Summary of 2006 Successes
RESULTS Domestic Successes 2006
In 2006, RESULTS domestic activists met face-to-face with 48 representatives and 13 senators to discuss solutions to hunger and poverty in the United States. In addition, 62 domestic activists attended the RESULTS Educational Fund International Conference in Washington, D.C., for intensive education, training and lobbying. Activists participated in 12 national conference calls for training and education with an average attendance of 100 people from around the country. Domestic activists and staff generated 16 editorials, three op-ed pieces, 43 letters to the editor, and four feature articles. Activists sent thousands of letters and generated hundreds of calls to their members of Congress.
Empowering Grassroots Activism
What we did: We built up our grassroots strength through the outreach efforts of both staff and volunteers. Thanks to a generous anonymous contribution, we added an Iowa-based grassroots organizer to the staff to increase our presence in the Great Plains and launched an initiative to engage faith organizations.
RESULTS domestic groups organized at least 132 outreach meetings or events and through these added new activists to their groups.
Outcomes: We ended 2006 with 238 core domestic activists in 30 active domestic groups across the country, with an additional seven groups in formation, and we are working with contacts in over a dozen other communities to start more new groups in the first few months of 2007.
Health Care for All
What we did: Recognizing that access to health care is a huge barrier for almost 47 million uninsured Americans, including 9 million children, in 2006 we continued a multi-year advocacy campaign to provide quality and affordable health care to all, by educating ourselves others in our communities. Lack of quality and affordable health care causes and deepens poverty for millions of American families.
This year, the congressionally-mandated Citizens’ Health Care Working Group (CHCWG) conducted hearings across the country and received public comments on the need for changes in the nation’s health care system. RESULTS activists used the opportunity to send in their comments and to testify in person at hearings, urging health care coverage for everyone by 2010. We responded to CHCWG’s draft report, which did not make health care for all a stated goal.
In addition to our education and outreach around health care issues, we fought attempts in Congress to cut important health programs such as Medicaid. We urged Congress to act to correct a shortfall in funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
Outcomes: The Citizens’ Health Care Working Group’s interim report did not call for universal health care coverage, but after receiving testimony and receiving thousands of messages from RESULTS activists and others, the CHCWG made health care for all by 2012 one of its top recommendations.
As the year ended, the post-election session of Congress passed legislation to redistribute unused SCHIP funds from fiscal year 2004. This money will stave off the SCHIP shortfall until spring 2007, but the new 110th Congress will need to act to fix the long-term problem.
In 2006 we continued to build momentum for health care for all, including connections and participation in community-based coalitions and a deeper understanding of health policy within our staff and volunteer activists.
Early Childhood Development
What we did: We continued our long-term strategy to break the cycle of poverty by expanding and improving early childhood education programs, including Head Start and funding for child care.
Head Start had been scheduled to be reauthorized in 2003 but was still operating under “temporary” extension during 2006. As it became apparent that reauthorization would be put off until 2007, we concentrated on preserving Head Start funding for 2007.
The mandatory funding of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is included in legislation authorizing the welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The 1996 TANF law was reauthorized in early 2006 as part of a budget reconciliation package. This package increased mandatory CCDBG funding by only $1 billion over five years. RESULTS activists urged their members of Congress to significantly increase non-mandatory CCDBG funding in 2007 annual appropriations.
Outcomes: Appropriations Committees in both House and Senate passed their 2007 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor HHS) spending bills. However, the year ended with neither a House nor Senate floor vote on Labor HHS. The post-election session of Congress passed a temporary spending bill to keep these and other departments operating until February 15, 2007. The terms of this continuing resolution were such that Head Start and CCDBG were funded at fiscal year 2006 levels. In mid-February, 2007, Congress passed a funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year with a $103 million increase for Head Start, not enough to keep up with inflation, but some help in minimizing enrollment cuts.
Tax Policies and the Wealth Gap
What we did: We chose to work on taxes because tax policies that favor the highest-bracket tax filers not only widen the gap between rich and poor, but also reduce revenues. This revenue shortfall and consequent federal deficits are then used to justify cuts in domestic anti-poverty programs. This was the case with a package of cuts to Medicaid and other programs passed in spring 2006. RESULTS worked to fight off attempts to enact additional tax breaks skewed toward the rich. Our work included opposition to extending low tax rates on dividends and capital gains, which primarily benefit the richest Americans, as well as opposing proposals to permanently repeal or drastically cut the estate tax.
We also supported preserving and improving provisions in the tax code that directly benefit low-income families, such as the child tax credit and the earned income credit.
Our media campaign on the estate tax included an interview with William Gates, Sr., co-author with Chuck Collins of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes and father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates; and a media conference call with former IRS commissioner Sheldon Cohen and others.
Outcomes: In May, Congress passed a $70 billion tax package that primarily benefits the wealthiest taxpayers as part of the same budget deal that cut services for low-income families by about $40 billion over five years. Many politicians claim the budget reconciliation bill reduces the federal deficit, but $70 billion in new tax breaks will more than offset $40 billion in cuts to programs including Medicaid, child care, student loans, and child support enforcement.
Attempts to cut the estate tax were blocked in the Senate. The House of Representatives passed full repeal of the estate tax early in the year. In the Senate, advocates for repeal were unable to get the 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed to consideration of either repeal or drastic cuts.
