U.S. Poverty Weekly Update June 4, 2013
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
Latest from Washington, DC
Got Two Minutes? Join the RESULTS National Conference Call THIS Saturday at 12:30 pm ET with Greg Kaufmann of The Nation
Join RESULTS volunteers from around the country this Saturday, June 8 for the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. We continue our important work protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from reckless cuts in the new Farm Bill. To that end, we are working this month to generate media about protecting SNAP. To help us, we are thrilled that Greg Kaufmann of The Nation magazine will be our guest speaker on the call. Greg is a Nation contributor covering poverty in America, primarily through his blog, This Week in Poverty. Through his writing he seeks to increase media coverage of poverty, share new research, elevate the voices of people living in poverty and offer readers opportunities to get involved with organizations working to eradicate poverty. Greg has highlighted the work of RESULTS on his blog. Bill Moyers & Company syndicates his blog and describes it as offering “must-read stories,” and Melissa Harris-Perry calls Greg “one of the most consistent voices on poverty in America.” Greg will share his insights and expertise us in leveraging the media to highlight issues of poverty.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes and remind your local RESULTS group about the RESULTS monthly national conference call this Saturday, June 8 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 have the June 2013 Conference Call Overview slides available later this week. Go to our national conference call page on the RESULTS website to download the presentation before the call.
Congress returns to Washington this week. The first item on the Senate’s agenda will be to complete work on the Senate Farm Bill. This bill includes a $4.1 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), which would reduce SNAP benefits for 400,000 households by an average of $90 per month. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) offered an amendment to undo these cuts but it was defeated, 70-26. Fortunately, amendments that would further cut SNAP have also been defeated. However, our work is not done; there are still damaging SNAP amendments that could come up this week. We must urge senators to hold the line. It is imperative that the Senate bill have as few SNAP cuts as possible when it begins negotiations with the House on a compromise bill later this summer.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to call both your senators TODAY and urge them to oppose amendments that would further cut or restrict SNAP. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senate offices (or you can call directly; find phone numbers on our Elected Officials page). When connected, leave this message with the receptionist:
My name is _______________________ and I’m a RESULTS volunteer from _________________. I do not like it that the Senate Farm Bill contains cuts to SNAP (food stamps) and I am disappointed that Sen. Gillibrand’s amendment to undo these cuts did not pass. I am also worried that the Senate might try to cut SNAP even further. We should be strengthening food assistance for children and families, not cutting it. Please urge Sen. ________________ to vote NO on amendments that would further cut or restrict SNAP. Will you please give the Senator this message today?
For more information about SNAP and the Farm Bill, see the May 2013 RESULTS U.S. Poverty Action, our Recent Developments in Nutrition and Health Legislation page, and our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.
If you cannot call today, please take a few minutes to send an e-mail to senators using our Senate SNAP alert.
Got Twenty Minutes? Use the Media to Talk about Hunger in America and Protecting SNAP (June Action)
The Senate is expected to complete work on its Farm Bill (S.954) this week. The House is expected to begin debate on its Farm Bill (H.R.1947) the week of June 17. Both bills contain cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). These cuts would impact children and families across the U.S., putting them at serious risk of falling deeper into hunger and poverty.
As highlighted in a new study from the International Human Rights Clinic of NYU Law School (IHRC), 50 million people in the U.S., including 17 million children, were food insecure in 2011. SNAP is a lifeline keeping millions of Americans from drowning in poverty. In 2011, SNAP lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty. SNAP has also been vital during the Great Recession. As Paul Krugman pointed out in a recent New York Times op-ed, SNAP helped “mitigate the misery” of countless American families when they saw their jobs and incomes disappear after 2007. SNAP is also one of the most effective programs in government, with an accuracy rate over 96 percent. For a program that serves 47 million people per month, that is a remarkable accomplishment.
Why then would Congress want to cut SNAP when it’s needed and it’s working? The underlying reason is simple. With deficit reduction fever still gripping Washington (despite the fact that budget deficits are shrinking), members of Congress look to cut big budget items they think no one will raise a fuss about. It’s our job to raise such a fuss. As the House and Senate move forward on their Farm Bills with cuts to SNAP, remind them that denying people food is unacceptable. Using the media to educate lawmakers and our communities about the problem of hunger in America and the importance of food assistance will be critical in protecting families receiving SNAP.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minute to take the June Action — submit letters to the editor, op-eds, and generate editorials in your local papers urging your members of Congress to protect SNAP from cuts. The June Action sheet has talking points you can use for your media pieces, as well as background information about where things are in the Farm Bill debate. Be sure to use information in the SNAP fact sheets from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to connect SNAP to your state and mention your members of Congress by name (particularly House members) when calling them to act.
