As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Obama has fought to strengthen America's position in the world. Reaching across the aisle, Obama has tackled problems such as preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and stopping the genocide in Darfur.
Before the war in Iraq ever started, Senator Obama said that it was wrong in its conception. In 2002, then Illinois State Senator Obama said Saddam Hussein posed no imminent threat to the United States and that invasion would lead to an occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. Since then, Senator Obama has laid out a plan on the way forward in Iraq that has largely been affirmed by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton.
Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has been a leader in fighting for open and honest government. As a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal. In a politically charged election year, Obama acknowledged that corruption was a problem that plagued both political parties. He subsequently enlisted the help of Republican allies to limit lobbyist influence, shine sunlight into the earmarks process and promote open government.
Senator Obama has been a leader in the Senate in pushing for a comprehensive national energy policy and has introduced a number of bills to get us closer to the goal of energy independence. By putting aside partisan battles, he has found common ground on CAFE, renewable fuels, and clean coal.
Honoring Our Veterans
As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Obama is committed to helping the heroes who defend our nation today and the veterans who fought in years past. A grandson of a World War II veteran who went to college on the G.I. Bill, Senator Obama has reached out to Republicans and Democrats in order to honor our commitment to America's veterans.
We are failing too many of our children in public schools. Right now, six million middle and high school students read at levels significantly below their grade level. Unfortunately, the debate in Washington has been narrowed: either we need to pour more money into the system, or we need to reform it with more tests and standards. Senator Obama has worked on bills that cut through this false choice and recognize that good schools will require both structural reform and resources.
The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet more than 46 million Americans have no health insurance. Too many hard-working Americans cannot afford their medical bills, and health-related issues are the number one cause for personal bankruptcy. Promoting affordable, accessible, and high-quality health care is a priority for Senator Obama.
Five years after 9/11, our country is still unprepared for a terrorist attack. From improving security for our transit systems and chemical plants, to increasing cargo screening in our airports and seaports, the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission have been underfunded and ignored. The 9/11 Commission gave the government five F's and 12 D's on the implementation of its recommendations. Senator Obama is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and has supported efforts to base homeland security spending on risk rather than pork-barrel politics. He has also introduced legislation to strength chemical plant and drinking water security and to enhance disaster preparedness.
Strong families raise successful children and keep communities together. While Senator Obama does not believe that we can simply legislate healthy families, good parenting skills or economic success, he does believe we can eliminate roadblocks that parents face and provide tools to help them succeed. A husband and father of two, Senator Obama has promoted strong families in the Senate.
There is no more fundamental American right than the right to vote. Before the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, barriers such as literacy tests, poll taxes and property requirements disenfranchised many Americans, especially minorities. More than 40 years later, there are still numerous obstacles to ensuring that every citizen has the ability to vote.