The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Honoring Our Wounded Warriors on September 11th

    Last night, Joe and I had the tremendous honor of hosting Wounded Warriors and their families from Walter Reed, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Meade at our home for a barbecue. I can think of no better way to commemorate the solemn anniversary of September 11, 2001 than by spending time with these incredible men and women who stepped up to serve our nation.

    Vice President Joe Biden watches First Lieutenant Jason Church as he hits a birdieball

    Vice President Joe Biden watches First Lieutenant Jason Church as he hits a birdieball, during a barbecue for Wounded Warriors and their families, at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

     

    As Joe said, their generation is “the most remarkable in the history of this country.” I could not agree more. Since September 11, 2001, more than 3.5 million men and women have volunteered to serve in the military, including more than a third who have deployed multiple times.

    I have many roles: Second Lady, teacher, grandmother, but one that I am most proud of is that of a military mom. Our son Beau served for a year in Iraq and our son Hunter is an ensign in the Navy. We understand that we are indebted not only to those that serve in uniform, but also to their families, who also serve in so many ways.

    That’s one reason First Lady Michelle Obama and I have spent the last few years working on our Joining Forces initiative, to find ways for all Americans to support our service men and women and their families. We have been inspired by the many ways community groups, businesses, teachers, doctors, nurses, and individuals have stepped up to help.

    Dr. Jill Biden chats with attendees during a barbecue

    Dr. Jill Biden chats with attendees during a barbecue that she and Vice President Joe Biden hosted for Wounded Warriors and their families, at the Naval Observatory Residence, in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) September 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Less than one percent of the American population has served. But the other 99 percent of us owe them, and their families. As Joe said, our “admiration for you is beyond my ability to express.”


  • Remembering September 11th

    Today, we honor those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.

    At 8:46 AM, the time that the first plane struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center, President Obama was joined by the Vice President, the First Lady, Dr. Biden, and White House staff on the South Lawn to observe a moment of silence.

    Later that morning, the President, Defense Secretary Hagel, and other military officials attended the September 11th Observance ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington. The President laid a wreath at the Zero Age Line and observed a moment of silence at 9:37 to honor the victims of the attack at the Pentagon.

    President Obama then delivered remarks to families of the victims, also honoring the four Americans who lost their lives a year ago today in Benghazi.

    They left this Earth. They slipped from our grasp.  But it was written, “What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose.”  What your families lost in the temporal, in the here and now, is now eternal. The pride that you carry in your hearts, the love that will never die, your loved ones’ everlasting place in America’s heart. 

    Pres Obama, Sec. Hagel and Gen. Dempsey at 9/11 Pentagon ceremony

    President Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and General Dempsey attend the September 11th Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Read the President's full remarks from the September 11th Observance Ceremony

    Later this afternoon, President Obama also participated in a service opportunity with Food & Friends, a Washington-area organization that provides freshly-prepared meals to people living with life-challenging illnesses.


  • Bigger, Busier Port of Baltimore Means More Good Jobs

    Ed. Note: This blog post was originally published by the Department of Transportation

    At the Department of Transportation, we know firsthand the role transportation plays in moving our economy forward. And that’s literally what takes place at the Port of Baltimore every day.

    Moving cargo is the lifeblood of our economy. And our ports are essential to growing our nation's exports.

    That’s why, yesterday, I joined Vice President Biden to announce a $10 million DOT TIGER grant for the port that will expand a busy terminal and allow the deepening of a key navigation channel to proceed.

    Together, these improvements will increase efficiency at the Port, reduce shipping costs for auto exporters; and allow shippers to take advantage of the new, larger container ships that will soon be coming through the expanded Panama Canal.  As the Vice President said, "If we make it in America ... we’ve got to be able to ship it around the world."


  • Vice President Biden Swears in ATF Director, Announces Two New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Todd Jones as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

    Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Todd Jones as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, Aug. 29, 2013. Also pictured are Jones' wife Margaret and son Anthony. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, President Obama and Vice President Biden remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make our communities safer.

    Today, as part of that commitment, Vice President Biden swore in B. Todd Jones as the first permanent Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in seven years.  As the Vice President said, “ATF is the key agency enforcing our gun laws, and they need a permanent director in order to do that and to do the job to the best of their ability.” The Vice President was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole. 

    The Vice President also announced two new executive actions, building on the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan he and the President laid out on January 16, 2013.

    First, ATF is closing a loophole that has allowed machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons to get into the wrong hands. This loophole allows prospective buyers to license these weapons to shell corporations, which lets them bypass a required background check.  ATF is proposing a rule to change that, requiring anyone associated with those corporations to go through the very same kind of background check process.  Closing this loophole will make a difference—last year alone, there were more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.


