The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon October 7, 2011 at 8:41 AM EST
Last year, Mrs. Keene’s 5th grade class at Oakstead Elementary in Land O’Lakes, Florida had 19 students in it. This year, she has a class of 25. As a result of state budget cuts, Oakstead lost 8 out of 83 teachers for the 2011-2012 school year, eliminating nearly 10% of the teaching staff at a school that serves over 1000 students.
During his visit to Oakstead on Tuesday, Vice President Biden had the chance to visit Mrs. Keene’s class, as well as speak to a group of parents and teachers about how the American Jobs Act would help keep and put hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.
The 8 teaching positions lost at Oakstead were just a few of the 513 positions eliminated district-wide when Pasco County Public Schools had to close a $54 million budget shortfall this year. After years of budget cuts from the state and declining tax revenues – the district now receives $780 less per pupil in funding than it did in 2007 – and cutting all of the overhead it could, the District was forced to make cuts that impact the classroom. As a result, kids are in bigger class sizes – some over the state limit – and receive less arts, music and physical education.
In his remarks, the Vice President described how smaller class sizes in the early years can increase the likelihood that kids attend and graduate from college as well as how access to arts and music education may help keep kids engaged in school and prevent them from dropping out.
Unfortunately, kids across the country are seeing the kind of cuts that the Vice President saw at Oakstead. In the last 12 months we have lost nearly 200,000 education jobs. That’s why the American Jobs Act includes $30 billion to support 400,000 education jobs nationwide. These critical resources will help prevent lay-offs and allow districts like Pasco County to rehire teachers already laid off, as well as hire new teachers.
- Posted byon October 3, 2011 at 10:16 AM EST
Last week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the outstanding contributions of Hispanic Americans across the military, government and private sector. As Social Secretary to the Vice President and Dr. Biden, I was pleased to open up the doors of the Vice President’s residence for this special occasion – the third Hispanic Heritage reception they have hosted at their home.
The Vice President spoke before a crowd that included veterans and active duty service members, as well as Hispanic business leaders from around the nation. Noting the particular influence of Hispanic immigrants on American society, Vice President Biden said, “we have never once in our history not been stronger and richer and more vibrant as a consequence of the waves of immigration. … it is the thing that enriches us.”
The reception also recognized the continuing sacrifice and dedication of Hispanic American service members, with veterans from the Vietnam War to the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in attendance.
- Posted byon September 30, 2011 at 1:09 PM EST
On September 27, 2011, Vice President Joe Biden appeared on The View to discuss the work he has done to end violence against women and his current initiative to reduce youth violence.
Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, a bill the Vice President refers to as his proudest legislative achievement, rates of domestic violence have dropped by over 50%. However, rates of violence against young women continue to remain alarmingly high, with 16-24 year olds experiencing the highest rates of rape, sexual assault and dating violence.
- Posted byon September 30, 2011 at 10:23 AM EST
Vice President Biden made a short hop across the Potomac yesterday to the Alexandria Police Department in Alexandria, Virginia where he delivered remarks on how the American Jobs Act would help keep police officers and first responders on the beat in northern Virginia and across the country.
Alexandria is just one of thousands of communities where police forces have taken a hit due to budget cutbacks. Thanks to an $800,000 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant announced on Wednesday, the Alexandria Police Department will be able to put four out of nine of the officers they lost back on patrol. The American Jobs Act, as Vice President Biden said, would fund an additional $4 billion in COPS grants – like the one awarded to Alexandria – that would support the hiring, re-hiring and retention of officers in departments nationwide.
Vice President Biden went on to describe cities like Flint, Michigan, where two thirds of the police force has been laid off in the last 3 years, and Cleveland, Ohio, where the police academy graduated a class of 100 officers – all of whom had to turn in their badge and gun right after graduation because there were no positions available.
“We need to help these departments,” said the Vice President. “When you cut forces, and you cut them significantly, it not only diminishes public safety, it diminishes your ability to stay safe.”
- Posted byon September 21, 2011 at 1:49 PM EST
Small businesses across the country got a boost yesterday when Vice President Biden announced that 13 of the nation’s largest banks, in partnership with the Small Business Administration, have committed to increase small business lending by a combined $20 billion over the next three years.
