U.S. Poverty Weekly Update July 10, 2012

Wealthy men can't live in an island that is encircled by poverty. We all breathe the same air. We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance.

— Race car driver and philanthropist Ayrton Senna

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Join RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET

Join us this Saturday, July 14 for the RESULTS National Conference Call. This month, we will continue our discussion about protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit from scheduled cuts at the end of this year. We’ll be highlighting the July Action, which focuses on setting up lobby meetings in Washington, DC and at home to talk about the importance of tax credits for working families.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about this RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, July 14 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 July 2012 Conference Call Overview slides (PDF) available later this week. Go to our national conference call page on the RESULTS website to download the presentation before the call.


Call House Members TODAY Urging Them to Protect SNAP

Last week, the House Agricultural Committee released its draft legislation for a new Farm Bill. Unfortunately for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), the House picks up on the cuts from the Senate bill and runs with it. As you remember, the Senate cut SNAP by $4.5 billion (over ten years) in the Farm Bill last month. The House goes much further, making $16.5 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years. They do so by eliminating categorical eligibility, which offers states the flexibility to change or eliminate asset tests for certain SNAP households. These cuts would:

  • Force 2-3 million people out of SNAP
  • Eliminate school meals for 280,000 low-income children
  • Cut monthly SNAP benefits by $90 for 500,000 people in state “Heat and Eat” programs (this is the same cut made by the Senate)

Unfortunately, the House Farm Bill is at risk of getting worse during the July 11 markup, not better. On May 10, the House passed a package of sweeping cuts to SNAP, the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and other services for benefiting millions of low-income children and families by a vote of 218-199. This included a House Agriculture Committee proposal to reduce the deficit by, cutting $36 billion entirely from the SNAP program (rather than agricultural subsidies). And, the Ryan House Republican budget, passed 228-191 on March 29, proposed $130 billion in cuts to SNAP. While we are not sure what will happen on Wednesday, these earlier votes make us very nervous that we will see amendments that include even deeper cuts to SNAP during the Farm Bill markup and floor deliberation.

Politicians and pundits see the recent increase in SNAP participation and cost as unsustainable. They fail to acknowledge that the increase in SNAP use is due to the worst financial crisis in half a century and a temporary increase in benefits as an appropriate response to that crisis. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that SNAP participation will drop over the next decade as economic conditions improve.

We need to send a clear message that the House’s relentless assault against people in poverty has got to stop. It is particularly critical to contact House Democrats and urge them to oppose the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill because of the deep cuts to SNAP. Like it or not, there are few Republicans standing up for SNAP these days and when Democrats sign onto these cuts, it makes it much more likely they will become law.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes and join advocates from all over the country in today’s SNAP national call-in day. Call your House members and tell them to protect SNAP! Use the toll free line from Feeding America to call: (877) 698-8228When prompted, enter your zip code and listen to the brief instructions. You’ll then be patched through to your Representative’s office automatically. When connected, say:

My name is ____________ and I am a constituent from ________________. I am also a RESULTS volunteer who is very concerned that the House is proposing to cut SNAP, i.e. food stamps. I strongly oppose cuts to SNAP and other nutrition assistance programs. Please urge Rep. __________________ to vote against the proposed cuts to SNAP in the House Farm Bill. Increasing hunger in America is the wrong vote.  

Once you’ve made your call, please forward this alert to others in your community. We need to flood these offices with calls and remind Washington to do its fair share in the fight against hunger.


Set Up Face-to-Face Meetings to Talk about Tax Credits (July Action)

Along with the temperature outside, things are starting to heat up in Washington as well. Along with the flurry of activity around SNAP, tax policy is also getting a lot of attention and not just whether a mandate is a tax or not. Later this month, the House is expected to vote on a package to extend all of the Bush tax cuts and undoing the automatic budget cuts to the military scheduled for next year. There is also talk in the Senate of temporarily extending the tax cuts for working families and the middle class. This “tax talk” makes our July Action all that more important because members of Congress are starting to solidify their positions on tax policy before the campaign season starts.

This month’s action is a continuation of our June Action on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). We want to follow up from our letters last month by meeting face-to-face with representatives and senators, urging them to protect these critical tax credits for working families. A new paper from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) highlights just how effective these credits are. For example:

  • The EITC encourages work. Expansions of the EITC between 1984 and 1996 accounted for more than half of employment gains for single mothers during that period. Expansions of the EITC in the 1990s moved half a million families from welfare to work.
  • The EITC and CTC improve the lives of children. Numerous studies show that increasing family income either by the EITC or CTC impacts school performance in children. Additional studies showed that children whose family incomes were boosted by tax credits were more likely to attend college and earn more income as adults.
  • The EITC provides a short-term safety net. The EITC is critical to families when a household financial hits. Between 1989 and 2006, 61 percent of EITC claimants only received the EITC for one or two years at a time. In addition, EITC recipients several hundred billion dollars more in federal income taxes than they received in benefits during the same period.
  • The EITC and CTC reduce poverty. Tax credits for working families are extremely effective at reducing poverty. As we have reiterated countless times recently, the EITC and CTC lifted 9.2 million people out of poverty in 2010; 4.9 million of these people were children.

