After eight years in office -and in the face of deep opposition – Barack Obama has managed to push through controversial laws and advance his policy agenda. Now, he’s defending those causes right to the end of his mandate.
His top priority was the reform of health insurance with the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare , which Donald Trump wants to repeal as soon as he takes office on 20 January.
On 4th January Obama made a rare and highly symbolic visit to Congress, to rally Democrats for what promises to be the first major fight of the Trump presidency.
It has been interpreted as a last push before his departure to try to save a reform that has given some 20 million people unprecedented access to health insurance.
We should be working to make health care a right not debating whether to take health care away from Americans. https://t.co/A3ywFOD1m8— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 9, 2017
A cold front
A few days before the end of the year, Barack Obama adopted measures expected in Russia.
On 29 December 2016, 35 Russian intelligence officers were expelled and two sites used by them in New York and the state of Maryland were closed.
Washington’s accusations have been followed by further measures against the Kremlin, including blacklists on key Putin allies and further sanctions.
A CIA report blaming Moscow for the hacking of Democratic Party officials’ emails during the presidential elections reinforced these moves.
Some of Obama’s last acts as President appear designed to hamper Trumps hopes of developing closer ties with Russia.
Although the Obama administration already ratified the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement (COP21) last September, Obama’s green agenda is not necessarily safe.
Republicans have threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement and revoke environmental measures. At least 35 such measures were enforced using executive power and Trump will be able to erase them all with the stroke of a pen and without congressional approval.
In a last ditch effort to put pressure on his successor, Barack Obama wrote an opinion column in the journal Science on Monday, 9th January. In it, he writes: “I remain convinced that no country is better suited to confront the climate challenge and reap the economic benefits of a low-carbon future than the United States.”