With the end of his term just one year away and a Congress that is majority Republican, some might say President Obama is a lame duck, but according to Washington insiders he isn’t planning on phoning it in his last year as Commander-In-Chief. Here are just a few things, the president hopes to get done in 2016.
Criminal justice reform
It’s a well-known fact that the rate of incarceration in the United State far outstrips that of every other developed nation. As Hillary Clinton pointed out this summer, the U.S. is home to just 5 percent of the world’s population, and yet claims 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population.
A major driver behind that grim statistic is the systematic incarceration of low-level drug offenders, people who might abuse or sell drugs, but that have never committed a violent crime. So, for 2016, President Obama hopes to continue making progress on that front and is actively working to get both houses of Congress to pass a bill that would reduce the sentences of convicted low-level criminals and give judges more leeway to create punishments that fit the crimes of those who find themselves in court.
Outside the U.S., President Obama also hopes to shut down Guantanamo Bay, the notorious, high security detention center that currently houses 170 prisoners, some of whom are suspected or confirmed terrorists.
Over the summer, President Obama made headlines when he stopped by the garage of comedian and radio personality Marc Maron for a candid interview on the latter’s WTF with Marc Maron podcast. After talking briefly about his relationship with race and politics, the president took some to touch on his frustration with the current state of gun control.
“There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely,” Obama told Maron, touching on the ongoing string of mass shootings. “One of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic common sense gun safety laws. Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal. This is something that we can change and we’re going to change it.’”
Despite his largely pessimistic view on the matter, President Obama still hopes to affect some change before he leaves office. According to CBS, the president is expected to institute an executive action—circumventing Congress entirely—sometime next week. One of the measures passed may make it more difficult for gun collectors, who often sell from their personal stock, to sell as individuals and without background checks. Instead, they’ll be forced to register as gun sellers, meaning mandatory background checks for all interested buyers.
Put another Democrat in the White House
While the President has yet to voice support for any of the three candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the presidential race, he will vigorously support whomever gets the nomination from the Democratic National Committee (even if all three candidates do not support his bid to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trading agreement).
“I will campaign very hard to make that happen—for a whole variety of reasons—because they’re far more likely to share my fundamental vision about where America should go,” President Obama said in his year-end press conference.
Here’s hoping the President can follow through on his resolutions. It’s no easy task, after all.
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