U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 23, 2013

No one who works full-time should be living in poverty. . . . In the Silicon Valley of brainpower, might a few of our creative thinkers find a way to narrow the gap between rich and poor to create a more livable and sustainable economy for us all?

— RESULTS San Jose volunteer Georgia Platts in an April 18 letter to the editor in the San Jose Mercury News

New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Call Schedulers about Meetings and Town Halls during Next Week’s Recess

Both the House and Senate will be on recess next week. With many questions yet unanswered about the future of the social safety net, we need to remain vigilant. Hearings on the Farm Bill and SNAP are coming, the tax committees are discussion the EITC and Child Tax Credit, and early childhood programs such as Head Start are hearing calls for expansion in the midst of program closures from sequestration. All this reminds us that these recesses provide an important opportunity to weigh in with policy-makers about protecting programs that lift and keep people out of poverty.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call your local or DC schedulers to find out if you can schedule a last minute face-to-face meeting with your representatives and senators. This is a great excuse to follow up on your previous meeting requests or to submit them asap. Use our January Action for tips on scheduling a meeting and our January Laser Talk for follow up calls to schedulers.

In addition to sit-down meetings, ask the schedulers if your members of Congress are holding any town halls or public meetings next week. You can also check their congressional websites to see if they have any events listed there. You can find DC scheduler names, local contact information, and website links on our Elected Officials page. If you plan to attend a town hall, see our updated Sample Town Hall Questions.

If you plan to attend an event, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff for help in preparing you.


Got Ten Minutes? Would You Participate in Friends & Family for ONE WEEK to Help RESULTS?

Thank you to those of you who are already participating in this month’s Friends & Family Fundraising Campaign. Just this past weekend, you helped us pass the $10,000 mark. Congratulations! It is only through your efforts that we reached this milestone.

However, this is only about 30 percent of our overall campaign goal of $35,000. We still need your help to finish these last eight days strong! If we had 20 people doing just a little for one week, we could get close to our goal and maybe even over the top. It’s not that hard; below are instructions to get you started in just a few short clicks. And remember, it is your stories and connection to RESULTS that makes our grassroots fundraising a success. Sharing why you do this work and why you give to RESULTS helps others do the same. You could also link giving to one of our campaigns, such as asking folks to donate $30, which is roughly the average weekly SNAP benefit for one person, or telling people you will donate $1 for every $7 raised to reflect the return on investment early childhood programs create.

Help us finish this year’s Friends & Family Campaign with a flourish!

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to set up a Friends & Family web page to help support the work of RESULTS financially. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Go to Friends & Family Fundraising Page
  2. Click on the blue “Volunteers: Register Here” link
  3. Fill out the information (be careful to spell your name correctly)
  4. Click on “View your page here” and customize it by clicking “Edit Campaign” in the “services” box on the left
  5. Log out, click on Donate, click on your own name to get your site URL in non-edit mode
  6. Share your site through e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter!

Please contact Cindy Levin ([email protected]) if you have any questions. Thank you for all you do for RESULTS and for people living in poverty!


Got Twenty Minutes? Keep Pushing Congress to Protect Tax Credits for Working Families (April Action)

Last week, members of the Senate Finance Committee met to discuss how tax reform impacts families and children. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) were important parts of that discussion. While the discussion did not get into details about specific proposals, the credits did come up with several senators speaking in defense of these important poverty-reduction tools. You can read about some of the options presented on the Senate Finance Committee website. Thank you to everyone who called senators last week urging them to weigh in with Senate Finance members about the EITC and CTC.

Building on that support, we’ve learned that Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) will be introducing a bill soon that protects and expands the EITC and CTC. We will have more details about the bill once it is introduced. In the meantime, our friends at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) have drafted new papers to help in your advocacy around these tax credits for working families. First, their new report “The Earned Income Tax Credit and Refundable Child Tax Credit in Rural America” highlights the importance of the EITC and CTC to people living in rural America. For advocates living in states with large rural areas, this information could be very persuasive with lawmakers. On a broader note, CBPP also released papers on how to better understand where our federal tax dollars come from and where they go.

We just learned today that Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) will not seek re-election in 2014. How this will affect the tax reform effort remains to be seen. In this final week of April, let’s make sure lawmakers hear in a loud and clear voice that their constituents strongly support the EITC and CTC.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take the April Action about protecting the EITC and CTC. Write letters to senators and representatives urging them to talk to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI-4) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI-9) about protecting and strengthening the EITC and CTC. Specifically, urge them to:

  1. Make the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements permanent.
  2. Reject any tax reform proposals that would cut eligibility or benefits for the EITC and CTC

The April Action and National Community Tax Coalition’s tax credit 13 for ’13 has all the information you need to make a powerful case.

