From the 3ChicsPolitico Web Site:
3 Chics Politico gives mad props to President Obama on his accomplishments since being in office. It’s pretty impressive!
Hat-tip: Political Carnival
1. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending
2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices
3. Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women
4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB
6 Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information
7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family
8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act
9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible
10. Limits on lobbyist’s access to the White House
11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan
14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
16. New federal funding for science and research labs
17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect
19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools
20. New funds for school construction
21 The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out
22. US Auto industry rescue plan
23. Housing rescue plan
24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan
25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying
26. US financial and banking rescue plan
27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with theGeneva Convention standards
29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops
30. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
31. Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols
32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
35. Successful release of US captain held bySomali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job (Bloggers Note: 3 SOMALI "PIRATES" WERE SHOT IN THE HEAD TO FREE 1 WHITE MAN!!!! African-Americans CHEERED for Obama. They would have PROTESTED had White Cops In America Did The Same Thing)
36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast
37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales
39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
41. Signed national service legislation; expandednational youth service program
42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones
43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
44. Expanding vaccination programs
45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
46. Closed offshore tax safe havens
47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
49.. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices
50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
51. Lower drug costs for seniors
52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings
53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
54. Improved housing for military personnel
55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses
56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals
57 Increasing student loans
58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program
59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
60. Established a new cyber security office
61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.
62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts
63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness
64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient
65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced
66. Improving benefits for veterans
67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration
68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud
69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco
70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules
71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports
72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons
73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive
74. Making more loans available to small businesses
75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare
76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court
77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000
79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan
81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan
82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans
83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production
84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters
85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket
86. Held first Seder in White House
87. Attempting to reform the nation’s healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more under insured
88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform
89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform
90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform
Oh, and he built a swing set for the girls outside the Oval Office.
Did I mention he passed health care reform ?
There are policies that many of us disagree with or wish he would improve or facilitate more quickly, but come on, this is a pretty sweet list.
Updated: H/T Newmericans
Here is the updated list of what I judge to be Obama’s most significant accomplishments in the less than 2 years since he was elected as President of the United States: As you read through this list, I ask you to weigh the totality of these achievements listed below against those accomplishments of Obama’s presidential predecessors, Democrats and Republicans, and then, after considering this, make your determination of whether you think he has done a good job.
1. Appointing two Supreme Court Justices: When people consider their presidential voting decision, most don’t consider that amongst the most important and enduring presidential responsibilities is the president’s ability to appoint supreme court justices. This is arguably a president’s biggest opportunity to influence his country, because Supreme Court justices sit until they retire or pass away, so the impact of his decision generally will last many decades beyond his years as president. Obama has been fortunate enough to have two Supreme Court Justices retire in his first few years in office and he has managed to secure both of his nominations through wise selection and political skill. He has added two Democrats, replacing two moderate Democrats in the process. If a Republican has won the presidency instead, we would now be looking at an unbalanced Supreme Court with six conservatives and only three liberal judges – a balance that would have been in place for many many decades. In the appointment process, Obama also introduced needed diversity to the bench with two more women on the court, bringing the count to a record three women sitting, while also introducing the nation’s first Hispanic to the Supreme Court with his choice of Sotomayor.
2. Passing Universal Healthcare: Obama accomplished what no prior Democrat could in expanding coverage to 32 million more Americans while simultaneously reducing the deficit by an estimated $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. It delivers on every provision of the Patient Bill of Rights that Bill Clinton unsuccessfully tried to get passed, including making it illegal to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and capping out of pocket expenses when people get sick (so people don’t go in to bankruptcy after getting ill). It helps shift our medical system’s focus to preventative care by covering the cost of early warning tests so our doctors find diseases before they are too advanced - avoiding larger medical expenses down the road and requires the largest and richest American companies to provides insurance for all their employees. It attempts to lower health care costs by forcing all Americans to have medical insurance and pay their fair share so the system is more efficient – similar to how all Americans need to have car insurance – while providing tax credits to help the poor and small businesses afford this coverage. It increases competition by creating marketplace exchanges to make it easier for small businesses and those without insurance to shop and compare plans. It funds co-ops who can offer competitive insurance plans and provide further competition for insurance companies. It allows insurance companies to offer plans across state borders further increasing the supply of competitive plans. It provides funding, infrastructure, and support to automate, digitize, and unify the country’s outdated medical information system reducing system-wide costs, improving care, and increasing productivity. Perhaps most importantly, it sets up an independent commission of doctors and medical experts to identify and root out medical system waste, fraud, and abuse and includes many pieces of reform that will reduce the most wasteful medical system practices.
3. Financial industry reform: The most sweeping financial industry reform legislation since the Great Depression, this legislation tries to correct those industry issues that helped create the current recession we are still digging outselves out of. It provides a system to allow the government to break apart large financial institutions that threaten the economy, creates a council of federal regulators to coordinate the detection of risks to the financial system, subjects a wider range of financial companies to government oversight, creates a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to help protect citizens from unscrupulous practices, and reins in banks’ ability to trade in risky financial instruments such as credit derivatives.
