An Undercurrent of Diminishing President Obama’s Progressive Accomplishments

by DaisiesArePretty –

US President Barack Obama signs a Memorandum of Disapproval regarding S.J. Res. 8, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation case procedures, at the White House in Washington, DC, March 31, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s been a growing narrative that Sanders is the “first” progressive politician since FDR or LBJ or fill-in-the-blank with a name other than President Obama.

Today, I read this comment:

“It’s that he is the first candidate since RFK or Jesse Jackson who would actually DO SOMETHING about our problems.”

I guess you can say this was the last straw for me.

I understand the strategy, though. Since Hillary Clinton says she wants to build on President Obama’s progressive accomplishments, the counter-punch is to diminish his accomplishments to one single issue — ObamaCare — then criticize ObamaCare as insufficient.

As a gentle reminder of the progressive accomplishments of our president, I offer the following partial list.

At the end is a link to a more comprehensive list with citations for all (including citations for those listed below).

Fighting Lobbyists & Executive Transparency

Obama Banned gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch.

Banned anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years and placed strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House.

Improved the Freedom of Information Act and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent when processing FOIA requests.

Provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history.

Saving Jobs

In 2010, more jobs were created than had been created during Bush’s eight years.

Implemented an auto industry rescue plan that saved as many as 1-million auto industry  jobs.

The investment in General Motors, returned to the company to its place as the premiere car company in the world.

In February 2016, GM gave a share of their increased profit to each worker, with checks up to $11,000.

Increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect.

Signed an Executive Order creating jobs immediately by instructing them to reduce the time needed for review and permitting of infrastructure projects.

Signed the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, which provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saved at least 300,000 education jobs.

Provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession.

Passed a $305 billion highways bill, which will have the added benefit of created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and creating incentives for green cars.

Reduced Unemployment

2014 marked the first time since 1984 that unemployment dropped in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

As of January 2016, a record 64 consecutive months of overall job growth.

As of January 2016, Unemployment drops below 5% for the first time in eight years and without a significant bubble. 4.9%

As of April 2016, there have been 74 consecutive months of private sector job growth.

In April 2016, new unemployment claims hit their lowest level since Nov. 1973.

Financial System

Signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system.

Created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown.

Signed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.

Created and implemented rules to reduce the influence of speculators in the oil market.

Created and implemented rules so banks can no longer use depositors’ money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against depositors’ interests.

Negotiated a deal with Swiss banks permitting the US government to gain access to bank records of criminals and tax evaders.

Signed the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, closing many of the loopholes that allowed companies to send jobs overseas, and avoid paying US taxes by moving money offshore.

Through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, reduced inflation in the healthcare sector to its lowest point in 50 years.

Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices.

Blocked a monopolistic merger of Staples and Office Depot to preserve competition.

Initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.

Economic Stimulus Package improved access to capital for minority businesses.

Used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families.

Tax rates for average working families are the lowest since 1950.

Supporting Workers and Families

Extended discounted health coverage under COBRA for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months.

Extended unemployment benefits several times.

Provided  a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps).

Signed a presidential memorandum authorizing six weeks paid leave for all federal employees with a new baby and encouraged Congress to do the same for all workers.

Included the Buffet Rule in his 2014 budget proposal, in order to fulfill a campaign promise to make sure tax rates are fair between the rich and the middle class

Extended the American Opportunity Tax Credit for 5 additional years to provide tax credits to families for college-related expenses, saving those families up to $10,000.

Updated and modernized overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Signed and implemented the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act to improve nutrition in schools.

Changed overtime rules to make it far more difficult for employers to avoid paying overtime to workers.

Changed rules for federal contractors, guaranteeing that all workers earn paid leave; this should affect about 300,000 workers.

Negotiated a law to replace “No Child Left Behind.”

Signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, which helped millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures and provided $2.2 billion to combat homelessness and stabilize the housing market.

Supporting Minorities

Approved $1.2 billion discrimination settlement with black farmers who had proved USDA bias.

Signed the Civil Rights History Act.

Established the White House Council of Native American Affairs, to improve government-to-government relations with Native American nations.

Blocked the sale of Apache tribal land to foreign mining company, over Republican objections.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission strengthened rules prohibiting discrimination against pregnant workers.

Vetoed Republican bill that would have blocked new NLRB rules that were designed to speed up the time it takes workers to unionize.

Signed and implemented the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history.

Appointed first openly transgender Cabinet Official in History, Amanda Simpson.

Issued an order requiring hospitals to allow visitation by same-sex couples.

Changed HUD rules to prohibit gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing.

Issued a Presidential Memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other.

Banned all federal contractors from discriminating against gay workers.

Women’s Rights and Equal Pay

Vetoed bill attempting to defund Planned Parenthood.

Established the White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider the effect of their policies and programs on women and families.

Implemented the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Improved the Paycheck Fairness Act, making it possible for employees to talk about their salaries without retaliation, and ordering salary data collection, to make it harder for employers to pay women less.

Signed an Executive Order in support for efforts to end the global problem of violence against women and girls.

Expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act.

Ordered companies with 100 employees or more to disclose pay data based on race and gender to address the pay gap.

More progressive accomplishments for women including supporting women in STEM fields (my daughter will be attending her second STEM camp this summer):…

Criminal Justice & Guns

Made significant reductions in drug sentencing guidelines for current prisoners.

Under the Obama administration, we’ve seen the first drop in the federal prison population in 32 years.

Increased use of clemency to release thousands of non-violent drug offenders from prison.

Ordered a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in federal prisons.

Took executive action to promote smart gun technology to make them safer.

After a failure by Congress to act, proposed executive orders to create more background checks and to fully staff the background check system.

Expanded the definitions of gun dealers and expanded the information available and required in background checks for firearm purchases.

Created a task force to determine what other measures can be taken to limit gun violence in the wake of Congressional inaction.

More of Obama’s progressive accomplishments here with…


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos