Domestic Weekly Update October 11, 2011

Hunger costs our nation at least $167.5 billion.

—from the new “Hunger in America” report from the Center for American Progress

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Join Us for the October National Conference Call This Saturday at 12:30 pm ET

Join us this Saturday, October 15 at 12:30 pm ET for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Our guest speaker in October will be our great friend and ally Debbie Weinstein of the Coalition on Human Needs who will talk with us about the recent poverty data and congressional actions around the budget and deficit reduction. We look forward to a great call so please plan to join us!

Take Action: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday, October 15 at 12:30 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 for the operator to connect you with the call. We again thank you for your flexibility in moving the call this month. We will return to our normal second Saturday date in November (November 12 at 12:30 pm ET).


Engage Your Local Networks in Action to Protect the Poor in Deficit Reduction Talks (October Action)

The congressional Super Committee tasked with finding over $1 trillion in savings in the federal budget continues to meet. No one really knows for sure what they are talking about, as the substantive meetings are taking place behind closed doors. We can assume cuts/changes to Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP (food stamps), the EITC, the CTC, unemployment benefits, and other anti-poverty programs are being discussed. We hope that tax reform that asks the wealthy to pay their fair share after years of costly tax cuts are also being discussed.

One thing we do know is that the next few weeks are very important. Since the Super Committee must present a plan to Congress by November 23 — just six weeks from now — policy decisions will have to be soon so as to give Congress time to have the Congressional Budget Office “score” the bill (assess its impact on the budget) and finalize the bill’s language.

Because of this, advocates from around the country have been urging members of Congress to push Super Committee members to draft a plan that is fiscally and morally responsible. Many of you made calls last week to your representative and senators urging them to protect the poor in these negotiations. Thank you for all of you who called. We need to keep this momentum going. Members of Congress need to hear from us on a regular basis until the message becomes loud and clear — protect vulnerable individuals and families in deficit reduction talks. If you did not call last week, or even if you did, call again to remind them of what you want the Super Committee to do. Here are the principles we expect the Super Committee to follow:

  1. The plan must protect America’s most vulnerable and not increase poverty. That means protecting Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance and other basic safety net programs from reckless cuts.
  2. The plan must be balanced. All Americans must pay their fair share to solve this problem. That means ending tax cuts and tax loopholes that only benefit America’s wealthy and big corporations.
  3. The plan must create jobs. Creating good jobs the surest and most sustainable way to reduce the deficit. Congress must enact a plan that gets Americans back to work.

There are many varying groups and interests talking to Congress about this process, some of whom would rather see government abandon the poor. Therefore, we need to urge others in our communities to take action as well. Fortunately, many RESULTS volunteers have experience already doing this. Back during the health reform debate, you did a fabulous job of reaching out to your communities and getting them to take action. We need to do that again. If you already have a local action network, reach out to them now and urge them to contact Congress to push the principles above. This means folks you have connected with over the years, including friends and family, faith communities, food banks, local anti-poverty organizations, health care advocates, etc. In addition, reach out to new people and groups in your area that may be willing to act. The more people involved in this process, the bigger voice we have. Another group to reach out to is your local Head Start and child care centers you connected with last spring. These people are ideal advocates on these issues. Meet with them again and urge them to tell Congress not to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

But what if you don’t have a local action network? Not to worry. Our October Action sheet has tips on how to reach out to local organizations. We also have an Activist Milestone that can help you create and manage a local action network. We also have a guide on reaching out to your local Head Start and child care centers.

Take Action: Take the October Action. Make your voice heard by contacting representatives and senators about protecting the poor in deficit reduction talks. Urge them to talk the members of the Super Committee as well as House and Senate leadership urging a balanced approach to deficit reduction that protects America’s most vulnerable. You can call toll free at (888) 907-1485 or write a letter, urging them to push the three principles listed above with congressional leadership. In fact, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, health advocates will be making calls urging members of Congress tell the Super Committee specifically to protect Medicaid from harmful cuts and restructuring that would cut coverage and benefits for millions of low-income Americans. Add your voices to this effort by urging Congress to reject cuts and restructuring of Medicaid when making your calls.

