The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • The Vice President and Dr. Biden’s Support for Community Colleges and Apprenticeship Programs

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 94th Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C., April 7, 2014.

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 94th Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Earlier this week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden spoke to 1,500 educational leaders at the American Association of Community Colleges 94th Annual Convention.

    During the speech, the Vice President recognized that community colleges provide “a trusted pathway to good jobs in the middle class,” and spoke about the importance of matching job openings with skilled workers. The Vice President highlighted the Administration’s work in making higher education more affordable through further investment in Pell Grants and capping federal student loan repayments at 10% of income.

    Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator and community college teacher, noted that she has visited innovative workforce partnerships at community colleges around the country – and that they are critical to America’s future.


  • Dr. Biden Meets with LGBT Americans Benefiting from the Affordable Care Act

    Dr. Jill Biden Meets with Members of the LGBT community about ACA

    Dr. Jill Biden meets with members of the LGBT community who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 26, 2014.

    An important deadline is coming up for all Americans, including the LGBT community: March 31 is the end of the open enrollment period for individuals to sign up for health care in the state and federal Marketplaces. If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to get health insurance again until next year.

    The Affordable Care Act has the potential to improve the health and well-being of the LGBT community for generations to come. (Here’s how.) Many LGBT individuals across the country have signed up for coverage — and they’re already seeing the benefits.


  • West Wing Week 03/14/14 or "What's Up, Captain America?"

    This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden traveled to Chile to attend the President's inauguration, while the President worked on improving access to college for students, raising the minimum wage, and negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. He also got out the word about this year's March 31st deadline for health insurance applications, congratulated NCAA champs, and designated a new national monument. 


  • Dr. Biden Speaks at Summit Focused on Post-9/11 Veterans at The Bush Institute

    Dr. Biden delivers remarks at the George W. Bush Presidential Center

    Dr. Jill Biden delivers remarks at a Summit focused on supporting post-9/11 veterans at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, Feb. 19, 2014. (Photo by Grant Miller)

    Yesterday, Dr. Jill Biden joined President Bush at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas for a Summit focused on how Americans can support post-9/11 veterans as they transition back to civilian life. Dr. Biden noted that while the troops serving our nation represent only one percent of the population, the other 99 percent of Americans need to find ways to honor and support them. 

    In her remarks, Dr. Biden highlighted the many ways Americans have already stepped up since she and First Lady Michelle Obama started Joining Forces nearly three years ago:

    • Businesses have made it a priority to hire veterans and military spouses, not only because it is their patriotic duty, but because they know our service men and women are highly-skilled, hardworking employees; 
    • Educators, including teaching colleges, are doing more to prepare teachers for the unique needs of military-connected children in the classroom, and higher education institutions are taking steps to help veterans succeed on campus; and
    • Doctors, nurses, and social workers have pledged support to enhance the preparation of our nation’s medical providers to care for returning service men and women, and their families. 


  • Partnering for Action in African American Communities

    Leaders from some of the country’s foremost African American civil rights organizations joined President Obama and a handful of Administration leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House yesterday. To open the meeting, I was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson and White House Advisor for Health Policy and Implementation Phil Schiliro for a discussion outlining the President’s priorities for this year of action. 

    President Obama Meets with African American Civil Rights Leaders

    President Barack Obama meets with African American civil rights leaders to discuss criminal justice reform, income inequality and the Affordable Care Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Feb. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) February 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo)

    Present were leaders from the NAACP, The National Urban League, the National Action Network, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Bar Association and the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation. The group covered a range of issues of great concern to the President, and the African American community, touching on job growth, education and job training, maintaining our momentum in enrolling the uninsured through the Affordable Care Act, bringing more fairness and efficiency to our criminal justice system, increasing the minimum wage, and ensuring ladders of opportunity for all. 

    What was clear in this meeting was that many of the goals the President set forth in his State of the Union address will become reality because of the strong partnerships that he and his administration have forged with leaders from the civil rights community who work hard every day to advocate equality and opportunity for all.

    The President will continue to work with Congress where they are able and willing to act, but meetings like this provide optimistic reminders that there remain other leaders in the country who can act right now – to improve the economy, to ensure greater opportunity for all, and to keep this country moving in the right direction. The capacity for the President and his White House to convene thought leaders, decision makers, and community leaders, all of whom have access to both resources and the audiences we aim to reach, is a powerful tool, and one which President Obama hopes to wield effectively in 2014 for the good of all Americans.

    Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls


  • Caring for the Caregivers

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted from The Huffington Post. See the original post here.

    Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden host a Wounded Warrior barbecue at the Naval Observatory Residence

    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.


  • Weekly Wrap Up: “Every kid in this country can make it”

    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 Medication

    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.


  • Dr. Jill Biden Hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree Dedication

    Dr. Jill Biden hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree dedication in her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Dr. Jill Biden hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree dedication in her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    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.

    Dr. Biden Hosts a National Guard Christmas Tree Dedication

    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.


  • Giving Thanks: Honoring Our Wounded Warriors & Their Families

    Giving Thanks: Honoring Our Wounded Warriors & Their Families

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden bow their heads as Chaplain Barry Black gives the benediction during the fifth annual wounded warrior Thanksgiving dinner, at the Naval Observatory Residence, November 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    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.