Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Joe Biden

Weekly Address: Vice President Biden – Tuition Free Community College

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

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.

Vice President Biden’s Reply to Sen. Tom Cotton

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)?

Statement by the Vice President on the March 9th Letter From Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran

“I served in the United States Senate for thirty-six years. I believe deeply in its traditions, in its value as an institution, and in its indispensable constitutional role in the conduct of our foreign policy. The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.

This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.

Around the world, America’s influence depends on its ability to honor its commitments. Some of these are made in international agreements approved by Congress. However, as the authors of this letter must know, the vast majority of our international commitments take effect without Congressional approval. And that will be the case should the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany reach an understanding with Iran. There are numerous similar cases. The recent U.S.-Russia framework to remove chemical weapons from Syria is only one recent example. Arrangements such as these are often what provide the protections that U.S. troops around the world rely on every day. They allow for the basing of our forces in places like Afghanistan. They help us disrupt the proliferation by sea of weapons of mass destruction. They are essential tools to the conduct of our foreign policy, and they ensure the continuity that enables the United States to maintain our credibility and global leadership even as Presidents and Congresses come and go.

Since the beginning of the Republic, Presidents have addressed sensitive and high-profile matters in negotiations that culminate in commitments, both binding and non-binding, that Congress does not approve. Under Presidents of both parties, such major shifts in American foreign policy as diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China, the resolution of the Iran hostage crisis, and the conclusion of the Vietnam War were all conducted without Congressional approval.

In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country-much less a longtime foreign adversary- that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments-a message that is as false as it is dangerous.

The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.

There is no perfect solution to the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. However, a diplomatic solution that puts significant and verifiable constraints on Iran’s nuclear program represents the best, most sustainable chance to ensure that America, Israel, and the world will never be menaced by a nuclear-armed Iran. This letter is designed to convince Iran’s leaders not to reach such an understanding with the United States.

The author of this letter has been explicit that he is seeking to take any action that will end President Obama’s diplomatic negotiations with Iran. But to what end? If talks collapse because of Congressional intervention, the United States will be blamed, leaving us with the worst of all worlds. Iran’s nuclear program, currently frozen, would race forward again. We would lack the international unity necessary just to enforce existing sanctions, let alone put in place new ones. Without diplomacy or increased pressure, the need to resort to military force becomes much more likely-at a time when our forces are already engaged in the fight against ISIL.

The President has committed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He has made clear that no deal is preferable to a bad deal that fails to achieve this objective, and he has made clear that all options remain on the table. The current negotiations offer the best prospect in many years to address the serious threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It would be a dangerous mistake to scuttle a peaceful resolution, especially while diplomacy is still underway.

(h/t TPM)

Weekly Address: Vice President Biden – Make 2015 the Year for Quality, Affordable Health Insurance

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the Vice President wished Americans a Happy New Year, and asked that as we make resolutions to get healthier in 2015, we take the time to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Millions of people have already signed up for quality, affordable health care under the law, and there is still time to secure the peace of mind that comes with getting covered.

From now until February 15th, you can sign up by logging on to, speaking to someone on the phone through the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596 where you can get assistance in 150 languages, or going in person to an enrollment event in your community.

Vice President Biden on the Violence Against Women Act: “Even One Case is Too Many”

September 9th was the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA.

Vice President Joe Biden, who as a United States Senator was one of the original sponsors of the law (and who has been a strong proponent of its reauthorization and expansion), spoke about the anniversary.

Today, standing in front of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives, Vice President Biden reflected on how far we’ve come in our ability — and willingness — to address domestic violence:

   Even just 20 years ago, few people wanted to talk about violence against women as a national epidemic, let alone something to do something about. No one even back then denied that kicking your wife in the stomach, or smashing her in the face, or pushing her down the stairs in public was repugnant. But our society basically turned a blind eye. And hardly anyone ever intervened, directly intervened — other than my father and a few other people I knew.

   And no one — virtually no one called it a crime. It was a family affair. It was a family affair. Laws — state laws when we attempted at a state or a federal level to design laws to prevent actions that were said that we now are celebrating, we were told, I was told, many of us were told that it would cause the disintegration of the family. That was the phrase used. It would cause the disintegration of the family.

“This was the ugliest form of violence that exists,” he said, and though many wanted to see these crimes remain hidden in the shadows, the Vice President was committed to bringing them out into the light. “We had to let the nation know,” he said, “because I was absolutely convinced — and remain absolutely convinced — in the basic decency of the American people, and that if they knew, they would begin to demand change.”[…]

Though we’ve come a long way as a society, the Vice President made it clear that much work remains:

   We have so much more to do, because there’s still sex bias that remains in the American criminal justice system in dealing with rape — stereotypes like she deserved it, she wore a short skirt still taint prosecutions for rape and domestic violence. We’re not going to succeed until America embraces the notion — my father’s notion — that under no circumstance does a man ever have a right to raise a hand to a woman other than in self-defense — under no circumstance; that no means no, whether it’s in a bedroom, or on the street, on in the back of a car — no means no.  Rape is rape — no exceptions.

