The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • The Vice President and Dr. Biden Visit U.S. Vets in Las Vegas

    On Tuesday, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden visited the Las Vegas branch of the non-profit United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets). With a mission to help homeless and at-risk veterans find jobs, U.S. Vets provides comprehensive support that includes housing, counseling, and career development programs. The Las Vegas group alone works with more than 160 veterans every day.   

    At the organization’s career center, the Vice President and Dr. Biden joined a life skills workshop, where they met with veterans who are either currently working or searching for work.

  • Vice President Discusses College Affordability with College and University Officials

    Vice President Joe Biden holds a meeting on transparency in college costs (June 5, 2012)

    Vice President Joe Biden holds a meeting on transparency in college costs with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and college presidents, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, June 5, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Vice President Biden met with the presidents and senior officials of ten colleges, universities, and state systems of higher education from across the country to discuss the importance of providing students and families with transparent information about the cost of attendance and financial aid. Secretary Duncan, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz also participated in the discussion.

    Post-secondary education is a valuable investment – more than 60 percent of new jobs in the next decade will require a credential beyond a high school diploma. But before settling on a school and signing any loan agreements, students and their families need easy-to-understand information regarding how they will finance their education. Colleges and universities already provide some statistics about the cost of attendance and available financial aid, but that information is often not clearly presented to students and their families in a way that facilitates easy comparison among schools. Further, schools usually do not provide important information including an estimate of students’ future loan payments, or data about the likelihood of graduation or loan default.

  • Vice President Biden at West Point

    • Vice President Joe Biden Arrives at Military Academy

      Cadets from the class of 2012 line the road as Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade pulls in, the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    • Female Cadet sits in Front row at Commencement

      A female cadet sits in the front row at the 2012 commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden Delivers the Commencement

      Vice President Joe Biden delivers the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden Delivers Diplomas

      Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands and delivers diplomas during commencement ceremonies at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    • Hats in the Air

      Newly commissioned 2nd lieutenants throw their hats in the air during the 2012 commencement at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    • Exuberance

      Newly commissioned 2nd lieutenants hug after the 2012 commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    Last weekend, Vice President Biden delivered the commencement address to the graduating seniors at U.S. Military Academy.

    He told the Class of 2012 that they are joining a proud tradition:

    West Point has prepared you to lead us to face these new challenges, some of which we have yet to even contemplate, let alone encounter.  Because as I said at the start, you are not only strong and committed, you are also some of our nation’s sharpest minds, with the training to take today’s missions -- counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, training foreign armies -- and the minds to adapt to tomorrow’s horizons, from cyberspace to outer space.

    There is such a proud history here. Such a proud tradition. And I have no doubt that many of you in this class are not only going to make extraordinary contributions to the military but also to civilian life because West Point is in the business of producing -- not only great officers –- it produces great leaders and great Americans.

    As President Theodore Roosevelt said, upon West Point’s Centennial, 110 years ago next month, he said: “Your duty here at West Point has been to fit men to do well in war.  But it is a noteworthy fact that you also have fitted them to do singularly well in peace. The highest positions in the land have been held, not exceptionally, but again and again by West Pointers.” West Pointers who have risen to the first rank in all occupations of civilian life.

    Were he here today he’d only alter that quote slightly –- young men and women are prepared to do that. 

    Read the Vice President's full remarks here.


  • America Remembers

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden address the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (May 25, 2012)

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden address the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar in Arlington, Virginia, May 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    My husband Joe and I spent the morning with some of our nation’s bravest heroes -- kids, spouses and parents who have lost loved ones who have served in the military.
    We were honored to kick off the 18th annual Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors. TAPS is a national nonprofit organization providing care to families of the fallen, including peer emotional support, grief and trauma resources and information, casualty casework assistance and crisis intervention, for all those affected by the death of a loved one who served in the military.

    This weekend, TAPS will help children and families of fallen service members build relationships that will last a lifetime. They will bond over their shared experiences, support one another, learn ways to cope with their grief, and also have a little fun touring our Nation’s capital.  The camp is really making a difference in the lives of the children who attend – many of whom come back year after year, and some go on to become counselors themselves.  I met a teenager who lost his father when he was nine, and this weekend he is attending the camp for the fifth time. He is heading off to college in the fall, and I am certain he will continue to inspire and support people he meets throughout his life.  

