October 2014 U.S. Poverty Action
Make Sure Poverty is a Part of Election Conversations
This is the home stretch! Candidates for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are campaigning with only a month before the election. This means we have an important opportunity to get poverty issues discussed on the campaign trail and build momentum for tax policies that prioritize creating economic mobility – both in the short-term (when Congress passes tax legislation during the “Lame Duck” session after the election) and long-term (when policymakers move forward on larger tax changes next year).
Contact Candidates to Discuss the EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Financial Security Credit
Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a local volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end poverty. I know that your campaign values input from voters on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with ______ to discuss specific policies to build economic mobility for low-income Americans that she/he can support if elected. Would it be possible to set that up today? There will be at least ____ of us at the meeting and we would like to discuss how we can reduce poverty through protecting and strengthening tax credits for low-income working families, and discuss ways we can work together to support innovative approaches to helping families move out of poverty. What times would he/she be available to meet?
As the Census Bureau’s latest income and poverty data revealed, one in seven Americans (14.5 percent, 45.3 million total) still live below the poverty line. Even more shocking, almost one in five children in America are growing up in poverty. This election season offers us an opportunity to demand that candidates support policies that create true economic mobility – making sure those working can make ends meet and build for the future.
The next Congress could be making major changes to the tax code, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit. Current Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) says he wants to undertake major tax reform. Furthermore, if Republicans take Senate control, they have indicated they might use reconciliation in next year’s budget to do tax reform; reconciliation cannot be filibustered and can be passed by only 51 votes. Finally, Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) is looking to become the next Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Ryan’s recent House budgets have included major tax cuts and he’s also proposed an expansion of EITC that resembles President Obama’s proposal.
All this makes the relationships we build with current and future members of Congress very important. By meeting with members of Congress, we have been able to build support for tax changes that would help low-income Americans get out and stay out of poverty. As of October 1, RESULTS U.S. poverty-focused volunteers have met face-to-face with members of Congress 101 times in 2014 — 74 meetings with 44 different representatives and 27 meetings with 23 different senators. That’s dramatically more meetings than any year in the last decade.
Facing a new Congress in January, it’s important that we start kindling new relationships and cementing old ones now. Meeting with candidates now and educating them on RESULTS and our issues will help you to build those relationships we will need in the Lame Duck session of Congress and in the new Congress sworn in next year. If you are unable to get a meeting with a candidate or their staff, look for these opportunities:
Looking for an opportunity to engage your local Action Network? Ask others to call the campaign office to reiterate their support for protecting and expanding EITC, and/or join you at one of these public events.
On the October 2014 RESULTS National Conference Call, we’ll hear from guest speaker Marge Clark of NETWORK Lobby, one of the “Nuns on the Bus” touring this fall, who will share about the tour and NETWORK’s wealth gap work. The call is Saturday, October 11, at 12:30 pm ET . To participate, call (888) 409-6709 by 12:27 pm ET.