14 of Hillary Clinton's Major Accomplishments

An illustration of Hillary Clinton represents a headline that reads, "Hillary Clinton's Major Accomplishments," with text that reads, "First Lady: Spearheaded the Violence Against Women Act. Supported the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act. U.S. Senator: Worked with Republicans to get full military health benefits to National Guard members and reservists. Advocated for the ratification of the START treaty in 2010. Secretary of State: Headed drafting and negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Negotiated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in 2012."

ThoughtCo / Maritsa Patrinos

Hillary Clinton's accomplishments have been centered around health care, the military, and families, especially women and children. The first two affect the economy because health care and defense are the two biggest expenses in the federal budget. The combined costs of Medicare, Medicaid, and military spending are $1.757 trillion or 42% of total government spending. 

Key Takeaways

  • As First Lady, Hilary Clinton worked tirelessly to introduce legislation helping at risk populations
  • As a Senator, she helped give health benefits to the first responders of the 9/11 attacks and those serving in the National Guard.
  • As Secretary State was instrumental in getting the raid to go after Osama bin Laden approved.

First Lady

  1. Hillary chaired the Task Force on Health Care Reform that drafted the 1993 Health Security Act. Although Congress didn't pass it, it laid the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act. It also cleared the way for the Children's Health Insurance Program. She worked with Senators Edward Kennedy and Orrin Hatch who sponsored the bill. It received $24 billion, paid for by a 15-cent tax on cigarettes. She added $1 billion for an outreach program to help states publicize the program and sign up recipients. It provides health care to more than eight million children. 
  2. In 1994, she championed the Violence Against Women Act. That provides financial and technical assistance to states to help them develop programs that stop domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In 1995, she also helped create the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women. 
  3. She supported the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act. Representative Nancy Johnson, a Republican, sponsored the bill. It facilitates the adoption of foster children. It also allows states and local agencies greater flexibility on how to spend federal funds. 
  4. She lobbied Congress for the 1999 Foster Care Independence Act. Senators John Chafee, R-RI, and Tom DeIay, R-TX, sponsored the bill. The Act almost doubled federal spending for programs that help teenagers leave foster care after they turn 18. The programs help them complete their education, find jobs, and become self-sufficient.

U.S. Senator

  1. Urged ratification of the START treaty in 2010. The treaty limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 strategic deployed nuclear warheads. That's down from 2,200. It limits the number of deployed heavy nuclear bombers and missiles to 800. That's down from 1,600. Russia was already within those limits, but the United States was not. The treaty went into effect in 2011, will be fully implemented by 2018, and will remain in force until 2028. 
  2. Introduced the Pediatric Research Equity Act with Senator Mike DeWine, R-OH. This law requires drug companies to research how their products affect children. The Act changed drug labeling to disclose safety and dosage for children. That's lowered the danger of over-dosage for children with chronic diseases like epilepsy and asthma. 
  3. Worked with fellow New York Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer, to get $21 billion in federal aid to help New York rebuild after the 9/11 attacks. She wrote the bill to get health care coverage for 9/11 first responders. That included health research related to the attacks. The rescue operations forced many police and firefighters into early retirement with debilitating chronic injuries and illnesses. Her successor, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, got the bill passed. 
  4. Worked with Republicans to achieve full military health benefits to National Guard members and reservists. Expanded Family Medical Leave Act to families with wounded veterans. 

Secretary of State

  1. Took the lead on drafting and negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Once ratified, it would increase U.S. exports by $123.5 billion annually by 2025. Industries that benefit the most include electrical, autos, plastics, and agriculture. 
  2. Successfully concluded bilateral trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama in 2011. The Korea agreement removed almost 80% of tariffs and increased exports by $10 billion. The Colombia agreement expanded U.S. exports by $1.1 billion. 
  3. Negotiated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in 2012.
  4. Called for the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. Sided with CIA Director Leon Panetta who first told her it was possible. Overcame opposition from Vice-President Biden and Defense Secretary Robert Gates who were worried about political backlash if the raid failed. 
  5. Pushed the United Nations to impose sanctions on Iran in 2010. That created a recession in Iran. The economy shrank 6.6% in 2012 and 1.9% in 2013. That's because they cut Iran's oil exports in half. Clinton was personally involved in these diplomatic efforts and pushed them publicly. The sanctions made Iran agree to stop building nuclear weapons in 2015. 
  6. Instrumental in negotiating the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Accord.  The developed and major developing nations agreed to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial level. They also agreed to pay $100 billion a year by 2020 to assist poor countries affected the most by climate change. 

Timeline and Additional Accomplishments

1977: Founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. It did research and educate the public on children's issues. Joined Rose Law Firm. Appointed by President Carter to chair the board of the Legal Services Corporation.

1979 to 1982: First Lady of Arkansas during Governor Clinton's Administration. Became first woman partner of Rose Law Firm.

1982 to 1992: First Lady of Arkansas. Chaired Arkansas Educational Standards Committee, which created new state school standards. Founded Arkansas Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youth. Helped created Arkansas' first neonatal intensive care unit. On the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital and the Legal Services and Children's Defense Fund. Corporate board member of TCBY and Lafarge. First female board member of Wal-Mart from 1986 to 1992. Chaired American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession from 1987 to 1991. Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983. Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984.

1993 to 2001: First Lady during the Clinton administration. Chair of the Task Force on National Healthcare Reform. She continued to be a leading advocate for expanding health insurance coverage, ensuring children are properly immunized, and raising public awareness of health issues. She was the first First Lady with a postgraduate degree.

2000 to 2008: U.S. Senator from New York. Senate Committees: Armed Services; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Environment and Public Works; Budget; Aging. Member of Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. She also led the charge on the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Act.

2009 to 2013: U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Opened Chinese markets to U.S. companies.

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Amadeo, Kimberly. "14 of Hillary Clinton's Major Accomplishments." ThoughtCo, Jun. 6, 2022, thoughtco.com/hillary-clinton-s-accomplishments-4101811. Amadeo, Kimberly. (2022, June 6). 14 of Hillary Clinton's Major Accomplishments. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/hillary-clinton-s-accomplishments-4101811 Amadeo, Kimberly. "14 of Hillary Clinton's Major Accomplishments." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/hillary-clinton-s-accomplishments-4101811 (accessed June 6, 2023).