As a candidate, President Obama ran for election on a strong commitment to civil rights. A commitment that the President and the administration have returned to in office again and again:
Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
President Obama signed into law legislation that will bring an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” strengthening our national security and ending this discriminatory law.
Protecting Against Hate Crimes
The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act gives law enforcement officials new tools to prosecute those who commit hate crimes.
Fair Pay for Women
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act makes it easier for women to challenge unequal pay practices, which helps all Americans earn a fair wage.
Read more about the commitments made by President Obama on the campaign trail, which have been delivered in office here.
On the campaign trail, candidate Obama pledged: “Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education.”
In office, President Obama and his administration have worked hard to make sure that all Americans can access a first class education. Among many initiatives they are:
Reforming Student Lending
President Obama signed into law student loan reform that makes college more affordable for students and families and will save American taxpayers around $68 billion over the next ten years.
Programs like “Race to the Top” and “Education to Innovate” are giving American schools and states the tools and resources they need to be successful.
A New GI Bill
The implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill has made college more affordable for returning service members, increasing educational opportunities for veterans.
You can read more about the promises made and kept by President Obama in our new report.
In his inaugural speech two years ago, President Obama promised to begin to withdraw American troops from Iraq, and to “work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat”. Addressing those who would “seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents” he said: “Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”
Since 2009 the President and his administration have worked tirelessly to protect our nation's security, including:
- Ending Combat Operations in Iraq
The combat mission in Iraq has ended, removing nearly 100,000 troops from the country, so that the focus can be on fighting al Qaeda and rebuilding our nation at home.
- Moving Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons
The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is the most important arms control agreement with Russia in two decades. The Treaty will reduce our nuclear arsenals and put inspectors on the ground in Russia. President Obama also brought world leaders to Washington where they agreed to secure all nuclear material form terrorists within four years.
- Implementing a New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan
With our allies, the US has gone on the offence in Afghanistan, in Pakistan and around the world to ensure that al Qaeda and other terrorists have no safe place to hide and plan future attacks on America.
Read more about the campaign commitments that President Obama and his administration have fulfilled in our Promises Kept report here.
“We meet at a moment of great uncertainty for America. The economic crisis we face is the worst since the Great Depression. ... I know folks are worried. But I also know this—we can steer ourselves out of this crisis.” Barack Obama, October 2008
During the 2008 campaign for president, America’s economy was foundering – Wall Street and the housing market were edging toward failure, and creeping unemployment was not far behind. Indeed, the month President Obama took office, the economy shed 800,000 jobs. But just as then-Senator Obama said in 2008, “we can steer ourselves out of this crisis.”
Under President Obama’s leadership, Congress passed legislation widely credited with rescuing America’s economy and laying a strong foundation for future growth and innovation. The following summarizes those milestones and the impact each has had to move American forward.
The Recovery Act represented the largest infrastructure investment since President Eisenhower, the largest education investment since President Johnson, and the largest clean-energy bill ever. It has saved or created as many as 3.7 million jobs across America while creating a foundation for future growth.
WALL STREET REFORM
Wall Street reform empowered consumers and investors, put a stop to predatory lending practices, brought shadowy Wall Street trades into the light, and ended taxpayer-funded bailouts.
MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT
The Recovery Act reduced taxes for 95 percent of working families, putting more money in the pockets of Americans who need it most. President Obama also worked to prevent a middle-class tax increase, while extending vital unemployment benefits for Americans who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
CREDIT CARD REFORM
These reforms put a stop to unfair credit card practices. Reform banned retroactive rate hikes, implemented new protections for students and young people, and required credit card companies to explain their terms in plain language.
BUILDING A CLEAN-ENERGY ECONOMY
New emissions and fuel efficiency standards for American cars and historic investments in clean-energy technologies are helping pave the way to a more sustainable future, creating new jobs and entire industries here in America.
REBUILDING THE AMERICAN AUTO INDUSTRY
The Obama administration acted decisively to invest in America’s auto industry, preventing hundreds of thousands of job losses across the country and revitalizing the backbone of America’s manufacturing sector.
You can read this report to learn more about the Promises Kept by President Obama in an effort to rebuild our country.
In commemoration of the two-year anniversary of President Obama's swearing in, Vice President Joe Biden sent a message to supporters praising their efforts and announcing the publication of the Promises Kept report.
It was two years ago today that Barack and I were sworn in, and I remember what he said like it was this morning:
"The challenges we face are real, they are serious, and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."
Even then, we knew it would take time. We knew it would be hard. And we knew we would sometimes make mistakes.
