Domestic Weekly Update February 8, 2011

“Organize like you’ve never organized before. Persuade like you’ve never persuaded before.”

— Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to anti-poverty advocates on the February 2 Half in Ten webinar

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Join February National Conference Call THIS Saturday; Use Meeting to Do Group Planning

This Saturday is the February RESULTS National Conference Call. On this call we will highlight the February Action and the congressional appropriations process. As past of our 2011 RESULTS Domestic Campaigns, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will garner a lot of our focus. The category of programs includes Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance.

During the call, some groups will share about recent face-to-face meetings in their districts and their group planning meetings. If your group has not completed the group planning process, use this Saturday’s conference call as an opportunity to do your planning. A number of groups are scheduled to do their planning on Saturday, either before or after the call. So that we can ensure that all our groups complete their planning, we encourage groups either do their planning this Saturday or confirm a date on Saturday to finish in this month.

Thank you all for your continued efforts and we look forward to talking to you this Saturday.

TAKE ACTION: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday, February 12 at 12:30 pm ET for the national conference call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709. Once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call. Also, please include group planning as part of your Saturday agenda. Use our group planning resources (2011 Group Plan Summary Form, sample agenda, etc) found on our Group Resource and Administration page and our 2011 Campaigns Summary to help.

Once you have completed your planning, fill out the group plan summary form and send a copy to your regional coordinator as soon as possible. If you have questions about group planning, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff for help.

Tell Congress that Cutting Early Childhood Programs Is Wrong (February Action)

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently in the process of determining the funding levels for Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance programs for the remainder of FY 2011. Your representative in particular needs to hear from you TODAY about the importance of early childhood development programs.

Last week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) unveiled his plan for the FY 2011 budget, which ends in September. Remember that Congress has been operating under a continuing resolution (CR) since September 30 for FY 2011; that CR just extended 2010 funding temporarily. The current CR expires on March 4.

Rep. Ryan proposes to cut $32 billion from the non-defense domestic discretionary budget. That means programs like Head Start, child care, WIC and others could be on the chopping block. His proposal does not specify details at this point, but social service programs could face a $6.5 billion cut. Now the House Appropriations Committee is working on specific proposals that will be brought to the House floor next week. That means YOUR representative is deciding NOW which program he or she wants to cut and by how much — and funding for Head Start and child care is at risk.

We certainly have our work cut out for us but fortunately, time and again, RESULTS volunteers have been up to challenge. To help ensure that low-income children are not forgotten, keep trying to set up those face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress. They need to hear from constituents about the importance of early childhood programs and why cutting them now would be penny wise and pound foolish. Both the House and Senate will be on recess the week of February 21.

In addition to requesting your face-to-face meetings, take the February Action by writing to your members of Congress in support of Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Tell Congress to protect existing services by sustaining the necessary Head Start and child care funding levels that go to states and communities who serve millions of low-income children. Use the state fact sheets from CLASP for details on how Head Start and child care have benefited your state the last few years.

TAKE ACTION: Take the February Action. Write letters to your members of Congress in support of Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Urge them to sustain the funding levels in FY 2011 and FY 2012 necessary to protect existing services for children and families. Also, if you have your own stories and experiences to share, please do. Perhaps you were a Head Start student or you a teacher; perhaps you run a child care program or know someone who relies on CCDBG funds to help pay for child care. Sharing these stories can make a difference, so please use them in your letters. And don’t forget to keep requesting those face-to-face meetings.

You can also use our new Early Childhood Laser Talk to help draft your letters or in your face-to-face meetings with legislators. And, we urge you to register for a special conference call, “Early Childhood Funding: the President’s FY 2012 Budget and Wrapping Up FY 2011 Appropriations” on Thursday, February 17 at 3:00 pm During the call, Helen Blank from the National Women’s Law Center (our January conference call guest), Danielle Ewen from CLASP, and others will brief participants on what the new budget proposals mean for the early childhood programs that are important to families and children.

How You Can Be a Part of Strengthening America’s Values and Economy For All

The challenges facing us as we work to protect funding for Head Start, child care and other key supports for low-income families will be part of a larger battle over budget cuts and deficit reduction. RESULTS is part of a new campaign called SAVE For All (Strengthening America’s Values and Economy For All), and we’ve signed on to the Statement of Principles as a national organization. With deep cuts already proposed in advance of the president’s budget release, the time to stand up for these programs and the people they support is NOW.

The SAVE Campaign’s Lobby Working Group (of which we’re a part) is setting up meetings with staff of key Representatives and Senators to discuss the SAVE’s Statement of Principles: http://chn.org/pdf/2011/SAVEForAll_finalstatementFeb1.pdf. Some of the most effective lobby visits are ones where constituents from the district/state participate in the meetings via phone, and along with other members we’re scheduling lobby visits designed to include people from back home.

If you would be willing to be a part of daytime lobby visits with key congressional staff via conference call to share why programs like Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) are important to you and your community, we urge you to join a special briefing for individuals in the field on Thursday, February 10 at 4 pm ET. The briefing will describe the SAVE for ALL Campaign and discuss the role of constituents on the call. This important role is to talk about the program(s) they are involved in and/or know about in their district/state, who is served by these services, and what it would mean for program recipients if funding were cut. To join, call: (800) 371-9219, passcode: 6722521#. We’ll reach out to your group directly if there is a lobby visit scheduled with your House or Senate office — joining Thursday’s call will make sure you are ready to jump in.

