The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • West Wing Week 01/17/14 or, "Give Peace a Chance"

    This week, the President sat down for lunch with young organizers who are working to help implement the Affordable Care Act, hosted the President of Spain and the Miami Heat, traveled to the home of the Wolfpack to announce a new, public-private effort to support investment in our manufacturing sector, announced his nominee to run the Small Business Administration, and spoke on expanding college opportunity, alongside the First Lady.


  • What You Missed: Vice President Biden Answers Your Questions on Immigration Reform

    Vice President Biden discusses immigration reform during a Skype event

    Vice President Joe Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, Domestic Policy Council Director participate in a Skype event on immigration reform, with Natali Morris, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C. December 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    This week, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, sat down to answer your questions on immigration during a live Skype event. "At its core, we’re a nation of immigrants,” said the Vice President:

    "What we’ve been pushing...is a rational policy to allow these 11 million people to come out of the shadows and have an opportunity to earn the right to gain their citizenship. And it is not only the morally right thing to do, it’s not only in our interest, it’s a thing that would allow us to continue to grow. And it will save us billions and billions of dollars."

    Through Skype and on Twitter, Americans asked their questions about the economic impacts of reform, border security, pathways to citizenship and more. Watch the full video, then share your immigration story.


  • West Wing Week 12/05/13 or, "Olde English"

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the President spoke on the importance of addressing economic mobility and supporting implementation of the Affordable Care Act, visited fasting immigration reform activists, marked World AIDS Day, celebrated Hanukkah, and visited a local bookstore for Small Business Saturday. That's November 29th to December 5th or, "Olde English."


  • Ask Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz Your Questions About Immigration Reform

    Ed. note: This event has concluded. Watch the full Skype chat below.

    Our nation's immigration system is broken – and fixing it is an economic, national security, and moral imperative. That’s why President Obama is deeply committed to working to pass a common sense, comprehensive set of reforms that ensures everyone plays by the same rules. And we want to answer your questions about the issue.

    On Wednesday, December 11th, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, are sitting down to answer your questions about immigration reform. During the conversation hosted by Bing and Skype, the Vice President and Cecilia will speak with folks from around the country via live Skype Video Call, answer questions submitted through Skype Video and from social media.

    What are your questions about immigration reform? Ask a question by Skype Video Message now and join the conversation on Twitter with #AskTheWhiteHouse, then be sure to tune in live on Wednesday, December 11th at 3:45 p.m. ET at Bing.com/WhiteHouse and WhiteHouse.gov/live.


    Learn more:


  • New Chicago Shelter Will Help Victims of Domestic Violence Rebuild Their Lives in Safety

    Vice President Joe Biden with Sen. Dick Durbin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife Amy Rule backstage at the groundbreaking of a shelter for battered women

    Vice President Joe Biden with Sen. Dick Durbin, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife Amy Rule backstage at the groundbreaking of a shelter for battered women outside the WINGS Metro facility in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, Nov. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Yesterday, Vice President Biden delivered remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for Chicago’s first new domestic violence shelter in over a decade. Wings Metro, a state-of-the-art facility, will increase the number of available beds in the city by 36% and expects to serve 100 families in its first year of operation after it opens its doors in June 2014.

    The creation of this shelter comes at a needed time in Chicago. In 2012, there were 51,174 reported domestic incidents in the city. In addition, 56% of women in homeless shelters in Chicago stated they had been victims of domestic violence, with 22% reporting domestic violence as the immediate cause of their homelessness.

    In his remarks, Vice President Biden asked us all to imagine “how cold today feels to the woman who is sleeping in a park with her four children because she had to run out in the night.” Wings Metro will go a long way to support survivors like this woman and will reduce family homelessness in Chicago. The shelter, which was developed through the collaboration of Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), Metropolitan Family Services, and the Greater Southwest Development, will increase the number of available beds in the city from 112 to 152 and will provide comprehensive services to survivors and their children. The Vice President noted in his remarks that this new facility is about more than just shelter—it is about giving survivors access to the services, privacy, and job training they need to rebuild their lives.

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks with Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the groundbreaking of a shelter for battered women

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks with Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the groundbreaking of a shelter for battered women outside the WINGS Metro facility in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, Nov. 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    The Vice President was joined by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Senator Dick Durbin, both of whom have shown a strong commitment to the fight against domestic violence. Since being elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, Mayor Emmanuel has committed to expand funding for domestic violence services. He has dedicated $123,000 to provide court advocates to assist an additional 1,500 survivors as they go through the legal proceedings of their cases. Senator Durbin was one of the leading House sponsors of the original Violence Against Women Act; he has continued to be a strong supporter of the legislation after his election to the Senate.  


