The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Vice President Biden Talks #My2k Over Lunch

    On Friday afternoon, seven middle-class Americans with a personal stake in Washington’s “fiscal cliff” debate sat down with the Vice President at the Metro 29 Diner in Arlington, Virginia. Should Congress fail to extend tax cuts for middle-class families by the end of this year, a typical American household’s taxes would go up by over $2,000. Friday’s lunch gave several concerned Americans the chance explain how this would impact them.  

    Though they hailed from seven different cities and brought distinct stories to the table, the Vice President’s dining companions shared an understanding that $2,000 is too much to lose. Fernando Garabito, a naturalized citizen from Colombia, has a wife who recently lost her job and two sons in school. With $200 less per month, Garabito would have a hard time paying his bills and providing for his family’s basic needs.

    Vice President Joe Biden has lunch with Americans

    Vice President Joe Biden has lunch with Americans to discuss the importance of middle class tax cuts, at Metro 29 diner in Arlington, Virginia, Dec. 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Bob Hage, a small business owner from Pennington, New Jersey, is the father of three children, two of whom have severe developmental disabilities. A $2,000 increase in taxes would force him and his wife, Odette, to choose between making ends meet and financing their children’s crucial speech therapy sessions.


  • Vice President Biden Goes to Costco

    Today, Vice President Joe Biden visited a newly opened Costco in Washington, DC. After picking out a few Christmas gifts and other items, he talked about the importance of extending tax cuts for middle-class families.

    Vice President Joe Biden picks out children's books at the newly opened Costco store

    Vice President Joe Biden picks out children's books at the newly opened Costco store in Washington, D.C., Nov. 29, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    “All the people you meet in here today and you see, these are hardworking folks who don't need to see their taxes go up,” he said.

    But, if Congress doesn’t take action before the end of the year, the typical middle-class family will pay about $2,200 more in taxes starting in 2013.

    “And so I think it’s important Congress acts now -- I mean right now,” Vice President Biden said. “All it has to do is take a single vote to extend the middle-class tax cut.”


  • Photo Gallery: Vice President Joe Biden Tours Hurricane Sandy Damage in New Jersey

    • The view from aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy damage  of New Jersey's barrier beaches

      The view from aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy damage of New Jersey's barrier beaches (All official White House photos by Sonya N. Herbert)

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    • Vice President Joe Biden receives a briefing by Bob Fenton, Assistant Administrator for Disaster Response, FEMA

      Vice President Joe Biden receives a briefing by Bob Fenton, Assistant Administrator for Disaster Response, FEMA on the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour by Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies

      Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour by Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies of sand dunes that protected houses and property.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour by Mayor William Akers

      Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour by Mayor William Akers of the damaged boardwalk, amusement park and pier in Seaside Heights, N.J.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour by Mayor William Akers of the damaged boardwalk

      Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour by Mayor William Akers of the damaged boardwalk, amusement park and pier in Seaside Heights, N.J.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden gives remarks after touring the damaged boardwalk

      Vice President Joe Biden gives remarks after touring the damaged boardwalk, amusement park and pier following Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden tours the PATH station of the Hoboken Terminal

      Vice President Joe Biden tours the PATH station of the Hoboken Terminal to view the Hurricane Sandy damage and recovery in Hoboken, N.J.

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    • Vice President Joe Biden tours the historic Hoboken terminal building

      Vice President Joe Biden tours the historic Hoboken terminal building and views photos taken during and after Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken, N.J.,

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    See the full-size gallery

    On Sunday, Vice President Biden traveled to the New Jersey Shore and the City of Hoboken to personally survey the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and meet with first responders on post-storm response and recovery efforts. The trip began with a helicopter flight along the shoreline of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to provide the Vice President an overhead view of the destruction Sandy brought to the North Barrier Islands.  He was joined by Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Jon Runyan, and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno.

    Once he landed, the Vice President received briefings at the Seaside Heights City Hall and Volunteer Fire Department by Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies, Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers of Ocean County Freeholder John Bartlett, Jr, Seaside Heights Fire Chief James Samarelli and Police Chief Thomas Boyd. Vice President Biden had the opportunity to meet and thank local first responders, many of whom had also lost their own homes during the storm. 

    While the Vice President found the briefings to be very informative, putting boots in the sand was key to getting a full appreciation of the conditions on the island. As Vice President Biden surveyed the beach at Seaside Park, he was able to see first-hand how an “engineered” beach can diffuse the impact of storm surge waves, better protecting homes and businesses close to the shore. Representatives from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) discussed the range of federal programs available to address damage to public beaches. 


  • White House Celebrates Diwali

    Vice President Joe Biden is presented with a shawl

    Vice President Joe Biden is presented with a shawl after lighting the candle at the Diwali reception in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, Nov. 13, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On Tuesday afternoon, for the fourth year, the White House celebrated Diwali, a holiday observed annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhist throughout India and across the world. Known as the “festival of lights,” Diwali offers time for both reflection and celebration. Its stories and rituals focus on the triumph of light over darkness and compassion over hatred. The day signifies the renewal of life and the promise of prosperity for the year to come.

    Vice President Joe Biden greets Indian Ambassador to the United States Ambassador Nirupama Rao

    Vice President Joe Biden greets Indian Ambassador to the United States Ambassador Nirupama Rao, at the Diwali reception in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, Nov. 13, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


  • Vice President Biden Marks Achievements of MRAP Task Force

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an MRAP Program transition Ceremony

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an MRAP Program Transition Ceremony at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, October 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    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.


  • Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the Naval Observatory

    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

    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)


  • Celebrating the Next Generation of LGBT Leaders

    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. 

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden speak at a reception with emerging young leaders

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden speak at a reception with emerging young leaders of the LGBT community at the Naval Observatory Residence in Washington, D.C., September 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)


  • President Obama Attends Transfer of Remains Ceremony for Diplomats Killed in Libya

    Marines During the Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Sept. 14, 2012

    Marines carry the flag draped transfer cases during the transfer of remains ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Sept. 14, 2012, marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya. September 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    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. 


  • West Wing Week: 09/14/12 or "Eleven"

    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."

    Watch the West Wing Week here.

    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."


  • Advocates and Athletes Join the Vice President for the Launch of the 1 is 2 Many PSA

    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.