The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon August 12, 2011 at 9:41 AM EDT
This week, Dr. Jill Biden visited Kenya with Senator Bill Frist, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis as thousands of Somalis flee famine and seek refuge in Kenya and Ethiopia. Courtney O’Donnell, Communications Director to Dr. Jill Biden, also traveled with Dr. Biden and visited the world's largest refugee camp. The camp was originally built for 90,000 people, but now has more than 420,000 Somalis who have traveled there seeking aid. Upon her return, Courtney shared her experience with More.com:
In the weeks prior to our trip, Dr. Biden had seen the news reports and the images from the region and wanted to find a way to help. So the goal of our trip was a simple one - to try to bring attention to this famine and the need for aid, and to tell the stories of the people we met. As Communications Director, my role is to find ways to make more people aware of this need and get the message across to as many people as possible.
While our government and others around the world have acted to support the region, there is an urgent need for individuals to act. The pace of the famine is relentless, and without additional assistance, hundreds of thousands of children could die of starvation and disease in the coming months.
Already more than 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past three months in the region. In an interview with More.com, Courtney reflected on how the trip impacted her as a mother:
- Posted byon August 3, 2011 at 7:39 PM EDT
This afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden joined over 440 state, local, tribal and territorial officials on a call to talk about the debt ceiling deal signed by President Obama on August 2 and the Administration's ongoing economic priorities.
Vice President Biden thanked the many state and local officials who spoke out during the debate for a balanced, bipartisan approach to the debt negotiations. He talked about the tough budget choices that state and local officials make every day, and discussed the President's insistence that costs not be passed on to state and local governments that can ill afford more budget cuts during these times. He also highlighted the significance of preserving funding for infrastructure, education and innovation to help grow the economy and create jobs.
Following the Vice President, Jason Furman of the National Economic Council took questions from local officials on the call. These city and county leaders echoed the President’s remarks yesterday that now, with the debt ceiling raised and calamity averted, the conversation urgently needs to turn to job creation. Officials from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to Utah thanked the Administration for their efforts to stimulate job growth and encouraged federal officials to continue to push for programs that create jobs in states and cities.
As always, we appreciated the chance to speak with a large group of state and local elected officials. And while it was great to hear from many officials on the call, we did not get a chance to answer everyone’s questions, so we encourage you to send your questions about the debt deal, the President’s commitment to helping state and local governments, the Administration's jobs agenda, and other topics to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll feature responses to your questions in upcoming blog posts.
David Agnew is a Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Posted byon July 14, 2011 at 2:17 PM EDT
Today, we launched the third annual SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency) – a contest for federal employees to submit ideas about how to cut waste, save taxpayer dollars, and make government more effective and efficient.
Over the past two years, OMB has received more than 56,000 cost-cutting ideas through the SAVE Award from federal employees from across the country. The ideas range from stopping the overnight, express delivery of empty containers to allowing people to make appointments with their Social Security office online and ending the printing and shipping to employees across the country of thousands of Federal Register volumes that could be read online.
These ideas have made a difference. The President’s last two budgets each included approximately 20 SAVE Award ideas. Already, those submissions are saving hundreds of millions of dollars, rooting out redundancy and waste, and giving the American people a more accountable government.
Wasting taxpayer dollars is unacceptable at anytime, but particularly when we face huge budget deficits. That’s why this year’s SAVE Award is a critical part of the recently launched Campaign to Cut Waste – an Administration-wide initiative to hunt down and eliminate wasted tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government.
The idea behind the SAVE Award is the belief that federal employees on the front lines know better than anyone where there is waste to cut and how to make government more effective and efficient. If you’re a federal employee, please take a minute and send us your idea. You will help your government, your fellow citizens, and if you win, will get to present your idea directly to the President.
Make no mistake: these ideas alone aren’t going to close the deficit of fix our fiscal situation, but they are critical to making sure that the American people can trust their government to treat every tax dollar with the same care and attention they do.
So, if you’re a member of the federal workforce, please send us your idea, and for everyone else, stay tuned as we will ask your help in picking the winner.
As Vice President Biden wrote in an Op-Ed today, “This effort involves more than just eliminating fraud and waste; it means instilling a new culture of efficiency, of responsiveness, of accountability. We're changing the way government does business. We're working to give the American people the government they expect - and deserve.”
Kenneth Baer is Senior Advisor and Associate Director for Communications and Strategic Planning at the White House Office of Management and Budget.
- Posted byon July 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM EDT
Today, Vice President Biden sent an email announcing the launch of the 2011 SAVE Award to federal employees who participated in the SAVE Award in 2009 and 2010. The SAVE Award is a chance for federal employees from across the government to submit their ideas for efficiencies and savings as part of the annual Budget process.
The Vice President also published an op-ed in McClatchy newspapers about delivering the American taxpayers an accountable government.
If you're a federal employee, be sure to submit your ideas before July 29, 2011.
As one of the outstanding federal employees who has participated in the SAVE Award in previous years, you should be the first to know that submissions for the 2011 SAVE Award are open.
We need your help in identifying ways to cut wasteful federal spending. If you have an idea, take a few minutes right now to submit it -- and let your co-workers know about this great opportunity:
The SAVE award is a critical part of the Campaign to Cut Waste that President Obama and I announced last month. The Campaign is an Administration-wide initiative to hunt down and eliminate wasteful spending and make government work better. Our goal is efficient spending of every tax dollar, in every agency and department across the federal government.
We know that federal employees like you know the most about how government works – and in some cases, doesn’t work as efficiently as it should.
