Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ( BY-dən; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who is the 46th and current president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama and represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009.
Biden was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, moving with his family to New Castle County, Delaware, in 1953 when he was ten. He studied at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree from Syracuse University in 1968. He was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970 and became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history after he was elected to the United States Senate from Delaware in 1972, at age 29. Biden was the chair or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years and was influential in foreign affairs during Obama's presidency. He also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987 to 1995, dealing with drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties issues; led the effort to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act; and oversaw six U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, including the contentious hearings for Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008. Biden was reelected to the Senate six times and was the fourth-most senior sitting senator at the time when he became Obama's vice president after they won the 2008 presidential election, defeating John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. Obama and Biden were reelected in 2012, defeating the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
During eight years as vice president, Biden leaned on his Senate experience and frequently represented the administration in negotiations with congressional Republicans, including on the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved a debt ceiling crisis, and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending "fiscal cliff". He also oversaw infrastructure spending in 2009 to counteract the Great Recession. On foreign policy, Biden was a close counselor to the president and took a leading role in designing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. In 2017, Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction.
Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris defeated incumbent president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence in the 2020 presidential election. He is the oldest president and the first to have a female vice president. Biden proposed, lobbied for and signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act to help the United States recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant recession. He proposed the American Jobs Plan, aspects of which were incorporated into the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was also signed into law. He nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Biden proposed an expansion of the social safety net, but those efforts, along with voting rights legislation, failed in Congress. In foreign policy, Biden restored the U.S. into the Paris Agreement on climate change. He completed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, during which the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban seized control. He responded to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine by imposing sanctions on Russia, as well as authorizing billions in foreign aid and weapons shipments to Ukraine.