Biden blames both sides for pessimism at AIPAC – By SARAH WHEATON 03/20/16 10:37 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday.

Vice President Joe Biden addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington on Sunday. | AP Photo

Vice President Joe Biden blamed both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for lacking the political will to find peace during a speech on Sunday to the country’s largest pro-Israel political organization.

Biden, who cited his decades of working on the issue, told the annual Washington gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that he’s never been so pessimistic, even as he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to its alliance with Israel and expressed new hopes for Israeli cooperation with its other Arab neighbors.

Biden recently wrapped up a trip to the region, where he met with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

“I must tell you straight up I didn’t walk away encouraged,” he said. “The current prospects for peace are not heartening.”

Biden continued, “There is no political will among Israelis or Palestinians to move forward at this moment with serious negotiations, and that’s incredibly disappointing.”

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Tim Scott becomes first black senator elected in south since Reconstruction – Amanda Holpuch Tuesday 4 November 2014 21.23 EST

South Carolina candidate defeats two challengers to become only the fifth black US senator and the first in the south since the 19th century.

Republican Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina in a swearing-in ceremony, with his mother Frances and vice president Joe Biden. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

South Carolina voters have elected the first black senator from a southern state since the Reconstruction era.

Republican Tim Scott had been heavily favoured to win the endorsement of voters, after being appointed to the seat in December 2012 on the resignation of Jim DeMint.

He is South Carolina’s first black senator, and the fifth black person elected to the Senate.

Democrat Joyce Dickerson and Jill Bossi of the American Party unsuccessfully challenged Scott in the senate race. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham was also sent back to the Senate, having handily defeated his seat for a third term.

“I think it says a lot about South Carolina and the evolution we have undergone in the last 50 years. If you look for a state with the most progress in the history of this country in the shortest period of time, look at South Carolina. We have a lot to be proud of,” Scott said after he voted on Tuesday morning.

Scott, who was endorsed by Tea Party groups, served as as a congressman for the states 1st district from 2011 to 2013. He was a member of the Charleston County council for 13 years before that.

The first black senator in the US, Mississippi Republican Hiram Rhodes Revels, was sworn in in February 1870. Some southern Democrats attempted to block him from serving by arguing that he had not met the nine-year minimum citizenship requirement because citizenship was not granted to black people before the 14th amendment was ratified in 1868.

Government is public enemy No. 1, outraged Americans say – By Jacqueline Klimas – The Washington Times – Wednesday, August 13, 2014

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office during the President's Daily Economic Briefing on July 30, 2009.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office during the President’s Daily Economic Briefing on July 30, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) more >

Americans say government, the economy and immigration are the top three problems facing the country today, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The Gallup poll showed that 18 percent of people polled say the government and politicians are the biggest problem while 14 percent say the economy is the top challenge.

About 15 percent say immigration is the most important issue, jumping up from just 5 percent in June likely due to a flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the border this summer.

About 7 percent of people ranked foreign policy the most important problem right now, making it the sixth biggest concern in August.

That’s up from just 3 percent in July as the U.S. has had to deal with a crisis in Israel and also gets more involved with missile strikes and humanitarian aid drops in Iraq.

More people also reported a fear of war, with 3 percent saying that’s the top problem, up from just 1 percent a month ago.

Results come from telephone interviews with more than 1,000 adults across the country between Aug. 7-10. The margin of error is 4 percent.

Congress And Biden Aim For Job Training That Actually Leads to Jobs – by TAMARA KEITH July 23, 2014 4:45 AM ET

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, greets Enis Sullivan, 101, during his visit to XMA Corp. on March 25 in Manchester, N.H.

Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, greets Enis Sullivan, 101, during his visit to XMA Corp. on March 25 in Manchester, N.H.

Jim Cole/AP

Something pretty remarkable happened Tuesday afternoon in a small windowless auditorium next door to the White House. President Obama signed a new law: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

It streamlines and updates the nation’s job training programs and was 11 years overdue. The bill got overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

“Folks in Congress got past their differences; they got a bill to my desk,” Obama said at the signing ceremony. “So this is not a win for Democrats or Republicans; it is a win for American workers.”

When an unemployed or dissatisfied worker seeks out job training through a government program, the hope is to get a new job in a field where workers are in demand. But the nation’s workforce development system hasn’t always succeeded in matching the training with the work.

The act aims to fix that by better matching training to employer needs. It encourages more apprenticeships and on-the-job training. The measure of success will no longer be just how many people sign up for help, but also how many actually get jobs.

