The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Vice President Biden Visits the National Domestic Violence Hotline

    Yesterday, Vice President Biden visited the National Domestic Violence Hotline to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

    Vice President Biden created the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 (VAWA) and has long championed the cause of ending domestic violence. The Vice President was accompanied by actress Mariska Hargitay, a key advocate working against abuse.  Together Vice President Biden and Mariska toured the Hotline, met with frontline advocates, and observed these life-saving services in action.

    Vice President Joe Biden and Mariska Hargitay watch as an advocate demonstrates the new web chat feature, at the National Domestic Violence Hotline

    Vice President Joe Biden and Mariska Hargitay watch as an advocate demonstrates the new web chat feature, at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, in Austin, Texas, Oct. 30, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    The Hotline -- which provides around the clock services in 170 languages -- answered its 3 millionth call this summer. Today, the Hotline receives an average of 22,000 calls a month, and serves as a critical lifeline for women and men experiencing violence. The Hotline can connect callers directly to domestic violence shelters, help victims find legal services, and provide the comfort and support needed in a time of crisis. The Vice President announced the Hotline’s expansion to new digital services that will allow victims and survivors to reach out for help through online chatting. This new service helps survivors reach out for help in the way they feel the most comfortable.  One chatter said: “I feel so much better now…I wish everyone knew about you.” We hope that because of the Vice President’s visit, more women will reach out for help online. Visit www.thehotline.org for more information.

    Vice President Biden also announced a grant of $500,000 from the Department of Justice for the National Dating Abuse Helpline, also operated by the Hotline. The Helpline is geared towards teens and young adults, and is available 24/7 by text, chat, and phone.  Two years ago, the Vice President kicked off the Helpline’s text messaging services, and last year, the Helpline was contacted by nearly 40,000 teens and young adults seeking information and support. During his visit, the Vice President met with the peer advocates working on the Helpline, and thanked them for their incredible work.


  • Vice President Biden Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act

    Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Wednesday evening as part of The Kennedy Forum’s event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act.

    The Vice President was there to reaffirm the Administration’s commitment to increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatments, eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness, and supporting research to better understand the functioning of the human brain.

    He highlighted a recent proposal by the Obama Administration to dedicate $100 million to jump start an initiative to map the human brain.

    “It’s truly amazing what we don’t know, and it’s even more astounding what we might learn.”

    The Vice President also stressed the need for continuing a national effort to eliminate stigma surrounding mental illness:

    “There are treatments and therapies available to help those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse that go unused. Too many people in this country still suffer silently. Too many mental health problems, for which there are treatments, are left untreated.”


  • West Wing Week 10/18/13 or, "The Shutdown Edition: The End"

    This week, the government shutdown came to an end, and the nation averted default. That's October 11th to October 17th or "The Shutdown Edition: The End"


  • Vice President Biden Welcomes EPA Employees Back to Work

    With government back open for business this morning, Vice President Biden stopped by the Environmental Protection Agency to greet employees as they returned to work. 

    Watch the video here:


  • Vice President Biden Tours Flood-Affected Areas in Colorado

    Watch on YouTube

    On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Colorado to view damage from the recent flooding and survey recovery efforts.

    Severe storms and heavy rains that started around September 11 dumped a record-setting 10 to 18 inches of rain in parts of northern and central Colorado, causing widespread flooding, landslides and mudslides across a wide swath of the state .

    Vice President Joe Biden does an aerial tour of the flood damage with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

    Vice President Joe Biden does an aerial tour of the flood damage with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper over Greeley, Colorado, Sept. 23, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    On September 12, President Obama signed an Emergency Declaration that provided direct federal assistance to three affected counties. This Declaration was later extended to 12 additional counties impacted by the flooding.  Additionally, the President declared a major disaster in the state of Colorado which authorized federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts as well as provide Individual and Public Assistance.

    “When President Obama issued the disaster declaration for the state, as you all know, that provided additional assistance -- everything from cleaning up debris to helping people with their housing costs to boots on the ground that are providing technical assistance and helping the search and rescue,” the Vice President said.

    In addition “FEMA is able to provide temporary housing, home repair that’s not covered by your insurance, medical expenses, transportation needs, moving and storage and other support for those directly impacted,” he said.


  • Honoring Our Wounded Warriors on September 11th

    Last night, Joe and I had the tremendous honor of hosting Wounded Warriors and their families from Walter Reed, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Meade at our home for a barbecue. I can think of no better way to commemorate the solemn anniversary of September 11, 2001 than by spending time with these incredible men and women who stepped up to serve our nation.

