Looking back, 2012 was a year of progress. We may not have won on every issue or elected every progressive candidate we wanted but USAction continued to fight and successfully bend the arc of the universe towards justice.
From the beginning, we started off the year with a winning streak when unemployment benefits were extended for another year. We defeated the Ryan budget that would have slashed funding across the board on programs middle class families rely on and ended Medicare as we know it. We prevented student loan rates from doubling and defeated cuts to Social Security benefits. We fought back against the GOP war on women by defeating the Blunt Amendment which would have taken away a woman’s choice to decide her own health care decisions and given it to her employer.
Throughout the year we put pressure on Congress to resist the drums of war against Iran. The Mulvaney-Frank Amendment passed (!) to freeze Pentagon spending, and New York AG and progressive champion Eric Schneiderman’s task force began work to hold big banks that tanked our economy accountable.
The Affordable Care Act was upheld as Constitutional, and millions of young aspiring Americans were able to realize their dreams when President Obama signed an executive order instituting the DREAM Act. Our pressure on the Illinois Governor to set up a health care exchange was successful and voter suppression in Pennsylvania and Ohio was struck down, while the fight continues on in Florida.
On November 6th we re-elected President Barack Obama and kept control of the Senate. And while not all the candidates we threw our weight behind were successful, we did see victories for Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Ann McLane Kuster, Elizabeth Warren and others.
As the year came to a close, the issues we focused the most on came to a head during the budget showdown. And while we still won’t know the outcome of sequestration cuts for another month or so, we can rest assured that we ended the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% and defended Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits cuts.
In the weeks and months ahead, we may see progress on a few other issues we worked on including reining in the wasteful Pentagon budget, making corporations pay their fair share of taxes, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and investing in our communities, not cutting vital programs. Only time will tell.
2012 was a year of victories both big and small on the issues we’ve worked together on and we have much to be proud of.