U.S. Poverty Weekly Update December 11, 2012

People in poverty must struggle to buy enough food and cover basic needs. Lack of nutritious food means children may not grow as they should, or be able to learn well in school. Their futures will be more difficult.

— RESULTS Free Agent Leslie Weinberg in a letter to the editor in the Stamford Advocate (12/6/12)

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes?Urge Others to Take Action on the EITC and CTC

As we approach the end of the Lame Duck session and the expiration of the improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), it’s time to step up our advocacy efforts. The more people weighing in on these important issues, the more impact on the outcome we’ll have. This week, we urge you to use online and social media to enlist others to take action. Use e-mail, social media, video, or simply make a call to people you know urging them to take action. Link to our online e-mail action urging Congress to protect the EITC and CTC from impending cuts at the end of this year to make it easy for folks to take action. Let’s make the most of the final weeks to ensure that low-income children and families can still have a happy new year.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to urge people you know take action protecting low-income working families. Send an e-mail, post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, record a YouTube video, or make a call telling people to use our online e-mail action to tell Congress to protect the EITC and CTC. To make it easy for you, here are some messages you can copy and paste to spread the word:

  • Facebook or e-mail: Tell Congress not to children into poverty by raising taxes on working families by protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Take this RESULTS Action and make a difference: http://capwiz.com/results/issues/alert/?alertid=9823986&MC_plugin=2201. [Note: if you are posting on Facebook, put the “@ before RESULTS and that can help you link to our Facebook page]
  • Twitter: Join me in telling Congress to protect #EITC & #CTC via @RESULTS_Tweets: ow.ly/g0IYv. #TalkPoverty. Please RT!

Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with Tax Aides about Your Tax Credits Request (December Action)

Thanks to everyone who attended Saturday’s RESULTS National Conference Call. We had a very good call with special guest Barbara Pryor of Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s office. Barbara gave us a good overview of what is happening in DC around the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and pushed all of us to make our voices heard (see below for more information about the call).

With only a few weeks to go before the improvements to the EITC and CTC expire, now is the time for us to be pushing congressional offices to act. Last month, you called House and Senate tax aides, educating them about the importance of the EITC and CTC to working families and urging them to tell House and Senate leadership to preventing cuts to these credits. Now it is time to follow up and see if they did it. Because these calls are so important, our December Action provides you the talking points and information you need to inspire your tax aides into action. While your networks are taking action (see above), you’ll be working behind the scenes pushing the aides to make protecting the EITC and CTC a priority. Every action is needed and every action can make a difference.

Note: We are hearing rumors that Congress might take up stand-alone tax legislation that extends some of the tax cuts but NOT the expiring EITC and CTC improvements. We STRONGLY urge you to call Congress ASAP.

TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to call the tax aides in your House and both Senate offices about the EITC and CTC. Follow up from your calls in November to see if they followed through on your request. Remember, these follow up calls are an important tool in holding our elected officials accountable. The December Action has all the information you need for your conversation. Again, you are checking to see if they asked his/her boss to speak to Senate (Sens. Reid/McConnell) or House (Reps. Boehner/Pelosi) leadership, requesting that:

  1. They make the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent
  2. They support a principle that specifically protects the EITC and CTC from cuts in any deficit reduction framework.

You can find the names of tax aides for your members of Congress on the RESULTS Elected Officials page. Also, if you would like to see what one of these conversations might look like, see our December Laser Talk which we role played on Saturday’s National Conference Call. And, if you want the latest on the fiscal cliff and support in creating your own laser talk, be sure to join our special conference call Thursday evening (see below). If you have questions or need coaching before making your calls, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff.


Got Twenty Minutes? Submit a Letter to the Editor about Protecting Working Families

On last weekend’s RESULTS conference call, tax aide Barbara Pryor urged RESULTS volunteers to use the media to build support for protecting children and families. The media plays a powerful role in shaping public opinion and public policy. Just this past week, RESULTS volunteers and staff have successfully used the media to weigh in on the “fiscal cliff” debate. RESULTS Free Agent Leslie Weinberg (from Stamford, CT) got a letter to the editor published in the Stamford Advocate about the impact of budget cuts on people in poverty. Also, RESULTS Senior Associate Jos Linn and other Iowa advocates met with writers and editors at the Des Moines Register yesterday urging them to write about the same subject. Within hours, a Register reporter had posted on the paper’s blog about the meeting and the meeting may spawn an editorial.

This outreach to the media is critical in building the political will we need to succeed. Policymakers still consider print media an important source for information and gauging public opinion. Media is also critical for educating the public about our issues. We need that public support as we push Congress to do the right thing when it comes to protecting America’s most vulnerable.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to draft a powerful letter to the editor urging Congress to protect low-income Americans in deficit reduction talks. Tell them by name to invest in poverty reducption and oppose cuts to services that support low-income individuals and families. You can use talking points from our December Action to draft your letter. Try to relate your letter to a recent story in the paper about the fiscal cliff or expiring tax cuts. This will increase your chances of being published. And don’t forget to share any personal stories or anecdotes that relate to the issue to help engage the readers.