RESULTS Global Successes 2006
Empowering Grassroots Activism
At the end of 2006, RESULTS had 53 global groups across the country and an online action network working on solutions to global poverty. We set very aggressive goals for our groups for achieving meetings with their members of Congress, generating media, and reaching out to their communities. The groups met this challenge and surpassed many of these goals: RESULTS global activists held 112 face-to-face meetings with representatives and 24 with senators, generated 55 editorials and 318 other pieces of media; and mobilized thousands in their communities through 280 community outreach events. These efforts, and those of the RESULTS staff and partner organizations, resulted in significant accomplishments toward ending poverty in 2006.
Global Health: Tuberculosis and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
What We Did: RESULTS advocates urged Congress to increase resources to address TB and other major global infectious killers of the poor through bilateral funding and through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. RESULTS supported the Stop Tuberculosis (TB) Now Act of 2006 (H.R.5022), introduced by Representatives. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jim Leach (R-IA), with a companion bill in the Senate (S.2465) introduced by Senators Boxer (D-CA), Smith (R-OR), and Durbin (D-IL). The bill focused on mobilizing resources to implement the Global Plan to Stop TB 2006–2015 in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to cut TB deaths and disease burden in half by 2015 and ultimately to eliminate TB as a global health problem by 2050.
RESULTS Educational Fund also worked to increase media attention and educate others about the fight against global TB. RESULTS activists rallied to increase awareness around World TB Day. Thanks to grassroots and national level efforts, over 240 local and national media pieces were generated for World TB Day on March 24, 2006! The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Associated Press, National Public Radio, and others reported on the challenges faced in the fight against tuberculosis and what more is needed to stop the greatest curable infectious killer on the planet. This effort included grassroots organized journalist calls in six key states — Arizona, California, Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Ohio — featuring international and local experts who discussed the need to fight TB globally and locally.
RESULTS Educational Fund’s TB ACTION Project published a 32-page report, “Enduring Neglect: The World Bank’s Inadequate Support for Africa’s TB Emergency,” documenting that while more than a third of the world’s 1.7 million TB deaths occur in Africa, less than five percent of the World Bank’s lending to fight TB worldwide over the past five years has gone to African countries. This report was shared with World Bank senior staff, key members of the U.S. Congress, the NGO community, and the media. The New York Times, Boston Globe, San Diego Union-Tribune, and Trenton Times published editorials supporting the report’s findings, and the New York Times, Boston Globe, Associated Press, and over 90 other outlets across the U.S., Canada, Africa, Europe, and Japan posted articles.
Within the overall spending bill that funded discretionary programs for 2007 (the “continuing resolution”), RESULTS activists and allies were able to secure $1.4 billion for HIV/AIDS efforts and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Included in this funding was $724 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the highest U.S. funding level to date and very close to the U.S. full fair share.
RESULTS’ advocacy also helped influence the priorities of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2006. The plan now calls for a “significant increase in programming for TB-HIV activities” and identifies TB-HIV as one of three “program priority areas” — critical as TB is the leading killer of people with AIDS. With advocacy efforts and the increased funding provided through the Continuing Resolution, PEPFAR will more than double its funding for TB-HIV activities, increasing funding by $70 million for a total of $120 million for 2007.
Access to Credit for the Very Poor
What We Did:
RESULTS’ activists worked with members of Congress to ensure that the groundbreaking 2005 microcredit law that RESULTS helped enact was implemented. The law requires that at least fifty percent of all U.S. microcredit funding be devoted to very poor people living on less than $1 a day. To ensure this crucial focus on the very poor, the law requires that poverty measurement tools are certified and utilized by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to actually track the poverty of clients entering microcredit programs.
RESULTS activists’ requests that members of Congress keep up the pressure on USAID to implement the law contributed to USAID finally certifying 12 country specific poverty measurement tools. Additional tools are expected to follow, and USAID has begun a rollout on training for staff and NGOs on how to implement the tools.
Eliminating School Fees: Scaling Up Education for All
What We Did:
RESULTS advocated for increasing funding for basic education and in addition, urged members of Congress to insist that USAID enact basic education indicators for enrollment and retention to measure the effectiveness and improve the targeting of U.S. foreign assistance for the achievement of universal access to basic education.
RESULTS also supported the reintroduction of Education for All Act in 2006 by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), chair of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) reintroduced the Senate companion to the Education for All Act. The Education for All Act is expected to be introduced again in 2007.
In follow-up to RESULTS work to support enactment of “The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005” (now U.S. Public Law 109-95), RESULTS participated in putting together civil society recommendations to ensure that this legislation is an effective tool in responding to the educational and other needs of girls, orphans, and other poor and vulnerable children. RESULTS was a key partner in developing and championing this legislation, the success of which would not have been possible without RESULTS’ grassroots actions around the country throughout 2004 and 2005. The Orphans Act is the first comprehensive response to the global orphans crisis, calling for such reforms as pediatric AIDS drugs formulations, psychosocial support, and the abolition of school fees. RESULTS continues to work with the Global Action for Children Campaign to see that at least ten percent of overall global HIV/AIDS funding is programmed for orphans and vulnerable children.
In 2006, lobbying by RESULTS activists contributed to the House including $550 million for international basic education in the 2007 foreign aid spending bill. While this funding level was not ultimately enacted (due to Congress’s decision to continue 2006 spending levels into 2007 for most programs through the continuing resolution), $550 million is the largest funding level ever passed for basic education. RESULTS’ advocacy work did help to ensure that the 2007 budget included $15 million for eliminating school fees and another $65 million for more focused activities in Education for All Fast Track Initiative countries — countries with strong national education plans.