence Against Women Act, invited investigation into any evidence of complaint, which he said would be filed in the National Archives. Here is his statement:
April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Every year, at this time, we talk about awareness, prevention, and the importance of women feeling they can step forward, say something, and be heard. That belief – that women should be heard – was the underpinning of a law I wrote over 25 years ago. To this day, I am most proud of the Violence Against Women Act. So, each April we are reminded not only of how far we have come in dealing with sexual assault in this country – but how far we still have to go.
When I wrote the bill, few wanted to talk about the issue. It was considered a private matter, a personal matter, a family matter. I didn’t see it that way. To me, freedom from fear, harm, and violence for women was a legal right, a civil right, and a human right. And I knew we had to change not only the law, but the culture.
So, we held hours of hearings and heard from the most incredibly brave women – and we opened the eyes of the Senate and the nation – and passed the law.
In the years that followed, I fought to continually strengthen the law. So, when we took office and President Obama asked me what I wanted, I told him I wanted oversight of the critical appointments in the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice and I wanted a senior White House Advisor appointing directly to me on the issue. Both of those things happened.
As Vice President, we started the “It’s on Us” campaign on college campuses to send the message loud and clear that dating violence is violence – and against the law.
We had to get men involved. They had to be part of the solution. That’s why I made a point of telling young men this was their problem too – they couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening around them – they had a responsibility to speak out. Silence is complicity.
In the 26 years since the law passed, the culture and perceptions have changed but we’re not done yet.
It’s on us, and it’s on me as someone who wants to lead this country. I recognize my responsibility to be a voice, an advocate, and a leader for the change in culture that has begun but is nowhere near finished. So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago.
They aren’t true. This never happened.
While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.
Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways.
But this much bears emphasizing.
She has said she raised some of these issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from my office at the time. They – both men and a woman – have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one – not one – who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way – as indeed I would not have.
There is a clear, critical part of this story that can be verified. The former staffer has said she filed a complaint back in 1993. But she does not have a record of this alleged complaint. The papers from my Senate years that I donated to the University of Delaware do not contain personnel files. It is the practice of Senators to establish a library of personal papers that document their public record: speeches, policy proposals, positions taken, and the writing of bills.
There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.
As a Presidential candidate, I’m accountable to the American people. We have lived long enough with a President who doesn’t think he is accountable to anyone, and takes responsibility for nothing. That’s not me. I believe being accountable means having the difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. People need to hear the truth.
I have spent my career learning from women the ways in which we as individuals and as policy makers need to step up to make their hard jobs easier, with equal pay, equal opportunity, and workplaces and homes free from violence and harassment. I know how critical women’s health issues and basic women’s rights are. That has been a constant through my career, and as President, that work will continue. And I will continue to learn from women, to listen to women, to support women, and yes, to make sure women’s voices are heard.
We have a lot of work to do. From confronting online harassment, abuse, and stalking, to ending the rape kit backlog, to addressing the deadly combination of guns and domestic violence.
We need to protect and empower the most marginalized communities, including immigrant and indigenous women, trans women, and women of color.
We need to make putting an end to gender-based violence in both the United States and around the world a top priority.
I started my work over 25 years ago with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. As president, I’m committed to finishing the job.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the two giants in the progressive wing of the Democratic party who ended their presidential campaigns, like Senator Bernie Sanders just days before, officially endorsed Vice President Joe Biden for president in a message to her supporters writing, “Joe Biden is a selfless public servant. He’s committed to the fight for social, racial, and economic justice. And he will lead a government that works for the American people.”
She stated, “Empathy matters. And, in this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores America’s faith in good, effective government.
“Joe Biden has spent nearly his entire life in public service. He knows that a government run with integrity, competence, and heart will save lives and save livelihoods. And we can’t afford to let Donald Trump continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of every American.
“Now, when Donald Trump is gone, we will need to do more than heal a nation that has been bitterly divided. We will need to rebuild and transform our country.
