Article links


Obama’s Platform and Promises

Of Obama’s 25 Top Promises, all are either Kept or In the Works, except for a couple that are stalled and one Broken (keeping lobbyists from jobs in agencies considering related policy for 2 yrs) Politifact, compiled by the St Petersburg Times keeps a running tally.

All Promises pgs 1-26 start here



Wiki lists -

            - scroll down to 111th Congress

            - click on each for more info and included ‘other’ acts within acts (summaries below)

Thomas Library of Congress, but this is not as conveniently listed and requires more search for detailed info on voice votes vs roll call, amendments voted up and down, etc.


Recent Articles on executive actions / appointments

John Judis “The Quiet Revolution” The New Repubic

Jonathon Weisman “Democrats’ Quiet Victories Pile Up,” Wall Street Journal

David Sirota “What a Second Stimulus Should – and Shouldn’t – Look Like”





(in chronological order, as of 13 Sept, 2010)   

2009-1-21            executive action/appointment

Restore expertise to Regulatory Agencies

Appointments to critical 'science-based' agencies (see Judis article) "reminiscent of what took place at the start of the New Deal.” e.g.:

OSHA, David Michaels, a professor of occupational and environmental health at George Washington University. In 2008, Michaels published a book, Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, detailing how businesses had delayed regulations by “manufacturing uncertainty” about scientific findings.

EPA, highly experienced state environmental officials. (As Bill Becker of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies explains, state officials are ideally suited for the EPA because they have firsthand experience in how regulations are enforced and how they work.) Head, Lisa Jackson (, a chemical engineer who led the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Deputies include the former secretary of the environment in Maryland, former heads of  CT Dept of Environmental Protection, MA Bureau of Resource Protection, and AZ Dept of Environmental Quality.

FDA, chief Margaret Hamburg, 1990s as health commissioner of New York City, where she developed a program for controlling tuberculosis that led to a sharp decline in the disease. #2 is a former Baltimore health commissioner who, in 2008, was named a public official of the year by Governing magazine.


National Park Service director Jon Jarvis is a 30-year veteran of the agency--and the first biologist to lead it.


FEMA, W. Craig Fugate, who performed outstandingly as Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist’s head of emergency management in Florida. Fugate may not know anything about Arabian stallions--but he does know a thing or two about hurricanes."


2009-1-21            legislation

Restore funding to Regulatory Agencies

Included in several different bills -- Judis: Reagan's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs OIRA started cost-benefit analysis, along with AEI (Regulation journal, Antonin Scalia editor ;-); Nader fought it; liberals trashed it; conservatives analyzed 'costs' only; Clinton analyzed benefits as well; Bush gutted funding and allowed OIRA to block funding for 'benefits'; Obama has had much funding restored and raised. OIRA head, Cass Sunstein, Harvard law prof.

speech by Cass Sunstein on humanizing cost-benefit analysis at


2009-1-21            executive action/appointment

CPSC moved on dangerous toys

Consumer Product Safety Commission, chair, Inez Tenenbaum, fined Mattel $2.3 million for selling toys containing lead and Mega Brands America $1.1 million for improperly reporting a fatality caused by one of its children’s building sets. (exact date needed)

For info on recalls and fines:;


2009-1-29            executive action/appointment

SEC possibly dodgy

SEC Mary Schapiro, selected to head the SEC

L- formerly CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, funded by the investment industry--appears reluctant to challenge the Wall Street culture. After boldly proposing last May to conduct 10,000 unannounced inspections of money managers, she eventually settled in December for only 1,600 inspections.

But on the up side:


2009-1-29            major legislation

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-2

amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck. The law was a direct answer to the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), a U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins at the date the pay was agreed upon, not at the date of the most recent paycheck, as a lower court had ruled.


2009-2-4            major legislation

Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP), Pub.L. 111-3

reauthorizes program admin by the US HHS, provides matching funds to states for health insurance to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. Expansion to families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level -- or $63,600 for a family of four -- eligible. The previous cutoff was 200%.

