Here are some more of Obama’s most recent actions, how they fit into his legacy, and how they might be viewed by the President-elect.
But he’s not finished just yet. Already an avid user of his presidential clemency powers, Obama is expected to hand down additional grants on Thursday to non-violent drug offenders, who sentences he’s been commuting at a rapid pace as he prepares to depart office.
Wet foot, dry foot
Prominent Cuban-American lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, blasted the move. But administration officials said it was a natural extension of Obama’s reopening of ties to Cuba, the future of which remains uncertain in a Trump administration.
Appointments and nominations
“Even if they are not confirmed for the position that they’ve been nominated for, there may be future opportunities in a similar area where they could continue to serve the United States,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday.
Earnest conceded Tuesday the goal would remain elusive. But he suggested the transfers wouldn’t stop.
“At this time, I don’t anticipate that we will succeed in that goal of closing the prison, but it’s not for a lack of trying, I assure you,” Earnest said. “The possibility of additional transfers remains a possibility.”
As his term wraps up, Obama is considering a final policy shift forcing hundreds of school districts to cut spending at well-financed elementary and secondary schools and move nearly $1 billion dollars to schools with large numbers of low-income students. The policy, written by the Education Department, is under review by the White House budget office and has drawn fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers and school administrators.
It was first proposed in September, but the department appears to have rushed to adopt it since Trump won the presidential election. Adopting the regulation before Friday at noon would bind the incoming Trump administration unless Congress overturns it.
Making last-minute use of his conservation powers, Obama designated a set of landmarks in the American South as national monuments last week.
The sites all mark the civil rights movement: A Birmingham hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. strategized, an Alabama monument to the Freedom Riders, and a South Carolina site that tells the story of reconstruction. Obama has used his unilateral powers under the Antiquities Act to preserve land and marine areas from around the Pacific island of Midway to undersea mountain ranges in the Atlantic.
CNN’s Thomas Frank contributed to this report.