U.S. Poverty Weekly Update April 3, 2012

[The House Republican Budget] is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who's willing to work for it -- a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.

— President Barack Obama in an April 3 speech

New and Urgent in This Weeks Update (2-10-20 Actions)

Each week, we highlight specific actions you can take based on how much time you have available. We call them our 2-10-20 Actions (if you have two minutes, ten minutes or twenty minutes available). Click on the links below for details about each action.

  • Got Two Minutes? Call to Thank Senators for Signing on to the Casey-Snowe “Dear Colleague” Letter
  • Got Ten Minutes? Register for the RESULTS International Conference — Only Two Weeks Left to Get the Early Bird Registration
  • Got Twenty Minutes? Using Global Action Week for Education to Build a Broader and Stronger Movement for Early Childhood Development (April Action)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Call to Thank Senators for Signing on to the Casey-Snowe “Dear Colleague” Letter

Thanks again to all of you who called your senators last week asking them to sign on to the bipartisan Casey-Snowe Senate letter in support of Head Start and child care assistance. The Casey-Snowe letter urged Senate appropriators to support robust funding for Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in FY 2013. As a result of your hard work, we were able to get 32 signatures onto the letter. Congratulations! That will send a strong message to appropriators about the importance of early childhood funding.

The letter was sent to Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) on March 29. The final list of signers by state is:

Bob Casey (D-PA) (lead sponsor), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) (lead sponsor), Al Franken (D-MN) (lead sponsor), Mark Begich (D-AK), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Kerry (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Herb Kohl (D-WI).

TAKE ACTION: If your senator(s) signed the Casey-Snowe letter, take two minutes to call their offices to thank them for doing so. Tell them you appreciate their support for Head Start and child care and that you urge them to continue to weigh in with appropriators about increasing Head Start and Early Head Start funding by $325 million and CCDBG by $825 million in the FY 2013 budget. You can find contact information and staff names on our Elected Officials page or call the Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with your Senate offices. And/or, use our online alert to send an e-mail to your members of Congress urging them to support Head Start and child care this year.


Register for the RESULTS International Conference — Only Two Weeks Left to Get the Early Bird Registration

There are only two weeks left to take advantage of our discounted registration fee for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference. At only $150, this price is a steal. After the early bird registration expires, the price will go up to $225. Don’t be too late — register for the conference today!

Once you’ve registered for the conference, make your reservation at the DoubleTree Hotel in Crystal City now. RESULTS has a discounted rate of $155 per room that you don’t have to pay until you actually get to the conference. This rate applies until July 2 or until our block of rooms fill up. Make it easy for yourself by reserving your room today.

After reserving your hotel room, start looking at travel options. AirTran Airlines is offering a ten percent discount to people traveling to our conference. Download the airline agreement for more information.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes and start your 2012 RESULTS International Conference experience:

See our International Conference section below to learn more exciting news about this year’s conference and additional ways to make it more affordable to attend.


Using Global Action Week for Education to Build a Broader and Stronger Movement for Early Childhood Development (April Action)

This year, RESULTS Global and U.S. Poverty Groups are joining the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week for Education, April 22-28. This year’s campaign “Rights from the Start! Early Child Care and Education NOW!” highlights how effective and important quality early childhood education is to development and should be available to all. Building on our successful work in March helping get 120 members of Congress to sign onto letters supporting Head Start and child care funding, this month’s action focusing on reaching out to our communities and mobilizing others. This month we continue the momentum around early childhood development, raise awareness of this issue, and expand our community network by hosting outreach events and connecting with important “grasstops” (see below for more details) during the Global Action Week.

Our April Action sheet (available later this week) and Global Action Week for Children webpage will have more details, including suggestions for planning an event, sample agenda(s), materials to have on hand, etc. A few ideas for outreach during Global Action Week include:

  • Hosting a house party or potluck
  • Doing a RESULTS presentation at a local community center, library, school, or faith community
  • Hosting a screening of a film or select videos on education and hold a discussion
  • Using social media to bring people together by hosting a Tweetup for Twitter users and share facts about Early Childhood Development over Facebook or Twitter!
  • Organize a site visit to a Head Start, Early Head Start, or Child Care Center for your RESULTS group, community members or members of Congress
  • Connect with a local school and teach the “Lesson for All” curriculum to spread awareness among children

But what if you just did an outreach event or want to build better community relationships first? Then focus your action this month on effective outreach and partnering with grasstops. Community VIPs (also known as “grasstops”) have incredible influence in our local communities and can be a vital resource when it comes to building coalitions. This month, work to build a relationship and connect with grasstops leaders around education. A few ways to build a relationship and start a conversation are:

  • Invite them to your outreach event to learn more about RESULTS. You might even ask them to speak at the event. After that initial meeting, schedule a more in-depth meeting to follow up
  • Work with them and their organization to get a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting to explain RESULTS and ways you can work in the future
  • Ask them to use their influence to submit (or co-submit) an media piece on the importance of investing in early childhood education
  • Ask them to use their influence to help you secure face-to-face lobby meetings with policymakers to make them more aware of the need for quality early childhood education
  • Invite them to your outreach event to get a sense of what your RESULTS group does or to speak at your event. After that initial meeting, schedule a more in-depth meeting to follow up

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes and connect with your RESULTS group this week to decide on your April outreach strategy. If your group opts to organize an outreach event, work to secure the time and place by the end of the week and begin working on your invite list. If your group is focused more on building relationships with local grasstop leaders, build a list of possible “targets” and map out who in the group will make the contact.


