A Nicer List of Laws Obama Got Passed

I’ve previously posted a fairly raw dump of Obama’s legislative work in the US Senate, but Helenann at the Daily Kos not only did the same thing but went a step further and organized a nice clear summary,categorizing the policy intent of the various bills.

I’ve quoted most of her actual post below, but it’s worth visiting the diary (Kos name for a user-submitted story) for the rest and for the comments.

Quote begins: ——————

It has really been bothering me – the charges that Obama is all talk and no action. Those of us who support him and have reviewed his record know there is no basis to this charge, but just to make sure, I went to the Congressional Record (www.thomas.gov) and did a search for bills sponsored or co-sponsored by Senator Obama in his three short years in the US Senate. I searched the 109th and 110th Congresses which cover the years 2005-2007.

In a nut shell I found:

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 570 bills in the 109th and 110th Congress.

Senator Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored 15 bills that have become LAW since he joined the Senate in 2005.

Senator Obama has also introduced amendments to 50 bills, of which 16 were adopted by the Senate.

His record is in fact quite impressive for a junior Senator from Illinois.

Most of his legislative effort has been in the areas of:

  • Energy Efficiency and Climate Change (25 bills)
  • Health care (21 bills) and public health (20 bills)
  • Consumer protection/labor (14 bills)
  • The needs of Veterans and the Armed Forces (13 bills)
  • Congressional Ethics and Accountability (12 bills)
  • Foreign Policy (10 bills)
  • Voting and Elections (9 bills)
  • Education (7 bills)
  • Hurricane Katrina Relief (6)
  • The Environment (5 bills)
  • Homeland Security (4 bills)
  • Discrimination (4 bills)


Below I summarize Senator Obama’s legislative record in the US Senate. First I list the bills he sponsored that have become law. Next I summarize the bills that he has sponsored or cosponsored since he became a US Senator in 2005.

I have only included major pieces of legislation and have not summarized continuing resolutions or naming post offices, for example.

His record suggests several priorities and the bills he supports address many of our most pressing problems.

Of the 15 bills Senator Obama sponsored or co-sponsored in 2005-7 that became law:

Two addressed foreign policy:

  • Promote relief, security and democracy in the Congo (2125)
  • Develop democratic institutions in areas under Palestinian control (2370).

Three addressed public health:

  • Improve mine safety (2803)
  • Increased breast cancer funding (597)
  • Reduce preterm delivery and complications, reduce infant mortality (707).

Two addressed openness and accountability in government:

  • Strengthening the Freedom of Information Act (2488 )
  • Full disclosure of all entities receiving federal funds (2590)

Two addressed national security

  • Extend Terrorist Risk Insurance (467)
  • Amend the Patriot Act (2167)

One addressed the needs of the Armed Forces

  • Wave passport fees to visit graves, attend memorials/funerals of veterans abroad (1184).

Of the 570 bills Senator Obama introduced into the Senate during the 109th and 110th Congress (Senate Bill numbers are in parentheses), they can be summarized as follows:

25 addressed Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

  • Suspend royalty relief for oil and gas (115)
  • Reduce dependence on oil; use of alternative energy sources (133)
  • Increase fuel economy standards for cars (767, 768 )
  • Auto industry incentives for fuel efficient vehicles (1151)
  • Reduce green house gas emissions (1324)
  • Establish at NSF a climate change education program (1389)
  • Increase renewable content of gasoline (2202)
  • Energy emergency relief for small businesses and farms (269)
  • Strategic gasoline and fuel reserves (1794)
  • Alternative diesel standards (3554)
  • Coal to liquid fuel promotion (3623)
  • Renewable diesel standards (1920)
  • Reducing global warming pollution from vehicles (2555)
  • Fuel security and consumer choice (1994, 2025)
  • Alternative energy refueling system (2614)
  • Climate change education (1389)
  • Low income energy assistance (2405)
  • Oil savings targets (339)
  • Fuel economy reform (3694)
  • Plug-in electric drive vehicles (1617)
  • Nuclear release notice (2348 )
  • Passenger rail investment (294)
  • Energy relief for low income families (2405)

