Domestic Weekly Update September 13, 2011

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009 — the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate.  There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 — the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

— U.S. Census on the release of the 2010 data on poverty, income and health insurance

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Tell Senators to Protect Low-income Families in Head Start and Child Care Funding (September Action)

Thank all of you for attending this month’s RESULTS national conference call. Most of the call was spent reviewing the latest information about Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding and for taking time to take action on this issue. Time is of the essence. The Senate could take up the Labor-HHS bill next week and the House could act at any time (the House Labor-HHS mark-up scheduled for last Friday was postponed). The Senate bill is of particular importance because it is our best chance of securing adequate resources for early childhood programs. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the Chair of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, is a strong supporter of early childhood programs, as are many other on that subcommittee. But, the Senate still has to find some cuts within the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, due to the recently-passed Budget Control Act. RESULTS estimates they need to cut at least $300 million for 2012.

The House, however, has become far more conservative in 2011 and some policymakers oppose investments in services like Head Start and child care. The House Leadership appears to support passing the various appropriations bill to match the Budget Control Act, although some House conservatives still want to cut more. Considering it is most likely that the House and Senate Labor-HHS bills will be different, the two sides must find a compromise. We need the Senate bill to be as strong as it can be.

Given the tough budget environment, our goal for 2012 is to hold our ground on early childhood services. In order for that to happen, the final spending bill must:

  • Allocate $8.1 billion total for Head Start/Early Head Start in FY 2012. Keep in mind that less than half of eligible preschoolers can access Head Start at this time and only five percent of the infants and toddlers eligible for Early Head Start can get those services.
  • Allocate a $1.2 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant in FY 2012. This means we’d still be at only one out of every seven low-income working families eligible for child care assistance will get it through CCDBG.

These investments will ensure that hundreds of thousands of at-risk children and their families will still be able to access these services and will lay the foundation for expanding access for more low-income families in the future.

The appropriations process will continue throughout the fall so Congress will enact a short-term CR (continuing resolution) to fund programs beyond the end of the fiscal year (September 30). so that’s why we are urging you to dive into action NOW to make sure the Senate funding levels for Head Start and child care are the highest possible. As we have seen time and time again, the best time to influence legislation is before it’s been drafted. In your calls and letters to senators and their staff, here are some key points to remember:

  • Head Start and child care enable low-income parents to access reliable child care while they work AND provide at-risk children with the early learning experiences they need for success in school and life – saving taxpayers money. See this excellent piece on why child care is a jobs issue.
  • Share any direct experiences you have with Head Start and child care, either from a recent site visit or from participating in these programs. Demonstrate how these services have helped at-risk children in your community.
  • Remind elected officials that Head Start and child care programs are smart investments for America’s future and should be strengthened not cut.

TAKE ACTION: Take the September Action Sheet. Coordinate one member of your local RESULTS group to talk directly to the aide who handles funding for early childhood development programs in Washington ASAP. For many of you, this is the aide you might have met in Washington at the International Conference in June. In addition, use the talking points in the September Action Sheet to generate additional letters, e-mails (you can also use our online e-mail action alert) and phone calls to Senate offices – this will “strengthen your hand” as you work the “insider game” with the aide.  

In your calls and letters, ask your senators and representative to tell Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) or House Labor-HHS Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to protect Head Start and child care services by allocating $8.1 billion total for Head Start/Early Head Start in FY 2012 and a $1.2 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant in FY 2012.

To find contact information for congressional offices and the name of the early childhood aide, visit our Elected Officials page (http://capwiz.com/results/dbq/officials/). Make sure to plan to specifically follow up with the aide to verify that the senator (or representative) has indeed communicated support for these funding levels to the subcommittee.

You can listen to a recording of last Saturday’s national conference call on the RESULTS website.


New Census Data Highlights the Need to Do More about Poverty

This morning, the U.S. Census released its annual report on poverty, income and health coverage in the U.S. Unfortunately (and not unexpected), the news is not good. The data shows that the U.S. poverty rate increased from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010. This means that 2.6 million people fell into poverty between 2009 and 2010, including nearly 1 million children.

The data on income is not encouraging either. The median income in the U.S. in 2010 was $49,445, a 2.3 percent decline from 2009. Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent. The one piece of relatively positive news is that the number of people without health coverage in 2010 was not “statistically different” from 2009, although the number did increase from 49 million to 49.9 million. You can read a summary of the findings in the U.S. Census poverty data press release as well as more about U.S. poverty on our Poverty in the United States page.

