The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • President Obama Launches the "It's On Us" Campaign to End Sexual Assault on Campus

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    Today at the White House, President Obama joined Vice President Biden and Americans across the country to launch the “It’s On Us” initiative -- an awareness campaign to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. 

    It's On Us asks everyone -- men and women across America -- to make a personal commitment to step off the sidelines and be part of the solution to campus sexual assault. 

    "An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years -- one in five," the President noted. "Of those assaults, only 12 percent are reported, and of those reported assaults, only a fraction of the offenders are punished." 


  • Vice President Biden: "20 years ago today"

    Today, the following message was sent from Vice President Biden on the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to those signed up to receive updates from the White House.

    Didn't get the email? Make sure you're signed up to receive updates from the White House and senior Administration officials.


    Twenty years ago today, the Violence Against Women Act was signed into law. It remains my proudest legislative achievement -- but it didn't happen because of me.

    It happened because, at a time when kicking a woman in the stomach or pushing her down the stairs was not taken seriously as a crime -- and at a time when domestic violence against women was considered a "family affair" -- something remarkable happened.

    Incredibly brave and courageous women began speaking up.

    Women like Marla, a model whose face was slashed by two men because she'd refused her landlord's entrees, and who was questioned for 20 minutes during the trial about why she was wearing a miniskirt. As if she had asked for or welcomed this repugnant act of violence. Marla spoke out.

    Women like Christine, who was raped in a dorm room by a friend's boyfriend. Christine said she hadn't even known she'd been raped, because she'd known the man. But Christine added her voice.

    There were so many more. Women who had their arms broken with hammers and heads beaten with pipes, who were among the 21,000 women who were assaulted, raped, and murdered in a single week in America at the time.

    All of these women are victims. But they're also survivors.


  • Continuing the Conversation: VAWA at 20

    President Barack Obama signs S. 47, the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013,” March 7, 2013

    President Barack Obama signs S. 47, the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013,” (VAWA), which reauthorizes several Violence Against Women Act grant programs through FY 2018; and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 through FY 2017, in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the U.S. Department of Interior in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Today is the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  On Tuesday, I had the incredible privilege of attending a commemoration of this milestone held at the National Archives. During the program, I learned more about the history of VAWA – stories recounting the long road leading up to its passage, its victories and challenges over the years, and the lives it has and continues to change. One survivor vividly shared her account of abuse, near death, plans of escape, and eventual freedom from her husband’s victimization. 

    Vice President Biden then delivered a powerful address, using the lens of VAWA to chronicle our nation’s evolution surrounding the dialogue on domestic violence and our treatment of women and girls; how this kind of violence no longer represents a “family affair,” but rather behavior that should be exposed to the “sunlight” for the injustice that it is. While I was only in junior high when VAWA first emerged, now as a physician and advocate for women’s health, I recognize the positive impact VAWA has had on the patients and communities I serve. Nevertheless, since joining the Office of the Vice President as a White House Fellow, I am also quickly learning how much more we all still have to do.


  • "We Will Only Grow Stronger": President Obama Commemorates the 13th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks

    President Obama, Defense Secretary Hagel, and Gen. Martin Dempsey listen to the national anthem, Sept. 11, 2014

    President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listen to the national anthem during the September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va., Sept. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Thirteen years ago today, our nation was irrevocably changed by horrific acts of terror that took the lives of thousands of innocent people. Across the country, Americans pay tribute to their memories and honor all those who have made great sacrifices in service to our country. 

    At 8:46 a.m. ET this morning, the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden joined Americans in observing a moment of silence:


  • "Even One Case Is Too Many": Vice President Biden Marks the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

    Vice President Biden on the 20th Anniversary of VAWA

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks on the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, at the National Archives, in Washington, D.C. September 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Twenty years ago this week, President Clinton signed into law the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) -- a landmark law that empowered women and children to expose and prosecute domestic violence. The signing of the law marked the end of an arduous road to pass the legislation and put our society on the path toward effectively combating such heinous abuses. Vice President Joe Biden, then a U.S. Senator, not only authored VAWA, but helped drive it through Congress and deliver it to the President's desk. 