R- price tag was too big and would ultimately outstrip the revenue from tobacco taxes designed to pay for it


2009-2-17            major legislation

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Pub.L. 111-5

intended to create jobs and promote investment and consumer spending during the recession, nominally worth $787 billion. The Act includes federal tax cuts, expansion of unemployment benefits and other social welfare provisions, and domestic spending in education, health care, and infrastructure, including the energy sector. The Act also includes numerous non-economic recovery related items that were either part of longer-term plans (e.g. a study of the effectiveness of medical treatments) or desired by Congress (e.g. a limitation on executive compensation in federally aided banks added by Senator Dodd and Rep. Frank). No Republicans in the House and only three Republican Senators voted for the bill.


2009-3-11            legislation

Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-8

combines bills funding the operations of each of the Cabinet departments, except Defense, Homeland Security, and Veteran Affairs into a single appropriation bill.


2009-3-30            major legislation

Omnibus Public Land Management Act, Pub.L. 111-11

Judis notes declares 1.2 million acres of Wyoming range land off-limits to oil and natural-gas development

R- U.S. Geological Survey, they note, has estimated the Wyoming area holds large natural-gas and oil deposits, which could help the U.S. toward energy independence.

Many specific public lands and measures detailed at


2009-4-21            legislation

Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Pub.L. 111-13

reauthorizes and expands the AmeriCorps program first established in 1993.


2009-5-20            legislation

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-21

Enhancea criminal enforcement of federal fraud laws, especially regarding financial institutions, mortgage fraud, and securities fraud or commodities fraud.


2009-5-20            major legislation

Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-22

Stated purpose of the act, a product of the 111th United States Congress, was to allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages on primary residences, among other purposes; however, that provision was dropped in the Senate and is not included in the version that was eventually signed into law. In addition, the bill amends the Hope for Homeowners Program and makes additional provisions to help borrowers avoid foreclosure.


2009-5-20            legislation

Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act Pub.L. 111-22

Reauthorizing HUD's Homeless Assistance program, included as part of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. HEARTH allows for the prevention of homelessness, rapid re-housing, consolidation of housing programs, and new homeless categories.

L- In late 2009, some homeless advocacy organizations, such as the National Coalition for the Homeless, reported and published perceived problems with the HEARTH Act of 2009 as a HUD McKinney-Vento Reauthorization bill, especially with regard to privacy, definitional ineligibilty, community roles, and restrictions on eligibile activities


2009-5-22            legislation

Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-23

Reforms the way the Pentagon contracts and purchases major weapons systems. CBO predicted  the reforms would cost $55 million and are expected to save millions, perhaps even billions of dollars during the 2010s. Many of the Pentagon's weapon systems run far over original cost estimates.


2009-5-22            legislation

Credit CARD Act, Pub.L. 111-24

Comprehensive credit card reform legislation that aims " establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan, and for other purposes."[1] The bill was passed with bipartisan support by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.


2009-6-22            legislation

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Pub.L. 111-31

Gives the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate the tobacco industry and raise tobacco taxes to expand health insurance for children. A signature element of the law imposes new warnings and labels on tobacco packaging and their advertisements, with the goal of discouraging minors and young adults from smoking.

R- because the FDA couldn't create a tobacco product that is safe, regulatory authority could in the end make tobacco illegal.


2009-6-24            legislation

Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-32

Appropriating public funds for spending in the Iraq War and Afghanistan War during the 2009 fiscal year. Admin vowed this "war supplemental" will be the last of its kind, as war funding will be provided for in regular budget bills beginning in fiscal year 2010. (includes a "cash for clunkers" provision tacked on in conference)


2009-10-28            major legislation

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub.L. 111-84

3.4% basic military pay raise; repealed the FY 2009 F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft funding and re-directed it to preserving the maintenance and tooling of the existing program; Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE); Success in Countering Al Qaeda Reporting Requirements Act of 2009; Victims of Iranian Censorship Act (or the VOICE Act) Authorizes the Secretary of State to continue efforts in support of Iranian dissidents; Military Commissions Act of 2009 - completely amended the existing statutes; Non-Foreign Area Retirement Equity Assurance Act of 2009; Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (see also hate crimes act)

Many titles/details at:


2009-10-28            legislation

NDA Act includes the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Expanded federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute an expanded definition of hate crimes and to pre-empt local police when Washington decides too little is being done about a crime.