House Republican Budget Passes; New CHN Report Highlights How Damaging Budget Cuts Would Be

The House Republican Budget, which we’ve noted makes radical cuts to anti-poverty programs, was put to a vote last week. It passed 228-191. All Democrats and ten Republicans voted against the resolution. The resolution is not expected to be taken up in the Senate.

On the heels of passage of the House’s devastating budget plan, the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) recently released a new report Self-Inflicted Wounds: Protecting Families and Our Economy from Bad Budget Choices, providing an in-depth view of the tough decisions facing us all in the current budget debate. Currently, one hundred million people live living at or below 200 percent of the poverty line, with nearly half living below the poverty line ($23,050 for a family of four in 2012). Because of a lack of savings, 43 percent of Americans could fall into poverty within three months if they lost their jobs or experienced a medical crisis. Despite this reality, Congress is looking to cut more from the social safety net. That’s why CHN and the Save for All Campaign (of which RESULTS is a member) continue to push that when making budget decisions Congress must protect low-income people, increase revenues from fair sources, reduce unnecessary military spending, and create jobs.

According to the CHN report, we now have four choices before us. We can:

  • 1. Reduce our deficit by reducing spending and enacting automatic cuts (aka sequestration) as outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011(BCA)
  • 2. Reduce the deficit by cutting spending, except from the military, which would come at the expense of human needs programs
  • 3. Reduce the deficit by cutting human needs and safety net programs but protect and expand tax cuts for the wealthy
  • 4. Use a balanced approach that reduces spending, creates opportunities for new revenue, and invests in American people and job creation

Currently, the proposals before Congress can do each of these plans. Option one is what will happen in 2013 unless Congress amends the BCA. Estimates are that under this plan, 75,000 children would lose Head Start services and another 25,000 children and their families would lose access safe, high quality childcare because their parents wouldn’t be able to afford it.

The House Republican Budget could cause even more devastation, using a mix of options two and three. This proposal would increase military spending and enact trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. Yet it cuts non-defense programs beyond the BCA and additionally slashes spending to vital programs such as Medicaid and SNAP. We need better ideas than the “cuts only” approach of these proposals.

President Obama’s FY 2013 Budget and the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Budget for All demonstrate that it is possible to focus on deficit reduction while also reinvesting in the American people. Recent polls show that the American people oppose cuts to anti-poverty programs and want everyone to pay their fair share of taxes. In other words, Americans want a balanced approach to the budget.

TAKE ACTION: Read the CHN report and then use our updated online media alert to send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper opposing the House Republican Budget. Tell readers that you support a balanced approach to our budget problems, not solutions that hurt children and families, worsen income inequality, and increases poverty. Use new CBPP state data on cuts to SNAP to show the impact of this budget on your state.


Request Face-to-Face Meetings or Attend Town Halls During the April Recess

The House and Senate are now on recess again until April 15. This is a great opportunity to talk to them about our 2012 U.S. Poverty campaigns. Contact their offices to schedule a face-to-face meeting while they are back home. Tell them that as constituents, you would like to meet with them to talk about the issues most important to you. If you cannot get a meeting set during this recess, push to schedule one the next time your representatives and senators are home. Use our Activist Milestone for tips on scheduling face-to-face meetings.

In addition, ask schedulers if your members of Congress will be hosting any town hall meetings or public events during the recess. These events are another opportunity because they can lead to your elected officials to taking a stand on our issues in public. If they are hosting events, plan to attend. You can use our Activist Milestone as a guide to help you prepare town halls and public events.

TAKE ACTION: Contact congressional schedulers to see if you can meet with your representatives during the April recess. You can find schedulers’ names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. The February Action has tips on scheduling a meeting, as well as talking points for each of our major issues. If you cannot get a meeting, find out if they are hosting any town halls during the recess and plan to attend. At these meetings or events, be sure to have our one-page “leave behinds” covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care with you. Also, if you get a meeting scheduled or plan to attend a town hall, or need coaching on requesting a meeting, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff . We are here to help you.


