U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 20, 2013

Legislation comes from compromise, but Congress is playing politics with people's livelihood. Cutting [SNAP] will only endanger our most impoverished and marginalized families.

– RESULTS Houston volunteer Kathleen Duncan (along with Bob Sanborn) on an August 18 op-ed in the Houston Chronicle

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Please note that the RESULTS DC office has moved. Our new address is:

1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005

As part of the moving process, our DC office phones are currently offline. We expect them to be working tomorrow, August 21. You can reach staff via e-mail until the phones are restored.


 

Got Two Minutes? Send a Letter to the Editor Urging Congress to Protect SNAP

While working to get your face-to-face meetings this month, take a few minutes to amplify your voice (and get your members’ of Congress attention) by submitting a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress to reject cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Just since the RESULTS International Conference, we’ve gotten eight media pieces published, including a fabulous op-ed in the Houston Chronicle (the largest paper in Texas) this weekend, co-written by RESULTS Houston volunteer Kathleen Duncan. It is worth your time to read. Media helps us keep the pressure on lawmakers to do the right thing when they return to Washington, while also educating the public about SNAP and debunking the myths and falsehoods about the program. Use your voice to make a difference today!

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to submit a media piece to a local paper, using use our updated online LTE alert. You can also find helpful information and talking points about SNAP and the current House proposal in our August 2013 Conference Call Slides. If you’re interested in submitting an op-ed, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is willing to help you with drafting media about SNAP; contact Ellen Nissenbaum at [email protected] for assistance. You can also contact Jos Linn at RESULTS for help with ideas and editing at [email protected].


Got Ten Minutes? Keep Pushing for Face-to-Face Meetings (August Action)

Thank you to everyone who has submitted and followed up on face-to-face meeting requests this month. And some of you have already had success. Last week alone, RESULTS volunteers in had face-to-face meetings in Albuquerque, NM with Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM-1), in Spartanburg, SC with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC-4), and in San Fernando Valley, CA with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA-27). In each meeting, volunteers talked about the importance of SNAP and other anti-poverty investments. Thank you to those who have already had meetings, have upcoming meetings scheduled, or are waiting to get a meeting.

These meetings make a difference. Last week, every Democratic member of the House signed a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH-8) urging leadership to protect SNAP. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3) also issued statements urging the House to reject the latest House proposal to cut SNAP by $40 billion. These unified statements of support don’t just happen – they come from you. From constituents talking to their elected officials, urging them to stand up for what’s right.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call the schedulers for your members of Congress to confirm a meeting or town hall this month. The August Action has resources to help you, including a link to our August Recess Meeting Request letter, tips for a successful town hall appearance, and sample questions about SNAP, tax and savings policy, and early childhood investments. See last Tuesday’s Weekly Update for links to additional resources to help you. For your meetings, please remember to download and copy our 2013 SNAP, Tax Policy, and Early Childhood Lobby Meeting Requests Sheets to give to members of Congress or their staff. Once you’ve had your meeting, please fill out our Lobby Meeting Report Form.

When you do get a meeting set up or confirm that you’ll be attending a town hall, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Ann Beltran ([email protected]) for help in preparing for the meeting.


Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up on your RESULTS International Conference Meetings (August Action)

For people who recently attended the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, DC, your meetings with members of Congress this month are not just about reinforcing our message about SNAP, Head Start, and tax policy. These meetings serve as an excellent follow up to your meetings in DC. Did your representatives and senators take the action you requested? If so, what happened? If not, why not? Our elected leaders have literally thousands of requests come them in a given year. If you want your request to rise to the top of the list, follow-up is essential. If we want our elected officials to be accountable for what they say they’ll do, we have to hold them to it.

Follow-up also includes staff. If you met with staff at the conference, follow up with them to thank them for meeting with you and to check on the status of your request. If you’ve got new information or new requests, e.g. urging House members to oppose the $40 billion in cuts to SNAP (this proposal was not public at the time of the conference), tell the aides what those requests are. The connections also help you build relationships with the aides, which as you know, is essential in building trust and influence with congressional offices. Also, if you have a face-to-face or staff meeting this month, plan your strategy to follow up on your requests after your meeting.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to meet with members of Congress and/or contact congressional staff to follow up on your International Conference and August recess meeting requests. For the most current requests on our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our SNAP, Tax Policy, and Early Childhood Lobby Meeting Requests Sheets. Here are potential follow-up questions, which you can tailor to the specific requests you made in your meetings:

SNAP

  • Have they talked to House/Senate leadership about protecting and strengthening SNAP in any final Farm Bill or other legislation?
  • Will your representative oppose the House proposal to cut SNAP by $40 billion?
  • Has your representative talked to his/her colleagues about opposing the House proposal to cut SNAP by $40 billion?

