U.S. Poverty Weekly Update January 2, 2013

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.

—   Oprah Winfrey

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

 


 

Got Two Minutes? Start Thinking about Your Advocacy Goals for the Year

Your work with RESULTS made a difference in 2012 – see below for some (relatively) good news about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) – and this is a natural time to think about your own advocacy goals for 2013. We know that that we’ll have more important work to do to protect EITC, CTC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), Medicaid, Children's Health, Head Start,  and child care assistance in the months ahead, and this provides each of us with an opportunity to challenge ourselves and deepen our skills and knowledge.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to jot down some of your goals for your work with RESULTS to share with others in your group during Group Planning later this month.


Got Ten Minutes? Confirm Plans for the January 12th Conference Call and 2013 Group Planning

January is when RESULTS activists and groups engage in their annual planning process. Group planning has been an important part of RESULTS’ successes in the past. Group planning helps us celebrate the past year’s successes and learn from challenges we experienced and, using that knowledge and wisdom create a vision for how we want our new “RESULTS year” to look. Starting with setting our own individual goals, groups then set goals, allocate responsibilities, and formulate strategies for success. Our group plans also allow us to track our progress and adjust goals and tactics as circumstances arise throughout the year so that we can achieve our objectives in an effective and meaningful way. The RESULTS staff is finalizing the group planning materials for 2013, which you will be able to find in the section of our website that features group resources.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to take a look at the materials and then set a time for your group to gather in January for the national conference call (January 12, 12:30 pm) so you can wish each other a happy new year and set aside time to envision what you'd like to achieve in your advocacy in 2013. Or, if you are an advocate on your own, grab a copy of the Individual Planning Form and be part of the process as well.  What an inspiring way to begin a brand new year! If you have questions, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) or Jos Linn ([email protected]) on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff.


Got Twenty Minutes? Submit Your Face-to-Face Lobby Meeting Requests

For 2013, RESULTS has a goal of meeting face-to-face with representatives and senators in the 25 states and 72 House districts where we currently have volunteers (with more being added). We know that face-to-face meetings between constituents and members of Congress are game-changers when it comes to effective advocacy. Do you have a new representative or senator? Never met face-to-face with your legislators? This is the year to make those meetings happen. Let us help!

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to submit a request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators. You can tailor our online request form to submit the request. 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.


Quick Summary: “Fiscal Cliff” Deal Protects EITC, CTC, SNAP (Food Stamps), Head Start, and Health Programs for Now

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Congress has passed a deal to address the “Fiscal Cliff”. Early New Years Day, the Senate voted 89-8 in favor of The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which the House then passed 257-167. Counting interest savings, the package includes about $750 billion in new revenues over the next 10 years with minimal spending cuts.  Some of the specifics of what is in the deal:

  • Improvements in the Earned Income Tax Credit(EITC) andChild Tax Credit(CTC), and college American Opportunity Tax Credit that were enacted in 2009 are extended for 5 years.Given that this was a major focus for RESULTS volunteers, we are pleased that these key provisions are continued but disappointed distressing that they were not made permanent like the other income tax provisions.
  • Expiration of the payroll tax cut, costing a $50,000 earner about $83 a month.
  • An extension of the Farm Bill until September without deep cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps). Unfortunately, there are some cuts to nutrition education programs in 2013 and SNAP is vulnerable to deep cuts in upcoming rounds of deficit reduction.
  • Unemployment Insurance for Americans facing long-term unemployment was extended for one year, sparing 2 million jobless people from going without benefits starting at the beginning of January, and 5 million people by the end of the year.
  • Two-month delay of sequestration, the automatic cuts to annually appropriated programs such as Head Start, child care assistance andstrategic, compassionate,poverty-focused foreign assistance.

If you need a history of how we got to this point or are just in need of some entertainment, check out this recap on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog. It’s important to remember that this latest deal is really just part of a three-component deficit reduction process:

1.       The Budget Control Act (August 2011): $1.5 trillion in spending cuts (to appropriations including education, housing, community services, energy, environment, etc., as well as the Pentagon). 

2.       The package passed this week, which is almost all from revenues but

3.       Mid-late February: another $1 trillion or so in deficit reduction. We hope this is balanced, but fear that we could see further cuts to critical anti-poverty programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and tax credits for low-income families.

There are differing views of this deal. As our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs flagged, “the new revenues are simply inadequate to the task of long-term deficit reduction.  Because the debt ceiling was not raised, and is expected to get to crunch time by the end of February, the next round of replacing the sequestration (across-the-board) appropriations cuts will be decided in the midst of House proposals to tie increases in the debt ceiling to spending cuts.” But, The Nation’s Greg Kaufmann is “troubled by the lack of attention being paid to how this deal benefits the more than one in three Americans living below twice the poverty line — earning less than $36,000 annually for a family of three, and the 46 million Americans living below the poverty line (less than $18,000 annually for a family of three).”   

We’ll be analyzing the deal and strategizing about the ways you can most effectively influence the process ahead in the coming days – stay tuned for more details and suggested actions for the new Congress.


Join a RESULTS Outreach or Training 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 and training calls coming up. Whether you are new to RESULTS, looking for support in taking action, or just want to take your advocacy work to the next level, we have something for you. Feel free to join one or more of these calls.

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 Wednesday, January 9, at 9:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming Intro call, go to www.tinryurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.

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 January 15 at 9:00 pm ET; (218) 486-1611, passcode 7378587#. RSVP for the call to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Make the most of our website. Our RESULTS Website Training will provide you a guided tour of the RESULTS website focusing on key areas that will help you get educated on our issues, trained in effective advocacy techniques, and into action on ending poverty. The web training is  January 7, 9 pm ET; (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. For the training, please be in front of your computer with internet access. For questions and to RSVP for the call, contact Jos Linn, Senior Associate for US Poverty Campaigns. 

Find out about those new (or returning) legislators. On January 15, 9 pm ET; (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262, longtime RESULTS volunteer and researcher extraordinataire Allison Gallaher will lead an interactive training on Researching Your Member of Congress. Have a new member of Congress? Want to learn more about your existing member of Congress? This informative call that will help you make the most of your advocacy year but giving you some top research tips and tools. 

Of course, don’t forget the RESULTS International Conference in Washington, DC: July 20–23, 2013. Dr. Muhammad Yunus and author/activist Marianne Williamson are already set to join us. Mark your calendar now!


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Monday, January 7: RESULTS Website Training, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, January 9: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Saturday, January 12: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online. (888) 409-6709.

Tuesday, January 15: 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].


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.