“And I’ve seen Joe Biden help a nation rebuild.
“In 2009, President Obama put him in charge of leading the implementation of the historic Recovery Act to help our economy and help working families.
“During the recovery, and later when I worked at the White House setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I saw him up close, doing the work, getting in the weeds -— never forgetting who we were all there to serve.”
Vice President Biden, acknowledging Warren’s call for structural change, responded, “It’s an endorsement that I am grateful for — and one I don’t take lightly. Her courage, tenacity, and persistence shed a light on some of the most important issues facing our country — and has made a real difference in people’s lives. The plans — and the people who organized for them — changed this race, the conversation, our party, and the country.
You know, primaries can often put a magnifying glass on small differences and bury broad consensus. Elizabeth and I believe at our cores Wall Street didn’t build this country, the middle class did. And it’s time our government worked harder for the middle class, but to do that we can demand nothing less than ‘big, structural change.’
When I say ‘winning a battle for the soul of our nation’ people often misunderstand me,” Biden stated. “I’m not being nostalgic. I’m not trying to take us back to a country that never existed. The foundational principles of our country — that all men are created equal — are ones that we’ve never lived up to. But we’ve never given up trying to live up to them.
“America wasn’t built by Wall Street. It was forged by working people — strivers, looking for their chance to get ahead. People like you, doing the work to make our country a better place.
“It is not enough to ‘go back’ to anything. We have to take immediate, bold action to tackle the climate crisis (and if you don’t know, I wrote one of the first bills on climate change). We have to relieve a generation of the crushing burden of student debt. We have to make health care a right and not a privilege. And to get there, we’re going to need millions of grassroots supporters to take action right away.
“If you join our campaign, we will not just defeat Donald Trump. We will not just win the battle for the soul of our nation. We will transform it too.”
In a formal statement, Biden said, “Throughout this primary, there was no competitor more passionate in her convictions or sharper in her arguments than Senator Elizabeth Warren. Her voice made the debate stage, the Democratic Party, and every candidate competing against her better and stronger. By centering her campaign in the importance of ideas and comprehensive policy plans, she helped set a high-water mark for what our politics can be at their best — authentic and service-oriented, focused on how we can deliver the most help to the most people. And I’ve been proud to work with her over the past few weeks to identify and adopt important policy proposals that will strengthen us as a people.
“At a moment of crisis for our nation, Senator Warren’s ideas will be more important than ever as we chart a path forward. The cracks in our economy that have left so many Americans exposed and vulnerable were there before the pandemic, and now they are laid bare for all to see just how dangerous they are. We know how much work it will take to come through this crisis, and I am proud to have Senator Warren in my corner for the fight ahead — not just as we work to defeat Donald Trump in November, but in the years to come, as we push through a bold and progressive policy agenda for the American people.
“Senator Warren knows what’s possible when leaders put their own egos aside and do the work. And thanks to her integrity and determination, today there are millions of little girls and young women who know that their voices can command any stage and change the world for the better. Generations of women will be inspired to get involved in public life — to dream big and fight hard — because of Elizabeth.”
In addition to Senator Warren’s endorsement, Vice President Biden also picked up endorsements from Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
Vice President Joe Biden, now the only Democratic candidate for president, acknowledged Bernie Sanders’ decision to suspend his campaign, lauding Sanders“for being a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America” and vowing to continue the fight for climate change, income inequality, universal health care. This is his statement:
Today, Senator Sanders announced he was suspending his campaign. Bernie has put his heart and soul into not only running for President, but for the causes and issues he has been dedicated to his whole life. So, I know how hard a decision this was for him to make — and how hard it is for the millions of his supporters — especially younger voters — who have been inspired and energized and brought into politics by the progressive agenda he has championed. Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement. And make no mistake about it, I believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday. That’s a good thing for our nation and our future.
