Domestic Weekly Update May 24, 2011

I think the teachers feel they committed a lot to these children because they knew they would be the first ones to change their lives. They put a lot of hard work and hours into it and just love.

— Jessica Zertuche, Culebra Head Start Director (San Antonio, TX) in a May 20 MySanAntonio.com article

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Head Start Visits Prove to Be Inspiring and Informative — Schedule Yours Today (May Action)

Our effort to connect with Head Start centers this month is proving to be successful. To date, groups in San Fernando Valley, CA, Cedar Rapids, IA, Des Moines, IA, Columbus, OH and Washington, DC have done site visits or presentations, with others planned in the coming weeks. These visits have proven to be very informative and very inspiring. Here are some comments from groups about their experience:

We saw two classes of children who were adorable and will have a chance to go back and read to them. We also met a parent who is a volunteer there, a mother of four boys and an advocate for Head Start. The visit inspired one of our new members to want to write a letter to the editor and a letter to her member of Congress and another new member pointed out that RESULTS has lots to offer Head Start parents in terms of advocacy training. We’re even having Head Start folks some to our fundraiser this fall. This visit was far more valuable than we anticipated giving us insight into the content of the program and allowing us to see the creativity of the staff and contributions of parents who are truly partners in this endeavor.

— Ginnie Vogts, RESULTS Columbus

There were lots of happy kids milling around — some playing, some reading. I called the District Director and she said the 2009 [ARRA] increases for Head Start resulted in 34 additional slots in the San Fernando Valley, which were quickly filled. They are grateful to Congress for maintaining funding for their programs, which they say are vital to the development of children who otherwise would be left behind. Unfortunately, more children are on the waiting list.

— Al Sheahen, RESULTS San Fernando Valley (CA)

My favorite part was visiting the classrooms and seeing how much the staff cared for each of the kids. I was able to visit during lunch and nap time, and it was reassuring to know that because of at least two federal programs, these kids had a safe place to explore and learn, and a nutritious meal to eat. I was excited to see the vital role Head Start played in the children’s lives.

— Rebecca Van Maren, Emerson National Hunger Fellow (Washington, DC)

These visits can be a wealth of information as you contact congressional offices about the funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). While local and national statistics are important, the experience of seeing classrooms, meeting teachers and parents, and observing children in these programs is invaluable. And remember, the story you tell about your visit can be as powerful as the stories you hear from Head Start administrators, teachers and parents.

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. 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). See more about these kinds of stories at http://www.halfinten.org/grassroots/stories and the RESULTS Blog post.

Finally, if you were not on the May 14 RESULTS national conference call, you can listen to the recording on the RESULTS website. Hear an inspiring testimonial from a Head Start parent and as well as a sample conversation for setting up your Head Start site visit.


Upcoming Recesses a Great Opportunity to Support Early Learning

Both the House and Senate are back in Washington this week. There will be some budget votes in the Senate this week before senators head home for a recess next week. The House will follow suit with another recess the week of June 6. These trips home give a great chance to put early learning fund front and center for our legislators. Head Start, Early Head Start , and Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) face serious budget cuts in the current House proposal; only with a steady drumbeat from the grassroots will to protect these vital services from these reckless and thoughtless cuts. Members of Congress need to know that we need more “responsibility” in fiscal responsibility. Sacrificing the healthy development of at-risk children — sacrificing their future — to protect tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires is about as irresponsible as it gets.

As part of this effort, last week many of you urged your House leaders to sign onto the Miller-Kildee early childhood letter. This letter was sent to the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee urging adequate funding for Head Start and CCDBG. As we noted last week, the House Appropriations Committee released its target budgets for each of the Appropriations subcommittees. The Labor-HHS programs will see at least $18 billion in cuts in FY 2012, and most likely more when the numbers are crunched. That letter was delivered last week with 62 signatories. Thank you to all of you who contacted your House members urging them to sign on. The complete list of signers is below.

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 and Senate members to tell the House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees to 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. Also, if your representative signed onto the Miller-Kildee letter (see below), be sure to thank him/her for her support.

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 with over 600 law enforcement signatories in support of Head Start and child care. If you cannot get a meeting, fax a letter or 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.