Taxes and Assets

  • Did your senator submit a letter to Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch about making the EITC and CTC improvements permanent in tax reform? (Be sure to check your senators’ websites as well, as some have published their letters there)
  • Has your representative co-sponsored H.R.769 and H.R.2116, which would make the CTC and EITC improvements permanent?
  • Has your representative read the Financial Security Credit Act of 2013 (H.R. 2917) and will he/she co-sponsor the bill?

Early Childhood

  • Has your representative/senator talked to leadership about supporting investments in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care similar to what the Senate Appropriations Committee passed?

For a list of legislative aides and office contact information, see our Elected Officials page. If you have questions or need assistance with your follow up, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Ann Beltran ([email protected]).


For Many Head Start Students, There is No First Day of School

Millions of American children are starting the school year this month. But for tens of thousands Head Start and Early Head Start students, there may be no first day of school this year. As first reported in the Washington Post, 57,000 low-income children have seen Head Start services eliminated because of automatic, across-the-board budget calls known as sequestration that began in March. This is a loss of 1.3 million school days and laying off or cutting pay for 18,000 Head Start staff.

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said it best in the Huffington Post yesterday: “You may have seen them today: empty chairs sitting outside local Head Start centers. Each chair represents a child whose place at that center has been cut -- a child whose future may now be in jeopardy… The decision to take away funding for high quality early learning for tens of thousands of young Americans is indefensible morally and economically. If we shortchange our children, we shortchange our nation.”

This outcome is a tragedy, but not a surprise. Before sequestration went into effect, advocates, policy experts, and some lawmakers warned of the devastating impact sequestration would have on Head Start. Fortunately, some lawmakers want to do something about it. As we’ve discussed before, the Senate Appropriations Committee has allocated major new increases in Head Start and Early Head Start funding for FY 2014 (see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns summary for details). These investments would undo the sequestration and make significant investments in early learning, especially for low-income children. However, the House is looking to do the opposite. They’ve released no Head Start and child care funding numbers, but they’re looking to cut human services programs by 18 percent. It’s time for Congress to stop playing politics with children’s lives.

TAKE ACTION: In your meetings this month, urge representatives and senators to stop cutting early learning services and invest in our future. Urge them to undo the sequestration cuts and support the Senate investments for Head Start and child care in FY 2014: $1.6 billion increase for Head Start/Early Head Start, $176 million increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant, and $750 million for pre-school development grants. You can find additional information about the Head Start cuts from the Coalition on Human Needs and state-by-state estimates on the Huffington Post. For a sample question for town halls, see our Town Hall Questions page.

You can also send an e-mail to congressional offices using our early childhood action alert. Keep up with the latest on SNAP and all of our issues on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page.


RESULTS Vermont Meeting Moved to This Weekend; Connect with Upcoming Outreach Events

Due to a last minute, unforeseen circumstance, the RESULTS Outreach meeting in Vermont original scheduled for last week has been rescheduled for this Saturday, August 24, 10:00 am – Noon ET. This is a meeting to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in the Burlington, VT area. The location is still to be determined but you can contact Jenny Martin ([email protected]) for details.

We are also working on starting new groups in other areas around the country. If you know people in the following places, invite them to participate:

  • West Los Angeles on August 28. RESULTS Informational Meeting, 6:30 pm PT. TRiP Santa Monica, 2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, CA. For details, contact Holly Mosher at [email protected] and see the RESULTS West LA Facebook page.
  • Baltimore, MD on September 4. RESULTS Informational Call, 10:30am ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 2883622#. This is a planning call to get a new group started in the Baltimore area. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for details.
  • Kansas City, MO on September 18. RESULTS Outreach Meeting, 6:15 – 8:45 pm CT. Kansas City Public Library – Waldo Branch, 201 E. 75th St, KCMO. For details, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) and see our RESULTS KC Facebook Event page.
  • Albuquerque, NM on September 18. RESULTS Outreach Meeting. Contact Myrdin Thompson ([email protected]) for details.

We are also working with people in Boston, MA (Jenny); Waterloo, IA (Jos), Lexington and Louisville, KY (Myrdin), Cincinnati, OH (Myrdin), and Oklahoma (Myrdin). If you know people in these or other areas, please contact us. Help us grow RESULTS!


Join Free Agents and Media Calls Tonight, Intro Call Friday

Our monthly RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents call is tonight. Our Free Agents are dedicated advocates in areas with no existing RESULTS U.S. Poverty group. If you would like support in taking action on our domestic poverty issues but have no active group near you, join us tonight August 20 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #). Contact Jos at [email protected] for more information.