Last week on our blog we highlighted many of the great new resources and tools to help advocates influence deficit reduction talks.

Once you’ve called, activate your local action network and urge them to call or write Congress too. Let’s get as many people taking action as we can. Remind them that it’s a piece of cake. In fact, see RESULTS Chicago volunteer Cindy Changyit Levin and her daughter call Congress while baking a cake in this new YouTube video.

You can also use the media to push Congress to pass a balanced deficit reduction plan. Use our online letter to the editor action to submit a letter to your local paper.


New Report Highlights the High Cost of Hunger in America

Last week, the Center for American Progress released a report showing just how expensive hunger is to American society. We hear too much from politicians about the cost of poverty programs but rarely do we hear anything about the cost of poverty itself. This report, Hunger in America, aims to shed some light on that subject.

The report shows hunger costs Americans at least $165 billion per year. These costs arise from a “combination of lost economic productivity per year, more expensive public education because of the rising costs of poor education outcomes, avoidable health care costs, and the cost of charity to keep families fed.” In addition, this amount does not include the $94 billion per year we spend fighting hunger via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps), child nutrition programs, and other anti-hunger efforts.

While it is clear that anti-hunger programs are keeping millions of people out of poverty, we need to invest more resources to deal with the problem of hunger. The report shows that if we expanded SNAP to all food insecure households, it would cost one-half of the $165 billion in current hunger costs. Now is certainly not the time to be scaling back anti-hunger efforts and leaving families to fend for themselves.

Take Action: Use our online alert to urge Congress to reject budget proposals that cut SNAP and child nutrition. Urge lawmakers to protect these important safety nets that literally help families put food on the table.


Invite House and Senate Tax Aides to Briefing Thursday on EITC and VITA

This Thursday, the National Community Tax Coalition is sponsoring a lunch briefing on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs. Many of you worked hard last year to make sure Congress continued critical tax credits for low-income working families like EITC and also the Child Tax Credit. Use this as your excuse to reconnect with those aides, especially since the same aides are the ones we want to get excited about the Saver’s Bonus, and the EITC/CTC expansions are set to expire at the end of 2012.The briefing is 12:00 pm ET – 1:30 pm on Thursday, October 13, in 234 Cannon House Office Building. Speakers will include:

  • Congressman Mike Honda, (D-CA-15)
  • Mike McBride, Acting Director, Headquarters’ Operation, Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) of the IRS
  • Julie Riddle, Senior Community Impact Manager, United Way of Greater Kansas City
  • Melissa Jensen, Associate Director, Community Action Partnership of Utah
  • Jackie Lynn Coleman, Senior Director, National Community Tax Coalition

Take Action: Contact tax aides this week urging them to attend Thursday’s briefing and let them know you’ll follow up with them in the future about exciting new legislation to establish a Saver’s Bonus and the importance of tax credits for low-income working families. Ask aides to RSVP for the briefing (and lunch to: Gail Parson [email protected]

Use our online alert to urge Congress to protect and expand tax credits for low-income working families. In addition, you can use our Outreach Action to take action on the Saver’s Bonus and our Saver’s Bonus Fact Sheet to educate others about the Saver’s Bonus.


Join Training Call on Friday about Organizing Head Start/Child Care Center Site Visits with Lawmakers

As funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), hangs in the balance, help your members of Congress see for themselves the impact of high-quality early learning programs. RESULTS is working with our allies to reach members of Congress by helping facilitate site visits by senators and representatives.

Please join us and our partners on a special conference call, Protecting Early Childhood Programs: Organizing Site Visits with Lawmakers, this Friday, October 14 at 2:00 pm ET. The call is being hosted by RESULTS, Early Care and Education Consortium, National Head Start Association, First Five Years Fund, and National Association for the Education of Young Children. The call will discuss how to go about inviting a member of Congress, how to host a tour, what to say, and other details. In addition, supplemental materials like fact sheets, sample media advisories and invitations, and talking points will be provided.

Take Action: Register for the training call using our online registration form. We look forward to you joining us.

Also, if you have not done so lately, use our updated September Action sheet to send letters urging your senators and representatives to support Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Urge representatives and senators to fund these programs at the highest levels possible. Tell them you are pleased with the strong funding levels from both the House and Senate Labor-HHS committees and urge leaders to continue this strong support for Head Start and child care as they finalize the FY 2012 budget. You can use our online e-mail action to contact your members of Congress.


