The Obama administration set its 2010 immigration reform agenda on November 14, 2009 when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano delivered a speech in which she described the President's "Three-legged Stool" approach to immigration reform, which includes:
- effective enforcement,
- improved legal/approval processes for workers and employers, and
- a "firm but fair way to deal with those who are already here."
On November 7, 2009 by a vote of 220 to 215, the House passed health reform which included a watered-down public plan option, and the Stupak amendment, which restricts womens' access to all abortions if coverage is purchased through a government exchange.
On December 24, 2009 by a party-line vote of 60 to 39, the Senate passed health reform which excluded any public or Medicare-like option, but contained less restrictive language on funding of abortions.
A Congressional conference committee must reconcile the two bills into one package that can survive another vote by both the House and Senate, which will than be signed into law by President Obama.
Not included in his speech were answers to such questions as:
- How is the U.S. supposed to tamp down terrorism in 18 months, a goal the U.S. has failed to accomplish in eight years? What will be different, new, and finally effective?
- How does the President propose to pay for his Afghan War initiative, which he vaguely estimated "is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion for the military this year... "?
- What is the exit plan for U.S. occupation of Afghanistan?
The U.S. continues to spend $7.3 billion monthly on the Iraq War in support of more than 100,000 U.S. troops who remain stationed in Iraq.
And in 2010, the U.S. continues to send soldiers and National Guardsman to Iraq for tours of duty lasting one year or longer.
The Obama administration insists that plans are largely on-track to withdraw from Iraq ... but deadlines have slipped before. Many times.
But some centrist Democrats have asked President Obama "to give up... on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill" before the 2010 elections. And Republicans want to entirely kill climate change legislation.
Liberals can't allow that to happen: climate change is too urgent to ignore.