Regardless of where you lean politically, Barack Obama’s tenure as United States president made history. He was the first African American man to hold the office for not just one term, but two. And during those eight years, many decisions were made and many laws were passed. (Pete Souza, the official White House Photographer, captured some of these moments and more.)
Below, we have compiled 30 of Obama’s most notable accomplishments during his eight years as president.
1. After taking on leadership during the Great Recession, Obama cut unemployment rate down from 10% to 4.7% over the course of 6 years.
2. Created Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, which gave 20 million previously uninsured Americans health insurance.
3. He ended the war in Iraq and brought soldiers home.
4. Ordered the capture and death of notorious terrorist Osama Bin Laden
5. Spurred economic growth during the Great Recession with the $787 billion America Recovery and Reinvestment Act
6. Supported the LGBT community’s right for marriage equality
7. Reduced the severity of penalties for 1200 drug offenders to reverse “unjust and outdated prison sentences”
8. Saved the United States automotive industry
9. Assisted with putting the United States on track for energy independence by 2020
10. Began pulling troops out of Afghanistan
11. Signed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This relieved 5 million people from deportation threats and allowed them to receive work permits.
12. Re-regulated Wall Street and the financial sector by signing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
13. Reduced the homeless rate of veterans by 50%
14. Exposed Bush-era torture policies and reversed them
15. Began the process to normalize relations Cuba
16. Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act
17. Increased environmentally-friendly fuel efficiency standards for cars
18. Implemented the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which improved school nutrition
19. Revoked the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
20. Made assaulting anyone based on sexual or gender identification a federal crime with the Hate Crimes Prevention Act
21. Helped negotiate the Iran Nuclear Deal
22. Fought the pay discrimination against women with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
23. Nominated the first Hispanic ever to serve as Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor
24. Enacted a $78 billion tuition assistance GI bill for veterans
25. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”
26. Launched My Brother’s Keeper to help minority youth achieve their potential
27. Expanded embryonic stem cell research which lead to groundbreaking discovering in areas such as spinal injury treatment and cancer
28. Fought poverty by providing a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps)
29. He repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid and simultaneously removed banks from the process
30. He reformed the student loan program so students could refinance at a lower rate
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