The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • The Changing Face of our Military

    Sergeant Sheena Adams is a member of an elite corps of female Marines, soldiers who have volunteered to join otherwise all-male patrols in Afghanistan, where they build relationships with Afghan women, a population mostly off-limits to our male troops. Sergeant Adams and her colleagues belong to the Female Engagement Team, also called FETs, and they work with women in these villages to gain their trust, and bring them better access to health care and education. 

    During her deployment as a FET, Sergeant Adams met a widowed Afghan woman -- a mother of nine who could barely feed her children. Due to cultural restrictions, this mother could not work outside the home.  Sergeant Adams found a way for this Afghan woman to earn an income. The answer was pretty simple. Using the mother’s baking talents and a son’s capacity to sell at a local bazaar, Sergeant Adams helped the family create their own bread business. 

    Dr. Jill Biden has met Sergeant Adams and some of her colleagues over the past few months, on a visit to Camp Pendleton and in Washington, D.C. where these heroes were invited to a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Women's History Month. When Dr. Biden heard about the work they are doing, she was inspired:

    I thought this story captured something beautiful – underneath all the inevitable tensions that come with war, these female Marines and Afghan women are building relationships based on their similarities rather than their differences.  That’s a message we can apply to so many situations. 

    See for yourself in this video:

  • Supporting Our Nation’s Military Children

    As April comes to a close, we wrap up the Month of the Military Child. Earlier this month, the First Lady and I celebrated the one-year anniversary of Joining Forces. Over the past year, it has been so inspiring to see the commitments made by Americans across the country to support our military families—especially our military children. 

    Throughout my travels, so many military families have shared with me how important it is that schools create a supportive environment for military children. Last week, I had the honor of hosting the 2012 Teachers of the Year finalists at my home in Washington, D.C.  This was my fourth year hosting this event and it is always one of my favorites. This year was even more special as I listened to stories about how these teachers – who are the best of the best – are supporting our military children in their schools and their communities.

    Dr Jill Biden Hosts Teachers of the Year 2012 at the Naval Observatory

    (by Ron Sachs)

  • Watch Dr. Biden at a Joining Forces Commemoration Event Live

    Ed. note: This event has ended.

    Dr. Biden participates in a Joining Forces anniversary event at Lee Hall Elementary School in Newport News, Va. to discuss the unique needs 1.3 million military-connected children in schools face. Watch live here, starting at 9:30 AM ET.


  • On Board with the First Lady: Michelle Obama Celebrates One Year of Joining Forces


    Go behind the scenes as First Lady Michelle Obama travels from Washington DC to Philadelphia, New York City, Shreveport and Jacksonville to honor our servicemen and women and their families. Join us on set at the Colbert Report, on stage with Ellen DeGeneris and on the ground with thousands of nurses and meet the 50,000 person to get a job through the Joining Forces hiring initiatives.

    See more:

  • Watch Dr. Jill Biden's Community College to Career Tour

    Today, Dr. Jill Biden will visit Reading Area Community College (RACC) as part of her “Community College to Career” tour. You can watch the livestream, starting at 12:15 PM ET.

  • 60,000 Veterans and Military Spouses Have Been Hired Through Joining Forces Employment Initiatives

    First Lady Michelle Obama greets people in the crowd at Kansas City Southern Railroad

    First Lady Michelle Obama greets people in the crowd at Kansas City Southern Railroad after delivering remarks during a Joining Forces Event in Shreveport, La., April 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    It was a great day in Shreveport, Louisiana, yesterday. First Lady Michelle Obama joined the leadership of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company in announcing Michael Abitago, Junior as the 50,000 veteran or military spouse to have been hired by a company through the Joining Forces employment efforts this past year! Abitago literally left active duty in the Army last Saturday after 4 years of service (including 2 tours in Iraq) and starts work on Monday as a Conductor-trainee. He was hired by KCS in mid-March at a Joining Forces hiring event in Ft Hood, Texas.

    And there’s even more great news. A couple of months ago when we first wanted to highlight this event, we had planned on announcing our 50,000 hire. But as we approached our visit to Shreveport we had already hit that mark. By April another 8,000 veterans and military spouses were hired. And yesterday, Mrs. Obama revealed the news that the surge in hiring pushed the number of veterans and military spouses hired through Joining Forces to 60,000!

    Through Joining Forces, American businesses have not only hired more than 60,000 veterans and military spouses to date,  they have also pledged to hire at least 160,000 more in the years ahead.

    More than 1,600 companies have been involved in this effort, including Microsoft, Comcast, Honeywell, Safeway and Sears. JPMorgan Chase and the 40 companies of the “100,000 jobs mission” hired more than 6,000 veterans  -- alone – in the January-March 2012 timeframe.

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2011 Tax Returns

    Today, the President released his 2011 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds of the President’s books. The Obamas paid $162,074 in total tax.

    The President and First Lady also reported donating $172,130 – or about 22% of their adjusted gross income – to 39 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was a $117,130 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation. The President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children’s book to Fisher House, a scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers. 

    The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 20.5%. The President believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000 from seeing their taxes go up. Under the President’s own tax proposals, including the expiration of the high-income tax cuts and limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it. 

    The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $31,941 in state income tax.

    Download the Obamas’ tax returns

    The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2011 federal income tax returns, as well as state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The Bidens filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Dr. Biden filed a separate non-resident tax return for the state of Virginia. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $379,035. The Bidens paid $87,900 in total federal tax for 2011. They paid $13,843 in Delaware income tax and $3,614 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $5,540 to charity in 2011.

    Download the Bidens’ tax returns

    American taxpayers are able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent.  You can visit the taxpayer receipt and after entering a few pieces of information about your taxes, the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care. 

