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Obama’s First Year in Office

  • Jan. 20, 2009 Inauguration

Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States.

  • Jan. 22, 2009 Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp

President Obama signs an executive order announcing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp within a year. He also prohibits using torture and other coercive techniques, such as waterboarding.

  • Feb. 17, 2009 Additional Troops to Afghanistan

Obama approves the deployment of 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

  • Feb. 17, 2009 Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Obama signs into law the $787 billion Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The stimulus package includes increased domestic spending on education, both as a way to provide jobs now and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity. It also provides billions for clean energy investments, an extension of unemployment benefits and a number of provisions for people with disabilities.

  • Feb. 27, 2009 Plan to End the War in Iraq

Obama proposes to end the combat mission in Iraq by August 31, 2010. At that time, the Iraqi security forces are expected to assume full responsibility for major combat missions. According to the plan, all U.S. troops shall be removed from Iraq by the end of 2011.

  • April 22, 2009 Renewable Energy Program

On Earth Day 2009, the president unveils a program to develop renewable energy projects that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. The new regulations are said to enable the nation for the first time to tap into the ocean’s vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner.

  • June 26, 2009 Cash-for-Clunkers bill

Obama signs the “‎Cash-for-Clunkers bill” to stimulate the automobile industry, after both Chrysler and General Motors have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

  • Sept. 9, 2009 Health Care Reform Speech

After a summer of controversy, Obama addresses a joint session of Congress, to make the case for universal health care. He advocates a middle-of-the-road approach that is to take effect by 2013, and he promises that his reform plan won’t add to the budget deficit. It would make it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage because of preexisting conditions or to cap the amount of coverage over a lifetime. It also sets up an insurance exchange that includes a public option plan to compete for the business of people who would otherwise be uninsured.

The plan finds little bipartisan support. Republicans favor individual tax breaks for buying health insurance and “pools” of states and small business to get lower-cost health care plans. They also propose increasing incentives for people to build health savings accounts, allowing dependent children to stay on parents’ policies until age 25 and encouraging employers to reward employees for improved health.

  • Dec. 1, 2009 Afghanistan Strategy

After a long debate over the Pentagon’s request for thousands of new troops, Obama addresses the nation to lay out his new strategy for Afghanistan.

  • Dec. 10, 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

Obama is expected to accept the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize at Oslo City Hall in Norway.

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