The White House Blog: The Vice President

  • West Wing Week: 04/24/15 or, "The Savage Splendor of a Swamp"

    This week, the President hosted the Italian Prime Minister, three different sports teams, and a bipartisan group of members of Congress. He also visited the Everglades in balmy Florida to celebrate Earth Day with Bill Nye. That's April 17th to April 23rd or, "The Savage Splendor of a Swamp."


  • Vice President Biden Marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Announcing It’s On Us Progress

     

    “Violence against women is not a women’s issue alone. It’s a man’s issue as well… So to all of the guys out there—you have to step up. That’s how we can change the culture on campus and around the country to one that understands no means no.”

    – Vice President Biden

    Today at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vice President Biden is honoring April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month by sharing an update on the Administration’s efforts to help combat sexual assault, especially on college and university campuses.

    President Obama and Vice President Biden have made it a national priority to root out sexual violence and assault wherever it exists, particularly in our schools. Last year, they launched a public awareness and education campaign called It’s On Us, which seeks to empower college students to respond effectively to sexual assault, and to prevent it in the first place. 


  • Keeping America’s Energy System on the Cutting Edge

    Today, America has the most advanced energy system in the world. A steady supply of reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean power and fuels underpins every facet of our nation’s economy. But the U.S. energy landscape is changing dramatically, with important implications for the vast networks of pipelines, wires, waterways, railroads, storage systems, and other facilities that form the backbone of America’s energy system.

    That’s why today, the Obama administration released the initial installment of the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), a four-year cycle of moving-spotlight assessments that will provide a roadmap for U.S. energy policy going forward.

    The first installment of the QER focuses on needs and opportunities for modernizing the nation’s energy transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D) infrastructure — including the range of vulnerabilities and challenges to posed by climate change, the evolving energy mix, aging components and systems, workforce needs, and more. The report proposes specific recommendations and investments to replace, expand, and modernize infrastructure where needed, with the goal of ensuring continued economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility.

    In remarks today in Philadelphia to announce the release, the Vice President said, “We need a 21st century energy infrastructure — and this report offers a roadmap on how to do that.”


  • Achieving President Obama’s Vision on Training

    Vice President Biden on UPSkilling

    Vice President Joe Biden and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf talk to workers at Pacific Gas and Electric, in Oakland, California. April 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Last year, the President laid out a vision for our job training system that – as he explained – “trains our workers first based on what employers are telling us they’re hiring for and helps business design the training programs so that we’re creating a pipeline into jobs that are actually out there.” This month, the Administration is taking two key steps to realize that vision – both by partnering with industry and by reforming our own job training system. 


  • Weekly Address: Tuition-Free Community College

    President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah, April 3, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah, April 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    In this week’s address, the Vice President laid out his and the President’s plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students.

    Access to higher education has a tangible impact on a student’s success: Those with an associate’s degree earn 25% more than folks who graduated high school, and those with a four-year degree make 70% more. Not only that, but a better educated citizenry is necessary to ensure that the United States continues to out-compete the rest of the world.

    Making two years of community college free is good for workers, good for companies, and good for our economy. And this proposal is part of the President’s broader vision for middle-class economics: that everybody who works hard deserves their fair shot and the chance to get ahead.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2014 Tax Returns

    Today, the President released his 2014 federal income tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $477,383. The Obamas paid $93,362 in total tax.

    The President and First Lady also reported donating $70,712 – or about 14.8 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 33 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was $22,012 to the Fisher House Foundation. The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 19.6 percent.

    In January 2013, the President signed into law legislation that extended tax cuts to middle-class and working families and helped improve the country’s fiscal health by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. In 2014, as a result of his policies, the President was subject to limitations in tax preferences for high-income earners, as well as additional Medicare and investment income taxes.

    While we’ve made progress in ensuring that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share by raising their tax rate to the level it was under President Clinton, there is more work to do. We need to close special tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, and invest in the middle class. The tax policies proposed in the President’s Budget would make paychecks go further in covering the cost of child care, college, and a secure retirement, and would create and expand tax credits that support and reward work.

