As Obama is preparing to leave the White House to the Trump family in the coming January, Pulse Politics looks back on the achievements of America’s first black president.
- Executive Order to End Torture in Interrogations – creating a strong start to Obama’s presidency, two days into his first term as president on January 22 2009, Barack signed an executive order banning the use of torture, making good on a promise he made during his first presidential campaign. The order stated that no prisoner should be subject to violence to life and person, including murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.”
- Reformed Mandatory Minimums – in August 2010, the Obama administration enacted a widespread reform of the US prison system. The mandatory minimum sentence that judges were required to hand down for anyone found in possession was nullified, whilst the amount of crack cocaine required to earn a ten year sentence increasing. This was in an effort to lower the prison population whilst keeping people out of the prison system who did not necessarily need to be there.
- Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – in September 2011, Obama ended the ban on openly gay and bisexual men and women serving in the military. The law was first introduced in 1994 and remained in place for 17 years until Obama announced its renouncement in his third year in office.
- Executive Order to enforce reviews of all federal regulations – in 2012 Obama signed an executive order making it mandatory for federal agencies review their regulations and remove any unnecessary practises, in an attempt to keep costs low and to remain as burden less as possible, while becoming more effective.
- Tighter Drone Regulations – in 2013, Obama outlined a new set of rules for how and when drone strikes should be used. The rules would see drone attacks be confined to a small set of suspects who pose an imminent threat, and would only be used if no other method of capture proved possible. He did this while defending drone strikes as a legal and effective way of dealing with terrorism.
- $10.10 Minimum Wage – Obama announced in 2014 that he would increase the wages of workers on government contracts to $10.10 an hour. He also called for an increase in the federal minimum wage within the following year. A large number of employers increased their minimum wage following the announcement.
- Universal Health Care – in 2015, Obama signed a bill to expand health care funding and insurance, as well as changing the way doctors are paid. The $214 billion bill invoked a rare moment of bipartisanship, sending a bill forwards which saw Medicare doctor receive payment in reciprocation with the quality of care their patients receive. It also saw the Children’s Health Insurance Program for two extra years.
- Signed bill to increase Active Shooter Training – In July this year Obama signed into law the Protecting Our Lives by Initiating COPS Expansion act. It allows the Department of Justice to use federal funds for the program, streamlining money into training and equipment needed to tackle crises.
Over his eight years Obama has proved to be one of the most progressive US presidents, improving lives of LGBT people, as well as increasing the minimum wage nationally and mae healthcare more accessible, however certain policies of his have proved more controversial, such as his stand on drone strikes. How do you rate his time in the Oval office?