Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. (/ˌrɒbɪˈnɛt ˈbaɪdən/; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Biden also represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, Biden is a candidate for President in the 2020 election.
Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and lived there for ten years before moving with his family to Delaware. He became an attorney in 1969 and was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, when he became the sixth-youngest senator in American history. Biden was re-elected to the upper house of Congress six times and was the fourth most senior senator when he resigned to assume the vice presidency in 2009. Biden was a long-time member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He opposed the Gulf War in 1991, but advocated U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War in 1994 and 1995. He voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002 but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007. He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. Biden led the efforts to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, and the Violence Against Women Act. He also chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Borkand Clarence Thomas. Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and in 2008, both times dropping out after lackluster showings.
In 2008, Biden was chosen as the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. After being elected vice president, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending aimed at counteracting the Great Recession and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq up until the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. His ability to negotiate with congressional Republicans helped the Obama administration pass legislation such as the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which resolved a taxation deadlock; the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved that year’s debt ceiling crisis; and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending fiscal cliff. Biden was reported to have advised President Obama against approving the 2011 military mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, though he has disputed this. Obama and Biden were re-elected in 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. In October 2015, after months of speculation, Biden announced he would not seek the presidency in the 2016 elections. In January 2017, Biden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
After completing his second term as vice president, Biden joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Practice. Biden formally announced his 2020 run for president early on April 25 with a video announcement.