RESULTS — The Power to end Poverty

U.S. Poverty Weekly Update March 20, 2012

I did everything I was supposed to do to have the bright, amazing future I was promised by my teachers in school. Life doesn’t always turn out the way it does in storybooks.

— Vicki Jones, a single mom in Chicago, on being ridiculed for receiving SNAP benefits in a March 19 op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times

New and Urgent in This Weeks Update (2-10-20 Actions)

Each week, we highlight specific actions you can take based on how much time you have available. We call them our 2-10-20 Actions (if you have two minutes, ten minutes or twenty minutes available). Click on the links below for details about each action.

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Call to Thank Your Representatives for Signing onto the Kildee-Platts “Dear Colleague” Letter (March Action)

Thank you to everyone who called the representatives last week urging them to sign onto the Kildee-Platts “Dear Colleague” letter in support of Head Start and child care. Because of your hard work and the work of advocates around the country, 88 House members signed onto the letter (see full list below). Congratulations! This will send a strong message to House appropriators that early childhood funding must be a priority in the FY 2013 budget. The letter will be sent to House Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT-AL) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) today.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your representative’s office and thank him/her for signing onto the Kildee-Platts letter. If your representative did not sign but one(s) from your state did, call those offices and thank them. Let them know that constituents back home appreciate their support for low-income children and families and urge them to push House appropriators to increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start by $325 million and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $825 million in the FY 2013 budget. You can find contact information on our Elected Officials page or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your representative’s office.

Letter signatories by state: Dale Kildee (D-MI-5) (lead);  Todd Platts (R-PA-19) (lead); Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7); Mike Ross (D-AR-4); Lynn Woolsey (D-CA-6); Barbara Lee (D-CA-9); John Garamendi (D-CA-10); Jerry McNerney (D-CA-11); Jackie Speier (D-CA-12); Pete Stark (D-CA-13); Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-16); Sam Farr (D-CA-17); Lois Capps (D-CA-23); Judy Chu (D-CA-32); Karen Bass (D-CA-33); Janice Kay Hahn (D-CA-36); Laura Richardson (D-CA-37); Linda Sanchez (D-CA-39); Bob Filner (D-CA-51); Diane DeGette (D-CO-1); Jared Polis (D-CO-2); Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7); Jim Himes (D-CT-4); Christopher Murphy (D-CT-5); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL); Frederica Wilson (D-FL-17); Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20); John Lewis (D-GA-5); Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-1); Mazie Hirono (D-HI-2);  Mike Quigley (D-IL-5); Danny Davis (D-IL-7); Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9); Andre Carson (D-IN-7); Bruce Braley (D-IA-1); Leonard Boswell (D-IA-3); John Yarmuth (D-KY-3);  Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1); Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP-AL); C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-2);  John Sarbanes (D-MD-3); Donna Edwards (D-MD-4); Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7); Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8); John Tierney (D-MA-6); Stephen Lynch (D-MA-9); Gary Peters (D-MI-9); Sander Levin (D-MI-12); Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13); John Conyers (D-MI-14); John Dingell (D-MI-15); Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5); Shelley Berkley (D-NV-1); Rush Holt (D-NJ-12); Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM-3); Albio Sires (D-NJ-13); Timothy Bishop (D-NY-1); Jerry Nadler (D-NY-8); Edolphus Towns (D-NY-10); Yvette Clarke (D-NY-11); Nydia Velazquez (D-NY-12); Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14); Louise Slaughter (D-NY-28); Charles Rangel (D-NY-15); G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1); Mike McIntyre (D-NC-7); Melvin Watt (D-NC-12); Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10); Dan Boren (D-OK-2); Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1); Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3); Robert Brady (D-PA-1); Chaka Fattah (D-PA-2); Mike Doyle (D-PA-14); David Cicilline (D-RI-1); Jim Langevin (D-RI-2); Al Green (D-TX-9); Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX-15); Silvestre Reyes (D-TX-16); Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX-18); Charles Gonzalez (D-TX-20); Bobby Rush (D-VA-1); Jim Moran (D-VA-8); Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11); Peter Welch (D-VT-AL); Jim McDermott (D-WA-7); Ron Kind (D-WI-3);  Gwen Moore (D-WI-4)


