Domestic Weekly Update September 27, 2011
Thankfully, people and organizations such as Sen. Tom Harkin, Rep. Leonard Boswell, The Des Moines Register, RESULTS, and many others, are taking a stand to maintain and even grow Head Start and Early Head Start. The need for these programs is readily identifiable and the resources necessary are available. The political will proportionate to the value we place on our children must now carry the issue forward.
— RESULTS Des Moines volunteer Ivan Lyddon in a September 24 Letter to the Editor in the Des Moines Register
Not only are children going hungry, but they have to hide this from their peers, who might ridicule them. Obviously, many parents have not taught their children that others who are hungry deserve help, not jeers.
— RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer Evelyn Cole in a September 24 Letter to the Editor in the Santa Fe New Mexican
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Please note that the RESULTS Washington DC office will be closed this Friday, September 30 through next Monday, October 3 while we move to our new office location. Our DC office phone and fax numbers will be offline during that time. However, many staff will be working remotely Friday and Monday and can still be reached via cell phone or e-mail. See our RESULTS Contact Information section in this update for details.
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Head Start and Child Care Funding Bill (September Action)
Last Tuesday, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) met to finalize its FY 2012 appropriations bill. The Labor-HHS appropriation includes funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The subcommittee approved a $340 million increase for Head Start/Early Head Start, which will maintain the 61,000 Head Start slots created under 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (with this funding, the total Head Start allotment for FY 2012 would be $7.9 billion). Because of this funding, Head Start will be able to serve an estimated 968,000 low-income children and families. The bill also allocates $2.2 billion for CCDBG, including $283.6 million specified for child care quality improvement activities. This amount, while not as much as we requested, will maintain the FY 2011 funding levels through 2012, thus providing child care assistance to an estimated 1.6 million low-income children and their working families. The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved these levels the next day (you can read the bill language on the Senate Appropriations website).
It is because of your repeated actions over the last few months — e-mails, letters, phone calls, meetings, and media — that helped us achieve this first success. You have helped protect these services from substantial cuts in 2011. As a result, early childhood advocates are in a good position as budget negotiations move forward. Thank you!
To help as our efforts continue, use this new letter from Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman telling Congress about the tremendous return on investment early learning programs create. The letter was sent to leaders of the Super Committee working on deficit reduction (see below). In the letter, Heckman states that “Early childhood development deserves more resources, not less. The facts are clear. Birth to age five are the critical years for developing the foundation of health, cognitive and character skills that produce better education, health and economic outcomes throughout life.” Use this letter and other resources from Prof. Heckman when urging Congress to protect these programs.
We still have much work to do. The full Senate still must pass the Labor-HHS and the House Labor-HHS subcommittee has yet to even mark up their bill. Therefore, this is an ideal time to reconnect with your local Head Start centers that you visited last spring. If you have not already, contact them again and work to engage staff and parents in the advocacy process by training them to make calls and write letters to Congress about the importance of early childhood funding. Use our new Guide to Reaching Out to Head Start and Child Care Programs to help you.
Take Action: Take the September Action using our updated action sheet. Urge your senators and representatives to support Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant. These services give children the foundation they need to succeed in school and in life, while giving their parents the opportunity to work during the day. Call or write your members of Congress and urge the following:
Senate: Urge senators to support the highest funding levels possible for Head Start and child care funding (our goal is $8.1 billion total for Head Start/Early Head Start and a $1.2 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant in FY 2012) and the final bill must include levels no less than what the Senate Appropriations Committee passed last week.
House: Urge representatives to weigh in with House Labor-HHS Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and urge them to allocate the highest levels possible for Head Start and child care funding (our goal is $8.1 billion total for Head Start/Early Head Start and a $1.2 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant in FY 2012) and to allocate levels no less than what the Senate Appropriations Committee passed last week.
Engage others in this process. Reach out to you networks and the early childhood staff and parents you met with earlier this spring. Use our new guide to reaching out to early learning providers to help you. Also, see this resource from the Early Childhood Consortium to help you in your Head Start and child care advocacy.
President Announces Deficit Reduction Plan As Super Committee Continues Its Work
Last Monday, President Obama released his proposal to reduce the deficit, as the Super Committee delves deeper into its charge to find at least $1.2 trillion in new budget savings. The President’s proposal is a mix of budget cuts and new revenues, designed to generate $4 trillion in savings over the next decade. Here are some of the elements of his plan:
- Assumes the passage of the American Jobs Act.
- Cuts $250 billion from Medicare. These savings would primarily come from overpayments to providers (e.g. doctors, pharmaceutical companies) and higher premiums on wealthier individuals.
- Cuts $72 billion from Medicaid, which would come from cuts to payments to states and closing some eligibility loopholes.
- Cuts $250 billion from other mandatory programs like agricultural subsidies, federal pension benefits, as well as selling off unnecessary federal property.
- Create a new tax rate for millionaires, nicknamed the “Buffet Tax” (named for billionaire Warren Buffet). No other details are known at this time.
- Closes tax loopholes for oil companies, investment fund managers, and corporate jet owners.
- Limits the amount high income households can claim as tax deductions.
- Assumes the savings generated from troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Assumes the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 per year will expire on schedule in 2012.
In his announcement, the President also threatened to veto any proposal that cuts entitlement programs but includes no new taxes on the wealthy. This is a welcomed line in the sand he has previously been unwilling to draw.
Meanwhile, the deficit-reduction Super Committee continues its work to formulate a plan by its Thanksgiving deadline. Some members of Congress are urging the Super Committee to include a jobs component in their plan. The president’s proposal includes the American Jobs Act and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is recommending that any plan produced by the Super Committee be analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office for its impact on jobs. Along with protecting low-income programs and generating substantial new revenue, jobs must be a top priority for the Super Committee. A plan that only cuts spending while not reviving our economy is a plan doomed to fail. That is why RESULTS and our allies are pushing the Super Committee to create a plan that follows these three principles:
- Any deficit reduction plan must protect low-income Americans and not increase poverty.
