This article was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Violets Are Blue

Feeling the Love on Valentine’s Day - Top 10 Progressive Achievements

On this day consumed by all those warm and fuzzy feelings, we thought it would be sweet to acknowledge some of the recent actions, policies, and initiatives that caused our progressive hearts to race, uplifted our spirits, brightened our outlook, strengthened our hope for the future, and made life better in America—basically, the things that have made us feel all warm and fuzzy.

Here is our “feeling the love” top 10 list:

Feeling the love 10In January two new regulations were proposed: one will require disclosure to employers of all 401(k)-related payments they receive; the second will require that employees with 401(k) accounts receive notice of all fees they pay for investment management and other services. This major shift on how the 401(k) industry does business means that millions of Americans will finally know how much they pay in 401(k)-related fees.

Feeling the love 9In December the Environmental Protection Agency issued long-awaited national standards requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce mercury and other toxic pollutants. These plants are the largest remaining producers of uncontrolled toxic pollutants in the United States. House Republicans are hard at work seeking ways to block or delay the new greenhouse gas rules—rules that will go a long way in combating climate change and will help us all breathe easier and cleaner.

Feeling the love 8The new rule announced January 28 by HUD prohibits owners and operators of HUD-assisted and insured housing from asking applicants their sexual orientation or gender identity; expands the definition of “family” to include gay and transgender families; and prohibits discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people applying for a HUD- or Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage. The new rule brings us all a step closer to an America where equality is a reality and not just a promise.

feeling the love 7Late last year the Obama administration announced the proposed launch of BusinessUSA.gov, a one-stop online shop for all things small business. Slated to launch this month, the site will use technology to quickly connect small businesses to the services and information needed to help them achieve success, which in turn will spark new hiring.

feeling the love 6Thanks to President Barack Obama’s recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—the centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill—the agency is ready to begin regulating mortgage firms, credit card companies, payday lenders, student loan providers, and other financial firms. CFPB will give consumers more information on confusing bank fees and noninterest charges, and will ensure consumers get a fair shake when dealing with powerful banks and financial firms.

feeling the love 5In December the White House provided new guidance to assist schools and colleges to ensure diversity through race-based enrollment without violating equal protection laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. By granting school administrators wider latitude to encourage multiculturalism, the Obama administration makes the case that it is in our nation’s best long-term interest to make diversity a part of America’s competitive edge.

feeling the love 4In its first year the Affordable Health Care act saved more than $2.1 billion in the cost of prescription drugs for more than 3.6 million Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced earlier this month. The average person with Medicare will save almost $4,200 by 2021 because of the new health reform law.

feeling the love 3Last month President Obama rejected a proposal to begin construction on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry dirty oil sands from Canada across six U.S. states to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast for refining and export to other countries. Congress did not give the president time to evaluate the air and water pollution from the pipeline, particularly since the pipeline route has yet to be finalized, so his action may well have prevented a likely environmental catastrophe.

feeling the love 2On December 23, following weeks of rancor, Congress passed the extension of the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits. The two-month extension, which expires on February 29, preserved an average $1,000 payroll tax cut for the middle class and prevented the immediate loss of jobless benefits for some 3.3 million displaced workers. The payroll tax cut will put an average of $40 per paycheck back into the hands of middle-class Americans, and a continuation of federally financed benefits for the long-term unemployed will prevent more than 5 million out-of-work Americans from losing a critical lifeline as they continue to search for new job opportunities in 2012.

feeling the love 1In late December the last U.S. soldiers rolled out of Iraq, marking the end of a nearly nine-year war that bitterly divided the country and cost us dearly. While President Obama continues the process of getting America’s priorities straight on national security, his administration must stay focused on lingering concerns in Iraq and the region. Ending the war will allow us to move into the next phase of our relationship with Iraq, while freeing up the resources to properly rebalance American security.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress is dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, our work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care. We develop new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate. Founded in 2003 by John Podesta to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement, CAP is headed by Neera Tanden and based in Washington, D.C. CAP opened a Los Angeles office in 2007. What We Believe As progressives, we believe America is a land of boundless opportunity, where people can better themselves, their children, their families, and their communities through education, hard work, and the freedom to climb the ladder of economic mobility. We believe an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest, harness the strength of our diversity, and secure the rights and safety of its people. And we believe our nation must always be a beacon of hope and strength to the rest of the world. Progressives are idealistic enough to believe change is possible and practical enough to make it happen. How We Work Through dialogue with leaders, thinkers, and citizens, we explore the vital issues facing America and the world. We develop a point of view and take a stand. We then build on that and develop bold new ideas. We shape the national debate. We share our point of view with everyone who can put our ideas into practice and effect positive change. That means online, on campus, in the media, on the shop floor, in faith communities, and in the boardroom. Our progressive partners—including the CAP Action Fund—take our ideas to Congress and statehouses.