What this data highlights is the importance of our anti-poverty work. Remember that RESULTS and our allies have accomplished a great deal in the last few years in combating poverty in the United States. We have helped get Congress to support low-income workers through expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, to put food on the table through increased investments in SNAP (food stamps) and child nutrition programs, to maintain the physical and economic health of all Americans through health reform, and to ensure a better future for at-risk children and their families by maintaining Head Start and child care services. Think of how much worse these poverty and income statistics would be without these successes. But the message is crystal clear: much more must be done.

This week, the deficit-reduction Super Committee in Congress begins its work with hearings on the causes and history of our national debt. Charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings before Thanksgiving, its work-pace will be fast and furious. RESULTS and our allies have serious concern that the fervor to achieve deficit reduction now, instead of focusing on rebuilding our economy, could disproportionately hurt low-income Americans. What today’s data reveals is that Congress cannot force low-income individuals and families to bear the brunt of these new budget cuts. RESULTS and our allies are urging all members of Congress and Super Committee members to support a balanced and fair approach to deficit reduction that protects low-income Americans and does not increase poverty. See our new RESULTS Blog post that outlines a set of principles we urge members of the Super Committee to abide by in any deficit reduction deal.

TAKE ACTION: In the weeks and months ahead, we must be vigilant in making sure Congress does not take steps to increase poverty in the short-term and starts working to reduce poverty in the long-term. We will be keeping a close eye on the Super Committee deliberations and will urge you to take action on various occasions. In the meantime, in your communications with members of Congress on early childhood funding and the budget, highlight this new poverty data and tell them it proves why protecting low-income programs in any deficit-reduction plan is so important. We also have easy online actions you can take to weigh in with your members of Congress to protect those living in poverty, including a template to send an email to support Medicaid, the nutrition programs and tax credits like the EITC for low-income working families.

If you need help accessing and interpreting the new Census data, listen and watch last week’s CHN webinar on using the new poverty data (or review the slides from the presentation). You can also access some state level poverty data at the U.S. Census website. More detailed state-level data will be released next week.


RESULTS Fundraising News

As many of you know, we’re proud of our successful fundraising tradition of the annual Friends and Family letter-writing campaign. Through Friends and Family, we send personal letters to people close to us asking them to invest in RESULTS. This longstanding campaign has been key in garnering new and monthly donors.

The commitment of our grassroots volunteers is the foundation of Friends and Family. So, when we heard from many of you that you felt it could be improved, we listened, and we agreed. In response, we’re introducing some improvements. First, the Friends and Family campaign, which is usually in the fall, will now take place in early spring. Research shows donations can be increased by spreading our donation requests throughout the year. Traditionally, our annual end-of-year appeal to all donors from our office overlaps with Friends and Family. By moving Friends and Family to the spring, we’ll capitalize on a time when we don’t typically receive donations. This move will also allow us to take advantage of new donor database software we’ll be implementing in the upcoming months to better serve the grassroots and donors.

In addition, we are planning some other changes to make the process easier and more rewarding for you. For example, every partner will have the option of creating an online personal fundraising webpage you can share via email, Twitter and Facebook. You’ll be able to track donors inspired by your request and see your progress by viewing a thermometer graph on your page. Also, our new database will allow us to give you clearer reports of donor activity sorted by group, RESULTS partner, or other categories. We look forward to implementing these changes and making our annual Friends & Family Campaign even more successful.

Of course, groups wishing to continue their successful fall letter-writing fundraisers are more than welcome to do so and we are happy to support you in those efforts. Also, we will continue to hold fundraising events throughout the year, including many this fall (see the complete list on the RESULTS Blog; if you know people in these cities, please invite them to attend). If you do want to continue your Friends and Family campaign in the fall or want help organizing a RESULTS fundraising event this year or next, please contact Cindy Levin know at [email protected] and we’ll get you the support you need. We are here to support you!

Thank you for all you do to keep RESULTS strong and thriving!


You Can Help with RESULTS Volunteer Outreach

RESULTS is active in doing outreach this fall to engage new folks in the work to end poverty. We could use your help. First, please invite Folks to tomorrow night’s 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 Tuesday, September 14 at 9:00 pm ET. Anyone interested can RSVP to http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. If you have questions, please email Meredith Dodson on the RESULTS staff. We will also have a “Meet and Greet” call on Monday, September 26.

Also, we will be starting our next New Activist Orientation series at the end of this month. This is a two-session series of conference calls designed to give people a more in depth overview of RESULTS’s work. It is perfect for new members of your local RESULTS group or anyone interested in learning more about us. The calls will be September 29 and October 13 at 9:00pm ET. If you or someone you know would like to participate, please RSVP to Meredith at [email protected].

