Listen to Article4-Minute Listen
Four years ago, President Barack Obama made history when he was sworn in as the first African American President of the United States of America. This morning, he once again took the oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.". The private swearing-in ceremony was even more significant this time around, because it affirmed that Americans are truly all about electing the best man (or woman) for the job, regardless of his/her creed or color.
However, that as they say, is history. Now President Obama has to get to down to business and not only wrap up some of the issues that remain unresolved from the last term, but also, spearhead some new initiatives. Here, is what he is hoping to accomplish before the end of his second and final term.
Temporarily Increase The Debt Ceiling
Increasing the debt ceiling or the maximum amount the government can borrow to pay their debts at least temporarily, is the first and most pressing order of business for the President. That's because the US debt is growing at such a rapid pace that the current limit set by the lawmakers will be reached by mid-February or early March. If that happens and the amount the government can borrow is not increased, the US will not be able to meet its existing obligations, which include things like social security payments, military salaries, Medicaid, Medicare etc. etc.
The good news is that this should be relatively easy because on Friday January 18th, the largely Republican Congress announced that they will approve a bill next week to increase the debt limit for at least three months. This short-term reprieve will give President Obama some time to figure out how to balance the US budget so that a crises such as this, does not occur again.
During the first four years, the President did a few things to tackle this all important issue that is impacting all of us. He passed regulations to improve the fuel efficiency for car and trucks, which should help curb carbon emissions by a significant amount. This time around, he plans to take on the biggest contributors of carbon pollution in the United States - Power plants, which are currently responsible for 40% of all carbon emissions in the country. If successful, this along with the fuel efficiency law, will allow the US to fulfill its pledge of cutting carbon emissions by 17% made by the President at the International Climate Convention in 2010.
Try as he did, the President was unable to make much progress on this issue during his first term. This time around, he is determined to get a bill passed during his first few months in office. Among the items he is hoping to get approved is a new way to bring in low-wage workers, expand the visa quota for high tech-jobs and crack down on employers that hire undocumented workers so that people who are in this country legally can get the jobs they deserve. However, for such a bill to pass he will need the full support of a majority of the Republican Party members, which may not be easy to obtain.
Gun Control Regulation
Until the unfortunate tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun control was not an item Mr. Obama or for that matter anyone was really focused on. However, now gun violence is one of the first battles he wants to bring to the table. Among the things he is proposing is a ban on assault weapons, limits on ammunition clip size and most important of all, comprehensive background checks on gun sales. And while he is sure to meet strong opposition on many of these issues, the President is very determined to see it through!
Welcome back President Obama - We sure hope you succeed in all your endeavors and more!
Resources: Cnn.com, guardian.co.uk