But we did not lose sight of what we came to do.
Together, we took on difficult issues that had been put off for decades. And some say we have accomplished more in two years than any administration since Roosevelt's.
Take it from me, that's something you should take to heart—because none of it would have been possible without your hard work.
But the job's not done.
I am reminded of that every time I travel to the small towns in Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico—all over—and on the weekends I get home to Delaware. I meet folks who are still struggling, who want to know when the recovery will start to turn things around for their family.
These people are why we can't quit.
And moving forward with this new Congress, we will need to defend what we've achieved together as aggressively as we pursue the goals that remain.
I believe in the power of public service because I've seen what it has done throughout our country's history to combat social and economic injustice. And I am proud to say it's a story that continues in the remarkable progress we've made in the past two years. To tell it, Organizing for America has written Promises Kept.
Take a look at the Promises Kept report of all the work we've done in two years—you can download a copy or have a few sent to you to share with friends.
There's a whole lot to be proud of.
Of course, the big ones come to mind first: historic health insurance reform, which is reining in the insurance companies and helping control the cost of care for millions of Americans; Wall Street reform, which put in place the toughest consumer protections ever; and the end of combat operations in Iraq, which brought more than 100,000 troops home.
And there is so much more you've helped achieve that is right now improving lives across the country:
- We passed the Recovery Act, which saved and created more than 3 million jobs, provided the largest middle-class tax cut in a generation, and made landmark investments in clean energy, infrastructure, and education.
- We made critical investments in General Motors and Chrysler, saving tens of thousands of jobs—and perhaps the companies—and spurring a rebirth of the American car industry.
- We wrote into law student loan reform and credit card reform, which ended the worst abuses of the banking industries and are making lending fair for American families.
- We put two new Supreme Court justices on the bench—Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who bring rich and diverse experience to the Court.
- We have begun to reset America's relationship with the international community, from the ratification of a new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia to tough new sanctions on Iran to strengthening our long-term partnership with a unified Iraq.
- And we finally repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which was the right thing to do—not only because it makes our military stronger at a time when it needs to be the strongest, but because we are seeking that military might with an abiding sense of justice.
Telling the story of the past two years will be critical to the fights ahead. And it's not just the story of this president or this White House—it's your story.
And it is literally proof that the organizing you do on the ground—the conversations you have with your friends and neighbors—is working.
Now, I'm not going to say the last two years were easy—and I won't tell you the fights ahead are going to get any easier.
But I didn't sign up for a cake walk. And I'm pretty sure you didn't either.
We're here to move our country forward. We're here to lay a new foundation for this country—for our economy, for our politics, and for our children's and grandchildren's futures.
And, as Barack says, what we will be able to accomplish together is in your hands.
It's how hard we all work, and how well we all tell this story.
Take a few minutes to read Promises Kept—and let's keep moving:
Thanks for everything,
You can see a copy of the Promises Kept report here.
The following email was sent to supporters from Mitch Stewart, Director of Organizing for America.
At 5:53 p.m. Eastern Time yesterday, the House moved to repeal health insurance reform.
Every single Republican -- all 242 -- voted for repeal.
This is a vote for insurance companies. There is no other way to put it.
Because if the question is what is best for Americans, repeal would never come up: Health reform is already at work improving the lives of millions of people. Repeal will result in 32 million fewer Americans with health coverage -- and add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.
Republicans in Congress need to know there's a political price to pay for siding with special interests over the constituents in their districts.
We're putting together a dedicated team of organizers and volunteers across the country to protect our progress on health reform.
Will you chip in $5 or more to support Organizing for America and help stop repeal before it's too late?
The Affordable Care Act addresses and ends some of the worst insurance-industry abuses against families, children, seniors, and the sick -- the cost of repeal would be steep:
-- Families, many already struggling to get by, could lose their coverage if someone is in an accident or becomes sick -- right when they need it the most.
-- A woman with cancer could have her coverage stripped away because of a tiny mistake on a form.
-- Pregnant women, children born with disabilities, and anyone with a pre-existing condition -- as many as half of Americans under age 65 -- could face discrimination or be denied coverage by an insurance company that deems them too costly.
-- A senior on Medicare who falls in the "donut hole" in prescription coverage would once again have to make up that cost out of pocket -- and start paying for all preventative care.
-- The deficit would increase by $230 billion over the next 10 years -- placing an unfair burden on our children and grandchildren and future generations who will have to pay for this mistake.
-- Insurance companies could go back to working for corporate profit and CEO bonuses -- instead of for the people who pay their premiums.
