abba's way

92 Things Barack Obama Would Do As President — Verbatim


UPDATE: I am refining these pages by including two SYMBOLS that indicate whether these measures can be achieved by Executive Action (EA) or Administrative Action. These could represent First 100 Days Actions. The remainder of actions would represent Legislative Initiatives. These designations are speculative and do not preclude related Legislative Action.

What would Barack Obama do as President? Below are my first 92 answers.

1. Obama will reverse the politicization that has occurred in the Bush Administration’s Department of Justice. He will put an end to the ideological litmus tests used to fill positions within the Civil Rights Division. EA, AA

2. Obama will ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and provide federal incentives to state and local police departments to prohibit the practice. EA, AA

3. Obama will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society.

4. Obama will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state “zero to five” efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.

5. Obama will give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior.

6. Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need.

7. Obama will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. EA, AA

8. Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. EA

9. Obama will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports. EA

10. Obama will encourage the deployment of the most modern communications infrastructure to reduce the costs of health care, help solve our energy crisis, create new jobs, and fuel our economic growth. EA, AA

11. Obama will also make long-term investments in education, training, and workforce development so that Americans can leverage our strengths – our ingenuity and entrepreneurialism – to create new high-wage jobs and prosper in a world economy.

12. Obama will invest in rural small businesses and fight to expand high-speed Internet access. He will improve rural schools and attract more doctors to rural areas.

13. Obama will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

14. Obama will raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs.

15. Obama will crack down on fraudulent brokers and lenders. He will also make sure homebuyers have honest and complete information about their mortgage options, and he will give a tax credit to all middle-class homeowners. EA, AA

16. Obama will create a Homeowner Obligation Made Explicit (HOME) score, which will provide potential borrowers with a simplified, standardized borrower metric (similar to APR) for home mortgages.

17. Obama will create a fund to help people refinance their mortgages and provide comprehensive supports to innocent homeowners. The fund will be partially paid for by Obama’s increased penalties on lenders who act irresponsibly and commit fraud.

18. Obama will establish a five-star rating system so that every consumer knows the risk involved in every credit card. He also will establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights. EA, AA

19. Obama will reform our bankruptcy laws to protect working people, ban executive bonuses for bankrupt companies, and require disclosure of all pension investments.

20. Obama supports extending a 36 percent interest cap to all Americans. Obama will require lenders to provide clear and simplified information about loan fees, payments and penalties.

21 Obama will double funding for after-school programs, expand the Family Medical Leave Act, provide low-income families with a refundable tax credit to help with their child-care expenses, and encourage flexible work schedules.

22. Obama will initiate a strategy to encourage all 50 states to adopt paid-leave systems. Obama will provide a $1.5 billion fund to assist states with start-up costs and to help states offset the costs for employees and employers.

23. Obama will create a program to inform businesses about the benefits of flexible work schedules; help businesses create flexible work opportunities; and increase federal incentives for telecommuting. EA, AA

24. Obama will also make the federal government a model employer in terms of adopting flexible work schedules and permitting employees to request flexible arrangements. EA, AA

25. Obama will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both. Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.

26. Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field.

27. Obama will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location.

28. Obama will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward accomplished educators who serve as a mentor to new teachers with a salary increase.

29. Obama will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application. EA, AA

30. Obama supports implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary: 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. EA

31. Obama will develop domestic incentives that reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands, or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

32. Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid.

33. Obama will double science and research funding for clean energy projects including those that make use of our biomass, solar and wind resources.

34. Obama will use proceeds from the cap-and-trade auction program to invest in job training and transition programs to help workers and industries adapt to clean technology development and production.

35. Obama will create an energy-focused Green Jobs Corps to connect disconnected and disadvantaged youth with job skills for a high-growth industry. EA, AA

36. Obama will establish a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize and Americans learn the new skills they need to produce green products.

37. Obama will create a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund to fill a critical gap in U.S. technology development [and] ensure that promising technologies move beyond the lab and are commercialized in the U.S.

38. Obama will establish a 25 percent federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to require that 25 percent of electricity consumed in the U.S. is derived from clean, sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal by 2025. EA, AA

39. Obama will significantly increase the resources devoted to the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon coal technologies.

40. Obama will invest federal resources, including tax incentives, cash prizes and government contracts into developing the most promising technologies with the goal of getting the first two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the system by 2013.

41. Obama will also invest in advanced vehicle technology such as advanced lightweight materials and new engines.

42. Obama will establish a goal of making all new buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. EA, AA

43. Obama will create a competitive grant program to award those states and localities that take the first steps to implement new building codes that prioritize energy efficiency. EA, AA

44. Obama will pursue a major investment in our utility grid to enable a tremendous increase in renewable generation and accommodate modern energy requirements, such as reliability, smart metering, and distributed storage

45. Obama will create a Global Energy Forum that includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. EA, AA

46. Obama will create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format. EA, AA

47. Obama will use the power of the presidency to fight for an independent watchdog agency to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics violations so that the public can be assured that ethics complaints will be investigated. EA, AA

48. Obama will create a “contracts and influence” database that will disclose how much federal contractors spend on lobbying, and what contracts they are getting and how well they complete them. EA, AA