- Any deficit reduction agreement must include revenue as part of the solution.
- Use job creation and rebuilding our economy as the guide for any deficit reduction package.
Take Action: Use the media to let members of Congress know it is unconscionable to force middle class and working Americans to bear the burden of deficit reduction while the wealthy and big corporations are asked to sacrifice nothing. Send a letter to the editor to your local paper telling them to get their priorities straight by creating a balanced deficit reduction plan that protects services for low-income families and creates jobs. Use our online action to help submit your letters with just a few clicks.
Also, 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.
Great New Resources Make It Easy to Use Poverty Data in Your Advocacy Work
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Census released its national poverty data, showing that the number of Americans living in poverty hit an all time high in 2010 — 46 million. This data has helped generate some great new resources advocates can use to better inform lawmakers about the importance of anti-poverty policy. Here are some of them for you to use:
U.S. Census State Level Data Release. Last Thursday, the U.S. Census released the findings from its latest American Community Survey. The release provides a wealth of data on topics such as educational attainment, income, poverty health insurance coverage, occupation, and monthly homeowner costs. You can find state, city and congressional district data using the ACS. You can also find links to specific poverty-related topics at the Coalition on Human Needs website.
New State and Congressional District Poverty Data. The Half in Ten campaign has created an interactive map where you can access poverty rates for each congressional district in your state. Also, the National Women’s Law Center also have an interactive map that links you to state facts sheets on poverty and economic issues facing women and families.
Poverty Data PowerPoint from CBPP. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has released a fantastic PowerPoint presentation that analyzes the significance of the new poverty data in visual and easy to grasp slides. Not only look at poverty based on the new Census numbers, it also shows how anti-poverty programs have kept millions out of poverty.
We are grateful to our partners in creating these resources for advocates like you around the country. Please take advantage of these great tools by looking them over, familiarizing yourself with data from your state and congressional district, and then incorporating the information into your advocacy work. If you have any questions about the data or need help in finding specific information, please contact Meredith Dodson or Jos Linn on the RESULTS Domestic staff for assistance.
RESULTS Volunteers Again Go Above and Beyond
RESULTS’ success over the years has stemmed from a courageous, compassionate, and create grassroots network — you! Your efforts to put the issue front and center before lawmakers, in the media, and in your communities has resulted billions of dollars invested in anti-poverty efforts that have helped millions of low-income Americans. And once again, you have proven that when it comes to grassroots advocacy, no one does it better than RESULTS volunteers.
In only 9 months, we have already exceeded our goals for the year in some key areas. Specifically, in 2011, RESULTS Domestic volunteers have held 31 face-to-face meetings with U.S. representatives, 16 face-to-face meetings with senators, and have generated 41 media placements. And this doesn’t even include the numerous meetings with aides, letters written, calls made, and e-mail sent. Considering how difficult it is to get these kinds of meetings and media placements, this is a significant achievement. Congratulations to you all!
Take Action: We still have 3 months left in the year. Let’s not just meet our 2011 goals, let’s shatter them. Request a face-to-face meeting with your representatives and senators for the next congressional recess to talk about our priorities. Let’s continue to show Congress and our communities that if you want results, look to RESULTS!
October Conference Call Moved to October 15
As you know, RESULTS hosts our monthly U.S. poverty national conference call on the second Saturday of each month at 12:30 pm ET. However, our next conference call on October 8 falls on Yom Kippur. So as to not interfere with religious observances that day, we have decided to move our October call back a week. Our October 2011 RESULTS Domestic national conference call will now be on Saturday, October 15 at 12:30 pm ET.
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. Please adjust your schedules accordingly and let your local groups know that the call will now be on October 15. Our November call will return to our regular schedule (November 12). Thank you for your understanding and flexibility.
Join the “Make an Impact with Social Media” Webinar. Join “Ounce of Prevention” for a webinar next week on how you can use social media in your advocacy work. Social media provides an innovative way to stay informed, raise awareness, share information and communicate with various stakeholders on early childhood issues. Learn how you can you use social media tools and networks for early learning advocacy. The webinar is Wednesday, October 5 at noon ET. Register today at the Ounce website. For a preview, see the great quick explanation of how to use Facebook and Twitter to more effectively work with legislators from longtime RESULTS volunteer Ireta Gasner at http://youtu.be/jSayrFv0m-0.
RESULTS Faith in Action: Join Prayer Vigils to Protect the Poor. When deficit reduction is attempted primarily through cuts in spending, low-income families are hurt the most. To help push the new Super Committee to protect low-income individuals and families in their deliberations, our friends at Faith Reform and Health Care (FRHC) are helping organize prayer vigils this fall in support of a moral and compassionate approach to deficit reduction. Their September vigil had over 500 RSVPs. To build on that success, FRHC and its partners will also host vigils on October 12 and November 9 at 12:00 pm ET. These 20-minute vigils will take place via conference call where you can join in prayer by phone from your home, office, or community of faith. To learn more and to RSVP for the next vigil (required), visit the Faithful Reform website.
Sign Up for New Activist Orientation. This week we are 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 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 this 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, 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 Wednesday, October 12 at 9:00 pm ET. Anyone interested can RSVP to http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.
(See a complete calendar)
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.
Wednesday, October 12: 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, 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 (new date!): RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. 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:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of Domestic Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x116, [email protected] (to reach her on 9/30 and 10/3, please call (202) 263-9108)
- Jos Linn, Domestic Outreach Organizer, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, Domestic Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, [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.