Miller-Kildee Letter Signatories (alphabetical by state): Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS-AL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-7), Mike Ross (D-AR-4), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA-6). George Miller (D-CA-7), John Garamendi (D-CA-10), Jerry McNerney (D-CA-11), Pete Stark (D-CA-13), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-16), Lois Capps (D-CA-23), Judy Chu (D-CA-32), Maxine Waters (D-CA-35), Bob Filner (D-CA-51), Jared Polis (D-CO-2), Joe Courtney (D-CT-2), Christopher Murphy (D-CT-5), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL), Corrine Brown (D-FL-3), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20), John Lewis (D-GA-5), Mazie Hirono (D-HI-2), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Andre Carson (D-IN-7), Leonard Boswell (D-IA-3), John Yarmuth (D-KY-3), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP-AL), Joe Sarbanes (D-MD-3), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), Barney Frank (D-MA-4), Stephen Lynch (D-MA-9), Sander Levin (D-MI-12), Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13), John Dingell (D-MI-15), Dale Kildee (D-MI-5), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5), Shelly Berkley (D-NV-1), Steve Rothman (D-NJ-9), Rush Holt (D-NJ-12), Jerrald Nadler (D-NY-8), Donald Payne (D-NJ-10), Albio Sires (D-NJ-13), Edolphus Towns (D-NY-10), Yvette Clarke (D-NY-11), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-14), Paul Tonko (D-NY-21), Louise Slaughter (D-NY-28), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10), Marsha Fudge (D-OH-11), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3). Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR-AL), David Cicilline (D-RI-1), Jim Langevin (D-RI-2), Al Green (D-TX-9), Sylvestrie Reyes (D-TX-16), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-25), Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11), Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Jim McDermott (D-WA-7), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI-2)

AL = At Large


Be Sure to Register for the RESULTS International Conference

We are only a month away from the RESULTS International Conference. We are still taking registrations and hope you will plan to join us for this great event. In addition to the opportunity to meet fellow RESULTS volunteers from around the world and to get high quality training on our anti-poverty efforts, we have some exciting speakers lined up for the conference:.

  • Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund
  • Helen Evans, GAVI Alliance interim chief executive officer and deputy chief executive officer
  • Ambassador Mark Dybul, Georgetown University Law visiting Professor and Co-Director, Global Health Law Center, O’Neill Institute; U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, 2006–2009
  • Ambassador Mark Green, former ambassador to Tanzania and congressman (R-WI), senior director at US Global Leadership Council
  • Almeta R. Keys, executive director of the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center in D.C. and former Head Start parent

You can see the updated conference agenda on the RESULTS website.

TAKE ACTION: Plan to be part of this annual experience by registering for the conference TODAY! In addition, here are some other important actions you can take regarding the conference:

  1. Schedule Your Lobby Meetings and Input Them into our Tracking Form. Even in Washington, DC, face-to-face meetings can sometimes be hard to get. The earlier you set them up, the better. Contact your House and Senate offices now to set up face-to-face meetings for Lobby Day, June 21. Once your meetings are scheduled, go to http://tinyurl.com/2011ICLobbyMeetings to input the meeting details so we can track all the meetings during the conference.
  2. Contact Meredith or Jos to set up your pre-conference lobby prep call. Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) to schedule a pre-conference lobby preparation conversation. These conversations will help you prepare for your individual lobby meetings so that you have the right message for your particular members of Congress. Contact them today.
  3. Invite Members of Congress and Staff to our Lobby Day Reception. Contact your congressional offices to invite your representatives and senators to our Capitol Hill Lobby Day reception on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:45 pm. See our International Conference page for a letter you can customize and send as an invitation.
  4. Donate to the Karen McQuillan Memorial Fund. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Karen McQuillan Memorial Fund to help people attend the conference. We have more applicants than funds available this year so your contribution is greatly appreciated. You can make your donation online (write “Karen McQuillan Fund” in the “Other comments” box at the bottom of the donation form) or make a check payable to, and mail to, RESULTS Educational Fund, 750 First St. NE, Ste 1040, Washington, DC 20002, Attn: Cynthia Stancil.

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!


Mark Your Calendars: June RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call Moved to 2:00 pm ET

The June 2011 RESULTS Domestic national conference call will be held at 2:00 pm ET on Saturday, June 11, not the usual 12:30 pm ET time. This will be a joint conference call with our RESULTS Global volunteers. Ambassador Tony Hall, who initiated the recent Hunger Fast effort, will be the guest speaker on the call. Because Ambassador Hall is an inspiring champion for the poor and hungry, we wanted all RESULTS volunteers to have the opportunity to hear from him. Please mark your calendars accordingly. We will return to our regular 12:30 pm ET time slot in July.


