Domestic Weekly Update January 25, 2011
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
We’re in the last week of January so be sure to set up a time to do group planning with your group, if you have not already. RESULTS’ success over the years has come from the unique ability of our volunteers to stay focused on the task at hand while also being creative in the goals they set. Our annual group planning process helps make that happen.
How many advocacy organizations do you know urge their volunteers to meet and plan out their agenda and goals every year? How many have our track record of building relationship with legislators, the media, and with people in the communities we cover? There is a direct correlation between the two. You, the volunteers, are the engine, chasse, and fuel that drive RESULTS and our work. But as with any road trip, we need a map. Group planning provides the map to get us where we need to go.
What legislative goals do you want to accomplish this year? How will you create a champion of your members of Congress? How do you want to interact with your local media? In what ways will you get others involved in RESULTS work this year? What kind of actions will you take to support our annual fundraising efforts? These (and others) are all questions the group planning process can help you answer. Just taking a little time now to go through this process will pay out great dividends down the road
TAKE ACTION: If you have not scheduled your group pl,anning meeting, contact your group members and set it up as soon as possible. Use our group planning resources (planning sheets, plan summary, sample agenda, etc) to help. You can find these resources on our Group Resource and Administration page. Also, if you need another overview of our 2011 campaigns, listen to the January 8 national conference call or see our 2011 Campaigns Summary.
Thank you to the groups that have already completed their planning. 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.
Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings to Talk about Early Childhood Issues (January Action)
Congress returns full-time to Washington, DC, this week. Both the House and Senate will be in session tonight for the president’s annual State of the Union address at 9:00 pm ET. The president is expected to lay out an agenda focused around jobs, but budget issues will also be addressed. As you know, budget cutting fever has gripped Washington. In anticipation of the speech, the Republican Study Committee (a large caucus of conservative Republicans in the House) released its proposed budget; it is not good news. The Committee recommends that all non-defense discretionary programs (including many of the programs RESULTS advocates for) be cut to 2008 funding levels for FY 2011 and then frozen to 2006 levels for the subsequent ten years. Not only would this be disastrous for programs like Head Start, it could seriously undermine our economic recovery.
While RESULTS supports fiscal responsibility, too often the focus in Congress is on the “fiscal” and not the “responsibility.” Fiscal responsibility is not simply about balancing a budget; it is about making the right choices on public investments that benefit society as a whole, both now and in the future. In other words, it is about being “responsible” with taxpayer money and spending it wisely for the betterment of everyone, not just a privileged few.
There is no greater responsibility we have as a people than to care for our children. And for low-income children who face challenges that many other children do not face, we must do what we can to give them the best chance at success in life. Programs like Head Start/Early Head Start and child care assistance have proven successful time and again at helping vulnerable children. However, budget cuts are threatening that success once again. This is why meeting with members of Congress right now is so important. They need to hear that investing in our children is about helping at-risk kids right now who can help build a bright future for all of us.
TAKE ACTION: Take the January Action. Set up face-to-face meetings with returning and new members of Congress in your home state. The House will be on recess beginning this Thursday through Monday, February 7 and both the House and Senate will be on recess the week of February 21 (see this calendar for the House and Senate recess schedules). Contact the office scheduler to set up a time to meet when they are back home. Use the January 2011 Laser Talk to help you. Once you have a meeting or conference call scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) to help you prepare.
In your meeting, focus on protecting Head Start and child care programs that help break the cycle of poverty. Tell them we must maintain funding currently available to states and communities for these important investments. Our friends at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) have some new data to help you. Their new web resource includes custom fact sheets with state-by-state data on Head Start and child care programs. You can also see our 2011 Campaigns Summary for more information on our 2011 Early Childhood Education campaign.
Also, be sure to tune into President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight at 9:00 pm ET (on all major networks). You can even submit your own questions (and vote on others) to the President at http://www.youtube.com/worldview. They will be accepting questions until midnight tonight ET.
Thank you to all of you who have already signed your groups onto the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) sign on letter to Congress about early childhood funding. By having all of our groups signed on, we can help demonstrate to Congress strong nationwide support for the investments needed to ensure a good future for America’s children. Let’s help our friends at the NWLC by signing as many local RESULTS groups onto the letter as possible.