We urge each member of your RESULTS group to submit a media piece — the more you submit, the more chance at least one will get chosen. Our goal is to get 30 SNAP pieces published this month from RESULTS volunteers. The more coverage we get, the more pressure Congress will feel. You can also use our online LTE alert to send your letter today.
We want to celebrate and tack your success. When you get published, please email RESULTS Acting Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn the online link or copy of your letter at [email protected].
Another way to increase awareness of America’s hunger problem is to participate in the SNAP Challenge. The Challenge asks people to live on a SNAP budget for a week. Trying to maintain a healthy diet on $4.50 per day is a challenge SNAP recipients face every day and the SNAP Challenge gives people a very brief glimpse what life is like for them on a daily basis.
The week of June 10, a number of representatives will be taking the SNAP Challenge. Let’s get as many members of Congress as possible taking the challenge with them. In your letters and op-eds, ask your members of Congress by name to take the SNAP Challenge. You can also send a letter to their offices urging them to take the Challenge (contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for a copy of the “Dear Colleague” letter about the Challenge). The more members of Congress we have taking the challenge, the more awareness we raise about hunger in America and the need to protect SNAP.
We also invite anyone in the RESULTS volunteer network who would like to stand in solidarity with hungry families to do the Challenge as well. Doing the Challenge yourself could motivate members of Congress to also participate and also give you a great “hook” for media. Sharing your experience is a great story for letters, op-eds, and editorials. For more information about actually doing the SNAP Challenge, see these great resources from FRAC and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
In support of the President’s Early Learning Proposal, the Strong Start for Children Campaign, led by the National Women’s Law Center, is working with advocates across the country to coordinate an Early Learning Day of Action on Wednesday, June 5. The goal is to generate as many press-worthy and attention-getting events as possible. RESULTS advocates can participate by commenting in the “blog carnival”, following a Twitter “tweetchat” with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at 2:00 pm ET tomorrow, or generating media. There will also be a variety of locally organized events around the country that may gain some news coverage. Check out NWLC’s calendar to see if there is an event near you.
House and Senate leaders will begin work in funding for Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) later this summer. These efforts can help ensure that congressional leaders will not short change our children in next year’s budget.
TAKE ACTION: Join in the Early Learning Day of Action tomorrow, June 5. See how you can participate on the NWLC website. Also, urge members of Congress to protect Head Start and child care services in the FY 2014 budget. Use our online early childhood e-mail alert to send your message today. Keep up to date on what’s happening with Head Start and child care on our Recent Developments in Early Childhood Policies page and our 2013 U.S. Poverty Campaign Summary.
REGISTER today for this year’s RESULTS International Conference!
Conference registrations are going up. Right now, we have about 300 people registered for the 2013 RESULTS International Conference. This is great but with a goal of 500, we want more of you to attend. Think about the stories you can tell your friends when they ask what you’re doing this summer. Going to Hawaii? Disney World? The Catskills? Nope. I’m going to Washington to help end poverty. Who wouldn’t want to lead with that line? Register today and get ready for the best summer vacation story around. And remember, there’s less than two weeks left to register at the normal conference rate of $240. Register by June 15 to avoid the $75 late registration fee.
Schedule Your Lobby Visits and Invite Members of Congress to Reception. If you are coming to this year’s conference, start scheduling your lobby meetings for Lobby Day, June 23. The earlier you get your requests in, the better chance you have of getting face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress. See our recent monthly action for tips on scheduling these meetings. Also, don’t forget to invite your members of Congress to the Lobby Day reception on Tuesday evening. Use our customizable invitation on the RESULTS International Conference page to send your invitation today.
Last Week to Apply for REAL Change. This is the final week to apply for the RESULTS REAL Change Scholarship. If you know anyone 18–28 years old who is interested in ending poverty, urge them to download and submit their application before June 10.
“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” — Jacques Cousteau
RESULTS volunteers like you are extraordinary people. You give your time, your money, and your energy not for yourselves, but for the common good. You see living people in poverty not as “other” deserving a ridicule and attack, but as your friends, your family, your neighbors deserving of dignity and respect. In a time when attacking people in poverty has become political sport, you’re rewriting the rules. That is special and it what makes RESULTS special.
