January 2014 U.S. Poverty Action
Set Goals for 2014 and Get Started with Face-to-Face Lobby Meetings
This month, RESULTS groups and Free Agents will focus primarily on meeting to create a 2014 plan and set goals for their work for the year. This is such a critical process that we will walk through the process on our January national conference call (Saturday, January 11, at 12:30 pm ET: (888) 409-6709). RESULTS strategic plan has a focus on expanding our reach and impact, and our volunteer Regional Coordinators have embraced these grassroots goals for 2014 – keep these goals in mind as you complete your group plan:
Then, as you work to lay out your goals for the year, set yourselves up for success by requesting face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress this month.
Start 2014 off Right by Setting Goals for Yourself and Your Group
2014 Roadmap Uncertain, but Getting Face-to-Face with Members of Congress Will Start the Year off Right
Because Congress has yet again procrastinated on its agenda, we are still in the process of identifying our campaign priorities for 2014 – which will then be submitted for approval to the Executive Committee of the RESULTS Board of Directors. Some of the ideas we are exploring strategies are:
There is a lot of interest in aligning our U.S. poverty campaign work with the broader goal of ending extreme poverty in the world by 2030. Thank you to those who participated on our December 18 webinar overview of possible 2014 U.S. Poverty Campaigns – for those who missed it, you can view the slides at: http://fuze.me/22230495.
In the short term, we continue to urge Congress to work to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in the final Farm Bill. Face-to-face meetings in the next few weeks can give us a great opportunity to do just that. Key House and Senate negotiators have tentatively reached a deal on the nutrition portion of the Farm Bill that would cut $8.6 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years. The cut would amount to an average loss of $90 per month in SNAP benefits for approximately 850,000 low-income households in 15 states. Fortunately, because of your strong advocacy work in coordination with our allies, several egregious provisions passed by the House of Representatives will not be considered. These discussions to cut SNAP are coming on the heels of an $11 billion across-the-board cut to SNAP benefits for all program participants that went into effect on November 1.
The formal Farm Bill conference committee may meet again as soon as January 9 to finalize the agreement. Because negotiations are still taking place, we still have the opportunity to shape the final Farm Bill and meeting face-to-face with policymakers is a key strategy. Once the formal conference committee process is complete, then the package would need to be approved by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama. As we know, SNAP and other anti-poverty programs make a difference – according to new Census Bureau data (see below), SNAP kept 5 million Americans out of poverty in 2012.
To protect SNAP in the short term and end poverty by 2030, the most effective strategy to influence policymakers is face-to-face visits between local constituents and members of Congress. As most of you know, the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) asked congressional staff what kinds of contact make the biggest impact on members of Congress, especially when they have not made up their mind on an issue. Respondents overwhelmingly said that in-person visits from constituents made the biggest difference; 97 percent for visits to DC offices and 94 percent for visits to district offices – more influential than paid lobbyists! This is why it is critically important to create a powerful plan for 2014 and begin work to secure in-district lobby meetings this month.