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Biden visits NYC amid possible bid for White House

Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, D.C.,

Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 8, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Nicholas Kamm

Vice President Joe Biden, mulling a run for the White House in 2016, visited New York City on Thursday to champion the causes of low-wage workers and victims of sexual violence.

Biden was also set to tape an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and participate in a private Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraising event.

He stood alongside Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo when the governor called for increasing the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour, as the two appeared with labor groups at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Biden promoted the Obama administration's push to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 from $7.25, noting there hasn't been an increase in a decade.

"Guess what happens when we treat people decently? Everything goes up," said Biden, who also advocated for paid sick leave and overtime pay.

"Joey, a job's about a lot more than a paycheck, it's about your dignity, it's about respect, it's about your place in the community," he said his father used to tell him.

The nation must address stagnant wages if it wants its economic resurgence to be permanent, he said.

Biden earlier joined Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to announce nearly $80 million in grants to alleviate the national backlog of rape kits.

"Every bit of this progress has the opportunity to set women free," Biden said at a news conference at the city medical examiner office's Charles S. Hirsch Center for Forensic Sciences. "There's nothing more consequential than giving a woman back her life."

Vance said that nationally there are hundreds of thousands of rape kits -- used to collect DNA and other evidence for testing -- that sit "ignored" on shelves "for months, years and even decades."

His office announced that $38 million in grants, funded by forfeiture funds, will be available to 32 jurisdictions in 20 states.

Lynch's office is providing an additional $41 million toward the cause.

"No victim's suffering should be extended one minute longer because of procedural issues, ever," she said.


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