4. Preventing a 2nd Great Depression: While preventing a depression is not sexy and certainly is reactive, history may say that this is still one of his most important accomplishment to date. The vast majority of economists and experts say that the nation had a high chance of slipping in to a Depression had this stimulus not passed along with the innovative actions of the Fed. Obama has worked with Bernanke and the Fed, put a team of some of the best economic minds around him, helped save America’s 3 major car manufacturers from going out of business, passed the largest economic Stimulus Bill in the nation’s history, and executed other legislative changes to keep liquidity flowing in our economy, save jobs that would have otherwise been lost, and fund areas of our economy that are strategic and important for our long term economic competitiveness including health care, education, green energy, science, and infrastructure.
Of course, critics will say that the economy today is still sputtering, holds some risk of sliding back in to a recession, and that a real recovery will take many years. These are all true statements and Obama has not moved us from a possible Depression to a fast growing economy – but this is a completely unrealistic, almost childish, expectation given the severity of the financial crisis, our current debt, and other economic realities that we have to deal with. Could he have done more or done it differently? Certainly. I would have loved to see Obama do more, faster to invest in small businesses, help them get loans, and help them become more competitive with the large corporations that increasingly dominate our economy. But today we are not in a horrible depression and things are stable and this alone is a tremendous accomplishment.
5. Bringing the war in Iraq to an end: Obama has reduced troops from a peak of 170,000 down to 50,000, with the remaining troops focused on training and recruiting Iraqi forces, rather than participating in combat. With this news, Obama delivered on a campaign promise he made while bringing to an end a misguided, expensive, and costly war which served no clear purpose. He also ensured that, in the process of wrapping up efforts in the region, he did so responsibly. Iraq is not in utter chaos as it once was at the peak of the insurgency and it stands a chance of having a reasonable future and being a reasonably stable Democratic state in the Middle East.
6. Passed legislation to curb greenhouse gases and improve the environment: Obama implemented new regulations on power plants, factories, and oil refineries to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming, required energy producing plants to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources, allowed states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards, increased, for the first time in more than a decade, the fuel economy standards for Model Year 2011 for cars and trucks, funded investment in clean energy technologies through a combination of spending and tax breaks, signed an omnibus public lands bill, which allows for 2 million more acres to be declared wilderness, and issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators, which, over the next three decades, will save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.
7. Nuclear non-proliferation agreement: Obama met with 47 presidents in a 3 day nuclear summit to lower the nuclear weapons count with a treaty signed between US and Russia, putting the world back on a path to reducing nuclear warheads.
8. Repairing Our Image Abroad: After 8 years of damage to our country’s image, Obama has helped repair badly damaged relationships with foreign powers across the world from Russia to Europe and reached out to the Arab world. This is necessary and critical in order for the most influential countries to work together to fight challenges such as Global Warming and Nuclear expansion. It also helps to fight terrorist recruiting by helping change America’s negative image. It is increasingly important for the US to engage with other countries as fast-growing nations like Brazil, China, and India join the traditional powerhouses and as America adjusts to a world with more diverse and influential players in the political equation.
9. Lifted Bush restrictions on embryonic stem cell research: Obama provided federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research, helping make it easier for scientists to find cures for our most dangerous diseases.
10. Reversed George W. Bush’s ban on federal funding to foreign organizations that allow abortions.
11. Implemented education reforms: Made higher college more accessible and affordable through significant increases in scholarships and funding, funded early learning programs, and, most importantly, through an innovative program called Race to the Top, spurred reforms in state and local district K-12 education by providing states with incentives to make positive changes to their education systems. Race to the Top prompted 48 states to adopt common standards for K-12. Some notable changes prompted by the program include Illinois lifting a cap on the number of charter schools it allows, Massachusetts making it easier for students in low-performing schools to switch to charters, and West Virginia proposing a merit pay system that includes student achievement in its compensation calculations.
12. Tobacco regulation. On June 22, 2009, Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which, for the first time, gave the U.S. Food & Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco.
Whereas my last assessment, made 8 months ago, on what Obama had done in office was subdued (”has not blown anyone over by his administrative record to date. His most significant accomplishment, while a job well done, was primarily a reaction to the economic environment handed to him while his other accomplishments are relatively tactical.”), my conclusion today is completely different. The list of his accomplishments are staggering for any US president – particularly when you compare him against our more recent US presidents. Try to come up with a list of positive accomplishments by Clinton or both Bush presidents over their entire tenures and you won’t be able to count them on one hand. Meanwhile, in less than 2 years, Obama has done what most had said was politically impossible and absolutely essential for us to maintain a competitive economy in the future (Universal health care), tackled highly challenging and comprehensive economic reforms (Financial industry reform), and stabilized a very troubling economy.
After all of these achievements, it will be interesting to see what else Obama can get done over the next few years of his first term. Even if he did not achieve anymore legislative accomplishments during the remainder of his tenure, Obama will have had one of the most productive terms of any president in the history of our country.