Updated on August 21 to reflect Biden's nomination for U.S. President in the 2020 election.
You know Joe Biden. Before his nomination as the Democratic candidate for U.S. President--which he officially accepted on Thursday--he served as the Vice President under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, and before that, he spent 36 years in Congress as a Senator from Delaware. He was also a county councilman in New Castle. He has effectively lived his life--almost the entirety of it--in the public eye. But what you may not know is Biden, prior to his political career, was an entrepreneur.
After graduating from Syracuse University's College of Law in 1968, he worked as a trial lawyer in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1970, he went on to found his own practice, Biden and Walsh, which is today called Monzack and Monaco. His now deceased son Beau worked at the same law firm his father founded. To supplement his income, the senior Biden also managed properties, which reportedly included a neighborhood swimming pool.
What else you may not know? Inc.'s review of his legislative record reveals that just a handful of bills directly affected entrepreneurs and their businesses. Of the 42 bills he sponsored that were enacted, none had had an obvious connection to small businesses. And of the 491 bills he sponsored but did not receive approval, just a few have a pro-entrepreneur, pro-small business bent. There's the Anticounterfeiting Amendments of 2002, which called for punishing counterfeiters and preventing piracy. The International Clean Development Technology Fund Act, which would have provided funding for the deployment of emissions-curbing technologies around the world, was also sponsored by Biden and introduced in 2008, but never enacted.
To be sure, Biden has made many pro-small business comments during his political career. After meeting with several tech CEOs while serving as Vice President, he raised the alarm for improved skills training in America's schools. Faced with a derth of qualified talent in the U.S. many tech companies today attempt to employ foreign workers by way of the H-1B visa program, through which highly skilled workers may work temporarily in the U.S. Additional skills training in school, he said, can help Americans better access higher-paying tech jobs--and help employers tap into more qualified labor pools.
And for companies that employ Dreamers--those who came the U.S. as children but weren't born in America--Biden would most likely favor the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to his public comments. He has called the rescission of the DACA program, which defers the deportation of Dreamers, "cruel" and "inhumane." He has also criticized President Trump's call for a southern border wall. Though, while in the Senate, he voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 to fund the construction of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
While his record doesn't showcase much in the way of small business support, he has positioned himself as a strident supporter of workers, with progressive views on minimum wage, fair pay, and free college education.
Biden has been stumping for a $15 an hour federal minimum wage since 2015, even when the Obama White House was pushing for $12. He's said in speeches that the increase will help reduce income inequality, boost the economy, and improve workplace stability.
Additionally, Biden's speeches since leaving office have focused on lifting the middle class. He supports a "pro-growth, progressive tax code that treats workers as job creators, not just investors," he said during a 2018 speech on improving the strength of the middle class at the Washington-based nonpartisan think tank the Brookings Institution.
Biden has also spoken about banning non-compete clauses to bolster the opportunities for workers to seek fair pay. "Give me an economic reason why a sandwich maker has to sign a non-compete clause," Biden said at Brookings. "Tell me, other than to drive down wages, why you're not allowed to tell the man or woman next to you what you make without violating a contract. I call it greed."
Biden also supports offering four years of free college, adding two additional years to President Obama's previous proposal of free community college for all. "I believe we have to level the playing field for the American people," Biden said in a 2015 speech. "And that's going to take access to education and opportunity to work."