- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2014

At a White House summit for working families Monday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden tried to relate to the audience by calling himself “the poorest man in Congress.”

While acknowledging that he was wearing “a mildly expensive suit,” Mr. Biden said he’s not as wealthy as most of his peers in Washington.

“I don’t own a single stock or bond,” Mr. Biden said to laughter. “I have no savings accounts. But I got a great pension and I got a good salary.”

Mr. Biden and wife Jill reported $407,009 in adjusted gross income in 2013, including $230,700 for his salary as vice president. They also have been receiving $2,200 a month in rent from the Secret Service for its use of a small building on their property in Delaware.

But the vice president’s reported net worth of less than $800,000 is less than many of his colleagues in Congress, where he serves as president of the Senate.

Mr. Biden acknowledged that he has been “very, very fortunate” in his career. And although he didn’t propose any new federal policies to help working families Monday, he called for employers to be more flexible in granting leave.

“It’s about creating policies that allow your worker to balance family and work,” Mr. Biden said. “If you give it a shot, I think you’ll find the return is overwhelming.”

The White House is hosting the summit in partnership with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, in part as a way to motivate women voters in this election year, especially single women who are an important part of the Democratic base.

President Obama is announcing a series of steps aimed at workplace flexibility, including an executive order directing federal agencies to implement existing workplace flexibility initiatives and to institute a new “right to request” work policy.

Mr. Obama said in an interview with CNN that the summit “is not just a women’s issue.”

“This is a middle class issue and an American issue,” he said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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