Finally, RESULTS Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos Linn will be traveling in Kansas and western Missouri next week. He will be presenting in Hillsboro, KS on Monday, September 19, and then meeting with the RESULTS Salina group later that evening. He will then be working in Kansas City on Tuesday and Wednesday, preparing for a RESULTS “group start” presentation on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00 pm CT. We are also looking to do outreach in St. Louis, MO, western Massachusetts and Maine. If you know of anyone in these areas who might be interested in attending these meetings, or if you know people in other areas of the country who might be interested in RESULTS, please contact Jos at [email protected].


Quick News

Engage Early Childhood Contacts in Advocacy. To help bolster the message of our September Action, please reconnect with the Head Start and child care centers you contacted last spring. Explain that Congress is making final decision about Head Start and child care funding and we need their voices in this process. Once connected, you could suggest setting up a site visit with your member of Congress, do an advocacy training or letter-writing meeting with staff and parents, or set up a face-to-face meeting with your member of Congress and have them participate. Use our new guide to reaching out to early learning providers to help you.

RESULTS Faith in Action: Join Prayer Vigil Tomorrow. To help push the Super Committee to protect low-income individuals and families in their deliberations, our friends at Faith Reform and Health Care are helping organize prayer vigils this fall in support of a moral and compassionate approach to deficit reduction. The first of vigil will be held next Wednesday, September 14 at 12:00 pm ET. The vigil will take place via conference call where you can join in prayer by phone from your home, office, or community of faith. Consider getting a group together to participate around a speakerphone. The vigil will end with a call to action. To RSVP for the vigil, go to Faithful Reform’s Sign-up Page.

President Unveils American Jobs Act. Last Thursday, President Obama gave his long-awaited speech to Congress about jobs. Calling his plan the American Jobs Act, he outlined what it would include a payroll tax cut for businesses and workers, new spending on infrastructure to repair roads, bridges and public schools, and investments in unemployed workers through extended unemployment insurance and work training programs. Some economists estimate that the plan could help create 1.9 million jobs and reduce unemployment below 8 percent within a year. The bill is estimated to cost around $450 billion and is to be paid for by ending some tax breaks for corporations and wealthy taxpayers. Yesterday, the president formally sent the bill to Congress and urged them to pass it now. Its fate in the House and Senate are unknown at this time.

Washington Post Shows Who Benefits from Capital Gains Tax Cuts. In an informative article, the Washington Post highlights the recent history of taxes on capital gains (profits from the sale of investments and real estate), which overwhelmingly favor the wealthy. “Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent,” the article says. As the Super Committee begins to look at new sources of revenue, an increase in the capital gains tax rate should be included. Not only will it help reduce the federal deficit, it will also help narrow the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor. See more about the wealth gap from NETWORK’s Mind the Gap campaign.


Announcements

2012 RESULTS International Conference Dates Announced. As many of you know, our annual international conference is an amazing experience for those who participate. It provides top-notch training on issues and skills, a sense of community of being with hundreds of activists from around the US and the world, and the thrilling experience of making a deep impact while lobbying on Capitol Hill. To help expose our work, skills, and training to a larger audience, we’ve designed our 2012 conference to coincide with the huge International AIDS Conference, which has more than 20,000 participants. Our conference is designed to be a special “advocacy boot camp” – with sessions for experienced RESULTS folks as well as those new to advocacy. The 2012 RESULTS/RESULTS International Conference will be held July 21–24, 2012 in Washington, DC (more details later). We look forward to this unique partnering opportunity to have the best RESULTS conference yet, so please mark your calendar and plan to attend.

RESULTS DC Office is moving. RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund will be moving to a great new office space at the end of this month. Our new address as of October 4 is: RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, 4th Floor, Washington DC 20036 (between Dupont Circle and Farragut West). The official moving dates are Friday, September 30 through Monday, October 3. During that time we ask for your patience as phone lines will not be functional. Email will remain functional during the move, but again, we ask for your patience as we’ll surely be busy with the relocation (and some staff will be working remotely from home.) We encourage you to visit and take a tour of our new home away from home next time you’re in DC. Please note that our phone numbers will not change.


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

Tuesday, September 14: RESULTS Introductory "Meet and Greet" call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. We will also have a Meet and Greet call on September 26.

Wednesday, September 21: RESULTS Group Start presentation in Kansas City, 7:00 pm CT. All Souls Unitarian Church, 4501 Walnut St, KCMO. Contact Jos Linn for details.

Thursday, September 29: New Activist Orientation conference call (session 1), 9:00 pm ET. Please RSVP to Meredith Dodson at [email protected] for details and call-in information.

Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3: RESULTS DC office moves to new location.

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

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, 750 First Street NE, Suite 1040, Washington DC 20002 (through October 3). New address as of October 4: 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.