Senator Sanders and his supporters have changed the dialogue in America. Issues which had been given little attention — or little hope of ever passing — are now at the center of the political debate. Income inequality, universal health care, climate change, free college, relieving students from the crushing debt of student loans. These are just a few of the issues Bernie and his supporters have given life to. And while Bernie and I may not agree on how we might get there, we agree on the ultimate goal for these issues and many more.
But more than any one issue or set of issues, I want to commend Bernie for being a powerful voice for a fairer and more just America. It’s voices like Bernie’s that refuse to allow us to just accept what is — that refuse to accept we can’t change what’s wrong in our nation — that refuse to accept the health and well-being of our fellow citizens and our planet isn’t our responsibility too. Bernie gets a lot of credit for his passionate advocacy for the issues he cares about. But he doesn’t get enough credit for being a voice that forces us all to take a hard look in the mirror and ask if we’ve done enough.
While the Sanders campaign has been suspended — its impact on this election and on elections to come is far from over. We will address the existential crisis of climate change. We will confront income inequality in our nation. We will make sure healthcare is affordable and accessible to every American. We will make education at our public colleges and universities free. We will ease the burden of student debt. And, most important of all, we will defeat Donald Trump.
At this moment, we are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis in American history. There is enormous fear and pain and loss being felt all across the country. There are also untold stories of heroism — of nurses and health care workers and doctors and first responders and grocery store workers and truck drivers and so many others on the front lines of this crisis. Putting their own lives in danger for the rest of us. If we didn’t know it before, we know it now: This is the backbone of our nation.
Our first job is to get through the immediate crisis threatening the public health and getting into the pockets of America’s workers. But we also need to take a hard look at what we need to fix and change in this country. Many of the biggest cracks in the social safety net have been laid bare — from health care to paid sick leave to a more extensive and comprehensive system of unemployment benefits. We will need to address these. Just as we need to address rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. And we all know — the clock is ticking — we don’t have a moment to waste in combating the climate crisis.
As friends, Jill and I want to say to Bernie and Jane, we know how hard this is. You have put the interest of the nation — and the need to defeat Donald Trump — above all else. And for that Jill and I are grateful. But we also want you to know: I’ll be reaching out to you. You will be heard by me. As you say: Not me, Us.
And to your supporters I make the same commitment: I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed.
Together we will defeat Donald Trump. And when we do that, we’ll not only do the hard work of rebuilding this nation — we’ll transform it.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Vice President Joe Biden has released his plan for ending the opioid crisis and ensuring access to effective treatment and recovery for substance use disorders. This is from the Biden Campaign:
Millions of families are impacted by the opioid crisis. It’s ravaging communities coast to coast, from New Hampshire to California. The challenge of substance use disorders is not limited to opioids. Millions of individuals are affected by misuse of other substances such as alcohol or methamphetamine. Latest estimates indicate that, in 2018, almost 68,000 Americans died from a drug overdose – almost 47,000 of which involved an opioid. And, the impacts of this crisis reverberate in our classrooms and neighborhoods, in small towns and big cities.
But President Trump wants to repeal Obamacare, including its Medicaid expansion. Repeal would be disastrous for communities and families combating the opioid crisis. It is not realistic to think that grant money will fill the hole that eliminating Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion would create.
Step one of Biden’s plan to tackle the opioid epidemic and substance use disorders is to defeat Trump and then protect and build on Obamacare. And, Biden will pursue a comprehensive, public health approach to deal with opioid and other substance use disorders. His plan will:
accountable big pharmaceutical companies, executives, and others responsible
for their role in triggering the opioid crisis.
effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services available to all,
including through a $125 billion federal investment.
overprescribing while improving access to effective and needed pain management.
the criminal justice system so that no one is incarcerated for drug use alone.
