Bush’s track record: Some hits, many misses


    A look at President Bush’s track record of major initiatives from his State of the Union addresses and a budget address in 2001:

    2001:
    Bush proposed one of the biggest tax cuts in history, a boost in
    spending for environmental protection and health research, and the “No
    Child Left Behind” education program. He also advocated a “faith-based
    initiative” to transfer some government social programs to religious
    and charitable organizations.

    Congress passed his tax cut plan
    and provided immediate rebates for most taxpayers. The education plan,
    which emphasized standardized testing for both students and schools,
    was enacted in 2002. When Congress did not pass the religious-based
    measure, Bush administratively put some of its elements into force.

    2002:
    After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush pledged to push the fight
    against terrorism beyond Afghanistan and warned of an “axis of evil”
    made up of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. He asked Congress to pass an
    energy bill to stimulate U.S. production, called for more fuel-cell
    research, and proposed restoring “fast track” trade negotiating powers
    that had lapsed.

    Congress in October gave the president the
    authorization he sought to use force in Iraq, if necessary. The energy
    bill languished and little was done on the fuel-cell initiative.
    Congress renewed presidential trade authority.

    2003: He proposed
    spending $15 billion to “turn the tide against AIDS,” particularly in
    Africa. He proposed a far-reaching Medicare prescription-drug benefit.

    The prescription drug measure was narrowly approved. Bush got only a fraction of the money he sought for combating AIDS.

    2004:
    Bush called on Congress to extend the Patriot Act, set to expire in
    2005. With the budget deficit mushrooming, the president proposed few
    new domestic initiatives. He backed a constitutional ban on same-sex
    marriages.

    The gay-marriage proposal flared briefly as a campaign issue, then receded. The Patriot Act was not extended.

    2005:
    Bush proposed restructuring Social Security to allow younger workers to
    divert some of their Social Security taxes into private investment
    accounts _ in exchange for lower future guaranteed benefits. He vowed
    to reform the tax code. He said his foreign-policy goal was to spread
    democracy through the world, beginning with the Middle East. He again
    asked for a Patriot Act extension.

    Most remaining congressional
    interest in the Social Security plan was washed away after Hurricane
    Katrina and its soaring reconstruction costs. Bush’s tax-code overhaul
    still awaits recommendations from the Treasury. Bush claimed victories
    on bills limiting multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuits and
    tightening bankruptcy rules. He narrowly got a Central American trade
    agreement and finally saw passage of his energy bill, although without
    the Alaska drilling provisions he wanted. Congress extended the Patriot
    Act _ but only to Feb. 3.