Obama's Next 100 Days

By Hunter Owens (Co-Founder, Editor In Chief, Columnist) [?]

Published: May 4, 2009 and Updated: September 16, 2009
Original LA News Desk Content

As many of you know, President Obama's First 100 Days have come to a close. In those days, he has ordered the eventual closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, overseen a bailout package, written a budget (not an easy thing in the political world), met with the G20, and much more. However, the next 100 days will be the key turning point in his administration. Obama plans to introduce and support much less populist measures, and return to his Democratic roots.

Global Warming: Obama has publicly voiced support for the Waxman-Markley bill, a cap and trade bill overseen by Los Angeles area Congressman Henry Waxman. The bill caps greenhouse gas emissions over the upcoming decades, resulting in an 85% reduction by 2050. Climate Progress, a leading climate change blog, declared the bill a B+ and the EPA believes that, with the direct compensation provided to consumers under this bill, most people (particularly the middle and lower classes) would save money. However, Republicans contend that the average family’s utility bill would be raised by over $3000 per year, but that doesn't factor in rebates from the sale of carbon permits.

Because of the Democratic majority, the bill will likely pass in the House over the summer regardless of Republican objections, though Republicans have still said they will try to insert "poison pills" into the bill, which would likely negate many of it's goals.

The situation is far more difficult in the Senate, where there is much less agreement among Democrats, even though they will have a filibuster-proof majority (assuming Minnesota's contested Senate seat is awarded to Al Franken, which is expected). The party is so fractured over the issue that Republican support may even be necessary. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, Republicans from Maine, are prime candidates, as are Republicans from midwestern states, where alternative energy is popular because the Midwest is rich in potential wind and solar energy. In a (very) long shot, John McCain, a conservationist known for crossing party lines, could also vote for the bill.

Recent congressional hearings included witnesses such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who feared the bill would harm the economy, and former Vice President Al Gore, who argued that the bill would help the economy and also help combat global warming. As a side note, Gore had a heated exchange with Representative Blackburn (R-TN) during the hearing, after Blackburn accused Gore of having an economic interest in the bill passing.

Health Care: The administration has promised a sweeping reform of health care, most likely with a public-private partnership. Majority Leader Harry Reid would like to finish a bill by the summer, whereby it would reach Obama's desk by December. This is a very ambitious timetable, and may not be achievable. The bill would provide health care to all people who do not have it via their jobs. Also, all companies who have more than 10 workers would be forced to provide it, and the health care would be transferable, unlike today's policies. Senators Snowe or Collins might again be counted on to achieve the necessary vote count for Democrats. Republicans claim this stinks of "socialized medicine," but Democrats claim it is an equality issue.

Student Loans: Likely to be changed by next school year, Obama has eliminated private subsidies for student loans in his budget, opting instead to use the funds for Pell Grants and direct lending. This has sparked debate in Congress about what to do, and the loan companies (including Freddie Mac, the largest) are unleashing a huge lobbying effort to save their cash cow. However, student groups have been organizing write-ins and call-ins to local representatives and senators to counteract this. Because this is a budget-line item, the Democrats can use a procedure called "reconciliation" to pass the budget with only 51 votes in the Senate. However, with ex-Republican Arlen Specter recently switching parties, this move may now be unnecessary

Overall, the more liberal parts of the Obama agenda are represented here, and it remains to be seen if the public will participate.

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  • pweh, on 05/08/2009, said:

    hahhahahahah mcain would have done a better job

  • ME, on 05/15/2009, said:

    GOOD ARTICLE HNUTER

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