The White House Blog: Dr. Jill Biden
- Posted byon April 14, 2014 at 1:24 PM EDT
Three years ago this month, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, a national initiative to support America’s service members and military families – before, during and after deployment.
One of the best ways we can support those who serve is by providing them with tools and resources to help them pursue an education or find a good-paying job. We know that veterans make some of the very best students and employees; they bring the same determination and focus to their studies and their jobs that they brought to serving our country.
As more than one million service members transition back to civilian life over the next five years, many of them will pursue their education by using the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits they have earned.
That’s why resources like the VA’s GI Bill® Comparison Tool are so important. Veterans, service members, survivors, and eligible dependents can quickly and easily calculate their GI Bill benefits at more than 10,000 approved schools and job training programs.
- Posted byon April 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM EDT
Today, the President released his 2013 federal income tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $481,098. The Obamas paid $98,169 in total tax.
The President and First Lady also reported donating $59,251 – or about 12.3 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 32 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was $8,751 to the Fisher House Foundation. The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 20.4 percent. The President pushed for and signed into law legislation that makes the system more fair and helps the middle class by extending tax cuts to middle class and working families and asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. In 2013, as a result of his policies, the President was subject to limitations in tax preferences, as well as additional Medicare and investment income taxes, for high income earners. The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $23,328 in state income tax.
The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2013 federal income tax returns, as well as state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The Bidens filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Dr. Biden filed a separate non-resident Virginia tax return. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $407,009. The Bidens paid $96,378 in total federal tax for 2013, amounting to an effective tax rate of 23.7 percent. They also paid $14,644 in Delaware income tax and Dr. Biden paid $3,470 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $20,523 to charity in 2013, including contributing the royalties received from Dr. Biden’s children’s book, net of taxes, to the USO.
- Posted byon April 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM EDT
On June 7, 2012, Linda Mills received a phone call that changed her life forever: Linda’s husband, Army Staff Sergeant Andrew Mills, had been seriously injured when an IED exploded in Afghanistan.
Almost immediately, Linda quit her job to become Andrew’s full-time caregiver. In the weeks and months after the explosion, Andrew underwent more than 30 surgeries. The two of them moved from North Carolina to Virginia, so that Andrew can rehab at a state-of-the-art military hospital. And every single day, Linda has stood by her husband’s side, helping with physical therapy, assisting with daily personal care, and managing the family’s legal and financial responsibilities.
Today, after two years in her new role as a caregiver, Linda considers herself not just a military spouse, but a nurse, an advocate, a scheduler, and a coach. And as she often says, even a tragedy can lead to a new beginning – in a few weeks’ time, she and Andrew will welcome their first child into the world.
- Posted byon April 10, 2014 at 9:51 AM EDT
Earlier this week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden spoke to 1,500 educational leaders at the American Association of Community Colleges 94th Annual Convention.
During the speech, the Vice President recognized that community colleges provide “a trusted pathway to good jobs in the middle class,” and spoke about the importance of matching job openings with skilled workers. The Vice President highlighted the Administration’s work in making higher education more affordable through further investment in Pell Grants and capping federal student loan repayments at 10% of income.
Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator and community college teacher, noted that she has visited innovative workforce partnerships at community colleges around the country – and that they are critical to America’s future.
- Posted byon March 26, 2014 at 6:27 PM EDT
An important deadline is coming up for all Americans, including the LGBT community: March 31 is the end of the open enrollment period for individuals to sign up for health care in the state and federal Marketplaces. If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to get health insurance again until next year.
The Affordable Care Act has the potential to improve the health and well-being of the LGBT community for generations to come. (Here’s how.) Many LGBT individuals across the country have signed up for coverage — and they’re already seeing the benefits.
- Posted byon March 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM EDT
This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden traveled to Chile to attend the President's inauguration, while the President worked on improving access to college for students, raising the minimum wage, and negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. He also got out the word about this year's March 31st deadline for health insurance applications, congratulated NCAA champs, and designated a new national monument.
- Posted byon February 20, 2014 at 4:07 PM EDT
Yesterday, Dr. Jill Biden joined President Bush at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas for a Summit focused on how Americans can support post-9/11 veterans as they transition back to civilian life. Dr. Biden noted that while the troops serving our nation represent only one percent of the population, the other 99 percent of Americans need to find ways to honor and support them.