Quick News

RESULTS Faith in Action: Join Tomorrow’s Prayer Vigil to Protect the Poor. To help push the new Super Committee to protect the poor in their deliberations, our friends at Faithful Reform and Health Care (FRHC) are helping organize prayer vigils this fall in support of a moral and compassionate approach to deficit reduction. The 20-minute vigils will be on October 12 and November 9 at 12:00 pm ET. To learn more and to RSVP for the next vigil (required), visit the Faithful Reform website. See our What’s New in Faith in Action page for details about this and other faith-based advocacy resources from RESULTS.

Join NWLC Call on Health Reform and the Budget. Our friends and The National Women’s Law Center hold monthly conference calls that provide a collaborative forum for women’s advocates to focus on health reform at the state and federal level. This month’s call will provide a general federal update, focusing on the ongoing Super Committee meetings and the President’s deficit proposal and how these may impact vital health programs. The call is next Thursday, October 13 at 1:00 pm. To RSVP, go the NWLC website.

Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings for Fall Recesses. Members of Congress will be heading back home in October for various recess weeks. Take advantage of this opportunity by requesting a face-to-face meeting with your representatives and senators to talk about our priorities. Use our online e-mail to contact their offices about setting up a meeting. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you prepare.


Announcements

Invite People to Upcoming RESULTS Fundraisers. Building on the success of our recent Austin, Tacoma and Columbus RESULTS fundraisers, we have more events coming up in the next few weeks. If you or people you know live in these areas, please contact the local organizers about attending one of these great events:

  • RESULTS Chicago Fundraiser, Sunday, October 16. Contact Cindy Changyit Levin at [email protected].
  • RESULTS Seattle Fundraiser, Wednesday, October 19. Contact Karen Gielen at [email protected].
  • RESULTS Houston Fundraiser, Friday, October 28. Contact Claudia Morgan at [email protected].
  • RESULTS Santa Fe Fundraiser, Friday, November 4. Contact Lydia Pendley at [email protected].

Invite New People to Our RESULTS Introductory Call. If you know someone who would thrive in RESULTS or is passionate about social justice and poverty, please invite them to our new monthly “Meet and Greet” calls. These 30-minute calls are a great place to send new activists in your group, curious friends and family members, acquaintances you meet, and people you’d like to recruit to join our organization. The next call is this Wednesday, October 12 at 9:00 pm ET. Anyone interested can RSVP to http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Sign Up for New Activist Orientation. Last week, we started our next New Activist Orientation series. This is a two-session conference call series designed to give people a more in-depth overview of RESULTS’ work. It is perfect for new members of your local RESULTS group or anyone interested in learning more about us. You can still join in if you missed the first call. The next call will be this Thursday, October 13 at 9:00 pm ET. If you or someone you know would like to participate, please RSVP to Meredith Dodson at [email protected]. We will start a new round of NAO calls in November.


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Wednesday, October 12: Faithful Budget Prayer Vigil, 12:00 pm ET. Register (required) at the Faithful Reform in Health Care website.

Wednesday, October 12: RESULTS Introductory “Meet and Greet” call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Thursday, October 13: New Activist Orientation conference call (session 2), 9:00 pm ET. Please RSVP to Meredith Dodson at [email protected].

Friday, October 14: Organizing Head Start/Child Care Center Site Visits Training Call, 2:00 pm ET. Register for the training call using our online registration form.

Saturday, October 15: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET (rescheduled date!). Listen to previous conference calls on the RESULTS website.

Sunday, October 16: RESULTS Chicago Fundraiser. Contact Cindy Changyit Levin at [email protected] for details.

Wednesday, October 19: RESULTS Seattle Fundraiser. Contact Karen Gielen at [email protected] for details.

Friday, October 28: RESULTS Houston Fundraiser. Contact Claudia Morgan at [email protected] for details.

Friday, November 4: RESULTS Santa Fe Fundraiser. Contact Lydia Pendley at [email protected] for details.

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC (more details to come).


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20036. 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.