Domestic Weekly Update December 20, 2011
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for the great work you did in 2011 to help end poverty in America. We look forward to accomplishing more great things in 2012.
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year!
Ending the Year with a Victory — Head Start and Child Care Funding Increased (December Action)
Congress seems to love the drama. With only hours remaining before a government shutdown on Friday, House and Senate negotiators finalized an “omnibus” spending bill to keep the government running through next September (the end of FY 2012). And there is very good news for advocates supporting Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) — each of these programs will see a small increase in funding in FY 2012 so as to protect existing services. Head Start/Early Head Start will see an increase of $409 million over last year, taking its total allotment to almost $8 billion. This is almost $60 million more than what the Senate proposed back in September (but $141 million lower than the House proposal). This will ensure that all of the current slots available for low-income children are maintained, even those created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In addition, CCDBG will see an increase of $55 million total allotment of $2.3 billion for FY 2012. This was a welcomed surprise as both the House and Senate had previously proposed no funding increase for CCDBG. The House passed the measure 296-121 and the Senate 67-32.
The Head Start and child care funding levels are a victory for RESULTS volunteers and early childhood advocates around the country. Remember that only 8 months ago, Congress was planning massive cuts to Head Start and child care as part of the FY 2011 budget. We then faced the same prospect in the FY 2012 budget. But again you responded – in total, with at least 50 face-to-face lobby meetings, calls, letters, e-mails, and at least 55 print media pieces and those cuts were dropped. Your hard work and dedication has once again paid off — Head Start and child care are again protected for another year.
That does not mean we won’t face challenges in 2012. The Budget Control Act continues to eat away at discretionary spending putting more pressure on these important programs. We are also going into an election year where politicians will use every opportunity to demonize government spending, no matter how smart and effective it is. Therefore, we have much work ahead of us.
But that can wait for now. Today we can savor this victory for low-income families. Millions of children will get the educational and social foundations they need for success because of the work you have done this year. Millions of parents will go to work with the peace of mind that their children are safe because of the work you have done this year. You have every reason to feel proud. Congratulations to you all!
TAKE ACTION: If you have not already, take the December Action and thank Congress for supporting Head Start and child care in the FY 2012 budget. Write a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper telling readers of the importance of early childhood funding for low-income families and thanking Congress for continuing these investments for the next year. If you representative and senators voted for the FY 2012 budget bill, be sure to thank them by name in your letter. You can use our updated online LTE action to send letters to your local papers.
If you were not on the December 2011 RESULTS Domestic national conference call with guest speaker Margot Friedman, you can listen to a recording on the RESULTS website. We encourage you to “Like” the Op-ed Talk with Margot Facebook page and use it as a resource as you draft media pieces both now and in the future.
Now is a great time to put in those requests to meet with members of Congress when they are back home over the holiday break and early 2012. Congress will not return to Washington until January 17 (House) and January 23 (Senate). As we head into 2012, this is a great opportunity to once again put ending poverty front and center on the agenda early in the year. Take advantage of this opportunity by requesting a face-to-face meeting with your representatives and senators to talk about our priorities. Get in early to meet with members of Congress to push them early on these important issues. Use our online e-mail to contact their offices about setting up a meeting. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you prepare. We are here to help.
Annual group planning by all RESULTS groups is an important part of RESULTS’ success — it allows us to set goals, track progress, and adjust tactics throughout the year so that we can achieve our objectives in an effective and meaningful way. This process, which takes place in January, also allows RESULTS groups to reflect on and celebrate accomplishments over the last year.
RESULTS staff wants to help you with group planning. After the RESULTS national conference call on January 14, RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be available via Skype to talk to groups doing their group planning that day. Or, if you would like RESULTS Domestic staff to meet separately with your groups via Skype or phone during your January group planning meeting, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to schedule a time to meet.
TAKE ACTION: If you haven’t yet set your January group planning meeting, please get it on your schedule before the holidays so we can hit the group running in January.
As you contemplate your year-end giving, please consider a year end gift to help us achieve more in 2012! Making a year-end gift to RESULTS Educational Fund, the tax-deductible 501(c)(3) arm, or RESULTS, the non-tax-deductible arm will empower new activists to speak out and empower people in poverty to take charge of their lives. You will help RESULTS grow in this country and have a bigger impact all over the world. An investment in RESULTS is an investment in a poverty-free world. We hope you will donate to RESULTS today!
Also, if you are a runner or have a January birthday, our fundraising team would love for you to take our new online fundraising tool for a spin in January! If you’d like to run a 5K or are willing to celebrate your age to inspire your friends to contribute to RESULTS and REF, contact please contact RESULTS Grassroots Development Associate Cindy Levin to find out more.
Half of Americans Are Low-Income. The last minute drama of the FY 2012 budget fight came amidst sobering news about the number of Americans now living at or near poverty. Based on the recent 2010 poverty data from the U.S. Census, 48 percent of Americans are low-income (defined as at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, i.e. $44,750/year for a family of four). Lawmakers can no longer afford to ignore the fact that 146.4 million people in this country, millions of them children, are living in or at great risk of poverty. “The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal,” said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty. “If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years.”
Balanced Budget Amendment Fails in the Senate. As part of the Budget Control Act passed in August, both the House and Senate were required to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the U.S. Constitution before the end of 2011. In November, the House failed to pass their version. Last week, the Senate took up two versions of the BBA. A moderate version, offered by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) was rejected 21-79. A much more conservative version, offered by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), failed 47-53. RESULTS opposes a BBA because it would force disastrous cuts to programs that help low-income Americans (while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy) and severely restrict federal responses to national crises.
Health Reform Helps Young Adults Get Coverage. One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. health reform, passed in March 2010 requires insurers to permit adult children to remain on their parents’ health plan until age 26. While the bulk of health reform goes into effect in 2014, some provisions including coverage for young adults have already gone into effect (young adult coverage began a year ago). As a result of this change, 2.5 million previously uninsured 19-25 year-olds have gotten private health coverage, a drop from 10.5 million to 8 million uninsured young adults over the last year.
Invite People to January RESULTS Intro Calls. Our successful RESULTS Introductory Calls will resume in January. These 30 minute “meet-and-greet” calls are a perfect introduction to RESULTS for people unfamiliar with our work. Many people have connected with RESULTS since we began these calls last summer. Beginning in January, we will be offering both evening and daytime calls. Calls will generally take place on Wednesdays at 9 pm ET and Fridays at 1 pm ET. Our January calls will be Wednesday, January 4 at 9:00 pm ET and Friday, January 20 at 1:00pm ET. As you socialize during the holidays with family and friends, urge them to attend one of our upcoming calls. Just go to our registration page to sign up. Please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you have any questions.
Are You Following RESULTS on Facebook and Twitter? Just a reminder that RESULTS is active with social media. If you have not done so already, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook and followed us on Twitter. Once you are connected, share RESULTS links on your own social media pages and share your insights or news on the RESULTS pages too. Use these tools to educate others about RESULTS and the importance of advocacy.
(See a complete calendar)
Friday, December 23 (1:00 pm ET) – Monday, January, 2, 2012: All RESULTS office closed for holiday break (offices reopen on Tuesday, January 3). There will be no Weekly Update on December 27.
Wednesday, January 4: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.
Saturday, January 14: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Tuesday, January 17: House returns to Washington from holiday recess.
Monday, January 23: Senate returns to Washington from holiday recess.
Friday, January 20: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.
Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Start planning today to attend our 2012 conference!
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.
Please note that because the holidays, there will be no RESULTS Domestic Update next week. The Weekly Update will resume on January 3, 2012.