Domestic Weekly Update November 30, 2010

Congress needs to make permanent the 2009 expansions to the Child Tax Credit and also the Earned Income Tax Credit before it adjourns in December.... Struggling families need this income at a time when poverty and hunger are rising. This is income that in turns get spent right away at local businesses - helping not just the families, but also New Mexico’s economy.

— RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer Mary Lynn Dahmen in a Novermber 27 letter to the editor in the Santa Fe New Mexican

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Congress Plans the Vote on Taxes – Tell Them to Support Working Families (November Action)

Congress returns to Washington this week to finish out the Lame Duck session of the 110th Congress. Once Congress adjourns in December, there will be no opportunity to finish important legislation before the new Congress is sworn in in January. Fortunately, things seem to be moving forward. House leaders have announced that they will schedule a vote on an extension of the middle class tax cuts this week. In addition, Senate leaders have said they will vote on a middle class only tax package by next week. Because we do not know for sure whether the EITC and CTC improvements will be included in these bills, our work now becomes all that more important.

Today, President Obama is meeting with congressional leaders to see if there is a way to find common ground on the tax issue. The President and many Democrats support a permanent extension of all the tax cuts for income below $250,000 per couple, while Republicans want a permanent extension of all the cuts, even those for the wealthy. What we don’t know is if both agree on extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) provisions from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

RESULTS has spent the last eight months pushing members of Congress to support working families by extending these 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC before they expire on December 31. Allowing these credits to expire would be devastating to working families, causing them to lose all or part of their EITC and CTC beginning in 2011. Based on preliminary totals, RESULTS volunteers have done a great job pushing members of Congress on this issue in November. Hundreds of letters have been sent to congressional offices urging representatives and senators to make the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent. Thank you to all of you who have already taken action.

This week, if you have already submitted your hand-written letters, follow up your letter with a call to the tax aides for your members of Congress. Ask them what their boss’ positions are on extending these credits for working families and if they have weighed in with leadership and tax committee leaders on this issue. If you have not sent in your hand-written letters yet, there is still time, but the time to act is now.

TAKE ACTION: Take the November Action. Take a few minutes to write out your letters in support of continuing the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements as part of the middle class tax bill. Start by writing your senators then move on to your representative. Please be sure to write to all of them — both senators and representatives need to hear from us. Once your letter is sent, call your congressional tax aides to follow up. Ask them if they got the letter and what actions their boss is taking to preserve the EITC and CTC provisions for working families. The November RESULTS National Conference Call includes helpful strategic tips for your letters and calls including new data from Citizens for Tax Justice, with state level statistics you can use. Don’t have time to write a letter? Use our online action alert to send a quick e-mail directly to your representatives and senators.

Be on the lookout for an e-mail action alert at any time. When a tax vote comes up in the House or Senate, we’ll alert you as to when to call and what to say.

Our December Action will focus on keeping the pressure on Congress to pass the EITC and CTC improvements as part of the middle-class tax bill. We will also look ahead to the new Congress with tips on how to strategize ways to best influence returning and new members of the 11th Congress. Stay tuned — the December Action will be ready later this week.


Fall Fundraising Update: The Final Days

As the countdown to the end of our Fall Fundraising begins, please know that we are deeply grateful for your support and commitment during this campaign. Your own financial support coupled with the Friends and Family letter writing campaign and/or events you’re hosting are bringing us closer toward our $50,000 goal. To date, gifts and pledges that have come in during Fall Fundraising total $42,000 (both RESULTS Global and Domestic efforts). Congratulations! We would not be where we are without you.

But there’s still much work to do, wrapping up Friends and Family letter writing, collecting event proceeds, and contacting individuals who typically contribute at the end of the year. If you still have letters to send, please do so as soon as possible. If you have, be sure to make those follow up calls. December 31 is rapidly approaching for people to make their 2010 contributions. In addition, corporations and foundations that donate to organizations like RESULTS look at financial support made by organizational members and friends as a factor in deciding whether or not to support our efforts. So, it’s not just the dollars raised but, the number of people participating in giving that counts too.

Once gifts begin to arrive, collect remittance envelopes and record donations on the donations tracking form until you think you have them all. Once you have them all:

  • Carefully review checks and remittance envelopes for accuracy and for omissions such as expiration dates on credit cards, failure to check one of the gift designation boxes, or unsigned checks, etc.
  • Be sure “Friend and Family” or “Events” is circled and that your group name is written on each envelope.
  • Once all your donations are ready to go, please bundle the checks and remittance envelopes together and send them directly to the New York address on the remittance envelope:

      RESULTS Educational Fund, Inc.
      P.O. Box 10413
      Uniondale, NY 11555-10413

Also, in addition to mailing your checks to the bank, be sure to send your donation tracking form to the DC office ([email protected]).

Finally, we don’t want to forget the most important task in fundraising — expressing gratitude. Saying thank you to donors lets them know we value and appreciate their support. It also increases the chances that they will give again in the future. Acknowledge your donors’ support by sending a thank you note promptly after you receive their donation. RESULTS has created thank you notes that you can download from our website and print. A quick handwritten note expressing your appreciation at the bottom of the note card adds extra recognition for the donor. If you have been unable to confirm that one of your potential donors has made a contribution, thank them for considering a gift to RESULTS and remind them to send in their donation if they haven’t already done so. RESULTS will send an official acknowledgement letter for tax purposes but, the thank you note that you send will be especially valuable because it lets the donor know that you received the gift and appreciate their support. Remember, there’s no such thing as thanking a donor too much. When you see donors out in the community, say the magic words!

