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Domestic Weekly Update September 14, 2010
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Congress Returns to Washington — Welcome Them Back with a Strong Message Supporting Working Families (September Action)
Congress is now back in Washington until early October. As discussed on last Saturday’s RESULTS national conference call, the next few weeks could be pivotal in our work to protect working families through the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Already the tax debate is heating up as Democrats and Republicans threaten a game of chicken on the Bush tax cuts. Most Democrats want to extend the Bush tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 for all but the top two percent income earners. Republicans and some Democrats want all the tax cuts extended. At this point, it is unknown what will happen or if Congress will even vote before the election. We need to make them think twice about delay, as delay could likely result in rushed, short-sighted and reckless policy after the election.
More worrisome is that our goal of making sure that any tax bill extending benefits to the middle class also include permanent extensions of the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC (from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)) could get lost in the shuffle. Specifically, Congress needs to make the $3,000 income threshold for the CTC and the EITC expansion for married couples and larger families permanent fixtures of the tax code.
As discussed on Saturday’s conference call, our focus this month is on pushing House and Senate members to support and advocate for the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC with their colleagues in leadership. Specifically, we want these provisions to be part of any bill that is brought to the floor for a vote. To do this, we are urging you to set up “virtual” lobby visits with your MoCs and their staff. Schedule a conference all or teleconference with them to discuss the importance of the EITC and CTC to working families and why letting the recent improvements expire is not an option. Providing an average tax cut of $100,000 for each American millionaire (if the tax cuts for the wealthy are extended) while denying working families a modest tax credit is unconscionable. We need to let Congress know what their priorities should be.
Set up your conference calls so that your entire RESULTS group can participate. Remember, the voice of a group is worth more than the sum of its parts — numbers matter and they amplify your message. Make your appointments as soon as you can. Just today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he intends to hold a vote on expiring tax cuts within the next three weeks. Therefore, time is of the essence. In your calls, remember to urge your members of Congress to talk to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee leaders about making the ARRA EITC and CTC provisions permanent as part of the middle class tax bill. Also urge your members oppose attempts to delay the bill and to pass it before the election.
TAKE ACTION: Take September Action! Request meetings with members of Congress and their tax aides via conference call with your local RESULTS group. Contact the scheduler in their office about a time convenient for your MoC and/ or the aide and your group. When meeting, urge them to speak with the House and Senate tax committee members about making the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent in the tax bill they bring to the floor this month. Use this online chart to show how many children and workers will be affected in your state if these provisions expire. You can find the names of aides on our Elected Officials page.
Once you have a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff for help in preparing.
Also, if you were not on the national conference call, please listen to a recording of it on the RESULTS website or the RESULTS Musings blog. We have lots of good tips on how to have a successful meeting. Finally, once you’ve had a meeting or conversation, please use our online lobby report form to let us know what happened.
Now that Congress is back in session, child nutrition reauthorization is back on the table. Rumors are that the House may take up child nutrition as early as next week. We need to make sure the House rejects the Senate bill, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (S.3307), and passes a strong bill of their own. We must also work to ensure that the House does not follow the Senate’s lead by taking money from SNAP to pay for their bill.
Tell the House to get child nutrition right by passing the House’s Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 (H.R.5504) with no less than $8 billion in new funding (over ten years). The House must also leave the SNAP program alone when paying for it. We must also remind senators that their bill, while containing to good provisions, does not have enough funding (only $4.5 billion over ten years) and should not be using other anti-poverty funding to pay for it.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to get child nutrition right! Urge your members of Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill this year that does not use cuts to other anti-poverty programs to fund it. Use our online e-mail alert to take action and help get others involved using our Outreach Action Sheet: Help Feed Children through a Strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization
The Saturday National Conference Calls signaled the beginning of the RESULTS fall fundraising season and the official kick-off of the 2010 Friends and Family Campaign. Development Officer and longtime RESULTS volunteer, Mark Coats thanked RESULTS volunteers for their tireless efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in communities across the country, and applauded the most recent victory resulting in the expansion of Medicaid which will cover 16 million uninsured Americans over the next ten years.
