Domestic Weekly Update September 7, 2010
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update
Latest from Washington, DC
Join us this Saturday, September 11 for the RESULTS National Conference Call. As Congress prepares to return to Washington, we’ll give you the latest on our Economic Opportunity for All campaign and how we can best influence the upcoming tax debate. This may be the only monthly conference call while Congress is in session before the November elections, so please plan to join us on Saturday. We will also kick off our fall Friends and Family Fundraising campaign on this call. We look forward to an informative and inspiring call with all of you.
TAKE ACTION: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday, September 11, for the national conference call at 12:30 pm ET. The call-in number is (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.
Only 115 Days until the EITC and CTC Improvements Expire — Set Up Virtual Hill Meetings Pushing Congress to Act (September Action)
Tick-tock tick-tock — the clock is ticking. In less than four months, meaningful progress in helping low-income working families lift and keep themselves out of poverty will disappear. Unless Congress acts, millions will face painful economic consequences.
Congress returns to Washington next week. One of the items on the agenda will be what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts from 2001 and 2003. Congress will likely be in session only until early October before breaking again for the November elections. Therefore, we must use this time effectively to make sure that tax credits that directly benefit working families are included in any extension of the tax cuts.
Our goal is to make sure that any tax bill extending benefits to the middle class also include permanent extensions of the 2009 improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) (from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)) Specifically, we want to see 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 noted in last week’s Update, we need for these provisions to be in the base or original tax bills the Senate and House bring to the floor this fall. Without them included, we have a much tougher hill to climb. As a result, we are still pushing these goals:
SENATE GOAL: At least six confirmed direct conversations between senators and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and/or Ranking Members Charles Grassley (R-IA) and at last fifteen letters sent to Sens. Baucus and Grassley or staff to staff contacts between your MoC’s tax staff and Senate Finance Committee staff.
HOUSE GOAL: At least ten confirmed direct conversations between representatives and House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI-12) and/or Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI-4) and at least twenty letters sent to Reps. Levin and Camp or staff to staff contacts between your Member of Congress (MoC)’s tax staff and House Ways and Means Committee staff.
In September, we want to be pushing these goals as hard as we can. Our action this month therefore focuses on setting up conference call meetings, or virtual Hill meeting, with members of Congress (MoCs) and their tax aides. By setting up conference calls where your entire group can be on the call, you magnify your voice in this debate. In your calls, remember to urge your members of Congress to talk to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees about making the ARRA EITC and CTC provisions permanent. Also, if your MoCs are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, or Congressional Hispanic Caucus, ask their caucus leadership to weigh in with tax leaders as well.
Remember, time is of the essence — the Senate could begin debate on their tax bill as soon as September 20.
TAKE ACTION: Because of the Labor Day holiday, the September Action sheet will be posted later this week. But don’t wait — get started now by requesting meetings with members of Congress and their tax aides via conference call meetings 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 in September. 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.
Use the Media to Amplify Your Efforts in Support of Working Families (August Action)
We must continue to build public support for extending 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The media can be a powerful tool in generating public support, as well as pressure on members of Congress to act on behalf of working families. Monica Scott of the Grand Rapids Press has an excellent piece on the EITC and CTC last Saturday. It weaves data into real life stories to make a compelling case for making the 2009 improvements permanent. Here is an excerpt:
“Daycare is very expensive,” said Reyna Suarez, a Grand Rapids resident who works at a hospital and attends college pursuing a social work degree. “My budget would change drastically without that additional money coming in... I am just trying to create a better life and future for me and daughter, so I won’t need assistance down the road.”
The piece also does a great job of putting the local member of Congress on the spot as to what he will do about the expiring EITC and CTC provisions.
TAKE ACTION: Take the August Action. Draft and submit an op-ed or letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper highlighting the importance of working families in our society. Use information and stories from your VITA outreach to paint a picture of these families for readers, like from the Grand Rapids piece, as well as data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities about the cost of doing nothing. Be sure to call on members of Congress by name to take action to support families.
In addition, enlist help from the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN). CHN is looking to partner with local advocates to get op-eds placed in local papers in response to the release of the Census 2009 poverty data — set to be released on September 16. To make it easy, CHN will provide a template op-ed and communications assistance to work with ‘authors’ to customize the op-eds. If you are willing to work with RESULTS and CHN on an op-ed in your local paper, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or CHN’s Maricela Donahue directly at [email protected] or (202) 223-2532 x112. Please make contact asap as time is of the essence; the Census Data will be released a week from Thursday.
The Senate passed its child nutrition bill, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (S.3307), in early August but did so by taking money from the SNAP to pay for it. Tell the House to get child nutrition right by rejecting the Senate bill, passing the House’s Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010 (H.R.5504) with the highest funding level possible, and not raiding the SNAP program to pay for it. RESULTS staff in Washington are doing Hill meetings with coalition partners to generate your support for a strong bill in the House. Let’s do our part to make sure that hungry children get the resources they need.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to get child nutrition right! Urge your members of Congress to pass a strong child nutrition bill 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
Sign Your RESULTS Group onto Deficit Commission Letter Before Tomorrow’s Deadline. Send a strong message to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is looking at ways to address long-term budget deficits. Recent headlines have indicated that there is a real risk that the Commission could come up with recommendations that could hurt low-income Americans. For example, even though Social Security has its own funding mechanism outside the budget and will continue to pay out full benefits for another 25 years, the Commission is clearly eyeing Social Security for changes. The Commission is also looking at changes to Medicare and Medicaid. Show your support for these and other critical anti-poverty programs by signing your local RESULTS group onto the letter (ex. “RESULTS Twin Cities”). The deadline to sign on is tomorrow September 8. Note: Where the questionnaire says Are you authorized to sign on behalf of your organization?, please choose YES.
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!
Urge House and Senate Aides to Attend Medicare Briefing. RESULTS is proud to cosponsor 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 pm 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. Do your part by encouraging the health care aides in your congressional offices to attend this important briefing. You can find the names of aides on our Elected Officials page.
We are pleased to announce that Lydia Pendley, co-group leader of the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Domestic RESULTS Group, has been elected to the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board as a Grassroots Board Member. She will serve a three year term. We welcome her to this important leadership position and look forward to working with her. Congratulations, Lydia! Scott Leckman whom she replaces will continue to serve as the Chair of the Board in a non-Grassroots Board Member capacity.
In addition, we thank Lynne Patalano and Bruce Preville for being candidates for the Board. They both have made and will continue to make a difference in our organization with their actions and leadership. In addition, thanks to all of you who voted. These elections are an important part of our history and organization structure and your participation is as important as it is appreciated.
Send Us Your Ideas on our 2011 U.S. Poverty Campaigns. As noted last week, we are starting look ahead to our 2011 domestic 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. This process takes several months so we are beginning now so that when the New Year begins, we can be ready to roll. 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)
Now–September 12: House and Senate on summer recess (congressional session resumes September 13).
September 11: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET, (888) 409-6709.
October 8: Target adjournment for congressional recess until after November elections.
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.
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.