Domestic Weekly Update May 17, 2011
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Saturday’s Conference Call Provides Great Insights for Your Head Start Site Visits (May Action)
Thanks to everyone who participated in last Saturday’s RESULTS Domestic national conference call. We especially appreciate our guest speaker Susan Stoker, a former Head Start parent and current Head Start staff person from Massachusetts, who shared about the impact of Head Start on her and her family. She discussed how Head Start helped teach her to be her child’s “primary teacher.” The program also helped her family improve their diet and also empowered her to go back to college. One of her sons is now graduating high school and will be attending college this fall and her youngest son is already looking toward college in a few years.
Susan also discussed the importance of educating and engaging Head Start parents in the advocacy process. Letting them know that there are people out there supporting Head Start and its work and helping educate them about the impact parents can have on the legislative process is important. Do this by taking the RESULTS Domestic May Action. Get a better understanding of Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by visiting a local Head Start center. Visiting your local Head Start center will give you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of Head Start and its impact in your community.
One way some of our groups have connected with their local Head Start sites is by presenting to their local Head Start Policy council. Remember that parents play an integral part in the administration of Head Start at the local level. Each sits has a policy council made up of parents and staff that meets regularly to discuss and make decisions about the program. These meetings can be an ideal forum to introduce parents to RESULTS and our advocacy around Head Start. For example, the RESULTS Cedar Rapids group did an advocacy presentation at a local policy council meeting and even got some parents to sign up for the RESULTS Action Network.
TAKE ACTION: Take the May Action. Contact your local Head Start center to request a visit by your local RESULTS group. If you do not know where your closest center is, go to http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/HeadStartOffices and you can search for centers near you. Once you have the contact information, call the center and explain that you would like to talk to someone about doing a site visit to the center. The May Action sheet has all the information you’ll need to help you schedule and carry out your visit. NOTE: Please call and schedule an appointment before visiting your local Head Start center. Drop-in visits can be disruptive to the children and staff.
When scheduling your visit, be sure to ask if it would be possible to visit with some of the parents in the program (many times, Head Start employees are current or former parents of Head Start students). These parents can provide you invaluable stories about how the program has impacted them and their children. See examples of these kinds of stories at http://www.halfinten.org/grassroots/stories. See also the RESULTS Blog post from Emerson National Hunger Fellow Rebecca Van Maren on empowering people to share their stories.
Finally, if you were not on Saturday’s conference call, we encourage you to listen to the recording on the RESULTS website. Not only can you hear Susan Stoker’s inspiring story, but also hear a sample conversation (our May laser talk) for setting your Head Start site visit and an update on our work on federal budget.
The next few weeks will provide us great opportunities to push members of Congress for Head Start, Early Head Start , and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding. This week, the House will be on recess (May 16–22), followed by the Senate next week (May 23–29), and then the House again the following week (May 30–June 5). This is a great opportunity to meet with members of Congress either face-to-face meetings or town halls.
As we have seen the last few months, these meetings can make a difference. After the House passed its FY 2012 budget in mid-April, members got an earful from constituents about their displeasure with its cuts to important programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Let’s use this opportunity to urge House and Senate members to put early learning first. This could not come at a more important time.
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee released its target budgets for each of the Appropriations subcommittees. Remember that Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG all get their funding from the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. The news is not good. Compared to the recently passed FY 2011 budget, Labor-HHS programs will see $18 billion in cuts in FY 2012. However, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has looked at the numbers and concludes that the cuts really amount to $25 billion for Labor-HHS compared to 2011. What this all means is that Head Start and child care face a much bigger threat of funding cuts in 2012 than they did in 2011.
This is why meeting and talking to members of Congress during these recesses is so important. Talking to them about the people you’ve met on your Head Start site visits, explaining the benefits Head Start has on low-income families long after children leave the program, and reminding them of the importance of these programs to our communities. One powerful point you can make is the impact of early learning on reducing future crime. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids has a an organizational letter to Congress touting the importance of Head Start, Early Head Start and CCDBG on averting future criminal activity in kids who participate in these programs. The letter has been endorsed by over 600 law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states. When talking to your senators and representatives, be sure to highlight the law enforcement agencies in your state that support funding for early learning programs.
TAKE ACTION: Meet with members of Congress back home by setting up face-to-face meetings or attending a local town hall event and asking a question. We want them to ensure a smarter, healthier, and more productive America by supporting Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG. Specifically, urge House members to sign onto the “Dear Colleague” letter from Rep. George Miller (D-CA-7) and Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI-5) urging the House Labor-HHS subcommittee allocate $1.2 billion in new funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and a total allotment of $8.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2012. These levels will sustain effective, high-quality services for at-risk, low-income children and their families across the nation. For senators, ask them to speak with Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee members urging support for these funding levels as well.
Use the April Action sheet and April 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk for talking points and background. And don’t forget about the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids letter. Also see our updated 2011 Campaign Summary for the latest on our 2011 campaigns.