  • Being Biden: Remembering Father Roberto Balducelli

    "Every once and a while someone comes along in a community that literally transforms a communityand that's exactly what Father Roberto Balducelli did," said the Vice President in the latest edition of Being Biden. 'Father Roberto' passed away last week, on the eve of his 100th birthday. The Vice President was among the hundreds who gathered at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington to remember Balducelli's life.

    The Vice President wanted to share his story with you — take a listen.

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  • West Wing Week: 08/02/13 or "Let Us Be Awed By Their Shining Deeds"

    This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden wrapped up a trip to India and Singapore, the President announced a bargain for middle class jobs, welcomed the Huskies and the Giants, the American Legion, Girls & Boys Nation, the President of Yemen, and civil rights leaders to the White House, and marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.


  • Vice President Biden Meets India's Future Scientists and Engineers

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with female students at the Indian Institute of Technology, in Mumba

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with female students at the Indian Institute of Technology, in Mumbai, India, July 25, 2013. Pictured are Aditi Kothiyal, Shikha Agarwal, Asfiya Contractor, Viha Jayraj, and Rimi Chakrabarti. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today at the Indian Institute of Technology, Vice President Biden met a group of women he called “India’s future”—the country’s next generation of scientists and engineers.

    “This is a great university, one of the leading universities in the world in technology, and these women are in the forefront,” he said.

    Before a roundtable discussion with students in the Seismology Lab, the Vice President talked with young women conducting nanotechnology research and geochemistry and geochronology experiments. He commended them on “the incredible work they’re doing in a whole range of areas, from devices that may very well fundamentally alter the nature of medicine, to dealing with practical but stark problems like access to transportation.”


  • Vice President Biden Discusses the U.S. Economy While in India

    This morning, in advance of President Obama's major economic address, Vice President Biden delivered remarks in Mumbai, India where he discussed how America’s partnership with India could improve the economies of both nations.

    The speech, at the Bombay Stock Exchange, was part of the administration’s effort to focus attention on the progress our economy has made in the past several years, and the work we must do going forward to build on that progress.

    The Vice President began by speaking to the enduring strengths of the U.S. economy. "We are in the midst of the biggest increase in domestic manufacturing in nearly 20 years. The foundations of our economy are stronger than ever. The best research universities in the world and the most vibrant startups. The world’s most innovative companies. A hundred-year reserve of natural gas."

    He noted that America’s interests at home were similar to India’s.

    “Today…President Obama is going to be giving a major speech outlining the top priority for the Obama-Biden administration,” he explained. “And it’s straightforward and simple: how do we continue to shore up America’s future and the foundations of middle class life in America with good-paying jobs, affordable health care, housing, education, and the dignity of retirement?”

    Similarly, he pointed out, “India’s top priority is to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty to join the middle class.”


  • Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement Leaders, Urging Passage of Immigration Reform

    Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement on Immigration Reform

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with members of the Law Enforcement Community to discuss immigration reform, in the Vice President's ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., July 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On Friday, Vice President Biden met with law enforcement leaders from across the country to discuss the impact that our broken immigration system is having on local communities. The meeting was an opportunity to hear directly from the law enforcement officials about the importance of immigration reform from a local law enforcement perspective.

    The Vice President noted that the Senate’s immigration bill would build on significant progress already achieved in securing the border in recent years – among the commendable successes he included the historic decline in border crossings, crime reduction in border states, and an increase of Border Patrol agents along the southwest border. In particular, he pointed out that the Senate bill would dedicate $46 billion to strengthening border security and provide resources for border agents to focus on human and drug trafficking and other transnational criminals.

    However, the Vice President stressed that immigration reform is not just a border issue; this is a public safety issue writ large, a view echoed by participants in the meeting and the participants in the meeting echoed this view.  Passing immigration reform, he explained, will encourage undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows by providing a path to earned citizenship for those who register, pay a fee, pay their taxes, and pass criminal background and national security checks.  It will also allow law enforcement to focus on catching criminals and keeping neighborhoods safe while strengthening trust between local police and the diverse communities they serve and protect.  Without the fear of deportation, immigrant communities will feel safer and more empowered to report crimes and cooperate with the police.  This is particularly important for victims of domestic violence and for victims and witnesses of crimes. 

    The Vice President concluded the meeting by reiterating that the House of Representatives must join the Senate in taking urgent action to fix our broken immigration system.


  • Vice President Biden and Indian Leaders Discuss U.S.-India Engagement

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

    Vice President Joe Biden meets with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, at Panchavati, in New Delhi, India, July 23, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On his second day in New Delhi, Vice President Biden met with Indian leaders to discuss the increasingly important bilateral relationship between our two countries.

    In meetings with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and others, Vice President Biden emphasized a range of opportunities for our countries to work more closely together on issues such as economic growth, trade, energy and climate change, security and investments in innovation and education.

    In the evening, the Vice President discussed the importance of the U.S.-India relationship at a dinner hosted by Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.