Despite these successes, some on Congress want to eliminate or significantly cut the EITC and CTC. This would be devastating for millions working parents and their children. On top of that, many members of Congress know very little about these credits and what they do for working families. It’s out job to teach them.

Let’s take time this month to remind Congress that as Americans, we value ideas that work. The EITC and CTC work — for all of us.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes  to take the July Action. Contact your members of Congress to set up face-to-face meetings during the RESULTS International Conference and the August recess to talk about protecting the EITC and CTC. You can find contact info for schedulers on our Elected Officials page. Be sure to follow up to confirm that the schedulers received your requests and to check on the status.

Once you have a meeting scheduled, please fill out our Lobby Meeting report form to list each one of your meetings. And be sure to take our 2012 Request and Background sheets covering low-income tax credits, the Saver’s Bonus, and Head Start and child care. If you get a meeting scheduled or plan to attend a town hall, please contact the RESULTS Domestic staff to help you and your group prepare.

Even if you’re meeting with them at the conference, still put in your request for another meeting during the summer recess. It gives other members in your group to be a part of the meeting and also gives you the chance to follow up on your requests made at the conference.


 RESULTS International Conference — Time to Kick It into High Gear

There’s still time to REGISTER for the 2012 RESULTS International Conference!

The RESULTS International Conference is less than two weeks away. We are anticipating a great event this year. For those of you traveling to DC for the conference and those who will be there in spirit, we have important information for you to get ready for the RESULTS event of the year.

Schedule Your Lobby Meetings! If you have not done so already, please contact your House and Senate offices to requests meetings with your members of Congress and their staff. Lobby Day at the conference is Tuesday, July 24 (with some meetings spilling over to Wednesday). You can find contact information on our Elected Officials page. Once you have a meeting scheduled, please enter it in our Lobby Meeting report form.

Set Up Your Lobby Prep Call. Start planning your lobby meetings now by setting up your lobby prep call with RESULTS Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson. These calls are invaluable and will help make your conference experience more effective and enjoyable. Contact Meredith today at [email protected] to schedule your call.

Read the U.S. Poverty Background Packet. Our 2012 Conference Background Packet is now available online. This packet provides a comprehensive overview of our 2012 campaigns and the issues we will highlight at the conference. We encourage you to download and print the packet — or save it to your mobile device — and read it before you arrive in Washington, DC. You’ll find the packet on the RESULTS website. NOTE: We will not be printing off packets for everyone at the conference so please bring your own copy.

Invite Legislators to the July 24 Conference Reception. Each year, our conference culminates with a big reception that gives our volunteers the chance to hear from legislators about the importance of citizen advocacy. Help fill the room by sending your House and Senate members an invitation to the reception. We have a sample letter you can download from the RESULTS website and tailor to your specific request. Send the letters to their schedulers in their DC offices; you can find their names on our Elected Official page. Within 48 hours, be sure to follow up to see if they received the request and what the status is.

Be Part of the Conference from Home. Even if you are not coming to DC for the conference, you can do you part to support those who are. You could write a letter on one of our issues and ask folks in your group coming to DC to deliver it in person. Also, take time to schedule an in-district meeting with your senator or representative for the August recess, per the July Action. You could also alert your local media that about local volunteers going to DC to make a difference. On Lobby Day, you could organize people in your community to make calls to congressional offices to support our issues. Finally, if you’re online, tweet with and follow our conference hashtag, #RESULTSConf, and be part of the action.

And don’t forget, it’s not too late to attend the conference!  REGISTER TODAY!


Help with RESULTS Outreach: Action in the Northeast, Intro Call Tomorrow, Free Agents Call Next Week

RESULTS continues to work on expanding our network into new areas. This past weekend, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Jenny Martin held an informational and planning meeting to get a new RESULTS group started in the Boston area. The goal is to have a RESULTS “group start” meeting there in August. Jenny is also working to start groups in Maine and Connecticut. If you know anyone in Boston or these other areas who might be interested in learning more about RESULTS, please contact Jenny at [email protected].

Also, we continue to hold our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls. These calls are a great introduction to anyone wanting to learn more about RESULTS and be inspired about the power of citizen advocacy. We do these calls the first Wednesday and third Friday of the month. Due to the July 4 holiday, the July Wednesday RESULTS Intro call will be held tomorrow night, July 11 a 9:00 pm ET. If you or someone you know is interested in anti-poverty advocacy, please RSVP for the call online.

