What are Joe Biden's views on same-sex marriage, healthcare, abortion and race?

JOE Biden is edging closer to victory in the US presidential race as vote counting continues.

Here we look at his points of view on some of the key issues voters might have considered before casting their ballots.

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What are Joe Biden's views?

Race

Joe Biden has vowed to ease the racial divisions in the United States, pledging to recover the "soul of America" from the polarising Trump era.

He said during a speech in Philadelphia in early June: "The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years, a tug of war between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart."

Biden also promised that, if he becomes President, he will appoint the first black woman to the Supreme Court.

In September's presidential debate, he called President Trump a "racist" who uses "dog-whistle" language.

Abortion

Joe Biden believes a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion or not should be respected.

The Democratic presidential nominee wants to fight to keep access to abortion legal in the US.

He wants to do so by passing a federal law that protects a woman's right to have an abortion.

Tax policy

Biden wants to put the top income tax bracket rate back to the Obama-era’s 39.6% rate from its current 37% rate.

His tax plan will generate between $3.35 trillion and $4 trillion over 10 years, according to various estimates.

Immigration

Biden's point of view on immigration is completely different from President Trump's current policies.

If elected, Biden plans to expand resources to immigrants already residing in the United States.

He wants to stop construction on the border wall between the US and Mexico, eliminating the practice of separating immigrant families at the border.

He has also called for a reversal of Trump's restrictions toward granting asylum and temporary protected status.

Biden said he wants to provide a "road map to citizenship" for people living in the United States illegally.

Healthcare

Joe Biden proposes to lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 60 and make coverage of dental, vision and hearing standard.

He also wants to ban healthcare providers from charging patients surprise bills – which can be financially devastating for people.

He would boost the Affordable Care Act, which was introduced by Obama in 2010.

Economy

Joe Biden would use all the available authorities, including the Defense Production Act, to get the economy back on its feet following the coronavirus pandemic.

Among his plans, there is expediting aid to businesses who commit to helping workers stay employed through the crisis, so they can get back to work when conditions allow.

He would also impose high scrutiny on payroll plans.

Biden plans to increase monthly Social Security checks by $200 per month, provide emergency paid sick leave to everyone who needs it and ensure Covid-19 testing, treatment and an eventual vaccine will be free.

Same-sex marriage

Joe Biden supports same-sex marriage and has done so since he was Vice President.

He has said that protecting rights through an Equality Act would be his top priority if elected this year.

In 2012, Biden surprised appeared on “Meet the Press” and became the first national leader to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Before the election in 2012, Biden told the mum of a transgender child that discrimination against trans people is "the civil rights issue of our time".

Gun control

Joe Biden's plan to end gun violence in the US would make sweeping changes to federal gun laws, which include universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.

It would also close several loopholes in existing legislation and repeal a law that makes it harder to sue gunmakers and retailers when they manufacture or sell guns they should have known would have been used criminally.

His proposal seeks to ban the importation, manufacture, and sale of high-capacity magazines, reduce stockpiling of weapons, require background checks for all gun sales, end online sales of firearms and ammunitions.

Biden would prohibit anyone "who has been convicted of a misdemeanour hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanour because of hate or bias in its commission" from buying or owning a gun.

Wages

If elected president, Biden would more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Biden said at the final US presidential debate: "There is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage, businesses go out of business."

Supreme Court

Joe Biden has confirmed he would appoint a special commission to study the US court system over 180 days, if he is elected president.ù

He has also called for more diversity within the Supreme Court.

In a Democratic debate earlier this year, Biden said: "I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we in fact get everyone represented."

Biden does not agree with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court that was put forward by Donald Trump.

He wrote in a statement: "The American people know the US Supreme Court decisions affect their everyday lives.

"The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court. That moment is now and their voice should be heard.

"The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress."

Who's in Joe Biden's inner circle?

Susan Rice could be a potential appointee for the role of Secretary of State, according to reports.

Pete Buttigieg, a former Democratic presidential candidate, could become UN ambassador, The Telegraph reports.

Elizabeth Warren has reportedly been considered for the role of Treasury Secretary.

Sally Yates or Stacey Abrams could be appointed as Attorney General.

There are also claims that Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate, could become Labour Secretary.

Senator Tammy Duckworth is reportedly being considered for a top role at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti and California congresswoman Karen Bass are reportedly being considered for roles at the Department for Transport and the Department of Health and Human services respectively.

Will Joe Biden reverse Trump's 'American First' policy if he wins?

Yes, Joe Biden plans to make make significant changes to US foreign policy if he winds the presidential election.

He would reverse Trump's 'American First' policy with a new tagline – 'Restoring American Leadership'.

This is based on the belief that America's toughest challenges, including the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, require international cooperation and coordination, CNN reports.

Brian McKeon, a Biden foreign policy adviser and a former White House and Pentagon adviser in the Obama administration, said: "Trump's 'America First' has been 'America Alone.

"On his first day in office, [Biden] will get on the phone to key allies and say that America is back and America has your back."

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