At the same time Congress was working out the details of the bill, Vice President Joe Biden was traveling around the country, looking at what works and what doesn’t.

On-The-Job Training

Back in March, he visited New Hampshire, where an innovative on-the-job training program has helped nearly 700 people get new jobs since 2010. There he stopped at XMA Corp., a small manufacturer that has hired about a half-dozen people so far using the program.

And Biden was clearly impressed. “We’re trying to replicate what you’re doing all over the country,” he told XMA workers.

The program targets the long-term unemployed and pays up to 90 percent of the employee’s salary while a company trains him or her to fill an opening. While at XMA, Biden met Brian Alexander, a design engineer with a big, scruffy beard and a story that probably sounds familiar.

The company where Alexander worked for more than a decade was taken over by a larger corporation.

“I got laid off,” he said. “They eliminated my position is what I was told.”

He had 40 years of experience, and eight months after losing his job, he was still unemployed.

“You know, I was basically almost ready to retire,” he said.

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White House announces steps to address immigrant surge – BY MARK FELSENTHAL WASHINGTON Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:56am EDT

(Reuters) – The White House on Friday stepped up efforts to slow the flow of illegal children into the country, expanding the government’s ability to process and deport people and announcing new funding to boost security in crime-plagued Central American countries.

(L-R) Senior representative of the Honduran government Jorge Hernandez Alcerro, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren, Guatemala President Otto Perez Molina and Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong pose during a photo opportunity at the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City June 20, 2014.


The Obama administration said it would boost the ranks of immigration judges, lawyers and asylum officers to quickly decide what happens to people apprehended at the border and to return them to their home countries.

“We are surging resources to increase our capacity to detain individuals and adults with children, and to handle immigration court hearings,” Homeland Security Deputy Director Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters.

“This will allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement – or ICE – to return unlawful migrants from Central America who are ordered removed to their home countries more quickly,” he said.

Officials further announced $9.6 million in additional support to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to help them receive and reintegrate people who are sent back.

In an effort to address the causes of flight from Central America, the administration said it would launch a $40 million program to improve security in Guatemala and a $25 million program to provide services to youth in El Salvador who are vulnerable to organized crime.

Washington has scrambled to address a flood of children arriving illegally at the border causing President Barack Obama has called an urgent humanitarian crisis. The president took the issue up on Thursday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, while Vice President Joe Biden was in Guatemala on Friday to discuss the problem with Central American leaders.

“You’re clearly not going to send a child back to a circumstance where there is no one there for them,” Biden said. “But we do intend, and everyone agreed, it is necessary to put them back in the hands of a parent in the country from which they came.”

Cecilia Munoz, the White House domestic policy director, said that some of Friday’s measures were designed to help Central American countries stem the migration.

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Was Joe Biden right? – By JOSH GERSTEIN | 6/13/14 10:51 PM EDT

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are pictured. | Getty

The violence in Iraq could deliver a grim measure of vindication for Biden. | Getty

The advance of Islamic militants across Iraq has brought fresh criticism for the Obama administration — but may also deliver a grim measure of vindication to one very prominent White House official: Vice President Joe Biden.

In recent months, former officials and pundits questioned and even ridiculed Biden’s foreign policy acumen.

Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates wrote in his memoir that Biden “was wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue of the past four decades.”

And former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” notes that Biden “remained skeptical” about launching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 — and that others in the administration were at odds with Biden. “I thought we should go for it,” Clinton states, a contrast she has also drawn attention to on the road since leaving office.

This week paints Biden’s judgment in a far different light.

(Also on POLITICO: Clinton slams Maliki, ‘dysfunctional’ Iraq government)

Recent events in Iraq call attention to his prediction nearly a decade ago that the war-torn nation was heading towards a break-up along sectarian lines — and to a prescription he offered to try to manage that reality by granting Sunnis, Shia and Kurds greater autonomy over various parts of the country.

In other words: while Biden may have taken a beating repeatedly in recent years for some foreign policy calls he’s made, his judgment on Iraq’s capacity to stay united now looks almost prescient.

“Some will say moving toward strong regionalism would ignite sectarian cleansing. But that’s exactly what is going on already, in ever-bigger waves,” Biden wrote in a 2006 New York Times op-ed he co-authored. “Others will argue that it would lead to partition. But a breakup is already under way. As it was in Bosnia, a strong federal system is a viable means to prevent both perils in Iraq.”

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