Tell Congress to Support Head Start and Child Care — Be Ready for Senate Sign-on Letter This Week! (March Action)

Although our efforts to get House members to sign the Kildee-Platts letter were successful, our work is far from over. There are still many House members who did not sign the letter as well as all senators who need to hear from us. There will be a Senate “Dear Colleague” letter that could be released within the next day or so. When it is, we will push RESULTS volunteers to make calls to both Senate offices urging senators to sign on in support. We will send out an alert when that letter is released. In the meantime, let’s weigh in with House and Senate offices about the importance of early childhood funding and the specific requests we have for the FY 2013 budget.

Be sure to tell senators and representatives of the return on investment these programs create, as demonstrated in the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman. Also, remind them that these programs help parents work and employ thousands of teachers and staff around the country, which help support families and our economy.

As noted below, the House has released its 2013 budget plan today and it is riddled with cuts to domestic programs which enacting massive tax cuts for the wealthy. Unless we continue to push back against these misguided priorities, they will be come the basis from which all policy starts. The operative questions will be “How much can we cut?” instead “What kind of future do we want?” Send the right message today that our future starts with investing in our children.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to take the March Action. Write your senators and representatives or call their early childhood aide urging support for Head Start and child care services in the FY 2013 budget. Tell them that early childhood programs provide children a solid foundation for success, give parents to opportunity to work, and create a stronger and better society for all of us. Tell them that maintaining these services next year should be a top priority. That means increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start by $325 million and increase funding for CCDBG by $825 million in the FY 2013 budget.


Friends & Family Fundraising Update: Let’s Make These Final 10 Days Our Most Impressive!

Thank you to Friends & Family fundraisers who have brought us to over $15,000. We're over half way to our goal! This news is a great conversation starter on the phone and reason to send out an email, Facebook, Twitter reminder. Here's a sample post you can use:

RESULTS is 1/2 way to our Friends & Family fundraising campaign $30K goal. Help us end poverty and donate by 3/31 http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSF-F2012

Don’t forget to visit our blog on social media tips or contact Cindy Levin at clevin@results.org if you need help.

Also, keep making those follow-up calls to the people from whom you’ve asked for donations. Whether you’re using mailed letters or an online webpage, personal follow-up phone calls are a proven way to increase donations. To help, we have call scripts on line to help you in the Guide for Mailed Letters and the Guide for Online Fundraising. Making these calls and fundraising in general can sometimes seem intimidating but you’re not alone — read “The Reluctant Fundraiser” from RESULTS volunteer Jim Driggers on how one volunteer is working to overcome his reluctance to fundraise during the Friends & Family campaign.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes and follow up with your potential Friends & Family donors. Call them up to share why you give to RESULTS, answer any questions about RESULTS, and walk them through donating online (if that’s their preference). Please contact Cindy Levin at clevin@results.org if you have questions. And remember, if you are not participating in the Friends & Family campaign, you can still help out fellow partners by making a contribution yourself. Pick a fellow RESULTS friend or group and donate via their webpages — you might even help someone get a free registration to the International Conference. Go to www.results.org and click on the big red DONATE button to get to the Friends & Family main page. Use the search tool to find the person(s) and/or group(s) you want to donate to.


House Republican Budget Cuts Safety Net, Lower Taxes

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) unveiled the House budget proposal today. It closely resembles the budget he proposed last year, which was adopted in the House but rejected by the Senate. Ryan proposes to dramatically cuts services to low-income Americans by cutting Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and then turning them into block grants, which could be disastrous for millions of Americans. According to our partners at Half in Ten, the $33.2 billion in cuts to Agriculture Committee programs could mean, under modest assumptions, 269 million lost meals for low-income Americans in SNAP and put 227,718 jobs at risk. The Center for American Progress has an interactive map for how SNAP cuts could affect job losses by state.  In addition, the budget proposal cuts federal support for the existing Medicaid program by $810 billion and repeals the Medicaid expansion in health reform, which could result in 17 million people losing coverage over the next ten years.