TAKE ACTION: Go to http://action.nwlc.org/site/Survey?SURVEY_ID=11500&ACTION_REQUIRED=URI_ACTION_USER_REQUESTS&autologin=true to sign your local RESULTS group onto the NWLC letter. Coordinate with your group leader as to who will sign on for your group. On the form, for Organization, please list your group name, e.g. “RESULTS Buffalo” or “RESULTS Santa Fe”. 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. The deadline to sign on is next Tuesday, February 1.
Also, be sure to also send an e-mail message to members of Congress in support of Head Start and child care funding.
As part of our Economic Opportunity for All campaign, let’s start building support for building savings and assets for low-income individuals and families by inviting House and Senate tax aides to attend the following briefings in Washington, DC:
NCTC Briefing on January 28. In celebration of National EITC Awareness Day, the National Community Tax Coalition is hosting a luncheon briefing this Friday designed to educate congressional staff about the economic impact and benefits of current tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). They will also present ideas for the 112th Congress on how to improve the existing tax code to offer simple tax incentives to support working families. The briefing is Friday, January 28 from 12:30-1:30 pm ET, Room 2168 of the Rayburn House Office Building. You can download a PDF letter and invitation to send the aides. RSVPs for the luncheon should go to Lucy Mullany at [email protected].
Savings Bond Briefing on February 2. On February 2, the Congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus is holding a briefing on the importance of saving via U.S. Savings Bonds. Savings Bonds provide a safe and simple way for Americans to build their families’ financial security. To help this effort, Doorway to Dreams (D2D) and Savings Bond Working Group and the New America Foundation are launching the Tax Time Savings Bond Campaign to encouraging taxpayers to put all or part of their tax refunds into a U.S. Savings Bond, which everyone can now do on their tax returns. Speakers will include representatives from the IRS, Intuit (makers of TurboTax), D2D and New America. Congressional sponsors include Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-5), Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI-6), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA-16) and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA-5), as well as Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA-2). The briefing is Wednesday, February 2 from 10:00-11:00 am ET, Room 122 of the Cannon House Office Building. To RSVP or for more information, attendees should contact Ali Diallo at (301) 656-0348 or [email protected].
TAKE ACTION: Contact your House and Senate aides and urge them to attend both of these important briefings. To find the tax aide for your members of Congress, go to our Elected Officials page on the RESULTS website.
Join Half in Ten Webinar on February 2. Half in Ten, an initiative to cut U.S poverty in half in ten years and is endorsed by RESULTS and many other organizations, is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, February 2 from 3:00-4:00 pm ET to educate grassroots activists on the looming policy battles affecting low-income families in the 112th Congress. Speakers will include Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. RESULTS is sponsoring this webinar. To register, go to https://secure.confertel.net/tsregister.asp?course=532202.
House Repeals Health Reform. As expected, last Wednesday the House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 245-189. Soon after the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he would block any repeal efforts in the Senate, although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised otherwise. While these current efforts are merely symbolic (they are not expected to become law), RESULTS is keeping a close eye other efforts that may pose a real threat to gains made in reform (e.g. defunding key provisions, scaling back the Medicaid expansion). If and when action is needed to protect key components of reform, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, you can make a quick call to Senators and tell them that you are grateful that Congress passed health reform and for them to oppose any repeal efforts.
See Our Updated Assets Pages. As part of our 2011 campaign to promote Economic Opportunity for All, we have updated our Building Savings and Assets pages with new information to help you learn more about low-income asset development, including the Saver’s Bonus. We will soon have an updated PowerPoint presentation on assets and savings available on our website as well.
New Website with Tax Credit Data Now Available. Tax Credits for Working Families is a new online resource providing easy access to research and resources on the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and other important tax credits for working families. The site also provides extensive information and tools on how community-based organizations and elected officials can raise awareness of these important tax credits and help working families get ahead.
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)
Tuesday, January 25: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address, 9 pm ET.
Thursday, January 27 – Monday, February 7: House is on recess.
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: Presidents’ 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.
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.