Obama's legislative achievements (w/edits)

Charles Peters, the founding editor of the Washington Monthly, wrote in a January 4, 2008, Washington Post op-ed

People who complain that Barack Obama lacks experience must be unaware of his legislative achievements. One reason these accomplishments are unfamiliar is that the media have not devoted enough attention to Obama's bills and the effort required to pass them, ignoring impressive, hard evidence of his character and ability.

But was Peters referring to Obama's "legislative achievements" during his two years in the U.S. Senate? No. He wants the media to examine Obama's accomplishments in the Illinois Senate and compare them to the legislative accomplishments of his Democratic rivals in Congress.

But what about Obama's legislative accomplishments since joining the Senate? Since he declared that he was officially running for the presidency in February 2007, what about the legislation that he introduced and was passed in 2007 during the 110th Congress?

The following was taken from a sample of approximately 50 pieces of legislation introduced by Obama during the 110th Congress that are identified by GovTrack.us (taken from Thomas). Of the sample, only three were passed in the Senate and those were commemorative resolutions. One, S.453: Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007: "A bill to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections," was introduced January 31, 2007. There are 19 cosponsors, including 1 Republican and 18 Democrats. The bill was scheduled for debate October 4, 2007, but there was no further action.

A sampling of legislation introduced by Obama includes:

January 4, 2007: S.115: Oil SENSE Act. "A bill to suspend royalty relief, to repeal certain provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal certain tax incentives for the oil and gas industry." No cosponsors. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

January 4, 2007: S.133: American Fuels Act of 2007: "A bill to promote the national security and stability of the economy of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on oil through the use of alternative fuels and new technology, and for other purposes." Three Democratic cosponsors as of December 10, 2007. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

January 30, 2007: S.433: Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007: "A bill to state United States policy for Iraq, and for other purposes." Three cosponsors (2 Democrats and 1 Independent) as of December 10, 2007. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

February 16, 2007: S.674: Transparency and Accountability in Military and Security Contracting Act of 2007: "A bill to require accountability and enhanced congressional oversight for personnel performing private security functions under Federal contracts, and for other purposes." Four Democrat cosponsors. Referred to Senate Armed Services Committee.

February 27, 2007: S.692: VA Hospital Quality Report Card Act of 2007: "A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to establish a Hospital Quality Report Card Initiative to report on health care quality in Veterans Affairs hospitals." One Democrat cosponsor as of December 11, 2007. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

February 28, 2007: S.713: Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act of 2007: "A bill to ensure dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries." The bill has 34 cosponsors as of December 11, 2007 (30 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 1 Independent). Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

April 10, 2007: S.1084: Homes for Heroes Act of 2007: "A bill to provide housing assistance for very low-income veterans." Nine Democrat cosponsors as of December 11, 2007. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

May 2, 2007: S.1271: Homecoming Enhancement Research and Oversight (HERO) Act: "A bill to provide for a comprehensive national research effort on the physical and mental health and other readjustment needs of the members of the Armed Forces and veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families." Four Democrat cosponsors. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

May 17, 2007: S.1430: Iran Sanctions Enabling Act: "A bill to authorize State and local governments to direct divestiture from, and prevent investment in, companies with investments of $20,000,000 or more in Iran's energy sector, and for other purposes." Twenty-two cosponsors (11 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 1 Independent) as of December 11, 2007. Referred to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

August 2, 2007: S.1977: Nuclear Weapons Threat Reduction Act of 2007: "A bill to provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology." Two cosponsors (1 Democrat, 1 Republican) as of December 11, 2007. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

November 1, 2007: S.J.Res.23: "A joint resolution clarifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law." No cosponsors. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

So, here you have it. An assortment of pieces of legislation introduced in the Senate, none of which ever made it out of committee. Not all had a cosponsor. Few had bipartisan cosponsorship. Three mostly ceremonial resolutions passed in the Senate. One left languishing awaiting debate.

Sen. Obama's Illinois legislative achievements may have been of note. However, his ability to gain not only bipartisan support for his bills is less than stellar and his ability to get his legislation passed is conspicuous by its absence. This does not support his claims of the necessary leadership skills to run the U.S. government and it definitely does not display the skill necessary to get even one bill passed.

Note: Edit was made to reflect that this was a representative sample and does not include all legislation during the 110th Congress. Full legislative record is available here. Note that of 113 items, numbers 64 through 113 are amendments.

Tags: 110th congress, Barack Obama, legislation) (all tags)



Re: Obama's legislative achievements

As always, tip kindly.

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-17 06:31AM | 0 recs
Comparable to Hillary?

How did Hillary do during the same time period I wonder.

by JoeCoaster 2008-01-17 06:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Comparable to Hillary?

