U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 7, 2012

“We can’t just keep cutting and cutting and cutting and thinking that people are just going to figure it out on their own. We have to realize that part of what made [America] great was that we had a public education system we believed in. We built up an infrastructure system we developed. We were competitive across the globe, and ahead of the rest of the globe, in addressing these things. [If] we decide that it is just going to be self-evident that we’re great without putting effort into it, it’s not going to stay that way.”

— Singer, songwriter John Legend

New and Urgent in This Weeks Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Starting this week, we’ll highlight specific actions you can take based on what time you have available. This week’s key actions:

  • If you have 2 minutes: pick up the phone to call Congress to protect the Child Tax Credit and Unemployment Insurance
  • If you have 10 minutes, use our February Action Sheet to submit a written request for a meeting with your members of Congress (our February Action)
  • If you have 20 minutes, use our Elected Officials page to start researching your members of Congress for your upcoming lobby meetings, also searching on their Congressional websites and local media coverage for more details on their policies vis-à-vis our campaigns.


Join Us for the February National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET with Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA)

Join us this Saturday, February 11 for the RESULTS National Conference Call. We will be speaking with Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA-51), who will share his insights on effective strategies for working with members of Congress as the ultimate “insider.” This will help us be even more effective in face-to-face lobby meetings this year and beyond.

TAKE ACTION: Coordinate and gather with your group this Saturday, February 11 at 12:30 pm ET for the national conference call. To join the call, dial (888) 409-6709. 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.

And, as a special “pilot project,” we will be offering a live video feed of the RESULTS office to supplement the audio-based conference call using Skype. To participate, download Skype at www.skype.com and request to add “results.cf” as a contact. Then, send a chat message on Skype to “results.cf” and let us know you’d like to be included on the videoconference.


Call Congress to Protect Child Tax Credit and Extend Unemployment Insurance

Congress is in the midst of negotiating a deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. Unfortunately, some members of Congress are demanding a change in the Child Tax Credit (CTC) that could hurt millions of low-income children to help pay for it. Currently, tax filers with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) can claim the CTC. ITINs are used by millions of immigrant families to pay their taxes because they cannot get a Social Security Number. The House plan would require claimants to now have an SSN to claim the CTC, even though many families request an ITIN so they can do their duty and pay their taxes. The change would affect 5.5 million children in families earning an average of $21,000 per year, resulting in a loss of $1,800 in income. This not only hurts them and risks them falling further into poverty, but is also hurts the communities they live in where that money gets spent.

More broadly, if Congress does not act on a full extension or another short-term extension by February 29, 1.3 million unemployed workers would lose unemployment benefits by the end of March. It will also put in jeopardy Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Transitional Medicaid Assistance.

TAKE ACTION: Call your members of Congress to oppose any cuts to the Child Tax Credit that will harm children living in poverty, and fully renew unemployment insurance — no cuts, no barriers to benefits. Call Congress toll-free (888) 245-3381 or use the National Employment Law Project’s easy Click-to-Call page to connect with your members of Congress. If you cannot call, send an email today urging members of Congress to oppose the CTC offset for the payroll tax cut and UI extension. Use this online action alert from the National Council of La Raza.


Face-to-Face Meetings Are Key to Influencing Legislators (February Action)

With the group planning process wrapping up, it’s time to start putting those plans into action. Hopefully every group plan includes meeting face-to-face with legislators. With the outcome of our legislative efforts not likely to be decided before the election, we need to get in early and often to talk to them about what we want. We need to remind legislators of the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) to low-income working families by urging them to make permanent the recent important improvements to these credits. We need to educate them about the importance of low-income savings, building support for the Saver’s Bonus. Finally, we have to tell them that at-risk children need vital early learning services such as Head Start and child care and urge them to both protect and expand funding for these services. Meeting face-to-face back in the home districts will help build the support for these priorities and better ensure they are heeded when final decisions are made at the end of this year.

RESULTS has long promoted face-to-face visits between local constituents and members of Congress as the most effective way to build the political will for change. A recent poll of more than 250 congressional staff by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) confirms that position confirms the efficacy of this strategy. CMF asked what kinds of contact make the biggest impact on members of Congress, especially when they have not made up their mind on an issue. Respondents overwhelmingly said that in-person visits from constituents made the biggest difference; 97 percent for visits to DC offices and 94 percent for visits to district offices. The poll also found that constituents who make an effort to personally contact members of Congress are more influential than paid lobbyists and news editors.

The next congressional recesses will occur later this month. House members will be home February 18-26 and senators will be home February 20-24. Take advantage of this time by getting you requests in now. Even if you cannot meet with them during the next recess, ask for a time when they are home again (see upcoming recesses on our Events Calendar). Persistence is the key. In addition, don’t wait until your meeting to bring our issues to their attention. While you are waiting for that face-to-face, contact the tax and early childhood aides to discuss our 2012 campaigns. A congressional aide can be powerful ally in these offices, so don’t hesitate to call them, educate them, and get to know them.

TAKE ACTION: Take the February Action. Request a face-to-face meeting with House and Senate members when they are home. Contact their schedulers now to get a jump on this month’s action. Find scheduler and staff 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. Also see our Laser Talk for a sample conversation with a scheduler to set up a meeting and/or use our online email tool to contact them. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare for your meeting(s). We’ll have more about the February Action in next week’s update.


RESULTS Outreach — It’s Not Too Late to Invite Friends to New Orleans Meeting TONIGHT!

