Obama Did This
By: David H.
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017
When was the last time you said thank you to someone? Regardless of if they deserved it or not, how often do you say the two most powerful words in the human language? Showing gratification for another person’s actions whether that be an act or gesture of kindness. When someone says thank you to you, how do you feel? Do you feel obligated to say it back? Are you proud enough to not reply? Sadhana Bharanidharan, a writer for Medical Daily shared a quote from Amit Kumar, assistant professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business at UT. “Researchers have known for 15 years that gratitude improves well-being. There’s lots of work done on this already...What was interesting to me is that even though it’s something that’s well-known, people still don’t express gratitude all that often.” Have you ever openly thanked former United States President Barack Obama for the work he did during his two terms as Commander and Chief? What about any of the Presidents before him? Before you officially take a stand on whether or not President Obama was your cup of tea, the humane thing to do is look at all the facts and make a decision. But most of all, say thanks, Barack Obama!
Our friends from the Miller Center of the University of Virginia provide a timeline which correlates with our findings to showcase just about everything that took place during the two terms President Obama dwelled in the White House.
Obama emerged as an unlikely candidate during the 2008 presidential campaign. He was born and raised in Hawaii. His mother, a white American from Kansas, and his father, a black Kenyan studying in the United States, met as students at the University of Hawaii. After attending school in Hawaii, Obama moved to the mainland for college—first attending Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, and then graduating from Columbia University in New York City.
Obama wins the election
Barack Obama is elected president by defeating Senator John McCain with nearly 53 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes (out of 538).
On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. He was the first African American President in U.S. history.
Executive order to close Guantánamo Bay
Obama signs an executive order to close the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within one year. Guantánamo Bay is a detention center where individuals considered to be a national threat to the United States are detained and questioned in controversial conditions. His executive order encountered strong Congressional resistance, and the prison remained open after he left office.
The signing of the first bill
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became law. The bill makes it easier for people to challenge unequal pay complaints and is designed to help address the wage gap between men and women.
Eliminated Catch-22 in Pay Equality Laws
Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago. Under previous law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the statute of limitations on such suits ran out 180 days after the alleged discrimination occurred, even if the victims never knew about it.
The cap on top executive pay
Obama forces companies receiving federal bailout money from the federal government to set a cap on executive pay at $500,000.
Passed Credit Card Reforms
Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases and strictly limits overdraft and other fees.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is signed into law by President Obama while in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the act was to save and create jobs and to provide relief to those most affected by the economic crisis of 2008-2009.
Passed the Stimulus
Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.
Stem cell research
The president overturns a rule that restricted the amount of federal money that could be used on embryonic stem cell research.
New age Fireside Chats
Obama hosts the first-ever online discussion at the White House. He live-streamed himself answering questions asked by people online via the administration’s website.
Obama nominates federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to take over for retiring Justice David Souter. She is confirmed in August.
Speech in Cairo
The president gives a speech at Cairo University in Egypt, discussing the U.S. relations with countries in the Middle East.
Nobel Peace Prize
Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
HIV Travel Ban
Obama lifts a 22-year-old ban that restricts those with HIV/AIDS from entering the United States.
Hate Crimes Prevention Act
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act becomes law to help jurisdictions to investigate and prosecute hate crimes more effectively.
Expanded National Service
Signed Serve America Act in 2009, which authorized a tripling of the size of AmeriCorps. The program grew 13 percent to 85,000 members across the country by 2012, when new House GOP majority refused to appropriate more funds for further expansion.
Expanded Wilderness and Watershed Protection
Signed Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (2009), which designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness, created thousands of miles of recreational and historic trails and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.
Gave the FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco
Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009). Nine years in the making and long resisted by the tobacco industry, the law mandates that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients, obtain FDA approval for new tobacco products, and expand the size and prominence of cigarette warning labels, and bans the sale of misleadingly labeled “light” cigarette brands and tobacco sponsorship of entertainment events.
Pushed Federal Agencies to Be Green Leaders
Issued executive order in 2009 requiring all federal agencies to make plans to soften their environmental impacts by 2020. Goals include a 30 percent reduction in fleet gasoline use, 26 percent boost in water efficiency, and sustainability requirements for 95 percent of all federal contracts. Because the federal government is the country’s single biggest purchaser of goods and services, likely to have ripple effects throughout the economy for years to come.
Invested Heavily in Renewable Technology
As part of the 2009 stimulus, invested $90 billion, more than any previous administration, in research on smart grids, energy efficiency, electric cars, renewable electricity generation, cleaner coal, and biofuels.
Expanded Hate Crimes Protections
Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.
A website run by independent board of inspectors general looking for fraud and abuse in stimulus spending provides the public with detailed information on every contract funded by $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thanks partly to this transparency, the board has uncovered very little fraud, and the Web site has become national model: “The stimulus has done more to promote transparency at almost all levels of government than any piece of legislation in recent memory,” reports Governing magazine.
