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Domestic Weekly Update November 9, 2010

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.

— Mahatma Gandhi

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Join Us for the November National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET — Be Prepared to Write Letters

Join us this Saturday, November 13 for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Congress returns to Washington next week and taxes are slated to be at the top of the lame duck agenda. With the extensions of the EITC and CTC provisions still unresolved (see below), we have to make sure they get the message of putting working families first. Saturday’s call will include an update on what Congress is expected to do on taxes, as well as other issues like child nutrition and the election implications. Our action for the call, however, will be somewhat different from

previous calls. This month, we will include time for your group to write letters to your representative and both senators urging them to extend the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC. The purpose of this exercise is to write all the letters on Saturday and then fax them in to congressional offices first thing Monday morning when members of Congress return to work. So be prepared to take some time to write your letters on Saturday and send a strong message to Congress next week!

TAKE ACTION: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday, November 13, for the national conference call at 12:30 p.m. ET. Allot a few extra minutes on Saturday to complete your tax credit letters to Congress. Also, have copies of the November Action available, as well as pen and paper, for your letters.

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 p.m. ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.


The Lame Duck Session: What Will Happen to Tax Credits for Working Families (November Action)

The 2010 election is now over. But there is much work left to be done. Congress will return to Washington next Monday to begin the lame duck session, which is expected to run well into December. Because of the election, the fate of a tax bill dealing with the middle-class tax cuts, including an extension of the 2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) improvements is now more murky. Most expect that some kind of extension of tax cuts will pass, but what kind is anyone’s guess. And including these EITC and CTC improvements in the extension is far from guaranteed.

President Obama wants to extend all the tax cuts for people making under $200,000 per year permanently, and is open to extending tax cuts for the wealthy temporarily. However, newly emboldened Republicans are demanding an extension of all the tax cuts permanently. Some have even hinted at waiting until January, when the Republicans regain the leadership of the House, to do so. Either one of these scenarios does not bode well for working families or fiscal responsibility.

First, if Congress waits until January, the new Congress is likely to be less receptive to extending the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC. Most Republicans opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the legislation that enacted these provisions; are not likely to support provisions that were a part of that law. Therefore, waiting until January to act will make it much harder to extend these improvements.

Second, allowing the tax cuts for middle income and working families to be continuously tied to the tax cuts for the wealthy means that long-term tax cuts for the wealthy are more likely to be enacted. As noted previously, the ten year cost of extending just the tax cuts for the wealthy is $700 billion. Because proponents of these cuts know that most Americans oppose extending them, the only way to pass them is to tie them together with tax cuts that Americans do want, namely those for the middle class and working families. This is why the President and other groups, including RESULTS, advocate for separating or “decoupling” the two issues.

Furthermore, if the tax cuts for the wealthy are permanently extended, there will be pressure to find the $700 billion needed to offset the cost of these cuts and you can bet with the new Congress, social safety programs will be first on the chopping block.

Congress will be back in session next week and then will leave again for the Thanksgiving holiday. That means this month we have one week to make a big difference, so let’s use the karmic timing of our RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call this Saturday to demand Congress do the right thing. Since RESULTS groups will be gathering for this call just two days before Congress returns, we will set aside time on Saturday for groups to write letters right then and there. Once your letters are complete, someone in each group will take responsibility for faxing in the letters to Congress first thing on Monday, November 15 (and also send them to their local offices to ensure they are received). That way, Congress will return to Washington on Monday to a strong message telling them to put working families first.

This month’s action is going to be a great way for us to amplify our voices on behalf of working families. Start preparing now for our conference call letter extravaganza now!

TAKE ACTION: Plan to attend the Domestic National Conference Call with your group this weekend. Bring a copy of the November Action sheet along with pen and paper to the call. We will have an abbreviated call this month so that you have time to complete three letters on Saturday: one to your representative and one for each senator. Be sure to alert your group members about our plan. To ensure success, please alert your group to plan on a few extra minutes on Saturday to write the letters.

If you an unable to make the call on Saturday, please take a few minutes this weekend to take the November Action by writing letters to your members of Congress. Plan to fax in your letters on Monday morning along with your fellow RESULTS volunteers. You can find fax numbers for members of Congress on our Elected Officials page of the RESULTS website.

