U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 26, 2013

Congress, say no to all budget cuts that will harm our children’s chances for a good education and healthy, productive lives. Say yes to building up the programs that are working for the well-being of our children.

— RESULTS Santa Fe volunteer Lydia Pendley in a February 15 letter to the editor in The Santa Fe New Mexican

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Cuts Begin Friday — Call Congress to Tell Them to Protect Head Start and Child Care!

On Friday, March 1, the “sequestration” budget cuts are set to begin. If these cuts are fully implemented, they will have devastating effects on Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care assistance. Based on estimates from the Obama Administration, 70,000 children would lose Head Start services (plus 14,000 staff would lose their jobs) and 30,000 children and families would lose child care assistance under the Child Care Development Block Grant (for more on the sequester, see below). While these manufactured political crises may hold some personal political advantage for lawmakers, its everyday Americans — particularly those Americans struggling in poverty — who pay the price. It’s time for Congress to get to work and put an end to these endless charade.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call you House and Senate offices today to tell them to stop punishing low-income Americans through mindless and reckless budget cuts. Dial the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 ask for your representative or senator. When the receptionist answers, say:

My name is ______________ and I am a constituent of Rep./Sen. _______________ from __________________. I am calling about the arbitrary budget cuts set to begin this Friday, March 1. If nothing is done, 70,000 children will be forced out of Head Start classrooms, 30,000 families will lose child care, and 600,000 young children and moms will lose WIC nutrition aid, just to name a few. Congress is playing politics with people’s lives. Please tell Rep./Sen. __________ that his constituents are sick and tired of these manufactured budget crises. Tell him/her to protect and strengthen our investments in reducing poverty and to support a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes new revenues.

After making one call, hang up and call again. Be sure to call your representative and both senators. If you don’t know who your members of Congress are, you can do a search on our Elected Officials page. Once you call, copy and paste this section into an e-mail send it to your local networks, family, and friends. Urge them to take action today! If you want to use state-level numbers in your calls, CHN has them here.

Because of the impending deadline, calls are best. However, if you cannot make calls, you can send an e-mail urging Congress to protect Head Start and child care using our online e-mail alert.


Got Ten Minutes? Tell Congress to Protect Low-Income Americans in Budget Talks (February Action)

With sequestration starting this Friday, there will be plenty of stories in the paper about the federal budget. Use these stories to send in your letters to the editors urging Congress to protect services that help low-income Americans in budget negotiations. Although some programs like SNAP, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit are exempt from sequestration cuts (but Head Start and child care are not), Congress could choose to replace the sequester with something that does cut these programs. We know that this whole process can seem very confusing. It is for the professionals too. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to understand all the details of the process or explain it in your letters. You only need to remind readers of one thing — Congress could take an axe to important anti-poverty programs at any time and we need Congress to feel the heat before they try.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft and submit a letter to the editor urging Congress to protect low-income Americans in budget talks. The February Action sheet provides talking points, background information, and a sample letter you can use when drafting your piece. Use sequestration stories in your local paper this week to illustrate how Congress has its priorities messed and that we need to protect vulnerable individuals and families in budget negotiations. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has state fact sheets on SNAP you can use. You can find a list of media outlets in your state in our Media Guide.

Note that some papers prefer you use their own form to submit your letters. If that’s the case, draft your letter on your computer and once it is finalized, copy and paste it into their form (don’t draft directly into the form; it might get lost or prematurely sent). If you’re pressed for time, copy and paste the text from our online letter to the editor action in the paper’s online form (be sure to personalize it; changing the subject text can be enough). Once your letter gets published, please let us know so we can celebrate your success.

If you’d like to take your advocacy to the next level, consider writing an op-ed about protecting anti-poverty programs. Use our Activist Toolkit to learn how you can draft a powerful op-ed and please contact the U.S. Poverty staff for any help you need drafting one.