Expanded Health Coverage for Children
Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.
Recognized the Dangers of Carbon Dioxide
In 2009, EPA declared carbon dioxide a pollutant, allowing the agency to regulate its production.
Expanded Stem Cell Research
In 2009, eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas.
Provided Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers
In 2009, signed Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with black and Native American farmers whom the government cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties in years past.
Killed the F-22
In 2009, ended further purchases of Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin-engine, fighter aircraft, which cost $358 million apiece. Though the military had 187 built, the plane has never flown a single combat mission. Eliminating it saved $4 billion.
Obama pledges $100,000,000 to assist Haiti in recovery from the devastating earthquake that hit the country on January 12.
Obama announces the Volcker Rule, which seeks to restrict U.S. banks from engaging in certain speculative investments that would not be in the best interest of the customer.
Nuclear Reactor Loans
Obama declares more than $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to Southern Company to construct two new nuclear reactors in Burke County, Georgia.
Obama announces $900 million in grants that will be given to under-performing schools if they accept new reforms.
Created Race to the Top
With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion programs of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.
Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, becomes law. This is the most significant regulatory makeover of the U.S. healthcare system since the 1960s. Under the new regulations, Obama sought to increase quality, affordability, and access to healthcare.
Passed Healthcare Reform
After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.
East Coast Drilling
Obama announces he will approve exploration for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia, which had been previously banned.
Reduction of Nuclear Arms
President Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). This is an agreement to reduce the stockpile of nuclear weapons by the United States and Russia.
Budget Funding for NASA
Obama proposes adding $6 billion to NASA’s budget over the next five years. The funding would be used for space exploration rather than lunar exploration.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
An explosion on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana results in 11 deaths and a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil rig was leased by BP.
West Virginia Coal Miners
Obama delivers a eulogy for the 29 West Virginia coal miners who died in an explosion earlier in the month.
Obama nominates Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. She is sworn into office in August.
BP Oil Spill
Obama discusses the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by BP. The president says that BP will have to pay heavy reparations for their malpractice.
Brokered Agreement for Speedy Compensation to Victims of Gulf Oil Spill
Though lacking the statutory power to compel British Petroleum to act, used the moral authority of his office to convince oil company to agree in 2010 to a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; $6.5 billion already paid out without lawsuits. By comparison, it took nearly two decades for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill case to receive $1.3 billion.
Wall Street Reform
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is signed by President Obama. The Act gives regulators stronger authority when it comes to breaking up large companies and attempts to protect the consumer by restricting practices in consumer loans and credit cards.
Passed Wall Street Reform
Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.
Veteran Education Reform
Obama puts into practice the post-911 GI Bill. This bill assists in obtaining a free or cheaper college tuition for those who have served in the U.S. military.
Obama signs Rosa’s Law, which changes the diction of federal statutes that use “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability.”
Equal Access, Opportunity, and Respect
The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act becomes law. It sets new standards so that Americans who are deaf, blind, or live with a visual impairment have equal access and opportunity to new technological innovations.
In the midterm elections, Republicans gained 6 seats in the Senate, reducing the Democrats’ majority in that chamber from 18 (59 to 41) to 6 (53 to 47). The GOP also added 63 seats in the House of Representatives, enough to gain control of the House by a 242 to 193 majority in the 112th Congress.
Two-Year Pay Freeze Proposal
In an attempt to get the deficit under control, the president freezes pay raises on federal employees for two years starting on January 1, 2011.
First Presidential Pardons
President Obama pardons nine individuals with crimes ranging from drug charges to conspiracy.
Obama signs the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This funds nutrition and free lunch programs sets new standards for schools and allocates money for the implementation of these new provisions.
Extension of Bush Tax Cuts
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 becomes law. This extends the tax cuts instituted by President Bush in the early 2000s and also provides additional provisions to promote economic growth in the form of tax cuts.
Passed Mini Stimuli
To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Obama repeals the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which allows people to openly be gay, lesbian, and bisexual while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.
Passed Fair Sentencing Act
Signed 2010 legislation that reduces the sentencing disparity between crack versus powder cocaine possession from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1.
Trimmed and Reoriented Missile Defense
Cut the Reagan-era “Star Wars” missile defense budget, saving $1.4 billion in 2010, and canceled plans to station antiballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in favor of sea-based defense plan focused on Iran and North Korea.
Improved School Nutrition
In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the number of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students.
At a constituent meeting in Tucson, Arizona, a gunman open fired, shooting 19 people, killing 6 of them. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head; she resigned her seat in the House to focus on her recovery. The President and First Lady traveled to Tucson, and Obama offered his remarks during a memorial service for the victims.
