Joe Biden misunderstands the Constitution

Gwen Ifell asked in the Vice Presidential Debate:

Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?

Senator Biden’s full response:

Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history.The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch.He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, andas vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.

1. It is Article II, not I.

2.Section 3 of Article 1, which establishes the Senate:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Vice President is President of the Senate all the time, not just during ties. Senator Biden, please try reading the Constitution before you spout off nonsense.

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