[ED. NOTE: In the last few months, FReeper Southack put together a list of Bush administration achievements over its first three years in office, and tirelessly posted it whenever an opportunity presented itself. Southack gave me permission to take that list, organize it by topics, and enhance it with further research from whitehouse.gov and other sources. This thread is posted in gratitude to and in honor of Southack.]
Abortion & Traditional Values
Banned Partial Birth Abortion by far the most significant roll-back of abortion on demand since Roe v. Wade.
Reversed Clinton's move to strike Reagan's anti-abortion Mexico Policy.
By Executive Order (EO), reversed Clinton's policy of not requiring parental consent for abortions under the Medical Privacy Act.
By EO, prohibited federal funds for international family planning groups that provide abortions and related services.
Upheld the ban on abortions at military hospitals.
Made $33 million available for abstinence education programs in 2004.
Supports the Defense of Marriage Act and a Constitutional amendment saying marriage is between one man and one woman.
Requires states to conduct criminal background checks on prospective foster and adoptive parents.
Requires districts to let students transfer out of dangerous schools.
Requires schools to have a zero-tolerance policy for classroom disruption (reintroducing discipline into classrooms).
Signed the Teacher Protection Act, which protects teachers from lawsuits related to student discipline.
Expanded the role of faith-based and community organizations in after-school programs.
Budget, Taxes & Economy
Signed two income tax cuts, one of which was the largest dollar-value tax cut in world history.
Supports permanent elimination of the death tax.
Turned around an inherited economy that was in recession, and deeply shocked as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
Is seeking legislation to amend the Constitution to give the president line-item veto authority.
In process of permanently eliminating IRS marriage penalty.
Increased small business incentives to expand and to hire new people.
Initiated discussion on privatizing Social Security and individual investment accounts.
Killed Clinton's "ergonomic" rules that OSHA was about to implement; rules would have shut down every home business in America.
Passed tough new laws to hold corporate criminals to account as a result of corporate scandals.
Reduced taxes on dividends and capital gains.
Signed trade promotion authority.
Reduced and is working to ultimately eliminate the estate tax for family farms and ranches.
Fight Europe's ban on importing biotech crops from the United States.
Exempt food from unilateral trade sanctions and embargoes.
Provided $20 million to states to help people with disabilities work from home.
Created a fund to encourage technologies that help the disabled.
Increased the annual contribution limit on Education IRA's from $500 to $2,000 per child.
Make permanent the $5,000 adoption tax credit and provide $1 billion over five years to increase the credit to $10,000.
Grant a complete tax exemption for prepaid or college tuition savings plans.
Reduced H1B visas from a high of 195,000 per year to 66,000 per year.
Character & Conduct as President
Changed the tone in the White House, restoring HONOR and DIGNITY to the presidency.
Has reintroduced the mention of God and faith into public discourse.
Handled himself with enormous courage, dignity, grace, determination, and leadership in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 hijackings and anthrax attacks. He almost single-handedly held this country together during those searing days:
Just three days after the attacks, in his address at the National Cathedral, the President reassured the nation when he said: "War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing."
On Friday, September 14, 2001, President Bush visited Ground Zero. Standing on a crushed and burned fire engine atop the smoldering pile at Ground Zero, he put his arm around a retired firefighter who had volunteered to help, and began speaking to the crowd. Rescue workers shouted that they could not hear him. Someone handed him a small American flag and bullhorn. The President spontaneously shouted: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." The crowd roared with cheers and chants of "USA! USA! USA!" Then he raised that American flag and rallied a nation:
Education & Employment Training
Signed the No Child Left Behind Act, delivering the most dramatic education reforms in a generation (challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations). The very liberal California Teachers union is currently running radio ads against the accountability provisions of this Act.
Announced "Jobs for the 21st Century," a comprehensive plan to better prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium by strengthening post-secondary education and job training, and by improving high school education.
Is working to provide vouchers to low-income students in persistently failing schools to help with costs of attending private schools. (Blocked in the Senate.)