the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl and heroin, into the United States – especially from China and
HOLD ACCOUNTABLE BIG PHARMA COMPANIES, EXECUTIVES, AND OTHERS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ROLE IN TRIGGERING THE OPIOID CRISIS
Biden will demand accountability from pharmaceutical companies and others
responsible for the opioid crisis, including manufacturers, distributors, and
“pill mill operators.” Pharmaceutical executives should be held personally
responsible, including criminally liable where appropriate. Specifically, Biden
Direct the U.S. Justice Department to make actions that spurred
this crisis a top investigative and, where appropriate, civil and criminal
enforcement priority. Biden
will make sure the Department has all the necessary resources to complete this
work. Building on the efforts of the Obama-Biden Administration, Biden will also ensure the
Food and Drug Administration takes action when new information reveals harms
from previously approved drugs (including the risk of diversion, or the use of
drugs by an individual other than the one to whom the drug was prescribed),
ensures compliance with risk mitigation strategies, and punishes drug companies
for deceptive practices. And, he will appoint an Opioid Crisis Accountability
Coordinator to coordinate efforts across federal agencies and support the
enforcement efforts of state and local partners.
Direct the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to step up
its efforts to identify suspicious shipments and protect communities. Opioids distributors
knowingly shipped millions of pills to towns with hundreds
of residents, helping trigger the opioid epidemic. Biden will empower the DEA
to stop drug shipments from pharmaceutical companies and their distributors
that create risks of diversion and misuse. Biden will work with Congress to
allow the DEA to act expeditiously when a pharmaceutical distributor fails to
adequately monitor shipments that could pose an “imminent danger” to vulnerable
communities and increase penalties for companies that fail to take action to
stop suspicious shipments. In addition, Biden will direct the DEA to improve
data collection on wholesalers and pharmacies, including prescribing patterns
and suspicious order reports, and to disseminate its analysis to distributors
to prevent problems before they become disasters.
Ban drug manufacturers from providing payments or incentives
to physicians and other prescribers. Pharmaceutical companies work hard to persuade doctors and
other medical personnel to prescribe their products. These companies essentially pay providers to prescribe
opioids and other drugs by, for example, paying providers to speak at or attend
conferences, or consult for their companies. By banning these practices, Biden
will ensure that patients’ lives do not take a backseat to doctors’ bottom lines.
MAKE EFFECTIVE PREVENTION, TREATMENT, AND RECOVERY SERVICES AVAILABLE TO
ALL WHO NEED THEM
Biden has long recognized and led on
efforts to make clear that substance use disorders are diseases, not a
lifestyle choice, and that we need to change how we talk about and treat
substance use disorders to align with this fact.
He knows that the most important step we can take to address substance use
disorders is to ensure that Americans have access to affordable, high-quality
health care, including treatment for mental illnesses and substance use
disorder. That’s why Biden has a plan to
build on the Affordable Care Act and achieve universal coverage. In addition,
Biden will redouble efforts to ensure insurance companies stop discriminating
against people with behavioral health conditions and instead provide the
coverage for treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders that
patients and families need. Congress passed a bipartisan parity law 12 years ago requiring
that this discrimination stop, but the enforcement of parity has been
insufficient. As Vice President, Biden championed efforts
to implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. As President, he will finish the
job by appointing officials who will hold insurers accountable, enforcing our
parity laws to the fullest extent. He will also direct federal agencies to
issue guidance making clear how state officials and the public can file a
complaint when their insurers – or Medicaid – are not
living up to their parity obligations.
In addition, Biden will work to make sure that people experiencing substance
use disorders have access to quality facilities and providers. As President, he
will ensure that the new public option, Medicare, Medicaid, the Indian Health
Service, the Military Health System, and the Veterans Health Administration
accelerate integration of substance use disorder care into standard health care
practice. Biden will double funding for community health centers and expand the
supply of health care providers, for example by growing the National Health Service Corps. And, he
will protect rural hospitals from
payment cuts, give them the flexibility they need to remain open, and invest in
telehealth so people in remote areas can still have access to mental health and
substance use disorder specialists.