    Vice President Joe Biden watches First Lieutenant Jason Church as he hits a birdieball

    Vice President Joe Biden watches First Lieutenant Jason Church as he hits a birdieball, during a barbecue for Wounded Warriors and their families, at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

     

    As Joe said, their generation is “the most remarkable in the history of this country.” I could not agree more. Since September 11, 2001, more than 3.5 million men and women have volunteered to serve in the military, including more than a third who have deployed multiple times.

    I have many roles: Second Lady, teacher, grandmother, but one that I am most proud of is that of a military mom. Our son Beau served for a year in Iraq and our son Hunter is an ensign in the Navy. We understand that we are indebted not only to those that serve in uniform, but also to their families, who also serve in so many ways.

    That’s one reason First Lady Michelle Obama and I have spent the last few years working on our Joining Forces initiative, to find ways for all Americans to support our service men and women and their families. We have been inspired by the many ways community groups, businesses, teachers, doctors, nurses, and individuals have stepped up to help.

    Dr. Jill Biden chats with attendees during a barbecue

    Dr. Jill Biden chats with attendees during a barbecue that she and Vice President Joe Biden hosted for Wounded Warriors and their families, at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Less than one percent of the American population has served. But the other 99 percent of us owe them, and their families. As Joe said, our “admiration for you is beyond my ability to express.”


  • Remembering September 11th

    Today, we honor those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.

    At 8:46 AM, the time that the first plane struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center, President Obama was joined by the Vice President, the First Lady, Dr. Biden, and White House staff on the South Lawn to observe a moment of silence.

    Later that morning, the President, Defense Secretary Hagel, and other military officials attended the September 11th Observance ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington. The President laid a wreath at the Zero Age Line and observed a moment of silence at 9:37 to honor the victims of the attack at the Pentagon.

    President Obama then delivered remarks to families of the victims, also honoring the four Americans who lost their lives a year ago today in Benghazi.

    They left this Earth. They slipped from our grasp.  But it was written, “What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.”  What your families lost in the temporal, in the here and now, is now eternal. The pride that you carry in your hearts, the love that will never die, your loved ones’ everlasting place in America’s heart. 

    Pres Obama, Sec. Hagel and Gen. Dempsey at 9/11 Pentagon ceremony

    President Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and General Dempsey attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Read the President's full remarks from the September 11th Observance Ceremony

    Later this afternoon, President Obama also participated in a service opportunity with Food & Friends, a Washington-area organization that provides freshly-prepared meals to people living with life-challenging illnesses.


  • Bigger, Busier Port of Baltimore Means More Good Jobs

    Ed. Note: This blog post was originally published by the Department of Transportation

    At the Department of Transportation, we know firsthand the role transportation plays in moving our economy forward. And that’s literally what takes place at the Port of Baltimore every day.

    Moving cargo is the lifeblood of our economy. And our ports are essential to growing our nation's exports.

    That’s why, yesterday, I joined Vice President Biden to announce a $10 million DOT TIGER grant for the port that will expand a busy terminal and allow the deepening of a key navigation channel to proceed.

    Together, these improvements will increase efficiency at the Port, reduce shipping costs for auto exporters; and allow shippers to take advantage of the new, larger container ships that will soon be coming through the expanded Panama Canal.  As the Vice President said, "If we make it in America ... we’ve got to be able to ship it around the world."


  • Vice President Biden Swears in ATF Director, Announces Two New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Todd Jones as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Todd Jones as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, Aug. 29, 2013. Also pictured are Jones' wife Margaret and son Anthony. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, President Obama and Vice President Biden remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make our communities safer.

    Today, as part of that commitment, Vice President Biden swore in B. Todd Jones as the first permanent Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in seven years.  As the Vice President said, “ATF is the key agency enforcing our gun laws, and they need a permanent director in order to do that and to do the job to the best of their ability.” The Vice President was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole. 

    The Vice President also announced two new executive actions, building on the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan he and the President laid out on January 16, 2013.

    First, ATF is closing a loophole that has allowed machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons to get into the wrong hands. This loophole allows prospective buyers to license these weapons to shell corporations, which lets them bypass a required background check.  ATF is proposing a rule to change that, requiring anyone associated with those corporations to go through the very same kind of background check process.  Closing this loophole will make a difference—last year alone, there were more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.


  • Being Biden: Remembering Father Roberto Balducelli

    "Every once and a while someone comes along in a community that literally transforms a communityand that's exactly what Father Roberto Balducelli did," said the Vice President in the latest edition of Being Biden. 'Father Roberto' passed away last week, on the eve of his 100th birthday. The Vice President was among the hundreds who gathered at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington to remember Balducelli's life.

    The Vice President wanted to share his story with you — take a listen.

    Sign up to receive email updates when new stories posted.