U.S. Poverty Weekly Update July 31, 2012

"Around here the follow up is more important than the initial meeting."

— Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), in RESULTS International Conference Lobby Meeting with Montana advocates last week (photo)

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates

Got Two Minutes? Report on Lobby Meetings or Calls with Congressional Offices

In addition to over 300 meetings with Congressional offices in DC during the RESULTS International Conference Lobby Day, many advocates talked with key Congressional aides via phone call last week about the importance of protecting the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) – see below for the latest action in Washington on tax policy.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and fill out our lobby report form: http://tinyurl.com/2012lobbyreportform for your meetings and calls last week.

Got Ten Minutes? Whether or Not You Were in DC Last Week, Request Face-to-Face Meetings with Members of Congress for the August Recess (July Action)

We know that face-to-face lobby meetings have the biggest impact on members of Congress – and with Congress on recess for over a month starting this weekend, your work back home can make a difference!

TAKE ACTION: Take 10 minutes to take the July Action. Contact your members of Congress to set up face-to-face meetings during the August recess to talk about protecting the EITC and CTC along with Head Start and child care. You can find contact info for schedulers on our Elected Officials page. These materials can help you prepare for the meeting (and your follow up from meetings last week):

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.

Got Twenty Minutes? Follow Up with Senators and Representatives to Protect Tax Credits for Low-Income Working Families and Investments in Early Childhood

The RESULTS International Conference 2012 (IC) was amazing because of the 400 grassroots advocates, staff, and partners in attendance! Those who joined us in DC July 21-24 refined advocacy skills, heard luminary speakers, and met with policymakers on the Hill. We can't thank you enough for joining us and making this year's IC the best ever. Check our Facebook and Twitter for photos.

One of the keys to successful advocacy is persistence, and it is the follow up from meetings that make a difference.

TAKE ACTION: Take 20 minutes to follow up on your meetings with Congress— send thank you notes, reiterate your request that your senators and representatives speak directly to key committee leaders (Senate Finance/House Ways and Means Committees on tax policy, Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees on early childhood) and get commitments, provide information you promised. Following up will insure that your requests get the attention they need and will deepen your relationships with policymakers and their staff.

In addition, consider writing a letter to the editor. Use our online action to send a letter to your local paper about the International Conference. Let people know that participating in our democracy really does matter.

Senate Shows Support for Strengthening Hard Working Families; House Voting to Enact a Tax Hike on Just the Lowest-Income Americans

On Wednesday, July 25th the Senate voted on the Middle Class Tax Cuts Act (S.3412).  The Act passed 51 to 48.  The Act was introduced by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) on July 19th.  This Act protects and extends tax cuts for all income up to $250,000, including  expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) that were set to expire at the end of this year.  Although this does not guarantee that these tax credits will be protected in further legislation, it is important that the Senate took a collective stance towards protecting middle- and low-income families and gaining revenues from the richest Americans. Check out Allison's Blog to learn more about these Tax Credits and what RESULTS is doing to help! Thanks to all of you that made calls last week!

The U.S. House of Representatives will hold votes on the Bush tax cuts as early as TOMORROW, August 1. As in the U.S. Senate, there will be a choice:

  • Republicans will propose (in H.R. 8) that extra tax cuts be continued for people with incomes above a quarter of a million dollars -- including a $150,000 tax break, on average, for people who earn more than $1 million a year. Their bill also will raise taxes on 25 million low - to moderate-income families by drastically cutting the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and American Opportunity Tax Credit (which helps pay for college). Cutting these low-income credits will push 2 million children back into poverty. OUTRAGEOUS!!!
  • Democrats will propose that everyone get a tax cut -- but that it end on income above $250,000 a year -- the richest 2%. Their bill (H.R. 15) also preserves the low-income tax credits.

TAKE ACTION: Take a minute to call your U.S. Representative using this toll free line: (888) 744-9958 and demand that he or she vote to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent and protect low-income families from increased taxes.  Tell them to vote NO on H.R. 8 and YES on H.R. 15.

Congress Negotiating Deal to Extend Final 2013 Appropriations Decisions Until Early Next Year

RESULTS volunteers have been active in the protecting funding for Early Childhood Development programs by directly targeting the source of funding for these programs: Labor Health and Human Services and Education subcommittees (Labor-HHS). The Labor-HHS Appropriations bill sets funding for many important programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).  Most recently, RESULTS volunteers were able to get 32 signatures on the Casey-Snowe letter in the Senate and 88 signatures on the Kildee-Platts letter in the House, urging robust funding increases for all federal early childhood development programs. For our campaign, we were asking for Congress to increase funding for Head Start/Early Head Start by $350 million, and increase funding for CCDBG by $850 million.