Finally, Biden will make sure federal funds are specifically targeted at
improving access to treatment and recovery for opioid and other substance use
disorders, and at preventing these disorders in the first place. As Vice
President, Biden championed passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which
included $1 billion in funding for states to address the opioid epidemic. That
was a down payment. To deal with the immense scope of the opioid and substance
use disorder crisis, Biden will dramatically scale up the resources available,
with an unprecedented investment of $125 billion over ten years. Funds will be
Pursue comprehensive strategies to expand access to
treatment, particularly in rural and urban communities with high rates of
substance use disorders and a lack of access to substance use disorder
treatment services. Biden will invest $75 billion in flexible grants to states and localities
for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts. State and local agencies will
also be able to use funds to enhance data systems allowing them to better
target resources to individuals and communities most in need of support. As a
condition for receiving funding, grant recipients will have to provide
long-term, comprehensive strategic plans that address the multifaceted nature
of the substance use disorder crisis. Funds may be used to:
Invest in evidence-based, cost-effective prevention programs
in schools and communities to reduce the development of substance use
Mitigate harms from opioid and other drug use, including
communities will be able to use the funds to implement evidence-based programs
designed to stop the spread of diseases like hepatitis C and HIV, including
syringe service programs, or to scale up innovative programs like the safe station initiative started in Manchester,
New Hampshire, which allows those seeking help to go to fire stations in order
to be connected to treatment and recovery services.
Expand access to ongoing treatment and recovery services. Communities will be
able to use funds to increase access to substance use disorder and mental
health treatment and other services to support long-term recovery, including
peer support networks and recovery coaches, and better integrate primary care
and behavioral health. Recognizing the strong evidence that social supports,
including family support, may have a positive impact on the treatment of HIV, Biden will support the
development of family-centered models for substance use disorder treatment and
Make Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) available to all
who need it, reaching universal access no later than 2025. MAT (also referred to as
MOUD or Medications for Opioid Use Disorder) is regarded as the gold standard of care for
individuals with opioid use disorder. Yet, less than 50% of substance use disorder
the country offer even one of the FDA-approved medications. The 21st Century
Cures Act, legislation Biden championed as Vice President, provided resources to states designed to expand
access to MAT. Biden will build on this in order to ensure universal
access to MAT for all who need it, including by:
Providing $20 billion for grants to dramatically expand
capacity to administer MAT across the country, especially in underserved
establishing new facilities and developing training programs to increase the
number of professionals able to administer MAT.
Stopping insurance companies from erecting barriers to
coverage of MAT. For
example, insurers have imposed “fail first” protocols which require
prescribers to certify that other therapies were tried before covering MAT.
Insurers also may require that physicians obtain “prior authorization” for MAT
before prescribing it.
Removing undue restrictions on prescribing medications for
substance use disorder. For example, drugs containing buprenorphine were approved by the FDA in
2002 but a relatively small number of doctors or medical
personnel are certified to prescribe them. Biden will ensure that any undue restrictions on prescribing are
lifted and review methadone treatment regulations.
Help first responders and community health providers respond
to overdoses. Biden
will invest $10 billion to provide local communities with the tools needed to
prevent overdoses and respond to emergencies emanating from this crisis.
Ensure local communities have a sufficient supply of
overdose prevention drugs. Naloxone (also known as Narcan)
is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, making it a critical tool
in the fight to save lives. Biden will expand grants to states for the purchase
of Naloxone to be distributed to local community actors called upon to respond
to overdoses, including first responders, public health providers, and the
staff at homeless shelters and public libraries.
Demand that drug companies charge a fair price for overdose
drugs, including Naloxone. The Biden Administration will aggressively negotiate a reduction in the
drug’s price, on behalf of the federal government, and state and local
Support first responders. Police officers and firefighters are often the first
on the scene of an overdose. Biden will ensure they are equipped not just with
naloxone, but also with the mental health and resilience support anyone would
need after being exposed again and again to such trauma.
