In what will certainly be one of the most talked about elections of all time, former Vice President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in 2020 to become the 46th President of the United States. The Democratic Party leader quickly took action when he was inaugurated, overturning many of the executive orders that Trump initiated.
Biden has been a very polarizing president (as most of them are), with opinions and policies that have split the country nearly in half. Let’s take a look at the five most controversial policies that Joe Biden has had as president, and what side of the topic that he stands on for each policy.
Student Loan Forgiveness
Student loan debt is one of the biggest contributors to individual debt in the United States, with an estimated 13 percent of Americans all having at least some student loan debt. Nearly 10 million people in the country have student loan debt of at least $20,000 and a maximum of $40,000. During Biden’s presidency, he said that he wanted to forgive student loan debt up to $10,000 for all debtors.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, student loan payments were frozen and it continued into the Biden administration. Biden’s plan was to offer forgiveness for all that were making under $125,000 per year (or $250,000 for couples). The idea was controversial and even led to some lawsuits from those that had paid student loans in the past saying it was unfair. The forgiveness plan was then put on pause as a result.
The COVID-19 pandemic was devastating to every country in the world during the height of it, and many of those in the United States, particularly on the Republican side, downplayed the severity of the situation. A COVID-19 vaccine was introduced by multiple companies, and Biden wanted to make it so that the vaccine was mandatory to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Biden announced as part of his executive order that any business that had more than 100 employees would either have to have their employees vaccinated or submit weekly tests to prevent eh spread. This was controversial as many people became anti-vax during the pandemic, and many employees left their companies as they didn’t want to adhere to the mandate.
There have been some issues on which Joe Biden has changed his mind over the years, and one of them is abortion. During the 1970s when Roe v. Wade was passed, Biden said that the decision was the “wrong” one. Since then, Biden has said that Roe v. Wade should be a national law, despite attempts during the 1980s to overturn the ruling.
Even in the 2000s, Biden said that Roe v. Wade was a “tragedy” and during his first attempt at running for president, he wanted to appoint Supreme Court justices that would help to overturn Roe v. Wade. During his lead-up to the 2020 election, though, Biden reversed his stance and was in favor of legalizing abortion. Perhaps much of it was due to the overall belief of the Democratic Party and he needed to change his stance to appeal to the party as a presidential candidate.
During the original “War on Drugs” during the 1980s, there were few people in the movement that was as prominent as Joe Biden. Biden was the head of a committee that fought hard against drug offenders and issued longer prison sentences. He even asked for more funding during this time, and his feelings against drugs didn’t change into the 21st century.
It wasn’t until the start of the 2010s that the idea of decriminalizing marijuana became part of his list of policies. Though Biden has said that he’s still not a fan of marijuana use, he no longer feels that anyone that’s caught with marijuana should be facing a prison sentence. With that, he passed an executive order in 2022 where those who had federal convictions for marijuana possession would be pardoned.
Joe Biden himself owns a pair of shotguns, but he has felt that assault weapons should be banned for much of his time in politics. Originally, Biden had supported the NRA-led Firearm Owners Protection Act, but he has since said that there needs to be many more restrictions on gun ownership in the United States.
This has included increased background checks, the ban of assault weapons owned by private citizens, and reducing the power of the National Rifle Association. Of course, staunch Second Amendment supporters have been highly opposed to the ideas.