    These families have endured so much – and yet they are pillars of strength that inspire us all.  The months and years ahead will not be easy for them, and some days will be better than others.  But they have one very important thing to help get them through – the military family.  And as an Army mom, I know that means they will never be alone.  It is my hope that on Memorial Day – and every day – these families will know that our entire Nation mourns alongside them, and that we will never forget their loved ones.

    Dr. Jill Biden greets children at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar (May 25, 2012)

    Dr. Jill Biden greets children at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar & Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors in Arlington, Virginia, May 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

  • The President and Vice President's 2011 Financial Disclosure Forms

    Today, the President and Vice President released their 2011 financial disclosure reports. 

    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials. Those finances are set forth in annual disclosures which are reviewed and certified by ethics officials.  Neither the President nor the Vice President have any conflicts of interest, and their reports have been reviewed and certified by the independent Office of Government Ethics. We are continuing this Administration's practice of posting these forms online here in the interests of transparency:

    White House staff are also completing their forms and we anticipate they will be available here next month, also in electronic form.

  • President Obama & Vice President Biden Honor the Nations TOP COPS

    President Obama TOP COPS 2012

    President Barack Obama greets 2012 National Association of Police Organizations Top Cops honorees following his remarks in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) May 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo)

    Today, in a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, President Obama and Vice President Biden honored the winners of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award for law enforcement who have shown bravery and valor in the line of duty.
    President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, National Association of Police Organizations President Tom Nee, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered remarks on the imporant role law enforcement officers play, how they put their lives on the live every day to keep America's citizens and neighborhoods safe.  The President  noted:
     You know, I look forward to this event each and every year, because it’s a chance to say thank you.  Every day, hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers keep our neighborhoods safe, and frankly, they don’t ask for a lot.  They don't ask for a lot of credit.  They don’t go to work planning to be heroes.  They just do their jobs.

    But when you put on that badge, you assume a special responsibility.  And every time you put it on, you never know if this day will be the day that you’ve spent your entire career training for -– the day when just doing your job and being a hero are exactly the same thing.  For the men and women standing behind me, America’s Top Cops, that day came.  And when it did, they were ready.  They didn’t flinch.  They didn't back off.  There are people who are alive today only because of their courage.

    President Obama also remarked that we must continue to to support our men and women in law enforcement, like the Top Cops and work to make their line of work safer and more effective because, he said:

    Our safety will always depend on the quiet heroism of ordinary Americans, like the ones that we recognize today.  We will be forever in debt to those who wear the badge; to men and women with a deep sense of duty, and a willingness to serve and sacrifice on our behalf.  And I think these individuals don't mind me saying that they are representative of the sacrifices and that quiet courage that exists among law enforcement officers all across the country -- and their families, because I know the strains of families in such a difficult job is significant as well.  And those families, those of you who are here today, we want to say thank you to you as well.

    So, again, to the 2012 Top Cops, thank you for everything you do.  God bless you and your families.  And God bless the United States of America.  All right. 


  • Strengthening the Violence Against Women Act

    This week, the Senate will consider bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID),  that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). First authored by then-Senator Biden in 1994, VAWA provides funding to states and local communities to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  VAWA supports specialized law enforcement units to investigate these crimes and helps prosecutors get dangerous offenders off the streets. Since the passage of the act, annual incidents of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. 

    While tremendous progress has been made, violence is still a significant problem facing women, men, families, and communities.  On average, 3 women a day die as a result of domestic violence. The hidden crime of stalking affects 1 in 6 women and sexual assault remains the most underreported violent crime in the country. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been sexually assaulted at some time in their lives.  The Leahy-Crapo bill to reauthorize VAWA addresses today’s most pressing issues and builds on what we have learned over the past 17 years.  We must continue moving forward to reduce violence against all women. 

    Native American women suffer from violent crime at some of the highest rates in the United States. One regional survey conducted by University of Oklahoma researchers showed that nearly three out of five Native American women had been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners.  In addition, a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study found that 46 percent of Native American women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Tribal leaders say there are countless more victims of domestic violence and sexual assault whose stories may never be told. 

