Domestic Weekly Update January 18, 2011
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings/Call with Senate Aides to Talk about Early Childhood Issues (January Action)
There is only a little time left before Congress returns to DC full-time to begin work. While the House will be in session at least part of this week, the Senate does not return until January 25. This still gives us the opportunity to meet with members of Congress face-to-face this month to discuss the issue many of them forget or ignore — poverty in America.
Our main focus for these meetings is early childhood development issues, specifically services for low-income families provided through Head Start/Early Head Start and child care assistance. These federal programs are facing serious funding shortages. As discussed on our January 8 national conference call, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $2 billion in new funding for Head Start/Early Head Start and $2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for 2009 and 2010. As you know, both Head Start and child care services have operated well below capacity for years because of inadequate funding. Because of the influx of these new funds, 200,000 new low-income children and their families have received child care assistance and 7,000 Head Start or Early Head Start classrooms have opened.
However, that funding has now run out. If it is not maintained going forward, 300,000 children stand to lose these critical services. After so much progress, we cannot now choose to go backwards. This issue is not about budgets and funding — it is about our children and our future. It is short-sighted, calloused, and cruel for Congress to ask thousands of American children to sacrifice services critical to their development just weeks after giving America’s wealthiest one percent an average tax cut of $77,000 in 2011.
Let your members of Congress know what our real legislative priorities should be. The budget fight has already begun and we want to make sure members of Congress knows that early childhood funding is important to many of their constituents.
TAKE ACTION: Take the January Action. Set up a face-to-face meeting with returning and new members of Congress in your home state. Contact the office scheduler to see when your House and Senate members can meet before they go to Washington. Use the January 2011 Laser Talk to help you. In your meeting, focus on protecting Head Start and child care programs that help break the cycle of poverty. To help prepare you for your meetings, listen to our January 8 national conference call on the RESULTS National Conference Calls page on our website. In addition, see our 2011 Campaigns Summary for an overview of this year’s legislative campaigns.
If you are unable to get one scheduled this month, set up a conference call between your group and Senate aides to talk about Head Start and child care. The Senate will play a key role in putting the brakes on irresponsible budget cuts coming out of the House, so we want to start now. Unlike scheduling a face-to-face meeting, you can call aides directly to schedule meetings with them. Contact the “Child/Family Issues” legislative aide, the names of which you can find on the Elected Officials page of our website (under the “Staff” tab for your particular senators).
Please note: When contacting the scheduler, even if you cannot set up a face-to-face time for the next few weeks, be sure to ask for a meeting the next time your representative or senators are home. Polite persistence can go a long way in getting those rare but important in-district meetings throughout the year.
Building Political Will for Early Childhood Funding — Sign Your Local RESULTS Group onto NWLC Letter
Thank you to all of you who call the White House last Friday in support of higher Head Start and child care funding. By making our voices heard with calls to the White House, we raised the awareness of this issue which will hopefully lead to action by the Obama Administration.
As you know, efforts like this are very important in the process of building political will. Simply contacting legislators, while vital, many times is not enough. We have to be creative in our advocacy and push lawmakers from various different leverage points. Therefore, in addition to meeting with members of Congress this month about Head Start and child care, you took action last week by pushing the President on this same issue. Here is what we can do next to build on that work.
Our friends at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) have a sign on letter in support of early childhood funding. Their goal is to get hundreds of local, state and national organizations to sign onto the letter before they send it to the House and Senate in early February. This will send a clear message to Congress to put children first. From the NWLC: “In these last few weeks [before the FY 2011 is finalized], we must do everything we can to see these critical funding streams through to the finish line by March 4 [when the current continuing resolution expires] — 300,000 children and families are depending on us. In a time of deep economic need, early childhood programs are an investment in our future that keeps parents working, children learning, and the economy moving.”
Let’s help them reach their goal by signing as many local RESULTS groups onto the letter as possible. Once your group has signed on, send it to other groups you know and ask them to join your local RESULTS group in voicing support for America’s children.
TAKE ACTION: Take these quick and effective actions this week to put more pressure on Congress to support early childhood funding:
Thank you for your support and your advocacy. Thousands of children around the country will now have their voices heard through yours.
In addition to taking action on early childhood funding, be sure to meet with your group to do your annual group planning. The process is designed to give you a blueprint of actions and goals your local group would like to accomplish in 2011. It is an important part of RESULTS’ success because it allows each group to create a clear vision of what they want to do while utilizing the unique creativity of each group member to make it happen. To help you, we have created some resources designed to make the process meaningful and easy. You can find each of these resources on our Group Resource and Administration page:
TAKE ACTION: If you have not scheduled your group planning meeting, contact your group members and set it up as soon as possible. We want to complete this process before our legislative work gets too busy. For an overview of our 2011 campaigns, listen to the January 8 national conference call or see our 2011 Campaigns Summary. Also, in your planning, make a specific effort to map out your outreach and fundraising plans for the year. If you have any questions about 2011 fundraising, please contact our new Grassroots Development Associate Cindy Changyit Levin at [email protected].
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.
House to Vote on Repeal of Health Reform Tomorrow. The new House leadership has scheduled a vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for tomorrow, January 19. Debate on the repeal bill, H.R.2, began today. While a major campaign issue in last year’s election, repeal efforts are not as popular as they were just a few weeks ago. A new poll shows that support for repeal has dropped from 46 percent to 25 percent since January 7, and strong opposition to the law is at a 15-month low (30 percent). In addition, the Congressional Budget Office reported on January 6 that repeal would result in 54 million uninsured by 2019 and would add $230 to the federal budget deficit by 2021. The vote is expected to pass the House, where Republicans have the majority, but then die in the Senate, which is under Democratic control. Make a quick call to House and Senate members today and tell them that you are grateful that Congress passed health reform to vote NO on repeal.
New Outreach Action Sheet Available. We have a new Outreach Action Sheet available to help you engage others in your community in our anti-poverty work. The focus of this sheet is writing letters to Congress in support of Head Start and child care. Use the sheet for tabling, meetings and other event where you can get the word out to people about RESULTS and these issues.
New Activist Orientation Begins in February. On February 2 and 16, March 2 and 16 at 9:00 pm ET, we will begin another 4-session series of the New Activist Orientation. This series is designed for volunteers new to RESULTS or those simply wanting to learn more (or a refresher) about our organization and our work. To RSVP or to get more information, contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]); to participate, call (712) 432-3100 and enter passcode 761262.
(Click to see a complete calendar)
Wednesdays, February 2 and 16, March 2 and 16: New Activist Orientation, 4-session series. 9 pm ET. Call (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. To RSVP or to get more information, contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]).
Saturday, February 12: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET.
Week of February 14: President Obama releases FY 2012 budget plan.
Monday, February 21: President’s Day holiday. All RESULTS offices closed.
Sunday, June 19 – Tuesday, June 21: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC (Note: start date subject to change).
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.