Today the president signed Don't Ask, Don't Tell into law, allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the military. The president said the signing was "the right thing to do for our security, and the right thing to do, period."
Today's event was one of several events the president deemed "progress for the American people".
"A lot of folks in this town predicted that after the midterm elections, Washington would be headed for more partisanship and more gridlock", said President Obama.
"And instead, this has been a season of progress for the American people. That progress is a reflection of the message that voters sent in November; a message that said it’s time to find common ground on challenges facing our country. That’s a message that I will take to heart in the New Year, and I hope my Democratic and Republican friends will do the same."
The president met briefly in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with reporters today before leaving with his family for Hawaii for the Christmas holiday.
He pointed out other moments of "progress" thanking both Republicans and Democrats for coming together on the New START treaty.
"This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades, and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia", said Obama. With this treaty, our inspectors will also be back on the ground at Russian nuclear bases. So we will be able to trust but verify."
The president also praised both parties for passing the tax cuts bill, continuing unemployment insurance, and passing a food safety bill. The president also signed into law the Hunger-Free Kids Act that encourages schools to provide healthier menu options to students for breakfast and lunches in schools around the country.
President Obama said the success of the above items was "the most productive post-election period we’ve had in decades",and the "most productive two years that we’ve had in generations."
What continues to be a continuous task for the president and his cabinet?
Finding ways to decrease spending, jobs creation, and growing the economy.
"I expect we’ll have a robust debate about this when we return from the holidays", said the president.