R-an unwarranted expansion of federal power. They also say it creates a new category of violent crime that isn't necessary because the acts it addresses would be crimes regardless of motivation


2009-11-6            legislation

Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act, Pub.L. 111-92

gave an extra 20 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers in states with unemployment rates over 8.5 percent, but would also give an extra 14 weeks to the 24 states with lower unemployment, in addition to extending the homebuyer's tax credit. Besides extending the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers until April 2010, the Act provided a $6,500 tax credit for current homeowners who purchase a home between November 6, 2009 and end of April 2010 and increased the income limits to qualify for the credit, based on modified adjusted gross income  from $75,000 to $125,000 for single filers and from $125,000 to $225,000 for joint filers.


2009-12-16            executive action/appointment

FTC sued Intel for restraint of trade

FTC chair, Jon Leibowitz, has sued Intel for attempting to prevent computer makers from using non-Intel chips.


2010-1-21            executive action/appointment

FDA on diacetyl removal

Diacetyl, an artificial flavoring used in making popcorn and other food (Ican't find anything on this after Dec 2009, still legal pending study in EU)

L- still in pre-rule status, not banned

OSHA on status:

For David Michaels 2007 article on Bush's FDA and diacetyl  in Pump Handle go here


2010-2-4            executive action/appointment

Don't Ask, Don't Tell effort at compromise

No specific legislation allowing openly gay service members into the military, but a compromise pending Pentagon study of effects

LGBT- not fast enough; partial?


2010-2-12            legislation

Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, as Title I of Pub.L. 111-139, H.J.Res. 45

reinstated pay-as-you-go budgeting rules used in Congress from 1990 until 2002, ensuring that most new spending is offset by spending cuts or added revenue elsewhere (with several major policy exemptions).


2010-3-18            legislation

Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, H.R. 2847

Provides payroll tax breaks and incentives for businesses to hire unemployed workers. Employers are eligible for a payroll tax credit when the employer hires certain new employees after February 3, 2010, and before January 1, 2011. In order to take the payroll tax credit, the employee must have either been unemployed for at least 60 days prior to hire or worked fewer than 40 hours for another employer during the previous 60 days. Employers do not pay the employer portion of social security tax, which is 6.2 percent, on wages paid to eligible new hires. In addition, employers receive a general business income tax break if the employer continues to employ the new hire for at least 52 weeks. The tax break is the lesser of $1,000 or 6.2 percent of wages paid to the new employee during the 52-week period.

- Household employers are ineligible for both tax benefits, as are new employees who are related to the employer. Also ineligible are employees who earn more than $106,000 per year and employees who displace a current employee, unless the first employee resigned or was terminated for cause.

- Employers may claim the credit after an eligible employee signs a statement affirming their previous unemployed status, such as Form W-11.

- The Act also extends the $250,000 deduction limit under section 179 through 2010, authorizes $20 billion for highway and transit projects, and makes reforms to municipal bonds.

- To offset the costs of the Act, there will be a 30-percent withholding tax on income from U.S. financial assets held by foreign banks who have not agreed to disclose their American account holders' balances, receipts, and withdrawals. Owners of these foreign-held assets on their tax returns if they are worth more than $50,000. Individuals who do not disclose these assets will be subject to a 40-percent penalty. The Act also closes a tax loophole that investors had used to avoid paying any taxes on dividends by converting them into dividend equivalents.