In her remarks, Dr. Biden highlighted the many ways Americans have already stepped up since she and First Lady Michelle Obama started Joining Forces nearly three years ago:
- Businesses have made it a priority to hire veterans and military spouses, not only because it is their patriotic duty, but because they know our service men and women are highly-skilled, hardworking employees;
- Educators, including teaching colleges, are doing more to prepare teachers for the unique needs of military-connected children in the classroom, and higher education institutions are taking steps to help veterans succeed on campus; and
- Doctors, nurses, and social workers have pledged support to enhance the preparation of our nation’s medical providers to care for returning service men and women, and their families.
- Posted byon February 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM EDT
Leaders from some of the country’s foremost African American civil rights organizations joined President Obama and a handful of Administration leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House yesterday. To open the meeting, I was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson and White House Advisor for Health Policy and Implementation Phil Schiliro for a discussion outlining the President’s priorities for this year of action.
Present were leaders from the NAACP, The National Urban League, the National Action Network, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Bar Association and the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation. The group covered a range of issues of great concern to the President, and the African American community, touching on job growth, education and job training, maintaining our momentum in enrolling the uninsured through the Affordable Care Act, bringing more fairness and efficiency to our criminal justice system, increasing the minimum wage, and ensuring ladders of opportunity for all.
What was clear in this meeting was that many of the goals the President set forth in his State of the Union address will become reality because of the strong partnerships that he and his administration have forged with leaders from the civil rights community who work hard every day to advocate equality and opportunity for all.
The President will continue to work with Congress where they are able and willing to act, but meetings like this provide optimistic reminders that there remain other leaders in the country who can act right now – to improve the economy, to ensure greater opportunity for all, and to keep this country moving in the right direction. The capacity for the President and his White House to convene thought leaders, decision makers, and community leaders, all of whom have access to both resources and the audiences we aim to reach, is a powerful tool, and one which President Obama hopes to wield effectively in 2014 for the good of all Americans.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls
- Posted byon February 5, 2014 at 6:10 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from The Huffington Post. See the original post here.
Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden host a Wounded Warrior barbecue at the Naval Observatory Residence, Sept. 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Earlier today, at an event on the expanding role of caregivers in our society, I had the opportunity to tell the story of two remarkable young men I met at a reception my husband Joe and I hosted for Wounded Warriors on Sept. 11, 2013.
Kyle and Brett Pletzke are brothers from Rockford, Michigan. Kyle is an Army Specialist who was injured on his first deployment to Afghanistan in late 2012. Kyle sustained multiple pelvis fractures, an ankle injury, and nerve damage to most of his right leg.
When Kyle first came to the White House in 2013, he was in a wheelchair. A few months later when he came to our home for the reception, he was walking.
Kyle credits much of his progress to the fact that his older brother Brett was able to serve as his primary caregiver during his recovery. And Brett notes that the reason he was able to help Kyle was because of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Caregiver Rule, which provides training, counseling, supportive services, and a living stipend to post-9/11 veterans' caregivers.
Because of the Rule, Brett's employer kept his job open so Brett had the time to care for his brother. Now Brett's back at his job in Chicago, and Kyle is doing great. Like the brothers' situation illustrates, these support systems can have a significant impact on the day-to-day hardships caregivers face.
- Posted byon January 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM EDT
Promise Zones: The President announced on Thursday the first five “Promise Zone” locations, an initiative to partners with local communities and businesses to create jobs, expand access to educational opportunities and spur economic mobility.
President Obama was joined in the East Room by students from Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational undertaking that inspired the Promise Zones, where he spoke about the importance of making sure a child’s path isn’t determined by their zip code, but rather by their hard work and determination. In his speech, the President mentioned how he wasn’t so different from one of the students who has benefitted from the Harlem Children’s Zone.
“If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much, it's because I'm not that different from Roger,” President Obama said.
There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off. I was raised by a single mom. I didn’t know my dad. The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his. That’s the only difference. If I screwed up, the consequences weren't quite as great. So if Roger can make it, and if I can make it, if Kiara can make it, every kid in this country can make it.
The Promise Zones, located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, are the first of 20 being launched over the next three years. You can read his full remarks here.
Extending Emergency Unemployment Insurance: On Tuesday, President Obama called on Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance. Two weeks ago, Congress failed to renew the vital lifeline that temporarily extends insurance for 1.3 million Americans who are currently looking for work. “Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it zaps their motivation to get a new job,” the President said.