August 2017 U.S. Poverty Action

Set Up Meetings August to Protect Core Anti-Poverty Programs

RESULTS volunteers completed a busy July with a strong presence on Capitol Hill on July 25 as part of the 2017 RESULTS International Conference. Your push to protect Medicaid that day, and for the last six months, led to a dramatic victory in the health care fight just a few days later when the Senate failed to pass any of their health reform bills. . While this was a great win for Americans on Medicaid, the threat is not over. The House is moving forward with a budget with deep cuts to Medicaid and SNAP (formerly, food stamps) and the Senate could revive their health care effort in the fall. Use the August recess to protect core anti-poverty programs in the budget and during the upcoming tax reform debate.

Tips for Scheduling a Meeting

  1. Coordinate with your group to assign a specific person to request a meeting with each member of Congress (and candidates).
  2. Find contact information for the district office of your member of Congress through the RESULTS website (under “Staff” tab). You can also call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative’s/senator’s office.
  3. Call and ask for the scheduler (be ready to leave a short voicemail).
  4. Use the following conversation as a template for the conversation with the scheduler. Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________ from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end poverty. Our local RESULTS group would like to schedule a meeting with him/her while he/she is home for the August recess. There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting, and we would like to discuss how we can protect and expand services that keep and lift people out of poverty in the 2018 budget. May I set that up today? What times would he/she be available to meet? (If you are asked for a written request, use the above conversation or our online template to create a request letter/e-mail).
  5. If the member of Congress has no time to meet this summer, ask to schedule a meeting the next time he/she is back home. Also, ask if he/she is holding any town hall meetings during the August recess (also look at www.townhallproject.com).
  6. Be sure to note the scheduler’s name of the scheduler and thank that person.

Once you confirm a meeting, please contact RESULTS Director of US Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for coaching, materials, and tailored requests for your meeting.

Use these EPIC Laser Talks in your meetings and town halls this summer. If you have a personal story on any of these issues, please be sure to share them when speaking with lawmakers.

EPIC Laser Talk: Protect Basic Assistance Programs Like SNAP

Engage: Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in households that are struggling against hunger.

Problem: Yet leaders in Congress want to “fast track” cuts to basic assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP) using the budget reconciliation process.

Inform: SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) is the first line of defense against hunger in America. The U.S. Census reports that SNAP lifted 4.6 million people out of poverty in 2015. But Congress and the President want to undo SNAP’s success by slashing its funding by $150 billion, including $10 billion in reconciliation cuts, making it harder for families to put food on the table.

Call to Action: Will you urge Congressional leaders to protect and strengthen basic assistance programs like SNAP by opposing any efforts to “fast track” reconciliation cuts in the 2018 budget?  Will you oppose efforts to cut or restructure SNAP in the next Farm Bill or other legislation?

EPIC Laser Talk: Protecting Anti-Poverty Programs in Tax Reform

Engage: I am alarmed that President Trump’s tax plan could lose $5 trillion in tax revenue – mostly because of big tax breaks for millionaires and corporations.

Problem: The tax code already promotes the wealthy getting wealthier with big tax breaks, while everyone else is left behind. The President’s proposal would make this "wealth gap" far worse and put the health coverage, nutrition assistance, and education for millions at risk of deep cuts.

Inform: Wealth inequality is a serious problem in America, especially when broken down by race. African Americans own 6 cents for every $1 of white wealth in the U.S. (Latinos have 7 cents). Furthermore, giving the wealthy billions in tax breaks makes it harder to fund core anti-poverty services such as Medicaid and SNAP, thus making the wealth gap (and poverty) worse.

Call to Action: Will you urge key tax leaders to make reducing wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap a top priority in tax reform? Also, can we count on you to demand that tax reform be at least "revenue neutral" so as to protect core anti-poverty programs?  

EPIC Laser Talk: Protect Medicaid

Engage: As an anti-poverty advocate, I am pleased that Congress’s attempt to cut and restructure Medicaid have stalled in the Senate.

Problem: If House and Senate leaders plan to cap Medicaid funding has passed, the result would have been lost coverage, rationed benefits, and the end of Medicaid as we know it.

Inform: Restructuring Medicaid would be devastating to millions of Americans, most of them children in low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities. It is wrong for Congress to take health care away from so many just so they can give more tax cuts to the wealthy. Leave Medicaid alone.

Call to Action: Will you tell Congressional leaders to oppose ANY legislation that cuts or restructures Medicaid, ends the Medicaid expansion, or takes away health coverage for millions of Americans?