2010-3-23            major legislation

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub.L. 111-148

to take effect over the next four years, including expanding Medicaid eligibility, subsidizing insurance premiums, providing incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits, prohibiting denial of coverage/claims based on pre-existing conditions, establishing health insurance exchanges, and support for medical research. The costs of these provisions are offset by a variety of taxes, fees, and cost-saving measures, such as new Medicare taxes for high-income brackets, taxes on indoor tanning, cuts to the Medicare Advantage program in favor of traditional Medicare, and fees on medical devices and pharmaceutical companies;[2] there is also a tax penalty for citizens who do not obtain health insurance (unless they are exempt due to low income or other reasons).[3] The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the net effect (including the reconciliation act) will be a reduction in the federal deficit by $143 billion over the first decade


2010-3-30            legislation  

Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 including the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, Pub.L. 111-152

amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub.L. 111-148). The law also includes the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was attached as a rider.[2] However, small technical parts of the bill relating to Pell Grants were removed during the reconciliation process.


2010-4-30            executive action/appointment

OSHA ergonomic injuries

Plan unveiled April 2010 rules governing ergonomic injuries (30 % of compensation claims filed by workers). Bush OSHA eliminated the reporting column. Obama’s OSHA immediately restored the column, is working on a new nt'l regulatory standard.

OSHA on MSDs rule:


2010-4-30            executive action/appointment

FDA on dietary supplements

Warnings on dangerous/questionable supplements issued ... Looking into radiological devices approved without proper testing under Bush FDA


2010-5-5            legislation

Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-163

provides several benefits for veterans and their families.


2010-6-18            executive action/appointment

FCC Broadband and expanded free wireless

FCC (Judis Feb 2010) reportedly mulling a broadband plan to allocate a significant part of the spectrum to free wireless.

R biz - '3rd way' partial regulation will open way for more aggressive (profit stalling) regulation

BetaNews pro:

Cnet con:


2010-7-1            legislation

Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-195

would apply further sanctions on the government of Iran and punish companies and individuals who aid Iran's petroleum sector. This increased pressure would be part of the larger campaign over the Iranian nuclear program, and aims to target Iranian dependence on imports for its gasoline needs.


2010-7-4             executive action

New Information Service

This week,, a new online portal where anyone can go to find insurance options in their state, went live. It's a very handy resource for information that used to be difficult to find. It's available to help millions who need insurance find it, and as a resource for those who want to shop around for new options or find out their new benefits under the new law. Announcement via


2010-7-10            executive action/appointment

OIRA on EPA coal-ash regulations

in reviewing proposed EPA coal-ash regulations, has met far more frequently with industry representatives than with environmentalists. (Judis)

L- analysts from the Center for Progressive Reform recently wrote that the administration deserves a “B-” for regulation during its first year.


2010-7-21            major legislation

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub.L. 111-203, H.R. 4173

the most sweeping change to financial regulation in the United States since the Great Depression and represents a paradigm shift in the American financial regulatory environment impacting all Federal financial regulatory agencies and affecting almost every aspect of the nation's financial services industry. Many titles, full details at


2010-7-29            legislation

Military Spending Bill ?? (contains several actions not directly related to mil spending)

A military spending bill signed into law by President Obama on July 29 includes a Sanders amendment to make a federal contractor fraud database accessible to the public.  The Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System is a database created by the Clean Contracting Act of 2008 that lists incidences of misconduct by federal contractors.  The database is an important tool for tracking the behavior of federal contractors. It lists prior findings of liability relating to federal contracts, including findings from criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings.  The database also lists whether the contractor has ever defaulted on a prior federal contract.  Finally, it lists whether contractors have engaged in such egregious behavior to have been suspended or disbarred from contracting.  The Sanders amendment would require that the database be posted on the Internet, ensuring that the public has access to this critical, public information about where their tax dollars are going.


2010-8-9            legislation

Emergency Jobs Bill (no Title or Pub.L number given, not found in Thomas)

$26 billion jobs bill to save 300,000 teachers, police and others from election-year layoffs. Passed  mainly along party lines by a vote of 247-161. Funded by closing a tax loophole used by multinational corporations and by reducing food stamp benefits for the poor. DOE (Duncan) says ¾ of the nation's districts have said they would be opening the school year with fewer teachers. An additional $16 billion would extend for six months increased Medicaid payments to the states, freeing money for states to meet other budget priorities, including keeping more than 150,000 police officers and other public workers on the payroll.


