Biden Being Biden: A Legislative Perspective

Joe Biden is the current Vice President of the United States, having previously served in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Delaware. He was first elected to that office in 1972 at the age of 30, the minimum age required to hold a Senate seat, making him the sixth-youngest Senator ever elected. Biden went on to win reelection six times before he was selected to run with then-Senator Barack Obama in 2009. As a Senator, Biden served as Chairman of both the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees and was known to regularly commute from his home in Delaware to D.C. via Amtrak.

He previously ran for President in 1988 and 2008, dropping out before the primaries each time. Media reports over the past week are filled with rumors that Biden may soon announce a third run for the Presidency.

NTU Foundation has been tracking the legislative agendas of Members of Congress through our BillTally project, initiated in 1991 during the 102nd Congress. We went back and looked at that data to see how then-Senator Biden’s legislative priorities would have impacted the federal budget.

Note: dollar amounts are in millions.

CongressBills to IncreaseBills to DecreaseNet Spending AgendaAverage D Senator# of Increase Bills# of Decrease Bills


  • Over the 102nd to 110th Congresses, Biden supported legislation that would, on average, increase federal spending by a net $51.9 billion per year. That was less than half of what the average Democratic Senator proposed during the same time.
  • In five of the Congresses for which NTUF has data on Biden’s legislative record, he didn’t sponsor any bills that would reduce federal spending. On average he supported about 50 proposals that would increase spending and two that would reduce outlays each Congress.
  • On average, for every dollar that he proposed to cut from the federal budget, Biden proposed $322 million in annual spending increases.
  • The most expensive legislation that Senator Biden supported was S. 2541 in the 106th Congress, which would have expanded Medicare benefits at an annual cost of $20.6 billion.
  • The largest single cut bill that Biden sponsored or cosponsored while in the Senate during the years that NTUF tracked was S. 1042, which aimed to make medical imaging less costly by implementing new federal standards for such procedures. It would have reduced outlays by $92 million per year.

Detailed lists of Biden's legislation are available online for the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congress. Other years are available upon request.