In June, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bill was approved by Labor-HHS Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee. Head Start, Early Head Start, and CCDBG all received increases in the Senate Labor HHS bill. Head Start will receive a $70 million increase, which will help with the implementation of re-competition and help local centers with rising operational costs. CCDBG gets a $160 million increase; $90 million to improve the quality of education for early childhood teachers and staff and $70 million to help increase access to child care, subsidy rates, and rates of reimbursement for providers. While these are not the numbers we had hoped for, we are pleased that the Senate continues stand up for early childhood services despite the current budget environment. The bill now goes to the Senate floor for debate and a vote, which is unlikely to happen before the election.

In July, the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee passed their FY13 Appropriations bill as well. Unfortunately, while their bill saw some increases, they also were not what we had hoped. Head Start/Early Head Start saw a $45.5 million increase, while CCDBG saw a $25 million increase. Not only were their meager increases, but other education initiatives, such as Race to the Top, lost 400 million in funding in this bill from the $550 million base in FY12. The Early Learning Challenge Fund is also housed under this initiative, which is a program set to improve early learning programs.

Congressional leaders and President Obama are working on a Continuing Resolution to fund annually appropriated programs including Head Start and child care to  2013, beyond the Lame Duck session. This package is expected to come up in September and will fit within the spending caps included in the Budget Control Act (rather than the Ryan Budget). To get the strongest funding levels possible in any final House-Senate agreement, we must continue to push House members to make early childhood education a priority in 2013.

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.

Quick News

One-year extension of Farm Bill on the table. With the drought ravaging farmers across the country, House leadership is looking to move a one-year extension of all Farm Bill programs at present funding levels, with a drought emergency relief package attached. Leadership in the Senate, which passed its version of a full five-year Farm Bill overhaul last month, hopes enter negotiations with House on the final version over the August recess, though the House has yet to take action on the Farm Bill voted out of the House Agriculture committee, which includes a 16 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps)  Current Farm Bill programs expire on September 30.

Senate Subcommittee Holds CCDBG Reauthorization Hearing. Last week, the Senate Subcommittee for Children and Families, which is under the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, held a hearing about the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization. The subcommittee, led by Chairwoman Senator Mikulski (D-MD) and ranking member Senator Burr (R-NC), had two panels to discuss how CCDBG Reauthorization can help meet the child care needs of families today. Since CCDBG hasn’t been reauthorized since 1996, the members of the subcommittee were very interested in learning from the panelist how they can make CCDBG policy more effective. Linda K. Smith, deputy assistant secretary and inter-departmental liaison for early childhood development, spoke about how there should be health and safety standards across the board for CCDBG and Head Start/Early Head Start, and was interested in helping the subcommittee find better ways to communicate information about child care centers to parents. Susan Coro, an assistant teacher and parent also on the panel, reminded the subcommittee that they have the power to make child care a priority and help meet the needs of working families across America. If you would like to learn more, you can find video of the hearing and the written testimony of the panelists here. Emerson Hunger Fellow Tavia Benjamin will blog a  summary of the hearing, and which Congress members were present, later this week.

Announcements

Special Thank You to our Fabulous Hunger Fellows and Interns! We say goodbye this week to our Emerson National Hunger Fellows, Tavia Benjamin and Allison Burket, along with our summer interns Ann Jacob and Katja Kleine. They did an amazing job of tracking policy developments, blogging about their experiences, and preparing materials for our International Conference. We will miss them!!!!

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].

Invite new people to our upcoming trainings. We have two Introduction to RESULTS calls scheduled in August (August 1 at 9 pm, August 17 at 1 pm), and we have a New Activist Orientation (the training takes place over several weeks including 2 training calls. Training starts on August 6 with the second call on August 20 at 9 pm ET: Dial in to (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

ACTION Relaunches! ACTION, a global partnership of advocacy organizations working to influence policy and mobilize resources to fight diseases of poverty and improve equitable access to health services, has relaunched its website to better promote its expanded mission and enable ACTION partners another way to serve global health advocates. ACTION’s global Secretariat is housed at RESULTS Educational Fund and works daily with RESULTS Legislative team and the teams of other partners around the world. ACTION links grassroots advocates from California to Zambia to ensure that the sun never sets on this important global health work.

Check out the new website, all the updates from the International AIDS conference and learn more about the global movement you are part of! http://www.action.org

Fundraising News

Send a note to your donor network. Now is the time to let donors know about the International Conference and the approximately 300 meetings held with congressional offices. Thank them for their support and encouragement and let them know that their support helped RESULTS take our message of hope and action to Congress. Send them an email with some pictures and give them an opportunity to contribute to our ongoing work at our results.org donation page. Here's a Sample post-IC thank you to donors from RESULTS Chicago.

Fundraising thank you. They can also support our IC fundraising efforts: Thank you to our staff and partners who have raised $2750 so far by walking and running the Crystal City Twilighter 5K at the IC. It was a blast to run with all of you and high-five each other on the course! You can still help the team make their $5000 goal by contributing at the Race to End Poverty fundraising site.


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

Tuesday, August 21: 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, 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.