If your RESULTS experience has been meaningful or informative or fun, fulfilling, why not share that with others? You can help empower a friend or a colleague to help save lives, build futures, and reclaim democracy. RESULTS staff continue to work to expand our reach and impact by growing the RESULTS volunteer network. And you can help. Who knows? The person you introduce to RESULTS could be the next Bob Dickerson, Anne Child, or Josh Lee.
RESULTS staff is here to help. If you know people in New England, in particular Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, contact Jenny Martin ((413) 772-9596, [email protected]) with your referrals. If you know people in the South and Midwest, in particular Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, contact our South Organizer Myrdin Thompson ((502) 295-1315, [email protected]). If you know people in other parts of the country, in particular Orange County, CA, Kansas City, or New York City, please contact Acting Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn ((515) 288-3622, [email protected]). Please take a few moments to peruse your Contacts list or Facebook page to identify people who might enjoy working with RESULTS like you do. We are happy to work with you on the best way to introduce them to our work.
CBO Report Shows that Tax Expenditures Favor the Wealthy. A new report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that tax expenditures (deductions, exclusions, and credits in the tax code) overwhelmingly favor high income earners. CBO found that of the ten major expenditures (e.g. mortgage interest, capital gains, dividends), more than 50 percent of the benefits went to the wealthiest 20 percent, with 17 percent of the benefits going to the top one percent. By contrast, only eight percent of benefits went to the bottom 20 percent. A good portion of the benefits for the bottom quintile come from the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. We’ll have more analysis of this report in the coming weeks but it again highlights the need to protect and expand provisions like the EITC and CTC. Use our online e-mail alert to tell Congress to protect tax credits for working families.
We on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty team are happy to announce three new additions to the RESULTS staff this summer. Ann Beltran, a long-time RESULTS volunteer from northern Virginia, will be working as a policy consultant on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns. She will be working part-time, attending lobby and coalition meetings in DC. Ann has been an invaluable volunteer lobbyist for the team for several years.
Katja Kleine has joined us as our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Consultant. Katja is a rising senior at Washington and Lee University, majoring in Economics with a minor in poverty studies. She is Bonner Scholar at Washington and Lee and worked at RESULTS last summer. She will be helping with all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, in particular our Economic Opportunity Campaign. She will also be supervising our new intern, Errolyn Gray, in the DC office while Meredith Dodson is on maternity leave.
Errolyn Gray is an intern with the General Board of Church and Society with the United Methodist Church as part of its Ethnic Young Adult Program. She is serving her internship at RESULTS this summer as a U.S. Poverty Campaign Intern. She will be working on our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, in particular our work on Early Childhood Development. She recently graduated from Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications Broadcast with a concentration in Print Journalism as well as a concentration in English.
All three will be with us until early August. Ann, Katja and Errolyn are excited about their work at RESULTS this summer and we are equally excited to have them. Welcome Ann, Katja, and Errolyn!
Fundraising Update. Right now is a great time to start planning your fundraising activities for the last half of the year. Why not consider something new like “Pins for Poverty” bowling event or a simple “Party in the Park”? Check out some neat fundraising ideas on the RESULTS Blog. Use your creativity and think outside the box because you might just have the next ten-thousand-dollar idea! Don’t hesitate to reach out the RESULTS fundraising coaches for support or to brainstorm ideas. We are always here to help. Contact Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, [email protected], (773) 236-7758 or Jen DeFranco, Fundraising Events Associate, [email protected], (773) 688-8707.
RESULTS Intro Call on June 12. Want to introduce someone to RESULTS in an easy and fun way? Invite them to attend a RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30 45 minute calls provide a brief overview of RESULTS and information on how you can get involved. If you or someone you know would be a great advocate for the end of poverty, invite them to register for the next call on Wednesday, June 12 at 9:00 pm ET. People can register for this or another upcoming Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: May 27‐31. Request face-to-face meetings.
Saturday, June 8: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. (888) 409-6709. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Wednesday, June 12: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet/.
Wednesday, June 26: RESULTS Orange County (CA) outreach meeting (tentative). For more details, contact Jos Linn at (515) 288-3622, [email protected].
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. Please note that RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson is on maternity leave until Labor Day 2013.
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.