The budget would also end Medicare for future retirees by giving seniors premium subsidies to buy traditional Medicare or private insurance. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that this would result in the erosion of Medicare’s guarantee of health coverage, shift more costs onto seniors, and likely lead to the demise of traditional Medicare. The House Republican budget also assumes a $19 billion cut in domestic discretionary spending compared to last summer’s Budget Control Act. This puts even more pressure on Congress to cut programs like Head Start and child care, which are already facing steep cut next year because of sequestration.

To add insult to injury, the House Republican budget also proposes to slash to top individual tax rate and the corporate tax rate by ten percent. Estimates are that this would cost $4.3 trillion over ten years.

The House Budget Committee will begin work marking up the Republican plan tomorrow and a vote on this budget could come to the floor as early as next week. The Obama Administration and Senate Democrats have already come out in strong opposition to the House Republican budget, which is not expected to go anywhere in the Senate. However, this plan could have strong influence on budget negotiations throughout the year, so we must be vigilant in voicing our opposition to these cruel budget cuts.

TAKE ACTION: RESULTS strongly opposes the House Republican budget and urges lawmakers to vote against it. Use our online alerts to express your support for the SNAP program and that you oppose cuts to Medicaid. To learn more about why bloc granting Medicaid and SNAP is a bad idea, see our RESULTS Blog post. We’ll have more details about the House Republican budget in the coming weeks.


Anniversary of Health Reform Precedes Supreme Court Arguments Next Week

This Friday, March 23, marks the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the comprehensive overhaul of our health care system. RESULTS advocates were very active in the struggle to enact the ACA. We worked for more than a year to make sure health reform did not leave out America’s most vulnerable. That is why focused our efforts on expanding coverage through Medicaid. Beginning in 2014, Medicaid will cover everyone at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL). By 2019, it is estimated that this expansion alone will provide health coverage to 16 million of America’s uninsured. During the health reform debate, RESULTS also worked to provide better access to primary care through community health centers, which typically helps underserved areas. Health reform did expand CHC funding so that was to provide access to care for 20 million patients (unfortunately, some of this funding was cut in 2011). While RESULTS preferred a “Medicare for All” national health system, we did support passage of the ACA because of its focus on helping low-income Americans.

The ACA has been very contentious since its passage in March 2010. States have filed suit to block its implementation. Those efforts will come to a head next week when the Supreme Court hears oral argument about the constitutionality of the ACA, March 26-28. The two primary challenges to the ACA center around the individual mandate (requiring people to buy insurance) and the Medicaid expansion. The issue with Medicaid has to do with the financing of the expansion. This federal government will finance 100 percent of the expansion for years 2014 through 2016 and then gradually reduce its portion to 90 percent by 2020, where it will remain. Some governors claim that this is “coercive” to states because it is too good a deal to pass up. In the past, the Supreme Court has given wide latitude to Congress on how it spends taxpayer money but no one is quite sure how the Court will come down on all the issues. Even striking down a portion of the law would have far-reaching policy and political implications.

As the arguments are heard by the Court next week, advocates on both sides will be out in full force. For those who support reform, there are over 300 events being around the country, including right outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. Groups will be talking about the benefits of the ACA, with daily press conferences, prayer vigils, and other events. You can find a list of events at http://bit.ly/celebrateacalist. The Children’s Health Group is also hosting a webinar tomorrow evening, March 21 at 8:00 pm ET to discuss the Supreme Court case and its impact on children’s health. You can register at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/351277174

Also, our friends at Faithful Reform and Health Care have lined up U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to talk about the ACA anniversary this Thursday, March 22 at 2:00 pm ET. You can register at the Faithful Reform website. Faith reform is also hosting prayer vigils next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to coincide with the Supreme Court arguments (RSVP required).


