The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2012 Tax Returns

    Today, the President released his 2012 federal income tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $608,611. The Obamas paid $112,214 in total tax. 

    The President and First Lady also reported donating $150,034 – or about 24.6 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 33 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was $103,871 to the Fisher House Foundation.

    The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 18.4 percent. 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 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.


  • Supporting our Veterans and Military Families on Campuses

    Over the next few years, more than a million service men and women will end their military careers and transition back to civilian life. Many of these veterans will decide to go back to school to finish their degrees, enroll in a community college for the first time, or work to obtain a master’s degree.

    That’s why, on our campus communities, we need to make sure that our veterans have access to the programs that will help them succeed and obtain good jobs to support their families.

    This April, as we mark the second anniversary of Joining Forces, I am pleased to be visiting several higher education institutions to learn more about what they are doing to support student veterans.

    Dr. Biden participates on a panel with student, faculty and staff veterans at George Washington University

    Dr. Biden participates on a panel with student, faculty and staff veterans at George Washington University (by Jessica McConnell Burt / The George Washington University)

    On Wednesday, I visited George Washington University to meet with student veterans and hear about several of their initiatives. While I was there, I heard from members of GW Vets, their student group representing more than 1,500 student veterans, military dependent students and allies across campus. 

    One of those students was Nichole Krom, a freshman who became involved in GW Vets as soon as she heard about it and is now the organization’s secretary. Nichole is not a veteran herself, but her father recently retired from the New York Air National Guard. She is a wonderful example of an important truth about our service men and women who sacrifice so much for our country – their families serve right alongside them.


  • Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors

    As we mark the second anniversary of Joining Forces and celebrate the Month of the Military Child, April gives us the opportunity to celebrate our nation's youngest heroes—the children whose parents serve in our Armed Forces.

    Military children face many unique challenges – on average, they attend six to nine different school systems by the time they graduate from high school. Through each transition, they have to leave their friends, try out for new sports teams, and adjust to a new school. 

    As a teacher, I have been so pleased to see the progress we are making to raise awareness and understanding about how to help military children in the classroom. Through Joining Forces, more than 100 colleges of teacher education have signed on to Operation Educate the Educators, an effort to help better prepare future teachers to help military children in the classroom.

    But as a military mother and grandmother, it is important to me that we are supporting our military children outside the classroom as well.


  • West Wing Week: 03/22/13 or “Reach Out to New Horizons”

    This week, the President spoke on American Energy Security at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, celebrated the luck of the Irish, honored leaders in STEM education and small business, filled out his NCAA tournament brackets, announced his nominee for the Secretary of Labor, and embarked on a 5 day trip to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.


  • Celebrating Excellence in Community Colleges

    As a community college teacher, I know that excellence happens every day in community college classrooms and campuses across this country. Both in my classroom and when I’m on the road visiting community colleges, I am fortunate to see firsthand the tremendous impact these schools have on so many students.  I see students striving, teachers inspiring, and administrators innovating – each doing their best to make the community college experience richer and more meaningful. President Obama has made community colleges a centerpiece of his goal to have the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world.

    Earlier today at the Newseum in Washington, DC, leaders in education and business congratulated Santa Barbara City College from California and Walla Walla Community College from Washington for being selected as co-winners of the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Kingsborough Community College – CUNY from New York and Lake Area Technical Institute from South Dakota were honored as finalists-with-distinction.


  • President Obama Hosts a Celebration of Women's History Month at the White House

    President Barack Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama and Amanda McMillan at the Women’s History Month reception, March 18, 2013.

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the Women’s History Month reception in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. Standing at right are First Lady Michelle Obama and Amanda McMillan, who introduced the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama today welcomed a group of accomplished and inspiring women to a reception in the East Room of the White House. The group, which included leaders like A&E Networks CEO Abbe Raven, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Girl Scouts' CEO Anna Maria Chávez, astronaut Sunita Williams, activists Dolores Huerta and Lilly Ledbetter, and WNBA star (and 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist) Tamika Catchings, joined the President, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to celebrate the progress women make in this country each and every day. President Obama highlighted the changes we've seen in the past century:

    When I look around this room, it is hard to believe that 100 years ago this month, thousands of women were marching right outside this house demanding one of our most fundamental right: the right to vote, to have a say in our democracy. And today, a century later, its rooms are full of accomplished women who have overcome discrimination, shattered glass ceilings, and become outstanding role models for all of our sons and daughters. And that means we've come a long way, and that’s thanks to the efforts of so many people like you.

