The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Governors Come to D.C. for the National Governors Association Winter Meeting

    President Barack Obama meets with the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 24, 2014.

    President Barack Obama meets with the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This weekend, governors from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. for the 2014 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting. The meeting gives governors an opportunity to talk about issues affecting states and discuss innovative solutions.

    Last night, the President and the First Lady welcomed the NGA to the White House for the 2014 Governors' Dinner. The President told the governors in attendance that he looked forward to working with them, "not just in our meetings tomorrow, but throughout this year – what I hope to be a year of action. Our partnership on behalf of the American people, on issues ranging from education to health care to climate change, runs deep, deeper than what usually hits the front page."

    This morning, President Obama and Vice President Biden both delivered additional remarks to the NGA in the State Dining Room at the White House.


  • Vice President Biden Speaks at America’s Central Port on the Fifth Anniversary of the Recovery Act

    Vice President Joe Biden marks the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

    Vice President Joe Biden marks the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by delivering remarks on the need for continued investment in infrastructure, at America's Central Port Intermodal Hub, in Granite City, Illinois, Feb. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    “The Recovery Act is the largest public works project since President Eisenhower laid out our nation’s interstate highway system—and all of you here at America’s Central Port are continuing this American story of boldness and doing big things that are so deeply ingrained in our history,” Vice President Biden said at an event marking the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which saved our country from an economic depression and helped rebuild the middle class.  

    Speaking on the Mississippi River at America’s Central Port in Granite City, Illinois on Wednesday. February 19, the Vice President outlined how the Recovery Act’s TIGER grants at the port and across the country have modernized the way we do business, created good-paying middle-class jobs, and strengthened our global economic competitiveness. 

    Joined by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, current Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, along with local and port officials, the Vice President described how the grants significantly improve the way we finance and strengthen the capacity of our nation’s ports, railroads, and highways. At America’s third largest inland port, the TIGER program has already helped hire workers who installed new levee relief wells, laid down a new rail track, and started work on a new harbor, all of which help increase the Port’s efficiency and reduce shipping costs. 


  • New Funding to Increase Access to Mental Health Services and New Protections Under the Health Care Law

    So far this year, the Administration has taken three key steps as part of our ongoing effort to increase access to mental health services.

    First, the President signed an omnibus appropriations bill, securing $115 million for new mental health initiatives that the President and Vice President proposed in January 2013 as part of their comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. This funding will have a real impact in communities across the country, where it will be used to train more mental health professionals and help educators and other adults who work with youth recognize the early signs of mental health problems and refer young people to appropriate help when needed.  The funds will also be used for a new initiative which will support innovative state-based approaches to making sure young people ages 16 to 25 who are at high risk for mental illness don’t fall through the cracks of our mental health system when they leave school or home.

    Second, on January 31, with funding from the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made $50 million available to help Community Health Centers across the country establish or expand mental and behavioral health services for people living with mental illness or addiction. Using these funds, Health Centers can hire new mental health professionals and add mental health and substance use disorder services. This new funding was first announced by Vice President Biden last December. At that time, the Vice President also announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set a new goal of financing $50 million for the construction, expansion, or improvement of mental health facilities in rural areas over the next three years.


  • West Wing Week 2/14/14 or, "The Red, White, and Blue -- and the Blue, White, and Red"

    This week, the President hosted the first state visit for the French President in 20 years, signed the farm bill and raised the minimum wage for federal contractors. That's February 7th  to February 13th or, "The Red, White, and Blue -- and the Blue, White, and Red."


  • West Wing Week 02/07/14 or "POTUS Cam!"

    This week, the President urged action on long-term unemployment, hung out on Google+ for his first virtual road trip, announced major private-sector commitments to expand broadband Internet for students, spoke with both House and Senate Democrats, and joined the First Lady for the National Prayer Breakfast. The First Lady helped students get a leg up with filing for financial aid, and the Vice President unveiled Amtrak’s new Cities Sprinter electric locomotive.