Join RESULTS Intro Call Tomorrow Night; Work with new RESULTS “Free Agents” Group Beginning Later this Month

Do you want to take your advocacy to the next level, or know someone else who does? We have some great news for you! RESULTS holds monthly Introductory Calls as a way for interested people to get to know RESULTS. These calls are a great place for new activists in your group, people you are seeking to recruit, and curious friends and family members to learn more about the work of RESULTS. Our next Introductory Call will be tomorrow, April 4, at 9 pm ET. The call will last about 30 minutes and will allow people to get a short and sweet taste of who RESULTS is, what we do, and why we do it. We will also have a call on Friday, April 20, at 1 pm ET. To participate in one of these calls, RSVP at http:tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. Please pass this email to others you think might be interested.

What if you are interested in taking regular actions with your members of Congress and the media, but we don't have a chapter nearby (yet)? We love your commitment and want to offer you a new means of support through our new “RESULTS Free Agents” group! This "virtual" group will meet monthly by phone for relationship-building, information, and support. Members of the group will also be encouraged to participate in the monthly national conference call with other RESULTS volunteers around the country. Two options get involved:

  • If your interest is U.S. poverty issues, join ourRESULTS Free Agents (U.S. Poverty) group call on Tuesday, April 17 at 9 pm ET. Dial in at (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587). For more information about the U.S. poverty group, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
  • If your interest is global poverty, join our RESULTS Free Agents (Global Poverty) group call on Monday, April 16, at 8 pm ET. Dial in at (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587).For more information about the global poverty group, contact Lisa Marchal at [email protected].

As always, if you want to connect with one of our RESULTS volunteer groups located in 100 locations, please let us know. Our groups who meet regularly to plan meetings with members of Congress, strategies for generating media and getting the advocacy skills they need to make hunger and poverty political priorities. Contact us to get connected to one of our local chapters.


Quick News

Economic Recovery Benefiting Top Earners Most. Recent studies have shown how our country’s top earners are benefiting most from the economic recovery. Of additional income created in the US in 2010, a staggering 93 percent went to the top one percent of taxpayers, according to an update compiled by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Meanwhile, a summary of the data update in the New York Times explains how the bottom 99 percent received an average increase of $80 per person, compared to an increase of over $110,000 for the average taxpayer in the top one percent. Economic recoveries haven’t always disproportionately benefited the rich, explains Washington Post Columnist Harold Myerson, and policy change – including changes to the tax code – is required to ensure that the benefits of an economic recovery are felt by all.


RESULTS International Conference — More Exciting Speakers Lined Up!

The list of exciting speakers for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference just keeps growing. David Beckmann of Bread for the World will be speaking as part of the conference agenda. Rev. Beckmann has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the country and globally. Yvonne Chaka Chaka, dubbed the "Princess of Africa", will also be speaking. She has been at the forefront of South African popular music for 20 years. She is also a well-known humanitarian, especially recognized for her work on malaria and her Princess of Africa Foundation.

Don’t miss these and other exciting speakers at this year’s conference. REGISTER TODAY!

Also, we are looking for passionate young voices to help end poverty in America and around the world. To enlist more young people in this effort, we are the REF's Emerging Activist Leaders (REAL) Change Scholarship for 18-25 year olds. The REAL Change program covers all but $100 of the cost of registration, travel to DC, and lodging for the International Conference. At this training, participants will gain knowledge and skills to speak powerfully, work with and educate decision makers and the media, and organize others who care about ending poverty. Don’t miss this great opportunity; the deadline to apply is May 15.

Also, the Karen McQuillan Scholarship Fund offers financial support to help cover conference-related expenses for those who would otherwise be unable to participate due to costs. To apply, download and fill out an application (only active RESULTS volunteer in the U.S. are eligible). The priority application deadline is April 9th and the late submission deadline is June 15th. Please contact Alison Burket at [email protected] with any questions.

Finally, you can also sign up to volunteer at the conference and get your registration fee waived. Please apply early before slots are filled; there are a very limited number of slots. To apply, please download the volunteer application.


Announcements

RESULTS is Hiring to Help with Expansion. RESULTS is working to start new activist groups in New England. To help us with this work, RESULTS is looking to hire a part-time organizer. This person will be responsible for generating and working with leads in New England to start at least two new RESULTS U.S. Poverty groups by the end of the year. A job description is listed on the RESULTS website. If you or someone you know is interested in applying for this position, please send a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Friends & Family Campaign Results Coming Soon. Thank you to all of you who participated in the 2012 Friends & Family fundraising campaign. We are tallying up the results and will announce the campaign totals in the coming weeks, along with the individual and group winners of the free conference registrations.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recess, March 30-April 15. Senate recess, April 2-13. Request face-to-face meetings!

 Wednesday, April 4: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

Saturday, April 14: Joint RESULTS U.S. and Global Poverty National Conference Call, 2:00 pm ET. Note the different time. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Monday, April 16: RESULTS Free Agents group (Global Poverty) call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587). For more information about the U.S. poverty group, contact Lisa Marchal at [email protected].

Tuesday, April 17: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587). For more information about the U.S. poverty group, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Start planning today to attend our 2012 conference!


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 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 Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday over 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 domestic campaigns.