21 addressed Health Care

  • Drug re-importation (334)
  • Health information technology (1262, 1418 )
  • Discount drug prices (2347)
  • Health care associated infections (2278 )
  • Hospital quality report cards (692, 1824)
  • Medical error disclosure and compensation (1784)
  • Emergency medical care and response (1873)
  • Stem cell research (5)
  • Medical Malpractice insurance (1525)
  • Health centers renewal (901, 3771)
  • Children’s health insurance (401)
  • Home health care (2061)
  • Medicare independent living (2103)
  • Microbicides for HIV/AIDS (823)
  • Ovarian cancer biomarker research (2569)
  • Gynological cancers (1172)
  • Access to personalized medicine through use of human genome (976)
  • Paralysis research and care (1183)

20 addressed Public Health:

  • Violence against women (1197)
  • Biodefense and pandemic preparedness and response (1821, 1880)
  • Viral influenza control (969)
  • End homelessness (1518 )
  • Reduce STDs/unintended pregnancy (1790)
  • Smoking prevention and tobacco control (625)
  • Minority health improvement and disparity elimination (4024)
  • Nutrition and physical education in schools (2066)
  • Health impact assessments (1067, 2506)
  • Healthy communities (1068 )
  • Combat methamphetamines (2071)
  • Paid sick leave (910)
  • Prohibit mercury sales (833, 1818 )
  • Prohibit sale of lead products (1306, 2132)
  • Lead exposure in children (1811, 2132)

14 address Consumer Protection/Labor

  • Stop unfair labor practices (842)
  • Fair minimum wage (2, 1062, 2725, 3829)
  • Internet freedom (2917)
  • Credit card safety (2411)
  • Media ownership (2332)
  • Protecting taxpayer privacy (2484)
  • Working family child assistance (218 )
  • Habeus Corpus Restoration (185)
  • Bankruptcy protection for employees and retirees (2092)
  • FAA fair labor management dispute resolution (2201)
  • Working families flexibility (2419).

13 addressed the Needs of Veterans and the Armed Forces:

  • Improve Benefits (117)
  • Suicide prevention (479)
  • Needs of homeless veterans (1180)
  • Homes for veterans (1084)
  • GI Bill enhancement (43)
  • Military job protection
  • Dignity in care for wounded vets (713)
  • Housing assistance for low income veterans (1084)
  • Military children in public schools (2151)
  • Military eye injury research and care (1999)
  • Research physical/mental health needs from Iraq War (1271)
  • Proper administration of discharge for personality disorder (1817, 1885)
  • Security of personal data of veterans (3592)

12 addressed Congressional Ethics and Accountability

  • Lobbying and ethics reform (230)
  • Stop fraud (2280)
  • Legislative transparency and accountability (525)
  • Open government (2180, 2488 )
  • Restoring fiscal discipline (10)
  • Transparency and integrity in earmarks (2261)
  • Accountability of conference committee deliberations and reports (2179)
  • Federal funding accountability and transparency (2590)
  • Accountability and oversight for private security functions under Federal
  • contract (674)
  • Accountability for contractors and personnel under federal contracts
  • (2147) Restrictions awarding government contracts (2519)

10 addressed Foreign Policy:

  • Iraq war de-escalation (313)
  • US policy for Iraq (433),
  • Divestiture from Iran (1430)
  • Sudan divestment authorization (831)
  • Millennium Development Goals (2433)
  • Multilateral debt relief (1320)
  • Development bank reform (1129)
  • Nuclear nonproliferation (3131,977,2224).

9 address Voting/Elections

  • Prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections (453)
  • Voter access to polls and services in Federal elections (737)
  • Voter intimidation and deceptive practices (1975)
  • Senate campaign disclosure parity (185)
  • Require reporting for bundled campaign contributions (2030)
  • Election jamming prevention (4102)
  • Campaign disclosure parity (223)
  • Presidential funding (2412)
  • Integrity of electronic voting systems (1487)

11 addressed Education

  • Increase access of low income African Americans to higher education (1513)
  • Establish teaching residency programs (1574)
  • Increase early intervention services (2111)
  • Middle school curriculum improvements (2227)
  • Public database of scholarships, fellowships and financial aid (2428 )
  • Summer learning programs (116)
  • TANF financial education promotion (924)
  • Higher education (1642)
  • Build capacity at community colleges (379)
  • Campus law enforcement in emergencies (1228 )
  • Support for teachers (2060).