Budget Process Moving Forward Despite No Deal on Deficit Reduction or Debt Ceiling

Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress have yet to strike a deal on long-term deficit reduction, either as a stand-alone package or part of a vote to raise the debt ceiling. A vote to raise the debt ceiling must take place before August 2 or the U.S. will officially be in default. See this brief description of what would happen if that happens. Despite the current impasse on the debt ceiling, Congress is moving forward on the FY 2012 budget. We’ve already noted the potential cuts to social programs like Head Start and child care in the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. Unfortunately, the House is taking aim at other key programs as well.

Senate Budget Votes. The Senate is expected to vote this week on the House FY 2012 budget. Remember that the House budget drastically cuts Medicaid, SNAP, and domestic discretionary programs like Head Start and child care, all the while preserving tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. It is not expected to pass the Senate. There may be votes this week on other budget proposals with arbitrary spending caps that could be just as damaging. Senate Democrats have not released a budget as of yet; their hope is that negotiations over the budget and debt ceiling will net a bipartisan plan forward.

Medicaid and CHIP. The House FY 2012 budget would drastically cut the Medicaid program and change it into a block grant program. It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and thus the major expansion of Medicaid (in 2014) that is part of that health reform law. The Kaiser Foundation estimates the House plan could cause up to 44 million people to lose Medicaid coverage by 2018. The House has also introduced H.R.1683, which allows states to repeal the “maintenance of effort” provisions in the ACA. Under ACA, states are required to preserve coverage (via Medicaid and CHIP) for vulnerable populations until 2014, when the Medicaid expansion goes into effect. Repealing this requirement would allow states to immediately cut millions of children, senior, and disabled Americans out of the program.

Nutrition Assistance. Like Medicaid, the House FY 2012 budget would drastically SNAP (a.k.a. food stamps) over the next ten years and convert it to a block grant program. Considering how integral SNAP has been during the economic downturn, these cuts would be nothing less than devastating. Now more bad news. Last night, the House released its Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee budget for FY 2012. It plans to cut the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) by over $800 million, more than 12 percent of the WIC annual budget. WIC provides food, diet counseling, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children under the age of five. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that as many as 475,000 women and children would be turned away from WIC as a result of these cuts.

TAKE ACTION: Here are some quick, effective actions you can take this week to tell Congress to reject budget plans that cuts aid programs for the poor and do nothing to improve our nation’s finances.


Quick News

Join Faith-based Budget Webinar this Thursday. RESULTS Faith in Action is co-sponsoring a webinar this week with the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs (DHN) entitled “Budget Debates 102: Debt Ceiling, Spending Caps and Program Cuts. Why You Should Care and What You Can Do About It.” The webinar will tie in the importance of these budget decisions with the faith community, overview the federal budget process, deficits and the debt ceiling, connect these issues with the specific impacts to the poor and hungry, and present options for action. The webinar is this Thursday, May 26th at 12:00 pm ET. To participate, just go to http://umc.adobeconnect.com/budget a few minutes before noon on Thursday, log in as a “Guest” and then hit the “Enter Room” button. Once the webinar begins, the audio will come through your computer; otherwise dial (218) 862-6789, passcode 199126 for audio.

Plan to Attend June 1 Conference Call on Vermont’s Single Payer Law. As reported a few weeks ago, Vermont is poised to pass the nation’s first state-based, single-payer law. RESULTS supports a national health program, which is a single-payer system. Vermont’s governor is expected to sign the bill into law on Thursday. Next week, there will be a national conference call providing an overview of the new law, sponsored by Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health (VCCH). The call is next Wednesday, June 1 at 1:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3066, passcode 320217. For more details about the call, see this VCCH notice.


Announcements

Check Out Latest Domestic RESULTS Blog Post. If you sometimes feel a lack of motivation for that next call or letter or meeting, read our “Making the Call” blog post about what RESULTS staff member Jos Linn experienced last week.

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.


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Monday, May 30 – Sunday, June 5: Senate is on recess.

Monday, May 30: Memorial Day holiday. All RESULTS offices closed.

Monday, June 6 – Sunday, June 12: House of Representatives is on recess.

Saturday, June 11: RESULTS Joint Global and Domestic National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET (NOTE: NEW TIME)

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:

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.