New START Treaty
Obama signs a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, called New START, which seeks to develop our security, relations with Russia, and a world without the fear of nuclear weapons.
Achieved New START Treaty
Signed with Russia (2010) and won ratification in Congress (2011) of treaty that limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads (down from 2,200) and 700 launchers (down from more than 1,400), and reestablished and strengthened a monitoring and transparency program that had lapsed in 2009, through which each country can monitor the other.
Military Trials for Detainees
Obama orders the end on the ban on military trials for detainees at Guantánamo Bay. This order permits the United States to resume military trials for detainees.
Toppled Muammar Gaddafi
In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.
Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan
From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 91,000, with 23,000 slated to leave by the end of summer 2012. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the combat mission there will be over by next year.
Osama Bin Laden Killed
Obama announces the death of Osama Bin Laden, who was the leader of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the U.S. terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (Bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan but it was still May 1 in the United States when the president announced his death.)
Eliminated Osama bin Laden
In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.
Began Post-Post-9/11 Military Build-Down
After winning agreement from congressional Republicans and Democrats in summer 2011 budget deal to reduce projected defense spending by $450 billion, proposed new DoD budget this year with cuts of that size and a new national defense strategy that would shrink ground forces from 570,000 to 490,000 over the next ten years while increasing programs in intelligence gathering and cyber warfare.
Budget Control Act
The Budget Control Act becomes law. It raises the federal debt ceiling, causes the United States to avoid default, and creates a bipartisan committee to discuss debt issues.
Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis
To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.
American Jobs Act
President Obama makes an address to the joint session of Congress to present the American Jobs Act, which is designed to improve the U.S. economy.
Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards
Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.
End of Iraq War
President Obama announces that U.S. troops will be home from Iraq by December and that the U.S. role in the war is over.
Ended the War in Iraq
Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
Increased Support for Veterans
With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.
Began Asia “Pivot”
In 2011, reoriented American military and diplomatic priorities and focus from the Middle East and Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. An executed multipronged strategy of positively engaging China while reasserting U.S. leadership in the region by increasing American military presence and crafting new commercial, diplomatic, and military alliances with neighboring countries made uncomfortable by recent Chinese behavior.
Improved Food Safety System
In 2011, signed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which boosts the Food and Drug Administration’s budget by $1.4 billion and expands its regulatory responsibilities to include increasing number of food inspections, issuing direct food recalls, and reviewing the current food safety practices of countries importing products into America.
Let Space Shuttle Die and Killed Planned Moon Mission
Allowed the expensive ($1 billion per launch), badly designed, dangerous shuttle program to make its final launch on July 8, 2011. Cut off funding for even more bloated and problem-plagued Bush-era Constellation program to build a moon base in favor of support for private-sector low-earth orbit ventures, research on new rocket technologies for long-distance manned flight missions, and unmanned space exploration, including the largest interplanetary rover ever launched, which will investigate Mars’s potential to support life.
Cracked Down on Bad For-Profit Colleges
In effort to fight predatory practices of some for-profit colleges, Department of Education issued “gainful employment” regulations in 2011 cutting off commercially focused schools from federal student aid funding if more than 35 percent of former students aren’t paying off their loans and/or if the average former student spends more than 12 percent of his or her total earnings servicing student loans.
As of November 2011, President Obama served longer than any president in decades without a scandal, as measured by the appearance of the word “scandal” (or lack thereof) on the front page of the Washington Post.
Pushed Broadband Coverage
Proposed and obtained in 2011 Federal Communications Commission approval for a shift of $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.
Helped South Sudan Declare Independence
Helped South Sudan Declare Independence: Appointed two envoys to Sudan and personally attended a special UN meeting on the area. Through U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, helped negotiate a peaceful split in 2011.
Obama signs an executive order that freezes the assets of the Iranian government held within the United States due to Iran engaging in what Obama called, “deceptive practices.”
Tightened Sanctions on Iran
In an effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program, signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) to punish firms and individuals who aid Iran’s petroleum sector. In late 2011 and early 2012, coordinated with other major Western powers to impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s banks and with Japan, South Korea, and China to shift their oil purchases away from Iran.
Against Insider Trading
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK) is signed by President Obama. It seeks to eliminate insider trading and prohibits the use of non-public information for profit in the private sector.
President Obama announces his support of same-sex marriage.
Democratic National Convention
Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president and speaks to the convention.
Obama defeats Republican Mitt Romney to win a second term in office with 332 electoral votes to 206 and 51 percent of the popular vote.
Sandy Hook Shooting
The president addresses the nation after a shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut results in the death of 20 children and 6 adults. He pledges to fight for gun control legislation.
Obama signs the American Taxpayer Relief Act. This extended tax breaks for the majority of Americans while raising the tax rates for top earners.
