This federal holiday recognizes the legacy of all U.S. presidents. George Washington’s actual birthday was February 22.
44th President of the United States
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President took place on January 20, 2009. In his first few days in office, Obama issued executive orders and presidential memoranda directing the U.S. military to develop plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. He ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but Congress prevented the closure by refusing to appropriate the required funds. Obama reduced the secrecy given to presidential records. He also revoked President George W. Bush’s restoration of President Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Policy prohibiting federal aid to international family planning organizations that perform or provide counseling about abortion.
The first bill signed into law by Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, relaxing the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits. Five days later, he signed the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover an additional 4 million uninsured children. In March 2009, Obama reversed a Bush-era policy which had limited funding of embryonic stem cell research and pledged to develop “strict guidelines” on the research.
Obama appointed two women to serve on the Supreme Court in the first two years of his Presidency. Sonia Sotomayor, nominated by Obama on May 26, 2009, to replace retiring Associate Justice David Souter, was confirmed on August 6, 2009, becoming the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.
September 30, 2009, the Obama administration proposed new regulations on power plants, factories and oil refineries in an attempt to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to curb global warming.
October 8, 2009, Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a measure that expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
March 30, 2010, Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, a reconciliation bill which ends the process of the federal government giving subsidies to private banks to give out federally insured loans, increases the Pell Grant scholarship award, and makes changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
December 22, 2010, Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, fulfilling a key promise made in the 2008 presidential campaign to end the Don’t ask, don’t tell policy of 1993 that had prevented gay and lesbian people from serving openly in the United States Armed Forces.
February 17, 2009, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion economic stimulus package aimed at helping the economy recover from the deepening worldwide recession.
March, Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, took further steps to manage the financial crisis, including introducing the Public-Private Investment Program for Legacy Assets, which contains provisions for buying up to two trillion dollars in depreciated real estate assets.
As it did throughout 2008, the unemployment rate rose in 2009, reaching a peak in October at 10.0% and averaging 10.0% in the fourth quarter and by November 2012, the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama#Presidency)
GDP growth returned in the third quarter of 2009, expanding at a rate of 1.6%, followed by a 5.0% increase in the fourth quarter. Growth continued in 2010, posting an increase of 3.7% in the first quarter, with lesser gains throughout the rest of the year. (Source: http://goo.gl/TxeE9)
“From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2012, the deficit shrank 3.1 percentage points, from 10.1% to 7.0% of GDP,” reports Investors Business Daily, citing figures from the Congressional Budget Office. IBD notes that that larger-than-expected returns from bank bailouts, slowing growth in Medicare costs, the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the $900 billion in already enacted Budget Control Act cuts also helped curb the deficit. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama#Presidency)