U.S. Poverty Weekly Update July 17, 2012

Our dignity, our free institutions, and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country — when right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right."

— Sen. Carl Schurz of Missouri (served 1869-75)

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


For everyone traveling to the RESULTS International Conference this weekend, we hope you have a safe journey and look forward to seeing in Washington, DC.

Please note that because of the conference, there will be no Weekly Update next Tuesday, July 24. However, be on the lookout for an action you can take alongside your fellow RESULTS volunteers as they meet with members of Congress on Capitol Hill.


Got Two Minutes? Confirm Your Lobby Meetings for the International Conference

The RESULTS International Conference Lobby Day is one week from today. This is the main event for the conference each year. All the work we do during the three days prior is to prepare for our meetings with members of Congress and their staff on Lobby Day. Many of you have already set up your meetings with congressional offices, while some of you are still doing so. Take time this week to confirm the meetings you have so that come next Tuesday, you’ll be good to go.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and contact your House and Senate offices to confirm all of your scheduled meetings for next week. Contact the schedulers or aides you set the meetings up with to confirm the date, time, location, topic areas, and person attending. You can find contact information for these offices on our Elected Officials page.

IMPORTANT: If you have not done so already, please fill out our Lobby Meeting report form for each meeting you have scheduled. This helps RESULTS staff better support volunteers and groups as they prepare for lobby day.


Got Ten Minutes? Set Up Summer Meetings with Members of Congress (July Action)

RESULTS would like to thank both Julie Heck and Amelia Kegan for speaking on the July U.S. Poverty National Conference Call this past Saturday. Julie, a working single mom in Iowa, shared her story about how important the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are to her family. These credits have been vital in helping her pay the bills, cover health care costs, attend college, and help her children start saving. She is a wonderful example of why we do this work. You can read about Julie at the Half in Ten website.

We are also grateful to Amelia Kegan, senior policy analyst at Bread for the World, for sharing her insights on the fate of the EITC and CTC during this legislative session. She reiterated the importance of weighing in now on these issues. Amelia told us that because Congress is delaying almost all major legislative work until the lame duck session of Congress, they will have a lot to get done with very little time to do it. Therefore, once any tax legislation dealing with the EITC and CTC (which will be part of a larger bill dealing with the expiring Bush tax cuts) is released, it will move fast. At that point, the chance of changing the legislation if we don’t like it will be very difficult. Therefore, it is imperative that we talk to legislators now while they are still deciding what any tax bill should include.

Amelia also gave us some good insights for our upcoming lobby meetings per the July Action. Bread for the World recently had their own lobby day and she said their volunteers received the following pushback on these issues:

Statement: Our deficits are just too big, everything needs to be on the table, and everything is going to need to share the pain.

Response: The EITC and CTC are not driving our deficits. We can reduce our deficits without cutting those programs that serve as a lifeline for families struggling to put food on the table, programs like the EITC that have been proven to encourage work and move families out of poverty. The question is not whether we can reduce our deficits and protect hungry and poor people. The math is clear on that. The question is whether we as a country will choose to reduce our deficits and protect low-income individuals. This is a choice.

Statement: Federal spending, especially on anti-poverty programs, has grown to out-of-control levels in recent years. We need to get spending down to where it was in 2007.

Response: Yes, but something happened in the interim — we had a financial collapse and a huge recession that we’re still digging our way out of. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of families struggling with hunger did not increase in 2009 and 2010 even though we saw poverty and unemployment rise to record levels. Means-tested entitlement programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps), the school lunch program, but also the EITC and CTC automatically respond when the economy weakens and more people find themselves eligible for these programs. These programs will shrink as the economy recovers. Moreover, the recession may technically be over, but that’s not how families across the country are feeling it. We can’t be cutting the country’s largest anti-poverty program now.

 Statement: I’m already with you. I’ll vote for extending the EITC and CTC benefits when it comes up.

Response: That’s not enough. We can’t wait passively by for these things to come up for a vote because waiting for a bill to emerge will be too late; there’s not going to be a stand-alone bill e Extending the 2009 EITC and CTC improvements. These provisions will be wrapped up in a larger tax bill. If you support the EITC and CTC, please talk to leadership and your caucuses, telling them that extending these improvements has to be a priority. They have to be included in the negotiated tax bill that we ultimately see.

