The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Improving Outcomes for Our Nation’s Foster Youth

    Watch on YouTube

    Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden, Valerie Jarrett, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack welcomed over 100 current and former foster youth from across the country to celebrate several new announcements aimed at improving the outcomes of youth in and aging out of care. As part of this effort, the White House hosted the stars and creators of the new movie Annie to highlight the issue of foster care.

    We know that in real life, we don’t have movie magic to make things better, which is why we’re working to help keep foster children safe and empowered through every challenge they face. And we also know that the experience of foster children in America ranges more broadly than could ever be captured on the silver screen. We hope yesterday evening’s event raises awareness about the issue of foster care and encourages more families to consider fostering or adopting.

    The President and all of those in his Administration believe in the basic bargain at the heart of the American story – that every child should have a fair chance at success. And that, no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to make it. But we know that sometimes, by no fault of their own, some kids are dealt a more difficult hand.

  • West Wing Week: 12/05/14 or, "Multiparameter Flow Cytometer"

    This week, the President got a head start on his Small Business Saturday shopping, took action to build trust between communities and local police, got a firsthand look at the ground-breaking scientific research behind the American-made Ebola vaccine candidate now in clinical trials, hosted the annual Tribal Nations Conference and the second-ever College Opportunity Summit, and last but not least, helped light the National Christmas Tree. That's November 28th to December 4th or, "Multiparameter Flow Cytometer.


  • College Opportunity Day of Action: Ensuring There’s No Limit to What We Can Achieve

    President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks During the White House College Opportunity Day of Action

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the White House College Opportunity Day of Action summit at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    The key to success in today’s economy is higher education, which is why expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong middle class.

    Earlier today, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and First Lady Michelle Obama joined college presidents and education leaders from around the country to announce 600 new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

    President Obama talked about how our higher education system is one of the things that makes America exceptional:

    There’s no place else that has the assets we do when it comes to higher education. People from all over the world aspire to come here and study here. And that is a good thing.

    America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free. We sent a generation to college. We cultivated the most educated workforce in the world. Along with our innovation mentality, our risk-taking, our entrepreneurial spirit, it was that foundation that we laid -- broad-based, mass education -- that drove our economy and separated us from the rest of the world.

  • West Wing Week 11/28/14 or, "We Need Turkey"

    This week, the President traveled to Las Vegas and Chicago to highlight the steps he is taking to reform our broken immigration system, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and delivered a statement on the Grand Jury's decision in Ferguson, while the Vice President and Dr. Biden visited Ukraine and Turkey. That's November 21st to November 27th or, "We Need Turkey."

  • Being Biden Vol. 17: Standing with Ukraine

    The audio series Being Biden is an opportunity for the Vice President to give you a window into his daily life, and share some of his most memorable experiences.

    In this episode, Vice President Biden talks about what it was like on his recent trip to Ukraine to visit a memorial that honored those who were killed during protests in Kyiv last year. The woman with the Vice President is reporter and activist Myroslava Gongadze, who lost her husband more than a decade ago because he spoke out against a then-undemocratic government. Today, she stands with those calling for a free, whole, and prosperous Ukraine. Listen to this edition of Being Biden:

  • Travel Journal of the Vice President’s Trip to Morocco, Ukraine, Turkey:

    Welcome to your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden’s three-country, five-day visit to Morocco, Ukraine, and Turkey.

    November 22-23, 2014   Vice President Biden Wraps Up His Trip in Turkey

    The Vice President wrapped up his three-country trip last week with a visit to Istanbul, Turkey.

  • The Most Tested Among Us: Vice President Biden Pays Tribute to Our Nation's Veterans

    Vice President Joe Biden Speaks at Arlington National Cemetery

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Veterans Day, in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. November 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    “As a nation, we have a lot of obligations -- to the young, to the old, to all the poor.  But there’s no obligation that is truly sacred other than the commitment to our veterans.”

    -- Vice President Joe Biden, November 11, 2014

    In American author John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden, a father describes to his son what it means to be a soldier: "A soldier is the most holy of all humans because he is the most tested."

