With 132 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes left till he’s out of office, Barack Obama will not be coasting-by before waving good bye to the house “built by slaves” aka The White House. As Capitol Hill comes back into session from recess the President has a lot of unfinished business to attend to in order to complete his legacy as the 44th President of these United States. Here are 3 things Obama will have to manage before he leaves office
1) As the country prepares to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the September 9/11 bombings, President Obama has to decide if he will veto legislation that allows 9/11 victims to sue the country of Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 bombings of the world trade center. After it was discovered that the fifteen of nineteen assailants responsible for the 9/11 attacks were Saudi Arabian citizens, victims families have held the middle eastern nation responsible. After 9/11, Congress revised a bill that made it possible for the U.S. federal court “to permit civil claims against a foreign state or official for injuries, death or damages from an act of international terrorism”. President Obama has gone on record saying the bill could “both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and also lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. Citizens.” The bill currently has bipartisan support in Congress and is likely to pass when voted on, if the President were to veto it, congress will most likely override his veto by gaining 2/3 majority. The White House has tried, quietly, to kill the bill to no avail, even Democratic Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton supports the bill. The Saudis have also tried to lobby against the bill and have warned to “sell off hundreds of billion of dollars in American assets in order to protect them from being frozen by court rulings”. The President is in a sticky situation because if he vetoes the bill he sides with the Saudis and will most likely seen in a negative light before leaving office, if he doesn’t veto the bill he risks compromising the partnership of the United States’ biggest ally in the middle east.
2) Criminal Justice reform is one of the biggest issues this nations has been plagued with for decades. With more and more attention being given to this issues it has come to the forefront for the President and lawmakers on capitol hill. Since 2014 President Obama has attempted to take the issue on using executive powers, he has commuted more than 673 sentences for nonviolent offenders who have been in prison for more than 10 years, which is more than any president has done since John F Kennedy. With 11,477 commutations petitions left, the president is racing against time to grant commutations. Donald Trump has made it clear that his policy on Criminal Justice policy is “Law&Order”, he will be less likely to grant commutations as President Obama is doing, according to him “Every single one of them will be back selling drugs…it’ll be very rare for one that doesn’t”. Although Hilary Clinton believes in massive criminal justice reform, her stance on commutation is unclear.
3) Passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement has been one of the most important tasks of President Barack Obama’s 2nd term in office. The trade agreement took about 7 years to be negotiated by 8 other countries and has drawn some significant scrutiny on both isles. of the U.S. congress During the Democratic Convention many delegates and democratic supporters held anti-TPP signs. Within the Democratic party this trade agreement has been seen as the most vile of all trade agreements, lack of support for this bill grew so fast that it forced Hilary Clinton’s campaign to oppose it, even her running mate, Tim Kaine, who has gone on record supporting this bill has said he now doesn’t support it. The Senate has the final say because of their ability to pass trade bills, are still very unsure of the trade agreement and are reluctant to pass it while Obama is still in office, for the sake of his legacy, the President hopes the bill can pass through the Senate.