Mark also thanked RESULTS volunteers for their generous financial support over the years, noting that grassroots financial support, just like grassroots activism, is the cornerstone of the RESULTS success story. Financial support by members and friends is what corporations and foundations look toward to gauge our strength and determine whether or not they’re going to support our efforts. So all gifts, no matter the size are critical to the success of RESULTS. Annual unrestricted support from the Friends and Family Campaign is particularly valuable, because it allows us to address our most urgent needs and gives us the flexibility to direct resources where they are most needed.
The RESULTS Domestic goal this year is to raise $25,000 by December 31 though Friends and Family and fundraising events. Already we have raised nearly $40,000 for our domestic work this year, thanks to the generosity of foundations and individuals who supported events and completed major gifts. But we still have a ways to go and as always, we can’t do it without you!
TAKE ACTION: We hope that you will make a commitment, whether individually or within your group to take part in the Friends and Family campaign at this time. Visit us at http://www.results.org/skills_center/fundraising_tools/ for tools and information on conducting a Friends and Family Campaign in your area. If you are considering a fundraising event for RESULTS/REF, please contact Donna Howard at (202) 783-4800 ext. 124 or online at [email protected]. Support for large and small group events is always available.
Even though Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last March, RESULTS’ commitment to a national health program remains steadfast. That is why we are proud to co-sponsor a congressional briefing with Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) on Medicare and a national health program. The briefing is designed to educate members of Congress, staff, and the public about the proposed changes from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission that will further weaken Medicare, the strengths of Medicare, and the impact of a national improved Medicare for All health system on the health of the nation’s economy and population. The briefing will be held on Thursday, September 23 at 2:30 p.m. in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Invited speakers include: Michele Evermore of National Nurses United, Ted Marmor of the Yale School of Management, Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo of the Miller School at the University of Miami, and Joseph Stiglitz who is a Nobel Laureate and economist at Columbia University.
TAKE ACTION: Do your part for single-payer health care by encouraging the health care aides in your congressional offices to attend this important briefing. Contact the health aide(s) you worked with during the health reform debate and urge them to attend this event. Provide the above information including the date, time and location. If you don’t know your health aides’ names, you can find the names of aides on our Elected Officials page.
Also, if you would like an invitation (MS Word format) to forward to your aides, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) to request it be e-mailed to you.
The first major congressional effort to repeal health care reform had its first test today in the Senate. As part of a small business tax package debated today, Sen. Mike Johanns (D-NE) offered an amendment that would defund an important part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Affordable Care Act (ACA) for short.
Section 9006 of ACA includes a provision that requires businesses to submit a 1099 tax form to each vendor from which the business has purchased more than $600 worth of products. The provision is designed to improve compliance with tax laws and would raise an estimated $17.1 billion in revenue over the next ten years.
Sen. Johanns wanted to repeal section 9006 because he believed it too burdensome to businesses. But to make up for the lost revenue, the amendment would eliminate all $11 billion in ACA funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund for fiscal years 2010-2017. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, cutting this fund would undermine “critical investments that could help reduce the incidence of chronic illness and infectious disease, improve overall health, and reduce the cost of treating preventable medical problems.” It would also weaken the requirement to buy insurance, i.e. the individual mandate, contained in ACA, which could result in millions more uninsured and higher insurance premiums. RESULTS signed onto a letter opposing the amendment last week. Fortunately, the amendment failed this morning, 46-52.
TAKE ACTION: Health reform must be given a chance to work. Unfortunately, these efforts to dismantle it piece-by-piece will continue until reform opponents see the truth — Americans want health care for all. To maintain the momentum and support for reform, groups are organizing rallies next week to celebrate the 6-month anniversary of ACA’s passing. Stand up for health reform by attending an event near you. Go to http://www.progressivestates.org/statefedhealth/events to find a list of events.
