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New! Watch Academy Award®-winning director Davis Guggenheim's documentary on President Obama's first term here.

SOME OF OBAMA'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS OF OCT 2010


MAJOR THRUSTS
Recovery & Reinvestment Act
Housing Rescue Plan
Small Business Bill
Banking Reform
Health Insurance Reform
Credit Card Bill of Rights
Student Loan Reform
Renewable and Clean Energy thrust

Economic Relief
- Avoided economic collapse, despite virtual 100% Republican opposition to the various components of the bail-outs and stimuli required to do it
- The Recovery Act helped low income individuals and families with a 13.69 percent increase in the maximum Food Stamp benefit (effective April 2009). It also suspended the three-month limit on assistance for many unemployed childless adults for the next 18 months. 6,637 persons in Bradford County received help from food stamps at the beginning of the year.
- $9,648,634 for Bradford County's seven school districts
Individuals earning up to $75,000 receive a $400 tax credit in 2009 and 2010.
- Small Business Bill, includes an additional $12 billion in tax breaks for small companies and a $30 billion lending pool

Economy
Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) years of neglect during the Bush era
- Authorized the US Auto industry rescue plan and two GMAC rescue packages
- Authorized the housing rescue plan and new FHA residential housing guarantees
- Authorized a $789 billion economic stimulus plan)
- Instituted a new rule allowing the public to meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (in as quickly as one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying)
- Authorized a continuation of the US financial and banking rescue plans initiated at the end of the Bush administration and authorized TARP funds to buy “toxic assets” from failing financial institutions
- Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which provides small tax cuts for 95% of “working families”
- Authorized the “Cash for Clunkers” program that helped stimulate auto sales (with the related environmental/energy benefit of getting old, inefficient, polluting cars off the road)
- Ordered the closing of offshore tax safe havens (for individual and business tax evaders)
- Convened a “jobs summit” to bring experts together to develop ideas for creating jobs
- Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks to permit the US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
- Ordered the FDIC to beef up deposit insurance
Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy uses the savings to promote in-sourcing investments to bring jobs back to the US
- Convened an advisory board that is looking into simplifying the tax code
Credit Card Reform:  Ended the Bush era policy of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from the credit card industry’s predatory practices)
- Authorized the federal government to make more loans available to small businesses and ordered lower rates for federal loans to small businesses
- After former presidents of both parties refused such action (George W. Bush refused four times), Obama placed a 35% tariff on Chinese tires and a few other products such as pipes after China was found to be illegally “dumping” exports below cost
- In November 2009, Obama extended unemployment benefits for one million workers
- In November 2009, Obama extended the Home Buyers Credit for first-time home buyers and expanded coverage for some existing homeowners who are buying again
Reduced taxes for some small businesses to stimulate the economic recovery
 
Budgeting
- Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut federal spending
- Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify wasteful spending and practices
- Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient (the NPO reports to the director of the Office of Management & Budget)
- Overturned the Bush-era practice of not listing certain federal programs in the federal budget (in an effort to hide programs and make the budget look smaller); such “off budget” items are now included in the annual budget
- This includes appropriations for war
- This includes emergency appropriations

Domestic
- New federal funding for science and research labs
- Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program
Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program
- Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness
- Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud
- Beginning discussions for comprehensive immigration reform
- Ordered that funds be released and red tape be streamlined for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort in the Gulf Coast
- Demonstrated an immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
- Ordered the DEA to stop raids on medical marijuana usage
- Ordered a review of existing “mandatory minimum” prison sentencing
- Signed an order to limit airport tarmac delays and the time passengers had to sit in the plane/on the tarmac during delays
- Restored the EPA to “Cabinet level” status (this was the case under Clinton but not Bush)
FEMA once again reports directly to the president (this was the case under Clinton but not Bush)
Appointed an American Indian policy adviser
Support increased funding for the NEA

Ethics
- Release presidential records
Require new hires to sign a form affirming their hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions
Ban lobbyist gifts to executive employees
Create a national declassification center
- Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act
- Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible
- Reduced a backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests by 40 percent, or 56,000 cases. It processed 55,000 more FOIA requests than it received for the year across all executive branch agencies
- Placed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House
- Placed limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
- Signed a measure strengthening registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists
- Ordered that lobbyists must be removed from and are no longer permitted to serve on federal and White House advisory panels
- Ordered the White House and all federal agencies to respect the Freedom of Information Act; Bush era limits on accessibility of federal documents have been overturned
- Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible

