Joe Biden Defends Co-Authoring 1994 Crime Bill At NAACP Convention

DETROIT, MI - JULY 24: Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States, is interviewed by moderator and White House correspondent April Ryan at a Presidential Candidates Forum at the NAACP 110th National Convention on July 24, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The theme of this year’s Convention is, “When We Fight, We Win.” (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Joe Biden Defends Co-Authoring 1994 Crime Bill At NAACP Convention

The Democratic frontrunner speaks out on his most controversial legislation.

Published July 28th

Written by Paul Meara

Joe Biden remains the frontrunner among Democratic hopefuls for president, however his poll numbers have tumbled since the first debate thanks to reminders of his support for controversial measures during his time as a U.S. Senator.

One of the biggest pieces of legislation garnering attention from progressives is the 1994 Crime Bill that the former Vice President not only voted for, but helped author. 

Some of the elements of the bill included imposing mandatory minimum sentences on nonviolent offenders, funneling billions of dollars toward prison construction and causing the United States to become the world’s largest mass incarcerator.

During his appearance at the 2019 NAACP Convention in Detroit on Wednesday, Biden defending his work on and support for the bill.

“1994 crime bill, we had a gigantic epidemic in America of violence, particularly in African-American communities. Now, Jesse [Jackson] and I disagreed a little bit in this, but in my community, the notion was, it was overwhelmingly supported.”

The Jesse Jackson reference came after the reverend said Wednesday (July 24) that Biden had “some obligation” to address crime in the mid-1990s while seeking the presidency. On Tuesday, Biden introduced his criminal justice reform proposal, which would reverse a lot of the provisions of the bill he helped author.

Biden’s defense comes in contrast to Bernie Sanders’ stance. The Vermont Senator, who is also running for president and also voted for the 1994 Crime Bill, says he “regrets” voting for it all together. 

Both men have come under fire from other Democratic candidates for the 2020 ticket, including Cory Booker, who specifically targeted Biden during the same conference and called his proposed justice reform plan “an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country.”

See Joe Biden’s comments about co-authoring the 1994 Crime Bill below.

Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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