    View the President and First Lady’s tax receipt

    View the Vice President and Dr. Biden’s tax receipt

  • Raising the Bar: The One Year Anniversary of Joining Forces

    Over the past 12 months First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have encouraged an entire nation to commit to honoring and serving military families as they have served us. As Dr. Biden has said: “while troops serving our nation may be only 1 percent of the population, we want to make sure that 100 percent of Americans are supporting them.”

    While the primary focus of the first year has been to increase employment opportunities and to promote improved care for service members, veterans, and their families, we've also had a lot of fun meeting with the families of our brave troops and been inspired by the courage and sacrifice of so many proud Americans.

    To celebrate the one year anniversary of Joining Forces, we've put together a slideshow that chronicles the journey -- check it out: 

    • Joining Forces Launch

      The First Lady speaks during the launch of Joining Forces in the East Room, April 12, 2010.

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    • Joining Forces Sesame Street

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden participate in a taping on the set of "Sesame Street" in Astoria, N.Y., April 18, 2011

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    • Joining Forces Panel At The Writer's Guild Of America

      The First Lady participates in a panel discussion at the Writer's Guild of America in Los Angeles, Calif.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama Huddles With Military Family Children

      The First Lady huddles with military family children at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., July 5, 2011.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama Visits The Naval Air Station Oceana Summer Camp

      The First Lady visits the Naval Air Station Oceana Summer Camp in Virginia Beach, Va., July 21, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces Extreme Makeover

      The First Lady reacts as the Jubilee House is revealed in Fayetteville, N.C., July 21, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces Military Family Cookout

      The First Lady talks with a girl during a Military Family Cookout at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord, N.H., July 2

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama And Dr. Jill Biden Paint A Wall

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden paint a wall in the home of Sgt. Johnny Agbi, Jr., left, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2011.

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    • Lunch With Active Duty And Retired Military Personnel

      The President and First Lady have lunch with active duty and retired military personnel at a restaurant in Hampton, Va., Oct. 19, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces World Series

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden attend Game 1 of the World Series with Marine Lance Cpl. James Sperry and his daughter in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 19, 2011.

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    • Joining Forces U.S. Chamber Of Commerce

      The First Lady delivers remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Business Steps Up: Hiring Our Heroes” event in Washington, D.C., Nov. 10, 2011.

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    • joining Forces NASCAR

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden watch a NASCAR race with military families at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., Nov. 20, 2011.

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    • President Barack Obama Signs The Veterans Opportunity To Work To Hire Heroes Act of 2011

      The President signs the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 in the South Court Auditorium, Nov. 21, 2011.

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    • White House Christmas Tree

      The First Lady walks with children past the official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room, Nov. 30, 2011.

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    • First Lady Introduces President Barack Obama

      The First Lady introduces President Barack Obama at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, N.C., Dec. 14, 2011.

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    • President Obama And First Lady Greet Troops

      The President and First Lady greet troops at Pope Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, N.C., Dec. 14, 2011.

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    • First Lady Shakes Hands With Medical Personnel

      The First Lady shakes hands with veterans and medical personnel at Virginia Commonwealth University AAMC-Medical Center in Richmond, Jan. 11, 2012.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama Joines The iCarly Cast

      The First Lady attends an iCarly screening at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 13, 2012.

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    • Dr. Jill Biden Greets Wounded Warriors

      Dr. Biden greets wounded warriors and their families at the Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Center at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 20, 2012.

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    • First Lady Michelle Obama At Little Rock Air Force Base

      The First Lady visits the dining facility at Little Rock Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 9, 2012.

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    • Defending The Blue Line Youths

      The First Lady walks with participants in the Defending the Blue Line program in Minneapolis, Minn., March 16, 2012.

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    • Department Of Defense Dinner In The East Room

      The First Lady is photographed with a guest during the Department of Defense dinner in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 29, 2012.

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    • Best Practices To Support Military Spouses

      The First Lady and Dr. Biden stand for the national anthem at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Feb. 15, 2012.

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    • Joining Forces Marine Corps Flag

      A message written by First Lady is seen on a U.S. Marine Corps flag at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 4, 2012.

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  • Sidewinder Performs at the White House

    Sidewinder, the Missouri Air National Guard rock band, was at the White House Wednesday to help First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden celebrate the one-year anniversary of Joining Forces.

    While the band was deployed in the Middle East, a video taken by an audience member went viral on YouTube, garnering national attention. If you weren't one of the millions of people that watched Sidewinder's version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" on YouTube, you may have seen them perform recently on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" or watched Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson on "The Voice." And if you haven't heard of Sidewinder before, be sure to check out their performance at the White House.

    Go backstage with the band at the White House and check out video of their performances, including their covers of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

    Learn more:

  • America's Nurses Take the Lead in Caring for Military Families

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden participate in a Joining Forces nurses event

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden participate in a Joining Forces nurses event in the Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., April 11, 2012. Joing them on stage is Navy Lieutenant Commander Pamela Wall. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of joining First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the University of Pennsylvania for arguably the most far-reaching announcement we have had to date in Joining Forces -- a commitment from our nation's nursing leaders to train more than 3 million nurses to have a better understanding of health issues impacting our troops, veterans and their families – with a specific focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). 

    The announcement was made at the University of Pennsylvania -- one of America's leading nursing schools -- and the audience included our troops, nursing students and leaders from nursing organizations and schools throughout America. 

    The atmosphere was energetic -- and it was apparent from the minute Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden walked onto the stage that these nurses and nursing students were eager and excited to get to work and support military families. 

    Nurses are some of America's most trusted professionals. They are the first to care for us when we go to a hospital or clinic and they are known for their compassion for their patients.