Stem cell order reversed.
SCHIP passed and signed into law
Ledbetter bill passed and signed into law.
Major Green energy initiatives started.
EPA rules revised to address Climate Change.
Executive order signed to protect large areas from drilling.
Car emission standards revised.
National Science Foundation funding boosted.
Stimulus bill passed, and already helping revive the economy.
Gitmo closing ordered.
Most CIA secret prisons closed.
Iraq troop withdrawal ordered.
Afghanistan approach revised.
Direct negotiations with Iran on the way.
Negotiations with Syria in progress.
Disarmament talks with Russia re-started.
Travel restrictions lifted and normalization of relations with Cuba on the table.
Energy/Climate Change legislation passed the House, soon to be passed by Senate.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act
Small Business Act Temporary Extension
Omnibus Public Lands Management Act
Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
Helping Families Save Their Homes Act
Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act
Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009
Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
Hate Crime Bill
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Major extension of unemployment benefits
$3.2 billion to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
Restored the National Endowment for the Arts’ funding to its highest level since 1992.
$6 billion over five years to expand volunteerism in the United States.
Signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Created Office on Urban Policies.
EPA revises smog regulations to comply with scientific panel
FAA stops calling airlines its “customers”
Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission Act (S. 2259)
Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act (S. 2261)
Curtailing Lobbyist Effectiveness through Advance Notification, Updates, and Posting Act (The CLEAN UP Act) (S. 2179)
Destroying Surplus and Unguarded Conventional Weapons
Violence Against Women Act (S. 1197)
Greater Funding for Veterans Health Care
Expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
Increased Funding for Public Education
Early Head Start Funding for Children
Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit
Increasing the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit
Tax Credits For College Students
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Financial Support for Renewable Energy Companies
Electric Grid Infrastructure Package
Obama can’t get anything done, huh? What a loser! Oh, wait… In his first year in office, President Obama did better even than legendary arm-twister Lyndon Johnson in winning congressional votes on issues where he took a position, a Congressional Quarterly study finds.
The new CQ study gives Obama a higher mark than any other president since it began scoring presidential success rates in Congress more than five decades ago. And that was in a year where Obama tackled how to deal with Afghanistan, Iraq, an expanding terrorist threat, the economic crisis and battles over health care.
The people who are responsible for the difficulty of making fundamental change within the first year of the Obama Administration don’t have familiar names. They are the people who run the huge insurance companies, oil companies and Wall Street Banks.
The Obama Administration has been forced to make some compromises. But to their credit they have not trimmed back their ambitious agenda — their goal of transforming the American economy — to deal with the massive problems they faced from the day they took office.
And let’s remember that the record of this Administration for major new initiatives is pretty impressive.
• Saving the economy from complete meltdown – another Great Depression –following the failure of eight years of right wing economic policy and financial risk-taking “gone wild,” including his bold rescue of the American auto industry.
• Laying the first layer of a foundation for long-term, bottom-up economic growth by passing the largest economic recovery package in history and a Federal Budget that the Center on Budget Priorities called the most progressive budget in half a century.
• Abandoning the failed Neo-Con foreign policy and changing our relationship with the rest of the world.
• Signing into law measures that had repeatedly passed the Democratic Congress but been vetoed by George Bush – the “Matthew Shepard” bill that expands the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and passing the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act” that seriously strengthened the ability of women to seek redress for employment discrimination.
• The Administration and Congress ended a program of wasteful subsidies to private banks that provided student loans using Federal money, and used the savings to greatly expand Pell Grants to college students.
• Executive actions like ending the “Global Gag Rule” that prevented U.S. foreign aid from going to family planning programs that even mentioned abortion – and changes in labor law enforcement that make it easier to organize in the workplace.
• Ending torture.
• Funding stem cell research and generally restoring a respect for science to government.
• Setting and keeping to a schedule to end the American presence in Iraq.
• Putting in motion a legislative agenda that will make major progressive change: providing health care for all, creating clean energy jobs and addressing global warming, overhauling the regulation of the financial sector and beginning to shrink its dominance in the American economy, and passing comprehensive immigration reform.
The Administration’s success rate seems low only when measured against its lofty ambitions… and the magnitude of the problems the President inherited last January.
The financial industry, the insurance giants and the oil companies are going to bite and claw and fight to stop real reform until the last dog dies. Progressives better be ready to do the same.
If George W. Bush could govern from the extreme right, why can’t Obama govern from the left? As tempting as it may be to blame the White House, the administration’s centrism is not the problem— the obstacles standing in the way of change have nothing to do with the President.
First, Democratic and Republican coalitions differ in a critical way. The Republicans are made up of groups who can get what they want without compromising with one another. An extreme right-wing administration can keep Grover Norquist, Richard Perle and Pat Robertson happy at the same time.
The Democratic coalition includes DLC-centrists who favor a relatively smaller state while progressives tend to favor a larger state. On almost every major issue, one side has to give. Hence the liberal wing of the party which insists on a public option and yearns for single payer inevitably butts heads with centrists like Max Baucus. It’s pretty hard to keep both camps happy at the same time. Instead of throwing up our hands, we need to elect more progressives!
Another obstacle is of course the structure of the Senate, which provides disproportionate influence to residents of small, mostly conservative states and which allows coalitions of just forty Senators to block almost anything.
Finally, despite the current partisan balance in Congress and the public, the American people are, for the most part, more conservative than liberal. Obama won by a margin of only 7 percentage points: 53% to 46%. Roughly 40% of the public self-identifies as conservative, while only about 20% of the public claims to be liberal. (The rest are moderates.)
President Barack Obama has made substantial progress in his first year in office, but some of his proposals have stalled as he struggled with the cold reality of Washington.
Of 502 campaign promises, a PolitiFact analysis finds Obama has fulfilled 91 and achieved at least partial success with another 33. More than half of his promises have had enough progress to be rated In the Works.