    "Nearly all men are afraid," he continues. "They don’t even know what causes their fear -- shadows, perplexities, dangers without names or numbers, fear of a faceless death. But if you can bring yourself to face not shadows but real death, described and recognizable, by bullet or sabre, arrow or lance, then you need never be afraid again."

    Today, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery on behalf of a grateful nation, Vice President Joe Biden thanked America’s veterans – the most tested among us:

  • Email from Vice President Biden: "A Sacred Obligation"

    Earlier today, Vice President Biden sent this message to the White House email list in honor of Veterans Day. Didn't get it? Make sure you sign up for email updates here.

    Mike Erwin saw tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. And when he got home, he kept on serving.

    When he came home, he started a community service group. Because, despite everything that Mike had given to his country by serving overseas, he wanted to serve his country at home, as well. This morning on Veterans Day, I had the honor of welcoming Mike and a team of his fellow veterans to the White House -- where they presented a flag they had run across the United States in two months, starting on September 11, 2014.

    I've met countless members of our armed forces like Mike over the years. And no matter where or when they served, I am always humbled by their selfless commitment to our country. Our veterans represent the absolute best we have to offer.

    They are the heart and soul -- the very spine -- of this nation.

    As we give thanks to our veterans, we say thanks to the men and women still serving. Take a moment to thank our troops.

    Today, there are still thousands of warriors serving in harm's way. I know them. I've been with them. I've seen the incredible sacrifices they make every day for all of us.

    And just like the veterans of past wars, today's returning troops deserve our enduring gratitude.

    As my wife Jill points out, less than 1 percent of America's population serves in uniform, but more than 99 percent of Americans owe that 1 percent much more than we could ever repay. We owe them, and we owe their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, too.

    It's our sacred obligation to care for and equip those who we send to war, and care for them and their families when they come home.

    God bless America and may God protect our troops,

    Vice President Joe Biden

  • Vice President Biden: No One Who Works 40 Hours a Week Should Live in Poverty

    Vice President Joe Biden at L.A. Baking Company

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a minimum wage roundtable with Mayor Eric Garcetti, at the LA Baking Company, in Los Angeles, California. October 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    "No one in America should be working 40 hours a week and living below the poverty level. No one. No one."

    -- Vice President Biden, October 7, 2014

    Yesterday, Vice President Biden stopped by the L.A. Baking Company in Los Angeles to talk with Ron Ballesteros and other local business owners about the importance of raising the minimum wage.

    Ron Ballesteros was born in Nicaragua and moved to Los Angeles in 1978 where he opened up the L.A. Baking Company in 1991. Today, Mr. Ballesteros employs 27 people with starting salaries of approximately $9.50 per hour. He supports increasing the national minimum wage to $10.10 because he knows that paying a good wage is good for business.

    That's why many Members of Congress, business owners, governors, and mayors like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are fighting to give employees in their communities a raise. 

  • Vice President Biden at the Reopening of Joplin High School: “We Never Stop. And We Always Rebuild.”

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Joplin High School dedication ceremony

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Joplin High School dedication ceremony in Joplin, Missouri, October 3, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    The tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011 lasted 32 minutes and caused damage for 13 miles. At its widest point, the path of the tornado stretched a full mile. The EF5 Tornado — the most destructive on the Enhanced Fujita Scale — left a city nearly destroyed. More than 15,000 vehicles were carried away, nearly 7,000 homes were completely destroyed, and 161 people lost their lives.

    The destruction of Joplin High School took place just minutes after a graduation ceremony for seniors. The ceremony was held off campus, at Missouri Southern State University. When the tornado hit, around 150 people were still in the arena, and Dr. Kerry Sachetta, the high school principal, led those individuals into the basement. But others were already on the road or back in their homes. The tornado claimed the lives of seven students (including one of the graduates) and one high school staff member.

    Despite the destruction, Joplin’s citizens showed a tremendous resolve to rebuild, and through the efforts of volunteers, neighboring cities and states, the government, and most importantly, the people of Joplin themselves, the community has made a dramatic recovery.

    Last week, Vice President Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, returned to Joplin to celebrate the reopening of Joplin High School.