Domestic Weekly Update September 19, 2011

Head Start is an investment in children. It is an investment that has a long-term, positive impact on our communities. Congress should remember that in making decisions about where to trim and where to spend our tax money.

September 15, 2011 Des Moines Register editorial (RESULTS Des Moines volunteers worked with the paper to get this published)

New and Urgent in This Week's Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Senate Labor-HHS Committee to Meet Tomorrow — Call Senators About Protecting Head Start and Child Care Funding (September Action)

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) is meeting tomorrow at 2:30 pm ET to mark up its FY 2012 appropriations bill. The Labor-HHS bill includes funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Once the subcommittee completes its work, it will vote on the final version and send it to the full Appropriations Committee for a vote. Once it is passed out of committee, it will go to the Senate floor for a final vote (the same holds true for the House; no date has been set for the House Labor-HHS mark-up). Once it is out of committee, the bill becomes much more difficult to change. Therefore, we need the bill to be as strong as it can be on Head Start and child care funding right from the get-go.  

We’re sending out the Domestic Update a day early just to give you enough time to make that call to Washington. Here is what we need to maintain existing services in Head Start and child care programs:

  • 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 would mean still only one out of every seven low-income working families eligible for child care assistance will get it through CCDBG.

The truth is that cutting Head Start and child care programs will have an infinitesimal impact on deficit reduction. Yet these cuts will have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of American children and their families. It is time to ask members of Congress to make a choice on whose side they are on.

TAKE ACTION: Call Senate offices today – and urge your senator to weigh in before tomorrow’s markup! Ask to speak to the aide that works on early childhood issues. Tell the aide to urge his/her boss to tell Senate Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) to fund Head Start and child care at the levels necessary to maintain existing services. Here is a sample script of what you can say:

Hello, my name is ____________________ and I am constituent from _________________. I’d like to briefly talk to you about Head Start, Early Head Start and child care services. These programs 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. And they work. Studies show that people who participated in quality early learning programs as children have less need for social services, are healthier, stay in school longer and stay out of trouble, and are more productive as adults. We need to strengthen these vital investments, not serve them up for cuts in the name of deficit reduction.

Will you please urge Senator _______________ to speak with the Senate Labor-HHS subcommittee Chair Harkin and Ranking Member Shelby and urge them to support an increase of $1.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and total allotment of $8.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY 2012? These levels will sustain effective, high-quality services for at-risk, low-income children and their families across the nation. Will you talk to him/her today about this, as the Labor-HHS mark-up is tomorrow?

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/). You can use the September Action Sheet for background information and more talking points.

After talking to senators, be sure to call or write your representatives and urge them to talk to House Labor-HHS Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) about protecting Head Start and child care funding. You can also use our online e-mail action alert for these contacts.

Finally, work to get others engaged in this process. Reach out to you networks and the early childhood staff and parents you met with earlier this spring. Explain that Congress is making its final decision about Head Start and child care funding and we need their voices. Use our new guide to reaching out to early learning providers to help you.


Attention Lawmakers! The Safety Net is Working

Last week, the deficit-reduction Super Committee held its first hearings as it begins work on finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings in the federal budget. Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf made the choice clear for lawmakers — if we want to keep funding programs like Medicare and Social Security, we need to raise taxes; if we want to keep tax rates as they are, we have to cut government programs.

On the heels of the U.S. Census release of its annual report on poverty, income and health coverage in the U.S. last week, there is new data showing how much worse the situation would have been had safety net programs not been in place.

To recap, the U.S. Census data was bleak. Between 2009 and 2010, 2.6 million Americans, including nearly 1 million children, fell into poverty. In addition, median income in the U.S. declined by 2.3 percent to $49,445 in 2010. You can read more about U.S. poverty on our Poverty in the United States page.

The good news is that programs RESULTS volunteers advocate for have helped keep millions of more people from falling into poverty. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released data showing that in 2010 alone:EITC, SNAP & UI Keep Millions out of Poverty (2010 Census)

  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) kept 5.4 million people, including 3 million children out of poverty
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps) kept 3.9 million people out of poverty, including 1.7 million children
  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) kept 3.9 million people out of poverty, including 900,000 children

As we also mentioned last week, the Census data found that 49.9 million Americans (16.3 percent) were without health insurance coverage in 2010. Fortunately, safety net programs again blunted the damage. As private insurance coverage for children dropped by 800,000, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covered 700,000 more children in 2010. As Congress contemplates cuts in the 2012 budget and Super Committee contemplates cutting and/or restructuring programs like Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, the EITC and others, we must remind them of these important statistics. These programs and services are saving individuals, children, and families. Without them, millions more would be experiencing poverty on a daily basis. These programs should not be scapegoated for doing exactly what they are designed to do—keep people from falling into abject poverty with no hope of relief.

