What to expect in President Barack Obama's second term on domestic issues, education, energy, taxes

WASHINGTON - The Obama-Biden victory Tuesday night makes it more likely that the major reforms anticipated by passage of stiffer financial regulation and broader access to higher education will be implemented.

It's also likely that Republican plans for providing a defined benefit for eligible Medicare recipients to buy private insurance will go nowhere.

In several respects, the president is expected to continue domestic policies of his first term, including health care reform. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, for example, takes four years to be fully implemented.

Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial regulations aimed at preventing another economic crisis; these will now stay in effect rather than be repealed, as the Romney-Ryan ticket proposed. Obama also signed the Credit CARD Act in 2009 that lets consumers know how long it would take to pay off credit card debt.

Still, Obama was willing to roll back some financial regulations this year in the JOBS Act, and a second Obama administration, like the first, is unlikely to want to upset Wall Street.

Obama has said he would not continue to extend Bush-era tax cuts to those making more than $250,000 a year, and that will be a major point of contention in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's vote. Less clear has been whether he will propose continuing the payroll tax cut that expires at the end of the year. Medicare taxes on upper incomes, called for in the health care law, will proceed.

Obama has angered a significant element of his base, teachers' union members, by supporting charter schools and pay-for-performance, which are likely to be extended in a new four-year term.

In energy production, Obama is now free to offend some environmentalists and go forward with plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canadian tar sands to Texas oil refineries.

(Reach Scripps Howard News Service political writer Bartholomew Sullivan at SullivanB@shns.com.)

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