PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 297
Thank you, Mr. President
As 2022 comes to a close, let’s look at our president’s accomplishments over the last two years. Many of these accomplishments have been bipartisan, and many with narrow Democratic majorities. At the same time, Biden unites and leads NATO providing aid to Ukraine while avoiding a direct conflict with Russia. Below is a partial list of well-known and lesser-known accomplishments:
- American Rescue Plan of 2021 – Covid related – for the economy, public health, State and local governments, individuals, and businesses.
- Training in High-demand Roles to Improve Veteran Employment Act
- More Black women were confirmed for the US Court of Appeals in THIS session of Congress than in EVERY OTHER session of Congress COMBINED.
- Juneteenth National Independence Day Act
- Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021
- Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2021
- Secure Equipment Act of 2021 – FCC
- Protecting America’s First Responders Act of 2021
- Protecting Moms Who Served Act of 2021
- Capitol Police Emergency Assistance Act of 2021
- Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – Clean water, Internet, Repair & Rebuild Roads Etc, Public Transit, Upgrade Airports & Ports, and more
- Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021
- Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act
- Ending Importation of Russian Oil Act
- Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act
- Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022
- Justice Jackson’s Supreme Court Confirmation
- Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – Modest Gun Reform
- CHIPS and Science Act
- Inflation Reduction Act – Green Energy Spending, Deficit Reduction, Lowering Rx Drug Coverage (Medicare), Lower Healthcare Costs, Paid for by Large Corps and Billionaires
- PACT Act – for Veterans
- First Responder Fair Return for Employees on Their Initial Retirement Earned Act
- Respect for Marriage Act
- Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act
- Big Cat Public Safety Act
- Soon to be signed 2023 Funding Bill Including Reform to the Electoral Count Act
- See all 13 pages of legislation.
- Hundreds of Executive Orders and Other Accomplishments.
More Good News
On Tyranny: Good News for Americans
This is to be a short review of a short but potent book: On Tyranny is a handbook by a Yale professor, Timothy Snyder, on how to counter the tyrannical moves by unnamed American lawmakers, moves he finds scarily similar to the Nazis and Soviet regimes. Although Snyder has far more dense and complicated academic works, he appears to have meant this little book for the average citizen. It offers twenty steps to combat fascism. It includes measures like supporting the principle of “each citizen has one vote,” which necessitates advocating for indelible paper ballots and fixing gerrymandering.
This handbook is worth reading if only to hearten you: There are simple but meaningful ways that you and I, average Americans, can oppose the demise of our democracy.
‘Tis the season to give the gift of good information
Consider giving your loved ones a subscription to a reputable and unbiased news source. Some even have holiday discounts. Free and robust media align perfectly with and aid in PEG’s mission of equality in government. (You can evaluate sources for bias here: MediaBiasFactCheck.com)
Did you know you can also give individual articles to friends for free from your own subscriptions? Usually you’re limited to 5 or 10 per month. Look for an option in your favorite paid sources. You can learn more about such programs from these sources: The Economist, The Washington Post, The New York Times.
The freedom of the press, protected by the First Amendment, is critical to a democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. A free media functions as a watchdog that can investigate and report on government wrongdoing. It is also a vibrant marketplace of ideas, a vehicle for ordinary citizens to express themselves and gain exposure to a wide range of information and opinions. – ACLU
22 Good Things That Happened in 2022
Adapted from a list from the Washington Post Editorial Board
1. Ukraine still stands. When Russia invaded the Ukraine, Putin anticipated the country would fall to Russian control in a matter of days. What few predicted was the power brought to bear by the spirit and tenacity of the Ukrainian people, who have fought valiantly for their nation and for democratic ideals for more than 10 months. The blue and yellow flag flies in Kyiv — and around the globe.
2. American voters rejected extreme candidates. Voters across the country said “No, thank you” to election denying and insurrectionist candidates, especially in hotly contested statewide offices in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. Score one for the guardrails of the democratic system.
4. Lizzo played THAT flute. Classical musician extraordinaire Lizzo went viral for playing James Madison’s 1813 crystal flute. She instantly reminded us of the magic of in-person events and the treasures of U.S. history.
5. What was must-watch TV this year? That’s easy to answer:“Jeopardy!” was on a hot streak.
6. Nathan “Quad King” Chen skated to redemption in Beijing Olympics. Four years earlier, Chen had a disastrous Olympics. Chen put in the hard work and set a world record in the short program and landed five quad jumps in the long one. People realized these jumps are superhuman.
7. Metro finally lands at Dulles International Airport. For decades, D.C.-area residents and visitors dreamed of the day when they could ride by rail from downtown to Dulles Airport. It finally became reality on Nov. 15. As Journey sings, “Don’t stop believin’.”