2010-8-15            executive action/appointment

FCC vs Google/Verizon merger

FCC chair, Julius Genachowski, has come out in favor of net neutrality (Judis, Feb)

L- Merger threatens 'net neutrality' (Al Franken)


2010-9-2             executive action/appointment

SEC ruling on Stockholders Rights, Fielding Candidates for Corporate Boards

Until last Wednesday, unions and activists who wanted to change corporate policy had to do it the old-fashioned way: lobby lawmakers, muster public pressure, and push for boycotts. But last week the Securities and Exchange Commission handed them a brand-new weapon to fight companies on social-justice and workers' rights issues: the corporate ballot box. The new rule allows shareholders to field their own candidates for corporate boards and place them on the same ballot as management's picks. Sought by advocates of corporate accountability for more than 30 years, it could change the way activists deal with corporations, allowing unions, for instance, to help elect a labor-friendly director on the board of Massey Energy, the company responsible for the deadliest mine disaster in 25 years, which workers regard as particularly unconcerned with safety. "This is a definite sea change," said Simon Billenness, an Amnesty USA board member who works on shareholder advocacy for the organization. "With the SEC's decision, power has shifted away from company management, and when we are talking with shareholders about possible actions, we have a new tool."

Newsweek article, via RSN:


2010-9-6             legislation initiated

Infrastructure Plan

Announcement of additional ‘lets-not-call-it-stimulus’ $50 billion infrastructure and jobs bill ‘Kicks Off Campaign with Infrastructure Plan’. (Experts say 35K jobs for each billion spent.) Must pass Congress.

R- GOP’s Boehner says it will bankrupt country.

MSNBC video, summary, transcript of Wisconsin speech

(interesting collection of coverage, same old mantra about GOP gains, same old ‘too late’ punditry)


2010-9-8             speech

More on infrastructure

Cleveland (Parma) OH speech


2010-9-13            NOT

Patriot Act

repealing much of Patriot Act

L- Concern expressed by ACLU in ReformThePatriotAct project


2010-9-13            NOT

No Child Left Behind (revision)

changes to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act include Race to the Top, $4billion stimulus for 'positive improvements' backed by Arne Duncan EduSecy; Tom Harkin heads the Senate committee; many hearings but bill is still not out of committee (?)

L- no movement, NCLB encourages growth of standard testing and 'teach to the test'


2010-9-13            NOT yet

Some 20 pending bills protecting nearly 4 million acres of public lands in a dozen states

Could be a lasting legacy left to the American public.  Wild land protection enhances the economies of local areas, protects wildlife, air quality and drinking water, and helps to soften the effects of climate change.   America's natural heritage is unequaled anywhere in the world.

The Wilderness Society


2010-9-10            petition by Sierra Club

Protect the Giant Sequoia National Monument

Created by President Bill Clinton in 2000. “The Forest Service has released a new management plan for the Monument for public review and comment, which includes several options, including some which propose dramatic increases in logging and other incompatible uses.”


2010-9-13            announcement

Retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) said he plans to help push through small-business aide bill that includes tax breaks, a move that would give the President and Democrats a key victory on the economy before the mid-terms. Voinovich said GOP obstruction was partisan "messaging." "We don't have time for messaging," he said. "We don't have time anymore. This country is really hurting."

Think Progress, Progress Report, 13 Sept, Think Fast


2010-9-13             executive action

Pentagon Eases Rules for Reporters Covering Guantanamo Trials
Lesley Clark, McClatchy Newspapers: "The Pentagon has revised its ground rules for reporters and photographers covering military trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, earning praise from news organizations that had protested the policies as unduly restrictive. The Defense Department issued new guidelines Friday, including not barring reporters who print information they've gathered independently of the detention camp, even if officials have deemed the information 'protected.'"