The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon January 16, 2013 at 2:57 PM EDT
President Obama today announced a series of sweeping reforms that will help curb gun violence in our nation.
In front of a crowd that included victims of gun violence, families who lost loved ones to gun violence, elected officials, and school children who had written letters asking him to do something to prevent more senseless massacres like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the President introduced a comprehensive proposal that will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and will give law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence, and keep our children safe.
“This is our first task as a society,” the President said. “This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.”
These actions are the result of the effort led by Vice President Joe Biden and members of the Cabinet to come up with concrete steps that we can take right now to keep our children safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country.
The President acknowledged that implementing some of these changes will be difficult, but vowed to make it a priority: “I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence – if even one life can be saved – we have an obligation to try.”
- Posted byon January 11, 2013 at 1:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President nominated a bipartisan slate of leaders to key administration jobs and the Vice President met with a wide array of organizations to talk about efforts to reduce gun violence.
- Posted byon January 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM EDT
Right now, Vice President Biden is leading an effort to develop a new set of policies to reduce gun violence and prevent tragedies like the shooting in Newtown Conn.
Yesterday, as part of that work, the Vice President met with victims’ groups and gun safety organizations at the White House.
Following those meetings, the Vice President held conference calls with governors of both parties, and state and local elected leaders from across the United States. The Vice President listened to the unique perspectives of all the participants, and solicited their ideas and input on how to curb gun violence in this country. During the call, Mr. Biden reiterated the Administration’s commitment to this urgent issue and stressed that the problem requires immediate action.
Today, Vice President Biden will hold meetings with advocates for sportsmen and women and gun ownership groups. He will meet with representatives of the entertainment and video game industries this week as well.
- Posted byon January 4, 2013 at 3:55 PM EDT
The White House photo team has a front row view for all the events — both big and small — that take place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as well as on the road with the President, the Vice President and the First Family.
Each January, Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office, selects his favorite images from the past twelve months, and now, we're sharing them with you. Featuring exclusive perspectives of everything from Presidential trips and events to private moments between President Obama and his family, his staff and American citizens, this collection offers a unique view of 2012.
- Posted byon December 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM EDT
Five days after the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama said that he is committed to reducing the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country every single day.
At a press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, the President announced that Vice President Joe Biden will lead a new initiative that has been tasked with identifying concrete proposals for real reform by January. The Vice President, who wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime and included the assault weapons ban, will work with members of the Cabinet and outside organizations on this effort, and President Obama urged the new Congress to hold votes on the proposals early next year:
The good news is there’s already a growing consensus for us to build from. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.
- Posted byon December 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM EDT
On Saturday, the attention of the college football world was focused on the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, and Vice President Joe Biden was on hand to witness an instant classic.
The Army team, losers in the series in each contest since 2001, led for much of the second half, and controlled the ball late, deep in Navy territory.
Then a botched handoff between Army quarterback Trent Steelman and fullback Larry Dixon led to a fumble, which the Midshipmen recovered.
That mistake would deliver the win for Navy -- their 57th in this storied rivalry. As victors, they'll take home the Commander-in-Chief trophy, which will spend the next year on display in Bancroft Hall in Annapolis.
After the game, Vice President Biden talked about what it meant to meet the players -- whom he described as members "of the greatest generation of young people, maybe ever."
- Posted byon December 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM EDT
On Friday afternoon, seven middle-class Americans with a personal stake in Washington’s “fiscal cliff” debate sat down with the Vice President at the Metro 29 Diner in Arlington, Virginia. Should Congress fail to extend tax cuts for middle-class families by the end of this year, a typical American household’s taxes would go up by over $2,000. Friday’s lunch gave several concerned Americans the chance explain how this would impact them.
Though they hailed from seven different cities and brought distinct stories to the table, the Vice President’s dining companions shared an understanding that $2,000 is too much to lose. Fernando Garabito, a naturalized citizen from Colombia, has a wife who recently lost her job and two sons in school. With $200 less per month, Garabito would have a hard time paying his bills and providing for his family’s basic needs.
Bob Hage, a small business owner from Pennington, New Jersey, is the father of three children, two of whom have severe developmental disabilities. A $2,000 increase in taxes would force him and his wife, Odette, to choose between making ends meet and financing their children’s crucial speech therapy sessions.
- Posted byon November 29, 2012 at 4:31 PM EDT
Today, Vice President Joe Biden visited a newly opened Costco in Washington, DC. After picking out a few Christmas gifts and other items, he talked about the importance of extending tax cuts for middle-class families.
“All the people you meet in here today and you see, these are hardworking folks who don't need to see their taxes go up,” he said.
But, if Congress doesn’t take action before the end of the year, the typical middle-class family will pay about $2,200 more in taxes starting in 2013.
“And so I think it’s important Congress acts now -- I mean right now,” Vice President Biden said. “All it has to do is take a single vote to extend the middle-class tax cut.”
- Posted byon November 20, 2012 at 1:15 PM EDT
On Sunday, Vice President Biden traveled to the New Jersey Shore and the City of Hoboken to personally survey the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and meet with first responders on post-storm response and recovery efforts. The trip began with a helicopter flight along the shoreline of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to provide the Vice President an overhead view of the destruction Sandy brought to the North Barrier Islands. He was joined by Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Jon Runyan, and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.
Once he landed, the Vice President received briefings at the Seaside Heights City Hall and Volunteer Fire Department by Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies, Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers of Ocean County Freeholder John Bartlett, Jr, Seaside Heights Fire Chief James Samarelli and Police Chief Thomas Boyd. Vice President Biden had the opportunity to meet and thank local first responders, many of whom had also lost their own homes during the storm.
While the Vice President found the briefings to be very informative, putting boots in the sand was key to getting a full appreciation of the conditions on the island. As Vice President Biden surveyed the beach at Seaside Park, he was able to see first-hand how an “engineered” beach can diffuse the impact of storm surge waves, better protecting homes and businesses close to the shore. Representatives from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discussed the range of federal programs available to address damage to public beaches.
- Posted byon November 14, 2012 at 5:43 PM EDT
On Tuesday afternoon, for the fourth year, the White House celebrated Diwali, a holiday observed annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhist throughout India and across the world. Known as the “festival of lights,” Diwali offers time for both reflection and celebration. Its stories and rituals focus on the triumph of light over darkness and compassion over hatred. The day signifies the renewal of life and the promise of prosperity for the year to come.