Requires annual reading and math tests in grades three through eight.
Requires states to participate in the National Assessment of Education Progress, or an equivalent program, to establish a national benchmark for academic performance.
Established a $2.4 billion fund to help states implement teacher accountability systems.
Increased funding for the Troops-to-Teachers program, which recruits former military personnel to to become teachers.
Environment & Energy
Killed the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty.
Submitted a comprehensive Energy Plan (awaits Congressional action). The plan works to develop cleaner technology, produce more natural gas here at home, make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy, improve national grid, etc.
Established a $10 million grant program to promote private conservation initiatives.
Significantly eased field-testing controls of genetically engineered crops.
Changed parts of the Forestry Management Act to allow necessary cleanup of the national forests in order to reduce fire danger.
Part of national forests cleanup: Restricted judicial challenges (based on the Endangered Species Act and other challenges), and removed the need for an Environmental Impact Statement before removing fuels/logging to reduce fire danger.
Killed Clinton's CO2 rules that were choking off all of the electricity surplus to California.
Provided matching grants for state programs that help private landowners protect rare species.
Defense & Foreign Policy
Successfully executed two wars in the aftermath of 9/11/01: Afghanistan and Iraq. 50 million people who had lived under tyrannical regimes now live in freedom.
Saddam Hussein is now in prison. His two murderous sons are dead. All but a handful of the regime's senior members were killed or captured.
Leader by leader and member by member, al Qaida is being hunted down in dozens of countries around the world. Of the senior al Qaida leaders, operational managers, and key facilitators the U.S. Government has been tracking, nearly two-thirds have been taken into custody or killed. The detentions or deaths of senior al Qaida leaders, including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11, and Muhammad Atef, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command until his death in late 2001, have been important in the War on Terror.
Disarmed Libya of its chemical, nuclear and biological WMD's without bribes or bloodshed.
Continues to execute the War On Terror, getting worldwide cooperation to track funds/terrorists. Has cut off much of the terrorists' funding, and captured or killed many key leaders of the al Qaeda network.
Initiated a comprehensive review of our military, which was completed just prior to 9/11/01, and which accurately reported that ASYMMETRICAL WARFARE capabilities were critical in the 21st Century.
Killed the old US/Soviet Union ABM Treaty that was preventing the U.S. from deploying our ABM defenses.
Has been one of the strongest, if not THE strongest friend Israel has ever hand in the U.S. presidency.
Part of the coalition for an Israeli/Palestinian "Roadmap to Peace," along with Great Britain, Russia and the EU.
Pushed through THREE raises for our military. Increased military pay by more than $1 billion a year.
Signed the LARGEST nuclear arms reduction in world history with Russia.
Started withdrawing our troops from Bosnia, and has announced withdrawal of our troops from Germany and the Korean DMZ.
Prohibited putting U.S. troops under U.N. command.
Paid back UN dues only in return for reforms and reduction of U.S. share of the costs.
Earmarked at least 20 percent of the Defense procurement budget for next-generation weaponry.
Increased defense research and development spending by at least $20 billion from fiscal 2002 to 2006.
Ordered a comprehensive review of military weapons and strategy.
Ordered a review of overseas deployments.
Ordered renovation of military housing. The military has already upgraded about 10 percent of its inventory and expects to modernize 76,000 additional homes this year.
Is working to tighten restrictions on military-technology exports.
Brought back our EP-3 intel plane and crew from China without any bribes or bloodshed.
Globalization & Internationalism
Challenged the United Nations to live up to their responsibilities and not become another League of Nations (in other words, showed the UN to be completely irrelevant).
Killed U.S. involvement in the International Criminal Court.
Told the United Nations we weren't interested in their plans for gun control (i.e., the International Ban on Small Arms Trafficking Treaty).*
The only President since the founding of the UN to essentially tell that organization it is irrelevant. He said: "The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?" We all know the outcome and the answer.
Told the Congress and the world, "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country."