  • Vice President Biden Speaks at the Annual United Auto Workers Conference

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    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the United Auto Workers National Community Action Program Conference, in the grand salon of the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2014. In attendance are Mary Beth Cahill, Director of United Auto Workers Washington DC office, and Bob King, President, United Auto Workers. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    “Collective bargaining is the bedrock of our economy. It’s not just about you. It’s about economic growth,” the Vice President remarked at the United Auto Workers annual Community Action Program (CAP) Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday February 5th.

    His remarks highlighted the contributions and sacrifices made by labor that led to the success of the auto industry recovery.

    “No one gave more at the office to rescue the industry than labor,” stated the Vice President and drawing attention to the layoffs, wage freezes, and reduction in health care benefits that employees sacrificed.

    The Vice President told the crowd and reminded those listening that, “You guys at the UAW not only saved the auto industry, you saved the heartbeat of American manufacturing,” emphasizing that it was thanks to labor that Chrysler and General Motors emerged from bankruptcy. Since then, the industry has added 380,000 jobs; including 8,300 in December of 2013.


  • West Wing Week 01/31/14 or "West Wing Week Turns 200!"

    This anniversary episode, hosted by the President, coincides with this year's State of the Union Address. We'll take you behind the scenes and on the road to speak directly with Americans like you about your lives and your families, and how together we can make sure that every American who works and studies hard has a real chance to get ahead.


  • West Wing Week 01/24/14 or, "199!"

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the President announced important reforms to the National Security Agency and new measures to prevent sexual assault, honored Martin Luther King with a service project at DC Central Kitchen, signed the 2014 appropriations bill into law to fund the government, and hosted a conference of mayors. That's January 17th to January 23rd or, "199!"


  • A Renewed Call to Action to End Rape and Sexual Assault

    As part of an unprecedented national effort to address alarming rates of sexual assault on college campuses, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today to establish the “White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault." The taskforce will be charged with sharing best practices, and increasing transparency, enforcement, public awareness, and interagency coordination to prevent violence and support survivors. The creation of this Task Force builds upon the President’s 2010 call to action, which urged the federal government to support survivors and aggressively take action against sexual assault.

    The statistics around sexual assault in this country are nothing short of jarring. A report just released by the White House Council on Women and Girls entitled, “Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action” reveals that nearly 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. These statistics are stunning, but still can’t begin to capture the emotional and psychological scars that survivors often carry for life, or the courage needed to recover.

    President Barack Obama signs the Campus Sexual Assault Presidential Memorandum during a White House Council on Women and Girls meeting in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014.

    President Barack Obama signs the Campus Sexual Assault Presidential Memorandum during a White House Council on Women and Girls meeting in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Today’s report states that students experience some of the highest rates of sexual assault. This violence, and the stress, fear, and mental health challenges that often follow, combine to increase dropout rates and limit opportunities for success in college for women and girls. The Administration is committed to investing in women’s education, training, and full inclusion in the workforce, and the President strongly believes that combatting sexual assault is vital to that effort.


  • Taking Action to Expand College Opportunity

    President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Bard College student Troy Simon, delivers remarks during the College Opportunity Summit

    President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama and Bard College student Troy Simon, delivers remarks during the College Opportunity Summit in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Jan. 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    With the growing demand for college-educated workers, a college education is one of the surest ways into the middle class.

    The Obama administration has already taken a number of steps to help more students afford and graduate from college, including doubling Federal investments in Pell Grants and college tax credits, reforming student loans, and taking new steps to reduce college costs and improve value.

    But while continuing to push for changes that keep college affordable for all students and families, President Obama believes that to lead the world in the share of college graduates by 2020, we can and must be doing more to get more low-income students prepared for college, enrolled in quality institutions, and graduating. And yesterday, a group of leaders in higher education joined the President and First Lady at the White House to take the next step toward ensuring that every child, rich or poor, has the opportunity for a quality college education so they can get ahead.