8. Pickleball is our new favorite pastime. It’s a cross between tennis and table tennis, with a little chess-like strategy thrown in. Pickleball exploded this year. After years of isolation, let’s embrace this game that gets our socialization and fun muscles moving again.
9. TikTok brought us “butter boards.” There were plenty of TikTok trends in 2022, but perhaps the most fun was the rise of the butter board, where people spread butter on a cutting board and spice it up by sprinkling on anything from garlic and pepper flakes to figs and oranges. In a year when supply-chain glitches and skyrocketing inflation made it hard to find a lot of items on your grocery list, the butter board was all about encouraging us to make the best of whatever we had.
10. The world (mostly) averted a global food crisis. When Russia invaded Ukraine, one of the many tragedies that followed was a collapse of grain exports from Ukraine to developing nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Millions of people were going hungry. Fortunately, the United Nat, but quick intervention helped countless people.
11. We’re going back to the moon! NASA’s Artemis I moon mission was launched Nov. 16 and has sent back images so awesome you want to print them out and hang them on your wall. This is the first part of an initiative that aims to put humans on the lunar surface again.
12. Wordlemania hit hard. Forget your phone number. The number everyone wanted to share and receive in 2022 was your Wordle s-c-o-r-e. Google said it was its top trending global search term of 2022.
13. A record number of Americans had health insurance. Only 8 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in early 2022. That’s a record low, according to government data. There were especially big gains in health coverage in communities of color. What drove this? Americans were eager for health-care access in the pandemic, and they were aided by extra funds from the American Rescue Plan to make plans more affordable and to keep people enrolled in Medicaid. It was also applause-worthy to see the abolishment of “surprise billing” this year and an end to most medical debt appearing on credit reports.
14. More than 4 million people got jobs. U.S. government aid kept many households and businesses afloat and ushered in one of the swiftest job rebounds ever, restoring pre-pandemic employment levels by July
15. Sequels and prequels reigned. Audiences got to see their favorite characters in new storylines and, often, with more diverse casts. This magical year of prequels and sequels was the Hollywood equivalent of comfort food, and people ate it up.
16. Schools reopened — and stayed open. While there are learning losses to make up, especially in higher-poverty areas, it was welcome to see school buses rolling again, and students back in the classroom — and socializing — together for a full school year after covid closures that lasted nearly two years in some places.
17. The Washington Football Team got a new name. Goodbye, Redskins. Hello, Washington Commanders! In the end, it wasn’t that difficult to come up with a new name.
18. Bipartisanship on guns, same-sex marriage and chips. Even in this polarized era, some bipartisanship still took place in the halls of the Capitol. Noteworthy numbers of Republicans joined Democrats to pass key bills, including the most significant gun-law tightening in decades after the tragic Uvalde, Tex., elementary school massacre, historic legislation protecting same-sex marriage across state lines and major new subsidies for U.S.-made semiconductor chips. We’d like to see more of this in 2023.
19. Deficit reduction made a (very modest) comeback. Total U.S. debt topped $30 trillion (and then $31 trillion) this year for the first time. The Inflation Reduction Act, although not perfect, took an important first step in addressing climate change while also shrinking the deficit, thanks to modest corporate tax hikes and lower prescription drug prices. The total projected savings? About $240 billion over the next decade.
20. AI is having a moment. This list wasn’t written by artificial intelligence, but it probably could have been. AI is threatening a lot of “white-collar jobs” since it has gotten really good at languages, speech recognition and even decision-making. AI can now predict diabetes, protect against cyberthreats and even write term papers and articles. The bots are getting better, and that’s something for humans to (mostly) cheer.
22. And the award goes to … older Americans. As much as people love “30 Under 30” lists, there has been a lot to celebrate lately from Americans (and Canadians) “of a certain age.” Tony Bennett won a Grammy in April at age 95. Angela Alvarez, 95, won best new artist at the Latin Grammys. Erlinda Biondic, at 82, became the oldest woman to complete a 100-mile race (she lives in Canada, but she set her record in New Jersey). And World War II veteran Lester Wright, at 100, set a new 100-meter dash record (26.34 seconds) for centenarians and earned a standing ovation from the crowd. Let them be your new inspirations.
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A special thanks to our newsletter contributors: Ellen Halter, Leslie McGraw, Leslie Kamil, Lisa Kamil, Richard Gaeth, Bette Cotzin, Bernie Banet, Linda Bennett, Kayla Conrad, Fred Clark, Sonya Lewis, and Chuck Newman for their contributions and help preparing our newsletters. PEG is a (somewhat) non-partisan volunteer organization whose mission is to assure that our government will treat all Americans with equality and acceptance. PEG’s work is primarily done by recruiting, educating and nurturing supporters for worthy organizations, actions and events that reflect our beliefs. To subscribe to this free weekly newsletter, go to our sign up form by clicking here.
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