Domestic Weekly Update July 5, 2011

Head Start allows parents an opportunity to build their self-worth and empower them to become self-sufficient and off assistance. Poor children did not cause the debt crisis in our state and nation. . . . We have to look at our future. Please let your politicians know that these programs provide many valuable opportunities to our community.

— RESULTS Cedar Rapids volunteer Judy McDowell in a June 29 letter to the editor in the Cedar Rapids Gazette

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Join Us for the July National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET

Join us this Saturday, July 9 at 12:30 pm ET for the RESULTS National Conference Call. On this call, we’ll review the latest on the budget/debt ceiling negotiations as well as an update on early childhood funding. We will also hear from attendees of the RESULTS International Conference about their experience. We look forward to a great call so please plan to join us.

In addition, please use your time together before or after Saturday’s call to review your 2011 group plans. Being the mid-way through the year, this is the perfect time to look at your plans to see how you are progressing on your goals, as well as make adjustments to your plan and start mapping out your legislative, outreach and fundraising activities for the latter part of 2011.

TAKE ACTION: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday, July 9 at 2:30 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 allocate time before or after the call, or at your second meeting this month, to review your group plans and map out your activities for the remainder of the year.


Generate Media for Protecting Early Childhood Programs in the 2012 Budget (July Action)

RESULTS Domestic’s 2011 focus has centered around protecting low-income children and families from devastating budget cuts, with particular focus on early childhood programs such as Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). RESULTS volunteers and our allies were successful in April in beating back cuts to these programs in the FY 2011 budget, which if enacted would have resulted in over 350,000 children losing services. This was a major accomplishment for which we should all be proud. Since then, we have turned our focus to the FY 2012 budget process.

A few weeks ago, the House Labor-Health, Human Services and Education Appropriations subcommittee (Labor-HHS) was directed to cut more than15 percent of its budget in 2012, more than $20 billion. Needless to say, if enacted these cuts would have a significant impact on low-income families. For example, if Congress cuts 15 percent from Head Start’s budget this year, over 130,000 children could lose services. This is in exactly the opposite direction we should be going. The last few years have seen significant enrollment gains in Head Start and child care services — we cannot now turn our backs on these families in their time of need.

Right now, Congress is focused almost exclusively on the debt ceiling/deficit reduction debate. In fact, the Senate cancelled its recess this week to work on this issue. And while the deficit reduction debate is much broader than our work on early childhood issues, both are inextricably intertwined. Whatever deficit reduction deal is finally made, it will have an impact on the 2012 budget and beyond. We need to keep laying the groundwork to ensure that when it finally does come time to allocate specific funding levels for Head Start, Early Head Start and CCDBG, the momentum will already be there to protect these important services.

Media work is an essential part of any advocacy strategy. It holds members of Congress accountable for their actions. Congressional offices still pay close attention to print media in their states and districts to see what constituents care about. What better way to get their attention than to call them by name to protect critical early childhood services through a medium that is read by potentially thousands of people in your community. It is also a great way to educate the general public about these issues and sway public opinion in favor of helping at-risk children. Therefore, this month we are urging you to take action by writing a letter to the editor or Op-ed to your local paper, urging members of Congress by name to protect Head Start and child care in this year’s budget. Your media pieces will go a long way in building the political will we need to protect America’s vulnerable children.

TAKE ACTION: Take the July Action. Draft and submit a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper urging members of Congress to protect low-income children and families by funding Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG at levels necessary to maintain existing services. This would mean a $1.2 billion increase for CCDBG and a total allotment of $8.1 billion for Head Start/Early Head Start. See the July Action sheet for talking points and background information. Be sure to mention your members of Congress by name when urging them to act and once your piece gets published, be sure to fax a copy to your congressional offices.

Also, please see this blog post by RESULTS’ Publications and Content manager Laura Ochoa about the continued importance of print media in our advocacy work. We will have more about the July Action on this Saturday’s national conference call (July 9 at 12:30 pm ET).


Canceled Senate Recess Highlights Importance of RESULTS Conference Follow-Up (June Action)

Last week, President Obama stepped up the pressure on Congress to resolve the issues around the federal deficit and get a deal done as soon as possible. This was on the heels of key Republicans walking out of talks over Democratic proposals to include new revenue as part of a deficit reduction package. President Obama reiterated his position that serious deficit reduction cannot rely on spending cuts alone; new revenue, preferable from high income earners who have seen their taxes drop significantly over the last decade. He also said that Congress should not go on upcoming recesses until a deal is done; that request was quickly heeded when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate would not go on recess this week, but would stay in session to continue budget talks.

This change obviously limits our ability to get face-to-face meetings this week, as both the House and Senate will be in Washington for at least the next few weeks. This means our follow-up with congressional offices from the RESULTS International Conference and actions back home is all that more important. Negotiations on the budget will be in high gear the next few weeks and once a deal is announced, there will be little (if any) opportunity to change it. We need to follow up now on the issues we discussed on Lobby Day at the conference, particularly around the deficit reduction issue, to see what actions our House and Senate offices have taken. If they have not weighed in with leadership and key legislators, urge them to do so as soon as possible.