Got Twenty Minutes? Start Pushing for Face-to-Face Meetings during March Recess

Thank you to everyone who used last week’s congressional recess to talk to members of Congress face-to-face about protecting low-income Americans in deficit reduction negotiations. RESULTS volunteers in Creston, IA; Denver, CO; Pioneer Valley, MA; and Detroit, MI all had face-to-face encounters with legislators last week. As members of Congress had back to Washington this week, those legislators will know that constituents back home are paying attention and will hold them accountable for the decisions they make in the coming weeks and months. This is essential in the political will for change and we thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to make these meetings happen. We also appreciate all of you who pushed for meetings last week but were unable to get them scheduled. Fortunately, the House and Senate will again be on recess March 25 – April 5.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to contact your House and Senate schedulers to set up a face-to-face meetings during the March recess. With sequestration beginning this week, there will be continued pressure on policy makers come up with alternative spending cuts. It is essential they hear from you remind them that balancing the budget on the backs of low-income Americans is unacceptable. If you previously put in a request for a meeting, follow-up again to set up your meeting. The January Action has information to help with your meeting requests and the January 2013 Laser Talk provides a sample follow-up call with a scheduler.

Once you get a meeting scheduled or plan to attend a town hall, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you prepare. Plan to take copies of our 2013 Lobby Request sheets to your meetings: Preserving Tax credits for Working Families, Protecting Nutrition Programs, Investing in Head Start and Child Care. NOTE: Wait to print these off right before your meeting in case they get updated.


Movie Premier: Attend A Place at the Table Showing in Your Area

While March 1 is primarily associated with the sequester this year, another important event is also taking place this Friday. The new film, Place at the Table, tells the story of hunger in America through the lens of three people — Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford. The film talks about the personal and societal impact of hunger and how we as a people can do something about it.

The film premiers this Friday, March 1 in many theaters across the country and will be shown in additional areas in the coming weeks. Find a theater in your area and plan to attend. Invite others in your community — calls, e-mails, Facebook, Twitter — to go as well.


Sequestration Cuts Begin Friday — Use CHN State Fact Sheets to Push Congress to Act

It is doubtful you’ll be able to walk ten feet this week and not hear something about the impending sequester. This Friday, March 1, $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board cuts will begin to take affect (not all at once; the cuts are the remainder of 2013). Remember that the sequester was originally seen as an enforcement mechanism to bring the parties to the table and work out a deal to avoid them. Instead, Congress has failed to come up with a long-range deficit reduction plan and now here we are.

The stalemate is once again over — surprise, surprise — taxes. The Obama Administration wants to avoid the sequester by replacing it with a mix of spending cuts and new revenue. Republicans in Congress are adamant that it be all spending cuts. RESULTS certainly supports a plan that is balanced with new revenue at least equal to any amount of new spending cuts (preferably more on the revenue side) and that does not increase poverty. Unfortunately, the sequester fails this test on all accounts. The Coalition on Human Needs has calculated the negative impacts of the sequester cuts both nationally and in each state. Here are just few (assuming the sequester goes into full effect for the rest of this year):

  • 70,000 children lose Head Start/Early Head Start services, and 14,000 teachers and staff lose their jobs
  • 30,000 children and their families lose access to child care assistance
  • 600,000 women and children lose services through WIC
  • 60,000 low-income taxpayers would lose access to tax preparation services under VITA (source)
  • Unemployment benefits cut by 11 percent
  • 4 million fewer meals are served by Meals on Wheels

Find your state fact sheet below and use it when contacting your members of Congress to tell them to stop blaming and start working to solve the problem.

TAKE ACTION: As noted above, call your representatives and senators today and tell them to stop playing politics with people’s lives and get deficit reduction right. Stop balancing the budget on the backs of low-income Americans and find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes new revenue, targeted budget cuts, does not increase poverty. When calling, use the data from CHN (find your state below) to highlight the impact of sequestration on your state.

if you cannot make calls, you can send an e-mail urging Congress to protect Head Start and child care using our online e-mail alert.

CHN Sequestration State Fact Sheets: United States, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


RESULTS on the Road — Help with Outreach in Maine, Chicago, and Other Areas

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Staff are busy working to strengthen our volunteer network with recent trips across the country and more coming up. Please help us spread the word about RESULTS. Here’s a summary of our recent adventures and how you can help engage more people in the important work of ending poverty.

RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin is once again heading to Maine. She will be heading there on March 6 and will be hosting a Community Information session that evening in Bangor. This meeting will hopefully result in a new RESULTS group. Here are the details:

RESULTS Informational Meeting — March 6 at 6:00 pm ET — Bangor Public Library — 145 Harlow Street, Bangor, ME

All are welcomed to attend. If you know people in Maine, please invite them to come to the meeting. You can also invite people online using the meeting Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSBangor). During her trip, Jenny will also meeting with other interested people and community partners in Bangor area and points south. If you know people in Maine, let Jenny know at [email protected] so she can connect with them on her trip.

RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson and local RESULTS volunteers in Albuquerque presented at the IMPACT Conference last weekend. They led a total of three workshops — focused on advocacy, what deficit reduction could mean for low-income families, and global education — and a total of 26 students and young service professionals signed up to get more information from RESULTS. In addition, 16 RESULTS volunteers from New Mexico and Colorado met for a regional training day on Sunday, where they shared best practices with outreach, coaching and “mapped” a strategy to build RESULTS in Southern New Mexico (also this past weekend, RESULTS volunteers from the Northwest gathered for a regional conference in Washington state). If you’d like materials or support to do outreach on a local campus, please contact Meredith at [email protected].

RESULTS Senior Associate Jos Linn was also on the road this weekend, traveling to St. Louis, MO to do an outreach meeting with RESULTS volunteers there. The meeting was a success with a number of people looking to learn more about RESULTS. Thank you to all the St. Louis volunteers who helped make this meeting a success. Jos is also working to restart the RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in Chicago in early April. If you know anyone in the Chicago area, please contact Jos at [email protected] for more details.

If you know of people in other parts of the country who might be interested in RESULTS, please contact Jos or Meredith. You could also invite them to one of our monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-minute calls are an easy, fun way to learn more about RESULTS and how to get involved. If you someone who might be interested, please invite them to the next RESULTS Intro Call on Wednesday, March 13 at 9:00 pm ET. Simply send them this link where they can register: www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.


Quick News

Use Social Media to “Talk Poverty”. Our friends at Half in Ten are continuing the Talk Poverty movement in urging Congress to oppose or undo harmful cuts to services that reduce poverty. With sequestration beginning this week and important budget decisions coming up, we need to mount a full court press on Congress to fight backs against harmful cuts. Whether you’re a social media guru or someone who just want to dip your toe in the water, you’ll find Half in Ten’s information useful. Go to http://www.halfinten.org/talkpoverty to learn how you can use social media to make your voice heard!


Announcements

Register for the RESULTS International Conference! The RESULTS International Conference is the most inspiring and informative event of the year. This year’s conference is July 20–23 in Washington, DC. We have an exciting agenda lined up, including keynote speaker Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus. Register before April 15 and get our Early Bird Registration discount at only $165. It’s only good until April 15. We also have discounts available for students and a small scholarship fund for those needing financial assistance to attend. Go to our RESULTS International Conference page for more details and REGISTER TODAY!


Fundraising Update

Why do you volunteer with RESULTS? Why do you give money to RESULTS? These two questions are at the heart of your skills as a fundraiser. If you can answer these questions for yourself, you’ll be able to sincerely ask other people to donate their resources (money and/or time) to help us with our ambitious mission to end poverty. RESULTS’ grassroots fundraising coach Cindy Levin has written her answer in her Anti-Poverty Blog entry called RESULTS: Nothing Less Than the End of Poverty. We hope it inspires you to think about your own personal answers to use at your own fundraising or outreach events or in our April Friends & Family letter writing campaign.

Here are some upcoming RESULTS fundraising events:

If you have any questions or want assistance in planning an event, please contact Cindy at [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: March 25–April 5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, February 27: From Zero to Hero — Moving Your Lawmakers Up the Champion Scale, 9:00 pm ET. For the webinar video, go to http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSZero2Hero. For the audio, dial (775) 996-3560, passcode 796141# or log into Skype at: fuzemeeting.

Friday, March 1: Film Place at the Table premiers in theaters nationwide. Find a theater in your area.

Monday, March 4: Building Bipartisan Champions conference call, 8:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Wednesday, March 6: RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin travels to Maine for outreach. For more details, contact Jenny at [email protected].

Saturday, March 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Wednesday, March 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Tuesday, March 19: 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].

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


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 D.C. 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.