The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden
- Posted byon February 5, 2014 at 6:10 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from The Huffington Post. See the original post here.
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Wounded Warrior barbecue at the Naval Observatory Residence, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Earlier today, at an event on the expanding role of caregivers in our society, I had the opportunity to tell the story of two remarkable young men I met at a reception my husband Joe and I hosted for Wounded Warriors on Sept. 11, 2013.
Kyle and Brett Pletzke are brothers from Rockford, Michigan. Kyle is an Army Specialist who was injured on his first deployment to Afghanistan in late 2012. Kyle sustained multiple pelvis fractures, an ankle injury, and nerve damage to most of his right leg.
When Kyle first came to the White House in 2013, he was in a wheelchair. A few months later when he came to our home for the reception, he was walking.
Kyle credits much of his progress to the fact that his older brother Brett was able to serve as his primary caregiver during his recovery. And Brett notes that the reason he was able to help Kyle was because of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Caregiver Rule, which provides training, counseling, supportive services, and a living stipend to post-9/11 veterans' caregivers.
Because of the Rule, Brett's employer kept his job open so Brett had the time to care for his brother. Now Brett's back at his job in Chicago, and Kyle is doing great. Like the brothers' situation illustrates, these support systems can have a significant impact on the day-to-day hardships caregivers face.
- Posted byon January 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM EDT
Promise Zones: The President announced on Thursday the first five “Promise Zone” locations, an initiative to partners with local communities and businesses to create jobs, expand access to educational opportunities and spur economic mobility.
President Obama was joined in the East Room by students from Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational undertaking that inspired the Promise Zones, where he spoke about the importance of making sure a child’s path isn’t determined by their zip code, but rather by their hard work and determination. In his speech, the President mentioned how he wasn’t so different from one of the students who has benefitted from the Harlem Children’s Zone.
“If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much, it's because I'm not that different from Roger,” President Obama said.
There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off. I was raised by a single mom. I didn’t know my dad. The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his. That’s the only difference. If I screwed up, the consequences weren't quite as great. So if Roger can make it, and if I can make it, if Kiara can make it, every kid in this country can make it.
The Promise Zones, located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, are the first of 20 being launched over the next three years. You can read his full remarks here.
Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance: On Tuesday, President Obama called on Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance. Two weeks ago, Congress failed to renew the vital lifeline that temporarily extends insurance for 1.3 million Americans who are currently looking for work. “Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it zaps their motivation to get a new job,” the President said.
This Is The Affordable Care Act: Giving Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Access to Free Chemoprevention MedicationPosted byon January 9, 2014 at 12:30 PM EDT
More than 20 years ago, my personal involvement in the fight against breast cancer started after four of my friends were diagnosed with the disease in the same year. After one of those friends lost her battle, I saw just what a ruthless adversary breast cancer could be. Far too many of us have lost a loved one to breast cancer or seen a colleague or friend endure painful treatments to fight the disease.
That is why I am so pleased that today the Administration is making clear that most health insurance plans must soon cover chemoprevention medications like tamoxifen and raloxifene that can reduce the risk of breast cancer for women who have an increased chance of developing the disease. In addition, these health plans will have to cover the medications at no cost to these women.
Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer face many questions. Now, if their doctor recommends that the benefits of this treatment outweigh the risks, one question women across the country won’t have to ask is whether they can afford it.
This is just one more way the Affordable Care Act is helping fight breast cancer. Already, the ACA ensures that about 47 million women have access to free mammograms every year or two, that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage or increase premiums due to pre-existing conditions like breast cancer, and new health plans can no longer set an annual or lifetime cap on someone’s health insurance benefits – meaning women diagnosed with breast cancer will not max out their insurance benefits while seeking treatment.
- Posted byon December 9, 2013 at 6:48 PM EDT
Today, Dr. Biden -- herself a National Guard mom -- welcomed senior National Guard spouses, National Guard Family Program members, and their children to her office for a National Guard Christmas tree dedication.
The 54 ornaments came from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Each state submitted one ornament, some of which were designed by military youth or service members.
