Giving a pep talk in a year when many Democrats are feeling queasy about their chances in the 2014 midterm elections, Vice President Joe Biden assured House members in his party that the American public is with them.
Vice President Joe Biden points while speaking at the 2014 UAW National Community Action Program Conference in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
“For the first time in my career, Nancy, on every major issue, the American people agree with the Democratic Party,” Biden said, referring to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “I know that sounds like hyperbole, but think about it, every issue facing the American people, particularly the embattled middle class.”
Biden was speaking at the House Democrats Issues Conference in Cambridge, Md., Friday morning.
Biden noted that Republicans gave in to Democrats on the debt ceiling, before rattling off several matters that he said Democrats have an edge on.
“The minimum wage, 72 percent of the American people support an increase in the minimum wage; early childhood education, 86 percent of the American people; immigration reform, 72 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Republicans; background checks on weapons, 90 percent of the American people; infrastructure, 88 percent of the American people think it is a means by which we can grow the country,” Biden said. “The American people agree with us, 55 percent on marriage equality. Overwhelmingly they agree with us on pay equity.”
Turning to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which has been plagued with problems since large portions went into effect last year, Biden said: “And even 55 percent – with all the difficulties you're facing with the ACA – 55 percent of the American people don't want to see it repealed. So folks, I can't think of a time when the issues that most affect the middle class, overwhelmingly, they support us.”
A recent Fox News poll found that 55 percent of voters said they wish Obamacare had never passed, while 51 percent believe the law will do long-term harm to the country, and 64 percent don't believe the law would have passed if the public knew in 2009 what is known about the law today.
President Barack Obama and the Democrats spent much of 2013 unsuccessfully trying to pass additional gun control measures. A Gallup poll last month found 55 percent of Americans polled thought existing gun laws were overly strict. However, in April 2013, 65 percent said they supported a Senate bill to make background checks tougher for gun purchasers.
On the minimum wage argument, a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 57 percent back an increase in the wage, currently at $7.25 per hour. Democrats favor raising it to $10.10 per hour. However a poll from Reason this fall found support dropped if people were introduced to potential layoffs associated with a wage increase.
With regard to abortion, which Biden later mentioned, a Marist poll released in late January showed that a majority support restrictions on abortions such as ultrasounds and parental notifications for minors.
Further, a Gallup poll last summer found that majority favors making same-sex marriage legal across the country.
[sharequote align="center"]“[O]n every major issue, the American people agree with the Democratic Party."[/sharequote]
Biden went on to attack the Republican Party for its fractures between the Tea Party and the establishment wings.
“There isn't a Republican Party. I wish there were. I wish there was one person you could sit across the table from, make a deal, make a compromise, and know when you got up from that table it was done,” Biden said. "That's what political parties, that's what Nancy is able to do. That's what the president is able to commit to. All you have to do is look at the response to the State of the Union. What were there, three or four."
He said the question for Republican candidates hoping to oust Democrats this year must be whether they will be willing to "deviate from the orthodoxy" of the GOP.
“The thing you've got to ask any one of the candidates, if they are elected, are they going to vote against when the Republicans move to reduce taxes another $220,000 per year for people making over $1 million?” Biden said. “Are they going to vote against further limiting a woman's right to choose, a woman's access to a good job? What are they going to do? Are anyone of them going to deviate from the orthodoxy of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives right now?”
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