Finally, the RESULTS Free Agents U.S. Poverty group will meet next week for our monthly support call. These monthly support calls are designed to support our “free agent” activists around the country in taking action and staying connected to RESULTS volunteers and staff. If you are a new or seasoned advocate in an area with no active RESULTS group, you are welcomed to join the Free Agents group. The call is Tuesday, July 17 at 9:00 pm ET. The call-in number is (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). If you have questions, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected]. Note: The global Free Agents group will meet next Monday, July 16 at 8:00 pm ET (contact Lisa Marchal, [email protected]) for details).


Join Training Call on Using Local Data in Your Advocacy Monday at 8 pm ET

Don’t forget that RESULTS and the National Priorities Project (NPP) are hosting a training call next week to help you use NPP’s database to retrieve local data and use it in your anti-poverty advocacy. NPP is a federal budget research organization, which helps people understand the local impact of federal dollars. This call is timed well as you set up lobby meetings at the RESULTS International Conference or in your home districts per the July Action. This will be a very informative call and we hope you will join us!

TAKE ACTION: Join the RESULTS-NPP training call next Monday, July 16 at 8:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (866) 503-7713 and enter passcode 4091413579. Also, please be in front of a computer during the call, if possible.


Quick News

House Labor-HHS Appropriations Markup Scheduled Delayed Again. Back in June, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2013 Labor-HHA appropriations bill. This bill included a $70 million increase for Head Start and Early Head Start, and a $160 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee was supposed to meet this Wednesday, July 11 to draft their appropriations bill, but it has been postponed... again. We’ll keep you updated when a new date is announced. In the meantime, take our online email alert urging Congress to protect early childhood services.

President Obama Calls Proposes Middle Class Tax Cut Extension. Yesterday, President Obama called on Congress to extend for one year the Bush tax cuts for income below $250,000. Taxes on income above this level would return to the levels enacted under President Clinton (it is important to note that under this plan, the wealthy still receive a tax cut on their income below $250,000). Although no details have been released, RESULTS presumes the President’s plan would also extend the 2009 improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). The House plans to vote later this month on a package to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, including the cuts for the wealthy. Remind Congress to protect the EITC and CTC in budget talks by taking our online tax credit action.

Attend Americans for Tax Fairness Webinar Next Week. Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of organizations (including RESULTS) working to ensure that Congress enacts fair and balanced tax reform, is hosting a webinar next week to overview new polling data on what Americans think about taxes and the economy. The webinar titled “Winning the Tax War: A Three-Step Program for Fairness and a Strong Economy” will be very helpful with crafting our tax message to Congress over the coming months. Please plan to join in. The webinar is next Tuesday, July 17 at 3:00 pm ET. To participate, you can register through Americans for Tax Fairness.


Announcements

Check Out New Entries on the RESULTS Blog! Confused about what has happened with the federal budget over the last year? It’s enough to give you a headache. Fortunately, RESULTS Intern Katja Kleine has the cure. Check out hernew RESULTS Blog post that outlines the major budget decisions since last summer in a handy-dandy chart. Also, RESULTS Emerson Hunger Fellow Allison Burkett has an excellent RESULTS Blog post on the economic efficiency of anti-poverty programs. See her debunk the argument that tax cuts are better than food stamps.


Fundraising News

Our International Conference is a great place to get all sorts of training – including fundraising! If you are coming to the conference, check out our fundraising sessions to give a boost to your fundraising plans: "Creativity in Fundraising" and "Taking Your Fundraising Event to the Next Level." You'll hear shares from grassroots partners and discuss your own ideas and questions with our development staff and fellow volunteers. See more of our exciting conference agenda on our website.

There is still time to sign up for our RESULTS 5K fun run/walk on Saturday evening at the IC or donate to support our participants. Our team page at the RESULTS Race to End Poverty site has the details. Please let Cindy Levin know at [email protected] if you are joining us, so we can pick up your race packet for you. Speaking of websites, you can celebrate the upcoming wedding of our activists Rob Marshall & Katy Windschill by making a gift to RESULTS at Katy and Rob's RESULTS Wedding Gift Page.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: August 4 – September 9. Senate: August 6 – September 7. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, July 11: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Saturday, July 14: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Monday, July 16: RESULTS-NPP Training Call on Using State Data in Lobby Meetings, 8:00 pm ET. (866) 503-7713, passcode 4091413579.

Tuesday, July 17: 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].

Saturday, July 21 – Tuesday, July 24, 2012: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. Register TODAY!


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 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.