Speaking with SBA Administrator Karen Mills at Wrap Tite Inc. – a small packing and shipping material company in Solon, Ohio – the Vice President told the story of how a recent $1.5 million SBA-supported loan allowed Wrap Tite to purchase and renovate a new facility in Solon, as well as hire five new workers. The new lending commitments announced today means more small businesses like Wrap Tite will have access to the capital they need to help grow the nation’s economy at the local level. As Vice President Biden said, "Small business men and women – who are the engine of economic growth in America – create two out of every three jobs in America."
But, as the Vice President said in Ohio, the lending boost for small businesses is only part of the story, and we cannot stop there. Urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away, he described two key ways the bill would help small businesses grow and hire in Ohio and across the country – by cutting their taxes and putting money back in their customer’s pockets:
- Posted byon September 14, 2011 at 6:26 PM EST
Last night, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden held a reception at the Naval Observatory to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) being signed into law, as well as call on a new generation to take action to reduce the high rates of violence and assault that continues to threaten young men and women across the country.
Speaking before a crowd that included many of the men and women who supported the Vice President’s efforts to see the Act become law on September 13, 1994, the Vice President remarked on how it was VAWA that exposed a “flaw that lay as part of the fabric of American society”– the fact that the mere discussion of violence and abuse being committed against women was considered by many to be taboo.
Beyond shattering this notion, the law redefined the way domestic violence is handled through changes in law enforcement, improvements in the criminal justice system and the establishment of shelters and services for victims.
- Posted byon September 14, 2011 at 5:53 PM EST
Ed note: this article has been cross-posted from the OMB blog
When he launched the Campaign to Cut Waste in June, President Obama asked the Vice President to take on a new role holding the Cabinet accountable for cutting waste in their agencies to help make government more efficient and responsive to the American people. As a part of that effort, the Vice President today convened the first Cabinet waste reduction meeting and announced over $2 billion in anti-waste measures.
In these challenging budgetary times, ensuring that every agency is rooting out waste and saving taxpayer dollars is more important than ever. We have made great strides in the last two years – shrinking contract spending for the first time in 13 years, identifying $3 billion in cost reductions from IT projects across government, and getting rid of property we no longer need and working aggressively to realize the President’s goal of saving $3 billion in real estate costs by the year 2012 – but we must continue to be vigilant and innovative about driving efficiency. That’s why the President and Vice President have made the Campaign to Cut Waste an Administration-wide priority.
- Posted byon September 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM EST
Marking the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) helps us both appreciate the great strides that have been made in addressing all types of violence against women and recognize the fact that more needs to be done to create a society free from domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) remains committed to addressing these crimes in a broad and comprehensive manner.
The concept of a coordinated community response is one of the most critical and visible achievements of VAWA. In the years since VAWA’s enactment by Congress in 1994, we have witnessed a sea-change in the ways that communities respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. VAWA encourages communities to bring together stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to share information and to use their distinct roles to improve our responses to and prevention of violence against women. These groups include, but are not limited to: victim advocates, police officers, prosecutors, judges, probation and corrections officials, health care professionals, leaders within faith communities, and survivors of violence. New programs and amendments have strengthened the law and enhanced our work.
- Posted byon September 12, 2011 at 8:05 PM EST
This weekend, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden remembered those who were lost in the attacks on September 11, 2001. September 11th has been designated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and the First Family started the weekend by joining Americans from across the country in participating in service projects to honor those whose lives were taken ten years ago.
On Saturday, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were joined by President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and former First Lady Laura Bush in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to participate in a dedication ceremony for the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
- Posted byon September 11, 2011 at 6:48 PM EST
Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks at the Pentagon this morning, where 184 lives were lost when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the headquarters of the nation’s Department of Defense. Vice President Biden joined Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen at the ceremony set beside the Pentagon Memorial – 184 silver benches, one for each victim, shaded by maple trees.
But before they made their way across the Potomac, the Vice President and Dr. Biden had a quick stop to make – nearby DC Fire Department Engine 20, Truck 12, where they surprised the firefighters on duty with coffee, breakfast, and words of thanks.