The White House Blog: The Vice President
- Posted byon August 7, 2012 at 9:19 AM EST
Saturday, Vice President Biden spoke with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at their 91st National Convention in Las Vegas.
The 1.2 million-member DAV is made up exclusively of men and women that have been wounded while defending the nation. This group is dedicated to one, single purpose – building better lives for all our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.
The Vice President thanked the men and women for their service and sacrifices and for continuing to serve by supporting their fellow disabled veterans. He also encouraged them to continue fighting for the benefits that they have earned, need and deserve.
During his address to a crowd of almost 4,000 disabled veterans, Vice President Biden stressed, “Let me be crystal, absolutely crystal clear: we’re going to keep our commitment to American veterans, no matter what happens.”
- Posted byon July 31, 2012 at 2:01 PM EST
Ed. Note: This op-ed was first published by the McClatchy Newspapers.
I've spent a lot of years in Washington, and in the past, I had always found that even when partisanship was at its worst, there were still certain issues that rose above the normal course of politics. These days, unfortunately, even that precept is being challenged.
Protecting victims of domestic violence, an issue that has always enjoyed bipartisan support and should be well beyond debate, has become the center of one in Congress. And women across the nation are now at risk.
Let me explain what's happening:
In 1994, I wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which established several critical new protections: first, it provides law enforcement with new tools to prosecute domestic violence crimes and put offenders behind bars. Second, it helps victims find safe places to stay so they don't have to choose between living on the streets or living with someone who is hurting them. And third, it gives women a crisis hotline they can call when they need immediate help.
We've made a lot of progress as a nation since the act first became law. Annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent. The national hotline has answered more than 2 million crisis calls, directing victims to life-saving assistance.
But make no mistake, this violence still happens every day.
We need to continue these programs and we need to add improvements. For example, we now know that new screening tools can help law enforcement and the courts reduce domestic violence homicide rates, helping them to step in before abuse becomes murder. Such tools might have saved Sarah Rosio, a 24-year-old Wisconsin woman who was strangled to death by her boyfriend after having been abused many times before her death. Two weeks before her death, Sarah was denied a protective order against her abuser. Sarah is gone now, tragically, but we can help others avoid her terrible fate.
To do so, Congress must make the protections in the Violence Against Women Act available to every person in this country who may ever need them. This simply cannot be up for debate in a civilized society like ours.
Every few years, the Violence Against Women Act needs to be reauthorized. And in the past, Congress has worked cooperatively to reauthorize, improve, and expand the reach of the law. Up until now.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed the bill, and they did it with both Democratic and Republican support. Unfortunately, the House did not follow this broadly bipartisan path; Republicans there passed a much weaker version of the bill. While the House bill contains some of the important provisions of the Senate bill, it lacks key improvements - like protecting more victims and requiring dating violence and sexual assault prevention programs on campus - and, in some cases, it actually rolls back current protections for victims of domestic violence.
Support for the Violence Against Women Act runs broad and deep. It includes law enforcement, prosecutors, victims' advocates, faith groups, and Democrats and Republicans alike. So this should be easy - and beyond politics. Instead, the clock is now running out for the more than 23,000 women who call our national domestic abuse hotline every month and for all women who may one day be the victims of violence.
Congress should pass the bipartisan version approved by the U.S. Senate.
I know there are fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans, and I don't expect those to disappear. But on this issue of basic decency, where there remains so much agreement between us, Republicans and Democrats ought to leave politics at the water's edge. Because women everywhere are counting on us, and they can't wait any longer.
- Posted byon July 17, 2012 at 3:10 PM EST
In the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics, the USA men's basketball team last night played an exhibition game against Brazil at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.
President Obama was on hand, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden.
The Obamas and company watched Team USA take on a talented and experienced Brazil squad, also featuring multiple NBA starters. Led by 30 points, six rebounds, and four steals from LeBron James, the Americans forced 23 turnovers to capture an 80-69 win.
Earlier, the USA women's team routed their Brazilian counterparts, 99-67 -- led by 21 points from the three-time WNBA All Star Lindsay Whalen.
President Obama met with both teams to offer some words of encouragement before the players and coaches head to the United Kingdom to defend their gold medals. The Olympics start on July 28, and the First Lady will help to lead the U.S. delegation.
We managed to grab some behind the scenes video from the night. Check it out below.
Earlier, we talked with Alonzo Mourning, a gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Team USA, about the challenges this year's squad will face in London. Watch Alonzo Mourning talk about Team USA basketball.
- Posted byon July 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM EST
Today, the Vice President spoke to more than 100 community leaders from across the country representing over 60 seniors groups that are part of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. He told the audience that when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, “the question is what are we going to do to strengthen and sustain these programs now and for the future.” In contrast, Congressional Republicans are trying to weaken or dismantle these programs.
Last year, Congressman Paul Ryan proposed to end traditional Medicare. His plan, which was embraced by his Republican colleagues, would give seniors a voucher to buy private insurance and hold them responsible for any costs that exceed the value of the voucher. As a result, the typical 65-year-old’s out-of-pocket health care costs would double over time. While Congressman Ryan introduced a revised plan this year, it still relies on a voucher system that would increase the financial burden on seniors.
