The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Vice President Biden Discusses the U.S. Economy While in India

    This morning, in advance of President Obama's major economic address, Vice President Biden delivered remarks in Mumbai, India where he discussed how America’s partnership with India could improve the economies of both nations.

    The speech, at the Bombay Stock Exchange, was part of the administration’s effort to focus attention on the progress our economy has made in the past several years, and the work we must do going forward to build on that progress.

    The Vice President began by speaking to the enduring strengths of the U.S. economy. "We are in the midst of the biggest increase in domestic manufacturing in nearly 20 years. The foundations of our economy are stronger than ever. The best research universities in the world and the most vibrant startups. The world’s most innovative companies. A hundred-year reserve of natural gas."

    He noted that America’s interests at home were similar to India’s.

    “Today…President Obama is going to be giving a major speech outlining the top priority for the Obama-Biden administration,” he explained. “And it’s straightforward and simple: how do we continue to shore up America’s future and the foundations of middle class life in America with good-paying jobs, affordable health care, housing, education, and the dignity of retirement?”

    Similarly, he pointed out, “India’s top priority is to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty to join the middle class.”


  • Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement Leaders, Urging Passage of Immigration Reform

    Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement on Immigration Reform

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with members of the Law Enforcement Community to discuss immigration reform, in the Vice President's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., July 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On Friday, Vice President Biden met with law enforcement leaders from across the country to discuss the impact that our broken immigration system is having on local communities. The meeting was an opportunity to hear directly from the law enforcement officials about the importance of immigration reform from a local law enforcement perspective.

    The Vice President noted that the Senate’s immigration bill would build on significant progress already achieved in securing the border in recent years – among the commendable successes he included the historic decline in border crossings, crime reduction in border states, and an increase of Border Patrol agents along the southwest border. In particular, he pointed out that the Senate bill would dedicate $46 billion to strengthening border security and provide resources for border agents to focus on human and drug trafficking and other transnational criminals.

    However, the Vice President stressed that immigration reform is not just a border issue; this is a public safety issue writ large, a view echoed by participants in the meeting and the participants in the meeting echoed this view.  Passing immigration reform, he explained, will encourage undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows by providing a path to earned citizenship for those who register, pay a fee, pay their taxes, and pass criminal background and national security checks.  It will also allow law enforcement to focus on catching criminals and keeping neighborhoods safe while strengthening trust between local police and the diverse communities they serve and protect.  Without the fear of deportation, immigrant communities will feel safer and more empowered to report crimes and cooperate with the police.  This is particularly important for victims of domestic violence and for victims and witnesses of crimes. 

    The Vice President concluded the meeting by reiterating that the House of Representatives must join the Senate in taking urgent action to fix our broken immigration system.


  • Vice President Biden and Indian Leaders Discuss U.S.-India Engagement

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, at Panchavati, in New Delhi, India, July 23, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On his second day in New Delhi, Vice President Biden met with Indian leaders to discuss the increasingly important bilateral relationship between our two countries.

    In meetings with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and others, Vice President Biden emphasized a range of opportunities for our countries to work more closely together on issues such as economic growth, trade, energy and climate change, security and investments in innovation and education.

    In the evening, the Vice President discussed the importance of the U.S.-India relationship at a dinner hosted by Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.


  • In New Delhi, Vice President Biden Tours Gandhi Smriti

    Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden arrived in New Delhi today, the first stop on a six-day trip to India and Singapore.

    This trip is an important opportunity to strengthen our partnerships within the region and reaffirm our commitment to rebalancing U.S. foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific. Over the next several days, the Vice President will meet with leaders in both countries to discuss a range of issues, from economic growth to energy and climate change to security. 

    Ahead of series of meetings in New Delhi, the Vice President and Dr. Biden had the opportunity to meet with Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter and tour the building where Gandhi spent the last years of his life, which is now the Gandhi Smriti museum. To learn more about their visit, check out the video below or watch here.

    For more updates from the trip, check back on whitehouse.gov and follow the Vice President on Twitter at @VP.


  • Vice President Biden Discusses U.S. Engagement with the Asia-Pacific Region

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on U.S. policy towards the Asia-Pacific region

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on U.S. policy towards the Asia-Pacific region, in the Jack Morton Auditorium at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., July 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden discussed the Administration’s elevated engagement in the Asia-Pacific region during a speech at George Washington University, sponsored by the Center for American Progress. Citing the potential for strengthened alliances, institutions and partnerships, the Vice President emphasized an “absolute commitment” to the Asia-Pacific region.

