Obama Says Post-Election Period “Most Productive in Decades”


obama1President Barack Obama on Wednesday hailed major legislation passed by Congress in the lame-duck session and said the progress showed “we’re not doomed to endless gridlock.”

At a year-end news conference before leaving town for his delayed holiday, Obama emphasized the achievements of his administration and the Democratic-led Congress while also acknowledging that tough issues still face the nation in the coming year.

Obama later departed for Hawaii to join the first family for the holidays, and both the Senate and House adjourned for the year. A new Congress with Republicans controlling the House and holding a stronger minority in the Senate convenes on January 5, 2011.

During his departure, Obama decided to surprise the White House press corps. While walking from the Oval Office to the presidential Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House, the president made a turn and then walked over to reporters, producers and crews and shook as many of their hands as possible.

He wished the startled and shivering members of the press, who had been waiting for nearly half an hour in the cold, a happy holidays and asked if anyone was coming with him to Hawaii.

It was an unprecedented move for the president. While he always waves goodbye and sometimes will shake hands with visitors who line up to watch his departure, he has never “worked the rope line” for those who cover him every day.

Obama, carrying what appeared to be a card in his hand, seemed enthusiastic as he handed out holiday greetings.

During his news conference, Obama said, “I think it’s fair to say that this has been the most productive post-election period we’ve had in decades, and it comes on the heels of the most productive two years that we’ve had in generations.”

He later added: “If there’s any lesson to draw from these past few weeks, it’s that we are not doomed to endless gridlock. We’ve shown in the wake of the November elections that we have the capacity not only to make progress, but to make progress together.”

Since the November 2 congressional elections that Obama labeled a “shellacking” for himself and Democrats, Congress has passed a series of bills on major issues that appeared mired in legislative stalemate.

Those included a compromise worked out by Obama and Senate Republican leaders to extend Bush-era tax cuts to everyone for two more years while also extending unemployment benefits for 13 months and reducing the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year, all intended to bolster the slow recovery from economic recession.

Earlier Wednesday, Obama signed a bill repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans openly toeivah soldiers from the military, and the Senate approved a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia. In addition, both the House and Senate passed a bill to provide medial treatment and compensation to first responders of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack in New York, and both chambers agreed on a resolution authorizing government funding through March 4.

Obama called the lame-duck session “a season of progress for the American people” that reflected the message voters sent in November for Democrats and Republicans to work together.

At the same time, Obama said, deep ideological differences exist and he said that he expects “a robust debate” on government spending and deficit reduction when a new Congress convenes in January, with Republicans in control of the House and holding a stronger minority in the Senate.

Obama also cited issues left unresolved, mentioning the failure by Congress to pass an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children as “maybe my biggest disappointment.”

Most of his comments were in praise of the accomplishments of the final days of the congressional session, in which legislators and Obama stayed in Washington five days longer than planned to wrap up work on several major issues.

Obama praised the Senate’s passage of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, early Wednesday, calling it “the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades.”

He also said the tax and benefits deal negotiated with Senate Republicans “will make a difference for millions of students and parents and workers, and for people still looking for work.”

“What we’ve shown is we don’t have to agree on 100 percent to get things done that enhance the lives of families all across America,” Obama said.

{CNN /Matzav.com}


  1. If the President cared about productivity, why’d he waste the last two years on these issues and swing into action in the eleventh hour?

  2. Good question Fresser:
    The first reason is that obama tried to extend current tax rates for 98% of the population without contnuing lesser ones to the top 2% of income earners
    the second reason is that it took two years of engagement and work and diplomacy to iron out the third reason is that the next part of the Start Treaty took until now to work out and present to the Senate and the republicans were blocking it for a while
    The 4th reason is that the republicans blocked the unemployment extension until now
    and the list goes on and on

  3. Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Shemos
    Time: 3:56 PM Pacific Standard Time

    The ramming through of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, etc.” thingy was certainly NOT any kind of productive thing at all!

    First of all, the presentation of whole issue was very deceptive. Over and over the media kept reporting on: “The repeal of the ban on (Toeiva people) serving openly in the military.” The way that they quickly said the word “openly” would cause that it would not register in the mind of the listener; the listener would thus think that the sentence was simply: “The repeal of the ban on (Toeiva people) serving in the military.” In other words, here are these “poor” “nice” Toeiva people who want to do the noble deed of serving their country, but (because of anti-Toeiva bias) they are being discriminated against as they are not being allowed in the military! Ooooo! Ooooo! Ooooo!

    This was one big thick lie!!

    The Toeiva people WERE being allowed in the military!!

    I repeat: The Toeiva people WERE being allowed in the military!!

    In earlier times, the — official — policy of the US military was to not allow Toeiva people. However, in 1993, William Jefferson (“Bill”) Clinton became the President. He was strongly for Toeiva rights, and thus one of the first items he did was to demand that the military liberalize that policy. There was strong opposition though, to Mr. Clinton’s request. Finally, the Congress and the President agreed on a middle ground compromise; it was called: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    This meant that, in effect, we are saying to a Toeiva guy: “OK, we WILL let you come into our military, but — er uh, please, uh — keep it quiet, keep it to yourself!” Let us say that again: We are saying to a Toeiva guy: “OK, we WILL let you come into our military; we will not pry into your personal life, we will not ‘ask’ you about it!” Thus we have the directive of “Don’t Ask.” At the same time though, we are also saying to a Toeiva guy, “OK we will let you in, but please, keep it quiet, keep it to yourself, DO NOT ‘tell’ anyone here about it!” Thus we also have the rule of “Don’t Tell.” Thus, the new policy was: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; in short, it said to the Toeiva guy: “We won’t ask you, but, please, you don’t tell us (or anyone else)!”

    So, for several years, this was the policy. Of course though, the wicked are never satisfied, and thus the Toeiva people and their supporters and other extreme liberals claimed that this Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell thing was ALSO discrimination! They wanted that not only should a Toeiva guy be allowed in the military, but he should also be allowed to come in and openly blab about his depraved business to everyone!

    Of course, as Torah Jews, we well know that the Torah tells us (in Vaiyikra/Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 22) that Toeiva is a very terrible thing. We further know that for Toeiva people to be in the military in any form is an even more very terrible thing. For the Torah states (in Devarim/Deuteronomy, chapter 23, verse 15) that HaShem gave Klall Yisroel in the Midbar strict instructions regarding the standards for their marching camp:

    “For the Lord, your G-D, goes along in the midst of your camp, to rescue you and to deliver your enemies before you. [Therefore,] your camp shall be holy, so that He should not see anything unseemly among you and would turn away from you.” (Translation from http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/9987)

    This should certainly provide a powerful message to all countries to think about having high standards for their armed camps and to try to avoid the various corruptions that often come in military environments.

    So the Toeiva thing, which is one of the very worst personal corruptions, is certainly something that is “unseemly,” and should certainly not be allowed in a country’s armed forces.