If you only have a few minutes, use our online LTE alert to submit your letter. You can also find information about media outlets in your area using the RESULTS Media Guide.


December Conference Call Highlights Importance of Making Your Voice Heard Now

RESULTS wants to thank Barbara Pryor, an aide for Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) for being the guest speaker on last Saturday’s RESULTS National Conference Call. Barbara provided us important insights in what to expect over the next few weeks and months as Congress and the president negotiate important budget and tax changes. She reminded us to expect a two step process to emerge. First, Congress will take action to avert the expiration of all of the Bush tax cuts and the sequestration cuts, both scheduled to happen in January. The president and Democrats in Congress are holding firm in making sure that the tax rate on income above $250,000 expire goes up, as the president campaigned on in the election. Republican leadership has yet to formally propose those rate hikes. Because of the impasse to date, any action on the middle class tax cuts and sequestration may not take place until January.

Once this temporary measure is complete, the second part of the process would be for Congress to begin work on a broad tax reform and deficit reduction package. Congress would likely be given a deadline of mid to late 2013 to come up with the plan.

Barbara was very clear that regardless of what happens or when it happens, it is absolutely essential that you contact your members of Congress about protecting low-income, working Americans in this process. In the short-term, we must work to protect the improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that are set to expire at the end of this month. If those improvements expire, 25 million children and their families will be negatively impacted. In the longer run, we must ensure that any tax reform package Congress drafts ensures that the tax code remains strongly progressive. That means not raising taxes on low-income families by cutting the EITC and CTC. We need specific protections for the EITC and CTC put in place from the outset, i.e. when Congress tasks itself to come up with a tax reform plan, or we risk losing ground on the tax credits as reform takes shape.

Finally, Barbara reminded us that the media is also important in shaping this debate. She said that all good politicians keep a close eye on local media in the states and districts to see what people are talking about. Therefore, in addition to calling, writing, and emailing Congress about protecting low-income children and families in budget negotiations, we must also work to get letters to the editor, op-eds and editorials published.

TAKE ACTION: Take action in support of working families. Here are some resources to help you:

  • Use the November and December Actions to call and follow up with tax aides about protecting the EITC and CTC in deficit reduction negotiations. See our Tax Credit and Tax Aide Follow-up Laser Talks to help with your calls.
  • Send an e-mail urging Congress to protect the tax credits.
  • Send a letter to the editor urging Congress to protect low-income families in your state by extending the EITC and CTC improvements. See the November Action for the number of families and children in your state that will be impacted if the improvements expire.

If you did not participate in the call, you can listen to a recording of the call on the RESULTS website. You can also download the PowerPoint slides (pdf) from the call. Thanks again to Barbara Pryor for sharing her time and knowledge on Saturday’s call. We also thank everyone who shared and participated in this month’s call. The next RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call is on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm ET.


"Fiscal Cliff" Threatens Many Key Anti-Poverty Programs — SNAP (Food Stamps), Head Start, Health Programs

As Congress works to craft a long-term “grand bargain” on deficit reduction, it could very well impact all the poverty-focused work RESULTS has spent decades on, both for people here in the U.S. and for people all around the world. This not only includes key tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), but also other RESULTS campaign priorities such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), Medicaid, Children's Health, Head Start, child care assistance, and strategic, compassionate, poverty-focused foreign assistance. These programs face threats in both any immediate legislation to address the fiscal cliff since cuts to specific programs or overall “non-defense discretionary (NDD)” programs might be used as part of the “down payment” to avert the “cliff.”

Specifically, Congress might include cuts to SNAP, perhaps beyond the $4 billion in cuts over 10 years passed by the Senate last summer as a part of their new Farm Bill. RESULTS staff continue to join allies in lobby meetings with Congress and at the White House, urging policymakers to make protecting programs for low-income families, and specifically SNAP, a priority in negotiations. You can amplify this work by e-mailing Congress using our protect nutrition programs action alert and also urge them to reject deep cuts to Medicaid and Children's Health using our health care action alert.

While Congress will not make any specific cuts to discretionary programs in the next few weeks, they still face budget threats. Last year’s Budget Control Act included over $1 trillion in cuts through caps to discretionary (annually funded) programs such as Head Start, child care assistance, and foreign aid. To reach a deal, we could see additional caps on discretionary funding. These programs are already operating on bare bone budgets. E-mail Congress telling them to protect Head Start and child care using our early childhood action alert.

