Culture and Society

What benefits and services are provided to a U.S. vice president?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The vice president has the support of two full professional staffs. The vice president's position is completely unique in that the vice president is the only person who has an official role in the executive branch of government while also serving an official role in the legislative branch. The fact that the vice president's work is spread between two branches of government (which are meant to act as checks and balances against one another) is the reason for the two separate staffs. The Senate provides some 40 aides, but additionally, the vice president has a personal staff working in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is next to the White House's West Wing. This includes the vice president's chief of staff, speechwriters and a number of advisors. It is only since 1970 that the vice president's staff has been paid for with federal funds.

    The U.S. president lives in the White House, but does the federal government provide living arrangements for the vice president? Until 1974, the vice president was required to find his own housing, but that changed when Congress voted that the house at One Observatory Circle would become the vice president's official residence. The Victorian mansion situated next to the Naval Observatory off Massachusetts Avenue had previously been the residence of the chief of naval operations. The house was remodeled for then-Vice President George Bush in the 1980s, using private donations.

    Inside the ceremonial office in the Executive Office Building, the vice president can sit under turn-of-century chandeliers at a desk that was used first by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. Several past presidents also sat at the desk and it has been used by every vice president since Lyndon Johnson. Many of the men who have used the desk since 1940 have signed their names inside the desk's top drawer [source: White House].

    Two Boeing 747s are prepared specially for the use of the president. When one of these planes is carrying the president, it is known by the call sign "Air Force One." In addition, the vice president, members of the president's Cabinet, and the first lady are given the use of a Boeing 757, which is set up with many amenities, including a full stateroom. When the vice president is aboard instead of the president, this aircraft is referred to as Air Force Two.

    More answers from Discovery Channel »



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