6 addressed Hurricane Katrina

  • Hurricane Katrina recovery (2319)
  • Emergency relief (1637)
  • Bankruptcy relief and community protection (1647)
  • Working family tax relief (2257)
  • Fair wages for recovery workers (1749)
  • Gulf coast infrastructure redevelopment (1836)

5 addressed the Environment

  • Drinking water security (218, 1426)
  • Water resources development (728 )
  • Waste water treatment (1995)
  • Combat illegal logging (1930)
  • Spent nuclear fuel tracking and accountability (1194)
  • Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act (Introduced in Senate)[S.726.IS ]

4 addressed Discrimination

  • Claims for civil class action based on discrimination (1989)
  • Domestic partnership benefits (2521)
  • Unresolved civil rights crimes (535)
  • Equality or two parent families (2286)

4 addressed Homeland Security

  • Judicial review of FISA orders (2369)
  • National emergency family locator (1630)
  • Amend US Patriot Act (2167)
  • Chemical security and safety (2486)

—————— Quote ends.

Now that’s nice work, much better than the mind-numbing infodump I perpetrated.

As a reward for those who came this far, here’s a New York Times graphic summarizing Obama’s work in the Illinois State legislature.

Obama's Illinois Legislative Work


~ by B.T. Murtagh on September 6, 2008.

14 Responses to “A Nicer List of Laws Obama Got Passed”

  1. This is a lie. Obama hasn’t been a Senator long enough to do all of this.

  2. Oh, to be clear, the purpose of including the Senate bill numbers is so you can look them up at thomas.gov for yourself. It’s easy – yes, amazingly enough it’s a pretty well designed government website. I guess Rove didn’t have time to get to it.

  3. curious …. Why are MOST of these bills that he “Sponsored” are from the time periods he WAS NOT in the senate?? 1998-2003??

    How is that possible? Unless he DIDNT sponsor them??

  4. WTF are you blithering about? If they were from those dates the Congressional Record obviously wouldn’t list him as sponsor or co-sponsor would it? You do realize that this data is from the Congressional Record, don’t you?

    Senator Obama is listed as sponsor or co-sponsor on 647 pieces of legislation from the 110th Congress (479 public bills and 168 amendments to existing bills) and 578 from the 109th (320 bills, 258 amendments) as of today. None of those pieces of legislation predates 2005, though some of the amendments alter existing bills that were introduced prior to Senator Obama’s election to the US Senate.

    Even if ALL the amendments were to bills from before his election (which is not even remotely the case), that would still mean 799 new bills against 426 amendments. This must be some new usage of the word MOST which I wasn’t previously aware of.

    As John Adams famously noted, “Facts are stubborn things.”

  5. OMGWTF???! WTF and blithering used in the same sentence? WTF is this world coming to? Ok, I really just wanted you to read my first political post on my blog. Thanks!

  6. um um um that is why i dont get involved in political conversations.

  7. lol, anyway nice list. I’ve decided to get more up to date with my actual facts,when i debate about obama, instead of just his intentions etc… Thanks a lot for making this.

  8. thanks for the help for my talk

  9. did obama pass a law to let covicted felons get better jobs


  11. Does anyone know more about these laws like the new martial law order, antiprotest amendments, or the one violating our bill of rights. and will allow army to take americans hostage with out trial if thought terrist. please fill me in….. What Is REALLY Going ON???

  12. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  13. […] Katrina Relief (6) The Environment (5 bills) Homeland Security (4 bills) Discrimination (4 bills) List of Laws Obama Got Passed Check it out. It's a very long list. What Santorum said. Now, if anyone knows what Ryan did […]

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