In addition to Friends and Family letter writing, some of our groups are also holding fundraising events this fall. We thank San Jose, Ann Arbor, and Columbus volunteers for holding hugely successful events this month. We have a few more events this week and next. Plan to attend if you are near them or, if you know anyone in these areas, please contact RESULTS staff for details (contact info below).

November 30: RESULTS Twin Cities fundraiser

December 5: RESULTS Chicago, IL, fundraiser

December 9: RESULTS Washington, DC, fundraiser

Finally, remember that anyone can donate online at anytime. Just go to our Donate page for more information. If donating online, be sure to write Friends and Family or the event and city as well as “RESULTS Domestic” in the Comments box. Thanks to everyone for supporting RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund during our annual Fall Fundraising Campaign. Your work in garnering these resources is critical to our organization!

If you have questions or need more information, please contact our Development Director Donna Howard at (202) 783-4800 or [email protected].


Call Today in Support of Head Start and Child Care

Join advocates and our friends at the National Women’s Law Center in urging people to call the White House today November 30 for a national call-in day on behalf of low-income children. If Congress does not act, 300,000 children from the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start could lose services. We want to pressure Congress into preventing this tragedy. The Obama administration is a key player in these funding decisions and we need to let them know that young children and families should not lose out on the care they need.

TAKE ACTION: Contact the White House today in support of America’s children. There are two ways you can contact the President:

  1. Leave a message for President Obama on the White House Comments line. Dial (202) 456-1111 (call back if it’s busy) and say “My name is ________ and I’m from (Insert Organization) in (City), (State). Please urge Congress not to drop 300,000 children from child care and Head Start. Make sure that continued funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start is NOT REDUCED in the appropriations bill and that the Early Learning Challenge Fund is included. Thank you.”
  2. Send President Obama an e-mail at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. Use the web form to send the White House an email. Here is a sample message you can type into the form: “Dear President Obama, Please urge Congress not to drop 300,000 children from child care and Head Start. Make sure that continued funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start is NOT REDUCED in the FY 2011 appropriations bill and that the Early Learning Challenge Fund is included. These programs help children learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. They also help families get ahead by giving parents the support they need to be productive at work. Thank you.”

In addition, don’t forget to contact members of Congress as well, urging them to maintain Head Start and child care services for low-income children. Use our online e-mail alert to contact them.


Taking Action for Hungry Families This Week — Push for a Strong Child Nutrition Bill and Restoring SNAP Cuts

Time is running out to pass a strong child nutrition bill this year. Congress will be in session for the next few weeks with a crowded calendar. The House could possibly take up child nutrition this week. Not only do we want Congress to pass a strong bill, we want them to restore cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) program that are currently part of the Senate bill, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (S.3307), it’s important to keep up the pressure on Congress to pass child nutrition and restore the SNAP cuts.

TAKE ACTION: If you haven’t yet done so, take the October Action. Write letters to your representatives and senators urging them to pass a strong child nutrition bill and restore cuts to SNAP made in the Senate bill. Point out the recent hunger data showing that hunger is still a pressing problem in America. If you cannot send a letter, send an e-mail to your members of Congress about child nutrition. We also strongly urge you to contact the Obama administration with the same message, since it is key that they engage in efforts to restore SNAP cuts. See our e-mail action alert that allows you to send an e-mail message directly to the White House.


Quick News

Food Banks Brace for End of Unemployment Benefits. Temporary extensions of unemployment insurance benefits (UI) are set to expire beginning this week, which could cut 2 million people from the UI rolls by the end of December. If Congress lets the benefits expire, food pantries will see even more demand for their already limited resources. “We are bracing for it,” said Vicki Escarra, CEO of Feeding America in the Huffington Post, “I can assure you, if these unemployment insurance benefits are not reinstated we’ll see these numbers go way up.” The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that UI benefits kept the poverty rate much lower in 2009. Some members of Congress are hoping to add an extension of UI benefits to the tax bill that will come up in December, but whether it will pass is unclear.

Deficit Commission to Release Report This Week. The President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is expected to release its report this week on how to solve the United States’ long-term deficit/debt issues. While several proposals have been released the last few weeks, to date there has not been any consensus for a final product. Commission Chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have said they will seek a vote on their proposal by December 1, which includes a reduction in tax rates, cuts to Social Security and Medicare, cuts to defense spending, the elimination of numerous tax breaks, and an increase in the gas tax. Few expect their report, at least in its original form, to gain the 14 votes needed (out of 18 Commission members) for it to be submitted to Congress for a vote.


Announcements

Check Out Our Campaigns Summary Page. Want to keep up with all our legislative work in ending U.S. poverty? Then check out our RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page. This will give you an overview of our legislative campaigns that their current status. This is a great way to keep up with our success over the year. In addition, we’ve just updated our background page on poverty and hunger in the United States to include recent data from the Census Bureau and USDA.

The 2009 Annual Report is online! Check out the 2009 RESULTS/REF Annual Report, titled “Taking Leadership in Extraordinary Times.” The report proves that RESULTS/REF staff and volunteer activists have the courage to change the things that are not acceptable and to inspire their leaders to do the same. See what your efforts created at http://www.results.org/about/annual_report/.


Upcoming Events

(Click to see a complete calendar)

December 11: Joint RESULTS Domestic and Global National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET (note the different time).

December 25–January 2: All RESULTS offices closed.

June 19–21, 2011: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC (Note: start date subject to change).


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: Meredith Dodson, (202) 783-7100 x116 ([email protected]); Jos Linn, (515) 288-3622 ([email protected]), Ann Beltran ([email protected]), and Ann Racuya-Robbins ([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.