Also, to help you brush up on the EITC and CTC after focusing on child nutrition the last few weeks, we have created a new EITC and CTC Fact Sheet to reorient yourself with these tax credits and why the 2009 improvements are so important. We also have an updated Outreach Action Sheet that you can give/send to other urging them to take action too.


Fundraising Update: Congrats Columbus, Follow Up with Potential Donors

Way to go Ohio! RESULTS congratulates the RESULTS Columbus group for a successful fundraiser this weekend. At a local event in central Ohio that was attended by Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson, the Columbus group raised $1,700 toward our fall fundraising total. Combined with monies they had raised prior to the event, Columbus has raised over $6,200 for RESULTS in 2010. We thank all the members of the Columbus group for their hard work in supporting the work of RESULTS through their advocacy and fundraising efforts.

Just from events so far this fall, RESULTS Domestic has raised over $10,000. With other events yet to take place and your Friends and Family efforts, we are confident we can reach our $25,000 fall fundraising goal for RESULTS Domestic by the end of the year.

Got the Fundraising Follow-up Jitters? Fundraising can be scary, but there is a real satisfaction in sharing deeply with others about this work and knowing that each dollar raised will help us lay one more brick in the foundation of ending poverty.

Follow-up phone calls to letters and to special event invitations will make a huge difference to the success of your efforts. Most donors are delighted to chat, especially when they hear your enthusiasm and know that you care deeply about the mission and purpose of the organization. But, what do you say? It’s easier than you think. Ask people if they received your letter and if they have any questions; try to connect on a personal level and build rapport; and assure them they’re not obligated to support RESULTS. To help you, we have created a sample call script which you can edit and make your own!

In addition, on this month’s conference call, RESULTS volunteer and development consultant Beth Wilson will talk about the joys of telephone fundraising. Beth, like most of us, was nervous about making follow-up phone calls until she discovered that people are interested in hearing about RESULTS and the difference we’re making in the world.

Donations are sure to arrive after you’ve made your follow-up phone call. 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

The deadline for mailing checks to our bank in New York is December 1, so we still have two weeks to receive our donations and put them in the mail. Finally, be sure to send your donation tracking form to the DC office (cstancil@results.org).

Thank you for spreading the word about RESULTS to your inner circle. It’s because of you that we’re able to engage and inspire members of Congress and other decision makers to ensure that all people have access to health care, education, and economic opportunity. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Donna Howard at (202) 783-4800, x124 or dhoward@results.org.

Upcoming Fundraising Events. Here is a list of RESULTS fundraising events this fall:

November 20: RESULTS San Jose, CA, fundraiser

November 21: RESULTS Ann Arbor, MI, fundraiser

November 30: RESULTS Twin Cities, MN, fundraiser

November 30: RESULTS Los Angeles, CA, fundraiser

December 5: RESULTS Chicago, IL, fundraiser

December 9: RESULTS Washington, DC, fundraiser

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!


With the Election Over, Our Work Is Now More Important Than Ever — Reach Out to Old and New Members of Congress

Last week’s election was historic in many ways. But regardless of whether your candidates won or lost, your work in ending poverty is more important than ever. While we face new members of Congress who may be less receptive to our priorities, we must use this as an opportunity to educate them on why ending poverty is so important to all of us, regardless of political party. The good thing is that RESULTS volunteers like you have time and again proven that everyday citizens can achieve great things regardless of who is in office. Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives and independents — we work with them all . . . and we get things done.

Therefore, as the lame duck session beings and new members of Congress begin planning their agendas, it is imperative that we let them know who we are and what we stand for. Members of Congress are home this week and then again Thanksgiving week and new members of Congress don’t take office until January. These are critical times in making your voice heard.

Get in touch with these current and future members of Congress. Schedule a meeting with them before the end of this year and introduce them to RESULTS and our work, and talk about the importance of putting low-income individuals and families first in the legislative process. Explain what we want on low-income tax credits and child nutrition. What a great way to get RESULTS in their field of vision right off the bat.