Quick News

New Report Looks at Early Childhood Worker Salaries. Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report looking at the compensation and credentials of teachers and child care workers in early education. This study found that early education workers are woefully underpaid, with 77 percent of the full-time workers earning less than $22,000/year in 2009 (this is the poverty line for a family of four). Low compensation and lack of opportunity for career advancement makes it difficult to draw workers with strong backgrounds in early education to the field. The report showed that as many as 72 percent of workers survey hadn’t earned an associate’s degree or higher. Ultimately, this study found that there were large gaps in the data concerning credentials and compensation of the early education workforce, and states as well as the federal government should work to close this gap. See the New America Foundation’s Early Ed Watch blog for more information.

Low-income Families Pay Taxes, Still Not Benefitting from the Recovery. The myth that 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes has, once again, been debunked. A piece in the Milken Institute Review shows the disproportionate burden of state and local taxes that are borne by low-income families. Meanwhile, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently highlighted the share of the nation’s total income going to the top 1 percent of households rose in 2010 for the first time since the recession began, with most of the growth happening at the “tippy-top.” Furthermore, even in a down year, the nation’s top 1% had more total income that the bottom 50 percent combined. At the same time, “extreme poverty” – those living on less than $2 a day – has more than doubled in the United States in the last 15 years.

Look for 99% Spring and Tax Day Events Near you. A broad network has come together to carry the energy and enthusiasm of the Occupy movement into the election season. In races nationwide candidates would have to decide which side they are on: Corporations, i.e. the structures of the 1 percent, or the rest of us. To realize this vision, this network is launching the “99% Spring,” a massive set of training taking place April 9-15 all across the country. Activists will practice telling the story of our economy, learn how to organize direct action campaigns, and build a shared vision for a more just economy. Learn more at 99spring.com, and look out for a training near you!


RESULTS International Conference

Did you miss the Sister Giant Conference two years ago? Or do you want to build upon the knowledge and skills you gained at that conference? Join author and lecturer Marianne Williamson for a special program on Saturday of the 2012 RESULTS International Conference entitled “CREATING A POLITICS OF COMPASSION: A Day-long Seminar on Turning Love into A Political Force.” We are so excited to welcome Marianne to the IC! Learn more about her Marianne Williamson and then go to our website to register for the conference!

We are also gearing up to start our IC sponsorship outreach and wanted to offer you the opportunity to provide input. If you know any organizations or corporations that would want to partner with RESULTS to sponsor the conference, please contact Jamila White, jwhite@results.org, and she will give you more information.

Finally, you only have 27 more days to register at the discounted conference registration price of $150. The rate goes up on April 16 so be sure to register today!


Announcements

Urge Folks in western New York and Montana to Join RESULTS Calls. We are working to start new groups in various areas around the country. We are holding an informational conference call for people in Rochester, NY and Missoula, MT in the hopes of getting a new RESULTS groups started. If you know anyone in these areas, please urge them to call in.

If you have any questions about these calls or leads in other areas you would like to discuss, please contact Jos Linn at jlinn@results.org.

Help us Grow RESULTS in the New England. RESULTS is working to expand our presence in New England. RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be traveling there in the next few months, looking to start new groups in Massachusetts and Maine. If you know anyone in New England who might be interested in getting involved with RESULTS or should meet with Meredith while she is there, please contact Meredith at dodson@results.org.

Request Face-to-Face Meetings for April Recess. The House returns to DC this week for two weeks of work. Both the House and Senate will be on recess again the first two weeks of April. Follow up on your face-to-face meeting requests in February by contacting congressional schedulers to see if you can meet with your representatives while they’re home. You can find schedulers’ names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. The February Action has tips on scheduling a meeting, as well as talking points for each of our major issues. In your meetings, be sure to take our 2012 Request and Background sheets. These one-page “leave behinds” are summaries of our 2012 requests and background on each issue. We have sheets covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare for your meeting(s).


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recess, March 30-April 15. Senate recess, April 2-13. Request face-to-face meetings!

RESULTS Rochester Informational Call: Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#.

RESULTS Montana Informational Call: Tuesday, March 27 at 8:00 pm MT. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#.

Wednesday, April 4: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, April 14: Joint RESULTS U.S. and Global Poverty National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET. Note the different time. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Start planning today to attend our 2012 conference!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS Domestic Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our domestic campaigns.