Governance
Reversed the Bush era practice of politicizing Justice Department investigations and prosecutions against political opponents
- Held many more press conferences and provided the media with far more access than his predecessor
- Held more “town hall” events to inform and engage the public than previous administrations
- The White House website now provides information on all economic stimulus projects and spending, along with an unprecedented amount of information on our government
Ended the Bush era practice of circumventing established FDA rules for political reasons
Ended the Bush era practice of having White House staff rewrite the findings of scientific and environmental regulations and reports when they disagreed with the results
The Obamas did not use the $100,000 authorized (to all First Families) for the refurbishment and redecoration of the White House’s private living quarters; they paid for it out of their own pockets
- The Obamas reused Christmas ornaments from previous White House trees rather than buy new ones
Limited the salaries of senior White House aides (salaries cut to $100,000)
Urging Congress to return to the pre-Bush practice of “Pay-Go” (whereby each dollar of spending is offset by a dollar in cuts or in revenues)

Transportation & Infrastructure
$100 billion into national infrastructure and transportation system
- Unprecedented expansion of funding for regional high-speed rail
- Invest in public transportation
Equalize tax breaks for driving and public transit
- Via the Recovery Act, Bradford County received a total of $4,075,979 for the repair or renovation of its roads and bridges 
- including the Susquehanna River Bridge in Wysox; Milltown Bridge in Sayre; and the one which spans Parks Creek in Rome Township
- South Creek Township received $1,175,937 in ARRA money to construct a wastewater collection and treatment facility
- Ulster township received $1,205,559 in ARRA funds toward construction of a 144 gallons per minute water microfiltration membrane treatment plant
- Standing Stone Township has received $128,653 which will be used for slope stabilization along Mosier Road
- The Bradford County Library benefits from the federal stimulus money to help pay for upgrades to existing restrooms

Environmental Reform:

Automobiles
Removed a ruling so that it now allows individual states to enact automotive fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
- EPA granted California its long awaited waiver, which allows the state to implement its Clean Car standards
- Offered attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
- The first-ever joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and trucks modeled on the California Clean Car standards
- Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
Acceleration of increases in fuel-efficiency “CAFE” standards

Wilderness
Overturned Bush-era rule to weaken the Endangered Species Act
Proposed a new refuge for Wild mustangs
- Reengaged in international treaties and agreements to protect the Antarctic
Overturned Bush-era policies that allowed uranium mining near national parks such as the Grand Canyon
Expanded the Petrified Forest National Park
- Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects millions of acres of scenic, historic, and recreational lands and trails
- Pursue a wildfire prevention and management plan
Remove more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires
Expand access to places to hunt and fish
- Increase funding for national parks and forests

Reduce Polution
Ended the Bush era policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
- Signed a measure requiring energy producing plants to begin producing 15% of their energy from renewable sources
- Announced that the federal government would reengage in the long-delayed effort to clean up “Superfund” toxic waste sites
Increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency- Terminated the Near-Term U.S. Commercial Production of Plutonium
Collaborated with the UN to Reduce Global Mercury Pollution
- EPA Administrator Jackson announced a set of principles for Congress to consider as it develops legislation to finally reform and strengthen TSCA, the Toxic Substance Control Act.  For more than 30 years, the EPA has been unable to easily require testing of tens of thousands of chemicals for safety, or protect the public from those chemicals that are known or suspected of being unsafe, due to the weaknesses of the TSCA
- The Obama EPA agreed to adopt rules reducing toxic air pollution from the nation’s coal- and oil-burning power plants by November 2011
- Ordered the revision of a faulty air permit granted by Indiana to BP for the expansion of its Canadian tar sands refinery in Whiting, Indiana
- Proposed a rule to reduce smog and soot pollution from large ships by more than 80 percent starting in 2015. This would help avoid approximately 13,000 to 33,000 premature deaths per year
- $6 billion for improving the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure
- The Chesapeake Bay Executive Order issued in May commits federal agencies to work together to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed
-Initiated promulgation of a standard to regulate perchlorate
- The EPA announced that it will reassess atrazine’s toxicity and reconsider a decision made by the previous administration to deregulate the use of this harmful chemical
- New large or expanded power plants and factories are now required to apply the best available emissions control technology for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
- Require carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to be controlled from power plants, factories and similar sources
- Created a “Livability Partnership” with HUD, the DOT, and the EPA
- EPA Administrator Jackson has changed course by putting into place needed environmental protections, subjecting many of the policies of the Bush administration to new scientific reviews, and dropping others of dubious legality

