On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law landmark health reform legislation following contentious national debate on finding solutions to the nation's healthcare system..
On August 5, 2010, the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan, 63-37, making her the fourth woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the late evening on May 1, 2011, President Obama announced to the world that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan during a military operation conducted by the United States.
At the eleventh hour on August 2, 2011, Congress and the President reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and avoid government default. Less than one week later, Standard & Poor downgraded the United States' credit rating.
A willingness to compromise ultimately proved successful in landing this Coast Guard reauthorization bill on the president's desk. After some 13 months of legislative activity, the bill will help to better define the Coast Guard's role following a decade of signficant changes.
Following passage of a Senate bill to provide recovery funds to states devastated by Hurricane Sandy, House Speaker John Boehner incensed some lawmakers when he decided to put off House action until 2013. With some members of his own party strongly, and publicly, criticizing his actions, this episode illustrated the difficult balancing act Boehner faced in 2012.
Spurred by a 2012 outbreak of meningitis originating at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, Congress passed legislation in 2013 giving the FDA more regulatory oversight. The oversight extends not only to compounding pharmacies but also to the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate to become chairwoman of the Federal Reserve. The 56-26 vote was the narrowest margin in history for the position.
A significant compromise was reached in 2014 on a farm bill that reduced subsidies as well as nutrition programs.
Despite strong House support, the Senate ended up one vote short of approving the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
In August 2015 Cuba and the U.S. reopened their respective embassies in Washington and Havana for the first time in 54 years. Neither attempts to restrict normalization of relations nor efforts to boost travel and trade ultimately amounted to much in the Senate.
Despite persistent calls by President Obama to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the facility remained open in 2015. A defense bill signed by the president in 2015 prohibited the transfer of detainees to certain African and Middle Eastern countries and the United States.
After voters in state-level elections across the country overwhelming favored labeling of genetically engineered food and beverages, Congress passed a bill prohibiting states from passing mandatory labeling laws. With support from the food industry, the bill nullified a GMO-labeling law in Vermont, and instead sought to establish a national labeling standard.