It is imperative that members of the Super Committee understand the importance of anti-poverty programs to millions of Americans. Just last week, First Focus released a report on what Medicaid would look like as a block grant (one of the ideas being considered), which would “end Medicaid as we know it, causing states to reduce enrollment, limit benefits, cut provider payments, and shift more costs onto the children and families who rely on public programs.” Poverty is a problem in the United States and ignoring it, demonizing it, cost-shifting it, and hiding it will not solve it.

TAKE ACTION: Urge members of Congress to protect America’s most vulnerable from reckless and heartless budget cuts. Be sure to highlight the new poverty data with members of Congress and urge them to talk to Super Committee members about protecting low-income Americans in deficit-reduction talks. Here are the three principles we expect the Super Committee to follow:

1.      Any deficit reduction plan must protect low-income Americans and not increase poverty.

2.      Any deficit reduction agreement must include revenue as part of the solution.

3.      Use job creation and rebuilding our economy as the guide for any deficit reduction package.

See our RESULTS Blog post that outlines a set of principles we urge members of the Super Committee to abide by in any deficit reduction deal, and Families USA has a great set of talking points you can use with policymakers specifically on the importance of protecting Medicaid.

 

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. And, we have an updated letter-to-the-editor template on our website’s Take Action Center so you can push for a fair and balanced budget deal in your local media.


Quick News

“To Catch a Dollar” Tour Begins This Week. RESULTS Board Member and Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus will be at the IFC Center in NYC on September 25, 2011, to kickoff a fall “To Catch A Dollar” theatrical and educational tour, with an economic empowerment campaign for America. Each night during opening week, showings will be followed by discussions with leading organizations and key figures to provoke conversations about entrepreneurship, job creation, financial literacy, savings, and microfinance as a way out of poverty in the U.S. RESULTS is officially “hosting” the screening in New York City on Thursday, September 29, including a panel discussion. Los Angeles area RESULTS groups are “hosting” the 8 pm PT screening this Sunday, September 25. Please invite friends and family in NYC and LA to these screenings! Later this fall we hope other RESULTS chapters will participate in screenings on college campuses later. For more details including special events and ticket information, please visit the “To Catch a Dollar” website. Read more about RESULTS work with this campaign on our “To Catch a Dollar” Resources page.

Top Ten Surprises from 2010 Poverty Data. The Center for American Progress has an excellent analysis — written in a “Top Ten” form — of what last week’s census data says about people in poverty and America itself. Their analysis shows that income inequality is increasing, young Americans are seeing their income plummet, and racial and ethnic disparities are growing. It also shows that the safety net is working and that, because of increases economic insecurity, poverty could be a reality for almost anyone.

State-Level Poverty Data to be Released This Week. On the heels of last week’s national poverty data release, the Census will release new socioeconomic, housing and demographic data from the 2010 American Community Survey on September 22. This data includes estimates for each state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and all congressional districts. This data is great for contacts with congressional offices, as it provides a picture on income, health insurance, housing and other indications of living standards in their constituencies. For more on the latest Census data, as well resources on how to access and interpret it, see the Coalition on Human Needs' Poverty Day 2011 page for analyses from many organizations and other resources. Please note that at the end of October, the Census will also release preliminary Supplemental Poverty Measure estimates.


Announcements

RESULTS in Kansas City This Week. RESULTS Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos Linn is in Kansas and western Missouri this week. Today, he did an advocacy presentation in Hillsboro, KS and he’s meeting this evening with the RESULTS Salina group. He will then facilitate a RESULTS “group start” presentation in Kansas City on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:00 pm CT. If you know anyone in Kansas City who might be interested in attending the meeting, please contact Jos at [email protected]. We are also looking to do outreach in St. Louis, MO, Texas, South Carolina, western Massachusetts, and Maine. If you know of anyone in these or other areas of the country who might be interested in RESULTS, please contact Jos.

Sign Up for New Activist Orientation. Next week, we will be starting 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’s work. It includes both a more detailed look at our work and training on our advocacy resources. It is perfect for new members of your local RESULTS group or anyone interested in learning more about us. The first call will be next Thursday, September 29 at 9:00pm ET. The second call will be on 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].

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 Monday, September 26 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.

RESULTS DC Office is moving. RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund will be moving 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 (phone numbers remain the same). Because of the move, the RESULTS DC office will be closed from 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).


Upcoming Events

(See a complete calendar)

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.

Monday, September 26: RESULTS Introductory "Meet and Greet" call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. We will also have a Meet and Greet calls on October 12 and 24.

Thursday, September 29: New Activist Orientation conference call (session 1), 9:00 pm ET (second session on October 13). Please RSVP to Meredith Dodson at [email protected] for details and call-in information.

Friday, September 30 — Monday, October 3: RESULTS DC office closed for office move. New address as of October 4: RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20036.

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, October 15: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET with guest speaker Debbie Weinstein from the Coalition on Human Needs, a leader in the fight to protect low-income Americans in the deficit reduction fight. We'll also talk about Congress' work to complete the FY 2012 budget, including the Senate markup of legislation to fund Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG).  Coordinate and gather with your group and 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 to the operator to connect you with the call. Listen to previous conference calls on the RESULTS website.

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.