  • West Wing Week: 11/22/13 or "A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama!"

    This week, the Vice President traveled to Houston and Panama, the President honored the legacy of John F. Kennedy, this year's Medal of Freedom Winners and Nobel Laureates, and attended the Wall Street Journal's CEO Summit. That's November 15th to 21st or "A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama!"


  • Vice President Biden Celebrates Citizenship at King Center Naturalization Ceremony

    Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas stand for the National Anthem

    Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas stand for the National Anthem at a naturalization ceremony at the Martin Luther King Junior Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, November 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a naturalization ceremony at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He welcomed 104 newly naturalized citizens, representing 50 countries. This ceremony is one of 120 naturalization ceremonies held throughout the nation and overseas in the last two weeks to welcome approximately 8,000 new U.S. citizens.

    At the ceremony, the Vice President thanked the new citizens for pursuing American citizenship. “Thank you for choosing us - thank you for concluding America was worthy of your aspirations,” he said. “The truth of the matter is you’ve been Americans for a long time, long before you raised your right hand today, because you’ve all adhered to the idea of America.”

    The event highlighted the Obama Administration’s celebration of citizenship and across the board commitment to passing commonsense immigration reform that includes a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. today.

    The Vice President recognized that immigration makes us stronger, and that if we want to keep attracting the best and brightest talent the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them. He called for reforms to our immigration system that will help harness the talent and ingenuity of all those like them who want to work hard and find a place here in America.


  • President Obama Commemorates Veterans Day

    This Veterans Day, the President honored those, past and present, who put on the uniform of the United States military and put their lives on the line.

    President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton

    President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2013. Mr. Overton,107 years old and the oldest living World War II veteran, attended the Veteran's Day Breakfast at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    On Monday morning, the President hosted a breakfast in the East Room of the White House for veterans and their families. In attendance was Richard Overton from Austin, Texas. Richard is the oldest living World War II veteran. The President honored the veteran in his remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, and thanked Richard for his selfless dedication and his courage when he faced adversity.

    That’s what we owe veterans like Richard Overton, who served in the Army in World War II. He was there at Pearl Harbor, when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa.  He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, “I only got out of there by the grace of God.”

    When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race.  And his service on the battlefield was not always matched by the respect that he deserved at home.  But this veteran held his head high.  He carried on and lived his life with honor and dignity.  


  • Insurance Companies Now Must Cover Mental Health Benefits at Parity with Medical Benefits

    Today, as part of the President and Vice President’s continuing efforts to increase access to mental health services, the Administration issued the final rule implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

    Today’s action means that for group and individual market health plans, insurance companies must cover mental health and addiction benefits at parity with medical and surgical benefits. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services also released a letter to State health officials clarifying that Medicaid plans must also comply with parity requirements.

    Parity is not just a buzzword. It has a real impact for the millions of people who are experiencing or will experience mental illness or addiction. In fact, parity works to break down two key barriers that too often prevent these individuals – our friends, our family, our neighbors – from seeking help. First, it breaks down the financial barrier by generally prohibiting health plans from placing more restrictive monetary requirements (for example, co-pays) or treatment limitations (for example, covered visits)  on mental health and substance abuse benefits than on comparable medical and surgical benefits.  Second, parity reduces the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction by reaffirming that illnesses of the brain should not be treated differently than illnesses of the body.


  • The Time is Now: President Obama Meets with Business Leaders on Immigration Reform

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with business leaders to discuss immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with business leaders to discuss immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 5, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, I joined the President, Vice President and senior Administration officials for a meeting at the White House with a group of top U.S. business leaders to discuss the importance of commonsense immigration reform to bolster U.S. economic growth, and improve the climate for business, and job creation.  These leaders shared with the President their desire to see our broken immigration system fixed, both because it is the right thing to do, and because it will be good for the U.S. economy.

    In addition to the 7.5 million jobs we have created in the U.S. over the past three and a half years, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), over the next two decades, the bipartisan bill that has already passed the Senate would grow our economy by an additional $1.4 trillion, and shrink our deficits by nearly $1 trillion.  The Senate bill would modernize our legal immigration system. 

    With common sense immigration reform, American colleges, universities, and businesses can attract the brightest minds in the world to our shores to start new businesses, and spur economic growth for all Americans.  And, reform would also make sure everyone plays by the same rules, providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows, including passing a background check, learning English, paying taxes and a penalty, and getting in line behind everyone else.