Poverty Statistics to Be Released on Thursday: This Thursday, the U.S. Census will release its annual survey of poverty in the United States and the news is not expected to be good. Analysts predict that the poverty rate in 2009 will have jumped to near 15 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008. Although these numbers will not be cause for celebration by any means, this release and data provides us an opportunity to again highlight the need for strong anti-poverty programs like the EITC and CTC. Use the Census data and the August Action to draft and submit a letter to the editor or op-ed in support of the EITC and CTC. You will find links to the poverty data at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html on Thursday.
Sign onto Head Start and Child Care Funding Letter. Our friends at the National Women’s Law Center are circulating a letter urging groups to sign on in favor of an appropriations bill that puts early learning first. The letter asks members of Congress to support a $1 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), a $990 million increase for Head Start and Early Head Start, and $300 million to support a new Early Learning Challenge Fund. These programs help families work, give children access to stable child care arrangements and early learning opportunities, and keep classrooms open. Yet, these programs fall far short of reaching all of the children and families who could benefit due to inadequate funding. Sign your local RESULTS group onto this letter so that we can give children and families the support they so desperately need. Please sign on by September 20 to make sure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill.
Remind Congress that Americans Support Letting Tax Cuts for the Rich Expire. This weekend, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH-8) signaled his apparent willingness to vote for President Obama’s tax cut for the middle class and working families, even if it did not include extending tax cuts for the wealthy. This on top of a new Gallup poll that shows a solid majority of Americans favor letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire; 44 percent want the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, while 15 percent favor letting all the Bush tax cuts expire. If extended, the cuts for the top two percent wealthiest Americans would cost an estimated $700 billion over the next ten years. Only 37 percent extending tax cuts for all Americans. Americans for Responsible Taxes is having a call-in day of action this Thursday, September 16 in support responsible tax policy. Go to http://www.responsibletaxes.org/ later this week for details on how you can call in.
Join the NCTC Virtual Rally for Low-income Tax Credits. Our friends at the National Community Tax Coalition (NCTC) are trying a unique action to generate support for the EITC and CTC in Congress. They are holding a virtual rally that you can take part in. The rally simply involves a piece of paper, a camera, and your computer. Step One: Print off the “EITC and CTC Expansions Mean...” banner and fill it out. Step Two: Photograph yourself holding it up. Step Three: E-mail the photo (and the release to use it) to NCTC. They will be including the photos in state-by-state briefing books to members of Congress later this month. This is a quick, easy and creative way to show support for these important tax provisions. Also, urge your local VITA sites to participate as well. Go to NCTC’s Action page for more information on how to be a Virtual Rally Participant!
Please join Ashton Wingate and Jos Linn tomorrow evening for a conference call training on the RESULTS website. They’ll walk you through the RESULTS home page, how to take action from the website, where to find group training and support resources, and other aspects of the website, as well as answer your questions. This is a great opportunity to learn how to better use this tremendous advocacy resource. The conference call is Wednesday, September 15 at 9:00pm ET; the call in number is (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. Please be in front of your computer with internet access for the call.
Send Us Your Ideas on our 2011 U.S. Poverty Campaigns. We want to hear your ideas for what RESULTS Domestic should consider for our 2011 U.S. poverty campaigns. Your input is always important to us in this process and we welcome your suggestions. Please send your ideas to our Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]). We will keep you updated on our progress throughout the fall.
New Resources on the RESULTS Website. We’d also like to let you know about new resources on the RESULTS website:
Campaigns Summary Page Available. For a summary of RESULTS’ 2010 U.S. poverty campaigns, see our Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.
(Click to see a complete calendar)
September 15: RESULTS Website Training Call 9:00pm ET; (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
October 8: Target adjournment for congressional recess until after November elections.
October 9: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET.
October 12: RESULTS Des Moines fundraiser.
October 16: RESULTS Santa Fe Fundraiser.
November 16: RESULTS Columbus Fundraiser.
December 5: RESULTS Chicago fundraiser.
June 18–21, 2011: RESULTS International Conference at the Four Points Sheraton in Washington, DC (Note: start date subject to change)
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.