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June 2011 U.S. Poverty Laser Talk

Tell Congress to Protect Low-Income Americans in Budget Negotiations

Engage: Our struggling economy has hit low-income Americans the hardest, with poverty, hunger and unemployment at their highest levels in decades.

Problem: Unfortunately, Congress seems determined to ignore these facts by slashing funding for programs that support low-income children and families.

Inform or Illustrate: Congress is bound and determined to tackle deficit reduction this year and while the deficit and our debt need to be dealt with, the proposals being considered are wrong for America. These proposals, be they outright budget cuts, global spending caps, or a balanced budget amendment, all result in the same thing — massive cuts to programs that millions of Americans rely on. For example, studies show that cuts and structural changes to Medicaid that would result in no less than 31 million people losing coverage. Balancing the budget on the backs of low-income Americans is wrong-headed and cruel.

Call to Action: Urge House and Senate budget negotiators to tackle deficit reduction the right way. Specifically, urge them to:

  1. Protect low-income Americans by exempting anti-poverty programs from budget triggers and across the board cuts.
  2. Reject proposals to block grant Medicaid and SNAP.
  3. Use a balanced approach for deficit reduction by relying on new revenue at least as much as spending cuts.
  4. Reject spending caps and any balanced budget amendment proposals.

What Is a Laser Talk?

A laser talk serves as a useful starting point for your advocacy work, whether as a talking points during a town hall meeting or as a primer for face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials. Follow up with more information and evidence supporting your points. And of course, adapt a laser talk to reflect your own experiences and why you care about the issue! For more on how to create your own laser talk, see the RESULTS Activist Toolkit: Create and Deliver Your EPIC Laser Talk and see our June 2011 U.S. Poverty Action for more background on these issues.