49. Obama will ensure that any tax breaks for corporate recipients — or tax earmarks — are also publicly available on the Internet in an easily searchable format. EA, AA

50. Obama will end abuse of no-bid contracts by requiring that nearly all contract orders over $25,000 be competitively awarded. EA, AA

51. Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days. EA, AA

52. Obama will bring democracy and policy directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to have periodic national broadband townhall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies. EA, AA

53. Obama will amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. EA, AA

54. Obama will require his appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.EA, AA

55. Obama will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult. EA

56. Obama will issue an executive order asking all new hires at the agencies to sign a form affirming that no political appointee offered them the job solely on the basis of political affiliation or contribution. EA, AA

57. Obama [will press for] budgeting rules which require new spending commitments or tax changes to be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue. EA, AA

58. Obama will protect tax cuts for poor and middle class families, but he will reverse most of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers.

59. Obama will slash earmarks to no greater than year 2001 levels and ensure all spending decisions are open to the public. EA, AA

60. Obama will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid. EA, AA

61. Obama will also increase the efficiency of government programs through better use of technology, stronger management that demands accountability and by leveraging the government’s high-volume purchasing power to get lower prices. EA, AA

62. Obama will stop funding wasteful, obsolete federal government programs that make no financial sense. EA, AA

63. Obama will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid. EA, AA

64. Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special-interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry. EA, AA

65. Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. EA, AA

66. Obama will engage representatives from all levels of Iraqi society – in and out of government – to seek a new accord on Iraq’s Constitution and governance. EA, AA

67. Obama will launch the most aggressive diplomatic effort in recent American history to reach a new compact on the stability of Iraq and the Middle East. EA, AA

68. Obama [will] meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe. He will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table, and that he is willing to lead. And if America is willing to come to the table, the world will be more willing to rally behind American leadership to deal with challenges like terrorism, and Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs. EA, AA

69. Obama will make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a key diplomatic priority. He will make a sustained push – working with Israelis and Palestinians – to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security. EA, AA

70. Obama will stop shuttering consulates and start opening them in the tough and hopeless corners of the world – particularly in Africa. He will expand our foreign service, and develop the capacity of our civilian aid workers to work alongside the military. EA, AA

71. Obama will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and he will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. He will help the world’s weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth. EA, AA

72. Obama will rally NATO members to contribute troops to collective security operations, urging them to invest more in reconstruction and stabilization operations, streamlining the decision-making processes, and giving NATO commanders in the field more flexibility. EA, AA

73. Obama will forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements, such as the six-party talks on North Korea. He will maintain strong ties with allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia; work to build an infrastructure with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity; and work to ensure that China plays by international rules. EA, AA

74. Obama will secure all loose nuclear materials in the world within four years. While we work to secure existing stockpiles of nuclear material, Obama will negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material. This will deny terrorists the ability to steal or buy loose nuclear materials. EA, AA

75. Obama will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions.

76. Obama will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But he will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. He will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global.EA, AA

77. Obama will make the investments we need so that the finest military in the world is best-prepared to meet 21st-century threats.

78. Obama will rebuild trust with those who serve by ensuring that soldiers and Marines have sufficient training time before they are sent into battle. EA, AA

79. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines. EA, AA

80. Obama will give our troops new equipment, armor, training, and skills like language training. He will also strengthen our civilian capacity, so that our civilian agencies have the critical skills and equipment they need to integrate their efforts with our military. EA, AA

81. Obama will restore the readiness of the National Guard and Reserves. He will permit them adequate time to train and rest between deployments, and provide the National Guard with the equipment they need for foreign and domestic emergencies. EA, AA

83. Obama will seek consistency and integrity at the top of our intelligence community – not just a political ally. EA, AA

84. Obama will reverse President Bush’s policy of secrecy. He will institute a National Declassification Center to make declassification secure but routine, efficient, and cost-effective. EA, AA

85. Obama will bring foreign policy decisions directly to the people by requiring his national security officials to have periodic national broadband town hall meetings to discuss foreign policy. He will personally deliver occasional fireside chats via webcast. EA, AA

86. Obama strongly supports the U.S.-Israel relationship, believes that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. EA, AA

87. Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress. EA, AA

88. Obama will require that all children have health care coverage. Obama will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage, including allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents’ plans.

89. Obama will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function.

90. Obama will strengthen antitrust laws to prevent insurers from overcharging physicians for their malpractice insurance and will promote new models for addressing errors that improve patient safety, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and reduce the need for malpractice suits.

90. Obama will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records, and will phase in requirements for full implementation of health IT. Obama will ensure that patients’ privacy is protected.

91. Obama will allow Americans to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are lower outside the U.S. Obama will also repeal the ban that prevents the government from negotiating with drug companies, which could result in savings as high as $30 billion. Finally, Obama will work to increase the use of generic drugs in Medicare, Medicaid, and FEHBP and prohibit big name drug companies from keeping generics out of markets. EA, AA

92. Obama will strengthen funding for biomedical research, and better improve the efficiency of that research by improving coordination both within government and across government/private/non-profit partnerships. EA, AA


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