History & Achievements

USAction was founded in 1999. Here’s a snapshot of our accomplishments since then:

1999 – Founding Convention. During our very first week of existence, USAction protests outside the office of then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, defending Medicare from privatization by pushing to expand it to cover prescription drugs. After we show up 300 strong, and garner a two-page spread in Time magazine, Congress begins to move on the issue.  This approach has been ours ever since – to treat all moments of crisis as also visionary times for opportunity.

2001 – Fair Taxes for All Coalition. At the very beginning of President Bush’s term, USAction anticipates the disastrous effects of his tax policies and begins our ongoing work for economic opportunity and justice.

2004 – Second Largest Nonpartisan Voter Registration Drive in History. USAction and our sister organization, USAction Education Fund, prove their power to register, educate and mobilize voters based on progressive priorities.

2005 – Americans United to Protect Social Security. President Bush decides to spend his political capital on destroying Social Security, and we set out to defend America’s promise from one generation to the next. We built a vast coalition that established a model for modern, winning issue campaigns. This defeat begins the downward slide of Bush administration.

2005 –  Emergency Campaign for America’s Priorities. The conservative answer to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina is a fresh round of tax cuts. USAction’s answer is to found a broad coalition dedicated to exposing and overturning the Bush administration’s upside down priorities.

2006 – Bringing New Leadership to the House and Senate. In the three closest races for the U.S. Senate and eight top Congressional races, USAction and our state affiliates contact and mobilize more voters than the margin victory.

2007 – Fighting the War. Because of the moral imperative to end a war we should never have started, and because of the crushing effect of the cost of war on American communities, USAction helps found Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. The New York Times writes, “the sophisticated political operation they have built is a testament to how far the antiwar movement has come since the Vietnam era.”

2007 SCHIP – Health Care for All Children. USAction introduces America to Bethany Wilkerson, a 2-year-old girl whose life was saved by surgery under the State Childrens Health Insurance Program. Bethany became a national face of SCHIP, leading to coverage on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, scores of newspapers, and more than 300 blogs. President Bush was right about one thing: ensuring adequate health care for all children was the first step toward achieving quality, affordable health care for all.

2007 – TrueMajority – Merging the Grassroots with the Netroots. We join forces with TrueMajority, one of the earliest and most effective progressive online organizations. The merger adds hundreds of thousands of members to our ranks and provides the opportunity to meld field organizing and online organizing in unprecedented ways, such as the nationwide Million Doors for Peace campaign.

2008 – Health Care for America Now! USAction plays a major role in founding and building the deepest progressive issue coalition in American history. USAction affiliates lead health care coalitions in many of HCAN’s most crucial states.

2008 – Bringing Change to America. We mobilize thousands of voters and emerge victorious in 16 out of 22 targeted House races, 2 Senate races and 1 Governor’s race.

2008 – Making the Bailout Better. In just three days, we organize 272 actions in 52 cities in 37 states to demand increased oversight and support for struggling families in the federal bailout bill. A map of our events runs on CNN.com all day, and the blank-check bailout fails, to be replaced by a far superior bill.

2009 – Rebuild and Renew America Now. In support of President Obama’s budget, USAction helps found the largest economic justice coalition ever, with more than 100 national members and 600 state and local groups. Our activities include nearly 100 earned media events, thousands of calls to Congress and more than 20 in-district lobby visits.  When the budget passes with progressive priorities intact, we turn the coalition’s focus to the tax and revenue policies necessary to achieve those priorities

2009 – Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) USAction played a key role in founding and building the leading progressive coalition that challenged the big banks and called for comprehensive reforms in the financial sector, including the establishment of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

2010 – Winning Quality, Affordable Health Care for All. USAction witnesses the passage and signing of the Affordable Care Act, one of the most important and difficult battles we faced during our history.

2010 – Winning comprehensive financial reform. Dodd-Frank passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.

2011 – Fighting joblessness. USAction was a leader in the campaign to extend federal unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

2012 – Making the rich pay their fair share of taxes. USAction played a major role in the broad progressive effort to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich and restore tax fairness