The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • Vice President Biden: There’s a Moral Price to Be Paid for Inaction on Gun Violence

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a gun violence conference

    Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a gun violence conference hosted by the Connecticut Congressional delegation, at Western Connecticut State University, in Danbury, CT, Feb., 21, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Yesterday, Vice President Biden spoke at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University. He told the crowd that while there’s no one thing that can be done to prevent gun violence, there are many steps we can – and must -- take as a nation to better protect our children and communities, regardless of the politics involved.

    “People write about the political risks and why they're unacceptable to take on," he said. “I say it’s unacceptable not to take these on.” 

    “There’s a moral price to be paid for inaction,” he said.


  • Vice President Biden Honors Public Safety Officers with Medal of Valor

    Vice President Joe Biden with Officer Reeshemah Taylor at a Medal of Valor ceremony, Feb., 20, 2013.

    Vice President Joe Biden congratulates Officer Reeshemah Taylor of the Osceola County Corrections Department after presenting her with the Medal of Valor, during a Medal of Valor ceremony with Attorney General Eric Holder, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, Feb., 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Vice President Joe Biden today recognized 18 public safety officers for exhibiting exceptional courage in a Medal of Valor ceremony at the White House. The Medal of Valor is the highest national award for valor by a public safety officer, and it is bestowed on those whose heroic actions were above and beyond the call of duty.

    The Vice President, who was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, highlighted the bravery of the men and women who were being honored, and paid tribute to the spouses of the recipients who had lost their lives in the line of duty. He also talked about the special qualities that are unique to those who put themselves in danger to save others:

    My association with firefighters and police has been... the essence of my public life. And as many of these things that I do, I still grapple with what makes you do what you do? I’m just thankful that you do.

    You can't explain it, but you know it when you see it. I see it in the shield over someone’s heart. I see it in the men and women who are sitting here before us today...Thank God for you. You’re from different backgrounds, but you’re the glue that literally binds communities together at times of stress. You’re that face that shows up for a woman on the second floor of a burning building just when she thinks it’s all over for her... The amazing thing about all of you is that the very things you do when you’re on duty to save people’s lives, you do when you're off duty. There’s no separation.


  • West Wing Week: 02/15/13 or “You’re a Hero”

    This week, the President delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term, and then brought his proposals to a factory in North Carolina and a school in Georgia, presided over a Medal of Honor ceremony, honored the outgoing Secretary of Defense, and hungout on Google Plus. 


  • Vice President Biden Meets with Law Enforcement Officials in Philadelphia

    Vice President Joe Biden holds a roundtable with law enforcement officials

    Vice President Joe Biden holds a roundtable with law enforcement officials and members of congress on gun safety, at Girard College in Philadelphia, PA, Feb., 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Philadelphia to meet with law enforcement officials and hold a roundtable discussion to talk about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence.

    In addition to Vice President Biden, the roundtable included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Senator Robert Casey, Congressman Robert Brady, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Congressman Chaka Fattah, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and police chiefs and prosecutors from other cities and communities.

    In the meeting, the participants discussed the challenges for law enforcement as they work to reduce gun crime. The Vice President pledged to continue the Administration’s fight to put 15,000 police officers on the street – and also argued that there is a consensus growing behind sensible gun safety legislation. He called for getting assault weapons and high capacity magazines off the streets, requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and a federal gun trafficking statute, among other proposals.


  • West Wing Week: 02/08/13 or “What’s Up, Camera Man?”

    This week, the President honored our nation's top scientists and innovators, nominated a new Secretary of the Interior, and worked toward reducing gun violence, enacting immigration reform, and reducing our deficit in a balanced way.

     


  • In Munich, Vice President Biden Highlights Transatlantic Relationship with European Allies

    Four years ago, Vice President Biden spoke at the annual Munich Security Conference to outline the Obama administration’s foreign policy agenda and reset our relationship with Russia. On Tuesday, Vice President Biden wrapped up a similar trip to Europe during which he stressed our strong cooperation with our European allies and highlighted our many joint accomplishments over the last four years. 

    Travelling first to Berlin, the Vice President met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss our bilateral relationship with Germany and the common challenges we face in Iran, Syria, Mali, and Afghanistan. The Vice President and the German Chancellor also traded views on their respective economies as well as energy and climate change.   

    Vice President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    Vice President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk on the balcony outside the Chancellor's office overlooking Berlin, Germany, Feb., 1, 2013 (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Continuing on to Munich, Vice President Biden delivered remarks at the 49th Munich Security Conference and held a series of bilateral meeting with world leaders.  His speech stressed the continued importance the U.S. places on the transatlantic relationship.  “It’s hard to imagine a single threat or opportunity that we cannot address more effectively together,” he said.