Energy
- The Obamas used LED energy-saving lights on White House Christmas tree
- Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production
Asked Congress for energy reform and “cap and trade”
- Developing plan to lease US coastal waters for wind and water current energy production
- Requiring that government buildings and facilities be retrofitted to save energy costs
- Authorized studies in several western states to determine how to support large-scale solar installations
- Ask people and businesses to conserve electricity

Conservation
Encourage water-conservation efforts in the West
Increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- Positive steps toward curtailing mountaintop removal (MTR); blocked 79 pending MTR permits until it completes a more thorough environmental review of each proposed project; for the first time since Congress enacted the Clean Water Act in 1972, the EPA exerted its “veto” authority to revoke a previously permitted mining project—a proposed mine in West Virginia that would have been the largest mountaintop removal operation ever in Appalachia
Canceled the sale of 77 oil and gas leases in wilderness quality lands in Utah and canceled oil and gas lease sales in the treasured desert landscapes of Wyoming’s Adobe Town
- Development of a national oceans policy that ensures the protection, maintenance, and restoration of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and the creation of a marine spatial planning framework to help implement that policy- NOAA is conducting a comprehensive review of all mitigation measures applicable to the Navy’s use of powerful mid-frequency sonar systems that are known to injure and kill deep-diving whales and to cause widespread disruption in numerous whale, dolphin, and porpoise species off our coasts
- Proposed increased protections for polar bears
- Approved litigation decisions that will help to restore and defend the nationwide Roadless Rule, the net effect of these moves leaves pristine national forest lands better protected across the country

Global Warming
- Work toward deploying a global climate change research and monitoring system
Share environmental technology with other countries
- Obama’s personal leadership was critical to securing the Copenhagen Accord; it calls for countries to take action to mitigate carbon pollution to keep global average temperatures from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
Partnering with China on Clean Energy Initiatives
- Unparalleled Cooperation between the United States and India on Climate and Energy
- Launched the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA)
Partnering with China on Clean Energy Initiatives
Launched a Latin American Partnership on Clean Energy
The EPA found the combined emissions from new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of key greenhouse gases and hence confirmed the threat of climate change

Energy Reform
$60 billion spending and tax incentives for renewable and clean energy
Encourage farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient
Weatherize 1 million homes per year
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants
Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate program
Clean energy tax credits for homeowners
Billions of dollars in funding to stimulate alternative energy production – under the auspices of an Energy Secretary who is a Nobel-Prize-winning physicist, not CEO of one of the nation’s worst polluters 
- Require states to provide incentives for utilities to reduce energy consumption
- Provide grants to encourage energy-efficient building codes
Upgrading Efficiency Standards: By issuing a new federal lighting standard for tube-shaped fluorescent bulbs, the single largest energy savings appliance standard ever enacted by the United States Department of Energy, cutting energy costs to consumers by $70 billion, and keep more than nine tons of mercury pollution out of the air over 30 years
Requiring federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target; increase energy efficiencyreduce fleet petroleum consumptionconserve waterreduce waste; support sustainable communities; and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and technologies
Dismantled the scandal-plagued Minerals Management Service

