All too often, people (including many Democrats) fail to realize and acknowledge all that president Barack Obama has done for this country. They call him a do-nothing president, yet the fact is that this man has accomplished more during the three short years of his leadership than a majority of us could hope to achieve in a lifetime. Most people have at least a basic idea of what Obama has done to save the economy, to reform healthcare, to ensure equal rights, and to protect this country, even if they don’t particularly agree with him. However, how many of these people are also aware of everything else which he has accomplished? Too much of what the president has done seems to have either gone by unnoticed or has been forgotten. It is time that an end were put to this sorry state of affairs.
Here are 75 of our president’s accomplishments which deserve more recognition:
1) Provided intelligence and non-combatant personnel to aid in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, before Joseph Kony was a nationally known figure.
2) Mandated that better body armor be provided to U.S. soldiers.
3) Halted the Bush-era policy of awarding “no-bid” defense contracts.
4) Signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which put two million acres of wilderness under federal protection, established the National Landscape Conservation System, designates three new National Conservation Areas, adds thousands of miles to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System as well as to the National Trails System, provides funds to the National Institute of Health to advance paralysis research, and creates a multitude of programs, including the Wolf Livestock Loss Demonstration Project, three new oceanic research studies, fifteen new water and endangered fish projects, and a number of historical preservations initiatives., among many, many other things.
5) Allocated $19 billion dollars through a stimulus measure to help implement an electronic medical record system, which will help to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
6) As of March 18, 2010, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has funded 10,000 road projects, helped renovate 850 transit facilities, and provided for the purchase of around 12,000 busses, vans, and rail vehicles. In addition, through the ARRA, $620 million has been allocated to preventative maintenance of our nation’s infrastructure.
7) Signed the Serve America Act, which greatly expanded AmeriCorps and established five new service corps, including a Clean Energy Corps, an education Corps, a Healthy Futures Corps, designed to improve access to healthcare, a Veterans Corps, and an Opportunity Corps. The Serve America Act also has provisions designed to greatly benefit low-income communities, enlist student volunteers, and to greatly expand the number of AmeriCorps programs (above and beyond the five listed above). Overall, this bill has increased the number of nationwide volunteers from 75,000 to 250,000.
8) Issued an executive order, creating the White House Council on Women and Girls.
9) Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: allowing the FDA to regulate tobacco for the first time in history, requiring tobacco companies to list all ingredients used in their products, baring free samples of tobacco products from being handed out, and disallowing the tobacco industry to use color advertisements, or to advertise near schools and sporting events.
10) Appointed more openly gay officials to his administration than any other president – Now allows the State Department to offer same-sex benefits for employees.
11) Increased funding for numerous education-related programs; made it easier and more affordable for students to acquire loans; authorized the construction of high-speed, broadband internet access for public schools; increased federal funds for student loans; opened up discussions for education reform with Congress (although many of these attempts have been stymied by Republicans); started the Race to the Top competitive grant program; initiated numerous jobs training programs for the unemployed, and increased funds to invest in technologies for schools.
12) Instituted the National Alzheimer’s Project
13) Overturned bans that prohibit funding to be given to international organizations which provide family planning services.
14) Requested the largest amount of military aid for Israel in American history (has been steadily increasing aid above Bush-era levels.)
15) Signed the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.
16) Strengthened the Endangered Species Act by removing a Bush-era policy designed to weaken it.
17) Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, which is designed to eliminate waste and extra costs associated with purchases of large weapons systems by the Pentagon.
18) Signed the Food Safety and Modernization Act, which is designed so that regulators and the FDA can shift their focus toward preventing food bourn illnesses, rather than just merely working to respond to contaminations, among other things. This bill was created in response to numerous outbreaks of food-related illnesses during the 2000s. It is considered the first broad piece of federal legislation aimed at addressing this issue since 1938.
19) Banned texting for all commercial truck and bus drivers.
20) Signed the Tribal Law and Order Act, which is designed to reduce violence against women in Native American communities.
21) Signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, which is designed to reduce the amount of money that the government looses due to accounting errors, waste, fraud, and scam artists.
22) Signed the Social Truth in Caller ID Act, which cracks down on people disguising themselves under a false caller ID.
23) Signed the North American Wetlands Conservation Act
24) Enacted measures to lower the amount of lead contained in drinking water.
25) Allocated stimulus money to states to prevent thousands of teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc., from being laid-off (note that many highly Conservative states attempted to refuse this stimulus money, putting politics before the jobs of many hard working Americans).
26) Instituted a 35% tariff on Chinese tires, among other products. Obama has been the first president in over 30 years to truly put pressure on China to cease illegal trading practices.
27) Dismantled Bush-era restrictions limiting embryonic stem cell research.