    Because of the hard work and exemplary leadership of the women in this room, military families have protected family and medical leave. Women have legal recourse to fight against pay discrimination... Women have the opportunity to serve on the front lines of our military conflicts, and that means that they're getting paid and promoted equally. Women have the opportunity to make their own choices about their health.


  • Dr. Jill Biden Talks with the PTA's Executive Board about Supporting Military Kids in Schools

    On Monday, Dr. Jill Biden joined a meeting of the National PTA's Executive Board to talk about the ways parents, educators and school communities can offer important support to children whose parents are serving in the military, and especially those whose moms or dads are deployed overseas.

    Dr. Biden, who is both an educator and a military mom, thanked the leaders for the work they have already accomplished on this issue in schools, and highlighted how much more remains to be done, and how important it is:

    Three years ago, I visited troops with my husband at Camp Victory in Iraq over the Fourth of July. While I was there, a general told me that during a concert at his six-year-old daughter’s school, one of her classmates burst into tears when the song “Ave Maria” played. 

     She told the teacher it was the song they played at her daddy’s funeral. He died in Iraq.

    Her teacher was unaware she was a military child. That story is heartbreaking for all of us – especially parents and teachers who can imagine the impact an incident like that would have on a child.

    And that story demonstrates just how vital it is that we raise awareness around the unique needs of our military children.


  • West Wing Week: 03/01/13 or “Hope Springs Eternal”

    This week, the President urged Congress to take a responsible approach to deficit reduction instead of the indiscriminate across-the-board spending cuts called the sequester. He also met with the Prime Minister of Japan, America's Governors, and the country's only all-black Ranger unit, and unveiled a truly moving monument to Rosa Parks.


  • Renewing the National Commitment to Putting America’s Heroes Back to Work

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden addressed the National Governors Association today, and renewed their call on governors to do their part putting America’s heroes back to work, and to serve our military veterans and spouses as well as they’ve served us. The First Lady’s remarks are a call to action – building on President Obama’s June 2012 announcement of the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force – setting a goal that by the end of 2015, all 50 states will have taken legislative or executive action to help our troops get the credentials they need to successfully transition to the civilian labor market.

    The remarks by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden coincide with a new report by the Executive Office of the President that details the barriers veterans and their families face as they seek employment, the Administration’s commitment to help them leverage their skills to good, meaningful jobs and the progress that has already been made.


  • First Lady Michelle Obama Challenges Governors of all 50 States to Ease Service Members' Transition to Civilian Work Force

    Too often the talented men and women who have served our country face barriers that make it difficult to find jobs that capitalize on the skills they have gained through their military education and experience. Many service members and veterans are required to repeat education or training in order to receive industry certifications and state occupational licenses, even though much, and in some cases, all, of their military training and experience overlaps with credential requirements.

    The members of our Armed Forces and their families make great sacrifices, and when their service is concluded, we owe it to our veterans and their families to help them accomplish a successful transition to the civilian labor force. That is why over the past year and a half, President Obama has taken significant action to create a “career-ready military” and streamline the transition process.

    Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden highlighted the work that has been done across the country to change laws that require military spouses to attain new credentials when they move to a new state, and challenged the governors of all 50 states to take legislative or executive action to help our troops get the credentials they need by the end of 2015. Speaking to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room, Mrs. Obama talked about the pressing need to take action and fulfill our responsibilities to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much over the past decade:

    In the coming years, more than one million service members will make the transition to civilian life. 

    Think about that – a million people hanging up their uniforms… figuring out what’s next… and doing everything they can to make that change as seamless as possible for their families.

    So the fact is, while this time of war may be ending, our responsibilities to our troops and their families will only be ramping  up.

    And that’s what I want to talk to you about today—how we can fulfill what is perhaps our most pressing responsibility to our troops: making sure that when they come home, they can find a job—and not just any job, but a good job, a job they can raise a family on.