Know anyone in New Orleans? Then tell them to come to the RESULTS meeting there TONIGHT! Domestic Outreach Organizer Jos Linn and Global Grassroots Expansion Agent Katy Windschill will hold a RESULTS “Group Start” meeting at Xavier University this evening (Feb. 7) at 6:30 pm CT at the University Center, Room 205C at Xavier University. Our goal is to start both a strong domestic and global presence in New Orleans. If you know anyone in the New Orleans area, it is not too late to urge them to attend. For more information, please contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622 or see the Facebook invitation.

In addition, if you know people in other parts of the country (particularly Montana) who might be interested in learning more about RESULTS, don’t forget our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. Our next RESULTS Intro Call is Friday February 17 at 1 pm ET. These calls are great call for people wanting to get a basic understanding of RESULTS and our work. People can register at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you have questions about the call.


Submit Your Group Plans by February 13

Send in those group plans! Most RESULTS U.S. Poverty Groups have completed their group plan meeting but only a few have submitted their plans. We are eager to see what inspiring goals you have set for yourselves in 2012. If you have conducted your group planning meeting, please set a goal of submitting your final plan to your group members, Regional Coordinator and Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) by next Monday, February 13. That will give you time to make any final changes at the conference call this weekend and submit the plans the following Monday. If you have not had your meeting yet, be sure to get it on your schedule as soon as possible. You also still have time to work with Meredith Dodson on your plan, specifically developing strategies for your members of Congress. You can contact her at (202) 783-7100, x.116 or [email protected]. To help with your planning, use the January Action sheet, 2012 RESULTS U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary, Group Planning Guide, and Group Plan Summary Form.


Fundraising Update — Exciting New Staff Change

The RESULTS/REF development team is happy to welcome our long-time colleague from our Global legislative team, Jen Maurer, in her new role as Development Manager for RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund. We're so excited about the enormous opportunities for our organization with her taking on this new role. Jen's policy and organizational knowledge, and strong relationships (with our grassroots, existing donors, and allies across the U.S. and abroad) will, without a doubt, help us grow the organization and our successes. 

Friends & Family Toolkits are in the mail and online at the RESULTS website to help you participate in our letter writing fundraising campaign (Feb. 21 – Mar. 31)! They contain materials and instructions we'll need to personally invite folks in our social circles to join us in ending poverty by making a gift. We have the ambitious goal of raising $30,000 with every RESULTS group participating. Also, visit the RESULTS Runners page for a preview of our new online fundraising tool. This kind of website will be available to you for the upcoming Friends & Family fundraising campaign, which begins in two weeks. And get this — the top fundraiser as of March 31 using this new online tool will win a free registration for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference!

Finally, don’t forget to order your handmade valentines while helping RESULTS at the same time. Our RESULTS Albuquerque group is selling these valentines, designed by RESULTS volunteer Louisa Barkalow. The price is $10 per card, and the proceeds will benefit RESULTS. To buy one or more, donate to RESULTS or RESULTS Ed Fund online at http://www.results.org/support_results/. Once you receive your donation confirmation by email, forward it to [email protected] along with your mailing address. You will promptly receive your valentine(s) in the mail.


Quick News

“Buffet Rule” Bill Introduced in the Senate. Last week, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012 (S.2059), require millionaires to pay a higher tax rates. Nicknamed the “Buffet Rule” after billionaire Warren Buffet, who has advocated for the wealthy paying higher taxes, the law would require those earning over $1 million in income to pay a 30 percent effective tax rate. The effective rate is the percentage in taxes one actually pays. For example, several weeks ago, presidential candidate released his tax returns and it showed that, despite having income that would put him in the highest tax bracket (35 percent), he effective tax rate was only 13.9 percent. S.2059 would require him to pay no less than a 30 percent effective rate. Sen. Whitehouse estimated that the bill would generate $40-50 billion per year.


RESULTS International Conference — Win Free International Conference Registration and Save Ten Percent on Airfare!

There is only one week left to submit your 2012 RESULTS International Conference video testimonial. Remember, the best video will get a free conference registration. The deadline to enter is next Wednesday, February 15. Don’t delay and get your video in today. Go to our website to see the contest rules and how to submit your video!

Submit your video testimonial on why you attend the 2012 RESULTS International Conference. The best video will get a free conference registration. The deadline is Wednesday, February 15. Go to our website to see the contest rules and how to submit your video!

Also, AirTran is offering ten percent off fares! Please download the agreement and call to get your discount. Look at the financial assistance section of our IC website for more assistance opportunities. Remember: Registration is only $150 until April 16. Be sure to register TODAY!


Announcements

New Activist Orientation Series Starts Next Week. The next New Activist Orientation series begins in February. These calls are great for new activists in your group or people wanting to learn more about RESULTS beyond the Intro call. This series is two calls, which will be on February 13 and 27 at 9pm ET. Please contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]) for details.

Urge friends to attend our RESULTS orientation calls. Our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls are going well. These calls are great call for people wanting to get a basic understanding of RESULTS and our work. The next call is Friday, February 17th, at 1 pm ET. You can find the link to register for an upcoming call online.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recesses, Feb. 10-13 and 18-26; March 9-18. Senate recess, Feb. 20-24. Request face-to-face meetings!

Saturday, February 11: RESULTS Domestic National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Monday, February 13 and 27: RESULTS’ New Activist Orientation series, 9:00 pm ET. Contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]) for details.

Friday, February 17: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

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 Domestic 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.