President Obama and Vice President Biden want to strengthen Medicare and secure the program for the future. Our health care law extends the life of Medicare by eight years by taking smart steps like cutting waste and fraud and creating incentives to cut down on hospital readmissions. These steps will save seniors in traditional Medicare an average of $160 on premiums and copays in 2012 alone. In addition, the law has already saved 5.3 million seniors an average of $600 on prescription drugs by closing the “donut hole,” and has ensured that over 30 million have access to free preventive services like cancer screenings and annual wellness visits.
- Posted byon July 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM EST
On Tuesday, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden visited the Las Vegas branch of the non-profit United States Veterans Initiative (U.S. Vets). With a mission to help homeless and at-risk veterans find jobs, U.S. Vets provides comprehensive support that includes housing, counseling, and career development programs. The Las Vegas group alone works with more than 160 veterans every day.
At the organization’s career center, the Vice President and Dr. Biden joined a life skills workshop, where they met with veterans who are either currently working or searching for work.
- Posted byon June 5, 2012 at 5:55 PM EST
Today, Vice President Biden met with the presidents and senior officials of ten colleges, universities, and state systems of higher education from across the country to discuss the importance of providing students and families with transparent information about the cost of attendance and financial aid. Secretary Duncan, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz also participated in the discussion.
Post-secondary education is a valuable investment – more than 60 percent of new jobs in the next decade will require a credential beyond a high school diploma. But before settling on a school and signing any loan agreements, students and their families need easy-to-understand information regarding how they will finance their education. Colleges and universities already provide some statistics about the cost of attendance and available financial aid, but that information is often not clearly presented to students and their families in a way that facilitates easy comparison among schools. Further, schools usually do not provide important information including an estimate of students’ future loan payments, or data about the likelihood of graduation or loan default.
- Posted byon May 31, 2012 at 10:02 AM EST
Last weekend, Vice President Biden delivered the commencement address to the graduating seniors at U.S. Military Academy.
He told the Class of 2012 that they are joining a proud tradition:
West Point has prepared you to lead us to face these new challenges, some of which we have yet to even contemplate, let alone encounter. Because as I said at the start, you are not only strong and committed, you are also some of our nation’s sharpest minds, with the training to take today’s missions -- counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, training foreign armies -- and the minds to adapt to tomorrow’s horizons, from cyberspace to outer space.
There is such a proud history here. Such a proud tradition. And I have no doubt that many of you in this class are not only going to make extraordinary contributions to the military but also to civilian life because West Point is in the business of producing -- not only great officers –- it produces great leaders and great Americans.
As President Theodore Roosevelt said, upon West Point’s Centennial, 110 years ago next month, he said: “Your duty here at West Point has been to fit men to do well in war. But it is a noteworthy fact that you also have fitted them to do singularly well in peace. The highest positions in the land have been held, not exceptionally, but again and again by West Pointers.” West Pointers who have risen to the first rank in all occupations of civilian life.
Were he here today he’d only alter that quote slightly –- young men and women are prepared to do that.
Read the Vice President's full remarks here.
- Posted byon May 25, 2012 at 4:26 PM EST
My husband Joe and I spent the morning with some of our nation’s bravest heroes -- kids, spouses and parents who have lost loved ones who have served in the military.
We were honored to kick off the 18th annual Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors. TAPS is a national nonprofit organization providing care to families of the fallen, including peer emotional support, grief and trauma resources and information, casualty casework assistance and crisis intervention, for all those affected by the death of a loved one who served in the military.
This weekend, TAPS will help children and families of fallen service members build relationships that will last a lifetime. They will bond over their shared experiences, support one another, learn ways to cope with their grief, and also have a little fun touring our Nation’s capital. The camp is really making a difference in the lives of the children who attend – many of whom come back year after year, and some go on to become counselors themselves. I met a teenager who lost his father when he was nine, and this weekend he is attending the camp for the fifth time. He is heading off to college in the fall, and I am certain he will continue to inspire and support people he meets throughout his life.
These families have endured so much – and yet they are pillars of strength that inspire us all. The months and years ahead will not be easy for them, and some days will be better than others. But they have one very important thing to help get them through – the military family. And as an Army mom, I know that means they will never be alone. It is my hope that on Memorial Day – and every day – these families will know that our entire Nation mourns alongside them, and that we will never forget their loved ones.
- Posted byon May 15, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST
Today, the President and Vice President released their 2011 financial disclosure reports.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials. Those finances are set forth in annual disclosures which are reviewed and certified by ethics officials. Neither the President nor the Vice President have any conflicts of interest, and their reports have been reviewed and certified by the independent Office of Government Ethics. We are continuing this Administration's practice of posting these forms online here in the interests of transparency:
- View the President's 2011 financial disclosure report (pdf)
- View the Vice President's 2011 financial disclosure report (pdf)
White House staff are also completing their forms and we anticipate they will be available here next month, also in electronic form.
- Posted byon May 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM EST