If you cannot get a meeting, use our online e-mail action to contact Congress about early learning funding. Be sure to personalize the message (including the subject line) to make it more effective.
Five weeks from today, RESULTS volunteers from around the world will be marching up Capitol Hill to tell Congress to make ending poverty a national priority. Lobby Day (June 21) is the apex of the RESULTS International Conference, where we take all we have learned straight to the halls of power and make a difference. Be a part of this experience by registering for the conference today.
We expect many new and veteran volunteers to come to Washington for this year’s conference this year. Last week, RESULTS Columbus volunteer Ginnie Vogts shared why she is coming to this year’s conference on the RESULTS Blog. Ginnie concluded her story by saying: “I hope you will join me at the RESULTS International Conference this year. Not only will you meet good people from all over the world working like you to end poverty, but you’ll come away with a greater appreciation for the dedicated staff and for the amazing organization that RESULTS is – and of which you are a part.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
TAKE ACTION: Register for the conference TODAY! Please note that TODAY is the last day you can secure the discounted room rate at the conference hotel. After today, room prices will be based on room availability and best available rates at the time of your reservation. Don’t miss out by registering today. In addition:
For more information about the conference including the latest agenda, go to our International Conference page. Thank you all and we look forward to seeing you next month in Washington DC!
Yesterday was “Debt Ceiling Day.” Did you celebrate? What this means is that as of yesterday, the U.S. government reached the statutory limit on the amount of money if can borrow to fund official operations. Several weeks ago, the U.S. Treasury announced it would take steps to delay the U.S. government defaulting on its debt, which gives Congress less than three months take steps to avert a financial disaster. Meanwhile, the Senate is proceeding with its own budget resolution, which might be voted on this week (details of the proposal have yet to be released).
Normally, Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling each year without much fuss, but this is no ordinary year. With the new Congress, particularly the new Republican majority in the House, many members of Congress refuse to raise it again without major budget cut as part of the deal. Unfortunately, most of the proposals so far have focused enacting arbitrary, short-sighted, and disastrous spending caps that would cut programs that help millions of low- and middle-income Americans. As we have noted, such spending caps are back door attempts to enact House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal. Whatever agreement is finally made, it is critical that core services like Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, Head Start, and other anti-poverty programs be protected in any budget agreement.
TAKE ACTION: Do your part to educate and advocate on these larger budget issues:
Sign Your Group onto Fairness in Taxation Act Letter. In March, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9) introduced H.R. 1124, the Fairness in Taxation Act, which would restore tax fairness by increasing tax rates for people with incomes of $1 million or more annually. The Coalition on Human Needs is urging national and state organizations to sign onto a letter that will be sent to House members supporting this approach. RESULTS has signed on as a national organization and we encourage you to sign your local RESULTS groups on as well. Read the letter and then e-mail Sarah VonEsch at [email protected] telling you wish to sign your local group onto it.
See New State-by-State Impact of House Medicaid Proposal. The House FY 2012 budget proposes to cut Medicaid, convert it into a block grant, and eliminate the expansion passed as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), i.e. health reform. A new Kaiser Foundation report estimates that under this proposal, federal Medicaid spending would be cut by $1.4 trillion over the next ten years, with states seeing a 44 percent reduction in federal Medicaid funding by 2021. As a result, between 31 million and 44 million people would lose Medicaid coverage. In addition, House and Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to repeal the “maintenance of effort” provision in the ACA. ACA requires states to cover low-income persons just over the poverty line until 2014 when the ACA takes full effect (in other words, it prevents states from dropping people from Medicaid and CHIP to balance their budgets). These proposals would repeal this requirement. While it would save around $5 billion over the next ten years, an estimated 1.5 children and adults would lose Medicaid/CHIP eligibility between 2012 and 2018. Be sure to take our online action urging Congress to reject the House cuts to Medicaid.
Online Resources Here to Help You. Remember to visit our ”To Catch a Dollar” Resources page for information on following up with leads and the recent webinar series RESULTS hosted. Also, we have updated online actions on low-income savings programs, protecting early childhood programs, and setting up a face-to-face meeting with your members of Congress back home. Check out these updated actions and others on our U.S. Poverty Actions and New Page. Also see our updated 2011 Campaign Summary for the latest on our 2011 campaigns.
RESULTS Faith in Action Update. Check out our What’s New in Faith in Action page for news and resources on our faith outreach efforts. Also, if you are attending the RESULTS International Conference, please plan to attend the Faith in Action Brown Bag Breakfast on June 20.
(See a complete calendar)
Monday, May 16 – Sunday, May 22: House of Representatives is on recess.
Monday, May 30 – Sunday, June 5: Senate is on recess.
Monday, June 6 – Sunday, June 12: House of Representatives is on recess.
Saturday, June 11: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET.
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:
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.