Bi­den dis­cusses health care, hous­ing, sex­ism

The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY CORTLYNN STARK cstark@kc­star.com Bryan Lowry: 202-383-6167

Ahead of his Satur­day rally in Kansas City, former Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den took ques­tions from The Kansas City Star. Bi­den will face Ver­mont Sen. Bernie San­ders in Tues­day’s Mis­souri pri­mary. Bi­den’s con­ver­sa­tion with The Star cov­ered hous­ing, health care and gen­der among other is­sues.

Star: Can you tell us how your hous­ing plan will pro­tect low-in­come ten­ants from land­lords who some­times take ad­van­tage of hous­ing vouch­ers and leave their prop­er­ties in dis­re­pair?

Bi­den: The truth is, No. 1, we’re go­ing to make sure we in­vest $100 bil­lion over time in hous­ing across the board. The idea of what’s hap­pen­ing now is peo­ple are go­ing into neigh­bor­hoods and gen­tri­fy­ing them, leav­ing peo­ple with­out a home. So we’re go­ing to pro­vide leg­is­la­tion, we’re go­ing to pro­vide-- (House Ma­jor­ity Whip) Jim Cly­burn has with my strong sup­port-- to make sure that they pro­vide credit rep­re­sen­ta­tion, No. 2. No. 3, pro­vide first-time home own­er­ship by pro­vid­ing a $15,000 tax credit, so any­one who wants to pur­chase a home, a first-time buyer, would be able to bor­row the money to do that. And also the other piece of this is mak­ing sure mi­nor­ity busi­ness per­sons can get the abil­ity to start new busi­nesses in neigh­bor­hoods where they can build a struc­ture, al­low them to be able to ac­cu­mu­late wealth. It’s all about ac­cu­mu­lat­ing wealth.

Star: So when it comes to ten­ants who live in— for ex­am­ple, in Kansas City there’s an apart­ment com­plex called Nob Hill. There’s sev­eral dozen ten­ants who are hav­ing to leave be­cause the local hous­ing au­thor­ity pulled vouch­ers for there.

Bi­den: We in­crease sig­nif­i­cantly the num­ber— no­body should have to pay more than 30 per­cent of their in­come for hous­ing. So we go back into the busi­ness of HUD try­ing to pro­vide hous­ing vouch­ers to all th­ese folks, so they don’t have to leave in the first place.

Star: For peo­ple wor­ried about health cov­er­age why is a pub­lic op­tion un­der your plan a bet­ter solution than Sen. San­ders’ Medi­care for All leg­is­la­tion?

Bi­den: Be­cause we can get it done. And it’s not go­ing to raise taxes on mid­dle class peo­ple and it’s just tak­ing Oba­macare and restor­ing all the cuts in Oba­macare, No. 1. No. 2, mak­ing sure we’re in a po­si­tion that we pro­vide the where­withal to bring down drug prices, no hid­den costs, no hid­den bills that you’re not go­ing to know about. Mak­ing sure that you’re in a po­si­tion, as well, that pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions will still be cov­ered for 100 mil­lion peo­ple. And maybe equally im­por­tant, all those who ne­go­ti­ated a health care plan with their em­ployer, if they like it you can keep it. Un­der the plan that Sen. San­ders has, you must give it up. There’s no pri­vate in­sur­ance what­so­ever. And as well as mak­ing sure that we can af­ford it-not $35 tril­lion.

Star: What role, if any, did sex­ism play in this race and in hurt­ing Sen. War­ren’s can­di­dacy, in par­tic­u­lar?

Bi­den: Well, look, I think there is— you’re not telling the truth if you didn’t ac­knowl­edge there’s sex­ism across the board. It ex­ists just like racism. But Sen. San­ders and I are the two guys left stand­ing and we’re sup­posed to be ex­plain­ing the sex­ism that oc­curred. I can’t make that judg­ment. All I know is there’s a num­ber of very qual­i­fied women who ran, like Amy Klobuchar as well and Ka­mala Har­ris and a whole range of folks. And I guess a lot it has to do with the mo­ment and the na­ture of the cam­paigns.

Star: And why do you think young vot­ers have started to flock to Sen. San­ders’ cam­paign, while older vot­ers have em­braced your cam­paign?

Bi­den: Well, I’m not sure that’s true. If you no­tice, the only in­crease in turnout has been my cam­paign. We had turnout we in­creased by close to 70 per­cent the num­ber of peo­ple who showed up in Vir­ginia. The same num­ber— not the same num­ber— a big num­ber from South Carolina and through­out all the early pri­mary states. And what we’ve done is we’ve gen­er­ated real mo­men­tum. And it in­cludes young peo­ple, as well as it in­cludes mil­len­ni­als, who are not al­ways young peo­ple like we’re talk­ing 18 to 25 when they talk about young peo­ple. And I think you’re seeing things be­gin to change.

Star: Mov­ing onto for­eign pol­icy, you have called your 2003 vote for the in­va­sion of Iraq a mis­take. Why would you make a bet­ter com­man­der-in-chief than Sen. San­ders who voted against the war?

Bi­den: Well, the fact is that I took the word of a pres­i­dent (Ge­orge W. Bush) who said he wasn’t go­ing to use the au­thor­ity to go to war, just use the au­thor­ity to get in­spec­tors in. And once we got elected, no­tice the pres­i­dent (Barack Obama) turned to me to end the war. I’m the guy who got the 156,000 troops out of there. That was my re­spon­si­bil­ity. I have ex­ten­sive— if you want to com­pare for­eign pol­icy judg­ments, I’m happy to do that with re­gard to Cas­tro and Rus­sia, and a whole range of other things. But it was a mis­take. I ac­knowl­edged that 15 years ago. Be­cause I took the word of a pres­i­dent who said he wasn’t go­ing to use that au­thor­ity for any rea­son other then to go in to de­ter­mine whether or not Sad­dam Hus­sein was pro­duc­ing chem­i­cal or bi­o­log­i­cal and/or nu­clear weapons. And that’s why the rest of the na­tions voted for it (UN in­spec­tors), and then we went to war any­way, which I think was a big mis­take.

The Star’s Bryan Lowry con­trib­uted from Washington.

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