Education Reform
Overhauled the astonishing stupidity of the student loan system
Increased student loans
Streamlined the federal student loan process to save $87 billion over the next 10 years
- Changed the rule to allow students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance their loans
- Instituted a “judgment review” allowing families with student loans to petition to have their current financial status determine the loan rather than the previous year’s finances
Recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession
Create an artist corps for schools
Champion the importance of arts education
- Authorized new funds for school construction
- Rebuild schools in New Orleans
Fund a major expansion of AmeriCorps
- Authorized construction funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access in K-12 public schools
- Expanded the national youth service program
- Beginning discussions with Congress for education reform
- Initiated a “Race to the Top” competitive federal grant program for states who develop innovative policies
- Launched “Educate to Innovate,” a public/private partnership making $236 million available for science, mathematics, and technology education programs

Health Reform
11,376 persons in Bradford County received help from Medical Assistance at the beginning of the year due to The Recovery Act. Federal support will also help 922 children and teens in Bradford County who are not eligible for Medical Assistance receive health care through Pennsylvania's Cover All Kids program.
- Healthcare for unemployed through a new COBRA subsidy that will pay 65 percent of the monthly premium for individuals earning less than $145,000 and couples earning less than $290,000. There were 2,200 unemployed persons in Bradford County at the beginning of 2009 who could have potentially benefited from this provision of the Recovery Act.
Health Insurance Reform Act
-  Extension of health insurance (over the “nay” votes of 80% of Senate Republicans) to 4 million previously uninsured children through SCHIP
- Food and Drug Administration permitted for the first time to regulate tobacco
- Abolished the War on Drugs and replaced it with treatment integrated into the systems
- Established an independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare
- Reversed the Bush era restrictions that prevented Medicare from negotiating with pharmaceuticals for cheaper drugs; now the government can again competitively bid
Expanding vaccination programs
- Issued new disease prevention guidelines and priorities for the CDC
- Tasked federal labs to prioritize research on and deployment of H1N1 vaccines
- (Removed Bush era restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research)
- Offering federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
- Expanded funding to train primary care providers and public health practitioners
- Increased funding to expand community based prevention programs

Homeland Security
Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk
- Create a real National Infrastructure Protection Plan
Appoint a White House Coordinator for Nuclear Security
Established a new cyber security office and appointed a cyber security czar
- Ordered the first nation-wide comprehensive cyber threat assessment

Military
Iraq
Removed all combat troops from Iraq
No permanent bases in Iraq
Directed military leaders to end war in Iraq

al-Qaeda
Sent two additional brigades to Afghanistan
Authorized the use of more unmanned warplanes/drones (Predator, Reaper, etc.) in Iraq/Afghanistan
Changed the US military command in the Afghan conflict
- Tasked the Pentagon to reorganized US policy in Afghanistan; 30,000 additional troops are being deployed, the US is prioritizing the training of Afghan forces and civil government while developing agriculture and infrastructure, aerial bombing has been limited, etc.
- Ordered the Pentagon to send additional helicopters to assist marines and special forces in Afghanistan
Increased special forces searches for, and unmanned drone strikes on, Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan
Ended the Bush era “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

Veterans & Service People
Assured that the Veterans Administration budget is prepared as ‘must-pass’ legislation
Improving benefits for veterans as well as VA staffing, information systems, etc.
Authorized construction for additional health centers to care for veterans
- Ordered that conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other neglected military hospitals be improved
- Ordered that families of fallen soldiers can have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives back in the US
Ended the Bush era “blackout” imposed on media coverage of the return of fallen US soldiers; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family
- Ended the Bush era “black out” policy on media coverage of war casualties – full information is now released
- Ordered better body armor to be procured for US troops
- Funding new Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicles (needed because of susceptibility of hummers to roadside explosives)
Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
Improving housing for military personnel
- Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses

World Connections
- Strengthen and expand military exchange programs with other countries
Bolster the military’s ability to speak different languages
Curbing Nuclear Weapons and Proliferation
- Moved swiftly to resume strategic arms reduction negotiations with Russia
- Speech in Prague explicitly linking U.S. support for the goal of a world without nuclear weapons with a series of concrete steps toward that goal
Increased US Navy patrols off the Somali coast in response to pirating

Cost Savings
Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane (which wasn’t even used in Iraq/Afghanistan) and other outdated weapons systems
- Closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay
- Attempting to house terrorists at a new federal “super max” facility in the US
Cut the expensive missile defense program, saving $1.4 billion in 2010
Cancelled plans to station anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic
Replacing long-range, expensive missile systems with more efficient smaller systems