    “We want to hasten the emergence of an Asian-Pacific order that delivers security and prosperity for all the nations involved. We want to help lead in creating 21st century rules of the road that will benefit not only the United States, and the region, but the world as a whole.”

    Vice President Biden called relations with China as “a healthy mix of competition and cooperation,” and urged China to shift to a more consumer-driven economy. He emphasized the importance of institutions like ASEAN in providing stability and security, as well as their role in fighting climate change. 

    “That’s why we’re working with ASEAN to promote investment in clean energy and why we’re helping Pacific island nations mitigate the effects of rising sea levels. We just concluded an agreement with China to reduce the use of pollutants called HFCs that cause climate change. And there’s no reason we cannot do more with India as well.”


  • West Wing Week: 07/12/13 or “Bring it On Brussels Sprout Wrap!”

    This week, the White House hosted the second Annual Kids' State Dinner, while the President laid out his vision for building a better, smarter, faster government, awarded the 2012 National Medals of Arts and Humanities, met with the Congressional Black and Congressional Hispanic Caucuses, and honored the Washington Kastles and the 1963 Ramblers.


  • Vice President Biden Honors Fallen Firefighters in Arizona

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a memorial service for the 19 firefighters who died while fighting the Yarnell Wildfire,

    Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a memorial service for the 19 firefighters who died while fighting the Yarnell Wildfire, in Prescott Valley, Arizona, July 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Vice President Biden traveled to Prescott Valley, Arizona yesterday to deliver remarks at a memorial service for the nineteen firefighters who died last week fighting the Yarnell Hill fire. The Vice President honored the firefighters, calling them “heroes long before we knew their names.”

    We teach our children that these qualities – courage and resolve and perseverance – these qualities are ingrained in our national character as Americans. And I believe they are.  I believe they animate our national identity.  And I believe America will continue to be defined by the example of the 19 ordinary men who did extraordinary things.”


  • Fair Labor Standards Act Anniversary Reminds Us Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage

    Watch this video on YouTube

    In his State of the Union, President Obama laid out a simple principle: “in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.” Today, we came together with Vice President Biden to commemorate an important milestone in upholding that principle – the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act – while making clear what we still need to do to make it a reality.

    We can thank the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt, for several of the most important protections in place for workers today. The FLSA created the minimum wage, put in place restrictions on child labor, and required that when employees work more than a standard workweek, they get paid overtime.

    But a look back at history also serves as a call to action. Over the past three decades, the minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation – eroding its value for working families. A full-time worker making the minimum wage now earns only $14,500 a year – leaving a family with two kids below the poverty line even once tax credits are taken into account. That’s why in February, President Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage – including for tipped workers – bring it back to the value it had at the beginning of the Reagan Administration, and permanently index it to inflation. 

    Today, we heard from workers making the minimum wage from across the country – from a call center worker from Indiana to a valet attendant from Denver  – who spoke about how important a minimum wage increase can be for their families. As President Obama has said, for these families, a minimum wage increase “could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead.” Indeed, for a typical working family making $20,000 to $30,000 a year, a minimum wage increase could provide enough to cover six months of housing or their entire budget for groceries in a year. What we also heard from these workers is that they are proud of their work – and they want the dignity that comes with supporting their families with their work.


  • Vice President Biden: The Fight to Reduce Gun Violence Is Far From Over

    A little more than six months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Vice President Biden said yesterday that he and President Obama have not given up the fight to reduce gun violence.

    In January, the Vice President said, “the President and I stood in this very room, joined by the victims of gun violence, parents, teachers, members of law enforcement, and many others, as we made a simple promise to the American people. We said we will do everything that we can, everything in our power to reduce gun violence in this country."

    And although a minority of the Senate voted down common-sense legislation that would keep our kids and communities safer, President Obama has "moved forward on what was within his power, what executive actions he could take," the Vice President explained. "Today, I can report that he announced 23 executive actions; 21 of them have been completed or there has been major progress made toward the total completion and that we’re on track to finish the job."


  • West Wing Week: 06/07/13 or “Cooler at Night"

    This week, the President urged Congress not to let student loan rates double and to confirm three judges for the federal appeals court in Washington, held bilateral meetings with the NATO Secretary-General and the President of Chile, kicked off a National Conference on Mental Health, honored the Super Bowl champions, and announced a major new initiative called ConnectED, while the Vice President wrapped up a weeklong trip to South America. That's May 31st to June 6th or, "Cooler at Night."