Invest in community-based prevention programs and a major
public education effort to eliminate the stigma surrounding substance use
disorder treatment. Biden
will invest $5 billion in community-based prevention efforts and public
education initiatives including training educators to recognize the signs of
mental health problems and substance use disorders and refer them to
appropriate services. Funds will also support evidence-based education programs
for young people on mental health and substance use disorders.
Expand the pipeline of medical personnel to treat substance
use disorders. Building
on legislation like the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019, Biden will work with
Congress to invest $5 billion to expand medical residencies and access to
education and training for medical personnel in substance use disorder
diagnosis and treatment. Funding will support training for primary care
providers, as well as other members of the health care team, to build an
integrated system of care.
Invest in research by doubling funding for the NIH HEAL (Helping to
End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative. This $10 billion investment will support efforts to improve
treatments for chronic pain.
Provide targeted interventions for particular
will invest $10 billion in efforts specifically designed to support populations
with unique situations or needs. Biden will ensure a portion of this funding
for state and local governments is set aside for Tribal governments. In addition
to expanding veterans’ access to
substance use disorder and mental health treatment, Biden will direct his
Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure VA medical personnel are sufficiently
trained in safe prescribing practices and pain treatment. Bidenwill call upon the public health and
criminal justice systems to provide evidence-based substance use disorder
treatment, including MAT, for people during their incarceration and after their
release. Finally, Biden will expand investments to help children suffering from
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome or Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome, and to
ensure their mothers have access to effective treatment and care.
STOP OVERPRESCRIBING WHILE IMPROVING ACCESS TO EFFECTIVE AND NEEDED
An essential part of our national strategy to address the opioid epidemic must
be stopping pharmaceutical companies’ practices that lead to overprescribing.
Yet at the same time, physicians still must effectively treat pain. Chronic
pain is a growing public health challenge with wide-ranging impacts: keeping
individuals out of the workforce, negatively affecting their mental and physical
health, contributing to suicidal ideation, and otherwise limiting their quality
of life. Biden believes we need to pursue two joint goals: eliminate
overprescribing of prescription opioids for pain, and improve the effectiveness
of and access to alternative treatment for pain. Biden will:
Support development of less addictive pain medications and
alternative pain treatments, and improve standards of quality for treatment. We need pain medications
that are less addictive and more effective. Biden will invest in NIH research
to develop these new medications. By doubling funding for NIH’s HEAL program,
Biden will accelerate research regarding alternative treatments and therapies
and help providers and patients better understand the options and access alternatives.
And, he will direct the FDA to give priority to new pain medications with a
documented reduced risk of addiction.
Expand coverage for alternative pain treatments. As documented in a recent study related to back pain,
some non-pharmacological pain interventions (e.g., psychological counseling,
acupuncture, physical therapy, or occupational therapy) are not consistently
covered or have administrative barriers to coverage (e.g., pre-authorization,
visit limits). In accordance with evidence-based medicine, Biden will call for
a requirement that Medicare, Medicaid, his proposed new public option, and
private insurance companies consistently and transparently cover alternatives
to opioids for chronic pain, without barriers such as prior authorization or
high levels of cost-sharing.
Provide training to medical personnel in pain management and
substance use disorder treatment. Building on the Obama-Biden Administration’s prior
Biden will direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to work with
the medical community to support research and the development of curricula and
training regarding pain management. He will ensure that the systematic study of
pain management and substance use disorder is a mandatory part of the curricula
and material on which doctors and other medical personnel are tested. Those
seeking a federal DEA license to prescribe controlled substances will be required to receive training on
proper prescribing guidelines and pain management.
Expand the effectiveness of monitoring programs designed to
prevent inappropriate overprescribing of opioids. Prescription Drug Monitoring
Programs (PDMPs) are electronic databases designed to prevent drug abuse. For
example, a provider can check the database before prescribing in order to
determine whether his or her patient has been getting the same prescription
from multiple providers. In order to receive any of the $125 billion in new
grants under the Biden Administration, states will have to institute a
requirement that every prescriber checks the database every time they write a
new opioid prescription. Biden will also set aside some of these grant dollars
to ensure states improve Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data-sharing
across state lines.
