Domestic Weekly Update April 12, 2011

I started with RESULTS as a volunteer over two decades ago so I know the importance and impact of our grassroots work in the home districts of members of Congress. And I am here in Washington, so I know how incredibly important the voices of grassroots constituents are at this moment. Right now we need to make our voices heard and we need to mobilize more voices.

— Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS, on the April 9 Domestic National Conference Call

Important Special Actions This Week on Radical Budget Proposal

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Late Friday night, Congress and the White House struck an 11th hour deal to finalize the federal budget for 2011. While details are still emerging, we know that this was only the first of several battles to protect investments that save lives, protect and create jobs, and reflect the values of the United States.

We urgently need your voice to stave off even more devastating cuts to anti-poverty programs at home and abroad. To accomplish this, we are asking you to engage in three coordinated and powerful actions this week.

Action One: Call Congress TODAY and Urge Opposition to the House Budget

On Wednesday or Thursday, the House of Representatives will vote on the FY 2012 budget proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1). We noted last week just how extreme this budget is for programs and policies that help low-income Americans. It is difficult to emphasize strongly enough how much damage this budget would do to vital programs that mean life or death for millions, young and old alike, and to our nation’s economy.

If enacted, the House FY 2012 budget would end drastically cut Medicaid and SNAP and change them into block grants to states, thus ensuring millions more uninsured and hungry in the U.S. The budget would also cut non-defense discretionary funding by $500 over the next five years. This means that programs like Head Start, child care, community health centers, as well as foreign assistance programs to combat disease and poverty overseas, would see drastic cuts. If that were not unconscionable enough, the House Budget also cuts taxes for the wealth and corporations by ten percent. In other words, the House GOP plans to finance a $4 trillion tax cut for the rich (over the next ten years) by gutting programs that help low-income and middle class Americans. We cannot let this go unanswered.

Call your representative TODAY toll-free at (888) 245-0215. Ask to be connected to your representative’s office and deliver this message:

I am a constituent and I strongly urge you to stand up against any budget cuts that will harm poor and vulnerable people here in the U.S. and around the world and to vote NO on the House Budget Committee’s Budget Resolution. The Ryan budget resolution would slash international affairs spending by nearly 30 percent, and would lead to deep cuts in health and education investments that save lives and strengthen our economy here in the US and around the world. It would slash investments in programs like Head Start, child care, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, education — in fact, all the investments that help Americans to be economically secure. It denies vital help for low-income and middle class people while giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts to millionaires and big corporations. Please reject these extreme proposals — they would weaken federal protections in a recession and stall economic growth for us all.

You can use our online call-in alert to help with your calls. If you know your representative is already fighting these poverty-related cuts, please thank them for standing up for the poorest and encourage them to continue to fight cuts in the 2012 budget.

Once you’ve called your representative, please call your senators. While the Senate will not take up this proposal in its current form, the debate and public outcry against these cuts will shape the priorities of deficit-reduction legislation Congress will take up in the next few months.

Thank you to the Coalition on Human Needs for the use of this toll-free line. If you don’t know who your senators or representative is, or can’t get through to the Capitol switchboard, use our Elected Officials page to find the direct number to your congressional offices (not toll-free).


Action Two: Join the RESULTS Fasting Day on Wednesday

Ambassador Tony Hall began a hunger fast on March 28 to highlight the dangerous turn our politics has taken toward caring for the poor in our nation and the world. Since then, over 30,000 individuals and organizations and 28 members of Congress have joined Rep. Hall in his fast and standing together to protect vulnerable people from budget cuts that lack conscience, including our Emerson Hunger Fellow Rebecca Van Maren. As a reminder, in 1993 when Congress eliminated the Select Committee on Hunger, Rep. Tony Hall responded in protest by fasting for 22 days. Now, with even more extreme proposals being considered, Tony Hall is fasting again and asking others to join him. His three goals are:

  1. Remind people about the status of vulnerable people in the United States and around the world.
  2. Focusing public attention on the devastating effects that Congress’ proposed cuts would have on vulnerable people.
  3. Forming a circle of protection around programs benefitting most vulnerable people her in America and around the world.