    Today, standing in front of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives, Vice President Biden reflected on how far we've come in our ability -- and willingness -- to address domestic violence:

    Even just 20 years ago, few people wanted to talk about violence against women as a national epidemic, let alone something to do something about. No one even back then denied that kicking your wife in the stomach, or smashing her in the face, or pushing her down the stairs in public was repugnant. But our society basically turned a blind eye. And hardly anyone ever intervened, directly intervened -- other than my father and a few other people I knew.

    And no one -- virtually no one called it a crime. It was a family affair. It was a family affair. Laws -- state laws when we attempted at a state or a federal level to design laws to prevent actions that were said that we now are celebrating, we were told, I was told, many of us were told that it would cause the disintegration of the family. That was the phrase used. It would cause the disintegration of the family.

    "This was the ugliest form of violence that exists," he said, and though many wanted to see these crimes remain hidden in the shadows, the Vice President was committed to bringing them out into the light. "We had to let the nation know," he said, "because I was absolutely convinced -- and remain absolutely convinced -- in the basic decency of the American people, and that if they knew, they would begin to demand change."


    "The only way to change this culture was to expose it . . . the best disinfectant is sunlight."



  • Weekly Address: Time to Give the Middle Class a Chance

    Vice President Biden Delivers the Weekly Address

    Vice President Joe Biden tapes the Weekly Address in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Sept. 5, 2014. September 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the Vice President discusses our continued economic recovery, with 10 million private sector jobs created over 54 straight months of job creation. Yet even with this good news, too many Americans are still not seeing the effects of our recovery.

    As the Vice President explains, there’s more that can be done to continue to bolster our economy and ensure that middle class families benefit from the growth they helped create, including closing tax loopholes, expanding education opportunities, and raising the minimum wage.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • The President and Vice President Meet the Nation's Oldest Living Female Veteran:

    At 108 years old, Lucy Coffey, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps in World War II, is the nation's oldest living female veteran.

    Last month, a dream of hers came true when she finally had the opportunity to visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. But while she was in the area, she also stopped by the White House — where she was greeted by none other than President Obama and Vice President Biden. 

    Watch the video below — we're sure it will make your day:

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  • Vice President Biden Congratulates Winners of National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the 2014 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Champions

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the 2014 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Champions from the University of Central Florida, in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., August 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Yesterday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the University of Central Florida’s cyber defense team to the White House to congratulate them on their victory in the 2014 National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Beating out more than 2,000 students from over 180 schools, the Central Florida team members demonstrated their ability to protect complex networks from skilled cyber criminals.

    Joined by the Director of the Secret Service, the President’s Cyber Coordinator, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Director for National Security and International Affairs, the Vice President underscored the vital national security and economic need to prepare Americans for jobs in cybersecurity.


  • The Vice President Swears In Julián Castro as New HUD Secretary

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Julian Castro as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Julian Castro as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House, August 18, 2014. Also pictured are Secretary Castro's wife Erica, and daughter Carina. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Biden ceremonially swore in former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

    Secretary Castro -- who was confirmed by the Senate last month in a 71-26 vote -- made significant progress in San Antonio and implemented a number of housing and economic development programs to help the city's residents. In a statement last month, President Obama called Secretary Castro "a proven leader -- a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods."

    The President also voiced his confidence that Secretary Castro will work in his new role to "build on the progress we've made battling back from the Great Recession" -- rebuilding America's housing market, reducing veteran homelessness, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and jobs that help Americans succeed.


  • President Obama Speaks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    This afternoon, President Obama spoke to a crowd that included 50 African leaders, at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C. The Business Forum is part of the historic three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which is the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, and builds on the President's trip to Africa in 2013. 

    The summit is an opportunity for the President to illustrate his approach to Africa. As he said at today's Business Forum, even as Africa continues to face many challenges — disease, poverty, violence, and hunger — there are many signs that a new Africa is emerging:

    Some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.  A growing middle class.  Expanding sectors like manufacturing and retail.  One of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world.  More governments are reforming, attracting a record level of foreign investment.  It is the youngest and fastest-growing continent, with young people that are full of dreams and ambition.

    As Africa experiences continued growth, the President made it clear that America will be a partner in its success — "a good partner, an equal partner, and a partner for the long term."