Improved government efficiency by putting hundreds of thousands of jobs put up for bid. This weakens public-sector unions and cuts undeserved pay raises.
Initiated review of all federal agencies with the goal of eliminating federal jobs (completed September 2003) in an effort to reduce the size of the federal government while increasing private sector jobs.
Led the most extensive reorganization the Federal bureaucracy in over 50 years: After 9/11, condensed 20+ overlapping agencies and their intelligence sectors into one agency, the Department of Homeland Security.*
Ordered each agency to draft a five-year plan to restructure itself, with fewer managers.
Converted federal service contracts to performance-based contracts wherever possible so that the contractor has measurable performance goals.
Strengthen the National Health Service Corps to put more physicians in the neediest areas, and make its scholarship funds tax-free.
Double the research budget of the National Institutes of Health.
Signed Medicare Reform, which includes:
A 10-year privatization option.
Prescription drug benefits: Prior to this reform, Medicare paid for extended hospital stays for ulcer surgery, for example, at a cost of about $28,000 per patient. Yet Medicare would not pay for the drugs that eliminate the cause of most ulcers, drugs that cost about $500 a year. Now, drug coverage under Medicare will allow seniors to replace more expensive surgeries and hospitalizations with less expensive prescription medicine.
More health care choices: As President Bush stated, " when seniors have the ability to make choices, health care plans within Medicare will have to compete for their business by offering higher quality service [at lower cost]. For the seniors of America, more choices and more control will mean better health care. These are the kinds of health care options we give to the members of Congress and federal employees. What's good for members of Congress is also good for seniors.
New Health Savings Accounts: Effective January 1, 2004, Americans can set aside up to $4,500 every year, tax free, to save for medical expenses. Depending on your tax bracket, that means you'll save between 10 to 35 percent on any costs covered by money in your account. Every year, the money not spent would stay in the account and gain interest tax-free, just like an IRA. These accounts will be good for small business owners, and employees. More businesses can focus on covering workers for major medical problems, such as hospitalization for an injury or illness. At the same time, employees and their families will use these accounts to cover doctors visits, or lab tests, or other smaller costs. Some employers will contribute to employee health accounts. This will help more American families get the health care they need at the price they can afford.
*See Government Reform above. Under President Bush's leadership, America has made an unprecedented commitment to homeland security.
Has CONSTRUCTION in process on the first 10 ABM silos in Alaska so that America will have a defense against North Korean nukes. Has ordered national and theater ballistic missile defenses to be deployed by 2004.
Announced a 9.7% increase in government-wide homeland security funding in his FY 2005 budget, nearly tripling the FY 2001 levels (excluding the Department of Defense and Project BioShield).
Before DHS was created, there were inspectors from three different agencies of the Federal Government and Border Patrol officers protecting our borders. Through DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now consolidates all border activities into a single agency to create "one face at the border." This not only better secures the borders of the United States, but it also eliminates many of the inefficiencies that occurred under the old system. With over 18,000 CBP inspectors and 11,000 Border Patrol agents, CBP has 29,000 uniformed officers on our borders.
The Border Patrol is continuing installation of monitoring devices along the borders to detect illegal activity.
Launched Operation Tarmac to investigate businesses and workers in the secure areas of domestic airports and ensure immigration law compliance. Since 9/11, DHS has audited 3,640 businesses, examined 259,037 employee records, arrested 1,030 unauthorized workers, and participated in the criminal indictment of 774 individuals.
Since September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard has conducted more than 124,000 port security patrols, 13,000 air patrols, boarded more than 92,000 vessels, interdicted over 14,000 individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally, and created and maintained more than 90 Maritime Security Zones.
Announced the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an internet-based system that is improving America's ability to track and monitor foreign students and exchange visitors. Over 870,000 students are registered in SEVIS. Of 285 completed field investigations, 71 aliens were arrested.