To understand the challenges ahead, last week the Half in Ten campaign sponsored (and RESULTS cosponsored) a special webinar, Road to Shared Prosperity: Fighting for Economic Security Through Grassroots Advocacy. On this webinar, a distinguished panel of speakers spoke about the threats facing low-income Americans in the upcoming debate over deficit reduction and the importance of grassroots advocacy to protect strong programs that are the lifeblood of local communities, families, and businesses. If you missed the webinar, you can sign up for more information on Half in Ten’s upcoming trainings on communications, social media, innovative in-district advocacy, and storybanking. These trainings will be scheduled over the coming weeks and will provide a good opportunity to shore up your skills to participate in the high-stakes policy debates ahead. RESULTS may play a role in these trainings, sharing the best practices from our Activist Toolkit. The webinar resource page includes additional resources such as issues briefs from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on big-picture threats to programs serving low and moderate income Americans.

TAKE ACTION: Join the SAVE Campaign’s briefing on Thursday at 4 pm ET: (800) 371-9219, passcode: 6722521#. And, sign your local RESULTS group on to the SAVE campaign’s budget statement of principles to show your support for preserving and strengthening our federal capacity to expand opportunity and enable all Americans to obtain economic security, and urge other local organizations to do the same.

In addition, we urge you to contribute to the Half in Ten/Coalition on Human Needs Story Bank. Submit your story of how federal programs have played an important role in your life, the life of those you work with, or in the life of your business. Check out these tips and guidelines for submitting your story.

Recent Hill Briefings Highlight EITC and Building Savings at Tax Time

Two recent events on Capitol Hill highlighted opportunities helped build awareness of policies at the core of our Creating Economic Opportunity and Breaking the Cycle of Poverty through Asset-Building Policies campaign. On National EITC Awareness Day on January 28, speakers highlighted the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit for more than 30 congressional staff. For a summary, see the National Community Tax Coalition’s blog summary: http://tax-coalition.org/our-coalition/newsroom/national-eitc-awareness-day.

Last Wednesday, experts shared new opportunities to build savings at tax time in a briefing sponsored by the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus. For the first time, low-income taxpayers can purchase Savings Bonds for children or others with a portion of their refund. This is the infrastructure that can help pave the way for the Saver’s Bonus. A video recording of the event is available at: http://assets.newamerica.net/events/2011/helping_constituents_save_at_tax_time and the Bonds Make it Easy Campaign has a summary on their blog: http://bondsmakeiteasy.org/blog/congressional-briefing.

Congratulations to all of you that invited staffers to the briefing!

TAKE ACTION: Thank congressional staff who attended the briefing, and urge all staff to check out the links above to understand the importance of policies that create economic opportunity. Next month, we’ll follow up with them to introduce the Saver’s Bonus and urge them to support legislation to help millions of low-income Americans build savings.

Let People Know about our Upcoming Outreach Events

In addition to monitoring our 2011 U.S. Poverty campaigns, RESULTS staff have some events coming up designed to educate and engage people about anti-poverty advocacy and RESULTS. We could use your help in getting the word out.

Tomorrow night, Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos G. Linn will be in Denver to meet with the newly re-formed RESULTS Denver Domestic group. His time in the Centennial State will include an outreach meeting to educate local folks about RESULTS and invite them get involved. If you know of anyone in the Denver area, please urge them to attend. The meeting is tomorrow, Wednesday, February 9, at 7:00 pm MT at the Unity Church of Denver, 3021 S. University Blvd. For details, contact Jos at (515) 288-3622 or [email protected].

And, mark your calendars for the March 31 nationwide release of the documentary TO CATCH A DOLLAR: MUHAMMAD YUNUS BANKS ON AMERICA (2009). RESULTS is a national partner in the release of this film. Stay tuned for details on how your groups can get involved.

To learn more about other outreach activities RESULTS is engaged in, see our Outreach Update from last week. Also, if you are looking to grow your group or help start a new RESULTS Domestic group, please contact Jos or Meredith for help. We are happy to work with you on strengthening and expanding our grassroots presence around the country.

Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Thursday, February 10: NWLC Conference Call about Health Reform and Medicaid, 1:00 pm ET. The call will include a review of the key Medicaid provisions of health reform, its impact on states, and other issues. To register, go to the NWLC Reform Matters registration page.

Wednesdays, February 16, March 2 and 16: New Activist Orientation, 4-session series. 9 pm ET. Call (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. You can join in even if you missed the February 2 call. To RSVP or to get more information, contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]).

Saturday, February 12: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709.

February 14: President Obama releases FY 2012 budget plan.

Monday, February 21: President’s Day holiday. All RESULTS offices closed.

Monday, February 21 – Friday, February 25: House and Senate President’s Day recess.

Friday, March 4: Expiration of the current continuing resolution (CR) for FY 2011 spending.

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: Meredith Dodson, (202) 783-7100 x116 ([email protected]); Jos Linn, (515) 288-3622 ([email protected]), and Ann Beltran ([email protected]). Grassroots Development Associate, Cindy Changyit Levin, (773) 236-7758 ([email protected]).

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.