Also this evening, volunteer leaders will be hosting a RESULTS Media Training Call. They’ll discuss tips for successful media advocacy on U.S. and global poverty issues. All are welcomed who want to improve their media skills. The call is tonight, August 20 at 8:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (218) 862-1300, passcode 682494#.

Finally, if you or someone you know would like to learn more about RESULTS, invite them to attend our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls include a brief overview of RESULTS and how you can get involved. The next Intro Call is this Friday, August 23 at 1:00 pm ET. People can register for this or another upcoming Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.


Quick News

Review our Updated Minimum Wage Page. Several weeks ago, RESULTS highlighted the recent efforts to increase the federal minimum wage, including introduction of Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA-11) earlier this year (S.460 / H.R. 1010). To help stay updated on this issue, RESULTS has updated it Minimum Wage and Living Wage page. Take a look to learn more about this important issue.


RESULTS Fundraising Update

Are you looking for a creative fundraising idea for this fall? Consider some of these seasonal holiday ideas for an online fundraiser. Contact Cindy Levin at [email protected] to get started!

  • A Thanksgiving Virtual Feast. Invite guests to virtually celebrate with your RESULTS family to give thanks for having plenty and to help people out of poverty. You could offer a copy of RESULTS Albuquerque's "Recipe for Success" book for donations of over $50. It has recipes from RESULTS partners, Joanne Carter, Sam Daley-Harris, and many members of Congress with a blurb about one of our campaigns on the back of each card. Invite donors to make one of those dishes for their own Thanksgiving meal and think about the people they are helping put food on their own tables. It's a great way to raise awareness about global child nutrition and SNAP.
  • A Thanksgiving or Winter Virtual Run.  There are a lot of "Turkey Trots" and "Jingle Bell" runs out there, but our kind of virtual racing means people can go at their own pace – even walking on a treadmill – and don't have to be cold on a blustery morning. Offer folks a medal, a way to being thankful for what they have, and a way to helping others. 
  • "Sweetest Day" Date Night In. For Sweetest Day on October 19, invite people to donate the cost of a gift to their sweeties to RESULTS while they actually stay in and do something special with their loved ones. Help ensure many sweet moments for families living in poverty. You could have silly suggested levels of donation: $20 Box of Candy, $40 Pizza and a movie, $75 Two dozen roses delivered, $100 fancy dinner, and $250 Spa treatment! 

Announcements

Join Building Bipartisan Champions Call on Monday. Join RESULTS on Monday, August 26 at 1:00 pm ET on for a special midday gathering of the Building Bipartisan Champions group. Our special guest is former Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-IN) who, after serving Congress for 34 years has dedicated his post-congressional career to cultivating an interest in civil civic dialogue. Congressman Hamilton will be our guest for the first half of the call, and then we'll pick up the conversation by discussing opportunities for bipartisan champion-building that we discovered at the International Conference and the during August recess.  We hope you will join us. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. 

Please Fill Out Lobby Meeting Report Form. For meetings at the RESULTS International Conference, during the August recess, or any other time, please fill out Lobby Meeting Report Form (www.tinyurl.com/2013lobbyreportform).

RESULTS Staff on Vacation Next Week. Acting Director of RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn and U.S. Poverty Campaigns Consultant Ann Beltran will be on vacation beginning this Friday, August 23 through Labor Day, September 3. Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) will be available to handle any pressing matters that may come up. Note, however, that she is still on maternity leave and will be available only on a limited basis. Also, Jenny Martin ([email protected]) and Myrdin Thompson ([email protected]) will be available to handle any matters related to RESULTS volunteer expansion. We appreciate your patience and understanding.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: August 5 – September 6. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, August 20: RESULTS Media Group Training Call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 862-1300, passcode 682494.

Tuesday, August 20: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS (7378587, plus #).

Friday, August 23: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

Saturday, August 24: RESULTS Vermont Outreach Meeting, 10:00am – Noon ET. Location TBA. Contact Jenny Martin ([email protected]) for details.

Monday, August 26: RESULTS Building Bipartisan Champions call with Lee Hamilton, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. 

Monday, September 2: All RESULTS offices closed for Labor Day holiday.

Saturday, September 7: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online. Note: the September call has been moved to the first Saturday of the month because of Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, September 18: RESULTS Kansas City Outreach Meeting, 7:00 pm CT. For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected]. See more on Facebook.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil. Please note that RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson is on maternity leave until Labor Day 2013.

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

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