U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 7, 2012
New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
Latest from Washington, DC
Join us this Saturday, August 11, for the RESULTS National Conference Call. We will recap recent votes on tax legislation over the past few weeks and actions we can take to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) for low-income working families. While final tax policy decisions will not take place until after the election, it is critical that policymakers hear about these policies now, since negotiations will be challenging to influence in those few short weeks after the election -- the focus of our August Action.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about this RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, August 11, at 12:30 pm ET. Coordinate with your group where you will meet for the call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709 and once connected to the operator, ask for the RESULTS National Conference Call. Plan to call in no later than 12:27 pm ET to give time to the operator to connect you with the call.
We will also have the August 2012 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. Go to our national conference call page on the RESULTS website to download the presentation before the call.
Got Ten Minutes? Request Face-to-Face Meetings and Research Town Halls During the August Recess (August Action)
Getting to members of Congress over the coming months will be key to enacting a fair and balanced budget that protects low-income Americans. Congressional staff report that face-to-face lobby meetings have the biggest impact of any advocacy strategy on members of Congress. With Congress on recess all but a few weeks between now and the election, we should have plenty of opportunities to meet with them in district. However, as RESULTS groups work to build a relationship with their members of Congress, some find it challenging to get a sit down meeting with their senator and representative. And many more find that they can amplify their work with policymakers by attending town hall meetings and other public events. In addition, going to events with Congressional candidates can make sure ending poverty is front and center on the campaign trail.
TAKE ACTION: Work with other local RESULTS advocates to submit a formal request for a meeting (our website has a template you can use), and here is a basic script you can use to follow up with the scheduler:
Hi, my name is _________________, and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _________________ from _________________. I am also a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots group working to end hunger and poverty. RESULTS has a proven track record of working with legislators from all backgrounds to support smart and cost-effective policies to break the cycle of poverty. I know that Rep./Sen. _________________ values input from constituents on the issues that matter to us. With that in mind, our local RESULTS group would like to schedule meeting with Rep./Sen.______________ while he/she is still home this month. 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 tax policies, including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which break the cycle of poverty and investments in early childhood development programs. What times would he be available to meet?
Can't get a lobby meeting scheduled during this recess? Make the most of this month-long recess by attending town hall meetings and other events. Our August Action Sheet has step-by-step instructions of how to make the most of these events. Once you get a meeting or confirm that you will be able to raise an issue at a town hall or other event, please touch base with RESULTS staff for the latest strategies and messaging insight for your specific policymakers. Use these resources to help you prepare (and see the additional resources on our International Conference information page):
And these are materials to bring to your meetings:
Got Twenty Minutes? Keep Following Up with Congressional Offices until You Get a Firm Response that Senators and Representatives Have Told Key Committee Leadership to Protect Tax Credits for Low-Income Working Families and Investments in Early Childhood
One of the keys to successful advocacy is persistence, and it is the follow up from meetings that make a difference. Specifically, keep on e-mailing or calling the relevant tax aides until you've gotten confirmation that each member of Congress speaks directly to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Ranking Member Sander Levin/Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, urging them to support low-income working families by making expiring improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit permanent and protect the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction deal -- or that they will not agree to do so. Supporting low-income working families means not waiting until the Lame Duck session to weigh in!
TAKE ACTION: Take 20 minutes to follow up on your meetings with Congress— send thank you notes, reiterate your request that your senators and representatives speak directly to key committee leaders (Senate Finance/House Ways and Means Committees on tax policy, Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees on early childhood) and get commitments, provide information you promised. Following up will insure that your requests get the attention they need and will deepen your relationships with policymakers and their staff. Still need to make a report about what happened in your Lobby Day meetings? Fill out our lobby report form: http://tinyurl.com/2012lobbyreportform for your meetings and calls last month.
On Wednesday, August 1, the House voted to protect the Bush tax cuts for all Americans (including the richest 2 percent of Americans), while raising taxes on the lowest earning Americans by denying to extend expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) by a vote of 256-171.
TAKE ACTION: Use the August Recess to let Congress know you support a fair and balanced approach to deficit reduction (see above). Looking for a quick action to take right now to express your outrage? Use our tax credit action alert to send a quick e-mail to Congress, urging them to protect the EITC and CTC.
House does not include Farm Bill in drought relief package. We reported last week on a now-failed effort to include a one-year extension of the Farm Bill, meaning the Farm Bill is stalled as Congressional leaders negotiate a final package. Last month, the House Agricultural Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill by a vote of 35-11. Sadly, their bill is much worse that the Senate bill. It includes $16.5 billion in cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The effects this bill could have on a community are disastrous. Estimates are that the House cuts would force 2-3 million people off SNAP per year and deny school meals to nearly 300,000 children. This is on top of the $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP passed by the Senate in its Farm Bill; the Senate bill would cut SNAP benefits by $90 per month for an estimated 500,000 households.
It is uncertain if and when the House bill will come to the floor. Congress must pass a new Farm Bill, or an extension of the current one, by September 30. RESULTS certainly opposes the cuts to SNAP in both the House and Senate bills and supports efforts to restore them if and when the legislation moves forward.
TAKE ACTION: Urge your members of Congress to protect hungry children and families by rejecting cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill or other deficit reduction legislation. Use our online email alert to take action today.
RESULTS Organizing Meeting in Boston Next Week! In our effort to expand out reach and impact to new states and districts, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Jenny Martin will hold a RESULTS informational meeting in Boston, MA to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group there. This meeting is a great opportunity for people to come learn more about RESULTS and our work, and to find out how they can get involved. If you or anyone you know lives in the Boston area, please plan or invite them to attend. The meeting is Thursday, August 16 at 6:30 pm ET. For more details, please contact Jenny at [email protected] or see the Facebook event page.
Invite new people to our upcoming trainings. We have an Introduction to RESULTS calls scheduled for August 17 at 1 pm and we have a New Activist Orientation (the training takes place over several weeks including 2 training calls. Training starts on August 6 with the second call on August 20 at 9 pm ET: Dial in to (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
Good luck to RESULTS Columbus partners who are hosting a summer cookout fundraiser on Saturday, August 11. They are having BBQ and family friendly activities including a bouncy house! Thank you to John and Tiffany Grinstead who are opening up their home for this effort. We also recognize RESULTS Chicago partners for their upcoming fundraiser on Sunday, August 26. They will be celebrating Education for All and Head Start successes at a Mexican restaurant with open bar and silent auction.
If you know anyone in the Columbus or Chicago, please help us expand our reach by sending them to the groups' facebook event links: Columbus group's facebook event page and Chicago group's facebook event page.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Congressional Recesses: House: August 4 – September 9. Senate: August 6 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.
Saturday, August 11: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Wednesday, August 17: RESULTS Introductory Call. 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
Tuesday, August 21: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
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 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.