RESULTS joins Rep. Hall in his fast — standing together to protect vulnerable people from budget cuts that lack conscience — by asking RESULTS volunteers (and staff) to participate in the hunger fast tomorrow, Wednesday, April 13. We understand fasting is a very personal decision, so we encourage you to participate in the way you feel comfortable. See our RESULTS Blog post with suggestions on ways you can participate.

The real power of a fast is that it brings urgency to an issue that is often overlooked. Through awareness, we are able to build momentum. Start by joining the Circle of Protection. Then share your experience by commenting on the RESULTS blog about how you are participating and your feelings about the day. You could also spread awareness on your personal blog, your Facebook page, Hunger Fast Facebook page, or even tweet about it using #HungerFast or @HungerFast.

To learn more about the Hunger Fast, go to www.hungerfast.org

Note: Fasting, especially for an extended period of time, can be harmful to your health and well-being. If you have any questions or concerns about the potential health consequences, please consult with your doctor before participating.


Action Three: Educate Your Community by Writing a Letter to the Editor

For our actions to have lasting impact, others need to know about them. Your actions will be made more powerful by spreading the word in your community. Use your local media to help. Write a letter to the editor of you local newspaper opposing deep budget cuts to domestic and global anti-poverty programs, and let you community and members of Congress know what action you’ve taken. You can view a sample letter and send your comment directly to your local newspaper using our online action.


Head Start Funding Saved!... For Now; Use Spring Recess to Push for Strong Investments in FY 2012 (April Action)

As discussed on last Saturday’s national conference call, Congress and the White House avoided a government shutdown on Friday and appear to have a deal to fund the government for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year. The plan cuts $37.8 billion in spending from now until the end of September (the end of the fiscal year). However, because of your continued efforts to protect early childhood programs, we have some very good news. Head Start, Early Head Start , and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) will not be cut in FY 2011. Head Start/Early Head Start will get a combined allocation of $7.57 billion, which is funding to maintain current service levels for the programs. Congratulations! It is because of your hard work over the last few months, these important programs will remain intact... for now.

Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to celebrate. Even though Head Start and CCDBG will be able to maintain services this year, they face a far greater threat going into FY 2012. As noted in our first section, the House will be voting this week to enact Paul Ryan’s FY 2012 budget proposal, which if enacted into law would include drastic cuts to Head Start, Early Head Start, CCDBG and other important safety net programs.

Fortunately, there are many people pushing back against these policies. Over the last few months, RESULTS has been participating in the SAVE for All coalition, urging Congress to do the right thing with the budget. Some of the SAVE for All’s Statement of Principles include:

  • Protecting low- and moderate-income people by opposing cuts in or the elimination of effective services, while supporting expansions necessary to respond to growing need.
  • Preventing budget caps that force harsh reductions in domestic/human needs services.
  • Preventing damaging structural changes in essential programs, such as block-granting Medicaid or limiting Medicare by converting its benefits to fixed vouchers.
  • Supporting deficit reduction plans that include additional revenues drawn from equitable sources, and oppose the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction framework of two-thirds spending cuts and only one-third revenue increases.

Do you part to support these principles by taking action this month on the FY 2012 budget.

TAKE ACTION: Congress will be on a two-week recess beginning next week. Contact your Senate and House offices and request a face-to-face meeting with your senators and representatives to talk about investing in America’s children. Specifically, meet with them and urge them to build on the recent investments in Head Start, Early Head Start and CCDBG by funding these programs in FY 2012 at the levels necessary to maintain existing services. Remind them that Congress has done the right thing in 2011 and we must continue that momentum in 2012. Use the April Action for talking points and background information, as well as our April 2011 Laser Talk. If you cannot meet with members of Congress during the recess, write letters to senators and representatives urging these important investments. See also our updated Early Childhood Development PowerPoint presentation for background on this campaign.

If you have not signed up your local RESULTS group to the SAVE for All principles please do so at http://tinyurl.com/3g2hwq2.