On social media? We urge you to weigh in – see our blogpost: Three Great Ongoing Social Media Advocacy Campaigns to Get Involved With! for details. And be sure to join our special conference call on Thursday for more details... (see next section)


Join our Budget Showdown and Laser Talk Training Call on Thursday at 9 pm ET

Do you want to understand the fiscal cliff? Are you lost with all this budget talk? Do you want training on how to better speak about poverty and the budget? Plan to join our Budget Showdown and Laser Talk Training Call this Thursday, December 13 at 9:00 pm ET. RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson will explain the current budget showdown being played out in Washington and how you can take action to make a difference in the process. She’ll also do a laser talk training to help you better speak about these issues. It should be a fun and informative call. To participate in this call, please dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.


Join a RESULTS Outreach or Support Call — We’ve Got Plenty to Choose From

In our continuing effort to expand RESULTS’ reach and impact in creating a world free of poverty, we have a number of outreach calls scheduled this week. Whether you are new to RESULTS, looking for support in taking action, or just want to understand the budget a little better, we have something for you. Feel free to join one or more of these calls this week.

New to RESULTS? If you are looking for a simple, fun introduction to RESULTS and our work, join one of RESULTS Introductory Calls. We do these 30 minute calls twice each month; they are great for getting to know RESULTS better and how you can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is this Friday, December 14 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming Intro call, go to www.tinryurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/. If you cannot make Friday’s call, we will start up the calls again in January.

Active but feeling lonely? If you are already taking action but don’t have an active RESULTS U.S. Poverty group near you, plan to join our RESULTS Free Agents (U.S. Poverty) Group. The group meets once per month via conference call to provide you updates and support in taking action on our U.S. poverty issues. The next RESULTS Free Agents call is tonight, December 11 at 9:00 pm ET; (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587#. RSVP for the call to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Got Orientation? Perhaps you’ve already done a RESULTS Intro Call or you recently joined an existing RESULTS group, The RESULTS New Activist Orientation series is a great primer to help you get up to speed and into action. The second call in the series is tomorrow, December 12 at 9:00 pm ET, (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. If you missed the first call, you are still welcomed to dial into this call (just read through the “What is RESULTS?” PowerPoint presentation before the call). RSVP for the call to Lisa Marchal at [email protected].


Announcements

Submit Your Face-to-Face Meeting Requests Now. For 2013, RESULTS has a goal of meeting face-to-face with representatives and senators in the 25 states and 66 House districts where we currently have volunteers (with more being added). Get started now on meeting and exceeding that goal by putting in your request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators. You can tailor our online request form. Be sure to follow up within a few days to confirm that your request was received and the status of it. Once you get a meeting scheduled or if you plan to attend a public event to ask a question, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging to use in your meeting.

Nominate a RESULTS Grassroots Board Member. We are now accepting nominations for Grassroots Board Members to the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board. Grassroots Board Members serve for a term of three years and represent the volunteer body on the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee of the Board. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to work with the Executive Director in shaping the direction of RESULTS/REF, supporting strong development efforts, and advising the organization with regards to key policy issues. Nominees for the Grassroots Board position must be a partner in an active RESULTS chapter. You may nominate yourself or another RESULTS volunteer (but please make sure they are interested in serving before putting someone’s name forward.) Nominations must reach the RESULTS office by no later than this Friday, December 14. We will announce the slate of candidates after the New Year for an election in January. You can e-mail your nomination to Jack McLaughlin, fax it to (202) 466-1397 or mail it to RESULTS, 1730 Rhode Island Ave. NW Suite 400, Washington, DC, 20036.

Use RESULTS Outreach Action Sheets. Download, print and use our outreach action sheets at your next meeting, outreach event, or other public event. We have sheets on Tax Credits (EITC and CTC), the Wealth Gap and Asset Building, and Head Start and Child Care.


Fundraising News

Thank you very much to our RESULTS partners in Olympia, WA, who just held the last fundraising event of the year, where they raised over $2,200. Thank you to all of our volunteers who hosted fundraising events in 2012. Not only did you raise critical funds for us, you also built support and awareness in your communities for our work by sharing your stories with your friends and neighbors. Some groups even recruited new partners at their events who will help make us stronger!

Even though our 2012 event season is complete, you can still do your part using our online fundraising tools. Help raise important funds for RESULTS in the last remaining weeks of 2012 in these fun ways:

As always, please contact Grassroots Development Associate Cindy Levin at [email protected] for any help setting up a personal fundraising page.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Tuesday, December 11: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587# (RESULTS#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, December 12: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the second call of the two-call series).

Thursday, December 13: special RESULTS Budget Showdown and Laser Talk Training call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Friday, December 14: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Tuesday, December 25 – Tuesday, January 1: All RESULTS offices closed for the end of year holidays.


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 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.