|Office of the Vice President|
|Headquarters||Eisenhower Executive Office Building|
|Agency executive||Ron Klain, Chief of Staff|
|Parent agency||Federal government of the United States|
|Vice President Joe Biden|
The Office of the Vice President includes personnel who directly support or advise the Vice President of the United States. The Office is currently headed by the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, currently Ron Klain. The Office also provides staffing and support to the Second Lady of the United States.
Because of this dual role, controversy has arisen over whether the Office of the Vice President is part of the Executive branch or the Legislative branch of government. During the Presidency of Bill Clinton, the Plum Book described the Office of the Vice President as being a component of the Executive Office of the President. However, during the Presidency of George W. Bush, the Plum Book described the Office of the Vice President as "a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch".
For much of its existence, the office of Vice President was seen as little more than a minor position. John Adams, the first Vice President, described it as "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th Vice President, lamented: "Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again." When the Whig Party was looking for a Vice President on Zachary Taylor's ticket, they approached Daniel Webster, who said of the offer, "I do not intend to be buried until I am dead." This was the second time Webster declined the office; both times, the President making the offer died in office. The natural stepping-stone to the Presidency was long considered to be the office of Secretary of State.
For many years, the Vice President was given few responsibilities. After John Adams attended a meeting of the president's Cabinet in 1791, no Vice President did so again until Thomas Marshall stood in for President Woodrow Wilson while he traveled to Europe in 1918 and 1919. Marshall's successor, Calvin Coolidge, was invited to meetings by President Warren G. Harding. The next Vice President, Charles G. Dawes, did not seek to attend Cabinet meetings under President Coolidge, declaring that "the precedent might prove injurious to the country." Vice President Charles Curtis was also precluded from attending by President Herbert Hoover.
Garret Hobart, the first Vice President under William McKinley, was one of the very few Vice Presidents at this time who played an important role in the administration. A close confidant and adviser of the President, Hobart was called Assistant President.
In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt raised the stature of the office by renewing the practice of inviting the Vice President to cabinet meetings, which has been maintained by every president since. Roosevelt's first Vice President, John Nance Garner, broke with him at the start of the second term on the Court-packing issue and became Roosevelt's leading political enemy. Garner's successor, Henry Wallace, was given major responsibilities during the war, but he moved further to the left than the Democratic Party and the rest of the Roosevelt administration and was relieved of actual power. Roosevelt kept his last Vice President, Harry Truman, uninformed on all war and postwar issues, such as the atomic bomb, leading Truman to wryly remark that the job of the Vice President is to "go to weddings and funerals." Following Roosevelt's death and Truman's ascension to the presidency, the need to keep Vice Presidents informed on national security issues became clear, and Congress made the Vice President one of four statutory members of the National Security Council in 1949.
Richard Nixon reinvented the office of Vice President. He had the attention of the media and the Republican party, when Dwight Eisenhower ordered him to preside at Cabinet meetings in his absence. Nixon was also the first Vice President to temporarily assume control of the executive branch, which he did after Eisenhower suffered a heart attack on September 24, 1955, ileitis in June 1956, and a stroke in November 1957. President Jimmy Carter was the first president to formally give his Vice President, Walter Mondale, an office in the West Wing of the White House.