2001: Bush passes the Authorization for Use of Military Force
In the aftermath of 9/11, the president signed legislation authorizing the use of federal forces against the terrorist group ISIS. It has since led to military deployment in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, the Philippines, and Ethiopia.
2002: Bush enacts the Homeland Security Act
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Republican president Bush and Congress passed the Homeland Security Act, which made sweeping, dramatic changes to national security. It introduced the biggest changes to federal security measures since the Department of Defense was originally established in 1947.
2003: Bush joins allied forces in invading Iraq
The president teamed up with U.S. allies like Australia and the U.K. and began aggressively bombing Iraq through the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign. Their mission was to find and destroy Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, but no such weapons were ever found.
2005: John Roberts becomes the country’s 17th Chief Justice
The current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was nominated by President George W. Bush, and previously worked in roles like Associate Counsel to the President and Principal Deputy Solicitor General. He presided over major court cases like Shelby County v. Holder and King v. Burwell, and recently oversaw President Trump’s impeachment trial.
2006: Bush advocates for broader language education
The administration suggested spending $114 million on educational programs covering languages not ordinarily taught in American public schools. Some of these languages included Arabic, Persian, and Chinese.
2007: Bush orders a troop surge in Iraq
Announced during a presidential speech under the title “The New Way Forward,” the surge resulted in Bush sending an additional 20,000 soldiers to the war in Iraq. “Our troops have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods [...] And to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs,” he said.
2008: Sarah Palin becomes the first female Republican vice presidential candidate
When she became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate, Palin also became the first woman to ever become a Republican vice presidential nominee. However, the pair ultimately lost to Democratic nominee Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden.
2009: Republicans oppose the House’s healthcare reform bill
The year 2009 was marked by party disputes over a sweeping healthcare reform bill, which cost $1.2 trillion dollars and required that employers offer health insurance. Republicans emerged in staunch opposition, with Wisconsin’s Rep. Paul Ryan stating, “This is perhaps the worst bill I have seen come to the floor in my 11 years of Congress.”
2010: Republicans take the House
The party’s overwhelmingly successful campaign strategy focused on promises to combat many of President Obama’s recent policies, particularly his proposed regulation of Wall Street. Though Republicans only needed to unseat 39 Democrats to take back the House, they won a landslide victory of over 60 spots.