12 New Year’s
Resolutions for the 112th Congress in 2012
Steenland | Center for American
Many of us start off the New Year with resolutions to break
bad habits and pick up good ones. Although these lists are usually personal,
there’s no reason an institution can’t come up with ways to do better in the
coming year. In fact, there’s good reason to do so if, like the 112th Congress,
your likeability ratings are hovering in single digits and you’re paralyzed by
So here are 12 proposed New Year’s resolutions for Congress
1. Cut out junk food: Get rid of tax cuts for millionaires. The revenue from just one week of tax
cuts for millionaires ($866 million) will more than pay for one year of
nutrition assistance for women, infants, and children ($833 million).
2. Make new friends: Pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a fair commonsense federal
immigration law, states including Alabama and Arizona have passed harsh,
inhumane laws that cast suspicion on neighbors, weaken the state’s economy, and
spur homegrown talent to move away.
3. Get in shape: Strengthen our roads and bridges through
smart infrastructure investments. The National Infrastructure Bank,
part of President Barack Obama’s Rebuild America Jobs Act, will provide
much-needed repairs to our nation’s dilapidated bridges, roads, rail systems,
and transit networks.
4. Waste less: Streamline the U.S. military by
cutting unnecessary costs, changing spending priorities, and achieving
efficiencies through new technologies.
5. Learn new things: Support educational reform and retraining
programs for workers by reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act, supporting Pell
Grants, and job
6. Spend more time
with family: Pass federal legislation supporting paid
sick days and paid family leave. Workers should not have to choose
between taking care of a sick child and keeping their job. Policies that help
men and women balance
work and family make them better workers and better parents.
7. Lower stress
levels: Stop fighting the Affordable Care Act. The law expands coverage, keeps down
costs, protects against abuses by insurance companies, and provides flexibility
8. Be less
judgmental: Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Discrimination against gay, lesbian,
bisexual, and transgender Americans violates basic principles of fairness,
equality, and equal protection under the law. It’s time to get on the right
side of history and make it illegal to discriminate against anyone in the workplace
and in their personal lives.
9. Rekindle an old
flame: Support our troops during their service and when they come home. It takes more than waving flags to
show the love for our servicemen and women. They need jobs, health care,
housing, and educational opportunities when they return home.
10. Don’t be selfish:
Support nutrition assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program and unemployment benefits. Many American families are struggling
in today’s economy. Protecting them from reckless budget cuts and providing a
basic safety net is not only the right thing to do, but helps stimulate the
11. Be greener: Cut dependence on fossil fuels, invest in renewable energy, and tackle
climate change in a serious way. It’s time to stop oil addiction and
climate-change denial, and grow our economy through a significant investment in
12. Be better
informed: Stay up-to-speed on current events and stop conflating facts with fantasy. Unfortunately, many of our public
debates live in a “fact-free zone” where outlandish claims take on the guise of
truth. Think: death panels, birtherism, war on Christmas, and more. It’s
impossible to solve the real problems facing our country until make-believe
stops masquerading as factual reality.
All our good wishes
to Congress for a productive and progressive new year!
Sally Steenland is
Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at American Progress.