Reforming the Military
Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military (initiated by Bush but abandoned after the war in Iraq began) 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.
Ended the Bush era practice of awarding no-bid defense contracts
Suspended the Bush-era decision to purchase an expensive fleet of Marine One (helicopters) from foreign sources
- Ordered a review of the existing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military

Science & Technology
-Amping up the budgets at NASA, the National Science Foundation, 
  and an experimental energy research agency
- Add another Space Shuttle flight
- Create an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes
Use the private sector to improve spaceflight
- Partner to enhance the potential of the International Space Station
Use the International Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
Explore whether International Space Station can operate after 2016
Enhance earth mapping
Appoint an assistant to the president for science and technology policy
Appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer
Provide grants to early-career researchers
Reverse restrictions on stem cell research

Crime Prevention
Restore funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne/JAG) program
- Establish special crime programs for the New Orleans area

Rights
-Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime law to include sexual orientation and other factors)
- Signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Appointed a special adviser to the president on violence against women
Reform mandatory minimum sentences
- Create a White House Office on Urban Policy
Passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for equal pay for women(over the “nay” votes of 90% of Senate Republicans)
Work to overturn Ledbetter vs. Goodyear
Appointed the first Latina to the Supreme Court
- Signed an extension of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Bill to provide federal research and support for treating the disease
- Allowed the State Department of offer same-sex benefits for employees

Financial Reform
Stimulus bill - yanked economy back from the brink
Total ARRA money received in Bradford County by all groups is approximately $16,315,262
- A better safety net for the unemployed:  There were 800 unemployed persons in Bradford County who qualified for unemployment compensation at the beginning of 2009. The Recovery Act helped those Pennsylvanians with a $25 per week increase in unemployment benefits through the rest of the year. It also provided additional weeks of benefits through Dec. 31, 2009.
Extended unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspend taxes on these benefits
Credit Card Bill of Rights
Financial regulation
Canceled a weapons program that was bloated, unnecessary and totally irrelevant to either of our current wars
- Created a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners
- Increased minority access to capital
- Expanded loan programs for small businesses
- Extended and indexed the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch
- Expanded the Senior Corps volunteer program
- Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
Raise the small business investment expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009

Foreign
Restoring U.S. leadership on international issues
- nuclear arms deal with Russia that would reduce both countries` arsenals by a third
Closed the Bush era “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe
Ended the Bush era policy allowing “enhanced interrogation” (torture) and the US is in compliance with Geneva Convention standards
Restarted international nuclear non-proliferation talks (Bush withdrew from them) and reestablished international nuclear inspection protocols
- Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions suspended under Bush
Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
Banned the export of cluster bombs
Overturned Bush era plans to increase the US nuclear arsenal
Authorized the Navy SEALS operation that freed by force the US shipping captain held by Somali pirates
Restored the US commitment to the UN population fund for family planning that was suspended during the Bush era
- Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit loved ones
Extended an offer of engagement (free from sanctions and penalties) to Iran through December 31, 2009 (Iran did not accept the offer)
Sent envoys to the Middle East and other parts of the world, reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
- Authorized discussions with North Korea and the private mission by former president, Bill Clinton, to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons
- Authorized discussions with Myanmar and the mission by Senator Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive
- Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
- Signed the USIFTA trade agreement with/for Israel
Authorized a $550m advance for Israel (six months prior to the scheduled date) in order to accommodate Israeli’s economic and financial needs
Continued agreements with Israel for cultural exchanges, immigration, etc.
Spoke on Arab television, spoke at an Egyptian university, and met with Arab leaders in an effort to change the tone of US-Arab relations
- Ordered the US to finally pay its dues to the United Nations
Make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts
Gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in the first 100 days of his administration
Improve relations with Turkey, and its relations with Iraqi Kurds
- Launch an international Add Value to Agriculture Initiative (AVTA)
Created a rapid response fund for emerging democracies
- Established an Energy Partnership for the Americas
- Lifted of the global “gag” order on family planning information
Obama’s personal leadership was critical to securing the Copenhagen Accord -  helped bridge key differences between developed and developing countries, including China and India