The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Maria Contreras-Sweet Ceremonially Sworn In as Administrator of the Small Business Administration

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet,

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, with her husband Ray Sweet holding the bible, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama and Vice President Biden participated in a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Maria Contreras-Sweet as the new Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). Mrs. Contreras-Sweet is an excellent choice to lead the SBA, having served at high levels in both the public and private sectors.  Mrs. Contreras-Sweet served as the first Latina cabinet secretary in the history of California, oversaw one of the largest state government agencies in the country, and built a successful bank dedicated to serving traditionally underserved Latino communities from scratch. 

    Maria Contreras-Sweet is a champion for the success of small businesses; that’s why President Obama said during her nomination that “Maria Contreras-Sweet will help small businesses get their good ideas off the ground, to expand, to hire, to sell their products and ideas not only in our domestic markets, but also overseas.” Strengthening the economy is the President’s top priority and Mrs. Contreras-Sweet will play an integral role by supporting small businesses with expanded access to SBA loans.


  • West Wing Week: 4/4/14 or, “The Rosies”

    This week, the President wrapped up a six day trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia, spoke on the success of the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, traveled to Michigan to highlight the importance of raising the federal minimum wage, and honored both the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, and the 2014 US Olympic and Paralympic teams. That's March 28th to April 3rd or, "The Rosies."


  • In Case You Missed It: Vice President Biden Talks About the Need for Immigration Reform

    Last Thursday, Vice President Biden spoke to 350 Hispanic businessmen, entrepreneurs, and community leaders at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Summit.

    During his speech, he spoke passionately about the need for immigration reform and thanked the Chamber for their continued leadership on this issue.

    The Vice President stated, “The single most important thing we can do for our economy, for America’s future, is pass immigration reform now.”

    He cited the findings of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the economic benefits of the immigration reform bill (S. 744) the Senate passed in June and similar legislation recently introduced by House Democrats. The CBO determined common-sense reform would increase our gross domestic product by $1.4 trillion and reduce the deficit by $850 billion over the next 20 years.

    The Vice President offered several examples to illustrate why our current broken immigration system is damaging our economy.


  • Weekly Address: Raise The Minimum Wage - It’s The Right Thing To Do For Hardworking Americans

    In this week’s address, Vice President Biden discusses the importance of raising the federal minimum wage. It’s good for workers, it’s good for business, and it would help close the gender pay gap, as women make up more than half of the workers who stand to benefit from a raise. And as the Vice President highlights, Congress should boost the federal minimum wage because it is what a majority of the American people want.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: FLOTUS and POTUS and Pandas, Oh My!

    This week, the First Lady wrapped up her visit to China -- of course, pandas were involved -- while the President started a week-long trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia. And the Vice President gave seven reasons why you should get covered before open enrollment ends on March 31. Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    FLOTUS Shows Us How She Moves in China

    While touring Xi'an, China, First Lady Michelle Obama was greeted by local kids and students performing music, double-dutch jump roping, flying kites, and more. Of course, the First Lady couldn't resist getting in on the fun and showing the kids how she moves. 


  • Supreme Court Decision in U.S. v. Castleman Will Save Women's Lives

    This week, the Supreme Court decided a case that will save women’s lives.

    Back in 1996, Congress made it a crime for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a gun. As Vice President Biden has often noted, there is a direct connection between gun violence and domestic violence: when a domestic abuser has a gun, a victim is 12 times more likely to die than when he doesn’t. 

    Some courts, however, have set a high bar for what counts as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” – which has meant that many domestic abusers have been allowed to keep their guns. 

    But in United States v. Castleman (written by Justice Sotomayor), the Court changed all that. It recognized that domestic violence is a unique kind of crime that doesn’t always fit everyone’s idea of what’s “violent”: often, it can involve pushing, grabbing, shoving, scratching, or hair pulling – and which, over time, can “subject one intimate partner to the other’s control.” The Court also recognized that, in a number of states, these acts are prosecuted as crimes of “offensive touching” – which, before this week, meant some courts didn’t consider them to be domestic violence. But now, according to the Court, that’s enough to subject a convicted domestic abuser to the federal gun ban.

    This is a landmark opinion. As so many abused women know, what happens to them is a far cry from “offensive touching.” It is terrifying and debilitating, and can rob her of all manner of trust, security, and hope. It can make her – as the Vice President has also said – a prisoner in her own home. But at least now, the law recognizes that those who are convicted of these crimes have no business having a gun.

    Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.


  • Supreme Court Decision in U.S. v. Castleman Will Save Women's Lives

    This week, the Supreme Court decided a case that will save women’s lives.

    Back in 1996, Congress made it a crime for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a gun. As Vice President Biden has often noted, there is a direct connection between gun violence and domestic violence: when a domestic abuser has a gun, a victim is 12 times more likely to die than when he doesn’t. 

    Some courts, however, have set a high bar for what counts as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” – which has meant that many domestic abusers have been allowed to keep their guns. 

    But in United States v. Castleman (written by Justice Sotomayor), the Court changed all that. It recognized that domestic violence is a unique kind of crime that doesn’t always fit everyone’s idea of what’s “violent”: often, it can involve pushing, grabbing, shoving, scratching, or hair pulling – and which, over time, can “subject one intimate partner to the other’s control.” The Court also recognized that, in a number of states, these acts are prosecuted as crimes of “offensive touching” – which, before this week, meant some courts didn’t consider them to be domestic violence. But now, according to the Court, that’s enough to subject a convicted domestic abuser to the federal gun ban.

    This is a landmark opinion. As so many abused women know, what happens to them is a far cry from “offensive touching.” It is terrifying and debilitating, and can rob her of all manner of trust, security, and hope. It can make her – as the Vice President has also said – a prisoner in her own home. But at least now, the law recognizes that those who are convicted of these crimes have no business having a gun.

    Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.


  • The White House Joins the BuzzFeed Community

    Today -- with just four days left to sign up for health insurance -- the White House joined the BuzzFeed Community by laying out seven reasons why Vice President Biden thinks you should get covered. In GIFs.

    Folks, the deadline to sign up for health insurance is March 31. If you’re not covered by then, you won’t be able to enroll again until next year. So this is serious. Need some extra inspiration? Here are seven reasons why Vice President Biden thinks you should get covered right now.

    Go to BuzzFeed to see all of the reasons the VP thinks you should get covered (Hint: One of them is a BFD).


  • Standing Up for LGBT Rights Around the World

    Vice President Joe Biden gives the keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles, Calif., March 22, 2014.

    Vice President Joe Biden gives the keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles, Calif., March 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    “The rights of LGBT people [are] an inseparable part of America’s promotion of human rights around the world,” Vice President Joe Biden declared to a packed audience at the Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles gala on Saturday night.

    In a world where homosexuality is a crime in almost 80 countries — punishable by death in 7 — the Vice President reasserted America’s unwavering commitment to LGBT rights in every corner of the world. “Hate,” he explained, “can never, never be defended because it’s a so-called cultural norm.”


  • West Wing Week 3/21/14 or, “24 Soldiers”

     

    This week, the President celebrated St. Patrick's day alongside the Prime Minister of Ireland, continued to work toward a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, hosted Palestinian President Abbas, awarded 24 Medals of Honor, and traveled to Florida to speak on the importance of supporting working families.