This week, the US-VISIT program began to digitally collect biometric identifiers to record the entry and exit of aliens who travel into the U.S on a visa. Together with the standard information, this new program will confirm compliance with visa and immigration policies.
Eliminated INS bureaucratic redundancies and lack of accountability.
Split the Immigration and Naturalization Service into two agencies: one to protect the border and interior, the other to deal with naturalization.
Signed the workplace verification bill to prevent hiring of illegal aliens.
Established a six-month deadline for processing immigration applications.
Information regarding nearly 100% of all containerized cargo is carefully screened by DHS before it arrives in the United States. Higher risk shipments are physically inspected for terrorist weapons and contraband prior to being released from the port of entry. Advanced technologies are being deployed to identify warning signs of chemical, biological, or radiological attacks. Since September 11, 2001, hundreds of thousands of first responders across America have been trained to recognize and respond to the effects of a WMD attack.
Judiciary & Tort Reform
Is urging federal liability reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits.
Killed the liberal ABA's unconstitutional role in vetting federal judges. The Senate is supposed to advise and consent, not the ABA.
Is nominating strong, conservative judges to the judiciary.
Supports class action reform bill which limits lawyer fees so that more settlement money goes to victims.
His leadership resulted in Republican gains in the House and Senate, solidifying Republican control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.
Signed an EO enforcing the Supreme Court's Beck decision regarding union dues being used for political campaigns against individual's wishes.
Ordered Attorney General Ashcroft to formally notify the Supreme Court that the OFFICIAL U.S. government position on the 2nd Amendment is that it supports INDIVIDUAL rights to own firearms, and is NOT a Leftist-imagined "collective" right.
Signed TWO bills into law that arm our pilots with handguns in the cockpit.
Currently pushing for full immunity from lawsuits for our national gun manufacturers.
*See Globalization & Internationalism.
Traditional Values, Compassion & Volunteerism
Endorses and promotes "The Responsibility Era." President Bush often speaks of the necessity of personal responsibility and civic volunteerism. He said, "In a compassionate society, people respect one another and take responsibility for the decisions they make in life. My hope is to change the culture from one that has said, if it feels good, do it; if you've got a problem, blame somebody else to one in which every single American understands that he or she is responsible for the decisions that you make; you're responsible for loving your children with all your heart and all your soul; you're responsible for being involved with the quality of the education of your children; you're responsible for making sure the community in which you live is safe; you're responsible for loving your neighbor, just like you would like to be loved yourself."
Started the USA Freedom Corps, the most comprehensive clearinghouse of volunteer opportunities ever offered. For the first time in history, Americans can enter geographic information about where they want to get involved, such as state or zip code, as well as areas of interest ranging from education to the environment, and they can access volunteer opportunities offered by more than 50,000 organizations across the country and around the world.
Established the The White House Office and the Centers for the Faith-Based and Community Initiative located in seven Federal agencies. The faith-based initiative supports the essential work of these important organizations. The goal is to make sure that grassroots leaders can compete on an equal footing for federal dollars, receive greater private support, and face fewer bureaucratic barriers. Work focuses on at-risk youth, ex-offenders, the homeless and hungry, substance abusers, those with HIV/AIDS, and welfare-to-work families.
The White House released a guidebook fully describing the Administration's belief that faith-based groups have a Constitutionally-protected right to maintain their religious identity through hiring even when Federal funds are involved.
Issued an EO implementing the Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling, which requires moving disabled people from institutions to community-based facilities when possible.
Increased funding for low-interest loan programs to help people with disabilities purchase devices to assist them.
Revised the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 rent subsidies to disabled people, permitting them to use up to a year's worth of vouchers to finance down payments on homes. HUD has started pilot programs in 11 states.
Committed US funds to purchase medicine for millions of men, women and children now suffering with AIDS in Africa.
Heeding the words of our own Declaration of Independence, the president laid out the non-negotiable demands of human dignity for all people everywhere. On January 29, 2002, he said, "No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture. But America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity." As stated by the President, they are a virtual manifesto of conservative principles: