President Obama's Promises: A Look Back at the 2009 Address to Congress

Obama, to channel the populist anger against Wall Street, is stepping up the push against banks. In his budget proposal, Obama will promise a tax on 50 of the top financial firms to be in place for 10 years, or as long as it takes to raise the full amount necessary to cover the taxpayer losses under TARP.

Congress is also reportedly crafting a plan with the leftover money from TARP to assist small businesses. But lawmakers have yet to finalize a bill -- as Obama asked last year -- on regulatory overhaul. The House passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 in December but the Senate has yet to act on it.


Reducing the U.S. dependence on foreign oil and making the nation a leader in clean, renewable energy was a key message of Obama's address last year. In his one-year presidency, the president has pushed the international community on setting and meeting climate-change goals. Even the Nobel Peace Prize Committee praised Obama's work in this arena after awarding him the prestigious prize last year.

But on the international front, Obama's efforts have yet to yield any concrete results. The president attended the United Nations Climate Change summit in Copenhagen in December with the hope of pushing nations to agree on a legally binding global treaty to reduce emissions. But with China unwilling to cooperate on the issue of transparency, that effort only ended in a nonbinding accord.

On the domestic front, movement in Congress has been slow and difficult. The House narrowly passed climate change legislation in June, but the fate of the bill in the Senate hangs in the balance amid opposition from several key Republicans and private heavyweight groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Senate bill calls for more stringent caps on emissions than even Obama or the House had suggested.

The president also promised more investment in the country's energy infrastructure.

"Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation's supply of renewable energy in the next three years," the then newly minted president said. "We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills."

In December, the president touted the development in this area, saying that with investments made under the stimulus, the administration is on pace to upgrade the homes of half-a-million Americans by this time next year.

Health Care

Amid all the big-ticket items on his agenda, health care is probably the topic that has garnered the most controversy. Obama presented last year few concrete proposals except to promote the modernizing of the country's health care system.

"Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold. We can't afford to do it. It's time," Obama said. "It's a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come."

Despite his promise to keep the negotiations transparent and bipartisan, the president and Democratic lawmakers have had little success in reaching those goals. With Republican Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts last week, the fate of the health care legislation looks hazy, at best.

The president predicted last year that negotiations on this front wouldn't be easy.

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