We thank Amelia for sharing her knowledge and insights with us. This information will go a long way in helping us have more meaningful, substantive, and effective lobby meetings with members of Congress.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten 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. If you already have meetings scheduled with members of Congress at the conference, still put in your request for meetings 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.

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.

If you were not able to be on the July National Conference Call, we urge you to listen to a recording of the call on the RESULTS website. Also, download our July call slide presentation for helpful information and links to help you take action this month.


Got Twenty Minutes? Prepare for your Lobby Meetings by Reading the RESULTS Legislative Handbook

Whether you are attending the RESULTS International Conference or not, the RESULTS 2012 U.S. Poverty Legislative Handbook is a must read. RESULTS staff have spent the last few weeks drafting and editing this handbook to provide you all the information you need to prepare for lobby meetings in Washington, DC and back home. The packet includes information on our Economic Opportunity for All and Early Childhood Development campaigns, as well as background information on other issues such as the Farm Bill, the budget, and the wealth gap. We also have stories from individuals illustrating the impact these services have on their lives; another great resource when taking the message to Congress that it’s time to make poverty history.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to download the RESULTS 2012 U.S. Poverty Legislative Handbook. We have both MS Word and PDF formats available. You can find other helpful resources, including our 2012 requests, on the International Conference Important Information page. If you are coming to the conference this weekend, please print it off and read it before you come to DC.

NOTE: Please plan to bring your copy with you to Washington; we will not be making copies for everyone.


RESULTS International Conference — It’s Finally Here

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

At last! The RESULTS International Conference starts this weekend. We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Washington, DC. All of us on RESULTS staff truly appreciate your gracious willingness to give of your time, energy, and resources to make a difference in the world. You are the reason we do this work and your presence at our conference just reiterates the passion and commitment you bring to this work. And for those who cannot attend, our thanks to you is just as sincere. All the work you do back home to bring the message of opportunity and dignity for all is critical in creating the political will to end poverty. Our success is dependent on all of you and whether you are in DC this weekend or back home in Boise or Denver or San Antonio or Kalamazoo, we celebrate you all.

If you are traveling to DC, here are a few last minute items to be aware of:

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. 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.

Invite Legislators to the Conference Reception. Help us finish the conference with a great celebration at our July 24 Lobby Day Reception by inviting your House and Senate members to attend. We have a sample letter you can download from the RESULTS website and tailor to your specific request.

Join the AIDS March on July 24. The Community Mobilization March for the International AIDS Conference will happen on Tuesday, July 24 during Lobby Day. Your lobby meetings are more important, but for those who want to take part in the march, participants will be meeting near the Archives Metro station and US Navy Memorial in DC at 12:00 pm and walking to the White House. At 1 pm near the White House grounds there will be a program of speakers and other activities. The event should end by 3:00 pm.

Check Out the Conference Agenda. This year’s conference has something for everyone. If you’re a veteran advocate, a novice to lobbying, a policy wonk, an inspiring speech enthusiast, or a karaoke master, we’ve got it all. Check out the conference agenda to all the great things we have in store.

Give New Folks a Warm Reception. This year’s conference will include many people new to RESULTS or new to the conference. Extend a warm welcome to these folks and help make their experience friendly and rewarding.


Join RESULTS Free Agents Call Tonight at 9 pm ET

The RESULTS Free Agents U.S. Poverty group meets tonight 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. Tonight we’ll celebrate the actions our Free Agents have taken over the last month, do a legislative update on what’s happening in Congress, and talk about action you can take over the next month. If you are a new or seasoned advocate in an area with no active RESULTS group, we invite you to join the Free Agents group. The call is tonight, 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].

Also, our bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls are a great introduction to anyone wanting to learn more about RESULTS. The next RESULTS Intro call will be held Friday July 27 a 1:00 pm ET. If you or someone you know is interested in anti-poverty advocacy, please RSVP for the call online.


House Releases Labor-HHS Bill Before Tomorrow’s Markup

The House Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee has released its draft proposal for their FY 2013 funding bill. As you know, back in June, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its Labor-HHS bill, which 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. In its proposal, the House includes a $45.5 million increase for Head Start and Early Head Start, plus a $25 million increase for CCDBG, over last year’s levels. Remembers that originally, we were seeking a $325 million increase for Head Start and a $825 million increase for CCDBG.