Ensure regular updating of the Centers for Disease the
Control and Prevention (CDC) prescriber guideline based on the best available
evidence. The CDC
has issued a guideline to help prescribers
make evidence-based decisions regarding when and how to prescribe opioids in
order to minimize the risk of abuse while also effectively treating pain. Biden
will ask the CDC to commit to regularly updating these guidelines as new
evidence emerges regarding opioid abuse risk factors and alternative pain
treatments. And, he will partner with health care providers and states to
maximize providers’ awareness and use of the guideline.
REFORM THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM SO THAT NO ONE IS INCARCERATED FOR
DRUG USE ALONE
Biden has released a criminal justice plan
that will strengthen America’s commitment to justice and reform our criminal
justice system by building a system focused on redemption and rehabilitation.
Biden believes that no one should be incarcerated for drug use alone, and as
President he will treat drug use as a disease rather than a crime.
Specifically, Biden will:
End all incarceration for drug use alone and instead divert
individuals to drug courts and treatment. Biden will require federal courts to divert these
individuals to drug courts so they receive appropriate treatment and services.
He’ll incentivize states to put the same requirements in place. And, he’ll
expand funding for federal, state, and local drug courts and other programs
that divert individuals who commit crimes as a result of or in furtherance of
substance use disorders to treatment rather than incarceration.
Get people who should be supported with social services –
instead of in our prisons – connected to the help they need. Too often, those in need of
mental health care or treatment for a substance use disorder do not get the
care that they need. Instead, they end up having interactions with law
enforcement that lead to incarceration. To change the nature of these
interactions, the Biden Administration will fund initiatives to partner mental
health and substance use disorder experts, social workers, and disability
advocates with police departments. These service providers will respond to
calls with police officers so individuals who should not be in the criminal
justice system are diverted to treatment for substance use disorder or mental
illness, when appropriate, or are provided with the housing or other social
services they may need.
STEM THE FLOW OF ILLICIT DRUGS LIKE FENTANYL, ESPECIALLY FROM CHINA AND
As part of a comprehensive agenda that prioritizes prevention, treatment,
recovery, and harm reduction, Biden believes that part of the solution to the
opioid crisis involves preventing bad actors from smuggling opioids and other
illicit drugs into our country. Specifically, Biden will:
Make fentanyl a top priority in our dealings with
Treasury Department has already sanctioned a small number of Chinese nationals in connection with
fentanyl – it’s a good start, but going after individuals will not alter Beijing’s
thinking long-term. Biden will pressure Beijing to crack down on illicit
fentanyl production in China and stem the flow of the drug into the United
States. Biden will also develop regional strategies in the Asia-Pacific and the
Americas to deal with shifts in the routes and sources of fentanyl in response
to a Chinese crackdown.
Enhance cooperation with Mexican authorities to disrupt the
movement of heroin and fentanyl across the U.S.-Mexico border. Chinese fentanyl is
frequently transshipped through Mexico, and then smuggled across the
border in pure form or combined with
China takes steps to police fentanyl and its precursors, production and
distribution will increasingly shift to Mexico. Biden will pursue strong,
sustained cooperation with Mexican authorities to disrupt suppliers and supply
routes, including the importation of precursor chemicals from China. The Biden
Administration will also provide technical assistance to enhance the Mexican
Post Service’s (SEPOMEX) ability to detect and electronically track shipments
of fentanyl and precursors that come through Mexico. As President, Biden will
repair the damage to U.S.-Mexico ties inflicted by Donald Trump and develop a
common agenda with Mexico that looks beyond our shared border to promote our
shared prosperity and protect U.S. national security interests.
