The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon October 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM EDT
Yesterday, Vice President Biden joined a Pentagon ceremony commemorating the achievements of the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle (MRAP) Task Force—the men and women who helped accelerate the production and fielding of protective vehicles to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, saving the lives of thousands of American service members.
An armored vehicle with a V-shaped hull, the MRAP was designed to deflect the explosion of road-side bombs (also known as Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs), which had accounted for 70 percent of our U.S. troops killed or wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the height of the Iraq war, U.S. field commanders submitted urgent requests to the Pentagon for MRAPs to protect their troops. Five years ago, then-Senator Biden helped lead a bipartisan Congressional effort that approved $23 billion to forward-fund MRAP purchases in order to accelerate production and deploy them to the field as fast as possible.
- Posted byon September 27, 2012 at 5:46 PM EDT
On Wednesday evening at the Naval Observatory, Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted their fourth annual reception in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which began on September 15 and continues through October 15. In the past and upcoming weeks, communities across the country will celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
We’re proud to serve Vice President Biden and this Administration, which has continued to push to “widen the circle of opportunity for the Hispanic community and keep the American dream within reach for all who seek it,” as President Obama said in his proclamation this year.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a Hispanic Heritage Month reception with Dr. Jill Biden and high school senior Ashley Guzman, at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C., September 26, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
- Posted byon September 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM EDT
On Wednesday, the Vice President and Dr. Biden hosted an “End of Summer BBQ” at the Vice President’s Residence with emerging young leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. They were joined by senior Obama Administration officials, leaders of national LGBT organizations, and campus and community leaders from all over the country.
Guests at the event represented tremendous diversity and talent within the LGBT community. They included students and community organizers, advocates and artists, and veterans – all committed to the pursuit of equality, justice, and dignity for LGBT people.
- Posted byon September 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM EDT
On Friday afternoon, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton were at Andrews Air Force Base for the Transfer of Remains Ceremony which marked the return to the United States of the remains of the four brave Americans who were killed this week in Benghazi, Libya.
At the solemn ceremony that honored the fallen diplomats - Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens -- President Obama paid tribute to four patriots who served their country and shared a “fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a little better than before.”
The President promised the families and colleagues of the fallen heroes that their sacrifice would never be forgotten. He also noted the outpouring of sympathy from the people of Libya, who called Ambassador Stevens a friend:
That’s the message these four patriots sent. That’s the message that each of you sends every day -- civilians, military -- to people in every corner of the world, that America is a friend, and that we care not just about our own country, not just about our own interests, but about theirs; that even as voices of suspicion and mistrust seek to divide countries and cultures from one another, the United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every person deserves, whatever their creed, whatever their faith.
That’s the essence of American leadership. That’s the spirit that sets us apart from other nations. This was their work in Benghazi, and this is the work we will carry on.
- Posted byon September 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President and his administration commemorated the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and addressed the attack on the American embassy in Libya. We also took the Rhodes Traveled for a look back at the meaning of honoring 9/11. That's September 7th to September 13th or "Eleven."
Tuesday, September 11th:
- Dr. Biden made an early visit to Fire Station #206 in Alexandria, VA, to thank the First Responders on the scene in the aftermath of the attacks on the Pentagon 11 years ago.
- White House staff were joined by President Obama and the First Lady for a moment of silence on the South Lawn at 8:46 am, the moment American Airlines Flight #11 struck the North Tower on September 11, 2001.
- The President and the First Lady traveled to the Pentagon for a wreath-laying ceremony with members of the military and Americans who lost a loved one in the attack on the Pentagon.
- The President and First Lady also visited Section 60, the area of Arlington National Cemetery, where fallen soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest.
- Vice President Biden was joined by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in Shanksville, PA, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, to honor the heroes of United Flight 93.
- The Vice President also met with family members of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, and joined them at the impact site for a moment of remembrance.
- Dr. Biden stopped by the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to wish World War II Veteran, Alyce Dixon one of the first women and one of the few African-American women to serve overseas in the European theatre, a happy 105th Birthday.
Wednesday, September 12th:
- The President and Secretary Clinton spoke about the tragic deaths of US Embassy staff in Benghazi, Libya.
- The President sat down with Steve Kroft of 60 minutes in the Blue Room, for an in-depth interview that will air later this month.
- Ben Rhodes hosted us for a look back at 9/11, for our latest installment of "The Rhodes Traveled."
- Posted byon August 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM EDT
As we wrap up our summer of interning in the Office of the Vice President, one highlight of our experience that really stands out was helping with the launch of the Vice President’s Public Service Announcement (PSA) that speaks out against dating violence.
In the PSA, President Obama, Vice President Biden, David Beckham, Jeremy Lin, Evan Longoria, Eli Manning, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Torre, and Andy Katz ask all men to step up, speak out, and help end the violence. The PSA is part of the 1 is 2 Many campaign the Vice President started last year, which seeks to raise awareness and end violence against women.
Advocates and athletes came to the White House to join the Vice President for the launch event on June 21. Many young people in the audience that day enthusiastically welcomed the PSA’s message. “I am so glad that there is a 1 is 2 Many campaign because I learned at the event that despite the decrease of domestic violence, teenage domestic violence is on the rise,” said Amber, 16, an advocate from Girls, Inc. who attended the announcement. We were so inspired by all of the young advocates joining with the 1 is 2 Many campaign that we decided the Vice President’s Office should hear their feedback on this important issue.
- Posted byon August 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM EDT
Saturday, Vice President Biden spoke with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at their 91st National Convention in Las Vegas.