Barack Obama is inaugurated into his second term as president. He was sworn into office in a private ceremony on Sunday, January 20, but the official ceremony took place the next day.
Obama gives a speech outlining his proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.
Violence Against Women
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 becomes law. This act seeks to provide increased protection for women under the law by improving law enforcement tools to combat the violence, improving services for victims of violent crimes, and improving awareness and violence reduction practices.
In a speech at Georgetown University, the president announces the Climate Action Plan, which is designed to lower carbon pollution, prepare for the impending effects of climate change, and to address reversing climate change as a global endeavor.
“Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me”
Obama delivers remarks on the murder of Trayvon Martin. He discusses why the African American community was enraged at the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman. Obama stated, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
Obama signs into law the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. This act outlines how the government should distribute loans to students and other tactics for helping students with crippling debt. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending. As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.
Chemical Weapons in Syria
President Obama gives a speech about the war in Syria and President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people.
A shutdown of the federal government begins after Congress fails to agree on funding legislation. It lasts 16 days.
Climate Change and its Effects
Obama signs an executive order in order to prepare the United States for climate change. The order addresses the impacts of climate change and details how the United States will take action to increase readiness against climate change.
State of The Union
Obama gives his State of the Union address, focusing on the country’s low unemployment and increasing inequality.
Agriculture Act of 2014
The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2014 is signed into law. This act authorizes $956 billion for increased awareness and spending on nutrition and agriculture programs in the United States from 2014 to 2018.
Obama signs an executive order to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 for all workers on federal contracts.
Obama calls for economic sanctions against those responsible for the Russian intervention in Crimea and the stealing of assets of the Ukrainian people.
VA Secretary Resigns
Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, General Eric Shinseki, resigns after it was revealed that veterans had to wait months for care at VA hospitals.
Obama signs an executive order to protect the rights of LGBT employees in the workforce. This does not include an exemption for religious beliefs, which means people cannot discriminate based on their religious preference.
Republicans retake control of Congress during the midterm elections.
Child Care Grant
The Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 became law. This act provides grants to states so they can assist low-income families in finding child care for their children.
Obama makes a speech to the nation on comprehensive immigration reform. He announces he will use his executive power to allow illegal immigrants currently living within the United States to legally stay and obtain work.
Crafting Next-Generation School Tests
Devoted $330 million in stimulus money to pay two consortia of states and universities to create competing versions of new K-12 student performance tests based on latest psychometric research. New tests could transform the learning environment in a vast majority of public school classrooms beginning in 2014.
Free Community College
Obama proposes to make community college free for students if they adhere to certain criteria such as maintaining a certain GPA. He also outlines what community colleges and the federal government must do in order to facilitate this change.
Veteran Suicide Epidemic
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is signed into law. This act seeks to raise awareness on veteran suicide, increases opportunity for veterans to receive help, and also makes the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department submit reviews of their prevention programs.
50th Anniversary of Selma Marches
President Obama and his family take part in the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama.
Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Law
The Supreme Court rules 6-3 that tax credits are available to eligible citizens for insurance purchased on an exchange created under the ACA.
Eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney
Obama delivers a eulogy for Reverend Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, South Carolina, following a racially charged shooting that killed nine people worshipping inside a church.
Gay Marriage Upheld
The U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
Clean Power Plan
The President along with the Environmental Protection Agency introduces the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants by more than 30 percent by 2030.
Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants
New EPA restrictions on mercury and toxic pollution, issued in December 2011, likely to lead to the closing of between sixty-eight and 231 of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants. The estimated cost to utilities: at least $11 billion by 2016. Estimated health benefits: $59 billion to $140 billion. Will also significantly reduce carbon emissions and, with other regulations, comprises what’s been called Obama’s “stealth climate policy.”
Obama welcomes Pope Francis for visit at the White House.
Paris Climate Change Conference
President Obama attends the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France.
Deal with Iran
Obama announces a historic agreement with Iran to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Iran met conditions for the United States to begin lifting some economic sanctions.
Death of Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is found dead. Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court but Republicans in Congress will not hold confirmation hearings.
Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since 1928.
Flint, Michigan Visit
Following the discovery that Flint, Michigan’s water supply had been insufficiently treated and had exposed its residents to dangerously high levels of lead, the President traveled to Flint to try to reassure the people.
Gives the speech at Democratic National Convention
Obama gives a speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Republican candidate Donald J. Trump defeats Hillary Clinton, winning the presidency with 306 electoral votes (although he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes).
President-Elect Visits White House
President Obama hosts President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, meeting with the press in the Oval Office.
President Obama concludes his last day in office. After attending the inauguration of President Trump, the Obamas head off for a vacation in Palm Springs, California. The Obama announced that they will continue to live in Washington, DC until their younger daughter finishes high school.
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