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. Brian, Oregon

    Vice President elect Biden can right a few wrongs that have developed over the past few years and help the economy by pushing for the following measures:

    -More competition for monopolistic health insurance companies to lower costs and increase coverage.
    -Regulate predatory practices of credit card companies.
    -Regulate boards of directors and CEOs that award one another huge salaries at the expense of workers and stockholders.
    -Follow through on tax cuts for those making less than $200,000.

    These measures support small businesses and their workers and will help get the economy moving in a positive direction. Unfettered capitalism (trickle down economics) has been proven disatorously faulty.

    December 21, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Meka

    @ New Yorker

    Fortunately, we have to depend on EACH OTHER, for our existance.

    Apparently, America has that attitude...we'll take care of ourselves. THAT IS EXACTLY WHY WE ARE DEALING WITH A SINKING ECONOMY!


    December 21, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. bk

    Obama would vote 'Present' like he always does.

    December 21, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Dana (Maryland)

    Clarify: a "discreet job", as on story reads, or a "discrete job", as the other story reads?

    December 21, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Let the postpartisan era begin

    Do you think there will ever come a time when we stop seeing the world in Democrat and Republican terms?

    December 21, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Northern Rebel in the South

    An overhaul of those able to collect social security for "ailments" should be the first thing. It constantly amazes me to watch those I know and come into contact with who are GETTING social security and who are perfectly fine. EVERYONE can do SOMETHING. If someone in a wheelchair and can only use three fingers on one hand can work at Walmart as a cashier, then adults with ADHD can find something productive to do....And yet adults who have had second and third heart attacks are deemed "able to work"...welcome to America...

    December 21, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Slider

    Until someone here on this stupid forum, and across the Democrat party base can honestly identify the term "working family" I will continue to believe the genesis of the word is straight out of something that a Marxist would cook up for political leverage.

    We are ALL "working families"; rich and poor, all American.

    December 21, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Gordon Shumway

    AMEN!!! to New Yorker.

    December 21, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. Fringe groups suck

    Aaahhh, I see the fringe people are back. To past the time, I suggest you scrape off the mccain/palin sticker off of your cars. Losers

    December 21, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    How better to soak working families?

    Or how best to posture?

    December 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Amir

    For those of you who criticize this action, why don't you just be patient and let the man and his team do their job before you bud in and throw in you 5 cents worth. The new administration hasn't even started their job yet until January 20th. I personally am very optimistic, and believe in the man. I am confident that he will make a major change and put this country back into great economy and prosperity again. Go Obama, Biden.

    December 21, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. Joe the Drummer

    The first step in helping working families is to end our so called free trade agreements. These one sided trade agreements have accomplished nothing but the exportation of good paying American jobs and growth of executive bank accounts in the Caymen Islands.

    December 21, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. SR

    You negetive people are so SAD. After the past 8 years ANYTHING would be better than CHENEY hooking up him and his cronies.

    December 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. COL

    I for one would rather have one of our employees (the President and VP do, after all, work for us) actually state reality, rather than such ridiculous utterances such as " Mission Accomplished," or "you're doing a huckuva job, Brownie." Give me a break, people, this team has already shown more intelligence, awareness, and problem-solving potential in the 7 weeks since the election than the previous administration has done in eight years.

    December 21, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. GOP=Epic Fail

    awesome...i cant wait till jan. 20!

    December 21, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. jack

    i agree

    December 21, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. jim

    Wow the Retardlican's are out in force today. What's the matter Fox News website down so they can add pictures so you can understand the stories? Why don't you Retardlican's go lick a window!!!!!!

    December 21, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. Deb

    Could we retire the word "czar" in this context of appointments? This is one of the most over-used titles and it's not accurately descriptive of any of the positions. Any suggestions?

    December 21, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    Why don't you people go to work and earn a living instead of coming on this blog and spouting off on how angry you are. Blame everyone but yourself. It's your fault. Time to get to work now, so help, or get out of the way, but most of all, don't clutter up the blog with your BS.

    December 21, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Donna Hughes

    You are a good man, Joe Biden, and we are fortunate to have you in there. Give it your best shot!

    December 21, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. J.L.

    I don't believe Biden ever said "Czar", although I didn't watch the whole interview. Czar is becoming another one of those over used media terms. I wish the media elite would use their thesausus.

    December 21, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. Mike

    I want Biden as far away from my family as possible.

    December 21, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Who needs a "working families czar?" What we need is an "economy czar?" And I nominate Ron Paul for the job.

    December 21, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Greg

    Define "Working Families" before you start this crap. Let's be clear that you are leaving out a lot of people that work very hard in your definition and including those that don't.

    December 21, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Nola

    I think that as the year 2008 ends that each individual in this country get rid of his/her negative vibes and embrace positive vibes –

    This country has been down before but the people during those time frame were able to over come – and if they did it so can we – but each of us have gotta do the work not just the elect officials in DC.

    December 21, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
1 2 3 4