Also, if you contacted senate aides about last week’s Senate Finance hearing, follow up with them to see if they did indeed talk to their colleagues on the committee. Be sure to thank those who did and remind the aides to keep pushing tax leaders to protect the EITC and CTC. You can find the name of your senate tax aides on our Elected Officials page. If you would like help or coaching with making these calls or writing your letters, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff for assistance.

You can learn more about tax credits for working families the recording of our April 2013 national conference call and the PowerPoint slides (pdf) from the call. You can find both on the RESULTS Conference Call page.


Only One Week Left to Get the Discounted Conference Registration Rate — Register Today!

Last week, we announced that the Early Bird Registration fee of only $165 for the RESULTS International Conference had been extended to April 30. My, how time flies! We are now only one week away from the deadline. Don’t get caught on May 1 having forgotten to register at the lower rate. This year’s conference promises to be a wonderful experience (see the updated agenda), so take a few minutes and…

REGISTER TODAY for the RESULTS International Conference!

We want REAL Changers! The conference is not only a great opportunity for our existing volunteers to meet, learn, and act, it’s a great way to introduce RESULTS and anti-poverty advocacy to a whole new generation. We want more young people at this year’s conference and we have just the thing to help make it easier for them to come. If you or someone you know are 18–27 years old, be sure to apply for the conference REAL Change Scholarship. This scholarship provides the opportunity for young RESULTS activists and potential new activists to attend the conference for a fraction of the cost. If you’re one of these young leaders, it’s a deal you don’t want to pass up. You can find more information about the REAL Change Program on the RESULTS website. Download and submit your application today! The deadline to apply is May 15.

Finally, we have started making awards from the Karen McQuillan Fund for this year’s conference. The KMF provides financial support for those who would otherwise be unable to participate in the conference due to costs. Unfortunately, because of a limited amount in the Fund, we cannot assist many worthy applicants. If you are able, please consider making a donation to the KMF to help others share in the conference experience. If you plan to come to the conference, you can donate to the KMF on the conference registration form. You can also donate online to RESULTS Educational Fund and in the Additional Notes section at the bottom of the form, put “Karen McQuillan Fund”. Thank you for your support.

Don’t forget! REGISTER TODAY for this year’s conference!


Help Build Support for New Early Learning Investments

In last week’s update, we highlighted President Obama’s new initiative to expand early childhood education in America. His proposal would build on the exiting early childhood infrastructure, including Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to expand services to all low- and moderate-income children. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is urging people to show their thanks to President Obama for his proposal by sending thank you e-mails to him. Their hope is to deliver thousands of letters that will hopefully be used in an upcoming public event with the president. Be sure to send your thank you note.

Also, to build momentum for new investments in early learning, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is circulating a Dear Colleague letter (attached and below) to support investments in early childhood, including Head Start, Early Head Start and the CCDBG. The deadline for the letter is this Thursday, April 25.

Finally, Ready Nation, a coalition of businesses and business leaders who value and support early education, is urging business leaders to sign onto a letter to President Obama in support of strong early childhood investments. All this is welcomed news for early learning advocates, who are still facing program closures, cutbacks, and layoffs due to sequestration. Show your support for educating America’s children today.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your members of Congress to protect Head Start and child care funding and invest more resources in early learning. Specifically, you can do the following:

  1. Call your senate offices and urge your senators to join Sen. Franken’s Early Childhood Dear Colleague letter.
  2. Send the president a thank you note for putting children first using the NWLC e-mail alert.
  3. Amplify your message using online e-mail alert members of Congress about the importance of Head Start and child care to low-income families.

We also encourage you to listen to April national conference call to hear Roxanne Reddington-Wilde share about her experience working for community action in Boston and the impact sequestration has had on her and her agency.


Delayed Farm Bill Hearings Give Us More Time to Generate Support for SNAP

Last week, we noted that the Senate Agriculture Committee was planning to start “marking up” (debating and editing) a new Farm Bill as soon as this week. As you know, one of the largest components of the Farm Bill is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). We just learned that the Senate hearing has been postponed. No new date is set, although Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has said she would like to mark up a bill before Memorial Day. Meanwhile, the House has scheduled the markup of their Farm Bill for May 15. What this means is that you have more time to urge your representatives and senators to demonstrate their public support for SNAP. In the House, it means urging members to cosponsor House Resolution 90, which currently has 103 cosponsors. H.Res. 90 urges the House to reject any cuts to SNAP. In the Senate, it means urging senators to sign onto Sen. Gillibrand’s “Dear Colleague” letter, which calls for full-funding for SNAP. As of April 19, it had 26 cosponsors.

