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Pre-VP Debate Breakdown: Ryan Vs. Biden On Domestic Issues

Jonathan Stoller-Schoff |
October 11, 2012 | 9:28 a.m. PDT


Both Vice Presidential candidates have long voting records, but as last week's debate reminded us, debates tend to shift the candidates' positions. Here’s how Paul Ryan and Joe Biden currently compare on issues of domestic policy. Check back after the debate to see if either of the candidates changed their positions.


Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will face Joe Biden Thursday night. (Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons)
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan will face Joe Biden Thursday night. (Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons)
Paul Ryan

Abortion: This is a bit unclear at the moment. Mitt Romney has said that he is pro-life with the exception of abortion in the case of rape or incest, but Ryan has supported legislation to give personhood rights to a fetus, protecting it in all cases except to save the mother’s life. Ryan has historically stuck to this argument, but he recently said that he has the same views as Romney. Ryan has also said that people will find out his position during the debate.

Education: Ryan is of the opinion that increasing student loan aid will only increase college tuition, and he consequently voted "no" on many key measures to give federal money to high schools and historically black and hispanic colleges. He’s been assigned an eight percent on his education voting record, according to the NEA.

Energy and the Environment: Paul Ryan, in a show of traditional conservative values, supports the “Drill Baby Drill” approach to gain more oil for the U.S., to obtain independence from foreign oil.

Gay Rights: Ryan supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He also supports a federal ban on gay marriage and a ban on gay adoption. He has a zero percent voting record on gay rights, according to the HRC.

Healthcare: Ryan would like to repeal Obamacare, and wants to bring competition to the health insurance business by overhauling Medicare into a voucher system.

Tax Reform: Ryan’s tax plan supports the trickle-down effect: the idea that alleviating taxes on the wealthy will create jobs, and the resulting greater number of employed people will automatically generate more government revenue.


Vice President Joe Biden will face Paul Ryan Thursday night. (Barack Obama, Creative Commons)
Vice President Joe Biden will face Paul Ryan Thursday night. (Barack Obama, Creative Commons)
Joe Biden

Abortion: Biden believes the Constitution includes an inherent right to privacy, and is therefore pro-choice. The National Right to Life Committee ranked him with a zero percent voting record, indicating his pro-choice stance.

Education: He agrees with Ryan that No Child Left Behind was a waste of money. But, he supports grants to community colleges to partner with businesses. He also wants to hire more teachers and pay for smaller classes.

Energy and the Environment: Biden has called the climate crisis one of his top priorities. This issue, however, has not been a major campaign issue for the past few election cycles.

Gay Rights: Joe Biden was perhaps a bit too public about his views on gay marriage this past May, which led President Obama to come out in favor of gay marriage. Biden is in favor of legalizing gay marriage and equal rights.

Healthcare: As a member of the Obama-Biden administration, the Vice President is a supporter of Obamacare. Biden also supports Medicare and Medicaid as non-voucher programs.

Tax Reform: The current administration supports raising taxes on individuals making over $250,000 a year, and extending the Bush tax cuts for lower tax brackets.


Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will debate at 6pm PST on October 11.


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of the Vice Presidential debate here.

Reach Contributor Jonathan Stoller-Schoff here.



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