The threats to all of our core issues — Head Start, Medicaid, SNAP, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and others — will be affected b y whatever decisions they make in the weeks and months ahead. Let’s make sure they make the right decisions and protect low-income Americans from reckless and cruel budget cuts.

TAKE ACTION: Please take these actions to follow up on our work of volunteers at the International Conference and back home:

  1. Follow up from your conference lobby meetings. Send a thank you note or e-mail to the aides you met with at the conference and ask about the progress on your requests:
  2. Document your meetings in our online Lobby Report form. This quick and easy form helps us know what happened in your lobby meetings so we can help you track the progress of our requests in the coming weeks and months. This is very important information so please take time this week to complete the form for each meeting you had.
  3. Write up a quick summary of your experience and send it out to your local network. Let your fellow RESULT group members, as well as others in your community, know about your trip. Briefly summarize your experience, including details about your lobby meetings, and then urge them to take our online budget and early childhood actions as part of the follow-up (e.g. send a letter/e-mail or make a phone call), then send it as an e-mail to your local action network.
  4. Tell President Obama to stand firm on deficit reduction that protects the poor. Once you have followed up from your lobby meetings/letters/calls, contact the White House and tell President Obama to stand up for low-income Americans in deficit talks. Call toll-free (888) 245-0215 to be connected to the White House comment line and say:

     

    “Please tell the president and the vice president to hold firm and prevent harmful cuts or caps to low-income programs in the negotiations to reduce the deficit. Please insist on fair increases in revenues to prevent reckless cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, Head Start, and other essential services.”

As always, we have all our conference resources on our International Conference page for your use, including background packets, PowerPoint presentations, request letters, information from our policy sessions at the conference, and links to our online lobby report form. If you have any questions or need any assistance with follow-up or actions, please don’t hesitate to contact the RESULTS Domestic Staff.


Quick News

New America Foundation Highlights Low-Income Asset Gap. On the heels of their presentation at the RESULTS International Conference, the New America Foundation (NAF) has some new resources to help in our work to promote low-income asset development. First, in a June blog post, they link to a recent survey showing that one in four Americans has no emergency savings (aka “extreme asset poor”) and another quarter don’t have enough to last three months (aka “asset poor), if they faced a sudden drop in income. In its Assets Report 2011, NAF provides a partial answer to this assets gap. The report looks at federal asset development policy and notes that while the president’s FY 2012 budget proposes $473 billion in asset development policies (through direct spending and tax savings), most of the benefits accrue to middle- and upper-income households. With millions of Americans still struggling to make ends meet, it is time for our government to start making wealth creation, not concentration, a priority. Urge Congress to support low-income asset development strategies, like the Saver’s Bonus, by taking our online e-mail action.

Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings for Upcoming Recesses. Although the Senate canceled its recess for this week, there will be more opportunities to meet with members of Congress back home in the coming weeks. The House has a scheduled recess July 18-24 and both chambers will be taking their summer recess in early August (through Labor Day). These are great opportunities to meet with them in person to discuss our issues, as well as attend public appearances and town halls. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic Staff to help you prepare.

Join Single-Payer Conference Call Next Week. Our friends at Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) are hosting a conference call on the status of Medicare featuring Bruce Vladeck, Ph.D., on Thursday, July 14 at 9:00 pm ET. Dr. Vladeck, the former top administrator of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, will be followed by several PNHP national board members who will lead a discussion on Medicare and single payer. As you know, RESULTS supports a national health program (aka single-payer health care) for the U.S. You can RSVP today at the PNHP website.


Announcements

Online Actions Available. This is a busy time in Washington and for our volunteers as well. We want to make it easier for you by providing quick online actions you can take when you have a few minutes between busy tasks. See our updated actions on the budget and deficit reduction, early childhood issues, and low-income asset development. We also have an action for setting up face-to-face meetings in your state. For a complete list of all of the RESULTS online actions, go to our Quick Online Actions page.

Last Week to Make Grassroots Board Nominations. We are seeking nominations for two RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Grassroots Board Members to serve for a term of three years, and represent the volunteer body on the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee for the Board. Grassroots board members also provide a particular bridge between the grassroots network and board decisions and organizational priorities. We are encouraging participation from diverse populations including youth, young adults and racial and ethnic minorities. Active volunteers may nominate other active volunteers for this position. Please forward names and phone numbers of any nominees to Jamila White-Bandah, by July 10, 2011. Please feel free to contact the RESULTS DC office if you have any questions.


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Saturday, July 9: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709.

Sunday, July 10: Deadline to submit nominees for RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Grassroots Board members.

Monday, August 8 – Monday, September 5: House and Senate summer recess.


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.