The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden
- Posted byon April 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon April 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT
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.
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.
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.
- Posted byon April 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM EDT
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:Prev Next
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- Posted byon April 12, 2012 at 2:54 PM EDT
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."
- See a gallery of highlights from the first year of Joining Forces
- Find out how Joining Forces is helping veterans and military spouses find jobs
- Find out how you can get involved
- Posted byon April 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM EDT
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.
- Posted byon April 11, 2012 at 4:49 PM EDT
Yesterday, Dr. Biden joined General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Deanie Dempsey, to congratulate the finalists and winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge. Dr. Biden and Mrs. Dempsey sat down with the winners to hear their stories. The winning organizations provide scholarships for military families, greet and support troops and families at an airport in Minnesota, collect hockey equipment for military children, provide retreats for military families reuniting after deployment, provide free mental health services for members of the military, and extend support from an entire community to a local National Guard unit.
All twenty of the JFCC finalists are winners. They are making the difference in the lives of military families every single day. They are shining examples of what Joining Forces is all about, and Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden hope their stories inspire all Americans, and demonstrate that anyone can find a creative ways to support these brave families, who have given so much to all of us.
Check out this slideshow highlighting the first year of Joining Forces:
- Posted byon April 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today marked the one year anniversary of the launch of Joining Forces with an event on the South Lawn of the White House, and Mrs. Obama used the occasion to renew her call of action, and challenged all Americans to keep finding new ways to show their support for military families.
The First Lady told the crowd that over the past year, as she and Dr. Biden reached out on behalf of our military families, "not a single person that we've talked to, that we have approached, has told us that they could not help -- not a single person. We've asked; they said yes.
And the good thing is, is that once people get started, they just keep coming up with new ideas on their own. We’ll present something, and they double it. They want to do even more. They just keep raising their goals even higher. They just keep figuring out how to get more and more people involved."
And her message for all military families, is that "you do live in a grateful nation."
- Posted byon March 29, 2012 at 3:15 PM EDT
Ed note: This interview with Dr. Jill Biden by Mary Ellen Flannery originally appeared on the website for the National Education Association. This excerpt has been reposted with their permission.
Suddenly, it seems everybody, including President Obama, is talking about community colleges and their vital role in creating trained workers for American jobs in manufacturing, health services, education, and more. But Dr. Jill Biden, wife to Vice President Joe Biden, has known for years that community colleges provide a low-cost, high-quality education for millions of Americans. That’s because Biden has a front-row seat at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has taught English as an adjunct professor since 2009. Recently Biden, an educator with more than 30 years of experience, conversed with NEA Today on issues ranging from college accessibility to her summer reading list.
Q: When President Obama visited your campus (Northern Virginia Community College) in February, he told students, “The truth is that the skills and training you receive here will be the best tool you have to achieve the American Promise.” How is this true? What do you think your students aspire to – and how does the time that they spend in community college classrooms help them achieve those dreams?
Dr. Biden: For the last 18 years, I have seen firsthand the power of community colleges to change lives. I have welcomed students to my classroom from a wide variety of educational, economic, and cultural backgrounds, and I have seen how the community college system offers them the same path of opportunity.
I have students who attend classes on top of a full-time job. I teach moms who are juggling jobs and child care while preparing for new careers. I have many students working toward attending a four-year university.
Community colleges connect the dots – granting two-year degrees, providing new skills training and certification, and providing an affordable path for those who want to move on to a four-year university.
- Posted byon March 28, 2012 at 2:49 PM EDT
Dr. Jill Biden was at the Mercer County Community College in New Jersey this morning, the latest stop in her “Community College to Career” tour. Last month, Dr. Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis hit the road for a bus tour through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia where they visited community colleges that have formed innovative partnerships with local business leaders to train students with the skills they need to join the area workforce.
Employers today are looking for skilled, educated workers, and they should be able to find those workers right here in the United States. Adam Dalton, a machine shop instructor at the Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman, Tennessee, said that “I have people calling me every week saying ‘I need guys and gals with this skillset, and we need them now.’”
Secretary Solis said that community colleges are becoming more adept and more agile at listening to the needs of local businesses, and are helping pair trained workers who need jobs with the employers who are looking to hire.
- Posted byon March 27, 2012 at 7:39 PM EDT
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted a reception last night in honor of Women’s History Month to celebrate the history, accomplishments, and contributions of women across the spectrum of American life, from academia and science, business and labor, philanthropy and advocacy, athletics and the arts, to the military and government.
Speaking to a distinguished crowd of women (and some men) who are at the pinnacle of their careers, the Vice President applauded their courage and achievements over the last few decades, saying “you’ve empowered entire generations” of women. He continued, “I’ve learned it from Jill, I learned it from my sister, and I’ve learned from the over thousand hours of hearings we held in the Violence Against Women Act that the single most important thing that empowers young women is powerful women – powerful women.”
Dr. Biden praised the guests for their "courage, strength and resilience." In addition, she paid special tribute to several members of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Female Engagement Team, known as the FETs, who attended the reception. These women volunteer to join otherwise all-male Marine patrols in Afghanistan, where they build relationships with Afghan women – a population mostly off-limits to male troops – learn about the country’s culture, and support our battlefield operations in Afghanistan. To highlight the incredible work of FETs, the Vice President and Dr. Biden also installed this photo exhibit of Female Engagement Teams at work in Afghanistan on the walls of the Naval Observatory.