The 1.2 million-member DAV is made up exclusively of men and women that have been wounded while defending the nation. This group is dedicated to one, single purpose – building better lives for all our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.
The Vice President thanked the men and women for their service and sacrifices and for continuing to serve by supporting their fellow disabled veterans. He also encouraged them to continue fighting for the benefits that they have earned, need and deserve.
During his address to a crowd of almost 4,000 disabled veterans, Vice President Biden stressed, “Let me be crystal, absolutely crystal clear: we’re going to keep our commitment to American veterans, no matter what happens.”
- Posted byon July 31, 2012 at 3:01 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This op-ed was first published by the McClatchy Newspapers.
I've spent a lot of years in Washington, and in the past, I had always found that even when partisanship was at its worst, there were still certain issues that rose above the normal course of politics. These days, unfortunately, even that precept is being challenged.
Protecting victims of domestic violence, an issue that has always enjoyed bipartisan support and should be well beyond debate, has become the center of one in Congress. And women across the nation are now at risk.
Let me explain what's happening:
In 1994, I wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which established several critical new protections: first, it provides law enforcement with new tools to prosecute domestic violence crimes and put offenders behind bars. Second, it helps victims find safe places to stay so they don't have to choose between living on the streets or living with someone who is hurting them. And third, it gives women a crisis hotline they can call when they need immediate help.
We've made a lot of progress as a nation since the act first became law. Annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. The national hotline has answered more than 2 million crisis calls, directing victims to life-saving assistance.
But make no mistake, this violence still happens every day.
We need to continue these programs and we need to add improvements. For example, we now know that new screening tools can help law enforcement and the courts reduce domestic violence homicide rates, helping them to step in before abuse becomes murder. Such tools might have saved Sarah Rosio, a 24-year-old Wisconsin woman who was strangled to death by her boyfriend after having been abused many times before her death. Two weeks before her death, Sarah was denied a protective order against her abuser. Sarah is gone now, tragically, but we can help others avoid her terrible fate.
To do so, Congress must make the protections in the Violence Against Women Act available to every person in this country who may ever need them. This simply cannot be up for debate in a civilized society like ours.
Every few years, the Violence Against Women Act needs to be reauthorized. And in the past, Congress has worked cooperatively to reauthorize, improve, and expand the reach of the law. Up until now.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed the bill, and they did it with both Democratic and Republican support. Unfortunately, the House did not follow this broadly bipartisan path; Republicans there passed a much weaker version of the bill. While the House bill contains some of the important provisions of the Senate bill, it lacks key improvements - like protecting more victims and requiring dating violence and sexual assault prevention programs on campus - and, in some cases, it actually rolls back current protections for victims of domestic violence.
Support for the Violence Against Women Act runs broad and deep. It includes law enforcement, prosecutors, victims' advocates, faith groups, and Democrats and Republicans alike. So this should be easy - and beyond politics. Instead, the clock is now running out for the more than 23,000 women who call our national domestic abuse hotline every month and for all women who may one day be the victims of violence.
Congress should pass the bipartisan version approved by the U.S. Senate.
I know there are fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans, and I don't expect those to disappear. But on this issue of basic decency, where there remains so much agreement between us, Republicans and Democrats ought to leave politics at the water's edge. Because women everywhere are counting on us, and they can't wait any longer.
- Posted byon July 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM EDT
In the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics, the USA men's basketball team last night played an exhibition game against Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.
President Obama was on hand, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden.
The Obamas and company watched Team USA take on a talented and experienced Brazil squad, also featuring multiple NBA starters. Led by 30 points, six rebounds, and four steals from LeBron James, the Americans forced 23 turnovers to capture an 80-69 win.
Earlier, the USA women's team routed their Brazilian counterparts, 99-67 -- led by 21 points from the three-time WNBA All Star Lindsay Whalen.
President Obama met with both teams to offer some words of encouragement before the players and coaches head to the United Kingdom to defend their gold medals. The Olympics start on July 28, and the First Lady will help to lead the U.S. delegation.
We managed to grab some behind the scenes video from the night. Check it out below.
Earlier, we talked with Alonzo Mourning, a gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Team USA, about the challenges this year's squad will face in London. Watch Alonzo Mourning talk about Team USA basketball.
- Posted byon July 16, 2012 at 6:52 PM EDT
Today, the Vice President spoke to more than 100 community leaders from across the country representing over 60 seniors groups that are part of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. He told the audience that when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, “the question is what are we going to do to strengthen and sustain these programs now and for the future.” In contrast, Congressional Republicans are trying to weaken or dismantle these programs.
Last year, Congressman Paul Ryan proposed to end traditional Medicare. His plan, which was embraced by his Republican colleagues, would give seniors a voucher to buy private insurance and hold them responsible for any costs that exceed the value of the voucher. As a result, the typical 65-year-old’s out-of-pocket health care costs would double over time. While Congressman Ryan introduced a revised plan this year, it still relies on a voucher system that would increase the financial burden on seniors.
President Obama and Vice President Biden want to strengthen Medicare and secure the program for the future. Our health care law extends the life of Medicare by eight years by taking smart steps like cutting waste and fraud and creating incentives to cut down on hospital readmissions. These steps will save seniors in traditional Medicare an average of $160 on premiums and copays in 2012 alone. In addition, the law has already saved 5.3 million seniors an average of $600 on prescription drugs by closing the “donut hole,” and has ensured that over 30 million have access to free preventive services like cancer screenings and annual wellness visits.