These cruel and unjust practices are exactly why we organized, donated, volunteered, and spoke out for months, helping to pass legislation 100 years in the making. It's why we worked with the President and Democrats in Congress to reform a broken and unsustainable health care system.
Now, that progress is being threatened -- and we have to do everything we can to protect it.
Organizing for America is running a full-fledged campaign to drive this message home in communities across the country. Our organizers and volunteers will be knocking on doors, writing letters to their local papers, talking to neighbors, and calling their senators.
Your support will ensure we have the tools and resources we need to counteract and stop the repeal effort.
Please donate $5 or more today:
Organizing for America
Two years ago today, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. That frigid day in January 2009 represents a watershed in our nation’s history, setting out to pull our economy from the brink of collapse and reclaim America as the land of opportunity.
An excerpt from President Obama’s inaugural address:
For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift. And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.
Thousands of Organizing for America volunteers campaigned yesterday in support of health reform. They told lawmakers across the country how important the Affordable Care Act is to millions of Americans, millions of families and to our economy.
Today, Republicans in the House of Representatives ignored the reasoned and impassioned views and experiences of their constituents and all 242 Republican members voted to repeal health reform. This was a vote in favor of increasing the deficit by $230 billion; a vote in favor of allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions; a vote to take away the benefits that millions of Americans are already receiving because of the Affordable Care Act.
This is not the end of the fight. Today’s vote will not lead to the immediate repeal of health reform. President Obama and Democrats in the Senate have vowed to do all they can to stop this becoming law. But it is the start of Republican attempts to undo all the progress we’ve made. Over the next two years they will try all that they can to take away from Americans the progress we’ve made--starting with health reform.
It’s up to us to defend our achievements, to stand up for the American people. We need all of us to stand together to protect our progress--join the fight here.
From South Dakota to South Carolina, Mississippi to Michigan, Organizing for America volunteers gathered yesterday to make sure lawmakers knew just how important health reform is. Supporters held rallies, made phone calls and spoke to the press to get the message out that health reform is working.
Speaking to the Palm Beach Post, Florida, Derrick Wells explained how the Affordable Care Act helps his daughter:She’s 21, and was recently diagnosed with Kidney failure, requiring dialysis and likely, a transplant. “She would have been purged from my employer’s insurance at 21 without the Affordable Care Act,” Wells said. “Once she’s 26, she will be able to get coverage despite a pre-existing condition. The cost of a kidney transplant would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without the Affordable Care Act, she would have been lost”
In California, volunteers took to the phones to ask other voters to call their representatives in Congress. Julie Anderson, of Brentwood, told the Oakland Tribune:“There are thousands and millions of people just like me who just want to be able to take care of their families.”
At a rally in New Mexico, OFA volunteers rallied in support of the Affordable Care Act. The Las Cruces Sun News reported:Rally attendee Evelyn Erhard, a former teacher, charged that insurance lobbyists have a hand in the repeal bill, in an attempt to “return to the days when insurance companies were free to do whatever they wanted to do, like raising premiums and imposing higher costs on families and businesses to protect CEO bonuses and corporation profits.” She said repealing the health care law would add to the deficit.
In Detroit, supporters gathered to share their stories of how health reform helped them. The Detroit News reported:East Lansing senior Katherine O’Neill plans to save $200 to $300& when she gets her annual mammogram and physical over the next few weeks. But the medicare recipient is worried this could be the last year she gets those services for free if Republicans in Congress roll the historic health reforms passed by Democrats.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press spoke to OFA supporters in Tennessee:Dr. Paul Hendricks, an emergency room physician at Memorial Hospital, said the health reform changes will broaden coverage and help more Americans get better health services through insured plans with preventative care. That would be more cost effective than having such persons continue to wait for major illnesses to be treated in hospital emergency rooms, he said.
You can stand with thousands of OFA supporters across to defend health reform and protect our progress by adding your name here.
House Republicans today are preparing to vote on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, an act that abandons fiscal and economic responsibility and would end benefits for millions of Americans. Across the country, this law is helping to reduce costs and improve care for small businesses, families and children, young adults, seniors, people with pre-existing illness, and many others.
As President Obama said yesterday:
Because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans no longer have to live in fear that insurance companies will drop or cap their coverage if they get sick, or that they’ll face double-digit premium increases with no accountability or recourse. Small businesses across the country can take advantage of a new health care tax credit to offer coverage to their employees, and children suffering from an illness or pre-existing condition can no longer be denied coverage. Parents now can add their adult children up to age 26 to their health plans, and all Americans on new plans can access preventive care to keep them healthy with no additional out of pocket costs. Older Americans are seeing better benefits, lower prescription drug costs, and a stronger Medicare. And the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reports that improvements in health care delivery system as a result of this law will reduce federal deficits by over a trillion dollars in the next two decades.