Enforce sanctions on international actors engaged in the
trafficking of illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Biden’s Treasury Department sanctions team will
map the financial institutions and networks that facilitate the distribution of
fentanyl and key precursors and develop sanctions packages based on that
evidence and task the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to
support these efforts with a focus on illicit finance.
Increase cooperation among global law enforcement
will direct U.S. law enforcement agencies to work closely with foreign
counterparts, share threat information, and use technology to assist in
tracking and seizing illicit shipments.
Ensure federal agencies have the tools and resources they
need to stop the flow of fentanyl from abroad. Fentanyl producers have exploited gaps in monitoring through
the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to flood the U.S. with the deadly product. Biden
will give the USPS the tools and resources it needs to carry out that mandate
and disrupt the large supplies of fentanyl that are sent through the mail
system, working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In addition, the vast majority of opioids and
fentanyl are shipped through legal ports of entry—not in between them. Rather
than waste resources building a wall or tearing families apart, Biden will
direct resources to the ports of entry to interdict opioid shipments there.
Combating the Opioid Epidemic and Substance Use
Disorders, Paid for By Making Sure Pharma Pays Its Fair Share
Biden’s $125 billion investment in a comprehensive response to the opioid
epidemic and substance use disorders is paid for by raising taxes on the profits
of pharmaceutical corporations.
Vice President Joe Biden, candidate for the 2020 candidate
for President, issued a statement criticizing Trump’s “lack of strategy to
secure our nation against terrorist threats.”
successful operation to take Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi off the battlefield was a win
for American national security. And it’s an important reminder of the skill and
commitment of our military, intelligence, and national security professionals.
They are beyond compare.
I’m glad President Trump ordered the mission. But as more details of the raid
emerge, it’s clear that this victory was not due to Donald Trump’s leadership.
It happened despite his ineptitude as Commander-in-Chief.
It’s been reported that Trump’s reckless decision to withdraw our troops from
northern Syria forced the planning for the mission to be accelerated and the
timeline compressed. His erratic behavior made it harder and more dangerous for
the special forces carrying it out. And they had to fly through territory that
is now hostile to the U.S., taking fire along the way—including territory we
controlled just weeks ago.
Trump has also made it less likely we will be able to successfully replicate a
mission like this in the future. The operation leveraged a limited presence of
U.S. counterterrorism capabilities in the region, which he keeps trying to
dismantle. It was made possible by the work of intelligence professionals, who
he has relentlessly attacked. It relied on allies he has belittled, undermined,
and in some cases betrayed and abandoned.
Trump’s total disregard for our alliances and partnerships endanger any future
intelligence sharing or cooperation. In fact, the first people he saw fit to
thank after our brave troops were the Russians and the Iranian-backed Syrian
government. All this makes us less safe and less prepared for whatever
terrorist leader emerges next.
And make no mistake, the threat is not gone. One man does not constitute an
organization, and Trump has opened a path for ISIS to reconstitute itself under
new leadership by withdrawing troops from the region. In doing so, he has given
up our best asset to keep the pressure on ISIS during a dangerous period of
organizational chaos. His fixation on keeping troops in the region to defend
the oil fields betrays his true priorities—profit seeking—and will surely serve
as a tool for future terrorist recruitment. And with his decision to slash
humanitarian assistance to the region, it’s more likely that ISIS will be able
to insinuate itself back into areas where we had successfully rooted it
There is a difference between deploying hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to
the Middle East indefinitely, and keeping small numbers of special operations
and intelligence assets in place to maintain local partnerships and keep
pressure on terrorists. That’s the smart, strong, and sustainable strategy we
pioneered during the Obama-Biden Administration. That’s the effective policy we
put in place, which laid the groundwork to end ISIS’s territorial caliphate.
That’s the way we built the very relationships that ultimately delivered this
Now, Trump wants to tear it all down and walk away.
He has no strategy for securing our nation against terrorist threats. He has no
strategy for anything. Every day that Donald Trump directs American national
security is a dangerous day for the United States.