RESULTS is glad the House included these small increases considering what they did in the rest of their bill. In direct conflict with the Budget Control Act of 2011, which set an overall cap on discretionary spending for FY 2013, the House cuts an additional $6.8 billion from the Labor-HHS budget. The Senate’s bill abides by the BCA levels. This will surely lead to heated negotiations between House and Senate leaders to come up with a compromise by the end of the year.

The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to meet tomorrow to mark up their bill. We are not sure if there will be any amendments to increase or cut early learning funding, but we’ll keep you updated on what happens.

TAKE ACTION: Urge House and Senate leaders to protect early learning services for low-income children. Use our online email alert to tell Congress to fund Head Start, Early Head Start and child care assistance at the highest possible levels in FY 2013.


House Committee Passes Farm Bill with Steep SNAP Cuts

Last Wednesday, the House Agricultural Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill by a vote of 35-11. Sadly, their bill is much worse that the Senate bill. It includes $16.5 billion in cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). The effects this bill could have on a community are disastrous. Estimates are that the House cuts would force 2-3 million people off SNAP per year and deny school meals to nearly 300,000 children. This is on top of the $4.5 billion in cuts to SNAP passed by the Senate in its Farm Bill; the Senate bill would cut SNAP benefits by $90 per month for an estimated 500,000 households.

It is uncertain if and when the House bill will come to the floor. Congress must pass a new Farm Bill, or an extension of the current one, by September 30. RESULTS certainly opposes the cuts to SNAP in both the House and Senate bills and supports efforts to restore them if and when the legislation moves forward.

TAKE ACTION: Urge your members of Congress to protect hungry children and families by rejecting cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill or other deficit reduction legislation. Use our online email alert to take action today.


Quick News

RESULTS Is Gathering VITA Data to Help You. We are collecting localized data for our RESULTS groups all across the country so that they can share the impact that the EITC and CTC have in your communities. It is particularly important to use localized data so that members of Congress can see how large federal programs affect the people that they represent. If you would like more information about this research, see RESULTS U.S. Poverty Intern Katja Kleine’s new RESULTS Blog post. You can also contact her at [email protected].

Call Congress about Upcoming Tax Votes. On Saturday’s national conference call, guest speaker Amelia Kegan mentioned that the House and Senate will be taking important votes on taxes in the next few weeks. The Senate is expected to vote as early as next week on President Obama’s tax proposal to extend for one year the Bush tax cuts for income below $250,000 (although no legislation has been released, we assume this includes the EITC and CTC provisions we support). 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. A number of groups including Americans for Tax Fairness at encouraging people to call Congress this week urging them to end the tax cuts for the top 2 percent. Visit the ATF website to call your representative and senators today about tax fairness. You can also remind Congress to protect the EITC and CTC in budget talks by taking our online tax credit action.


Announcements

Be Part of the Conference from Home. Even if you are not coming to DC for the International 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.

RESULTS Comes to Boston in August. In our effort to expand out reach and impact to new states and districts, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Organizer Jenny Martin will hold a RESULTS informational meeting in Boston, MA to start a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group there. This meeting is a great opportunity for people to come learn more about RESULTS and our work, and to find out how they can get involved. If you or anyone you know lives in the Boston area, please plan or invite them to attend. The meeting is Thursday, August 16 at 6:30 pm ET. For more details, please contact Jenny at [email protected].

Welcome San Antonio! RESULTS welcomes our newest RESULTS U.S. Poverty group from the great city of San Antonio. The activists in this group have been going through their “new group training” the last few months, which they completed last night. They are already in action and are eager to be strong voices for the end of poverty. If you know anyone in San Antonio who might be interested in getting involved, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].


Fundraising News

Don’t forget the Crystal City Twilight 5K run/walk after the kickoff session this Saturday night at the International Conference. Allison Gallaher, Scott Leckman, Kay Neseem, Michelle Friedman, Beth Wilson, Vic Treland, Blair Hinderliter, Crickett Nicovich, Jen Maurer and Cindy Changyit Levin are all running or walking in the event. Everyone is invited to join in or cheer them on. People can donate to the fundraising runners and walkers at http://tinyurl.com/RESULTSRace.

Also, congratulations to Katy Windschill and Rob Marshall, RESULTS volunteers from Georgia and who are getting married August 3, are asking their guests to donate to RESULTS at http://www.tinyurl.com/katyandrob. Katy and Rob met at a previous International Conference and are grateful they want to include RESULTS in their celebration.


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.

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!

Friday, July 27: RESULTS Introductory Call. 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Saturday, August 11: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.


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.