With Mr. 9/11’s attacks on Obama, and to answer’s Sean Hannity’s call of, “what has he done for america?” I present the Bills presented, created or sponsored by the Jr. Senator from the Great State of Illinois, Barack Obama.
Here are a couple of key points:
DESTROYING SURPLUS AND UNGUARDED CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS
After visiting weapons stockpiles in Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, Senators Lugar and Obama introduced S. 2566, which would expand the cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons. The Lugar-Obama bill would energize the U.S. program against unsecured lightweight anti-aircraft missiles and other conventional weapons and would strengthen the ability of America’s allies to detect and interdict illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction. Funding would be provided to eliminate unsecured conventional weapons and assist countries in improving their ability to detect and interdict materials and weapons of mass destruction.
This item is noteworthy considering who Obama worked with: Senator Luger, a republican
VETERANS BENEFITS DISPARITIES
Following reports in December 2004 that Illinois veterans have for decades ranked nearly last in average disability pay received, Senator Obama led efforts to uncover the reasons for this disparity and to correct it. As a result of this pressure, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opened an investigation into the matter, agreed to hire a dozen new claims specialists for the Chicago regional office, and agreed to re-examine the claims of Illinois veterans who felt they have been treated unfairly. Senators Obama and Durbin introduced an amendment that became law requiring the VA to notify Illinois veterans about their right to seek a review of their past claims. The resulting outreach to Illinois veterans in the summer of 2006, led to an increase in the number of Illinois veterans getting the benefits and services they deserve.
GREATER FUNDING FOR VETERANS HEALTH CARE
As early as February 2005, Senator Obama warned of a shortfall in the VA budget. Four months later, the VA reported that in fact it had more than a $1 billion shortfall. Senator Obama cosponsored a bill that led to a $1.5 billion increase in veterans’ medical care. During the debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Senator Obama cosponsored measures that would have provided additional funding increases for veterans.
In September 2006, Senator Obama introduced the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act (S. 3988) to improve the VA’s planning process to avoid budget shortfalls in the future. The bill requires the VA and the Department of Defense to work together and share data so that we know precisely how many troops will be returning home and entering the VA system.
Every year, 400,000 veterans across the country, including an estimated 38,000 in Chicago, spend some time living on the streets. Senator Obama has been a leader in fighting homelessness among veterans. He authored the Sheltering All Veterans Everywhere Act (SAVE Act) (S. 1180) to strengthen and expand federal homeless veteran programs that serve over 100,000 homeless veterans annually. During the debate on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, Senator Obama passed an amendment to increase funding for homeless veterans programs by $40 million. These funds would benefit programs that provide food, clothing, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and employment and housing assistance to homeless veterans.
In June 2006, Senator Obama introduced the Homes for Heroes Act (S. 3475), which would expand access to long-term affordable housing for homeless veterans by setting aside $225 million to purchase, build or rehabilitate homes and apartments for veterans. The legislation would also greatly expand existing veterans rental assistance programs and create a new office within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to coordinate services to homeless veterans.
Contrary to O’Reilly, there are homeless vets in this country. Obama has been fundamental in getting increased funding for key services for our Veterans.
And last, but certainly not least, we have the Ethics Reform:
ETHICS AND LOBBYING REFORM
Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. During his first year as an Illinois State Senator, he helped lead the fight to pass Illinois’ first ethics reform bill in 25 years as a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Senator Obama is one of the authors of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (S. 2180). The bill would lengthen the cooling off period to two years for lawmakers and staff who seek to become lobbyists, and it would require immediate disclosure as soon as any job negotiations begin. The bill would open conference committee meetings to the public and require that all bills be posted on the Internet for 24 hours before they can be voted on by the Senate. Finally, the bill would end all lobbyist-funded gifts, meals, and travel and strengthen the Senate office that monitors lobbyist disclosure forms.
In addition, Senator Obama has sponsored three other ethics-related bills:
The Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission Act (S. 2259)
The bill would create an outside ethics commission to receive complaints from the public on alleged ethics violations by members of Congress, staff, and lobbyists. The commission would have the authority to investigate complaints and present public findings of fact about possible violations to the House and Senate Ethics Committee and Justice Department. By taking the initial fact finding out of the hands of members of Congress, who are often reluctant to investigate their colleagues, the bill ensures prompt and fair disposition of public complaints.
To avoid manipulation of the commission for political purposes, any person filing a complaint that they knew to be false would be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. No complaints could be filed against a member of Congress for 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election.
The bill has been widely endorsed by reform groups. According to Common Cause, “this legislation would do more to reform ethics and lobbying than any other piece of legislation introduced thus far because it goes to the heart of the problem: enforcement.” Public Citizen praised Senator Obama “for having the courage to challenge the business-as-usual environment on Capitol Hill and introduce far-reaching legislation.” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington stated: “This is the first bill that deals seriously with the lack of oversight and enforcement in the existing congressional ethics process. . . . This bill will help restore Americans’ confidence in the integrity of Congress.
He’s helped to clean up Illinois and Washington. Alaska may be a hotbed of Republican Corruption—Stevensand Young are just the folks on the national scene –but they got nothing on the mess that is Illinois and Chicago. Despite the problems back home, Obama and Durbin remain politically clean. Where as Obama’s connections to Rezko have already been addressed–despite attempts by McCain–Palin’s problems stemming from Troopergate have just begun.
There is one additional factor that should be added to this mix. Illinois and Alaska are two different political entities. Experience in one state does not equate to experience in the other. Comparing Palin’s experiences in Alaska to Obama’s experiences in Illinois does not make
sense. Alaska has a population of under 700,000. Chicago ALONE has a population of 2.8 million. Obama’s state legislative experience, dealing with a large and diverse population on the city’s South Side, dwarfs Palin’s executive experience of being a mayor of a population of 9,000. These comparisons do not help either side establish who is the more “experienced” candidate.