The facts and numbers supporting health reform’s far-reaching benefits are well documented, but behind these numbers are real people who are already experiencing the benefits of reform. Take small business owner Cathy Lynn Howell Allen from Marblehead, Ohio.
Cathy is a healthy and energetic small business owner, but before the Affordable Care Act became law, she couldn’t get insurance because she had a pre-existing condition. Considered “uninsurable” because of a history of Systemic Lupus, Cathy had been denied private insurance several times though she has required very little medical treatment over the last two decades.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Cathy recently purchased private health insurance for the first time in many years. She is now enrolled in the Ohio High Risk Pool – a new program created by the health reform law that provides affordable private insurance options for people with pre-existing conditions between now and 2014. And in 2014, discriminating against ANYONE with pre-existing conditions like Cathy will be illegal.
You can take action by calling congress today.
Thousands of Organizing for America supporters called Republicans in Congress yesterday, urging them to vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this afternoon.
Supporters have been speaking to staffers and leaving messages, letting representatives know how important health reform is to them, their communities and our economy.
Speaking from personal experience, one Illinois voter said:“As a physician and mother, I feel this would be detrimental to my patients and my own family.”
Kathleen, an OFA supporter in Ohio added:“It hurts my family and our small business… It is just an ill-spirited, partisan attack by Republicans.”
Many people agreed with Bonita from North Carolina, when she said:“I think it's deplorable that this representative is playing games when peoples' lives and livelihoods are at stake.”
It’s not too late to pick up the phone and call Congress to let them know how important the Affordable Care Act is to you, your friends and your neighbors.
With the House poised to vote Wednesday on Republican-sponsored legislation to repeal health care reform, it's crucial to dispel the myths from the facts.
The historic Affordable Care Act expands access to health care for 32 million people while reducing the deficit and helping to create jobs. With so many false claims online and in the news, never before has it been so important to know the truth – here’s a look at myths and facts surrounding the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the economy and deficit.
Myth: Repealing health reform would reduce the deficit.
Fact: Congressional Budget Office analysis estimates that the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” would “increase federal budget deficits over the 2012–2019 period by a total of roughly $145 billion,” $230 billion in by 2021, and increase the deficit in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars beyond the 10-year window.
Myth: Health reform will lead to tax increases for families and small businesses
Fact: Not true. The Affordable Care Act includes tax credits to help make health care affordable for working families. All told, the Affordable Care Act represents the largest middle-class tax cut for health care in American history. [White House]
Myth:The Affordable Care Act increases the cost of health care for small businesses.
Fact: Small businesses will receive $40 billion in new tax credits to help cover the cost of health coverage for their employees. The tax credit is designed to both support those small businesses that provide coverage today as well as new businesses who decide to provide coverage. Effective immediately, the tax credit is worth up to 35 percent of the premiums a business pays to cover its workers and in 2014, the value of the credit will increase to 50 percent. An estimated 4 million small businesses will be eligible to receive these tax credits. [White House]
Myth: Health reform kills jobs, and repealing reform would save jobs.
Fact: Harvard economist David Cutler argues in new paper that repealing the health law would reverse months of private-sector growth and could destroy 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually over the next decade. Eliminating the law would increase health care costs, causing employers to reduce wages or eliminate jobs. [Think Progress]
Myth: This bill does nothing to bring down the cost of health care.
Fact: Not true. The health policy experts and economists who have looked at this legislation have said we are pursuing every possible mechanism to reduce health care costs. The Congressional Budget Office found that health insurance reform will reduce the deficit by over $100 billion in this decade and by more than $1 trillion over the following 10 years. [White House]
To commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Day yesterday, thousands of volunteers across the country spent time giving back to their communities.
The First Family took part in a mentoring project, organized by Greater DC Cares’ Mentoring Matters Initiative at Stuart Hobson Middle School, in Washington DC. Offering his thanks to everyone who took part, the President said:
This is just an outstanding program, an example of what Martin Luther King’s birthday should be all about. I want to thank all the mentees and mentors who are participating.
Dr. King obviously had a dream of justice and equality in our society, but he also had a dream of service, that you could be a drum major for service, that you could lead by giving back to our communities. And that's what this program is all about and that's what these participants are all about.