28) Increased the SCHIP program to cover healthcare for four million additional children – Signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act.
29) Issued an executive order to establish new security guidelines aimed at reducing the risk of bioterrorism or the accidental release of chemical or biological contaminants.
30) Allocated $2 billion dollars of stimulus money to the auto industry to help develop new battery technology which is expected to give American car manufacturers a competitive edge over foreign companies.
31) Has continued working to advance the Hurricane Katrina recovery effort.
32) Responded quickly to the disaster in Haiti: signing the Haiti Debt Relief and Earthquake Recovery Act, the Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act, the Haiti Economic Lift Program Act, the Help Haiti Act, as well as coordinating with the international community to issue aid and personnel to help in the recovery effort.
33) Provided non-lethal support to the Syrian people, including medical supplies and communication equipment.
34) Issued extensive disaster relief aid to flood victims in the United States, particularly those in Mississippi and North Dakota.
35) Responded effectively to the Swine Flu Epidemic: ordering federal labs to prioritize development of an H1N1 vaccine – Issued up to date disease prevention guidelines to the CDC.
36) Expanded vaccination programs
37) Used an executive order to create the Office of Urban Affairs, which is designed to help create and organize urban policy agendas across the United States, as well as to ensure that federal funds are efficiently spent in the highest impact areas, thus reducing waste and increasing effectiveness.
38) Signed the Cash for Clunkers program, designed to stimulate auto sales and to remove outdated, inefficient, and dirty cars from the road.
39) Signed a free trade agreement with Columbia, South Korea, and Panama, which is expected to create thousands of jobs in the coming future.
40) Authorized the highest-ranking diplomatic mission to Myanmar in over half a century with the aim of opening up new markets and catalyzing reforms.
41) Followed through on efforts to initiate a “wireless broadband revolution” in America.
42) Signed a bill requiring power plants to begin producing 15% of their output from renewable resources.
43) Enacted measures to require that government facilities be upgraded to save on energy costs - Issued executive orders enacting an initiative to curb greenhouse gas emissions in all federal operations.
44) Limited lobbyists’ access to the White House – Enacted numerous measures to reduce the power that lobbyists wield over the government.
45) Dismantled Bush-era restrictions on the accessibility of federal documents – Brought the U.S. government into a new era of transparency.
46) Signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act.
47) Greatly increased the use of drones and Special Forces units to successfully combat terrorist networks around the world.
48) Shifted American military strategy away from large-scale, unilateral operations toward policies of “leading from behind” and “tough minded diplomacy”.
49) Signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.
50) Established the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission
51) Created tax benefits for companies that insource – Eliminated many tax benefits for companies that outsource.
52) Reversed the Bush-era policy of “hiding” certain programs by not listing them in the budget. Bush and Reagan both did this so as to cover up certain expenditures, as well as to make it appear as though the government were spending less money than it actually was.
53) Eased anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world by sitting down with leaders in the Middle East, addressing the Middle Eastern people in numerous speeches, and by using pragmatic foreign policy strategies.
54) Mandated that FEMA once again report to the president.
55) Instituted numerous measures designed to benefit small businesses. Examples include allowing the federal government to issue loans to small businesses at reduced rates, reducing taxes for some small businesses, extending the Small Business Act, and signing the Small Business Investment Act as well as the Small Business jobs Act.
56) Donated his Nobel Peace Prize money to charity.
57) Instituted the e-Rulemaking Initiative, which allows the public to openly view and comment on federal laws and proposals.
58) Increased the number of border patrol agents from 17,499 (four months before he was inaugurated) to 20, 745 agents as of April 9th, 2011.
59) Substantially increased funding to the Peace Corps.
60) Has led numerous international efforts to curb pollution and greenhouse gas production.
61) Spearheaded several initiatives to pursue further nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear arms reduction treaties.
62) Supplied missile defense supports for Israel
63) Signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which mandates new nutrition standards and funds child nutrition and free lunch programs for public schools.
64) Signed the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act
65) Signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act
66) Signed the International Adoption Simplification Act.
67) Expanded the National Youth Service Program
68) Signed the Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act
69) Signed the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act
70) Lifted the Bush-era policy of disallowing the media to list casualty reports or to air footage of caskets returning to America.
71) Mandated that the Pentagon cover travel expenses for the immediate families of fallen soldiers should they wish to be present when the body arrives.
72) Responded quickly to the tsunami in Japan, sending aid and personnel help in the recovery effort.
73) Signed a bill prohibiting members of the federal government from participating in insider trading.
74) Signed the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, which extends funding for the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program for another five years.
75) Took far less vacation time than any other recent president, besides possibly president Bill Clinton - Obama only took 26 days of vacation during his first term.