   Until we reach that point, we are not going to succeed.  But I believe that we can get to that point.  It’s still imperfect, but the change is real that’s happening.  

To pursue that progress, the Vice President announced that he will hold a Summit on Civil Rights and Equal Protection for Women in order to expand civil rights remedies in the law — because, as he said, “You can’t talk about human rights and human dignity without talking about the right of every woman on the planet to be free from violence and free from fear.”  

Weekly Address: Vice-President Biden – Time to Give the Middle Class a Chance

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the Vice President discusses our continued economic recovery, with 10 million private sector jobs created over 54 straight months of job creation. Yet even with this good news, too many Americans are still not seeing the effects of our recovery.

As the Vice President explains, there’s more that can be done to continue to bolster our economy and ensure that middle class families benefit from the growth they helped create, including closing tax loopholes, expanding education opportunities, and raising the minimum wage.

Joe Biden on our country’s infrastructure

From the White House:

Over the past couple years, administration officials have picked up a marker and taken to our “White House white board” to explain how to fix our immigration system, break down how health reform helps your day-to-day life, and outline exactly what our budget’s paying for.

Today, Vice President Joe Biden is taking the pen, and he’s talking about something he knows like the back of his hand:

The current state of our country’s crumbling roads and bridges — and exactly why it’s so important to invest in them right now.

Our roads and bridges do far more than get people and goods from Point A to Point B.

A high-quality transportation system keeps jobs here in America, allows our businesses to grow, and keeps down the prices of household goods.

Our country’s infrastructure crisis isn’t a far-off problem: 65% of our major roads are rated in less than good condition. 25% of our bridges require significant repair or can’t handle today’s traffic.

It looks like Congress is going to act soon to pass a short-term resolution that would continue to fund the projects fixing our roads and bridges — but we need to solve the problem, not just kick the can down the road.

“Not Alone” – Obama Administration launches initiative to protect students from sexual assault.

The Obama Administration has released its first report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

Vice President Biden spoke at 2:30pm Eastern.

Not Alone – Protecting Students from Sexual Assault:

One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college.  Most often, it happens her freshman or sophomore year.  In the great majority of cases, it’s by someone she knows – and also most often, she does not report what happened.  And though fewer, men, too, are victimized.

The Administration is committed to putting an end to this violence. That’s why the President established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault on January 22, 2014, with a mandate to strengthen federal enforcement efforts and provide schools with additional tools to combat sexual assault on their campuses.

Today, the Task Force is announcing a series of actions to: (1)  identify the scope of the problem on college campuses, (2) help prevent campus sexual assault, (3) help schools respond effectively when a student is assaulted, and (4) improve, and make more transparent, the federal government’s enforcement efforts.  We will continue to pursue additional executive or legislative actions in the future.

These steps build on the Administration’s previous work to combat sexual assault.  The Task Force formulated its recommendations after a 90-day review period during which it heard from thousands of people from across the country — via 27 online and in-person listening sessions and written comments from a wide variety of stakeholders.[…]

Part of that initiative is a new web site:

“Perhaps most important, we need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: you are not alone.

We have your back. I’ve got your back.”

President Barack Obama, January 22, 2014

More …

Weekly Address: Vice-President Biden – Raise The Minimum Wage

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, Vice President Biden discusses the importance of raising the federal minimum wage. It’s good for workers, it’s good for business, and it would help close the gender pay gap, as women make up more than half of the workers who stand to benefit from a raise. And as the Vice President highlights, Congress should boost the federal minimum wage because it is what a majority of the American people want.

Wednesday Worrying: Debt Ceiling Eve and Shutdown Day 16 – UPDATED

Waiting for the someone to take the ball and run with it.

UPDATE Wednesday, 10/16 at 10:20pm Eastern:

House votes to reopen government and raise debt ceiling:

The bill passed 285-144; 144 Republicans voted against it. The Senate had previously passed the bill 81-18. It now heads to the White House, where President Obama has said he would sign it.

Upon Obama’s signature, the first government shutdown in 17 years will end after 16 days.


The president is scheduled to make a statement at 10:35am Eastern on Thursday morning.

UPDATE Wednesday, 10/16 at 5pm Eastern:

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): “… blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.

Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it supports the new Senate plan to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, and it will include the measure as a key vote.