  • Keeping Up the Demand for Action on Gun Violence

    It’s been two weeks since President Obama released his plan for reducing gun violence. Since then, the President and the Vice President have continued their push for common-sense steps to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence. They’ve spoken with mayors, law enforcement officers, and ordinary Americans about the plan going forward. They’ve continued to meet with experts about effective steps that cities and states have taken. And they’ve kept in contact with members of Congress about how to move forward on common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence.

    On January 17, the day after the President released his gun violence prevention plan, the Vice President spoke to the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the plan. Last week, the Conference officially endorsed the President and Vice President’s proposals.  

    Vice President Biden Addresses Conference of Mayors

    Vice President Joe Biden addresses the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, at the Capital Hilton, in Washington, DC, Jan. 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann).

    On January 24th, the Vice President participated in a “Fireside Hangout” hosted by Google, talking with Google+ users from across the country about the Administration’s plan to reduce gun violence. Catch up on that conversation now: 

    On January 25th, the Vice President traveled to Richmond, Virginia to hold a roundtable discussion with experts who helped improve Virginia’s background check system after the Virginia Tech shooting. Along with Secretaries Napolitano and Sebelius, Senator Tim Kaine, and Congressman Bobby Scott, they talked about what still needs to be done to make sure that there is a criminal background check for every gun sale in America.


  • Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden Visit Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with medical staff

    Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit with medical staff during a visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Landstuhl, Germany, Feb., 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Today, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited with Wounded Warriors and their medical caretakers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Landstuhl, Germany. 
     
    Landstuhl RMC is the largest U.S. military hospital outside the United States. It serves American servicemembers and their families who are stationed in Europe. Landstuhl RMC is also the nearest medical trauma center treating wounded U.S. servicemembers coming from Afghanistan. The center treats wounded coalition military members serving alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan as well.
     
    The Vice President, Dr. Biden, and Deputy Secretary Carter thanked the combat-injured U.S. soldier for his service to our country and thanked his wife and their young son for their sacrifices. They also spent time visiting with two wounded soldiers serving in Afghanistan who were from the Republic of Georgia. Of the fifty-nation coalition providing forces in Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor, providing over 1,560 forces who primarily serve in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province.
     
    The Vice President, Dr. Biden, and Deputy Secretary Carter also took time to specially thank on-duty medical caretakers in the surgical wards and the intensive care unit for caring for our Wounded Warriors. Vice President Biden said, “Even if there were no Wounded Warriors here to visit today, we wanted to stop by and visit with you to say thank you for all that you do for them. What you do is truly breathtaking. And because of you, our Wounded Warriors can return home alive to their mothers and fathers, to their wives and husbands, and to their sons and daughters.”


  • Law Enforcement Officials Discuss Keeping Our Communities Safe

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials

    President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with law enforcement officials to discuss policies the President put forward last month that would reduce gun violence in communities across America, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Jan. 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden continued the conversation about reducing gun violence in a meeting with law enforcement officials.

    No group is more important in helping make our communities safer, President Obama said, because they recognize that it’s not only the high-profile mass shootings that need to be addressed, but also the everyday gun violence that happens in cities and towns across the country.

    That’s why part of the conversation that we're going to be having today relates not only to the issue of new laws or better enforcement of our gun laws, it also means what are we doing to make sure that we've got the strongest possible law enforcement teams on the ground?  What are we doing to hire more cops?  What are we doing to make sure that they're getting the training that they need?  What are we doing to make sure our sheriff's offices in rural counties have access to some of the resources that some of the big cities do in order to deal with some of these emergencies?  

    Two weeks ago, President Obama issued 23 executive actions to help reduce gun violence, and called on Congress to pass laws that will help keep guns out of the wrong hands, ban assault and high-capacity magazines, make our schools safer, and increase access to mental health services. Read more about the plan here.


  • West Wing Week 01/25/13 or: “Behind the Scenes: Inauguration 2013”

    This week, Washington D.C. was transformed into an historic stage, with an estimated one million people on hand to witness the President and Vice President take the Oath of Office at the United States Capitol. Through it all, West Wing Week was there, from the terrace of the Capitol to backstage at the balls. America, take a moment to look back at where we've been this week for this special edition of West Wing Week, January 18th to the 24th, or "Behind the Scenes: Inauguration 2013."