July 2010 U.S. Poverty Action
Create Champions for Protecting the EITC and CTC
Keep Pushing Members of Congress to Take a Strong Stand in Favor of Working Families
Whether your group lobbied members of Congress in Washington, back home, or have not yet gotten a chance to meet with them face-to-face, this is the key time for members of Congress to support, lead on, or champion permanent extensions the 2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) provisions. In your follow up conversations with members of Congress and their staff, be sure to highlight the following:
Persistent Follow-Up Is Essential to Our Success
On June 22, RESULTS activists from around the nation and world gathered in Washington DC to urge Congress to make tax policy work for low-income families. Those of you who came did an amazing job in your meetings with senators, representatives, and their congressional staff pushing them to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). Congress now only has about seven weeks of work time scheduled before the November election. If these tax issues are not resolved before then, our goals will be much harder to accomplish after the election. Therefore, following up now from our contacts with congressional offices over the last few months is very important. Without a strong push, our issues face getting drowned out. Here are the most effective ways you can follow up:
Get face-to-face with your member of Congress (MoCs) during the July 4 recess. Obviously, talking to MoCs is the best way to know where they stand on our issues and to urge further action. See our June Action for more information about face-to-face meetings. If a sit down face-to-face meeting is not possible, asking them questions at public appearances and getting them on the record on our issues is a good alternative.
Meet with or make a phone call to tax aides in Washington, DC. Contacting aides in congressional offices in Washington is the next best thing to meeting face-to-face with your representative or senator. These folks in many ways are the gatekeepers and making the tax aide a champion for our issue can go a long way in getting these issues front and center. Here are a few tips for following up with congressional aides.
Success Also Comes from Having Concrete Goals
RESULTS needs to have senators and representatives we can count on to go the extra mile to ensure these expansions become permanent. In the wake of the RESULTS International Conference and the great lobbying efforts by RESULTS groups back home, we have set the following immediate advocacy goals in pushing Congress to protect the EITC and CTC:
HOUSE GOAL: We want 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 MoC’s tax staff and House Ways and Means Committee staff.
SENATE GOAL: We want 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.
How do we accomplish these goals? Good, persistent follow up. If we do not follow up from those meetings with staff and schedule meetings back home (especially with members of Congress who were not contacted on Lobby Day), our influence will quickly fade. As one congressional staffperson said at the conference, it is those constituents who are in regular contact with the congressional offices who get the most attention.
Do you know where your members stand? And do you know how hard they will push for these? Use these above strategies to find out. If you know their position already, please let our Domestic team know so we can identify our core Congressional Team on this. Contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected], (202) 783-7100 x116) on what you learn asap.
To support you, we have wealth of information available, including state a new Q & A to address questions, objections, and concerns, in our Domestic Legislative Handbook and the Economic Opportunity Power Point Presentation created for the International Conference. Please use them when preparing for your meetings and phone calls. See also our Champion Scale to help identify where your members of Congress stand on our issues and how to take them to the next level.
Always remember that it is you that make this work possible. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to creating a poverty-free world.