In his nationally syndicated column, echoing Rush Limbaugh's assertion that "if you look" at Sen. Barack Obama's legislative record, "you won't find a Senate bill with this name on it," Cal Thomas wrote that Obama has "no legislation he can point to that has his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of a bill in the 109th Congress to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo," signed into law by President Bush in December 2006, was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and has so far introduced 55 bills in the current session of Congress.
In his January 10 column, nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has "no legislation he can point to that has his name on it." Thomas' assertion echoes one made by nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh on January 7, when he falsely claimed that if "you look at" Obama's legislative record, "you won't find a Senate bill with his name on it." In fact, Obama was the primary sponsor of the ''Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2005" (S.2125) in the 109th Congress, signed into law by President Bush on December 22, 2006. The bill sought to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo."
Obama was also a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S.2590) in the 109th Congress, which sought to "require full disclosure of all entities and organizations receiving Federal funds" -- an amount that approximately totals $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans. While signing the bill into law on September 26, 2006, Bush recognized Obama as a sponsor of the legislation, saying, "I want to thank the bill sponsors, Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, Tom Carper from Delaware, and Barack Obama from Illinois." Moreover, in a press release upon Senate passage of the bill, the bill's primary sponsor, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), referred to the legislation as the "Coburn-Obama Bill." Indeed, media reports have even referred to the bill as the "Coburn-Obama" legislation or bill.
In the 110th Congress, Obama has so far been the primary sponsor of 55 bills, including:
- The Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act of 2007 (S.117), "to improve benefits and services for members of the Armed Forces, veterans of the Global War on Terrorism, and other veterans, to require reports on the effects of the Global War on Terrorism."
- The American Fuels Act of 2007 (S.133), "to promote the national security and stability of the economy of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on oil through the use of alternative fuels and new technology."
- The Voter Advocate and Democracy Index Act of 2007 (S.737), "to measure, compare, and improve the quality of voter access to polls and voter services in the administration of Federal elections in the States."
- The STOP FRAUD Act (S.1222), "to stop mortgage transactions which operate to promote fraud, risk, abuse, and under-development."
- The Nuclear Weapons Threat Reduction Act of 2007 (S.1977), "to provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology."
Thomas' column is syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services. According to the Media Matters for America 2007 report, "Black and White and Re(a)d All Over: The Conservative Advantage in Syndicated Op-Ed Columns," 346 newspapers carry Thomas' syndicated column at least once a month, 306 of which carry Thomas' column every week or almost every week.
From Thomas' January 10 column:
I admire Obama's rhetoric about changing the tone in Washington and seeking consensus to overcome corrosive polarization. But consensus requires compromise. On which of his liberal positions would Obama compromise? Abortion? Taxes? Growing government? He hasn't said. Maybe if he gets the nomination he will. One plays to one's base (in his case a very liberal base) during primary season and then races toward the middle after receiving the nomination.
Others before Obama have come to Washington with the announced intention of "changing the tone." No one changes Washington. Washington changes them. The Congress, of which Obama is now only a freshman member with no legislation he can point to that has his name on it, checks and balances legislation proposed by the chief executive. No president can dictate policy. Hillary Clinton failed in her attempt to impose universal health care on the country when a Democratic-majority Congress refused to go along.