SEN. BARACK OBAMA, 2005-present
• Collaborated with Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in 2006 to pass a law (PL 109-282) creating a Google-like database of federal contracts and grants allowing users to type in key words that would bring up exactly how much money any particular recipient received.
• With then-Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., won enactment of a 2006 law (PL 109-401) that allowed the United States to export nuclear fuel, technology and reactors to India for the first time in three decades. The law accepted India as a nuclear-armed power and was enacted despite concerns about India’s ties to Iran and past sanctions for transferring sensitive equipment to Iran.
• Chief sponsor of legislation signed into law in 2006 (PL 109-456) that authorized a 25 percent increase in U.S. assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been ravaged by civil wars since its independence from Belgium in 1960 and which received $33-million in fiscal 2006. The law called for a special envoy to help mediate an end to the conflict there and urged the Bush administration to strengthen the United Nations peacekeeping force now operating in parts of the nation.
• Co-sponsored legislation by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., signed into law in 2007 (PL 110-175) that speeds the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act by revising requirements for federal agency disclosures of requested information.
• Played a significant role in the 2007 overhaul of congressional lobbying and ethics rules. Sided with Republicans who wanted stronger rules for the disclosure of earmarks in spending bills and tried to set an example by releasing a lengthy list of requests he asked to be included in annual appropriations bills. His support is believed to have persuaded some other Democrats (there were nine total) to adopt the amendment.
• With Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., proposed requiring senators to make full reimbursement for the market rate of corporate jet flights. Under old rules, senators reimbursed for the first-class commercial rate of the flight. In some cases, that meant paying $2,000 for a private jet flight that actually may have cost upwards of $20,000 per seat. The proposal was incorporated into a broader package of reforms.
Number of bills sponsored: 272
Number of bills co-sponsored: 834
Number of bills sponsored or co-sponsored that became law: 16