Michelle and I the girls are extraordinarily proud that each year on Martin Luther King’s birthday this is how we celebrate, is making sure that we're giving a little something back to the community. And I hope that all the projects that are taking place all across the country on this day are getting similar attention, because this is part of what America is all about. And after a painful week where so many of us were focused on tragedy, it’s good for us to remind ourselves what this country is all about. This kind of service project is what’s best in us and we're thrilled with everybody who is participating.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have scheduled a vote for tomorrow in an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. OFA Political Director Yohannes Abraham sent an update to supporters this morning, letting them know that now is time to make their voices heard.
Tomorrow, House Republicans led by John Boehner will vote on the repeal of health reform—moving to end the law that keeps insurance companies in check.
From denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, to pursuing profits with no accountability, to raising rates arbitrarily on families and businesses and canceling coverage when people get sick—insurers could return to promoting their own financial health at the expense of those seeking care.
And with repeal estimated to add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years, the Republicans' first agenda item delays our economic recovery and does nothing to create jobs.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act is bad for our health, our economy, and our country—and Speaker Boehner needs to know where we stand.
Tell Republicans to stop playing political games and end the wasteful, hurtful repeal of health reform.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the Affordable Care Act will add hundreds of billions to the deficit, increase costs for those who are covered, and result in 32 million fewer people receiving coverage. Health reform continues to provide greater freedom and control in our health care choices—it's no surprise that most Americans oppose repeal.
Chances are the Affordable Care Act is already benefiting you or someone you know.
Reform is at work for you:
—If you're a senior who fell into the "donut hole" of prescription drug coverage and needed help covering that cost;
—If you're a young adult who can benefit from staying on your parents' insurance until age 26;
—If you've ever worried about your insurer dropping your coverage unexpectedly if you or someone on your policy gets sick or injured;
—If you're a small-business owner trying to compete with large employers while providing insurance to your employees; or
—If you're a taxpayer worried about the national deficit.
The very first item on the Republicans' agenda involves reducing this important legislation to an abstract, partisan fight.
Instead of working to find solutions to build on our recovery and make the United States more competitive, Republicans in Congress would rather appease their right-wing base and insurance-industry allies by re-litigating the last two years;mdash∧ returning control of our health care system to insurance companies.
They need to know we're paying attention: We will not stand by and allow Republicans to undo our progress.
Call now and tell Congress we're counting on them to do the right thing by their constituents–and that’s not repealing health reform.
Thanks for your help,
Organizing for America
You can call Congress here and let them know just how important the Affordable Care Act is.
President Obama will deliver his second State of the Union address on January 25th. Around the country supporters will be hosting watch parties for their friends and neighbors.
On Tuesday, January 25th, President Obama will deliver his second State of the Union address.
This speech will mark the start of a new chapter for this movement. 2011 will be a year of building on our past work for a stronger economy and a brighter future, while also protecting the progress we've made reforming our health insurance system, reining in the big banks on Wall Street, and more.
To help get the word out about the President's vision for the next year, OFA volunteers will be holding State of the Union watch parties and strategy sessions across the country—and if we're going to have enough events in enough places, we'll need your help.
The President's speech will be a great chance for us all to get fired up about jobs, health reform, and everything else 2011 has in store. That means it's important that we have as many folks watching in as many communities as possible—which is why we need you to host a State of the Union watch party, including a strategy session for planning local action.
Hosting an OFA event has never been easier. You can hold your party at home, or you can use a community space if local regulations allow it. All you have to do is fill out a quick form, and we'll set up the online event and send you everything you need to do the rest.
I'm hoping, as one of our top supporters, that you'll step up and give folks in your neighborhood a place to watch the speech together and help plan what comes next for defending our progress on health reform and more.
Sign up here to host a State of the Union watch party and strategy session on Tuesday, January 25th.
Organizing for America
Find out more about hosting a State of the Union watch party here.
With Congress returning to work this week, President Obama calls on them -- and each of us -- to debate the issues facing America with the appropriate passion and vigor they deserve, but also to live up to the spirit of patriotism and unity we all feel following the tragedy in Arizona.
On Monday thousands of OFA volunteers around the country will commemorate Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. day by giving back to their community.
In events dedicated to service and celebrating their neighborhood, volunteers will help to decorate schools and playgrounds, sort and deliver food and clothing donations for those in need, support victims of domestic violence, and in many other ways, large and small, help to make the lives of others better.
Since taking office, President Obama and the First Lady have marked Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as a day of service. Both the President and Michelle will spend tomorrow giving back to the causes closest to them.
To find an event near you, click here.