Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Tuesday said new restrictions on abortion, and not politics, colored his evolving position on the Hyde Amendment, which generally bans federal money from being used to directly fund abortions.
“The truth is the majority of the American people agree with the Hyde Amendment, OK?” he said in an interview with WHO-TV in Iowa. “So the idea that this would be helpful to change is not accurate in terms of being able to win an election.”
Mr. Biden did say it’s a “legitimate criticism” for activists to look at, as he’s faced pushback from the left for his longtime support of the amendment.
After telling an ACLU activist this year he would support abolishing it, his campaign said as recently as last Wednesday that Mr. Biden still supported the amendment. He then said last Thursday that he could no longer support it.
Mr. Biden said in the TV interview that there is now an “all-out attack” on “any right” to an abortion, amid broad new restrictions passed in states like Alabama and Georgia.
“What’s happening is poor women don’t have any access anymore, and it made me realize … the plan I put forward for health care requires everybody to buy into a Medicare option if that’s what they choose to do,” he said.
Mr. Biden said poorer women who rely on Medicare and Medicaid for their health care might not have access to abortion services.
“That’s why I had to change my position and why I think we have to change it,” he said.
Mr. Biden, who is seen as a more moderate candidate in a Democratic field that includes people such as Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, was also asked whether he can bring left-wing activists along with him.
“It’s kind of interesting — people ask me, am I a new progressive or whatever they call it. The truth of the matter is I’m an [Obama-Biden] Democrat,” he said. “I have a very progressive record on almost every one of those issues.”
Mr. Biden also said if he’s president, “you’re going to see the end of the Trump tax cuts.”
“Corporations are going to start paying their fair share, not 20 percent and some paying zero like Amazon,” he said. “They should be at a 28 percent rate — that would raise billions and billions of dollars to use [to] do good things.”
The GOP tax cuts of 2017 permanently lowered the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.