    The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $22,640 in state income tax.

    Download the Obamas' tax returns here.

    The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2014 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 $388,844. The Bidens paid $90,506 in total federal tax for 2014, amounting to an effective tax rate of 23.3%. They also paid $13,661 in Delaware income tax and Dr. Biden paid $3,777 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $7,380 to charity in 2014, including contributing the royalties received from Dr. Biden’s children’s book, net of taxes, to the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO).

    Download the Bidens' tax returns here.


  • Week in Review: A Historic Announcement on Iran, a Dedication in Boston, and a Commitment to Fairness

    This week, the President made a historic announcement on Iran, helped dedicate the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, granted 22 commutations for those impacted by unjust and outdated drug sentencing laws, traveled to Louisville to see a job training program in action, and held a roundtable in Utah about the importance of solar energy.

    Find out more about the past week in our latest weekly wrap-up.


    Preventing Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon

    In November 2013, the P5+1 and Iran took an important first step toward that goal with the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which halted the progress of Iran’s program and rolled back it back in key areas for the first time in nearly a decade. The IAEA has verified that Iran has met all of its obligations under the JPOA.

    On Thursday, after many months of principled diplomacy building on the JPOA, we have achieved a framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    Learn more about the President's Iran deal.


  • President Obama Helps Dedicate the New Edward M. Kennedy Institute

    President Obama Speaks at the New Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Mass., March 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady traveled to Boston today to celebrate the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The building — complete with a full-scale replica of the United States Senate chamber — honors the life and legacy of Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who served as a U.S. Senator from 1962 to 2009.

    Located adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Institute offers interactive exhibits, a replica of Sen. Kennedy’s D.C. office, and historic documents and memorabilia from the Senator’s life.

    “The John F. Kennedy Library next door is a symbol of our American idealism. The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is a living example of the hard, frustrating, never-ending, but critical work required to make that idealism real,” President Obama said today.

    Watch the President's full remarks here:

    Watch on YouTube


  • The Incredible Kid-Ingenuity on Display at the Fifth White House Science Fair

    President Obama looks at two Arizona students' robot at the fifth annual White House Science Fair

    President Barack Obama talks with Sergio Corral and Isela Martinez while viewing science exhibits during the 2015 White House Science Fair celebrating student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions, in the State Dining Room, March 23, 2015. The two 17-year-old students are current leaders of the robotics program from Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Ariz., which was chronicled in the recent documentary "Underwater Dreams" where their under-served high school beat out MIT and other colleges in an underwater robotics competition. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Today, the halls of the White House were packed with science projects -- robots, 3D-printed objects, computer programs, apps, and extraordinary scientific discoveries -- all built, invented, designed, and brought to fruition by students.

    At the fifth-annual White House Science Fair, President Obama welcomed more than 100 students from more than 30 states for a celebration and showcase of their truly remarkable achievements in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

    As part of the Science Fair, approximately 35 student teams exhibited innovative projects -- including discoveries and insights in key areas such as disease diagnostics, clean energy, and information security -- as well as inventions ranging from the “why didn’t I think of that?” (automatic page-turner for people with arthritis) to the “who’d have ever thought that possible?” (a hiccup-curing lollipop!).

    The President personally viewed some of these projects, marveling at the incredible ingenuity on display from student innovators across the country including some as young as six years old.


  • Being Biden: The 5th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

    The Vice President sent the following message to the White House email list today, sharing his personal audio reflections on the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Didn't get the email? Make sure you're on the list to receive them in the future.


    Today marks five years since 11-year-old Marcelas Owens and I watched the President sign the Affordable Care Act into law.

    Marcelas lost his mom to an illness when he was a younger boy. She didn't have insurance, so she couldn't afford the care that she needed. No family -- no child -- in America should have to go through what his family has experienced.

    That's why we fought so hard for this reform bill. That's why the President -- whose own mother argued with insurance companies in her final days as she battled cancer -- signed this bill into law.

    And that's worth remembering today.

    I sat down to reflect on that day, and what's happened since then. Have a listen, and then pass this on to anyone you think who needs to hear it.