Power players: vice presidents

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Joe Biden
Abortion:As a Catholic, Biden personally opposes abortion but supports a woman’s right to choose. The vice president agrees with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which recognized the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment. Biden has voted to ban federal funding for abortion services.

Same-sex Marriage: As a senator, Biden voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 but against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006. In May, Biden endorsed same-sex marriage while on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” becoming the highest-raking government official to promote the controversial issue until President Obama seconded his vice president’s opinion.

Economy/Taxes: Biden opposes the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and favors increasing taxes only for the top 1 percent of the income bracket. Biden supported extending unemployment insurance in 2010. While in the Senate, Biden voted in favor of raising the minimum wage and the Employee Free Choice Act, which proposed the expansion of union rights.


Health Care: Biden strongly supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Commonly referred to as Obamacare, the health care reform bill protects pre-existing conditions and extends private insurance coverage for Americans up to 26 years old, among other provisions.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: The vice president supports the current administration’s plan to withdraw from Afghanistan and to transfer control of military operations to Afghan forces by 2014. Biden voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2002. But in November 2010, he supported the Obama administration when it announced its decision to withdraw.

Abortion: Ryan opposes abortion in all cases, except when the life of the mother is at risk. The congressman is a co-sponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would officially define a fertilized egg as a human being with the right to live.


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Paul Ryan

Same-sex Marriage: Ryan is also staunchly conservative in regards to LGBTQ rights. The GOP vice presidential nominee opposed the Obama Administration’s repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and voted for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Economy/Taxes: As a supporter of lower taxes, Ryan strongly favors extending the Bush tax cuts, eliminating estate and capital gains taxes and establishing a flat rate on income and sales taxes. As a Republican leader in Congress, Ryan has proposed major tax reforms in his Taxpayer Choice Act and his budget plan known as the Path to Prosperity. Ryan voted in favor of extending unemployment insurance from 39 to 59 weeks, but he voted against the minimum wage increase and the Employee Free Choice Act in 2007.

Health Care: The congressman views the Affordable Care Act, particularly the individual mandate, as an unnecessary expansion of the federal government and a burden on businesses and individuals. In his budget proposal, Ryan changes Medicare and Medicaid into federally subsidized private plans for all citizens under 55 years old and above a certain income level.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq:Ryan opposes any timetable for withdrawing  military operations in the Middle East. Under the Bush administration, Ryan supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the troops surge strategy in 2007.

A version of this article appeared in the Friday, Oct. 26 print edition. Daniel Hinton is an assistant managing editor. Email him at [email protected]



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