Over the past two years, federal workers have submitted more than 56,000 cost-cutting ideas to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review through the SAVE Award. The ideas you submitted through the 2009 and 2010 SAVE Awards were sent to the appropriate agency for review and dozens were included in the President’s budget proposals.
Last year’s winner, Trudy Givens, proposed that the federal government stop printing and mailing copies of the Federal Register to thousands of federal employees each day since the same information is available online. Trudy, her husband and her daughter got a chance to discuss her idea with President Obama in the Oval Office last year.
You could be this year’s winner and meet with President Obama, so make sure you visit WhiteHouse.gov/Save-Award and submit your idea before July 29, 2011.
Folks, we know that these ideas alone aren’t going to eliminate the deficit or fix our fiscal situation, but they are critical to making sure the American people can trust their government to spend their tax dollars wisely – and to make sure that we are directing resources to the investments that will create good jobs and grow the economy.
I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas.
Vice President Joe Biden
P.S. Today, I published an op-ed about delivering an accountable government to the American taxpayers. You can read it here.
- Posted byon July 13, 2011 at 5:08 PM EDT
Today, we are taking a new approach in our effort to address dating violence and sexual assault.
Working together with my colleagues in the Office of the Vice President and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, we launched the “Apps Against Abuse” technology challenge – a national competition to develop an innovative software application, or “app,” that provides young adults with tools to help prevent sexual assault and dating violence. I had a chance to discuss the challenge, along with other ways agencies can attack this problem, during a meeting hosted by Vice President Biden at the White House earlier today.
Having spent years volunteering with victims of domestic violence, I’ve seen firsthand how vulnerable some women are in their own homes and their communities as a result of violence and abuse. Young women face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. Nineteen percent (nearly 1 in 5) of women report experiencing sexual assault while in college. And while a majority of college students say that it is important to intervene, many often say they don’t know how. Moreover, over half – sixty percent – of college students who have been in an abusive relationship say no one helped them.
Through the “Apps Against Abuse” challenge, developers will be charged with creating an easy-to-use application that provides a targeted way for young women to designate trusted friends, allies, or emergency contacts and provide a means for checking-in with these individuals in real-time, particularly in at-risk situations. The winning application will also provide quick access to resources and information on sexual assault and teen dating violence, as well as where to go for help.
- Posted byon July 9, 2011 at 2:29 PM EDT
On the passing of former First Lady Elizabeth Anne Ford, President Obama and Vice President Biden released the following statements:
Statement by the President:
Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation’s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.
Today, we take comfort in the knowledge that Betty and her husband, former President Gerald Ford, are together once more. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to their children, Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.
And a statement by the Vice President:
It is with deep sadness that Jill and I learned of the loss of Betty Ford. Throughout her life, Betty displayed strength, courage and determination that provided hope for millions of Americans seeking a healthier, happier future. Her legacy and work will live on through the millions of lives she has touched and the many more who will continue to look to her for inspiration. Her family will remain in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days.
- Posted byon July 4, 2011 at 10:55 AM EDT
Watch out @whitehouse… Vice President Biden’s office is now on Twitter.
Today, the Office of the Vice President launched an official Twitter account – @VP – with a call from Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden asking all Americans to remember our troops and military families on Independence Day.
VP&Dr. B hope you take time to think about our troops & military families this Independence Day, Happy July 4th from OVP! @JoiningForces
@VP is the latest addition to the growing White House community on Twitter and comes as the White House prepares for its first ever Twitter Town Hall with President Obama this Wednesday, July 6th at 2:00 EDT.
Through @VP, Vice President Biden’s staff will keep followers up to speed on all things happening in the Office of the Vice President (OVP) – from the West Wing, to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the Office of Dr. Jill Biden, to the Naval Observatory. @VP will be on the road with the Vice President across the country and around the world, providing updates on the latest news and announcements coming out of OVP, as well as a behind the scenes look at Veep-life.
We hope you’ll connect with the Vice President’s office today by following us @VP, as well as tune in to hear the President discuss jobs and the economy with @whitehouse followers at the White House Twitter Town Hall.
"We're Keeping Our Promises": Vice President Joe Biden on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Our Commitment to Defeat al QaedaPosted byon June 23, 2011 at 10:53 AM EDT
Last night, President Obama addressed the nation on the way forward in Afghanistan and his plan to remove 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and a total of 33,000 by next summer.
To put this decision in a larger context, Vice President Biden took a few minutes to share his thoughts about the promises this Administration has made – and kept – when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and our commitment to defeat al Qaeda.
Watch the Vice President's full remarks here.
- Posted byon June 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM EDT
Monday afternoon, President Obama met with a bipartisan group of fourteen mayors to talk about the state of the economy in their cities and their just-ended meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Baltimore, Maryland. The President, who was joined by Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, stressed his continued commitment to working closely with mayors to spur job creation and economic growth.
Mayors attending included:
• Mayor David Bing of Detroit, MI
• Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, OK
• Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando, FL
• Mayor Anthony Foxx of Charlotte, NC
• Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO
• Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA
• Mayor Elizabeth Kautz of Burnsville, MN
• Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, PA
• Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, CA
• Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta, GA
• Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston, SC
• Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, MN
• Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, AZ
• Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, CA
The newly-installed President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, told the President that he appreciated the solid working relationship that mayors have with this White House and urged the President to continue fighting for investments in our nation's infrastructure. Mayor Villaraigosa also urged Congress to address job creation and stressed the importance of education and workforce training programs.
- Posted byon June 18, 2011 at 1:56 PM EDT
Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden played golf with Speaker Boehner and Governor Kasich at Andrews Air Force Base. Check out the photos.