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First 100 days

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Within minutes of taking the oath of office on January 20, Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, issued an order suspending last-minute regulations and executive orders signed by outgoing President George W. Bush. Some of the first actions of Obama's presidency focused on reversing measures taken by the Bush administration following the September 11 attacks. In his first week in office, Obama signed Executive Order 13492 suspending all ongoing proceedings of the Guantanamo military commissions and ordering the Guantanamo detention facility to be shut down within the year. Another order, Executive Order 13491, banned torture and other coercive techniques, such as waterboarding. Obama also issued an executive order placing tighter restrictions on lobbying in the White House, and rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which banned federal grants to international groups that provide abortion services or counseling.

On January 29, Obama signed a bill for the first time in his presidency; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 revised the statute of limitations for filing pay discrimination lawsuits. On February 3, he signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIP), expanding CHIP's health care coverage from 7 million children to 11 million children. On March 9, 2009, Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Obama stated that, like Bush, he would employ signing statements if he deems a portion of a bill to be unconstitutional, and he subsequently issued several signing statements. Obama also signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which added 2 million acres of land to the National Wilderness Preservation System, as well as a law raising the cigarette pack tax by 62 cents,

Perhaps the most important action of Obama's first 100 days was the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to address the Great Recession. After much debate, ARRA was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009. Originally intended to be a bipartisan bill, Congressional passage of the bill relied largely on Democratic votes, though three Republican Senators did vote for it. The lack of Republican support for the bill, and the inability of Democrats to win that support, foreshadowed the gridlock and partisanship that continued throughout Obama's presidency. The $787 billion bill combined tax breaks with spending on infrastructure projects, extension of welfare benefits, and education.


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