TAKE ACTION: Set up face-to-face meetings with members of Congress, both old and new, and urge them to put low-income individuals and families first. For current members of Congress, again push them to talk to House and Senate leaders about low-income tax credits and child nutrition reauthorization. For incoming members of Congress, introduce them to RESULTS and your work in your community; be sure to push them to put the needs of low-income Americans first.


Child Nutrition Update: A Crack in the Door on SNAP Cuts

Because of the election and the limited time Congress will be in session this month and next, it is looking more and more likely that Congress will not enact a free-standing child nutrition reauthorization bill (CNR). This means that if Congress wants to CNR this year, it will have to do so in an “omnibus” type bill that would include various unrelated items (e.g. CNR, unemployment insurance, spending bills, etc). This development, while not ideal, may be the opening we’ve been looking for.

As we reported last week, the House was expected to simply vote on the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 (S.3307), the Senate child nutrition bill, which the Senate passed back in August. The argument was that the Senate was unwilling to pass another version of a free-standing CNR bill so the House needed to pass S.3307 or get nothing. As we know, S.3307 includes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) that we oppose, so if the House just passed S.3307, fixing this mistake would likely have to come at some future date in another piece of legislation.

However, if the House and Senate instead put CNR into an omnibus bill, both the House and Senate will have to vote to pass it. Because of the outcry against the SNAP cuts in S.3307 along with pressure from the White House, there could be enough momentum to restore these cuts in the omnibus bill and get it passed. While it is still unknown whether Congress would even include child nutrition in an omnibus bill, if it does happen, this creates the opportunity to pass a stronger bill.

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. If you cannot call, be sure to send an e-mail to your members of Congress. 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

“No Kid Hungry” Campaign Launches Tomorrow. Share Our Strength is officially launching the “No Kid Hungry” campaign this Wednesday, November 10. This five-year campaign seeks to build a national network of citizens, political leaders, corporations, chefs, teachers and principals, mothers and PTA presidents, community organizers and hunger fighting organizations – all focused on making sure that children have the nutritious food they need to reach their full potential. Academy Award Winning actor Jeff Bridges has signed on as the campaign’s spokesperson. Bridges has been a leading advocate for global hunger issues for many years. In fact, he was on Larry King Live last week and spoke about childhood hunger in America and the No Kid Hungry Campaign. Go to the http://nokidhungry.org/ and take the pledge to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

Texas Legislators Contemplate Ending Medicaid. The Texas Tribune is reporting that conservative lawmakers in Texas are contemplating a radical measure to avoid implementation of health reform — ending their state Medicaid program. Texas State Rep. Warren Chisum said “This system is bankrupting our state. We need to get out of it. And with the budget shortfall we’re anticipating, we may have to act this year.” Unfortunately, this is just another of many challenges health reform has and will likely face in the coming months and years. If you have not thanked your member of Congress (or reminded opponents of your commitment to reform), please take a few minutes and contact them using our e-mail action alert.

Asset Development: How Does Your State Rate? The Corporation for Enterprise Development has released its 2009-2010 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard. The scorecard is a comprehensive look at wealth, poverty and the financial security of families in the United States. The Scorecard assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on how well residents are faring and what states can do to help residents build and protect assets. You can use this information when talking to members of Congress and the media about the effects of poverty locally in your state and the need for strategies that help families build the savings and assets needed to lift themselves out of poverty.


Announcements

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/.

Join “Researching Your Member of Congress” Conference Call. Have a new representative or senator? Don’t yet know enough about the positions of a continuing legislator? Join Allison Gallaher for this popular training to learn how to effectively research your own members of Congress for more effective advocacy. The call is Thursday, November 18 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.


Upcoming Events

(Click to see a complete calendar)

November 13: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709.

November 15: Congressional “lame duck” session begins.

November 18: Researching Your Member of Congress. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

November 22-26: Congressional Thanksgiving recess.

November 25–26: RESULTS offices closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

November 29: Congress reconvenes the lame duck session.

June 18–21, 2011: 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: Meredith Dodson, (202) 783-7100, x116 (dodson@results.org); Jos Linn, (515) 288-3622 (jlinn@results.org), Ann Beltran (abeltran@results.org), and Ann Racuya-Robbins (aracuyarobbins@results.org).

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.