The National Guard tree is just one part of this year’s White House holiday décor honoring service men and women, veterans and military families. As visitors enter the White House for holiday tours, they will first see a tree featuring red, white, and blue star-shaped ornaments, to honor Gold Star Families – those whose who have lost a loved one serving in the military. And in the Blue Room, this year’s 18-foot-6-inch official White House Christmas tree features decorations made by children living on bases across the country.
If you would like to share a message of thanks this holiday season, please visit www.joiningforces.gov.
For additional information about holidays at the White House 2013, go to WH.gov/Holidays. Holiday-related content from the White House will be tagged #WHHoliday.
Melanie Kaye serves as the Communications Director to Dr. Jill Biden.
- Posted byon November 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM EDT
Last night, Joe and I had the tremendous honor of hosting our fifth annual early Thanksgiving dinner for 13 Wounded Warriors and their families at our home.
- Posted byon November 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM EDT
Today, Dr. Jill Biden and Labor Secretary Tom Perez will visit Cleveland Community College in North Carolina and Broward College in Florida as part of their “Community College to Career” tour designed to highlight innovative workforce training partnerships.
Dr. Biden and Secretary Perez will meet with students, tour innovative labs and classrooms, and learn more about the Labor Department’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants. These unprecedented investments are helping leverage strong partnerships with local employers to transform community colleges into engines of economic growth across the country.
Follow along with @LaborSec and @DrBiden on Twitter, and use the hashtag #CCTour to share how community colleges are helping your own community strengthen the workforce of today and train the workforce of tomorrow.
Check out this video featuring 2012’s “Community College to Career” bus tour.
- Posted byon November 15, 2013 at 12:34 PM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and beyond. This week, the First and Second Families honored Veterans Day, the President traveled to New Orleans and to Cleveland to speak on the importance of infrastructure to job creation, signed the EpiPen Law, discussed immigration reform with Faith Leaders and attended the 5th Annual Tribal Nations Conference. That's November 8th to November 14th or "We Will Stand By Your Side."
- Posted byon November 13, 2013 at 8:57 PM EDT
- Posted byon November 12, 2013 at 1:26 PM EDT
This Veterans Day, the President honored those, past and present, who put on the uniform of the United States military and put their lives on the line.
On Monday morning, the President hosted a breakfast in the East Room of the White House for veterans and their families. In attendance was Richard Overton from Austin, Texas. Richard is the oldest living World War II veteran. The President honored the veteran in his remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, and thanked Richard for his selfless dedication and his courage when he faced adversity.
That’s what we owe veterans like Richard Overton, who served in the Army in World War II. He was there at Pearl Harbor, when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, “I only got out of there by the grace of God.”
When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race. And his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home. But this veteran held his head high. He carried on and lived his life with honor and dignity.
- Posted byon November 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM EDT
Ed. note: The following op-ed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appeared this morning on the following military news websites: Military Times, Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times, and Navy Times.
Over the past five years, the two of us have had the privilege of traveling across America and around the world to visit with our extraordinary troops, veterans and military families — and time and again, we have been awed by your service and sacrifice.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the courage of our wounded warriors and the devotion of the caregivers who stand by their side. We’ve been inspired by the military spouses and children who’ve endured move after move, deployment after deployment with such strength and grace. And we’ve seen how, even after transitioning to civilian life, our veterans and military families continue to serve, volunteering countless hours in your communities for all sorts of important causes.
That’s why, 2½ years ago, we decided that it was our obligation not only to tell you how much we appreciate everything you do for our country, but to show you by stepping up and giving you and your families the honor, recognition and support you’ve earned. That’s how Joining Forces was born.
The goal of this initiative was to rally all Americans to step up and serve you as well as you have served this country. We challenged individuals, organizations and businesses across the country to make real, meaningful commitments to you and your families. And from the very beginning, we have been overwhelmed by the response. Here are just a few examples:
Employment: It is simply unacceptable that men and women who serve this country so bravely abroad often struggle to find a good job once they return home. Our veterans are some of the most highly-skilled, hardest-working employees around. They thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, and they’ve got extensive experience building teams, managing complex logistics, and dealing with cutting-edge technology.