In addition, President Obama’s FY 2014 budget released a few weeks ago restores SNAP funding lost in 2010 and postpones a scheduled cut in SNAP benefits beginning this November. We applaud the president’s effort at protecting hungry families in America.

TAKE ACTION: Call your representative and both senators urging them to sign onto H.Res. 90 and the “Dear Colleague” letter respectively. You can also use House SNAP e-mail alert and our Senate SNAP e-mail alert to send your messages. When contacting your congressional offices, or in meetings you have with them, be sure to use local data from your state’s SNAP fact sheet (from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).


RESULTS Outreach — Help Us Expand into New Areas

RESULTS staff and volunteers are working hard to magnify our collective voice by engaging new RESULTS volunteers and starting new RESULTS groups. As you well know, the key to successful endeavors are the relationships between the people doing the work. It is through relationships that we build support for our work in Congress. It is through relationships that we generate media for the end of poverty. And it is through relationships that we expand our network. People are more likely to get involved with this work if they are referred by someone they know, namely you. Reaching out to people you know asking them to learn more about RESULTS is creating political will as much as any lobby meeting or local editorial.

Help us continue to make a difference in the world by reaching out to people you know. It could be as simple as inviting them to an upcoming RESULTS Introductory Call. These bi-monthly 30–45 minute calls are great for learning more about RESULTS and how to get involved. The next call is this Friday, April 26 at 1:00 pm ET. Urge people you know to register for this or another upcoming intro call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Another way to help is contacting people you know in specific areas to attend an upcoming RESULTS event. Here are events and areas where we are currently working:

MAINE. RESULTS Bangor outreach meeting, THIS Sunday, April 28, 2:00–4:00 pm ET at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St in Bangor. Share the RESULTS Bangor Event Facebook page. For more details, contact Jenny Martin at (413) 774-1707, [email protected].

BOSTON. RESULTS Boston outreach, Thursday, May 9, 6:30–8:30 pm ET at the Weymouth Public Library, Tufts Branch, 46 Broad St, Weymouth, MA. Share the RESULTS Boston Event Facebook page. For more details, contact Jenny Martin at (413) 774-1707, [email protected].

TENNESSEE. RESULTS Memphis outreach meeting, tentatively set for May 7. We are also working on starting a group in Nashville. If you know people in Tennessee, please contact Myrdin Thompson at (502) 295-1315, [email protected].

ORANGE COUNTY, CA. RESULTS Orange County outreach meeting, Thursday, June 6, 7:00–9:00 pm PT. For more details, please contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected].

NEW YORK CITY. Jos Linn is in the early stages of starting a new U.S. Poverty group in New York City. He has a planning meeting to kick off this effort next Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 pm ET. For more details, please contact Jos at (515) 288-3622, [email protected].


Announcements

Attend the RESULTS Texas Regional Conference. RESULTS Texas groups will be holding a regional conference on Saturday, May 11, 9:30 am–5:00 pm CT. It is being held at the Coronada Hills Club House, 1801 Coronada Hills in Austin, TX. To RSVP or to get more details, please contact Kathleen Duncan at [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: April 29–May 3, May 27–31. Request face-to-face meetings.

Friday, April 26: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Sunday, April 28: RESULTS Bangor outreach meeting, 2:00–4:00 pm ET. Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St, Bangor ME. Facebook Event: www.facebook.com/events/523709807667501. Contact Jenny Martin at [email protected] for more information.

Tuesday, April 30: Last day to get Early Bird Registration discount for the 2013 RESULTS International Conference. Register today!

Tuesday, May 7: RESULTS Memphis (TN) outreach meeting (tentative). For more details, contact Myrdin Thompson at (502) 295-1315[email protected].

Thursday, May 9: RESULTS Boston outreach meeting, 6:30–8:30 pm ET, Weymouth Public Library, Tufts Branch, 46 Broad St, Weymouth, MA. Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/507478945980252. Contact Jenny Martin at [email protected] for more information.

Saturday, May 11: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Thursday, June 6: RESULTS Orange County (CA) outreach meeting. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected].

Saturday, July 20 – Tuesday, July 23: 2013 RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Register today!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via 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 U.S. poverty campaigns.