Clown King Ted Cruz (R-TX): Cruz told a gaggle of reporters that he has “no objections” to the Senate holding a vote

The much ballyhooed Senate bill (re-open the government until January 15th, raise the debt ceiling through February 15th, conference on budget) which was  to be voted on and sent to the House of Representatives was held after the House floated their “counteroffer”: a bill festooned with poison pills ornaments including big sloppy kisses to the Catholic bishops and medical device lobbyists.

The White House was quick to reject what it called the latest “ransom demand” (take that whiney White House reporters!!) and the ball is back in the Senate’s court.

This afternoon President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The Fitch warning will likely be one of the topics:

“Fitch continues to believe that an agreement will be reached to end the current political impasse and raise the U.S. debt ceiling,” the agency said in a press release. “Even if the debt limit is not raised before or shortly after 17 October, we assume there is sufficient political will and capacity to ensure that Treasury securities will continue to be honoured in full and on time.”

While Fitch said that it remained confident Congress would ultimately reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the Oct. 17 deadline, future ratings of U.S. holdings would be dependant on the “manner and duration of the agreement and the perceived risk of a similar episode occurring in the future.”

Translation: “We are looking around desperately to see if there are enough adults in Congress to justify our belief that the United States is credit worthy”.

State Of The Union Limerick Live-Blog Recap!

I managed to sneak these limericks into the State of the Union liveblogging tsunami of comments over at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. Thought you might enjoy this alternative account of the festivities 😉

Speaker Boehner: hey, what’s up with him?

The orange fellow is looking quite grim

As his caucus rebels

He develops new “tells”

Will he ever prevail? Odds are slim.

All the others seem happy enough

(Then they’re made of less lachrymose stuff)

Boehner always seems blue

And can weep right on cue

I am guessing tonight will be rough.

Poor Paul Ryan; the kid looks upset

Like he just lost a costly bar bet

When your world turns to sh*t

Just call up Uncle Mitt

All your worries he’ll help you forget.

Mitch McConnell stares out into space

With a vacuous look on his face

All expression he lacks

Like a man carved of wax

No museum? He looks out of place.

What’s with Biden? He looks awful pale

Tonight’s make-up was really a “fail”

Let’s just hope he’s alright

And not ailing tonight

‘Cause we need Fightin’ Joe to assail!

This applause for each line’s getting old

Yes, I know, these proposals are bold

But it’s not overreach

To just lay out a speech

Before all these hot ideas grow cold.

Just imagine if Mitt gave this speech

We’d be watching with one painful screech

We’d be screaming in pain

As he sold out to Bain

But tonight he’s on Cayman’s white beach.

Manufacturing! Yesss! Tell us more!

Now Obama’s got programs in store

To bring jobs back again

For our women and men

It’s a message we cannot ignore.

Infrastructure! It’s time to get real!

Crumbling bridges? Let’s move on that deal!

Weatherize every home

Be it bung’low or dome

Help our kids get a good school-day meal!

Education from preschool for all!

What about it? Let’s answer the call!

Our investment return

As our kids really learn

Will have all of our folks standing tall!

Go to college (you won’t be a snob!)

It’s essential for any good job

We’ll help parents to find

Which school won’t be a grind

To help cute little Cindy or Bob

Immigration? More boots on the ground!

We need people – ideas will abound!

Send me up the damn bill

Don’t waste time on the Hill!

And enough with your whimpering sound!

When you live in this challenging age

You can’t get by on minimum wage

In the land of the brave

You’re a lowly wage slave

That is really a dreadful outrage!

Many troops will return from afar

Well, the generals look like they are

Feeling sad to hear that

But peacetime’s where it’s at

I’ll buy them the first round at the bar!

Now it’s freedom, for folks the world o’er

As we travel to each distant shore

As Commander in Chief

It’s Obama’s belief

That although we’ve done much, there’s still more.

Equal treatment for all, straight or gay!

And yet Boehner just sits, ashen gray

As he seethes in his seat

In his squirmy defeat

Face it, orangeman: today’s a new day

Gun control: now it’s time we get real

This is really a simple appeal

Since the Newtown dark day

Many more passed away

Like Hadiya, so folks: here’s the deal

It’s past time for the Congress to act

On the measures that Gabby has backed

For the families who’ve cried

We are here by your side

We must feel your deep pain and react

As the gun carnage stats are rolled out

There is something of which there’s no doubt

Hey: Ted Nugent! You turd

We will not hear one word

Because “hate” is not what we’re about!

Now rebuttals come next, I can’t wait!

First I’ll fix a nice little snack plate

Then I’ll drink to the Prez

And the things that he says

But for GOPers, I won’t stay up late.