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)'s record is here, which was not the point of this post. The point was to compare Obama's claims about bipartisanship and ability to get things done.

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-17 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Comparable to Hillary?

Well I'm just going by the title of your diary. Seems like a fair comparison is in order.

by JoeCoaster 2008-01-17 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Comparable to Hillary?

50? Boy...some approximation! According to Thomas Obama sponsored 113 pieces of legislation in the 110th Congress to Clinton's 146.

We will have to take the information in your diary with a grain of salt it appears.

by JoeCoaster 2008-01-17 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Comparable to Hillary?

This is the information provided by GovTrack.us. I did not consult Thomas but you are welcome to do so. This was intended as a sampling, not a comprehensive account. I will amend the language to so indicate.

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-17 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Comparable to Hillary?

Full legislative record here for Obama and added above. It doesn't improve the picture, however, since numbers 64 through 113 are amendments, not legislation that was introduced/initiated by Obama.

by Artificial Intelligence 2008-01-17 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's legislative achievements (w/edits)

Great Post AI !!

I thinks it is fair to measure Mr.Obama against his own promises. Back in 2004 when he was running for senate he made a lot of promises. He is very good at talk not so good with action. Let us review:

Mr Obama on prescription drug bill:
OBAMA: I think it was fundamentally flawed as a piece of legislation. The central premise of this prescription drug bill that was passed by President Bush was that the federal government, through the Medicare program, and senior citizens who were beneficiaries of that program, could not negotiate for the best possible price with the drug companies, so that they could actually get the kinds of discounts the Canadians enjoy for the drugs that are manufactured here in the United States.

The reason that that was done is because the drug companies didn't let it happen. And as a consequence of that, what we have is a bill that's bad for taxpayers and bad for senior citizens. Taxpayers are hit with a half-a-trillion-dollar tab that was originally estimated at three hundred billion. And about three weeks later, is was suddenly half a billion dollars or half a trillion dollars, and seniors have a big donut hole in the middle of their benefits. So, what I would do is I would say that senior citizens, through the Medicare program, can do the same thing that Wal-Mart does and other large companies do. Because they are bulk purchasers, they go and they negotiate the best possible price as a consequence of being bulk purchasers--and that would be something that I think that all people should support, because it comports with basic free-market principles.

Has he introduced or passed a bill for Medicare to negotiate with drug companies?

Controlling heath care costs:
OBAMA: Let me just say that I think that the use of generics is important, and one of the things I'm proud of as the chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee is that I've continually encouraged the use of generic drugs at the state level. Part of the problem and the reason we're not using generic drugs as much as we should is because we have a convoluted set of patent laws that allow drug companies to change the shape or color of the tablet, and as a consequence, renew their patents and block generic drugs from coming onto the market. So, those kinds of approaches I think do have to be taken.

I also think that it does make sense for us to encourage preventative care and improve our health and lifestyles. But let me tell you a quick story of a father in Galesburg that I met who had just lost his job, just got his pink slip, and whose son had just had a liver transplant, and he's trying to figure out how does he pay $4,200 a month in immunosuppressant drugs in order to keep his son alive. Now, the reason that son had a liver transplant is not solvable by better health. Crises happen in our lives. And one of the things that I think that we absolutely have to do is to make sure that, to the extent possible, we control costs when we can and we expand affordability and accessibility of healthcare.

What bill has Mr.Obama introduced to control health care costs ?

Talking about fair trade:
OBAMA: I think our current trading structures are flawed. And I think we need to do better. And I've suggested in this campaign very specific ways that I think we can do better.

It is absolutely true, for example, that when China devalues its currency by 40%, that it makes our exports more expensive to China, and theirs vastly cheaper. And the irony is that about 50% of the trade deficit that we have with China are actually as a consequence of multinational companies that have moved and relocated to China and then are shipping back goods that used to be produced right here in the United States. That's a bad deal for United States workers--which means that our administration and our Congress, when we're thinking about our trade agreements, whether it's NAFTA or any other trade agreement, has to make sure that we're negotiating not just on behalf of these multinational companies, but that we're negotiating on behalf of workers and communities

Where is the fair trade bill of Mr Obama?

On protecting nations ports:
OBAMA: Well, I think, our inspections of ports. We are currently inspecting 3% of all incoming cargo. We could load up a cargo container--a terrorist could load up a cargo container and drive it straight into the middle of the Loop without significant risk of them being inspected. Our chemical plants are still unsecured, despite the fact that we know how vulnerable they are. Our nuclear plants remain unsecured. There are a whole host of domestic priorities that have been neglected by this administration.

Where is the bill to improve security at ports?

This list is only a sample of the promises he made.

by indydem99 2008-01-17 09:24AM | 0 recs


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