To learn more about the FY 2012 budget fight and some of the broader implications, listen to a recording of last Saturday’s national conference call with guest speaker Joan Huffer from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


Keep Up the “To Catch a Dollar” Momentum

Thank all of you again for your hard work with the “To Catch a Dollar” nationwide screening last month. As discussed on Saturday’s national conference call, many groups shared about the successes they had on generating turnout and exposing mew people to RESULTS. Some groups even had new volunteers with them on the call. Congratulations to you all for your efforts.

Now that the film has premiered the “To Catch a Dollar” campaign now moves into a new phase with events designed to educate people about U.S. poverty and its solutions. The rest of April will include these weeks of focus — the Unbanked of America (April 11–15), Savings in America (April 18–22), and Policy Solutions (April 25–29).

RESULTS will be one of the co-sponsors of the Policy Solutions week. On Monday, April 25 at 5:00 pm ET, we will co-host a webinar on the state of microfinance in America. On Tuesday, April 26 at 2:00 pm ET, RESULTS will host an Advocacy 101 webinar. We are also working on possibly doing a third webinar on Wednesday, April 27 at 2:00 pm ET, topic TBD. We will have registration details soon but for now, mark your calendars and plan to participate.

TAKE ACTION: Make the most of your “To Catch a Dollar” experience by:

  1. Following up with leads. Contact persons who expressed interest in RESULTS at your local “To Catch a Dollar” screening. Invite them to your next meeting and provide more information about RESULTS to them. See our ”To Catch a Dollar” Resources page for follow-up resources.
  2. Let us know how your event went. Read our April 1 RESULTS Blog post and add your own comment about how your local event went.
  3. Plan to participate in the April events. Go to ”To Catch a Dollar” Resources page and www.tocatchadollar.com to find out about these events, including the webinars RESULTS will host the week of April 25–29.

Quick News

President Obama to Discuss Deficit Reduction Plan on Wednesday. On the heels of the 2011 budget deal and the House vote on the 2012 budget this week, President Obama will make a speech tomorrow unveiling his plan for long-term deficit reduction. The plan, which is not expected to include many details at this point, will discuss reining in costs by making changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as defense and discretionary spending. He will also highlight the need to increase revenues as part of the solution, namely by ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The so-called bipartisan “Gang of Six”, a group of senators working together on long-term deficit reduction, is expected to unveil their plan after the spring recess.


Announcements

RESULTS’ Midwest Adventures. Last week, Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos Linn traveled to Salina, KS for an outreach meeting with members of the Salina and Lindsborg Domestic groups. The meeting went very well and netted a new activist in the Salina group, along with a few more additions to the RESULTS Action Network. We thank the Salina and Lindsborg groups for their inspiring hard work and success. After traversing the Kansas prairie, Jos joined Emerson Hunger Fellow Rebecca Van Maren at the National Head Start Association conference in Kansas City. Jos did two advocacy presentations at the conference, which were very well received. A number of participants signed up for the RESULTS Action Network and some are interested in becoming volunteers. Rebecca also got 12 video testimonials from Head Start staff and parents at the conference about the importance of the program. We will be using these stories to help in our advocacy work this year.

Sign Up for the RESULTS International Conference TODAY. The 2011 RESULTS International Conference is fast approaching. The deadline to register before the fee increases is only a few weeks away (May3). Be sure to register for the conference today. In addition, if you are a student wanting to attend the conference, the deadline for our Campus for Change program is this Friday, April 15. Go to our International Conference page for more information. We look forward to seeing you in June!


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Wednesday, April 13: Beginning of next New Activist Orientation series. 9:00 pm ET. Call (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the series (April 13 and 27, May 11 and 25) or get more information by contacting Lisa Marchal.

Thursday, April 14: Half in Ten Social Media Training, 2:00 pm ET. Register at the Half in Ten website.

April 15–29: House and Senate spring recess.

Tuesday, May 3: Deadline to register for the RESULTS International Conference at normal rate of $250 (rate increases by $50 after May 3).

Sunday, June 19 – Tuesday, June 21: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 750 First Street NE, Suite 1040, Washington DC 20002. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

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.