December 21st, 2008
11:36 AM ET
14 years ago

Biden as 'Working Families Czar'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Vice President-elect Joe Biden will head a new task force on working families on Jaunary 20, 2009."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Come Inauguration day, newly minted Vice President Joe Biden will add one more task to his job title: working families czar, so-to-speak.

On Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama's transition team announced the new "White House Task Force on Working Families" - a major initiative targeted at "raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America." The initiative will be chaired by Biden.

Other members of the task force will include: Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Commerce, as well as the Directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Counsel, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Biden said it's a "discrete job that's going to last only for a certain period of time."

"The one thing that we use as a yardstick of economic success of our administration: Is the middle class growing? Is the middle class getting better? Is the middle class no longer being left behind? And we'll look at everything from college affordability to after school programs ... I will be the guy honchoing that policy," he said.

Biden said he will have the authority to get a consensus among the task force - but will use his relationship with the president if a consensus isn't reached.

"If in fact there is no consensus, [I'd] go to the president of the United States and say, 'Mr. President, I think we should be doing this, cabinet member so and so thinks that. You're going to have to resolve what it is we think we should do.'"

Obama has set up several key goals for the task force, including: Expanding education and training; improving work and family balance; a focus on labor standards, including workplace safety; protecting working-family incomes and retirement security.

So what power will the new task force have in shaping policy? According to the transition team, Biden and other members "will expedite administrative reforms, propose Executive orders, and develop legislative and public policy proposals that can be of special importance to working families."

"My administration will be absolutely committed to the future of America's middle-class and working families. They will be front and center every day in our work in the White House," said Obama in a statement. "And this Task Force will be one vehicle we will use to ensure that we never forget that commitment."

And in line with the Obama team's pledge of full transparency, the task force will issue annual reports, available online to the public.

Anna Burger, chairwoman of Change To Win - a group made up of seven unions - hailed today's announcement.

"Today's announcement shows that President-elect Obama is committed to middle class families and change truly is coming to Washington. Working people finally have an administration that is willing and eager to take action to address their needs," she said in a statement. "The White House Task Force on Working Families is a vital first step toward restoring our economy and making government work for working people again."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Joe Biden
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. trisha2

    is this a joke?

    December 21, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. conservative

    Boy am I comforted with that announcement ! Biden as a czar; sounds like Russia ! They had lots of Czars !!!

    December 21, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Sherrol in Canada

    A champion for working families is dire important and one that I'm sure will be looked forward to. Too often is this faction of people overlooked, the only exception being taxes.

    December 21, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Irritated in Fl

    What a joke. Biden being the "family czar". The only type of family he represents is that of a mobster. He knows how to use his son's office for personal retribution, does that count? He taught his son the art of corruption and how to use political office to garner power and weild it like an axe. Is that what we want? I think not. Biden is old school politics. He is not even close to the "CHANGE" you idiots voted for. Now we get him shoved down our throat as some sort of family "czar". What a freaking JOKE!

    December 21, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Taniel

    Campaign Diaries has an extensive rundown of all the elected officials picked for Obama's Cabinets and of all those who did not make the cut despite being rumored – and explains what all of this means for the electoral landscape in 2010 and beyond.

    December 21, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. DrMan

    I can't wait to see what the "working families czar" has in mind for the U.S. If it's anything like New York's "working families czar", Governor Paterson, it will entail raising every tax imaginable causing more employers and jobs to disappear. In addition, Paterson has decided to lay off less than 500 people out of a state workforce of 200,000. Soon, unless you're working for the government you won't have a job at all. But maybe that's what Obama/Biden/Paterson want.

    December 21, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Mobius

    Task force? Oh, goodie. Another Czar to wage a 'war' on something.

    December 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Larry

    I wish there was a LOT more focus on business,so the American work force will be EMPLOYED so that there WILL be working families,that should be the number one goal,then the rest of the plan could fall in to place.Let's hope the cart isn't before the horse.

    December 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. New Yorker

    "...special importance to working families"? Just cut spending, fraud, and greed (including the pay hikes for congress which you recently voted for} and LOWER OUR TAXES! Let us take care of ourselves instead of being forced into governments "care".

    December 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Blagosnitch

    This guy scares the hell out of me. However he probably will become POTUS mid-summer because of Obama criminal connections. God help us all.

    December 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Sue

    Go get em Joe!

    December 21, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. G

    That's awesome I hope nobody trys to stop them with their politics so actual work gets done. Just be honest when people are trying to stop you guys give names and the people will give then heck. That's one of the major problems most people are unaware of those who try to stop good things from happening because of their own self-interest.

    December 21, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Lauren

    As one of those working families, we feel so much safer now when it is coming from a person who just yesterday said,,,

    The economy is worse then we thought.

    Do tell Joe, where have your head stuck the last two years, in the sand or up Pelosi you know where?

    In other words, that promise of not raising taxes on the under 250,000 dollar income is just a false promise,,,,

    Geez, imagine that Joe, you followed your Messiah right into something you had no clue was that bad.

    I feel safer now that your on a task force for working families,

    Hey Joe, do you even know what a REAL working family really is?

    Someone who has two jobs, makes less than 40,000 a year, has no health care, is a single parent, has two children, and a deabbeat father to those kids?
    Or the senior couple over 60 who both lost jobs, so they now work for trivial amounts of money, no health care, thier lost thier retirement when the company they worked for went bankrupt, and noone bailed them out.

    Ohhhh, I get it, you think working familes are UAW members who work for WAY over what the real working families live on.

    Yea, I feel safe now, a rich politician telling me how I can survive, and you sure will not bail out my company when they go bankrupt.

    December 21, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Snotpocket

    Dear CNN, as an outreach partner of the Obamaist regime, what is your official opinion of this ?

    December 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Denise

    Raising the living standards? Tha's easy, raise our wages, and lower the CEO's. Get the South unionized, and turn the South Blue.

    December 21, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. DavidinCA

    What next, a "White House Task Force on Young Voters" chaired by Paris Hilton or maybe a "White House Task Force on Big Influential Unions" chaired by Nancy Pelosi??? Let's see some effective substance to go along with the political window dressing. Do the job well and you won't need all this fluff.

    December 21, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Greg Hodges

    Imagine a political administration that actually (gasp) puts working families at the top of their agenda. What kind of insanity is that? Why they don`t have lobbyists from billion dollar corporations willing to bribe everyone in sight. What on earth does that Obama fellow think he is doing, putting ordinary Americans first?! That is not how the game is played. At least not obver the last 8 years. Why this Biden guy just might try and actually help people that really need help. This is not the government Wall Street paid for!!!!!

    December 21, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Walter, Long Beach

    We average Americans could certainly do worse than Joe Biden as our chief advocate in D.C.

    For instance, any living Republican would be far worse.

    December 21, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. vicki

    Obama and Biden one amazing team with wonderful ideas. We love you.

    December 21, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Rob

    First of all, enough of this czar stuff, can't we think of a better name then a pre communist royalty term. Secondly all these new fancy positions sound like alot of hoopla to me. Before we go chainging the system radically why dont we start enforcing the laws we already have. We have numerous oversight committees that cover all of this, why a new office, sounds like redundancy to me.

    December 21, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. God Help Us

    I thought Biden's son was a lobbyist?

    December 21, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz







    December 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. sam

    all the best, biden.

    December 21, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. David Goldman




    December 21, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Jackson

    Once in office, these Obama people, like every other administration before them, will become isolated and faar removed from the average American working family. They have no clue.

    Give us a break and spare us the empty promises.

    This will be the most disappointing and scandal-ridden administration since the drafting of the constitution.

    December 21, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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