    With non-Indians constituting more than 76 percent of the overall population living on reservations and other Indian lands, interracial dating and marriage are common, and many of the abusers of Native American women are non-Indian men.  Too often, non-Indian men who batter their Indian wives and girlfriends go unpunished because tribes cannot prosecute non-Indians, even if the offender lives on the reservation and is married to a tribal member, and because Federal law‐enforcement resources are hours away from reservations and stretched thin.  

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2011 Tax Returns

    Today, the President released his 2011 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds of the President’s books. The Obamas paid $162,074 in total tax.

    The President and First Lady also reported donating $172,130 – or about 22% of their adjusted gross income – to 39 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was a $117,130 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation. The President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children’s book to Fisher House, a scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers. 

    The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 20.5%. The President believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000 from seeing their taxes go up. Under the President’s own tax proposals, including the expiration of the high-income tax cuts and limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it. 

    The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $31,941 in state income tax.

    Download the Obamas’ tax returns

    The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2011 federal income tax returns, as well as state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The Bidens filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Dr. Biden filed a separate non-resident tax return for the state of Virginia. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $379,035. The Bidens paid $87,900 in total federal tax for 2011. They paid $13,843 in Delaware income tax and $3,614 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $5,540 to charity in 2011.

    Download the Bidens’ tax returns

    American taxpayers are able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent.  You can visit the taxpayer receipt and after entering a few pieces of information about your taxes, the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care. 

    View the President and First Lady’s tax receipt

    View the Vice President and Dr. Biden’s tax receipt

  • #AskVP: Vice President Biden Answers Your Questions on College Affordability

    In his first #AskVP chat on Twitter, Vice President Biden answered your questions about college affordability and discussed how the Obama Administration is tackling rising costs. To kick things off, the Vice President tweeted, "College costs high. Debt burdensome. Help needed. That's why I'm here. Fire away. Use #AskVP -vp." He responded to nearly twenty questions with the hashtag #AskVP and covered topics including student loan debt, rising college costs and the emphasis on higher education in the proposed budget. 

    Check out the full question and answer session below, or on Storify. Be sure to follow @VP on Twitter for the latest news from the Vice President's Office and upcoming chances to #AskVP. 

    Biden Twitter College Affordability

    Vice President Biden answers questions on college affordability during a Twitter chat using the hashtag #AskVP. April 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


  • Investing in the Potential of the Next Generation

    Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Speak on College Affordability

    Vice President Joe Biden holds an event on College affordability with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia, April 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Ed note: This post is updated with a correction to the number of children who would lose access to Head Start.

    Yesterday, the Vice President had a powerful message for the graduating seniors, parents, and teachers at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia – one that students across the country should hear and one that drives this Administration’s commitment to higher education. He told the Maury students:

    You are the most qualified generation in history. And we have an obligation. We have an obligation to equip you or at least give you the opportunity to go out and plumb that potential.

    For months now, Vice President Biden has been traveling around the country talking about the importance of college and the need to make it more affordable. But the graduating seniors and parents the Vice President spoke to and heard from yesterday know all too well that college isn’t as accessible as it used to be. And when college isn’t accessible, the potential of the next generation is at risk. As a result of rising tuitions and the tough economy, more and more families are facing difficult choices about how or even if they can finance a college education for their children.

    As the Vice President said yesterday, that’s why this Administration has consistently focused on making college more affordable and accessible for low-income and middle-class families. Since President Obama and Vice President Biden took office, this Administration has supported college affordability and access through multiple measures:

    • We increased the maximum Pell award from $4,731 in 2008 to $5,550 today. Nearly 10 million students go to college with the help of a Pell grant each year.
    • We made our education spending go further by ending subsidies for banks that act as middlemen for federal student loans.
    • We created a tax credit that provides up to $2,500 per year – that’s $10,000 over four years – to help students and their families pay for tuition, fees and books. An estimated 9.4 million families are expected to claim this tax credit for 2011.
    • We reformed the way students pay back their federal loans, so students will be able to cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income. This will help make sure that graduates aren’t forced to choose between paying for food or rent or their college loans.